Bug Wars

Green Burgundy Stink Bug

I had noticed these bugs on my red currants for a number of years but didn’t give them much thought. A couple of days ago I decided to look them up and see what their story was. I already knew they were stink bugs and I thought that was their claim to fame. Unfortunately, I found out they also like to chew on tender shoots. I had noticed quite a bit of fruit drop on my red currants and had always suspected it may have been bird damage. I’m now convinced it was caused by the Green Burgundy Stink Bug (Banasa dimidiata).

Stripped Currants

We don’t use pesticides in our garden so I resorted to the old tried and true method of hand picking the bugs off. The first day I got about 50 bugs, the second day 20 and today about 10. I’ll continue picking each day until I see the last of them. I also use this method for slugs and sawfly larva and while a little tedious, it is effective. When picking I’m always coming across beneficial insects that would be killed by spraying so the time taken far outweighs the convenience of a quick, easy and deadly spray.

Firewood Bonus

Well, the firewood is all stacked and my final tally was 2.55 cords. That is a stack that measures 8.5 feet wide x 7 feet high x 5.5 feet deep. Since we made two stacks this size it is an impressive collection of wood.  Some of the alder is damp and oyster mushrooms are popping out daily – very good eating!

Firewood Finale

We split the last of our next winter’s firewood today! Here I am surveying one of the piles. Our middle daughter and husband are living on our property and also heat with wood so there is another pile the same size at their house. I haven’t figured out how many cords yet – I’ll know after it is stacked but it looks like a lot of wood. I cut down nine dead or dying trees – alder, dogwood, hemlock, fir, maple and alder so a good variety. Now we can look forward to a cold, snowy winter.

Firewood Season

While some of you are still struggling with Winter weather our days are getting warmer and it is starting to feel quite Spring-like. I like to get an early start on next Winter’s firewood so it can dry well and also so that I’m not cutting in the forest once the hot weather starts.

I have found in over the 40+ years of firewood gathering that I rarely have to cut a living tree. This year I started with this fir tree that has been dying over the last five years. It had a very unusual “S” shape which made me somewhat uneasy to take it down as the fall direction was hard to read. It was 134 feet tall so something not to tinker with. In early Fall the tree broke off at 40 feet and fortunately fell in the right direction. I took the rest of the tree down yesterday – three feet in diameter and about 125 years old. That corresponds with the time our property was first logged in the late 1890’s. This tree came up as a seedling then. It would have been a beautiful tree to mill but some sort of fungal disease runs through the entire tree.  Very unusual for a fir tree.

This hemlock did exactly the same things as the fir. It stood at about 95 feet tall but broke off at 45 feet. This tree is about 2.5 feet in diameter. Again, the tree was diseased but I’m finding the hemlock are more prone to disease.

I have four other alder trees to take down and then all that is left is the splitting and stacking!