"The earth gives us food to nourish our bodies, and we prepare the food with love to feed our souls and we serve it with compassion to make us whole." -Le Tresor Pistoulet
Adventures of a Country Gal

The Not So Glamorous Life

I stood and looked out over my garden – the sun was waning and casting a beautiful light onto the plants.  They looked healthy and vibrant, the cool weather crops would be ready to harvest soon and all of the summer crops were coming along great.  It had been a lot of work.  I was proud of myself and was looking forward to reaping the benefits of what I had sown.  Two days later, when I arrived to work, I thought something looked different.  I began walking down the rows looking more closely at the plants.

My little farm helper!

I was shocked!  The bugs were feasting on my beautiful, healthy plants.  Who sent out the invitations for a picnic?  I gasped in horror!  Every rotten bug had been invited, but I didn’t see any of the predator bugs.  They had been conspicuously left off of the party list.  I needed a moment to process.  I walked over to the blueberry bushes and the orchard.  The blueberry bushes looked great!  But, not so good for my little baby fruit trees.  They had been attacked too!  Not by bugs, but by the deer!  Now, I was feeling sick to my stomach.  I was completely overwhelmed by what I had seen.  I was on sensory overload; so I just went home – didn’t do any work.

All day long I kept telling myself that I could figure it out – this is just a blip in the road.  I whined to my husband and several of my friends.  I stayed busy with other things all day hoping that something would come to me if I didn’t focus on the problem.  But, truth be told, I didn’t feel any stronger or wiser by the time I went to bed that night!  I was so tired, I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

The next morning I awoke with a renewed sense of purpose.  I must have formulated a game plan while I was sleeping because I had it all worked out!  The first thing on the agenda was to get some help!  If I was going to win this battle I would need an army.  I got online and ordered 38,000 ladybugs – that should take care of all of the little bugs that I could not see.  Secondly, since I didn’t want to spray any chemicals on my plants, I was going to have to start handpicking caterpillars.  No problem – I can do that!  And last but not least, I was going to have to fence in my garden areas to protect them from the deer.  But, until I could get the fence installed, I needed something to deter them from eating my trees.  I found something online called Liquid Fence.  Its non-toxic and the deer don’t like the smell, so supposedly it keeps them from eating the leaves.  So, I ordered it.

Okay, the ladybugs and the liquid fence were on their way, so I was off to start picking caterpillars.  Some people pick them off and put them in a bucket of soapy water to kill them, but that seemed a little cruel to me.  I would just squish them!  It would be an instantaneous death for them and they wouldn’t have to suffer.  I started picking them off and squishing them with a stick.  Gross – there were so many of them.  This was so time-consuming.  And then I remembered a card my sister had sent me when I was very frustrated at work that said, “pull your big girl panties up and deal with it”.  After I stopped laughing I decided she was right!  Whining was not going to help then and it was not going to help now.  So, I pulled my big girl panties up and started squishing the caterpillars with my fingers.  Didn’t even give it any thought.  A Country Gal has to do what she has to do.  Did you know that green caterpillars have green guts?  Are you getting worried about me yet?  Well, no need to worry yet.  Now, if I start talking about the protein content of caterpillars and put them on my list of food crops, then you might need to start worrying!

The Cavalry

A few days later the cavalry arrived. They came in a mesh bag with a wood crate around them.  Mariah went with me to release them into the garden.  I had trouble getting the crate off, so I cut a slit into the mesh bag.  All of the ladybugs came rushing out of the bag.  They were climbing all over each other and the garden.  I was doing my best to look relaxed about it – I didn’t want to appear squeamish in front of my ten year old daughter.  But, I was already seeing caterpillars when I closed my eyes at night, now I was going to feel ladybugs crawling on me too!  The ladybugs were my army though and I was feeling more confident now that they had arrived.  It was raining out so we moved the crate around a couple of times and then headed home.  Tomorrow I would go and pick more caterpillars and see what work the ladybugs had done.  Now, the only thing left to tackle was the deer problem.

The next day, I was anxious to see what work my army had done.  I saw several ladybugs on several plants, but certainly didn’t see the mountain of them that I had released the day before.  Where did everybody go?  Did they eat all of the rotten bugs up already?  I guess time would tell.

It took about a week for the Liquid Fence to arrive.  The rest of my plan seemed to be working pretty well, with the exception of a few flaws.  There did seem to be fewer bugs chowing down on my plants due to the appetite of the ladybugs, but the caterpillar numbers were stable.  I squished them every day, but more kept coming back.  Next year, I’d have to be more prepared before the big picnic invitations get sent out.  Now, I was ready to tackle the deer problem.  I picked up the bottle of Liquid Fence to read the directions.  The odor was penetrating the plastic.  This wasn’t going to be good.  What was that stuff going to smell like outside of the plastic container?  I soon discovered…it was worse than sour baby spit up or vomit!  I gagged three times while I was mixing it!  What is in this stuff?  The main ingredient was putrefied egg solids!  Oh my sweet goodness…no wonder the deer don’t want to eat the leaves!  The bottle says it works.  It better, is all I can say.  I worried about how many flies would be attracted by the scent.  I had a vision of a group of buzzards hovering over my head as I was spraying.

I got through however, unscathed.  Well, almost.  I didn’t get stalked by buzzards, but my clothes had smelled better.  I rode all the way home smelling like putrefied egg solids!  Oh, the things I do for the love of country life!

Right now, I think I’ve got a leg up on the war.  The caterpillars are winning their battle, but I’ve got a handle on the other problems.  Next year, I will be better prepared.

Sometimes you work in unfavorable conditions

Farm life isn’t always so glamorous.  Sometimes you have to work in unfavorable conditions and sometimes you have to smell like rotten eggs.  Do I still love being a Country Gal?  Absolutely!  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Nature is a lot like life.  The key to success is maintaining a balance even when there are obstacles thrown in the way.




  1. Lisa, I am so proud of you! What an amazing story, and who knew you were such a fantastic, creative writer? The website is beautiful! The information is terrific, and the journey you are on is inspiring. I can’t wait to get my hands on some produce. Hats off to you my catepillar-picking, lady-bug lovin friend!

    Blessings from another city girl with a country heart!

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