Ivy Patches

Posted: February 1st, 2021

- Michele, the Farm Artist

As a child growing up in CA, one of my memories is about the carefully cultivated ivy patches that grew in our yard.  My sister and I had the job of trimming the ivy on a regular basis to keep it from taking over the concrete walkways.  As we sniped our way around the edges snails, slugs, rolly polly bugs, and even little frogs were often encountered.  At the time I think I wiggled my nose, thought it was yucky and continued on.  That job was not one I chose, but in hindsight it’s an experience that has helped shape my life course. 

Now, some 60 years later I live on a farm.  I still might wiggle my nose at some of the insect life around me, but I’m also curious about their life cycle and the role they play during our hemp growing season.  Success of our crop depends on my ability to observe plant health and notice things like water needs, rodent or insect damage, and nutrient deficiencies.  I would never have guessed that I’d spend time looking for frass (caterpillar poo) and that the size and amount would lead me to the culprit hiding in a rolled up hemp leaf or tucked inside a hemp flower. 

Here you can see both frass and he caterpillar that left it behind.

It’s taken me several years to connect the dots and I see now that caring for the ivy was a preparatory course in nurturing and caring for our hemp crop.  No doubt other childhood experiences will pop into my head and trigger other “ lightbulb” moments.  It doesn’t  matter how young or old you are, the memory slideshow in your head has endless potential to influence your life trajectory. Maybe you won’t end up looking for frass ……..but you never know. 

Learn more about Michele

Michele "The Farm Artist" writes about farming and regenerative agriculture from the perspective of a family literacy educator and mixed media artist.

Full bio here.

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