A Rural Home in La Porte, Iowa

| 6/28/2011 11:32:49 AM

BirdsThis story is from Deborah Michel, submitted as part of our Wisdom From Our Elders collection of self-sufficient tales from yesteryear. 

My grandparents kept an extensive garden at their rural home in La Porte, Iowa. I visited them summers from the early 1960s through the 1980s. They tried a few alternatives to pesticides, although it was still a new idea.

They put a large Martin birdhouse on a high post, and its many avian residents consumed many pests. They also kept numerous bird feeders all around the property, which probably reduced the mosquitoes a bit.

They planted a yellow cherry tree alongside a red one, and birds ignored the yellow fruit almost entirely.

They kept an extensive flower garden near the fruit and veggie garden, and there was always ample pollination from the many bees drawn to them.

Gramma would put salt on freshly picked raspberries in a big sheet pan, and within 20 minutes all the little bugs in the berries crawled out — then she plunged the pan into a sink full of cold water, rinsing away both bugs and salt!

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