Daily Archives: February 1, 2014

Two Ways to Attract Moths to Your Yard

Look at all of those tiny scales!

Look at all of those tiny scales!

Did you know that butterflies and moths are in a group called Lep-i-dop-tera? This means “scale wing” which is a perfect name for them since their wings are covered with thousands of tiny scales. Have you ever touched the wing of a butterfly or moth and then noticed a fine powder on your fingers? That’s their scales! They rub off when handled. If you looked at them under a microscope you would see how they overlap just like a fishes’ scales.

Do you know if there are more moths or more butterflies? Click HERE for a short quiz to test your knowledge.

If you want to attract moths to your yard, here are two great ways:

One is to hang a black light or ultraviolet light behind a white sheet. This draws in an amazing variety of insects, including moths. You won’t believe some of the things that you will see! You can buy a black light at a store like Spencer’s in the mall–they have a couple of different kinds, some that are less than $20. If you don’t own or want to buy a black light you can leave on a regular outdoor light and hang a white sheet under it or near it. You might not get the variety as with the ultraviolet light, but it’s a fun experiment anyway… you never know who will visit!

Another fun way to attract moths to your yard is to mix up a solution that you “paint” onto a tree at eye level. Mix a ripe banana (kids will love to smash the fruit), some stale beer (dark beers are better) or active dry yeast mixed with water. To this you can add any other fermented fruit including watermelon or pears. Put this covered in the fridge for several days, then when ready, take it out and apply it with a paintbrush to a nearby tree in your yard. The best time to watch moths is between 10 and midnight but obviously if you are wanting to sleep then, you can look sooner. On the way to your “moth bait” use a flashlight covered in red cellophane–or no flashlight at all– and walk gently so as to not scare the moths into flight. Once at the tree, you can pull off the cellophane and see what great treasures are there for you to observe. You never know what interesting things you will have waiting for you!

Happy mothing!

Let me know if this worked for you and what cool creatures you got to see. I love to hear from you! Want to test your knowledge about moths? Try a 5 question quiz HERE.

Comparing the JMT to the AT

aa4-2-2

I have been done with the JMT and off the trail now for almost two months but already it seems like a lifetime ago. When I look at pictures from my hike I am still amazed by the beauty and so many of them bring back a rush of memories that play in my head like a movie. When I close my eyes it is easy to remember the moments.

While I was hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2008 I met an older man and his grown-up daughter. The man was behind his daughter by half an hour and as was often true of many on the AT, he was happy to stop and chat for a few minutes before heading off by himself. He was tired and sore and walking slowly, weighed down with a heavy pack and weary muscles. He shared that this wasn’t his first time backpacking and that each time out was difficult. He admitted that despite the challenges, when he was done and back home, he would look back on the trip fondly and all of the struggles would be forgotten.

Time has a way of sugar-coating the memories, making the highs so much higher and the lows so much smaller.

He was right on with his observation. In the midst of the hiking, the act of walking step after step after step is sometimes overwhelming. The mountain passes can seem endless and at the bottom it is daunting to imagine actually reaching “the top.” But each and every time, steps turn into miles and days into weeks and before long it’s all over and you’re sitting at home on the couch with your feet up and smiling as you relive the moments and feel grateful that you saw it through to completion.

Toward the end of my trek on the Appalachian Trail I so wanted to be done and thought the likelihood of ever backpacking again was low. I fantasized about burning my backpack and swore I’d never set foot on a trail again. A woman I met one day–“Sam Wise” told me I was wrong, that I would miss the trail and want to be out in the woods again. She was right.

Like hiking the AT, the JMT was a wonderful experience and though I sometimes felt overwhelmed by the whirling mosquitoes that stole my sanity and by the hard work of climbing mountains, I am infinitely grateful I overcame the challenges. The sparkling crystal clear lakes, winding rivers, colorful wildflowers and postcard scenery made it all worthwhile. To be surrounded by such beauty everyday was an incredible experience and often I felt lucky beyond measure.

The JMT experience was similar –lots of hard work, biting insects, great scenery, opportunities for solitude and serenity–to my AT experience, but also different. I sometimes missed the sense of community that was so prevalent on the AT. On the AT there seemed to be a natural camaraderie between hikers, all of the thru hikers united by the giant challenge of walking it from end to end and thus, having common ground that made for easy conversation. On the JMT it seemed many hikers were too caught up in “getting there” and did not readily exchange greetings or stop to chat. Some did not even say hello, just kept on walking and that made me shake my head and wonder how it could be. However, that being said, I did meet some who were more than happy to talk and were traveling at a similar pace as me.

I also missed the use of “trail names” on the JMT–most hikers seemed unaware of this idea and simply introduced themselves by their “real” names. Depending on the situation, I often said I was the “lollygagger” despite that they probably had no idea what i was talking about.

The AT certainly had beautiful places but the JMT had a higher level of beauty that seemed always extraordinary.aa4-2

The JMT is a trail unlike any I have ever been on and each day was one photo opportunity after another.

Now that I am done I feel the need to do some research and see what other beautiful trails are out there, knowing now that backpacking and camping beneath a ceiling of stars is in my blood. I have learned that I can do it and that for me the rewards far outweigh the challenges.

“But can’t you hear the wind? It is calling you. Let us probe the silent places, let us seek the luck betide us, let us journey to a lonely land I know. There’s a whisper on the night wind, there’s a star agleam to guide us, and the wind is calling…. let us go.”

 –Robert Service