In my last post I had pictures of us releasing ladybird beetles (lady bugs) into the garden to deal with a invasion of aphids. Well those lady buds were mighty happy and gobbled up lots of aphids. Almost immediately they started mating like crazy. Before long their eggs were hatching and thousands of lady bug larva shown above were crawling everywhere. The adults eat many aphids but the larva (like teenage humans) eat with seemingly unending appetites. Soon the peppers and eggplants were completely clean of any aphids. It was a fantastic example of biological control! Another wonderful insect I had in the garden this year were praying mantis. They will go after almost anything except your plants. The females are ruthless though, devouring the heads of the males as they mate as I captured in the picture! As summer moved into fall the collection of the cow pies continued. This year has been the best yet. My son Quince and I had a sweet father/son morning collecting and then my last wwoofer of the season Katie-Grace helped me finish off the pile. She, having grown up on a dairy farm in New Zealand felt a tinge of nostalgia and joy in the experience. How lucky am I! Katie-Grace also helped with the last Plymouth Farmer's Market. The market was wonderful this year and my thanks to Austin Ford and the Rotary Club for their work with the Amador Farmer's Market. On September 29th, Abbondanza was part of the Farms of Amador farm tour. Wow, the people just kept coming and coming. During the course of the day between 75-100 people visited my little mini-farm. It was so good to share and to see so many people interested in the natural methods I use. My Kiwi friend Katie-Grace got to experience the grape harvest too. Here she and I celebrate after picking a bin of Missions that my late uncle Armenio planted thirty years ago. These will become a sweet dessert wine made at Mira Flores Winery. On Thursday, October 31 (yes Halloween) 40 second grade students from Plymouth Elementary arrived to visit the farm. [I have deep history with students and school gardens and I recommend after checking out this blog that you go up to the Gallery button and after clicking it check out the "school garden" page and also the link at the bottom of the information I share there. Thanks] Here I am sharing information about my bees and the "top bar hive". Just too cute as some of the little ones were in costume as bees! Fantastic attention from these little people - credit to parents and teachers. We have the ability to grow all the food right here in our county that our children should be eating. Local, in season, and obviously fresh. Why we force our schools to feed them questionable food from hundreds and thousands of miles away makes no sense to me.