I believe our pepper trees have become home to all the stages of ladybug creation; although the little creatures arrived a tad late this year, it’s definitely a booming population. I find myself, once again, lecturing the wee critters on the dangers of taking a morning swim in the horse’s water buckets, as I scoop them out and put them on tree branches to dry!

There are different versions of how these little beetles came to be known as ladybugs, but one of the most popular versions is that during the Middle Ages in Europe, the crops were being destroyed by insects. People were beginning to starve so the farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help.

The farmers were more than a little disheartened when, rather than disappearing, even more insects showed up in the form of little red beetles with black spots on them — but these new beetles ate the insects that were eating the crops, and the beetles became known as the “beetles of Our Lady,” eventually shortened to “ladybug.”

In the 1800s, farmers in California had a serious problem with Australian scale insects destroying entire groves of orange and lemon trees. They imported Australian ladybugs and released them into the orchards. Within two years the orchards were free of the scale insects.

If you have a garden and ladybugs, consider yourself lucky! No ladybugs? You can find them at your local nursery or garden center or even order them online.

As desert dwellers, we all understand that we live in an area of extremes — extreme heat and cold, extreme wind and rain, when we get it! Then Mother Nature blesses us with a few absolutely perfect desert days as a reminder of why we all chose to live here.

It brings to mind something my eldest grandson said to me years ago. As a toddler, Quinn would come out for weekly visits and always enjoyed the freedom that city living didn’t offer. He ran amok over 5 acres, digging holes, playing with wagons and horses, rocks and tree branches, running along the easement trying to keep up with the mailman and pretending to be the Burrtec truck when it made its Thursday morning pickup. During one visit, we were headed out to the horses when he stopped, took a long look around and said, “Gramma, you’re so lucky to live here!”

That toddler has since graduated from high school and traded horses and desert sand for the ocean and a sailboat, but he was right — we are all, indeed, lucky to live here!

Now that I have appeased Mother Nature by singing the praises of perfect desert days, my grievances against the upcoming and unrelenting summer heat with be forthcoming!

Easing back into some form of social normality is underway in most states, but it will take a little time and a lot of diligence to ensure we don’t backslide in our efforts to get through this pandemic safely. Be kind, stay well and sending “we can do this” hugs to all!

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