So many steps we climb in life. These days, it takes me a long time to go up and even longer to go down . They are my daily mountains to climb.

The steps from the deck to the yard below are unusually steep. They are, of course, not usable in the winter when they are covered in snow and ice, but are the shortest route to the kitchen during the rest of the year. I will go up them, but they make me dizzy looking down … so these steps are, for me, one way only.


Inside, the dogs love the steps because as we come up, they look down on us. For some reason, that always makes them very happy.

Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge


My son was here last week, mowing the yard. Hosing down the house in a futile attempts to clear it — at least temporarily — of caterpillars. It was pointless, but we have to try and fight back.

The subject of this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is “PURE.” We are certainly having a pure experience here. Pure horror. A living nightmare. The 30-year peak gypsy moth plague.

Everything is covered with hairy, toxic caterpillars. The house. Both cars. The dogs don’t want to go out. Their feet get stung as they try to walk through the grass.

The disappearing canopy ...

The disappearing canopy …

Many of the oaks are stripped of leaves. I took these pictures the day before yesterday. The situation is worse today. I can’t bring myself to go outside, so you’ll have to take my word for it. The caterpillars eat the oaks from the top down. Some are fully defoliated from top to bottom. Others have a some leaves remaining on lower branches.

Not all of the trees will recover. Some will simply fall over. The healthy ones will grow new leaves after the caterpillars morph into ugly brown moths. It’s going to be an interesting year for the electric company when the trees start falling.

It will be the middle of August before we start to see the end of this horror show ...

It will be the middle of August before we start to see the end of this horror show …

This invasion is the price we are paying — at least in part — for having had an easy winter. Without the prolonged, bitter cold to kill the eggs, you get this.


It will be weeks before the siege lifts. My personal nightmare, writ large.

The trees against the cloudy sky are weird and naked. When it is quiet and there’s no traffic noise or wind, you can hear the sound of millions of gypsy moth caterpillars chowing down on our trees.

Stephen King couldn’t write a creepier story. Garry, who is not particularly afraid of bugs, is finding this hard to deal with. On top of that, it turns out he is allergic to them — a common enough condition that it has a name.


Gypsy moth caterpillar poisoning. After Garry came in from taking pictures — and sweeping them off the cars, his arms were covered by raised welts. I looked it up and other than the usual stuff you do about allergic reactions to insects, the suggestion is — are you ready? Avoid gypsy moth caterpillars.

Why didn’t we think of that?

Home in September

When the trees had leaves

I think I’m holding up pretty well, all things considered.


I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016