Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hedge Apples make the bugs go away

Hedge Apples are a folklore method of naturally and safely repelling spiders, crickets, and cockroaches from your home or apartment. There have been many studies on the active properties that work to repel these pesky bugs. One of the compounds they have found in the essential oils of the Osage Orange Hedge Ball fruit is called elemol. This is known to repel many nasty insects.

Anyone can search this elemol on the Internet and find many useful sites that explain in scientific detail how it all works. All I can say from personal experience is we live in the country and spiders, crickets and beetles LOVE my basement. Of course, as luck would have it, this is where my business office and art studio is located.

I could go downstairs and hear crickets sing, sometimes so loudly and cantankerously that it wracked my nerves and deadened my ear drums. Once I started hand dyeing wool and making full use of my basement as an office and art studio, the crickets were no longer my friends and allies. Crickets in my wool, my fine art papers, my extensive collection of rare and antique books and fabrics, are an absolute NO NO. The crickets HAD to be evicted from their little haven. And the SPIDERS, oh, my! There were cob webs everywhere in my studio if I missed one day of being at work. What is one to do?

The Maclura Pomifera, or Osage Orange Tree as it is commonly known grows in great thickets and groves on our little piece of land we call our own and pay taxes on. Hedge Apples grow quite large and heavy on our Maclura Pomifera trees. If one of my family is unfortunate enough to be riding their 4 wheelers when one of these lovely 1 to 4 pound hedge balls decides to let go of it's tree limb, then I hear ALL about it and am left to wipe their tears and nurse a lump on the head. We have our dog's houses under an Osage Orange tree and there are many a day from August to October when a loud YELP is heard from a sudden meeting of horse apple and dog head.

Quickly, I realized the dangers and nuisances of having an Osage Orange tree on your property. Being always the naturalist, I researched what could possibly be done with our prolific crop of mock oranges, besides their propensity to be used as softballs or dodge balls on a sibling. They are a lovely chartreuse green color, which I have always been fond of, and I brought many a fruit inside as bowl fillers and mantle accessories for my home decor.

Vintage White Enamel Basin - Osage Apple Hedge Balls - Chartreuse Home Decor

I soon began to run out of horizontal areas to put out more bowls of spider balls. Surely, in all my crafty resourcefulness I could find other uses for this amazing yellow green brain fruit. I knew in my heart there was a more glorified purpose for these lovely hefty balls.

Research began on the history and legends of the fruit of the Maclura Pomifera. I kept bringing more apples inside to look at and cut into slices for drying and my house became filled with a soft and appealing citrus clean smell. Suddenly, as I was working in my basement studio, I realized I was missing something. I couldn't put my finger on it for a bit, until it dawned on me that the crickets were no longer giving me fits and scaring the boo out of me when I moved a box or opened a drawer. They were no longer prolific. The spider webs that were so annoying and creepy when you walked through the basement were no longer there! I did not have to use my broom to clear away all the spider webs from my work areas as a start to my work day! What was going on?! I couldn't figure it out, until I started to put two and two together and look at what was different in my studio. As I was surrounded by my hedge balls on every shelf and in every spare bowl, I began to miss the crickets serenade and wondered why they had all moved out of my studio. The spiders and their whisps of annoying webs, well they weren't missed a bit!

I realized that the only new addition to my routine was the hedge balls I kept bringing inside. As my research continued on the wonders of the Bois D'arc, as hedge balls are also known, I discovered one of the folklore uses for this large brain looking apple was an insect repellent. The pioneers used these large monkey brain balls in their homes and cabins to keep out all the pesky spiders, crickets, and beetles that love to cohabit with humans. This could be why all the crickets had decided to move back outside and the spiders were no longer prolific! With all the concern over indoor air pollution and the health and safety risks of using harsh pesticides and sprays to deter unwelcome critters, how could one go wrong with trying something all natural and safe in your home?

Many people have commented on their experience with hedge-apples as an Eco minded choice for insect repellent and a quick Internet search will provide lots of data. I just know that I am no longer jumping every time I pull out a box of wool because of a large black cricket lunging out at me. I miss the cricket music, but I can always get that on a nature cd. Life without the crickets in my studio just seems better and I didn't have to pollute anything to make them leave. And life without spiders webs in your face daily, well THAT is priceless indeed!

I haven't even touched on the crafting potential of these marvelous hedge apple balls. I'm still experimenting with the best drying techniques to use on them. When you slice them, mold them with crumpled tin foil balls or in old muffin tins and let them air dry, the hedge ball slices retain some of the lovely chartreuse green color and are shaped ever so sweetly. As I said, the drying of them, is still an experiment in the works. It takes months for them to dry.

Right now, Hedge Apples are listed in my ArtFire studio and there is a 15% off coupon. During checkout use coupon code: HEDGEAPPLE

All Hedge Apples are on sale in my store with coupon code: HEDGEAPPLE

Get 15% off any order of Hedge Balls listed.

We are still harvesting fresh hedge balls, but some are starting to show age spots. Stock up now while they have the most life left in them.

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