Webby Garden

Even though I slept late, 9 is late to me, the garden had saved many tiny, dewy spiderwebs that needed my attention.

I was quickly distracted by the four ridiculous caterpillars testing their fates against global warming and climate change.

There were some puffballs growing. My potting bench has sprouted shrooms! I literally treat the wood every summer. How can there be room for the shroom?

Fall is complicated. Much of the garden is on its way out, but there are other things taking over. The neglected thunbergia has sent feelers across the patio and the morning glory is strangling the butterfly bush.

Finally, my tour of spiderwebs. Each teeny tiny web housed a teeny tiny spider.

Hummingbird Hover

The garden has been hoppin.’ Lately I have had reliable visits from monarch butterflies and hummingbirds. They both enjoy the butterfly bush.

I noticed that hummingbird also frequented a purple salvia plant at the back of the yard. In hopes of getting a better picture of it, I gifted the hummingbird (and myself) with two big planters of salvia. Results were immediate.

Rest break! Which may mean it’s a juvenile.

Standing inside behind the patio door, I was able to joyfully observe and photograph it. However I was startled into confusion when the hummingbird appeared directly in front of my face for an extended moment.

With a camera in one hand and iPhone in the other, a blurry Sasquatch/UFO version of this closeup was all I could handle. The hummingbird stayed for what felt like a long time for a wild creature and I’m not sure if I was being rewarded for the flowery treat or assessed for future tactics.

Ants Can’t Handle the Truth

Despite it being spring AND May, the weather has fluctuated from the 30s to the 60s and back again. As my yard and garden comes back to life, I’ve been making slow attempts at cleaning and bringing things out of their winter state. The temperatures plus the most insane time in the school year has not helped my progress. I’d certainly rather be gardening, but there are 20 gazilliion post-it notes and reminders that need my attention.

During one episode of shuffling around the patio, I rearranged and cleaned some ceramic pots. Days later, when I was briefly back again, I noticed that one pot now had mounds of dirt around its base.

It had been colonized. The pot sitting directly on the ground against my back patio window, practically inviting entrance to the house was full to the brim with ants.

Life lesson: ants cannot handle the responsibility, nay the temptation, of a pot sitting directly on the ground.

It was the only pot on the patio without those apparently crucial ceramic feet lifting it an inch off the ground. When I picked it up, ants poured out of the drainage hole. I rolled it over on its side to decide my next move.

I couldn’t murder them outright. They must serve a purpose in my garden. However I also wanted to use that pot without being swarmed and I did not want them building an addition into my house.

Ultimately I tipped the pot upside down in the garden, revealing hundreds of scurrying bodies and a collection of larvae. Hopefully the next tempting spot to squat will be more appropriate.

Zoom in to be either fascinated or grossed out.

Sounds Like Spring

It’s no Red Winged Blackbird, but the call still says spring.

Last weekend was the first day of Spring and it’s sexy time for any number of creatures. In fact, it’s all they’re talking about. With that in mind, Adventure Buddy and I took advantage of a park program promising amorous salamanders in the vernal pools. The description said boots were suggested, but we did not realize that it was to the degree of our naturalist’s hip waders.

The naturalist started by checking her overnight traps. No salamanders, but we saw fairy shrimp, water bugs, and what turned out to be two frogs busy making more frogs.

They are Western Chorus Frogs which are different from Spring Peepers. Their song dominated all other noises. It sounded as if we should see them everywhere.

The second vernal pool was filled with cattails on the edge of a prairie area. I actually saw a large frog there, but my tiny net and poor skills were no match for it.

This area was possibly even more vociferous.

To borrow from e.e. cummings, spring is when the world is “mud-luscious” and “puddle wonderful.” I just need taller boots.

I’m a fun-guy: When the coolness outweighs the grossness

Needing to fulfill two Artober prompts, I decided to use a new medium: pumpkins.

Introducing Melody. The pumpkin is singing, I swear.

And Lucky–it’s a rabbit— with the world’s luckiest and handsomest black cat Miles.

Miles was as usual the star model for our annual pumpkin photo shoot.

Melody and Lucky immediately went to live outside where our squirrel friends could start nibbling on them.

That was probably a week or so ago.

Saturday morning, I woke up to a cluster of mushrooms that I could see from my window. They clearly needed me to take their picture. Plus I hadn’t wandered through my backyard in days. Thanks, work week. #adulting

I did a sweep of the yard and checked on Melody and Lucky. Lucky was full of rainwater like a weird rain gauge from the Friday night storm. Melody was leaking. But not water.

Melody had developed a pumpkin ass juice situation which, of course, gushed all over when I attempted to relocate Melody from the patio to the yard.

Both pumpkins are full of moldy growths. Fortunately, I had my macro lens in hand.

This is when the coolness outweighs the grossness. These are pictures of the inside of Melody’s lid. All colors and formations created by nature. So fucking cool!

Stay at Home Highlight

This squirrel.

Seeing this squirrel “swimming” laps in my yard was probably the highlight of my day. This is just another indicator that the “stay at home” order has not significantly altered my lifestyle. I would have been excited of this squirrel in any scenario.

While MomBert and my sister suggested that the squirrel was doing this because his NUTS were itchy (NUTS, it’s a squirrel! They’re so funny.), the internet suggested that it probably just felt nice and cool on his belly.

A Moment in Narnia

Walking in the woods when it’s snowing always makes me think of the book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The woods are especially quiet and it brings to mind the initial emergence into Narnia as snow falls onto pines surrounding a very out of place lamppost.

The winter hikes are not always quiet, hundreds of people participate. However on this one, we got moments of magical quiet.

Quiet perfect for getting distracted by shiny decorated bird nests. (Ignoring the fact that the bird is decorating with sucky people’s trash. It ruins the magic.)