(Early) Sprangin’

Today was warm, as in long-sleeved T-shirt even in the shade warm, so I poked about a bit outside to see what’s going on. I hadn’t been thinking much about it, but spring doesn’t care whether I think about it or not; it comes when it’s ready. Though there will be plenty of cold days to come, there’s lots going on under the piles of leaves I blow over the flowers rather than raking up!

Hyacinths beside the patio.

Mini daffodils near the hyacinths.

The case for dead leaves (AKA lazy mulch). Mini daffodils out by Grey Stick is Dead, Long Live Grey Stick. These are the same kind as the others, but were not covered by a nice layer of insulating dead leaves.

Even the big daffodils are making their way out of the ground. I’d thought they were much later than the minis because they get less sun, but apparently, I was wrong. I’m not heartbroken.

Tulips cheated, really, since they’ve looked like this for a month. These are the ones that have never bloomed for me; I forgot exactly where the other ones are, but they might be covered by 8″ of leaves. 😀

Croci that didn’t have much cover, but did have some, and are in crappy soil. Still growing, though!

In less great news, this tree (cherry, I think) has a lot of deer damage. It’s almost completely girdled, so I’m not sure it’ll survive.

This entry was posted on 2020-02-02.

Miscellaneous stuff

I haven’t been taking many pictures because it’s been dry and shitty, but even dry and shitty, there’s almost always something interesting at Parview, so I have a little catching up to do.

My little Monarch caterpillars turned into little Monarch faterpillars.

I couldn’t find the other one, but this guy went only as far as the Sweet Tea honeysuckle to make his chrysalis.

The Cloudless Sulphur must have been Elvis because he has left the building.

They may be 7-plus feet tall, and right at the front of the flowerbed, but the bees appreciate the giant yellow hyssop, and I’ve actually seen MLBs at it, too. Odd that they’d figure out these sparse, tiny yellow flowers are a nectar goldmine, but apparently, they have!

My picotee morning glory finally bloomed. 2019 was not a great year to be a seed; I expected blooms a month ago. Anyway, they’re pretty, and I’ll take flowers whenever and wherever I can get them.

We finally did get some rain, and it brought me a Toadally Awesome friend. I love toads…they always look so pissed off.

This entry was posted on 2019-08-20.

Hot Summer Catching Up

It’s been so hot and dry that I haven’t taken many photos, but I have found a few interesting things, and it’s raining a bitch right now, which might be enough to keep my garden from dying–today, at least–so I’m inspired.

Actually taken 07-15-19. The trumpet vine bloomed fairly well this year, all things considered (crap soil, neglect, hot and dry, not really enough sun).

I found only two Monarch cats this year; it’s sad, but I’m happy for the two that I do have. Taken 08-05-19

Might be the same guy, might be the other one, but getting bigger! 08-10-19

I actually didn’t recognize this guy because I’ve never seen one like him before, and the fact that he’d climbed milkweed to pupate didn’t help because that’s not what he eats. He’s a sulphur, and most likely a Cloudless Sulphur, of which I have plenty; in part because of the partridge pea that seeds itself. Interestingly enough, I discovered that caterpillars that feed on flowers develop the distinctive dark green stripes, but those that feed on leaves have no stripes. Pretty cool! 08-05-19

Here he is as a pupa. Looks like a very weird leaf, and I think that’s probably his intent. 08-06-19

Not a great shot because it was getting dark, but the little robber was cute, so here he is. I can’t tell what he caught; it might be a planthopper, or a fly.

Jewelweed. Most of it didn’t survive the dry heat, but the plants clever enough to place themselves in the pond are doing fine, much to the delight of the MLBs.

 

This entry was posted on 2019-08-12.

Miscellaneous Catching Up

I’ve been kind of lazy lately, so now I get to play catch-up.

I was pulling weeds on the patio, and came across this. I thought I knew what it was because the leaves are distinctive, but just in case there was some invasive weed I didn’t know about, I checked with Flower Checker botanists. It is indeed a dogwood seedling. I’m going to try to relocate it without killing it, but I was glad to find something that wasn’t a weed!

This, however, I was less happy about, so I donned gloves, pulled it, and put it in the trash. More poison ivy, I do NOT need.

Life finds a way! Rudbeckia and catmint, growing through a pile of brush I left after the Great Bush Honeysuckle Massacre of 2019.

Baby bugs on milkweed. I think these are the baby coreids whose mama I found laying a strip of eggs, but they’re so small that I suppose they could be Large Milkweed Bug. More likely coreids, though; milkweed bugs tend to lay their eggs near blooms so the kids will have ready access to the seed pods.

Bees, please! On Monarda fistulosa, wild type.

On Oswego Tea.

On catmint.

Looks a little ratty, but the first bloom on Grey Stick is always welcome.

Partridge pea that I seeded once, two or three years ago. The gift that keeps on giving.

I didn’t bother hauling the hanging pots in, and although most are filled with assorted weeds, one grew a ‘toonya.

Elderberries, soon to be ripe, though I doubt I’ll see any ripe with the Catbirb Guard on patrol!

Little sassafrass seedling in the Honeysuckle Horseshoe. I’m not sure I can move this without killing it, but I’m going to try!

Blurry, but she was not interested in staying still. Potter wasp, inspecting the screw hole in my rocking chair on the patio. There’s another one, using C’s mason bee house, or at least one or two holes in it.

Not a great shot, but this little guy was Born on the Fourth of July, and I watched him on the patio, finishing up the inflation of his wings. He kept coming over to land by my foot, so I took the picture from a distance because I didn’t want to scare him. He was so pretty and fresh.

This entry was posted on 2019-07-08.

Charlotte’s Surprise

On a few occasions, I’ve noticed big flat spots in the south flowerbed. Too big for Onje, even if he does like to flatten my flowers to sleep in their shade, so I assumed it must be Stinky or someone, hunting for beetle grubs. I believe I have solved the mystery. I went over to photograph what did, in fact, turn out to be grey-headed coneflower from the seeds I’d thought were no good, and I would have photographed the fawn if I’d seen him before I was two feet away and he ran. This is where Charlotte had hidden him, and it’s really not a bad spot because I’m rarely over there except to mow the lawn or tend the MLB feeders, as evidenced by the grass growing amongst the actual flowers. The flowers are all “thrive on neglect”, which is good because that’s exactly what they get.

Apparently, our household is not noisy enough to constitute potential danger because the only way she could have got him closer would’ve been to open a window and pass him inside. This is where today’s flat spot was; the others were just a few feet away (the flowerbed is big, but not that big).

Finally, the grey-headed coneflowers I’d actually gone out there to photograph.

So…now we don’t even own our own property; the local fauna own it. I’ll have to stay away from that side of the house until Baby is old enough to go with his mother. He can run just fine, but she’s still hiding him because he doesn’t have the stamina to keep up with her all day.

This entry was posted on 2019-06-29.

Rocky

When I got home from work yesterday, I saw an ornate box turtle on the concrete by the front door. At first glance, I thought it was Roxy, and then I noticed the paint. I was fucking FURIOUS; I thought someone had stolen Roxy and painted her! I slowly walked up to the turtle, and it didn’t pull into its shell, not even its feet, plus it didn’t look like Roxy even if there was a notch out of its shell in the same spot as hers (though a bit smaller). It was a male, and some utter piece of shit had painted a fucking swastika on his carapace!

The paint was starting to wear and chip off, but Jesus Christ, what is wrong with people?!

I posted on /r/turtles, asking whether there was a way to remove the paint (which I’d thought was acrylic) from him without harming him. Someone suggested vegetable oil, which I tried, but only the white paint seemed to be affected. The silver and blue, and some neon orange I found beneath the whole mess, were nail polish. First, I tried a little bit of mineral spirits, but that had no effect, so I finally broke down and got some acetone polish remover. Not ideal, but this guy was very un-box turtle-like in that he didn’t pull in and slam the door while I held him; he struggled and dug his claws into my hand the whole time. Also peed on me twice, but I was wearing gloves, so it didn’t matter. He didn’t try to bite, though, which surprised me.

The polish came off fairly quickly, and I was veeeery careful not to get any on his skin, but his poor carapace was pitted and damaged, and I didn’t want to scrub those areas in case they were recent wounds and I might end up getting acetone on his skin, so I settled for getting nearly all of it off. He at least looks like a turtle again, and he has his camouflage back so he’s not a beacon to predators. Once I’d cleaned off any polish residue, I gave him a polish with a little vegetable oil to help combat the drying effect of the acetone. I hated to use it, but I couldn’t scrape off the paint because I’d damage his carapace further, and I couldn’t use anything that would require holding him against his will for an hour of scrubbing because…because he didn’t want to be held. I went for the fastest, least-stressful solution I could think of.

He’d been painted for quite some time, and more than once (given the orange paint I found under the other colours), and his carapace has deep dents where it’s grown improperly, possibly because of the thick layers of paint, and pits from some kind of physical damage.

He’s still a good-looking dude, though, and I released him into the violets by the door. Roxy likes it over there, and I hope he’ll stick around and meet her. I understand if he doesn’t–his first experience with me was not a pleasant one for him–but I still hope he will because he’s the second ornate I’ve ever seen in my whole life, and I hope it was Roxy’s feminine wiles that enticed him to come here in the first place because I would love to have bebe turtles. Even if I don’t, though, and even if he decides not to stick around, at least he’s presentable again, and it’ll be harder for the worthless excuse for a human who did that to him to find him again. They’d best not come looking if I’m around, either.

Angry turtle is tired of your shit.

Gratuitous turtle-butt. His tail is a lot broader than Roxy’s tiny one; her itsy-bitsy tail makes me laugh every time I see it.

Anyway, Rocky, I hope you’ll stay and be my second resident ornate box turtle, but I understand if you don’t, and I’m going to believe that you came here and parked yourself out in the open where I’d see you because you knew I’d help you. I know you didn’t, really, but I can tell myself that if I want!

EDIT: Bonus Roxy picture because she’s cute and I love her.

This entry was posted on 2019-06-29.

Vervain and jewelweed

Just a couple of pretty things. Blue vervain that volunteered over by the pond.

Jewelweed is starting to bloom!

This entry was posted on 2019-06-27.

First Monarch!

FINALLY! I was mowing the lawn after work, and finally saw a Monarch. It’s certainly possible that there have been others before him, but I didn’t see them, and the milkweed in the bed is going to hell in a handbasket (the stuff that pops up in the lawn is fine!), but the only things eating it are the goddamned milkweed beetles. Anyway, it’s a bad photo because I didn’t want to get too close and scare him, or chase him around the yard, but he’s here, and I told him to go perch on a tall flower and call some ladies. I hope he was listening.

Somewhat less pretty, but really very interesting! Soldier flies do not fuck around. Green stuff is tonight’s grass clippings, and the black stuff is from last week. They got busy and broke that down in a hurry!

Edit: I forgot this guy. Well, girl. The plant is milkweed, but the bug is not!

This entry was posted on 2019-06-24.

A few pretty things (and a baby stinker)

It’s been raining so much that I’ve hardly gone outside, and half of my flowers are flat now, but…

Elderberry floof. Soon to be elderberries, though I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a ripe one, since the birds get there long before I do!

Just a view of the front part of Sarah-Flah’s Giant No-Mow Flowerbed. Bee balm, and a few Rudbeckia and coneflowers in bloom. Still, very pretty (and no mowing!) Granted, I would not have chosen to plant 6′ tall giant yellow hyssop right in the front, but I didn’t plant it…it planted itself. Bumblebees would beat me up if I removed it, so there it stays.

Oswego tea. This should bloom more frequently. Bees and MLBs agree.

Green stink bug (Chinavia halaris) eggs, and one slightly out-of-focus baby. Third instar, I think, so these eggs are not his birthplace. He had places to be; no time for paparazzi. Bonus tiny fly.

This entry was posted on 2019-06-23.

Flowers and Roxy’s Little Adventure

Just some pretty things, and a turtle who’s not necessarily pretty by conventional standards, but is certainly beloved.

The last remaining Canadian Columbine. I really need to get those seedlings and that one plant removed from the patio cracks to somewhere they can grow better.

Gloriosa daisy, just because!

Pink hollyhock. I think this is the only one left along the fence line. Honeysuckle throws a lot of shade, but that’s okay because it’s the plant I really want there most.

Water lily in the pond.

Oswego tea, balm of bees…and butterflies…and hummingbirds. I love this stuff!

A couple of years ago, I threw a bunch of grey-headed coneflower seeds into the south flowerbed, and got…nothing. I forgot about it, but this year, I think I have grey-headed coneflowers! Not sure until they bloom, but that’s what they look like.

Elderberry doing nicely, well-guarded by an army of catbirds. The aren’t going to miss a single berry because they sit there and watch for the fruit to ripen!

Roxy’s been hanging out in the back yard lately, but I was sitting in my rocking chair on the patio when I heard crunch-crackle-crunch. I looked to see if it was one of the cats, or a raccoon, but saw nothing. I heard it again, and this time I could hear the location. Roxy was off on a little adventure, headed for the front yard. I guess the slugs and snails taste better.

I laughed and ignored her (just as she likes it!) then went inside. P was outside, and sent me this picture with the text, “Ran into a roadblock. She might think it’s a relative.” I LMFAO; it’s the plug for the Insignia speaker on the patio.

The next day, I was walking around the back yard, and apparently, Roxy decided her front yard adventure was over, and headed off to the back yard again. God, I love that turtle; she’s just so…Roxy. She kind of reminds me of OK, the way she so deliberately goes about her business and just wants everyone to fuck off and leave her alone.

This entry was posted on 2019-06-17.