Saturday, September 14, 2019

Cicada bones

Best year ever for cicadas!
Here's an ode to just a few of the 
many bones they left behind....



Friday, September 13, 2019

Cenizo's always right

At least, that's what I believe. When I noticed ours blooming Sept. 5 in the back yard, I decided I'd take a photo and post it on Facebook. Other cenizos in town were blooming, too.  

"It's gonna rain soon, folks!" I commented. 

Bad me. Every time I do that, I get a LOT of comments. Here's just a few:
"I always say humidity causes blooms! Hope n pray it's rain though!"

"I thought they bloomed after a rain?"


"I saw one blooming today and told my niece it’s gonna rain."  

Well, guess what happened Sept. 10 and then more so on Sept. 11? (See James' Sept. 11 video above.) YES–IT RAINED! 

As I said, the cenizo's always right. 

Going to a better home

Many years ago, I found a beautiful nipple cactus, growing on our neighbor's adjoining property. I took a photo in March 2012. Our sweet neighbor, who's since gone to heaven, told us that we should dig it up and plant it in our yard. I didn't want to do that. I wanted the cactus, which had been there since who knows when, to live at peace right where it was. 

Well, more than a year ago, I noticed that the cactus was dying. So I dug up what I could and stuck the pieces in two pots. To my amazement, the little ones are doing great! They even survived last winter in our garage. 

I still don't want to plant them in our yard. So they're going to live at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, where I have lots of good friends (humans and plants–LOL!). I believe conservationists there will honor the history and heritage of these cacti.

This yellow yucca is also going to live at the Wildflower Center. It actually came as a baby from there five years ago. We just never planted it and don't really have a good place for it. Happy new life, everyone!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A dung beetle!

This evening, I found what I thought was our first dung beetle.  I was so excited. Then I realized I've seen this beetle before but just didn't know it was a dung species. Meet Canthon viridis, the tiniest, cutest beetle you'll ever poop.

Here's some photos I took of these little beetles in the past....

Cestrib morning-glory update

My Edwards Plateau crestrib morning-glory (Ipomoea edwardsensis) is doing really well! It's since been ranked at its own species level, but the online taxonomic data hasn't been updated as yet. This is the uncommon morning-glory vine that we found here in Blanco. It reseeded in our back yard.

Spider in my hand

 You won't believe this story. But it's absolutely true. And yes, it involves a spider. A sac spider, to be more precise.
I'd gone outside to wander around in the back yard. We'd had a nice rain earlier in the day, and I thought I might spy something in the way of a new species for my iNaturalist list. As I was leaning down to peer at a large black ant on the ground, a movement in the air caught my eye. A spider! Naturally, I cupped my hand around her and brought her up close for some photos.
She soon leaped away on a strand of silken thread, and I rounded her up again in my hand. In the process, I accidentally squashed her abdomen a little. "Oh, I'm sorry!" I told her. Thankfully, she seemed fine. As you can imagine, I was quite relieved. And then–

Within nano seconds, she attacked the spider while I helplessly looked on. There was nothing I could do.
"OH, MY GOODNESS. OH, MY GOODNESS," I kept repeating while I watched the whole ordeal. I was also taking photos, of course. By that point, I knew I had to let nature take its course.

Nature's course is the spider wasp mama had already stung the spider. The venom paralyzed the spider, which she'd carry off to her nest. Soon the live but paralyzed spider will be fresh food for the wasp's larvae. Poor spider! But that's nature.

My spider friend lost a few legs in the attack.

The entire scene only lasted a few minutes. I managed to get a quick video before the wasp took off with her victim. And to think it all unfolded right there IN MY HAND! I am still completely amazed. 
And now you are, too.
"It's all my fault!" I say in the video.
P.S. Look what my crazy husband James created (below) and posted on Facebook later in the day....