Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Front door surprise

Two days ago, we heard a loud knock at our front door. James opened it and there stood six-year-old Clayton, the youngest of our neighbors' two grandsons. "Is Miss Sheryl there?" he asked. I gave him a hug. Then he handed me a brown envelope (above).

"Do you want me to open it now?" I asked. He nodded. Inside, I found a sheet of folded notebook paper with a picture of a spider that he'd drawn (below). I was so touched I got goosebumps on my legs!

"Would you and your mom like to go see a spider like this one in our back yard?" I asked him. He nodded and ran across the street. 

The two of them shortly returned, and I led them to the back yard. My biggest yellow garden spider wasn't in the turks caps any more (she relocated, which they sometimes do during the night), but I showed them a smaller spider lady hanging upside down in her web among the savlias and trailing lantanas.  I was so excited and happy about Clayton's gift to me that I could barely talk about how the large spiders are always females and that the much smaller males only show up long enough to mate. 

Thank you, Clayton! I love the special present that you made just for me. Your thoughtfulness touched my heart, and your own love of nature makes me so very, very happy. Love, ms sheryl

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Portraits of a yellow garden spider

We have at least three yellow garden spiders in our gardens this summer. This one has moved and built a web in front of our garage door. But fortunately, I can back my car in and out without bothering her. 

First pearl bloom!

Look! My pearl milkweed vine is blooming for the first time! Isn't it just BEAUTIFUL?
And my Texas milkweed is starting to flower a second time since it's done making a seedhead. Wonderful!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wildlife Wednesday September 2014

 Meet my harem of honeybees who love the old, diluted hummingbird sugar water that I set out for them.

Monday, September 1, 2014

First monarch of the season Aug. 31

Alas, though, I have no photograph to prove my first sighting of a monarch (female) yesterday. The memory card in my camera malfunctioned, and I lost the shots. The monarch flew off and didn't return. Instead, here are some queens that also dined on our blue mistflower yesterday (Conoclinium coelestrinum) that's been blooming. Other insects love the flowers, too.

Purple groundcherry

On our way to North Texas last week, I spotted this new-to-me species at a rest area west of Eden. But right away, I knew it was a nightshade by the shape of its pretty little flower. Ladies and gentlemen, meet purple groundcherry (Quincula lobata).

Keepin' the bees happy

If you'll recall, I hung up mini hummingbird feeders for our bees in May ("Makin' bees happy" and "Bees bees bees and a vulture"). They empty all three in a day or two. Yesterday, I started setting out plates of sugar water for them. It doesn't take long for them to slurp up the plates CLEAN. Amazing!