Sunday, December 18, 2016

Frostweed performance

Any one else spot some frostweed (Verbesina virginica) this morning? If you did, then you know how it acquired its common name. We took a short drive in town this morning, and when I saw some white stuff at the bottom of some plants, I blurted out, "Spittle bugs!" THEN I remembered. "No, that's FROSTWEED!" I told James. "And we have some of our own. Can you stop by so I can get some pictures?"

Sure enough, the frostweed that I transplanted from my mother's property in Kendall County was performing, too (frostweed grows in Blanco County). According to Wildflower.org, this species "has soft, fleshy green flanges running longitudinally down its length. When winter weather brings ice, the stems exude water that freezes into fascinating shapes; hence, its common name of frostweed."



Saturday, December 17, 2016

Went fishin' UPDATE

Weather forecasters are predicting harshly cold temps for the next few days. So I decided to go fishin' this afternoon. 

After last year's mild winter, most of my gambusia survived. But in years past, I've ended up with hardly any left after winter months. This time, I figured that if the temperatures are going to stay low for several days, I don't want to take the chance of losing my gambusia, especially a couple of old timers.  So I got a net and caught as many as I could. I'll return them to the stock tank probably mid week. I'll be curious to see if the others that got left behind survive. 

We've had our stock tank for five years now, and I've never done this before. So we'll see how it goes!

UPDATE DECEMBER 22, 2016 So I just returned my surviving gambusia to the stock tank. I did lose two in the garage sleepover. But I'm glad I did fish out as many as I did because I'm pretty sure I lost all the ones I left behind. They froze to death. 


Don't laugh (too hard), but I also brought in two thread-legged bugs that live on our screen porch door. I kept them in a plastic critter box next to our bed. Two days ago, I let them back out. Merry Christmas!
 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Beautiful December day





My young friend (a Texas spiny lizard) who lives on the brick wall in our back yard. We talk.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lots of ladybugs

Well, we don't have THAT many. But we do have several. And just I was posting my ladybug images to iNaturalist, Trisha down the street called and asked if I was seeing a lot of ladybugs. 

These are multi-colored Asian lady beetles (Harmonia axyridis). The species has many color variations

What's up with the ladybug showing up in crowds? From the little bit that I read, it seems they're looking for a warm place to  hibernate for the winter. So shut those windows!     



That's nature

Sun's out this afternoon so I went out, too. With my camera. On a garden path, I spotted this beetle under a leaf. Then I saw something wiggling next to it. An earthworm. 

An earthworm being eaten alive by the beetle. Sad, but that's nature. 

I've seen this kind of black beetle before. The kind experts at Bugguide.net told me that it's a ground beetle (Cyclotrachelus sp.). 


Monday, November 28, 2016

Yet another save

 
Outside, I always check our plastic orange rain bucket just in case someone's stranded. Bingo! I found this handsome wolf spider fellow Thanksgiving Day, rafting on an oak leaf. After a portrait session, I released him, then requested a species ID on Bugguide.net. Laura P. confirmed him as a Gladicosa pulchra. Thank you, Laura!