Monday, August 13, 2018

Beetle saga continues

Okay. You may not believe this. I almost don't. But it's all true. You see, I have reason to believe that my Lazarus 3 beetle is actually Lazarus 2. And I think I might need to rename him Knieval because he just may have a death wish. 

If you'll recall, I've fished out two Texas ironclad beetles (Zopherus nodulosus haldemani) from an orange water bucket in the past week. They both came back to life. (I also rescued one that came back to life in 2015.) Now I have reason to believe that the same beetle fell in the bucket TWICE. How do I know this? Because I marked Lazarus 3 with dabs of red nail polish. Then I set him free WAY far away from the water bucket in a flower bed of salvias. 

Well, last night, whom did I discover lurking by the back garage door? Yep, Lazarus 3 who's really Lazarus 2 who should be renamed Knieval because he has a death wish. In the photo below, you can see how far this beetle traveled to get back to the bucket. (James is waving from where the flower bed is located.) That's the same place where I released Lazarus 2. Are you confused yet? This beetle has made the same trip TWICE to get back to the water bucket.
I checked this morning, and Knieval is still hanging out in the same area on the exterior wall. Stay tuned. I think I need to find an ironclad beetle expert to report all this.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Lazarus the 3rd

Yes, here we go again. This morning, I checked our water bucket and found ANOTHER Texas ironclad beetle on the bottom. THIS time I took photos. Can you see him in the lower right quadrant of the bucket? He was dead dead dead. For the back story, go back to October 2015's "You're never going to believe this," "Discussion about Lazarus, my ironclad beetle," and last week's "Rejoicing with Lazarus 2."
A closer-up shot of him on the bottom of the bucket.

About 10 or so minutes later, his white coloring started returning.

But an hour and a half later, he still wasn't moving AT ALL. I feared maybe this time this beetle wouldn't make it.

He came back to life!
This time, I marked my beetle friend with some dabs of nail polish. I want to see if the same beetle somehow returns to the water bucket. We'll see!

So off we go, back into the world. Good luck! I'll be watching out for you, Lazarus the 3rd!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Rejoicing with Lazarus 2

Every morning, I check our air conditioning drip bucket to see if I need to rescue any one that fell in overnight. Last week, I found a beautiful rabid wolf spider and fished her out. Through the years, my rescuees have included ants, many click beetles, some spiders, and one ironclad beetle that I named Lazarus

This morning, when I ducked my head out the back garage door to look into the bucket, I found a click beetle swimming at the top. At the bottom lay a lifeless ironclad beetle. I wish I'd taken a photo so you'd believe me. That beetle was ON THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL. Anyway, I pulled it out and lay it on a pillowcase. That's him/her belly up in the photos below. Now, remembering what had happened with my Lazarus friend in 2015, I had a suspicion that perhaps I might have me another Lazarus.

 It sure looks dead, right?

Right before we left to go grocery shopping, I noticed the beetle's normal coloring had returned. So I put it in a larger container.  Not to mention, I saw its legs move!

Sure enough, when we returned home, Lazarus 2 had fully revived! I took some photos and then set it free in a flower bed FAR away from the orange bucket. In October 2015, entomologist Mike Quinn hosted a long discussion about my remarkable beetle. Check it out. In the meantime, isn't nature JUST AMAZING?

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Some impressive roots

In April 2011, we planted a coralbean (Erythrina herbacea) in the front yard. It survived year to year but barely. We decided that it'd do better in the back yard so in March 2016 James transplanted it. That year, it grew well and bloomed. But the next spring, it didn't come back. So in May 2017, we bought a new one to replace it. Like before, our coralbean bloomed happily. AND like before, it refused to come back this past spring. 

So, OKAY, WE GIVE UP ON CORALBEANS! No more! In the meantime, take a look at their roots! Yesterday, James dug up both root skeletons, and I had to get some photos. Impressive!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Making Milkweeds

I thought it'd be handy to share this article, recently published in the Wildflower, 2018, Volume 35, No. 1 issue:

Friday, July 20, 2018

Butterflyweed saga

I love my milkweeds (along with my passionflowers, mallows and everyone else). In the backyard, I had two butterflyweeds (Asclepias tuberosa) that I thought were happy and well rooted. This past spring, however, one came back up, and the other didn't. I waited, and I waited, and I WAITED. No sign of the second butterflyweed. Meanwhile, the first butterflyweed BLOOMED.

Finally, I gave up May 3 and dug down in the ground to check on the uncooperative root.  The photo above is what I brought back up. Rotted from overwatering, I thought. Dang it. I hate to lose any of my plants friends. Always pains me. So I wrote off the second butterflyweed.... 

And then....
Look what I spied May 28! My friend was ALIVE! I shared the photo above on my "Window on a Texas Wildscape" page on Facebook. I was SO ELATED! And now look at my butterfly friend below. It's happily blooming! 

Moral of this story: Never Give Up.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Meadow mowed

I was gone over the weekend to a writing conference. James took advantage of the situation and mowed the Meadow. When the neighbors got back from a long trip, upon seeing the mowed Meadow, one asked the other, "Does Sheryl KNOW?"

Seems I have acquired a reputation in these parts. :-)