Monday, January 21, 2019

Blood moon over Blanco

Last night, James rounded up some snacks (see below) and headed to the back porch. I put on my thick, plaid "hobo" jacket and joined him. (I left his snacks alone.) I nearly got a crick in my neck from looking nearly straight up, but the effort was worth it. At the last minute, I ran inside for my SLR cameras and tried a few hand-held shots. I'm sharing one that came out close to decent. As soon as the moon reached its final phase, I called it a night and went back into our warm house. I must say that the "blood moon" eclipse made the moon look almost three-dimensional in the sky.

Monday, January 14, 2019

A January nursery?

Yesterday, from my office window, I spotted what I thought was a yellow garden spider's egg sac. I was THRILLED. But then I also thought, Hmm, I don't remember seeing a garden spider in the salvias and lantana. I grabbed my camera and headed outside. Upon closer examination, I could see it wasn't a garden spider egg sac. And wait a minute! Spiderlings skittered around when I reached toward the sac. They looked like.....
And then I saw HER--a green lynx mama, still protecting her egg sac! Really? And here I thought their adult life cycle ended with summer when the little ones emerged. Go figure! Mother Nature does whatever she wants to do whenever she wants to do it. 

P.S. Can you see the spiderling underneath the mama's abdomen?  

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Bye, bye, unwanted plants

Common chickweed (Stellaria media)
Beautiful afternoon today. So I gave up trying to work at my desk and headed for the back yard. Oh, my goodness. So much to do! Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I grabbed my fork and focused on one area at a time. I pulled chickweed, henbit, and field madder, all introduced species. Blah.  

Shepherd's-purse is an introduced species as well. But we're letting them be weedy right now so pollinators can benefit from the flowers. Among the visiting insects were Mexican honey wasps, checkered skippers, and little flies. Cool!

I also pulled some hairyfruit chervil, which I learned is a native. The plants, though, remind me of knotted hedge parsley and begger's lice, two introduced species that I absolutely DESPISE. Maybe I need to read up some on the chervil before I pull any more. And oh, I saw my first tenpetal anemone blooms! 
Henbit deadnettle (Lamium amplexicaule)...introduced
Shepherd's-purse (Capsella pursa-pastoris)...introduced
Shepherd's-purse
Margined calligrapher (syrphid fly) on shepherd's-purse
Hairyfruit chervil (Chaerophyllum tainturieri)...native
I don't believe this is begger's lice (Torilis arvensis).
Field madder (Sherardia arvensis)...introduced
Common chickweed...introduced
Tenpetal anemone (Anemone berlandieri)...native
Redseed plantain (Plantago rhodosperma)...native

Hoary bowlesia (Bowlesia incana)...native