Wednesday, January 19, 2022

WEIRD larvae

So what do you suppose THIS is?! Brad, a friend in Kerrville,  messaged me this photo and asked what it was. He was hoping it wasn't the dreaded hammerhead flatworm (Bipalium kewense). The odd-looking critter, less than an inch long, was in a cord of wood that he'd bought and was splitting into smaller logs. 
This grub was a mystery to me! So I had to call out the Big Guns. First I went to iNaturalist and incorrectly surmised that it might be a flat-headed root-borer beetle. Which doesn't even occur in the United States! Then I emailed biologist Sam Kieschnick, aka "sambiology" on iNaturalist. He's seen nearly everything in his iNat-ing travels. "Ew, gross," he wrote back. "A bark beetle larvae! It looks like of the buprestid larvae." Well, I'll be! I've found adult bark beetles in our gardens but not any larva. At least, not yet! Now I know what to watch out for.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Fall Symposium presentation

"What's Up in the 'Hood: How Native Plants Have Made My Life Way More Exciting," Native Plant Society of Texas Fall Symposium, October 2021.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Notes to myself

So we have some pathways in our gardens that are just dirt. Which turns into mud when it rains. I decided I'd take the initiative and gather buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides) seeds, which I dropped along the paths. We shall see what happens. Hopefully, some germination.

When I was picking this afternoon, I spotted teeny tiny critters on a seedhead. Aphids! Very interesting......

UPDATE JANUARY 20, 2022 So my biologist friend Sam Kieschnick happened to see this post and sent me some thoughts....

"Gosh," he wrote, "I hate to tell you this, but you just collected the males! The females are the ones that produce the seeds. Here's what those look like. The males have the flag-like flowers. If you don't see any buffalograss germinating in that spot, it's because those were all boys. The female flowers are close to the ground."

As always, thanks, Sam!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Saturday, November 13, 2021

You never know

This morning, James went with me to the Blanco Cemetery so I could take headstone photos for When we were done, I treated him to lunch at the DQ. On the way inside, I grumbled as I stepped over a glass bottle in the parking lot. On the way out, I stepped over it again. Only THIS time, I did the right thing and picked it up. My intention was to take it home for recycling. Well, I just happened to notice......
...that a mama green lacewing (Chrysoperla sp.) laid eggs on it! So I held it on the drive home and carefully laid it in a flower bed in our back yard. I'll recycle the bottle later!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Notes to myself

Last month on Facebook, I offered Edwards Plateau crestrib morning-glory (Ipomoea edwardsensis) seeds to anyone who lived within its native range. I shared seed packets with at least seven people. My crestribs produced a LOT of seeds this season so yesterday I spread some around our place. Like under the barbed wire fence on the Greenlawn Street easement and under lantanas and fragrant sumac in the Meadow. I'm hoping to help boost populations of this uncommon native species.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Pick a peck load of peppers

Our chile pequin (Capsicum annuum) plants are LOADED this year. Not to mention, several of the plants are volunteers planted by birds. On that note, we've seen mockingbirds come through and swallow one little pepper after another. One time we counted at least nine peppers go down one mocker. But no mockingbirds around this year. So I've been picking and sharing peppers with friends. Lots of friends!