Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Welcome, Central Texas Gardener!

In the wake of all the horrific flooding here in Blanco County, Linda Lehmusvirta and her crew from "Central Texas Gardener" program (KLRU-PBS, Austin) braved the weather and drove out to Blanco to visit with us about our Texas Wildscape and tour our native gardens. Everything started out pretty well. Gray, cloudy skies actually make for better shots.

While Ed Fuentes (CTG director and director of photography, also technical director for "Austin City Limits") and Mark Morrow (audio and lighting, also a camera operator and producer of KLRU's "Strange Town") unloaded the camera and gear, James and I hammed it up next to their cool Suburban. Colorful, eh?

Then they wanted shots and film of the Meadow. As we were "strolling" through the flowers (yikes, they were THICK!), I happened onto a snowberry clearwing moth, just freshly emerged from its cocoon. Needless to say, I was QUITE excited (though I don't look so much in Linda's photo). I was hoping to share my find with Linda, but it flew away just before we finished our stroll.
From the Meadow and front yard, we moved to the back yard, where Linda scouted out shots, and Ed and Mark filmed. Then the weather began to change....
By this time, the dark skies I'd been watching toward the east were now approaching. Dang it. A light shower soon turned into a heavy rain. I went inside for towels. With no end in sight, Linda and Ed voted to take our outdoor, sit-down interview inside to our dining room. After a quick blow dry of my bangs and shirt, we were ready to chat.
(We don't know yet when our segment will air, but now you know I was barefoot while on camera.)
Toward the end of our interview, thunder boomed. Great, wonderful. After we wrapped up, the phone rang. It was a reverse 9-1-1 call! TORNADO WARNING! Ed and Mark were outside, getting last-minute shots. Thankfully, though, the tornado moved northeast ward and dissipated. As far as I know, no one was hurt. (Later, the ladies at the Blanco National Bank told me that, as soon as the warning was issued, they all sheltered in the bank vault.)
All said, the five of us shared an exciting morning that we won't forget. Thank you, Linda, Ed and Mark! Come on back to Blanco any time! That is, if you dare!

Another chrysalis

Look what I spotted on a tomato cage in the back yard yesterday! It's the chysalis of an black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes). I was able to figure this out fairly quickly because we have three fennel plants in another bed across the yard. Which meant this little caterpillar fella/gal traveled quite a ways to reach this tomato cage. Just amazing! And isn't this a beautiful chrysalis? It's a new one to me.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Lucky find

Last week (May 15), while James and I were out strolling, I just happened to spot a beautiful chrysalis nearly hidden within the stems of an Indian blanket. I think the evening sun must have illuminated it just right. I should have taken a photo of the scene so you could see what I mean about being lucky to have found it. The Indian blankets are THICK. I'm pretty sure this is a variegated fritillary chrysalis.

Friday, May 22, 2015

More bird babies

The other evening, James held a ladder while I got up and shot a few pictures of baby cardinals in a nest in some low branches of a live oak in the back yard. He got pictures, too. See those strips of cedar in the nest? They came off James' cedar fence. We laughed about that.  

 Then we moved the ladder, and I got some photos (below) of baby mockingbirds in a nest over the rock patio. So sweet! It's gonna be real noisy soon when these little guys fledge!