Thursday, December 14, 2017

First axis

Photo by James Hearn
Yep! Our first exotic deer in the neighborhood. We've got plenty of white-tailed deer, but this was our first axis to observe in the Meadow. Observed December 12, 2017.

Friday, December 8, 2017

December snow!

My nutty husband, singing in the snow.

Photos below by James.....

Saturday, November 18, 2017

What an honor!

Next month, I'll complete my third two-year term as president of the Blanco Good Samaritan Center, our local non-profit food pantry and thrift store. I've volunteered there since 2004. It's such a wonderful organization staffed by wonderful volunteers, and I so enjoy working there.

In December 2011, I reluctantly agreed to serve as Good Sam president after I was assured that all I had to do was "run the meetings." HA! I still laugh over THAT one! Yes, there was a bit more to the job than just that. At any rate, I truly enjoyed my six years in the leadership role and hope that some good came of the time that I spent in the position. For one thing, we as a board did purchase land in town for a new facility in the future. That took some doing!

Last month, I presided over my final volunteer meeting. To show their appreciation, board members presented me with this stunning sculpture crafted by Blue Bottle Studio! Wow, imagine my surprise! Isn't it beautiful? I think James and I found the perfect spot for it in our native gardens. Come on by sometime and see it!
(It was chilly outside when James took this photo.)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Nature's comedian

This morning, James brought me a glass cup with a tiny bit of something at the bottom. "What's this?" he asked. "It was crawling on the dining table."

I peered down at the tiny blob of dead stuff.

"OH! That's a larvae of some kind," I said. "There's one on my blog. Cool! I'm gonna get my camera."

So for half an hour or so, this debris-carrying green lacewing larva and I had a photo session on our oak table. It was TOUGH to get sharp images of that little beast, but we both did our best. Those are dead insects and other matter that the larvae stuck on itself as camouflage. 
Can you see its pincers?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Beauty among the mistflowers

SO many butterflies, bees, flies and other pollinators right now on our blue mistflowers (Chromolaena ordorata)!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Our Gregg's mistflowers are finally blooming more like normal!

My two green lynx moms are still faithfully guarding their broods.

Bird poop NOT

Last week, I was in the front yard, talking photos for iNaturalist observations. Elaine, a neighbor stopped by with her dog, Roscoe. While we were visiting, we saw a two-tailed swallowtail (Papilio multicadata) eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) flitting around. After she left, I noticed the butterfly alight on the leaf of our wafer ash (Ptelea trifoliata) and curl up her abdomen (see photo above). Ah HA! She was laying an egg! 

I was right. I found that newly deposited egg and then an older egg. Then I found some caterpillars that looked like bird poop. Larva! Awesome! I took some photos and uploaded them to iNaturalist. Awhile ago, I returned with my big camera and got some more images. Aren't they all just cool?

 Oh, those orange attachments are called the osmeterium. That's a forked gland that the caterpillar extends when it feels threatened. The gland shoots out a smelly fluid as a defense mechanism. Several times, the caterpillar below pointed its osmeterium in the direction of my poking finger.

 UPDATE November 7, 2017: More photos...