Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Gift bags in the Meadow

This year, we have a healthy crop of seedpods on our antelope-horns (Asclepias asperula) in the Meadow. We also usually have a healthy population of large milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasicatus), which love to feed on our milkweeds. I understand they need to make a living, too, but I'd like to have as many seeds as I can get. That said, I'm trying out an idea that Janna B. suggested a few years ago. I purchased a package of 50 4x6-inch organza gift bags. As you can see, we covered and tied the bags over a good number of seedpods. The bags allow air to circulate but hopefully keep the bugs out. We shall see!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

The next day (wasp saga Part 2)

This morning, I checked, and the wasp lady was still on the unplugged fountain. I turned on the fountain, and she didn't mind the rushing water at all. When I looked later, she was gone. 

A few minutes, I checked the fountain for fun, and THERE SHE WAS AGAIN, enjoying the water (see video). She's crazy! 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Wasp on the fountain

GRAB A TOWEL! After supper, I was filling up bird baths when I noticed something hanging onto the fountain finial. What the heck was it? An umbrella paper wasp, enjoying the water! I took some videos and photos. Then James and I went out to have our evening sit in the Meadow. That was after 6 p.m. 

When we returned after 7:30 p.m., the wasp was still hanging out in the water! Check out the videos. She reminded me of the tumbling flower beetle I discovered doing the same thing last June. So crazy!

Cover photo and feature May 2020

This is one of the biggest highlights of my professional career–having one of my photographs appear on the cover of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. More so because of my deep love for spiders and also because I've written for the magazine for more than 30 years. Don't you love how art director Nathan Adams made my photo of an Argiope aurantia from our yard even more special? 

Here's a link to my article, "In My Backyard: How Planting Natives and  Paying Attention Opened My Eyes To The Universe That Lives In My Yard."

Oh, and here's a fun "behind the scenes" post about how the staff changed up and turned out the May issue so fast because of the pandemic. I helped!
Melissodes bees roosting

My video debut

So our local librarian asked if I'd do a nature-related video for kids during these stay-home days. I agreed. And went all out. I should have kept it simple. Instead, I learned how to use iMovie. I think I put in 8 or more hours producing this 5-minute episode. I haven't been inspired to do another one. Yet. We'll see.