Thursday, September 22, 2022

This chair is NOT occupied


Three days ago, I posted about my Metepeira spider friend taking up residence in a rocking chair on our back patio. Darned if she didn't up and disappear not long after I posted! Sadly, I looked at her empty web. No more slapping at mosquitos to give her. Then I looked closer. She left an egg sac! The photo above taken a few days ago shows her upside down under the egg sac. 

I couldn't just leave the sac on the chair. So I gathered up the web with the sac and placed it in a jar, then rubber-banded the jar with hose. I'm going to leave the jar in our garage, which should be close to outdoor temperatures. I'm hoping the little ones emerge safely and healthy so I can release them. Then I can them that I knew their mama!


Monday, September 19, 2022

This chair is occupied

James warned me the other night. But I forgot. "There's a spider web all over one of the rocking chairs on the porch," he told me. What did Sheryl do later? Of course! She plunked down in the chair and completely messed up the spider's web. I felt really bad. But the spider didn't seem to mind. She repaired her web and is still occupying the rocking chair. To help her out, I made an "Occupied" sign. 

For fun, in the evenings I sit in the adjoining chair, swat at mosquitos on my legs and drop them in her web. Now you know how REALLY weird I am. LOL! 

By the way, our spider is a small orbweaver, Metepeira sp. These are really cool because they make a funnel-shaped orb web with a retreat/nest at the narrow mouth. Per The messy tangle of threads behind the orb web is called a barrier web, which is where she builds her retreat. She rests one leg on the adjoining line so she can, I assume, feel vibrations from a victim tangled in her web. I met my first one in April 2019. This is my third Metepeira friend.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Lizard (mis)adventures

In our Wildscape, we always see Texas spiny lizards (Sceloporus olivaceous). Now and then, they get into trouble. Like two weeks ago, one got into our garage and hid under the washing machine. James and I worked and worked to get it out. THEN it dashed under the dryer. Oh, my goodness, I twisted and turned, twisted and turned, trying to get hold of our little friend. Finally, we did manage to direct it out the garage’s back door and outside to the back yard. 

Well, you guessed right–the next day, my back HURT. It still hurts. And I can hear my spine crack, crack, crack whenever I try to roll over in bed at night. Sigh….you might remember how the hedge parsleys got their revenge on me after I pulled piles of them from the Meadow a few years ago. I had to visit the doctor to get some relief for my aching right shoulder. In this more recent case, me being me, I’d rescue that lizard again. 

Spiny lizard recuperating after getting stuck.
Well, I had my chance yesterday afternoon. Same species but different lizard, this time on our front porch. I must have startled it when I appeared. It tried to run away, and I tried to catch it so I could relocate it to a live oak. Darn, if it didn’t dash up our concrete steps and try to slip through the opening between our porch rail and the brick exterior. At first, I thought if I left, it’d wiggle out and escape. Nope. When I returned, the lizard was still wedged in between the rail and the brick. When I say wedged, that lizard was STUCK. TIGHT. I called for James for help. Right away, he concluded that the lizard’s future didn’t look bright, unless we were able to get him out. 

Finally, James suggested soap or cooking oil, which helps to loosen a ring that won’t come off a finger. I voted for the oil. James fetched some, and then we gently poured some on the poor lizard. It took some doing, like a bit of pushing it backward slowly, but FINALLY, we freed the lizard! After giving the lizard a good rinse, I grabbed my critter box, folded a soft napkin in it and laid the lizard inside. For the rest of the day, it rested in the box on a shelf in my dark closet. By dusk, it was ready to be released….in the BACK yard.

Meanwhile, crack….crack…..crack…….

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Saturday, September 3, 2022

A second spring!

Lots of Edwards Plateau crestrib morning-glories seedlings

A while ago, James and I walked around the gardens. Oh. My. Goodness! The recent rains have made all the difference! What a blessing! However, now I am SO OUTNUMBERED! I have SO MUCH work to do! But what a welcome change. After watching and grieving as our plants suffered and died throughout the long, hot, dry summer, now we’re astounded to see how everyone has made such a miraculous comeback. But I guess we shouldn’t be THAT surprised. After all, we planted NATIVES. 
Salvias, trailing lantanas, pigeonberries. (Salvias and lantanas are especially recovering fast!)
I was delighted to see that our “dead” western ironweeds are coming back from the roots!
So are the perfumeballs, also known pincushion daisies and fragrant gaillardia.

Simpson’s rosinweeds are peeking up from the roots! 
Oops, a feline Prima flower along the Texas skeleton plants. 

Butterflyweed returning from its roots, too.
I’ve never seen the brownfoot grow straight up like this. 

Velvetleaf mallow, one of my favorites.

I thought we’d have to wait until spring to see what survived and what didn’t. Nope! We’re getting a real good idea right now! The takeaway: Folks, PLANT NATIVE PLANTS! (Pssst, anyone want some? I’ve got a lot of volunteers I need to re-home.)


Copper lily

 This copper lily (Habranthus tubispathus) popped up so fast that I barely got to see it bloom! I didn’t know if it had survived or not. I think we planted two of them. Happy for one! 

September SURPRISE

Well, not THAT kind of surprise. The September surprise kind, more commonly known as oxblood lilies or schoolhouse lilies. Right on time!