Friday, August 21, 2015

Cicada Music

Stepping out my back door today (do you now have the Creedence/John Fogerty 

song in your head? ... I know the lyrics say "Looking", but...)

You're welcome!  ~ ;)

 Anyway... it is like stepping into a symphony

 (maybe "cacophony" is a better word)

 of insect song...


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I just read that the buzz generated by a swarm of cicadas can reach 120 decibels,

which is about the same noise level as a loud rock show...

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I finally got to photograph a Monarch in the garden...

He's sipping on a zinnia, but next year I hope to have milkweed 

(and Joe Pye?) for them...

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The crickets are chirping loudly, as well, in the jungle that is a few feet from my steps...


I am to the point of just "letting it go" ~

I didn't mean to plant Giant Marigolds this year; 

that's what I get for not marking my seeds!

And they are TALL...(*some* still are) ~

 I prefer the shorter ones, they just stay neater ~

A storm blew them all over a week or so ago, but they are still green and blooming ~

(I think it would be more detrimental to try to pull them up, now).

Besides, I have already mentally moved into "next year country",

as far as blooming things...

I just read this quote and really liked it ~ it seems to sum things up nicely!

~
 "The grass no longer smells of high summer, but of autumn crouched waiting." 
Sara MacDonald SEA MUSIC (2003)


I am ready for fall...how about y'all?

Have a wonderful weekend, all!

Love,

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Linking to Beverly's Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound ~ :)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

"Pye" in the Sky

Good Saturday evening, all!

As promised, I am following up on my caterpillar post...

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Not exactly what I wanted to report, but I guess I am a little wiser about

caterpillars, and how Mother Nature doesn't really appreciate much interference...

~

First, the largest caterpillar disappeared...it was there, and then it wasn't.

(I suspect a bird or wasp took it...)

The four remaining ones were still eating away at the dwindling dill, however...

(evidently unperturbed by the loss of their comrade...)

Then another of the larger ones was gone.

Thinking I was being helpful, I cut what was left of the dill (pretty much just stems by then)

 and also some nice, juicy basil 

(plentiful, and I thought I had read earlier that they would eat it), 

and brought the whole shebang (the three caterpillars and all) in the house.

This was okay until the dill ran completely out... they don't like basil, it seems.

I did a quick Google search and found that other "host plants" are wild carrot

(Queen Anne's Lace), fennel, rue, and Joe Pye Weed,

so I went on a county-road drive in search of, first, the Queen Anne's Lace ~

and also the less familiar (okay, I only vaguely remember even hearing the name

but I had done my ~ I thought ~ *research*) ~

Joe Pye.

(I had already decided I was not going to be finding any fennel or rue.)

Well, I now know that by August, Queen Anne's Lace is finished...just the brown,

dry seed heads where it had been so plentiful a month ago (I had noticed it because

I kept meaning to stop and cut some to go in a zinnia bouquet...)

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And then I thought....THOUGHT, I had found Joe Pye...

but it turned out it wasn't him at all, but Milkweed (above)...

(I really need to brush up on my Missouri wildflowers!)

Now, if these had been Monarch caterpillars, all would have been well ~

but Eastern Black Tiger Swallowtail caterpillars aren't even tempted, sadly.

~

Then, one of the larger remaining caterpillars just fell off the barren dill stem, dead.

Right on the countertop. 

Sooooo....

Don't tell, but there was a TINY bit of newly sprouted dill in another pot ~

my husband's new crop ~

I took the last two caterpillars out there and just put them in the pot.

I went out a little while later, and the big one was gone...

(Again, probably a bird's lunch...)

However, the smaller one was munching away on the tiny, fresh dill...

Next year, I guess we will just plant more dill ~ a whole row of it ~

instead of just a little pot's worth. Amazing how a species can be so

dependent upon such a limited diet... :(

I will find Joe Pye Weed in advance, too, and try to have it growing as well.

Oh, I have to share...one of my favorite blogs  ~ (I go there and lurk) ~

"Perfume Posse", over on my side bar... has a photo of JOE PYE WEED...

in the latest post, "Bits and Pieces" ~

I couldn't believe it! "Synchronicity"!

Check it out! 

(Hope this is okay to post, Musette!)

Have a wonderful rest-of-the-weekend!

Love,
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'Pillar-Post-Script...I just went out and checked, and my last "baby" has

disappeared, unfortunately... 

I had read what a small percentage of caterpillars actually make it to the butterfly

stage, and I see that it's true...

"Nature, red in tooth and claw..." (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Prying Menace

When my oldest son,

Mark, was small, he thought we were saying "Prying Menace",

instead of "Praying Mantis" ~ hee, heee....

I still think of that whenever I see one... but I had not seen one in ages, 

it seemed... until just the other night when I was watering my tall marigolds

and zinnias, brushing up against them, and this fellow hopped on my arm...

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They are such interesting insects, I think,

with all their "Ninja-moves"... ;)

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"You lookin' at me??"

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I certainly had a lot of fun with our photo shoot, Mr. Mantis...

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Son Jon took this last one...Mr. Mantis (alias Prying Menace), majestic atop

the pentas, looking towards the setting sun...

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Almost the weekend, again! Have a wonderful one, all!

Love,

~
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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Future Butterflies...

Look at this little critter!

He is eating our dill (what there is left of this particular planting) ~

but I don't mind sharing with him.

When I was small and saw these in my grandparents' garden

(eating their dill, of course),

I thought they were Monarch caterpillars ~ had "misremembered" them as such ~

then, when I learned that Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed,

I wasn't sure what they were (because I distinctly remembered the dill)...

~

 Just this past week I had discussed the caterpillars with my Facebook friend, Sue,

who definitely does her part in Monarch conservation, planting milkweed and

raising the larvae, saving them from predation until they can form their chrysalises.

(More on helping the Monarch butterfly here.)

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So, what is he?

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He is an Eastern Black Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar...

here is another article that I found fascinating,

on Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens site.

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I know not everyone does, but I find all of God's little creatures absolutely

fascinating, not "creepy crawly"!

(With the exception of brown recluses, Satan's Spawn... ;) )

That's it!

I'm off to see what else I can find to photograph,

 and maybe even get some painting in today, too!

Have a wonderful weekend!

(Linking with Beverly's Pink Saturday, today!)
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ADDENDUM!

 Well, you are never too old to learn something new!

 I was going back through my links, and read the one from Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens

 more closely...then went back out to look at our dill ~ it seems that caterpillars don't just

get "bigger" after hatching, but instead have to molt as they grow (I knew this about some other 

insects and spiders). Each time they molt, it's called an "instar", and they may change

their looks (their "outfits"!) with each instar, going through several molts before reaching 

their maximum size... Here I have always considered myself a "buggy" person

 but I don't recall ever hearing the term...

So, of course I took more photos!

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Three "instar" stages of Eastern Black Tiger Swallowtail caterpillars.

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 Here's a closeup of the smallest one; "first (I'm guessing) instar".

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This fellow is about two-thirds the size of the largest one...

(who has some growing to do himself, being only about an inch long at this point).

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Not the best photo, as the butterfly just wouldn't cooperate...

but I believe she was attempting to lay more eggs...

To be continued!

~

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Can You Believe it is AUGUST?

The summer is flying by!!

Can you believe is is already five days into August??

(I don't have any little children going back to school anymore...

just Jon who will be a Junior at Southeast),

but I always had bittersweet feelings about this time of year...

I think I was recalling my own childhood feelings about returning to school

in the fall, honestly... ("Nooooo....!)

(I was okay once it started, though...)

~

It is Rodeo Week here, and that always signals the END,

the last dregs, of summer... 

("Dun, dun, DUNNNNNN"...or maybe I should just say "Done" ;) )

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As promised, here is my first "pink" tuberose from Easy to Grow Bulbs...

It's neat, but not REALLY pink, unless right next to one of the

old-fashioned white ones (Mexican Singles)...

This just has a tinge of pink, as I think the (also "old-fashioned") double "Pearl"

does as well.

Oh, well. 

I am not sure if this is "Pink Sensation" or "Cinderella"

so maybe the next one will be pinker.

("Yellow Baby" was just slightly yellow.)

I think it is pretty safe to say that tuberoses really just want to be white...

(And here I was worried that these new ones might be garish...) ;)

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"Inch worm, inch worm, measuring the marigolds..."

Yes, I "planted" him there...I couldn't resist!

Have a great Wednesday, all!

Love,
~
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Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Mad Tea "After Party"...

Hello, All!

Yes, I am still Mad-Tea-Partying!

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Still!

Aren't these shortbread cookies lovely?

Again, from my kind friend in Tennessee and Stonehouse Ovens...

Love!!

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Almost too pretty to eat! (But we have forced ourselves!)

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I had to take a few more photos of the Wonderland-Character ornaments

before they go off to their new home...

Can you guess which ones were my favorites?? ;)

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"Chessie" rocks and a couple of Hatters...

Rocks are such fun little *canvases*!

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One last look...

I almost got a little too attached to this batch of whimsy!

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One more thing...

Those who have followed my blog for the past few years know how silly

I get over TUBEROSES this time of year...

(Sweet summer memories of spending hot summer nights at my grandparents' house

in blissful air conditioning...cool, tuberose-scented air! ~

 We just had fans at the farm back then.)

Anyway, this year I got some COLORED Tuberose Bulbs from Easy to Grow Bulbs...

"Yellow Baby" has been the first of them to bloom, but the others have flower stalks and buds

coming along, and I am anxiously awaiting "Cinderella" and "Pink Sensation"!

(Photos to follow, you can be sure!)

Thank you again for indulging my continuing Alice-Fun...

You know the newest Alice movie, "Through the Looking Glass",

is set to come out next May!

Have a wonderful week!

Love,
~
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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Hot Bugs ("Cicada Mania")

I had to put "Cicada Mania" in the post title, because, can you believe there

 is actually a website by that name??

There is! 

Very informative, actually. (Click here...)

~

As for "The Hot Bugs" part, that's what my youngest daughter, Katie,

called them when she was little...

Because their droning started when it was, well, HOT...usually mid-July ~

continuing into the dog-days of August ~ until reaching such a fever-pitch

that we wondered how we ever kind of enjoyed it when it first began...

~

This particular Cicada, (Quesada gigas, the second-largest North American species, 

with brown and green "camo" markings) buzzed right into my up-done hair

a couple of nights ago and got TANGLED there... (I know, I know...)

I came inside...finagled him loose, and he took off, buzzing loudly

across the family room...

All three kitties snapped into Predator Mode.

~

Tallulah is faster by far than either of the boys, and she was on him in a flash!

("Like a duck on a junebug"...maybe that should be, " Like a cat on a cicada"!)

I got him away from her...

(She had him in her mouth and was on her way to the second location with him...)

I put him in a (ventilated) box overnight, because the price for being rescued

from a gruesome death meted out by 6 pounds of fluff and teeth and claws ~

 (probably being eaten alive after being played with to near death) ~

...is being the model in a photo-shoot.

So, into the box he went; to cool his jets, literally. ;)

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So, next morning (he was presumably over the shock of Tallulah) ~

...sufficiently cooled by the air conditioning as to let me position

him on a couple of flowers to take pictures; we had our "shoot"...

and I did get a few pictures before he buzzed off loudly into the willows...

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Isn't he interesting, really??

Look at that face!

The clypeus is that bulbous structure on the cicada's head that looks like it

could be its nose, or the grill of a vintage automobile...

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"The clypeus holds the muscles the cicada uses to pump plant fluids through its needle-like

beak and into its digestive system. Clypeus means "shield" in Latin."

(From the Cicada Mania site.)

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"Alright, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." 

 Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) ~ "Sunset Boulevard", 1950

Or this fellow. 

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This is actually one of the Magicicada species,

in Union County Illinois, back in May.

He's one of the "periodical, or cyclical", Cicadas.

He was a lot smaller...(although they all feel HUGE if in one's hair...)

This one was maybe half the size of my photo-shoot model...

And look at those EYES! (Not enhanced!)


So now you know how I (sometimes) get insect photos!

Visit Cicada Mania, you'll be glad you did!

More soon!

Love,
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