Sunday, August 30, 2015

My first mushroom?

In my Sunday afternoon stroll around the yard, I looked to see if anything was happening on the mushroom log that my friend and I inoculated last spring.  Ah! A little nubbin pushing its way up right where one of the plugs went in.  (If I get around to it, I'll pull up the poke weed that is flourishing around the log.)
Now, I hope I can't just properly identify the shiitake.  I also wonder how to know when to harvest.  And I wonder if the squirrels will get it before I do.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Breaking the monotony

I do enjoy cultivating plants, observing nature, and doing yard work.  In a way I kind of like hanging the clothes on the line.  (It sure beats taking them to the laundry room like I did when we lived in an apartment.)  But all this stuff does tend to get monotonous at times.  That's why I thoroughly enjoyed the outing with my friend Lea last week.  I posted pictures from the art gallery we visited, and here are pictures of the geocache log and the Waffle House.  I'm definitely feeling the need for a change of pace.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Update on the clematis rescue

So far, the clematis rescue is going along swimmingly.  I just need to decide how best to overwinter it.  My thinking right now is to keep it in the pot for the winter and plant it in the ground next spring.
Here is what it looked like a few days after the rescue.
And this is what it looked like yesterday.  Any advice on how best to overwinter it is welcomed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

On my way to 15 butterfly pics in '15

It occurred to me recently that I have taken several butterfly pictures this summer.  Why not shoot for 15 different species?  I would have to take pictures of 5 more butterflies (if I count my rather blurry shot of the zebra swallowtail).  That's doable.
Here are some butterfly pics from yesterday.  The silver-spotted skippers and the common checkered-skipper make numbers 9 and 10.
I saw the silver-spotted skippers mating under a fig leaf. 

I found a common checkered-skipper as well as another buckeye on the bitterweed in my neighbor's drive.  Somehow, when I look at the bright cheery yellow of bitterweed I feel like a carefree country kid once more.  I especially love the colors of the buckeye with the flowers.

Five to go!

Monday, August 24, 2015

The squirrel

This is the kind of poem I would like to use as a riddle for young children who haven't heard it before to see if they can tell what animal the poem is about.
 ~author unknown~

Whisky, frisky,
Hippity hop;
Up he goes
To the tree top!

Whirly, twirly,
Round and round,
Down he scampers
To the ground.

Furly, curly
What a tail!
Tall as a feather
Broad as a sail!

Where's his supper?
In the shell,
Snappity, crackity,
Out it fell.
This critter regularly lands on top of the house with a thump.  It jumps from the crepe myrtle to the house, scampers over to the other side, leaps into the sycamore, and then heads for the bird feeder.  The bird feeder is squirrel proof, so the little openings close with the weight of the squirrel when the squirrel jumps onto the feeder.  However, when the squirrel jumps off the feeder, the feeder is left swinging.  My theory is that the swinging feeder allows some of the seed to spill onto the ground where the squirrel then goes to find it.  Twice I've seen the squirrel leap from the roof over the utility room to the deck rail.  I also saw some acrobatics in the sycamore that rivaled that of the Olympic gymnasts.
I don't care for them nesting in the shed, but I haven't yet gotten around to screening all the entry ways.
Here is the squirrel on the deck rail.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Question mark butterfly

I saw a pretty butterfly this evening by the side of the road.  It was not one I usually see.  I told it to wait while I fetched my camera.  When it obliged, I was afraid it was injured and couldn't move, but it soon flitted about.  It landed on my spirea bush and I got a few more shots before it flitted away.

In this shot, you can see the two small white marks on the hind wings that give the butterfly its name.  On this specimen the two marks don't look particularly like a question mark, but there is at least a separate curve and a dot, which distinguishes this from the eastern comma butterfly (which only has a curved mark).
Taking butterfly photos is really helping me to learn the different kinds. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Small town culture

Small town culture...
...where you can eat at the Waffle House for lunch, park and grab a geocache, visit a small art gallery, and be solicited to serve on the board of the historical society all in one afternoon... ...and also see the largest dragonfly ever and find two lucky pennies.
I had a great time with my friend Lea yesterday.  I'll post some of my pics now and hopefully add some of Lea's pics later.

Whistle displays...


A bronze figurine of whistling boy...
African wood carving (mancala game box)...
Various pottery pieces with Lea reading web info on pottery "slip"...

A turned wooden bowl (cherry burl)...

There was another exhibit hall which was currently empty save the permanent flower arrangements...

This little museum was closed, but we were invited to attend the meeting last night and join the board.  (We declined.)
I imposed upon Lea to stop at the local thrift store to see if there were any seascape pictures.  There weren't, but we did see a picture-worthy dragonfly on the sidewalk outside.  It was the largest we had ever seen.  A spiketail dragonfly of some type?...
What a great afternoon enjoying small town culture with a friend!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Clematis rescue

I mentioned a few posts back about the clematis next door that had been mowed down with the weed trimmer.  I dug a little of it up, put it in a pot of organic potting mix, and watered it well.  Boy, it sure looked dead!  A few days later, I noticed a tiny bit of green in the center.  Nothing like a new green leaf to get your hopes up.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Coleus genetics

Last year I had some coleuses that I had rooted from cuttings.

I tried to overwinter some of them without success.  However, much to my delight, some little volunteers sprang up in a flower pot this spring.
It's interesting how one looks quite a bit like the parent plant, but the other two are different.  There is a fourth one tucked under the others that hasn't had the chance to grow much under the shade of its siblings.  I broke of pieces of the three plants and stuck each one in a pot of compost about two weeks ago.  They look like they have rooted.
I'm reminded of my grandmother who used to have coleuses growing in flower pots.  They are old favorites that are quite popular again.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Mower blues

It was Tuesday morning,
I was mowing the yard,
The mower lost power,
And it lost it hard.

I need a mechanic--
One that will treat me right.
I need a mechanic;
Baby, I'm so uptight.

The grass is still growing.
I'll sit in the shade.
It'll keep on growing
While I drink my lemonade.

I need a mechanic--
One that will treat me right.
I need a mechanic;
Baby, I'm so uptight.

Gonna move to the city
Where there ain't no yard,
Where there's bricks and pavement
And the concrete's so hard.

I need a mower mechanic--
One that will treat me right.
I need a mechanic;
Baby, I'm so uptight.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Birds, large and small; weeding project done

A while back, I posted a picture of a buzzard drying its wings.  Tuesday, I took a picture of 5 vultures in that same pine.
Those were the large birds.  The small birds were close around as I finished my weeding project.  Very close to the crepe myrtle is the coneflower bed which the goldfinches are enjoying. 
(This fellow looks like he just came from a bath.)

On the other side of the crepe myrtle is a Texas mallow which attracts the hummingbird.  I caught a picture of the hummingbird in the tree above me.  She sat there as if checking me out to see if it was safe to visit the flowers while I was that close.

This chickadee was on the feeder this morning.
I finished up the weeding project yesterday, and I'm glad it's done.  Here's the progression.