Friday, March 30, 2012

why i don't pick weeds...

because...if i did...this little 
Phaon Crescent butterfly...
would have flitted someplace else.


i had just finished raking out the flower gardens...

and dragging bags...
and bags...
of dead leaves
to the fire barrel...

when i thought i'd take a picture of some of our flowering weeds!
what a nice surprise!

the weed is a Fleabane.
the Phaon Crescent/Phyciodes phaon  is a smallish butterfly...
with a wingspan of only an inch or so!


i tried to catch up on my blog reading this morn...
but blogger was having a bad day & i couldn't leave comments on most
of the places i visited.
well, this weekend...
while sam works on the bathroom   ;)   i'll wander the world.

see ya!

be cool.  be safe.

Monday, March 26, 2012

caterpillars. a live hawk. and a dead crow.

before i get to the caterpillar invasion...
or even the dead crow for that matter...
have a look at this Red-shouldered Hawk silhouette shot.

sam pointed out the hawk sitting on the electric line...out near the road.
facing west. early evening. dark clouds rolling in.

he flew out of the shadows (the hawk, not sam), landing farther down the line. just for a minute.

and then he was gone. 


on to the caterpillars.
when it's just about dusk, and the birds are all snug in their nests...
and you're very quiet...
you can hear the caterpillars feasting in the trees.
really. it can be a bit disturbing.

this is what the TENT caterpillar builds. in the Oak trees.
when they emerge...they emerge hungry!

and those aren't the ONLY caterpillars, competing for food.
the Tussock Moth caterpillar is...right now...


not only are they crawling all over...but they spin these sticky little cocoons around themselves.
wherever they feel inclined.
on trees, all over the porch, car tires, window sills...

i hate to admit it...
the critter lover that i am...
but i've been plucking them off the front porch.
NOT squishing them...but plucking & flinging...into the yard.

you can hardly walk under the trees right now without something landing on your head.

now it's the caterpillars. soon it will be the spiders.
no entering the forest without a big stick to wave in front of your face.

so what keeps the caterpillars in check?
from taking over the world?
or at least from taking over florida...
the lizards. maybe the bats? birds. baby snakes perhaps?
and other critters & bugs that have an appetite for fat juicy caterpillars.

like this black and white wasp.
flying around the front porch, carrying something green.
quite a heavy load.

landing here and there...on the porch ceiling...trying to get a better grip.

it seemed like he was looking for something.
he was.
he found it.
his hidey hole in a wooden beam...a hole drilled by a Borer bee (or Carpenter bee), i think.
the perfect place to stash his meal.


now...about the crow.
on our way back down the drive...from seeing the hawk...
i spotted something kind of big and it was just hanging in a tree.
i thought it might be a big black plastic garbage bag that the wind tossed up there.

so i walked over for a closer look and to grab that bag down.

it was a crow.
it was creepy.

just hanging it fell right out of the sky.

we have LOTS of crows.
lots of aggressive...noisy...crows.

i like them. except when they chase a hawk away.

then i wish the hawk would stop in mid flight...turn around...
and chase the crows back to the trees where they came from.

but to see this poor dead crow.  it was sad.
we left him there. for now.

oOo oOo oOo

i leave you with a curly-Q and thorn picture.

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”  
~Dr. Seuss 

~be cool. be safe.~

Tuesday, March 20, 2012



(blue-eyed grass)


new beginnings.

(baby birds...uh...wrens maybe)

(hibiscus bud)

(cocoon on oak tree out front)

life & love.

(red bud tree)

(red bud...close up...w/ bee)

(wild blackberry flower)

(female cardinal)

(rain lilies)

(rain lily up close)

hopes & dreams.


(tussock moth caterpillar)

(mock orange flower)

[Spring is] when life's alive in everything. 
~Christina Rossetti

be safe.  be cool.

(the march equinox brings spring to those of us in the northern hemisphere.)
welcome spring.
but i'll sure miss winter. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

let sleeping lizards lie...and more critters & blooms.

an Anole snoozing outside the screen room.

well, after the high winds & hard rains the other day...
most of the Azalea blooms have fallen to the ground.
BUT there are a few other plants starting to sprout out of the ground...
and some are beginning to bloom.

like the shrimp plant!

the earth laughs in flowers.  
~e.e. cummings

during the week i spotted a Red Admiral butterfly on the ground.

i waited...and pointed...until my arms began to tremble.
finally, she started to open her wings...and then...

*poof* she flew away. 
then i spotted another Red Admiral.
man! they're quick!  they don't sit still for very long!

this flower is on a small 'yesterday, today and tomorrow' bush.
at first each flower is purple...then fades to lavender blue...and then white.

i THINK this next TINY guy is either a grasshopper or mantis nymph.
fancy little striped antennae and the cutest triangular head!
(added later...Cindy at Bug Safari thinks this might be a Scudder's bush katydid...thanks cindy!)

spider webs...and dew.

speaking of webs...
front porch
Orb Weaver.
getting bigger every night.

~her underside~

here's a picture of the FIRST Skink of the year!!
Five-lined  (blue-tailed)  Skink

no wonder the lizards are a little slow moving. they're stuffed.
caterpillars are everywhere right now!
i'll try to get some good pictures...for later.

squirrels...busily digging up their acorn cache.

here's another Anole...on the front the BRIGHT GREEN phase...
with his dewlap fanned out.
he was not being a very good model.  scooting along the handrail...

on the last of the Azaleas...
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

st. patty's day and halloween.
my two favorite holidays.
halloween is understandable...i like bones...skulls...the spooky & macabre...
but, st patty's day?!
i don't know...maybe i have some irish in me.

i have a corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, onions & carrots in the crock pot.
yum. smells good.

stay cool & be safe.

15 march 2012

I walked barefoot - the only way to walk on a muddy road. 
~Laurie Gough, "Light on a Moonless Night"

finished just in time. thunderstorm...starting to rage.    :)

ps- bathroom is coming along. 
i've been a little blue...
i just might have to do a real journal type post this month...
a more personal one...i'm due.