Photo Friday: follow me!

You’ve been here many times before, but I had so much fun discovering what’s been happening behind the scenes that I just had to share with you dear reader.

First, thing you’ll notice is that my sunflowers are now about 12 feet tall! Walking in the garden with these behemoths towering overhead makes me feel like a child again…

But now I turn your attention to looking closer, underneath the leaves here, where you will find squash blossoms and immature fruits awaiting pollination. 

What’s that you say?

You spy bugs in the blossoms?

Not to worry.  Keep up with me now.

Here’s a surprise!  Naked Ladies bounding up from the ground where I was sure they would be never seen again!   You see there was in incident with that rototiller earlier in the season…  Yet there were survivors and…

What?

Oh, yes I saw it too, another little bug in the flower, and it’s eating the pollen you say?  Don’t worry, just follow me…

 Having never grown cotton before I was enchanted with how the flower buds reminded me of ceremonial Thai hats.

We had a couple of 2 X 4 Tarter tank water troughs hanging about, left over from brooding chicks and geese.  So we moved one into the garden and attached a lovely faucet handle (brought all the way from the house in California) into the drain hole.  Now I fill it from the well and it gently soaks the garden on days with no rain.  I think it looks lovely and it is definitely practical don’t you agree?

I thought these were stunning so I captured them for you too...

 I’ve entitled it: 

A Mother’s Adoration

So as you have noticed I have bugs.  I chose not to spray and that’s what you get when you don’t use chemicals.  Lots of bugs!  Instead I planted flowers in the midst of the garden and that, my friends, brought in more bugs.

the reinforcements!

So, allow me to introduce you to my equalizers…

The Fairy Lacewing

A Dragonfly

(He must have flown in from my last post! 😉 )

Looking closely we see evidence that parasitic wasps have taken up residence amongst the tomatoes…  I know it offends your sensibilities, and for that I am sorry, but it is a bug eat bug world out there and without the beneficials we would go wanting!

And now finally…

SPIDER ALERT!

OK, you’ve been officially warned.

(Please do click on her for a closer look, and if you can stand it, click on her again to really see her in detail.)

I found this beautiful lady!  She’s one and one half inches long (including legs)!  Do you see her suitor in the background?

For those bugs who would seek to destroy my garden by their sheer numbers, Japanese beetles and squash bugs, well there is the bucket of water for them…  I gather them up every morning and take them over to my chickens and the WeeChoo.  The chickens make short work of the Japanese beetles, and My guinea hen “WeeChoo” eats the squash/stink bugs!

Yes, my garden is full of insects.  Some of my plants have holes in the leaves and I lose a few to the bad guys now and again.  However, as time goes by the good should outweigh the bad.

In the end, I have the confidence of knowing that I can eat what I grow without fear.   It also makes me glad that I have not added anything to the environment that would do harm.

It is a great feeling.

Photo Friday: the invasion has begun

Like aliens from some unknown realm

they dig their way to the surface

climb the nearest building, tree,

or truck tire.

There they latch on tightly,

and begin to split down the middle…

emerging as

Cicadas.

For most of the summer they will buzz

in the heat of the day,

singing in waves across pastures

and through forest stands

calling, calling, calling,*

till they find the response

they were looking for.

~*~

Cicadas lie in the ground for 13 years and then emerge en masse.  Apparently, 2011 is the year!  This year marks the Magicicada XIX!

Just for fun:

A recent news story out of Tennessee about Chocolate covered Cicadas

AND, possibly more info, and videos, than you ever wanted to know about the curious little creatures  can be found… HERE!

*I took a drive to Collinsville, Alabama on a two lane highway (Hwy. 11) through the country.  Radio on, windows up, I think, “What is that noise?”   Turning off the radio and rolling down the windows I hear it…  Imagine multiplying  the call (linked in ‘calling’ above) by hundreds of thousands and you will know what I heard!  Amazing sound for a little one inch flying bug!

Oh Baby its Hot Outside

Its been so hot that the bees are spending much of their time hanging around on the outside of the hive.  Especially at night.  Even though the temperature drops down into the 70’s they will still be found bearding on the front of the hive.  The sound of thousands of little wings fanning away the heat is mesmerizing and will go on for hours after the sun sets.

1:30 PM:  They were very busy flying to and fro, in and out of the hive all day today.  Their mission in life, in spite of the heat, is to find nectar and keep the hive going and growing.

10:30 PM:   It is amazing to see everyone sitting on the front stoop and fanning to draw off the heat.  I switch off the light.   I love standing there in the dark to listen to the hum of all those little wings.

And tomorrow they will go out and do it all over again.

A Garden Sprite

Out in the garden this afternoon I survey my little bit of earth and it is hot.  Parched really.  What’s new, huh?

But the heat is always made bearable when I find something so lovely as this.

This little Garden Sprite is known as a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth and with good reason!  It can hover, sip nectar, and then reverse direction just like a hummingbird.  Very clever moth don’t you agree?

Keep your eyes open the next time you go out into the garden, and who knows, you may discover a little hummingbird about two inches long.   But look closely… for you may have found a little Garden Sprite on your own bit of earth.

You can read up on her here:  http://www.birdsandblooms.com/Butterflies/Summer/Hummingbird-Clearwing