I have so many little chores piling up around The Havens that I finally made a list of things I needed to attend to. It is sitting on the kitchen counter, mocking me as I write this post.
Okay, I admit that the older I get the worse my penmanship gets. I wrote this list without my glasses on, which makes the scrawl even worse. Think that is bad? Try reading this hen-scratching without the glasses on!
I’m also willing to concede that some of the items listed above are cryptic references. For example, “White dragon garden” could refer to any number of tasks related to maintaining that feature.
However, I happen to know that this time what is waiting for me is Bermuda grass; it is busy colonizing the gravel pad the white dragon reposes on. I wouldn’t mind it so much if the grass stayed low and tight to the ground; it would make a nice setting if it did. But Bermuda grass has absolutely no manners whatsoever, and if you leave it in peace it will send out flower stalks as tall as 18″, and rapidly smother and cover every thing in the area. Which means you could no longer see all those totally cool rocks, bones, and shells that the White Dragon has accumulated over the years.
So I need to pull that grass out. This job requires the use of my Cobra Head weeder, so I was on the way out to fetch it from the vegetable garden where it usually hangs, when I was (big surprise) distracted by something I caught out of the corner of my eye.
“Look! A lady bug in the asparagus!” I cooed excitedly. My focus switched from work to biology in the blink of a synapse. Remembering the praying mantis I had seen out there a couple of years ago, I started hunting about in the asparagus bed to see if one of her progeny had maintained the homestead this year.
No mantises. Instead I found this grasshopper.
Lady bugs are very small. But it wasn’t long before I realized that there were dozens of them crowding the asparagus, scurrying up and down the stalks, very intent on being on the other side of whatever stem they were on from the one I was pointing my camera at.
I walked around and around the bed, enthralled by the hundreds of lady bugs that were scouring it for aphids and scale for their dinner. Then I started noticing that there were dozens of these husks hanging all over the asparagus fronds.
It was very clear to me that the mob of lady bugs had just hatched from those husks that were littering the asparagus. I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered a lady bug that was just emerging from the husk.
Not far away I found this young lady bug resting near the husk it had just escaped from. Its shell is still rather soft.
As I patrolled the asparagus bed looking for other great shots, I discovered that there were still lady bug larvae crawling around, not quite ready to start metamorphosis.
I guessed that the lady bug larvae that were living in the cucumber plants had a good summer. The group in the asparagus patch are probably their progeny. I rejoiced in the full cycle displayed before me.
At that point, I headed back into the house to put the pictures on the computer; I wanted to know if they were any good. This display might not be there tomorrow. Along the way I made a detour to the New England asters by the pond and discovered that they are extremely popular right now.
I thought I’d better check the other asters (Aster linariifolius) in the Rain Garden, and discovered that there is a different sort of bumble bee there than I have seen all summer. The flower that this little fellow is clambering on is only 1 inch in diameter.
I took about twenty shots of this little bee as it went very quickly about its business. It was not interested in the central section of the center of these asters. It would stand on the cluster and spin around quickly, dipping its tongue into the outer circle of flowers where there was nectar. Zip! It took him about a second and a half to make the whole spin, and then he would burst right into flight and whiz over to the next flower where he would start the process all over again. That neat spin around the flower center allowed the stamens to deposit liberal amounts of pollen on his back legs. As you can see, this bee had been extremely busy before I started following it about.
When I got back to the computer, I downloaded my pictures and discovered that many of my lady bug photos were horribly blurred because the camera was so confused by the asparagus fronds it couldn’t decided where to focus. Needless to say, a little lady bug doesn’t make a very good focus point for my little camera. So I went back out there and took a whole bunch more images so I would have something decent for this post. I spent a good hour stalking lady bugs in the asparagus.
That done, I went back to the computer again. Having ascertained that that set of shots would have something useful, I bethought myself of my chores. I looked at my list again.
Ruefully, I noted that “taking pictures of lady bugs” was not on it. Not anywhere.
I contemplated the bermuda grass in the White Dragon’s garden for a while, but decided that the weeds in the garden across the street, which are just now getting ready to become full-fledged seed bearers, were a much more pressing problem. And so I put on my work shoes and gloves, grabbed my spade and sashayed across the street to do battle with the pigweed.
I got a good start on that yesterday, but I had to quit and come back across the street and clean up so I could do a couple of massages. Then we had dinner (left over manicotti stuffed with chicken and parmesan and a large salad — yummy!) and went to bed about 8 p.m. because today Jim had to be at work at 5 a.m. and that meant the alarm was going to go off at 3:30 a.m. Besides, I was falling asleep on the couch anyway.
I slept like the dead, and now here I am, ready to don my “armor” and go back to do battle with the rest of the pig weed.
Y’all have a productive day now, and try not to get waylaid along the way.