Finding the Falls

Across the lake, past the island, under the bridge,

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around the bend, through the farm pond

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left of the rushes and mallows,

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up the creek, under the hornet’s nest

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through the floating fungi,

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over the sand bar, down by the liverworts

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toward the sound of running water, up to the rocks

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there is a lovely little water fall.

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FLOW

 

Killing Them Softly with Q-tips

Feel free to sing this song as you murder mealy bugs.

I have taken the liberty to augment the lyrics of Roberta Flack’s hit from the 1970’s.

Enjoy!

Inspecting my plant with a hand lens.

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Looking for patches of fluff.

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Killing them softly with Q-tips.

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Killing the mama and her babes.

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Smashing the eggs sacs with my tweezers.

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Washing off Honeydew with Blue Dawn.

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FLOWER sings while she kills pests.

A Plant that Feeds Ants

I was thrilled to discover my first Red Passion flower bloom last week.

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When I checked on it the second day, it had all ready closed.

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Upon closer examination, I discovered it was covered with tiny ants.

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These ants were busily scurrying between tiny green discs on the outer edges of the sepals/calyx.

I at first thought these green discs to be aphids,

but they were too uniformily spaced.

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I had to do a little research to discover their identity.

They are tiny nectaries, produced by the plant to feed the ants.

These ants in residence provide services in return.

They guard the plants against aphids and caterpillars.

If you have been following the FLOWER, you have seen my caterpillar photos,

many of which were taken on my wild Passion flower vines.

I have not seen one caterpillar on this Red Passion flower vine.

So the Red Passion plant has pet ants.

Who knew?

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FLOWER

What’s Legs Got To Do With It?

What’s legs got to do with it,  got to do with it?

What’s legs but a way to be in motion?

What’s legs got to do with it, got to do with it?

We need more legs when a leg can just be broken?

 

Why is it we love all things with two legs?

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Male Rubythroat hummingbird at feeder.

or four legs?

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Barley chillin’ under the table.

but if the creature has no legs,

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or six legs,

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Katydid

eight legs

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Writing Spider

or more

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Saddleback caterpillar. Do not touch. They sting.

we scream, run away or kill it?

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Assassin/Wheel bug

I love snakes and bugs.

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Grasshopper on a Stoneshroom.

They are my friends.

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FLOWER

 

 

 

Tattered Wings: Still Flying

Mama Nature is quietly teaching me another lesson.

I have been chasing butterflies, you see.

Not all of them are beautiful and perfect.

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Many have tattered wings.

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They still fly like the rest.

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They have survived some damage.

Maybe a lizard’s bite, or a spider web’s tether or a hungry bird’s claws or beak.

Maybe they were battered by a storm.

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They have lost pieces of themselves that will never grow back,

but they are still flying.

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fLOWer

Chasing Butterflies

If you are not crazy yet, try chasing butterflies.

I am not talking about the sweet Swallowtails.

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They soar purposefully in the direction of their destination

then land on a flower and spend hours eating and ignoring everything else.

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I am also not referring to the beautiful Buckeyes

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Common Buckeye/ Junonia coenia

who flit like twirly leaves before landing on a sedum to spend the day.

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American Lady/ Vanessa virginiensis

Nor the American Lady which stays put, but seldom opens her wings for a peek at their upper-side colors.

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Not the tiny little Gray Hairstreak either, with its tail appendages that move like antennae.

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Gray Hairstreak/ Strymon melinus

Not even the Cloudless Sulfur that zig zags around and then lands on green things so you can’t find it.

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Cloudless Sulfur/ Phoebis sennae

The “pic-tease” of the butterfly world is the Monarch.

It has played my like a paparazzi this week.

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Monarch/ Danaus plexippus

On Sunday I quietly stalked it for sometime, then shamelessly ran down the drive after it.

When I finally came to my senses and returned to the  house to fold laundry,

it coasted across in front of my bedroom window and looked in.

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On Monday  I took a photo break to give the neighbor’s dog a bone.

I looked out the front door as I closed it to see the Monarch glide across the porch.

Who’s zoomin’ who?

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This game went on for days until finally, it settled itself for a few precious minutes on some garlic blooms.

It stayed just long enough for me to snap a few, not-so-great photos.

I am glad the Monarch is savvy.   I fear for its future.

It’s a long way to the forests of central Mexico and much of its forest has been logged or blown down by storms.

I love all butterflies, but the tricky little Monarch has a special place in my paparazzi heart.

FLOWER

 

 

 

 

 

I Found Gold!

I was out in my yard with my camera, as usual.

Something shiny caught my eye on the leaf of a Flying Saucer.

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A speck of gold, dazzlingly brilliant on this drab day.

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A 14 carat gold nugget perched on a leaf, just waiting to be plucked off and pocketed by little, old me.

I couldn’t believe my eyes, so I snapped a photo.

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As I reached for it, it scampered around to the underside of the leaf.

The nugget had antennae and legs!  A tiny, shiny alien on my flying saucer.

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My gold was running away.   It was alive!

A Golden Tortoise beetle/ Charidotella sexpunctata.

It climbed onto my arm.  “Come to mama.” I cooed.

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It spread it’s golden wings and flew away.

Fame and fortune are fleeting fantasies.

I’d better just stick to my flowers.

Follow the flying fortune!

The Crow Knows

I do not need to check the fig tree to see when the figs are ripe.

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The crow lets everybody know.

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He sits on an oak branch high above the fig tree, bobbing up and down,

as he loudly caws all to the feast.

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I do not mind sharing.   He takes the high figs and I take the low figs.

There are other fig lovers.

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Giant hornets.

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They do mind sharing.

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Follow the Figs… Carefully.

The Four O’clock Sphinx

I sit quietly as darkness falls, waiting near the Four O’clocks.

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It  circles above, then swoops down to feed on the flowers.

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Its flight is similar to a hummingbird’s, but silent.

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It methodically probes each flower,

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then disappears into the darkness.

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Follow the Four O’clocks.