ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
A few days ago, I filled the birdfeeders.  Today I saw a mourning dove on the fly-through feeder, so at least one bird has discovered the seed.  \o/ 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is cool and mostly sunny.  I trimmed some weeds around the forest garden and Doug helped me set up the new birdfeeder.  Then I filled that one, the hopper feeder, and the fly-through feeder. 
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the September 5, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Anthony Barrette. It also fills the "give to charity" square in my 7-1-17 card for the Winter Fest in July Bingo. This poem belongs to the Iron Horses thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today was warm and partly sunny.

I went out and took pictures.   Sawtooth sunflowers, some new asters in the prairie garden, the purple and the pink sedum are blooming.  :D  Also there are pears all over the pear tree.  I saw a preying mantis feeding on a butterfly, and a couple of grasshoppers humping.  Sometimes it's all about perspective -- I didn't see the mantis or grasshoppers until I crouched down to photograph the colorful wing of the butterfly.

Later I went back out and watered plants.  It's dry here.  Someone mentioned online that the wetland at our local nature center is all dried up.  :(
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is mild, sunny, and breezy.  We got some rain last night, so I went out to pull field weeds from alongside the patio and strip garden. 

I've been seeing lots of butterflies today.  There was a monarch around the barrel garden and various small butterflies when I was weeding.

EDIT 8/22/17: I went back out and pulled more weeds farther along the patio edge and by the birdgift apple tree.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is mostly sunny and hot.  :P  We picked up three piles of grass, and I filled the trolley with sticks to dump in the firepit.

Lots of butterflies out, though, and bees.  Yay bumblebees, boo sweat bees. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is awesome.  Meanwhile, over in Terramagne, stuff like this is produced by Kraken.  Nerd science! 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Interesting tidbits from the newsletter ...

Protecting Pollinators
Minimize or eliminate use of pesticides in your yard.  In addition to being an environmentalist, I'm also cheap and lazy, so I use pesticides only as a last resort -- for instance, dealing with Japanese beetles that nothing will eat, or killing poison ivy.  I don't make blanket applications of anything, only spot-spray.  Also I won't buy nursery plants pre-treated with pesticides; they're often labeled for neonicitinoids, and I tell vendors why I won't buy those.  If I'm buying flowers, it's usually for the pollinators.

How to Attract Fireflies
I already do most of these things, and we have plenty of fireflies. But this caught my eye:

In some cases, “we still debate what constitutes a species,” says Eric Lee-Mäder, pollinator program co-director for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “Are two morphologically identical fireflies with different flash patterns two species—or one species with individuals speaking different languages? If we can’t answer that, how can we know how the insects are doing?”

I am now imagining some hapless alien trying to classify humans as species, based on things like color phase and communication, without being able to tell quickly and easily whether the groups are cross-fertile.  LOL

Generally, I count species as separate if they are unable or unwilling to breed with each other.  Sometimes they are biologically compatible but different cultures make their mate-selection methods mutually exclusive.  Back when most human groups were endogamous and people traveled less, a case could've been made on those grounds that humans were different species.  Of course, a look at human genetics indicates that different species don't stop them from fucking, and occasionally there are related species that are (at least sometimes) cross-fertile.  We have subsumed the DNA of at least two or three other hominids.

Now imagine the poor aliens finding that we have wiped out all the other hominids except for the bits left inside us, like the fossilized remains of parasitic twins.  Somewhere in the galaxy, someone is probably writing us as a natural-species version of the The Blob and submitting it to a horror magazine.



ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is warm and muggy, although not as hot as it has been earlier.  We hauled three huge piles of grass.  

Sweat bees are out in force.  :P  AAAAAAA stop licking meeeee!  O_O  Yes, I was wearing repellent.  No, it didn't help.

The faery ring is still going strong.  Biggest mushroom has opened its cap and has a long skirt flapping in the breeze.  Literally. That thing looks like Marilyn Monroe standing on the fan grate.  :D

Butterflies everywhere today.  Monarchs, including a mating pair.  Painted ladies.  Cabbage whites.  One that's either a black-phase tiger swallowtail or a mourning cloak, couldn't tell from a distance.

My naked lady lilies are blooming.  \o/  
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is gorgeous, sunny and much cooler than it has been.  It's currently 79F which is perfect for yardwork.  

So we went out and picked up a bucket of sticks in the savannah.  Then we cut several small trees' worth of honeysuckle and hauled that to the brush pile.  *gasp pant wheeze* 

We spotted an abandoned bird nest in one bush.  Also I saw a pretty big nest up a tree.  I'm not sure what it is, but it's made of twigs (instead of leaves like a squirrel flet) and it's bigger than most of the songbirds.  Too small for great horned owl or hawk, though.  I am wondering if it might be kestrel or something else in that size range.

Round 2, I went out to spray the stubs of honeysuckle and some poison ivy.  Then I spotted a tree with late mulberries on it and picked those, along with some blackberries.  Finally I trimmed grass around the septic garden, so it actually looks like a garden again and not a giant pile of weeds with a few marigolds in it.

Cicadas are singing.  We got rain last night, everything's still wet, so it's a good mating day for them.  They need soft wet soil to lay their eggs in.  Mosquitoes are out too.  >_<
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today we picked up three piles of grass and some sticks.  It is pleasantly cool this evening, but there are sweat bees everywhere.  >_<  I do not enjoy being licked by insects. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (neutral)
I didn't have time to get outside much today, but I saw this tiger swallowtail feeding beside the barrel garden. So I grabbed my camera and took a bunch of pictures. This is one of the best.  Of the caterpillar hosts for this species, I have wild cherry, basswood, ash, and willow; of the favorite nectar plants I have wild cherry, lilac, and milkweed.  We usually see some of these butterflies in summer, but they're not as common as some other species.  They're a personal favorite.  :D

This tiger swallowtail is feeding beside the barrel garden.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today I walked around the yard.  It's getting warm and moist.

There are bees everywhere.  In the wildflower garden, I saw a big bumblebee visiting every flower on this plant.  I saw a small black bee and a tiny metallic green one on the echinacea.  These are probably native species, some of which are rarely seen. All had large panniers of yellow pollen collected from the flowers.  :D  Beeeeeees!

EDIT 7/17/17: Round 2, I picked a few blackberries.

EDIT 7/17/17: Round 3, I planted some morning glories and watered plants.

EDIT 7/17/17: Round 4, I weeded about half of the septic garden.

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