09/08/2022 nighttime only adventure

The Chef wanted to see what was out this week so we took the UV flashlight and checked. Here’s a spider!
It’s beige in regular light.
I had no idea there were hairless bee flies. This one came to the porch light. We turned off the porch light once we went inside so all the critters could go back to their business.
We found three glowing crab spiders. All of them were on insect pollinated flowers, so I wonder if they glow to blend in for pollinators who can see UV? Though on this Salvia greggii, presumably all the pollen is farther down the flower. But we found two on zinnias.
The green striped cushaw squash looks melted!
Escobaria missouriensis cactus spines glow!
There’s a lot of sunflower pollen glowing. You can see how much has fallen off!
This was my favorite picture of the glowing sunflower pollen: just the disk flowers glowing against the dark sky, leaves barely visible.

06/28/2022

The accidental shot of the week. I didn’t notice this bee kicking a wasp off its foot until I looked at the photo later!
The bumblebee is feeding on Echinacea purpurea.
Front of the bumblebee face is yellow.
A zoomed in shot. The short overall hairs, all yellow on thorax and head, smoky dark wings, and minimal color on abdomen have led me to think it may be Bombus griseocollis, the brown-belted bumblebee. I have entered the sighting and photos on Bumble Bee Watch’s community science website where they can verify or correct this identification. This would be our fourth bumblebee species for the yard if I have identified it correctly. 🤞🤞
I found a second partridge pea plant blooming in the “prairie”!
An all orangish solider beetle on a Rudbeckia flower.
Shackleton the cat enjoyed hiding in brown crinkly paper. He has such big eyes!
Paula is experimenting with kombucha fermentation thanks to a culture from Abby. This is the first sample and contains a garden strawberry for added flavor. It was good!
Briar helps us observe bees out front. I’ll do a separate post with evening bees if any pics turned out.
A baby moon and stars watermelon!!
A baby praying mantis on the mint!
Paula and I weeded the orange and red section of the rainbow garden. It has a lot of invasive grass in it.

06/15/2022 to bee or not to bee, plus “freeloader flies”

Before I left for work, I saw two bumblebees on the culinary sage flowers. Local bee expert José Montalva helped confirm the identification as Bombus bimaculatus (two spotted bumblebee) and sent me a very helpful article on the status of this and other bumblebee species in Oklahoma. It’s more of an eastern species so it is very cool to have them here on the edge of their range. This is also the third bumblebee species for our yard.
This was the best picture though not the best identification angle. Big pollen bags on her legs!
A little wasp on the purple coneflower.
On campus, I saw several Fiery Skippers on lantana.
Here’s another Fiery Skipper on campus lantana.
Back at home, the blue flax is thinking about blooming!
The Chef made egg drop soup with garden walking onions as a garnish.
Car ride!!
Saw a friend. Wow!
Little lumpy beetles are on a lot of flowers right now. They’re cute.
In the evening I saw one or two more two-spotted bumblebees, this time over on the perennial coreopsis.
I didn’t manage to get a good picture of the spots in the evening.
But I got some decent side views.
Lightning bug!
A paper wasp.
An immature assassin bug eating some sort of probable pentatomid bug.  Zoom in though and you’ll see several kinds of flies!!  I’m not sure, but I think they might be some kind of kleptoparasitic fly that steals nibbles from bigger predators.

Marigold for Mom and Dad

A few marigolds are sprouting in Mom and Dad’s container garden.
Went for after-dinner walk and Gracie was feeling alright!
A bumblebee on Salvia greggii.
Blue stars are blooming!
These bluestars haven’t opened yet. This garden patch was transplanted from a patch up our hill a long time ago, to Mom and Dad’s garden. This is where mine in Norman are from.

Warm day garden activities

We’re watering and fertilizing two straw bales to become potato growing sites.  The one that we’ve watered and covered with plastic to keep warm is growing straw. At least it’s not got herbicides on it!!
We trimmed the Salvia greggii back for bushiness and spring flowering. We also did the winter pruning for both new and old fruit trees but I forgot to take before and after pictures.
Several seeds are sprouting in the hoops.  If you can zoom in, you may see the two oil traps for earwigs.  It is leftover fryer oil so it should excite their senses. We also planted two varieties of lettuce seeds we forgot before, and sprinkled leaves from the Salvia branches on the idea they might repulse earwigs. Finally, a few seeds are already up: purple lady bok choy, lacinato/dinosaur kale, Scotch blue curled kale, and French breakfast radish.
The daffodils I moved from along the metal edging to among the Salvias are coming up! Hopefully the trim will also make these more visible if they end up blooming. They were previously overcrowded and in the shade, so maybe out here they’ll actually bloom.

Tuesday evening

A milkweed beetle!! Very exciting! It’s sitting on a tepary bean though, silly friend.
Salvia greggii are doing amazing right now.
“landlocked gumbo” says the Chef. Okra, mini bell pepper, tam jalapeño pepper, and moss curled parsley all from garden.

Sort of a rainbow

‘Diane’ purple Salvia greggii and purple moss verbena (non native, bought it by mistake), mealy blue sage, ‘Fordham giant’ Swiss Chard and lacinato kale for green, marigolds for yellow (but they turned out more orange…), Linnaeus burning embers marigolds for orange, and ‘Will Rogers’ zinnias for red. Needs some work on colors, but not bad for a start!