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.

Wild Poinsettia (Euphorbia sp.)

The Wild Poinsettia is really buzzing with bees and other tiny friends lately over the past few days! It’s a very enthusiastic unsolicited volunteer but it seems to get a lot of customers now that the weather is cooling down into the 80s and 90s. It is a native plant and hosts also the very fun Euphorbia bug which has little pompoms on its antennae.

A tiny bee.
An Eastern tailed-blue
An immature euphorbia bug
A potter wasp
A sweat bee
A jumping spider hoping to snack on a visitor to the Euphorbia!

09/02/2022 Y A Y

As the sign says, it’s our one rain lily! I planted it this spring from the NPSOT plant sale. Norman got 1.4″ rain yesterday.
The rain lily was beautiful, and now home for a spider building its web from the lily flower to the ground.

08/14/2022 straw bale potatoes

We lifted and sorted through our two straw bales of potatoes since the leaves were all eaten off by blister beetles. Upon moving the bales, we found eight bess beetles
One fast isopod
A second fast isopod
Three baby house mice
And one click beetle. This brings us to a total of 14 photographed animals plus a whole nest of ants and a small earwig that got away.
Compare this to our glorious harvest: ten potatoes from two bales. Paula is researching where we went wrong. I feel like maybe we should just go back to growing them in soil. (These experiments were my idea so I’m not blaming anyone else.). At least this year’s harvest is safer than last year’s crop of black widow spiders??

07/31/2022 garden and neighborhood

A Texas dandelion was open in the backyard prairie after a refreshing 1/10th inch of rain!
Waaaaalk plzzzzzz
We stopped to look at the vegetables on the way out to walk and this magnificent little jumping spider was on guard!
On our walk today, near the sidewalk there’s some unmowed area near a creek. Around this beautiful and native silver leaf nightshade you can see a lot of non native and invasive Johnson grass.
An American bumblebee was visiting the nightshade.
It has a lovely flower. Mom has one that volunteered in her garden area.
The plant has pretty flowers as it crept onto the sidewalk, but turned out to be a non native invasive species called Tribulus terrestris.

06/23/2022

The second Coryphantha sulcata seedling seems to have died, but the original is getting longer.
Another two spotted bumblebee (Bombus bimaculatus) visited the mealy blue sage today!
There was only one but I took a lot of angles. You can see the two spots if you zoom in.
In flight you get the best view of spots.
I liked the pollinating wasp zooming through in this picture.
Baby mantis!
I believe this is a baby red yucca, as that’s what I planted here, and it seems too sturdy to be grass.
A big ol mydas fly in the backyard!!
The native clematis likes its new sunnier spot about 20 ft to the west. It already has two or three new leaves!
I weeded the strawberry/honey berry bed but got called in for dinner when there was still a patch left. Maybe tomorrow.
I found a second pale zig zaggy spider in the backyard. Looking at it closer, I think it’s the wrong pattern and shape for Argiope aurantica, the usual banana spider.
Filling up the bird bath intrigued the dog.
African blue basil has flowers!
One of the many marigolds in the raised beds (we mixed the old seedheads and plants in over the winter) is beginning to flower!
The corn is going to town! A vaquero bean is flowering!
A fine little bell pepper!!
Cooling off after gardening with the mysterious Paper Protozoan. Note the hairy flagellum sticking out.

06/11/2022

The Chef made no bake lemon curd/ cheesecake layered parfaits with homemade whipped cream, farm share blueberries, and homemade granola for a garden tour.
Prepared the night before in the fridge.
Perfect for the tropically humid day.
A wasp carrying a caterpillar
Spittlebug
Hello Tuqu
This young man.
Two Texas dandelions from home! White specks are elderberry petals.
Bee fly
Possibly a baby Grindelia leaf??
A second Coryphantha sulcata seedling came up!!!!!
Lace bug (Tineidae) on giant ragweed leaf.
Nobody home…
…except for this crab spider!
My keeled treehoppers have a big family!!
Soooo manyyyyyy
Shackleton and Briar disagree about social distancing.
A nice jumping spider.
It’s on a houseplant that is outside for the summer.

06/05/2022 indoor/outdoor

I learned today that spiderworts are self-incompatible, so these buds didn’t have any seeds in them. Oh well. It was worth a try! Thanks Mom for sending and prompting me to look this up! It explains why we only have the one. 🙃
I repotted the aloe vera (not shown) and added some more dirt and another succulent to this pot, which lives inside in the entryway shelf.
Milkweed beetle! It’s standing on a dayflower and moving over to a nightshade, though.
Ashy Sunflower yet lives!!
Linum rigidum from home still blooming. It’s annual so I hope it seeds!
A different jumping spider.
A lightning bug resting on a native poinsettia (Euphorbia) leaf.

06/04/2022 unexpected excitement

Saw a great little jumping spider on the ironweed leaves.
An interesting bee or velvet ant male or something, on white avens leaf. It was one of the nervous kinds who keeps flicking their wings constantly.
The rain of the last few days prompted the Missouri fluttermill primrose to bloom again!
The Chef and I cleared leaves off the patio. In several places they were up against the wood siding which is not great as they are essentially composting. Here Briar holds down a leaf pile for us. We leave the leaves in the rest of the yard as that is best for a healthy woodland environment!
The worst offending area of leaf collection next to the house. This is after I pulled out the bulk of leaves. Our compost pile should be happy now!
An extremely tiny planthopper that the Chef found on the outdoor work bench.
The last round of tepary beans I planted are coming up.
The big thrill of the day… The horse crippler cactus in the rock garden has bloomed!!!! I imagine this means it’s either happy here or thinks it’s about to die. Hopefully the former. Since I just planted it this spring I wasn’t expecting it, and its flower bud was not obvious, or grew in really fast the last few days when I wasn’t looking with the rain.