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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Notes on Transition through Spring

Hello again.

Found this dead moth in the planter 'neath the mailbox.  It's a white lined sphinx moth, Hyles lineata.    The larval food includes elm; could this moth have grown as a caterpillar way up in the elm canopy over the mailbox and planter of its ultimate resting place?  Or did it feed on the portulaca growing in someone else's yard.

Either way, it's spent adult body is now food for ants.  My last post on this species was almost exactly one year ago; I guess that means something.

Dried tulips from a funeral bouquet rest atop my rust-colored metal mesh table.  I didn't know tulips would hold like this, but must have suspected or dreamed they would hence: my attempt to dry them.

The putative rabbitbrush showed its first bud today or yesterday; I don't know since I've been kind of busy.  Anyway, soon it will be covered in bright yellow heads of flowers like last year and the year before that etc.  We had fair to middling success propagating this plant and so there are now more of them populating the parkway strip in the hopes of transforming it into New Mexico.

Notice one winged aphid there among the juicy grey leaves:  harbinger of infestation or forerunner of ladybirds?
Just one crane fly I've rustled from the underbrush this spring?  What the heck, it must be dry out.

I was remarking to the offspring very recently about how mourning doves have not been frequenting our estate in recent years.  So, this morning what do I hear but the squeaky wings of one dove landing atop our canopy.  Maybe a pair will decide it's safe to nest in the yard again.  Or maybe the damned unleashed and uncontrollable bird killing neighbor cats will keep them at bay.

Pelargonium carnosum blooms.  Enough said in a small way.

Wisteria blooms.  Enough said in a very large way.  In fact the neighbors wisteria is threatening to take over our middle-ground and we must retort with sharpened clippers.

I noticed a monarch caterpillar feeding in the milkweed a few days ago.  This morning as I passed by it was no longer feeding so my eyes began searching the nearby shrubbery and found it in the last stages of its final molt to pupa as the sun's path was approaching equinox.  Significant? or just fortuitous.

This article contains a lively discussion of the seasonal significance of the March equinox.  Bear in mind:  it's British, but peruse the comments for an interesting cross section of opinion, misinformation and surprisingly relevant insights into the annual occurrence.  Some folk still paying attention to celestial geometry.


Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear you have marauding cats too. My neighbor has 3 or 4 running loose and she insists that the poor kitties would be terribly upset if they were kept inside. I say you will be too when a coyote or bobcat gets them or if they suddenly mysteriously (ahem) disappear. Do you have any live traps you can use?

vanessa cardui said...

I am seriously considering the traps. For now, small rocks and hose water well aimed are my only defenses. Of course I can't be out there 24/7. It's surprising how many birds are killed by cats that "never leave" their owners' yards.