Tuesday, May 26, 2009
While this is happening here in Austin, 2000 miles away my ex-husband is hosting a robin's nest in the ficus tree on his back porch. She's not camera shy as you can see.
Mom picks the perfect spot
And lays her eggs
She patiently broods
The babies are here!
First meal from mom.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Yesterday I went to the Natural Gardener and bought plants for my Hell Strip (as Cheryl calls it). I thought I might put them out today but it's looking more like it will happen tomorrow. At the Natural Gardener I bought a new copy of an old book I had years ago - Worms Eat My Garbage. I came home and started flipping thru it and was inspired to sort thru my worm compost bin. I laid out some clear plastic and dumped the contents of the bin on it. Then I separated the black pile of compost into about a dozen piles. The worms wriggled down to the bottom of each pile to escape the light. I sorted thru those piles for about an hour and a half. Here is one (yes, only one) pile of worms I scooped up for a photo op.
Yikes! I took the compost they had created and put some of it in a bed where I put out the three tomato plants that my friend Marie had given me. The rest will have a similar fate in a few days as I make new beds. Then I got the bin ready for the worms to do their work by layering shredded newspaper and topsoil and tossing a fresh pile of peach skins for them to start working on.
And as if that wasn't enough creepy fun for one weekend, I found this when I was digging to prep the bed for tomatoes. This is the second one of these I've found in the yard. I've gotta' find out what they are. But that's for later because my son is taking me to see Star Trek - the new movie. Nature later, movie now.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Devil's shoestring. Not an invasive plant.
Gloria trying to scale a rock wall. Ha!
Theresa and Gloria identifying a plant
Orange mushrooms in the leaf litter
After we completed our survey, I drove home and had a quick lunch, shower, and 20 min power nap. Then it was off to the Wildflower Center for an afternoon of vegetation surveying on their research plots. The plots we surveyed were quite a distance from the center so we got to ride on “gators”, the motorized Kawasaki 4 wheelers they use to get around out there. The ride to and fro was a delight. Imagine perfect weather, tall stands of purple three awn grasses bent over in the breeze, spots of color everywhere from the blooming wildflowers, all accented with bright yellow prickly pear blooms. There were just a handful of us and we were all ready to start our weekends so we got down to business and surveyed our plots. I’m pretty sure I can now distinguish these grasses: purple three awn, spear grass, love grass, fall witch grass, and side oats gramma. Plus the “bad” grasses like King Ranch Bluestem, Johnson grass, and rescue grass.
My ride out to the research plot - one of the gators
The real experts return from the field - Dick and Jeannine (foreground) work at WFC and seem to know everything - but in a nice way.