Remember our corn with the pink hair? Part of the 3 Sisters gardens? Yeah.
Well, we picked a couple of ears a little while ago and though they looked fully matured on the outside, the kernels were still small and flavorless.
Ah well, lesson learned.
So we waited a bit longer, and watched, happily, as more ears grew to full size.
Earlier this week, on one of our morning meanderings through the yard, Bill decided to check an ear to see if the kernels were mature enough (you know, they cleaned their rooms without being asked, didn’t roll their eyes when we said stuff, made sound financial decisions) to be harvested. He peeled back the husk and pressed against one of the kernels with his thumb nail. It was not milky yet – the innards of the kernel – so the corn wasn’t ready. Oh well, what’s another day or two?
After today’s rain Bill and I went outside and took a look around the jungle garden. I took the usual pictures of vegetables and water droplets on leaves, and then, while prowling through the Squash Forest, I saw this little guy.
He didn’t mind at all as I moved the camera closer and closer. I took several pictures, and then left him to finish drying off.
We went camping for a few days last week – nearby; no big distant trips for us this summer – and Julia spotted this little guy while she and Alex were walking back from the port-a-johns. Alex carried it back to our camp site and Bill identified it as an Eastern Box Turtle, which is actually a tortoise – a land animal – so it has claws instead of flippers.
Bill and I were walking around the yard with our coffee, inspecting the plants and admiring the hard-working bees. Bill was slightly ahead of me (because I was looking for things to take pictures of) and so he saw this first:
This morning I went outside to check on The Web. (It’s become so important to me that it now deserves capitalization.) And, not surprisingly, there was no web – just some strands of silk left after all the rain we had yesterday.
I started to walk past my car and was surprised to feel a rather strong, slightly stretchy band of something across my forehead.
Bill and I were looking at a tomato plant in the front yard yesterday when this gorgeous little creature landed on my arm.
I froze in place, hoping it would stay a while, and sent Bill into the house to get my camera. Actually, what I said was “RUN IN THE HOUSE AND GET MY CAMERA!” I can be rather bossy. But only when the situation warrants.
Time for breakfast, little tadpoles! Are they still tadpoles once they get hind legs? Yep – I just looked it up. They remain tadpoles (or polliwogs) until they’ve got all their legs, their lungs have developed, and their tails are disappearing. Then they’re called froglets. I can’t wait til we can refer to them that way – it’s cute.
Here’s what we’ve been feeding them – lettuce. Bits of lettuce (organic, from the garden – nothing but the best for our tadpoles!) that have been frozen (to break down the cell structure) and then chopped up into little bits. They thaw at this point and get all mushy.
No, I’m not pregnant. Two is Enough in this house.
Two human charges, anyway.
But that doesn’t seem to apply to other forms of life.
We’ve got the three cats, as you know.
And Cricket-Catcher, the Cuban Knight Anole.
And a tank of assorted tetras and catfish and swordtails and other stuff down in the basement.
And we’ve had a series of Bettas (Siamese Fighting Fish) over the years. First Reddy, then ReddyII, then Bluey, and most recently (and briefly), Fire, who was overtaken by a rogue fungus of some kind. Very sad.
Well, two things have happened since I last wrote about the pets.
A few minutes ago I flipped over my Farmhouse Cheddar and put it back in the mold and under 20 lbs of weight. It sat under the weights all night - for a total of 12 hours, and will remain under 20 lbs for another 12 hours. Then tonight I peel off the muslin/cheesecloth and set the cheese on a wooden board to start the drying process.
I seem to be on a water fowl theme lately. A bit. Okay, just a tiny bit. But still.
This morning, this cold, drizzly, Opening Day of Little League Baseball pictures/ceremony/first game morning, Alex and I went to the police station, which is where team pictures were being taken.
We parked in the farther away parking lot and hurried through the damp air, across the parking lot and the wet grass, to the station's main entrance. Other little groups of parents and kids were arriving, too. Kids with their brand new team hats, their matching jerseys and matching socks, and their winter coats or rain coats on over everything.
Some friends of ours up the street mentioned they'd seen a fox running past our house early one morning. I can't remember if it was going toward or away from, but still. A fox! Wow.
And then, not too long ago, Bill and I were sitting in the living room one morning, having our morning coffee, and there it went! It had come from somewhere behind our house and was trotting down the road, probably (we think) toward the pond that's not far from our house.
Of course, I didn't have my camera handy, so no picture.
Then yesterday morning we both woke up very early, so we got up to enjoy the peace and quiet while the kids were still sleeping. We made coffee, and sat in our usual spots here in the living room, and all of a sudden, the fox went by again. Same direction - coming from somewhere behind the house and heading down our street. And THIS time it had a dead squirrel hanging from its mouth! So maybe that was breakfast, or maybe it's a she and she's got babies to feed. Who knows.
Oh, and again, no camera. You'd think I'd learn that I NEED that camera by me at all times.
Anyway, later in the morning while I was priming the walls in Julia's room and he was working on the hardwood floors, I kept peeking out the window, hoping to see the fox trotting by. I even had a camera upstairs, just in case. But nope. No fox. Guess it was past the fox's travel time.
But then at some OTHER point that morning, I was in the kitchen doing something...I think I was putting something in the fridge, and I saw the fox again! Trotting along the bit of yard between our driveway and our neighbor's house! I yelled something and grabbed my camera and took this one and only shot through the window over the sink. Didn't have time to focus or anything, but fortunately you can at least tell that it's some sort of animal.
Anyway, that's the fox story. Apparently some people a few streets behind us actually have chickens. So that could be part of the reason the fox is going this route. No idea.
I'm going to leave the pictures for later - first, the warning, for all my arachnophobic friends:
WARNING - THIS POST CONTAINS (AT THE VERY END, AFTER THE JUMP) PHOTOS OF BABY SPIDERS!! THEY ARE VERY CUTE, BUT I REALIZE THEY STILL MIGHT BE SCARY TO SOME OF YOU!! BUT THE STORY ITSELF IS NOT AT ALL SCARY!!! SO YOU COULD STILL READ THAT AND NOT LOOK AT THE PICTURES!!!! MAYBE I'LL POST A HARMLESS NON-SPIDER PHOTO FIRST, JUST SO YOU KNOW THE PICTURES ARE COMING (IF YOU'RE VIEWING THIS IN YOUR GOOGLE READER OR SOMETHING) AND AT THAT POINT YOU CAN DEPART!!!! OKAY??? GOOD!!!!
There. I did my good deed for the day. You can thank me later.
About a week ago I was heading out into the back yard one morning, and I don't even know what prompted me to look down between the gate post and one of the fence posts, but I did, and there it was: a strange clump of something caught in a sloppy looking spider web.
I looked closer and realized it wasn't an "it," it was a "them." LOTS of them. Teeny tiny baby garden spiders. All huddled together for safety and warmth. (Okay, I am anthropomorphosizing. It's fun.)
Naturally I scooted back inside to get my camera. Baby ANYTHING is worth a picture or twenty.
I took some pictures from the rather awkward angle of looking down and through the fence posts...and then I went around to the gate post side to see if the view would be better, and, lo and behold, there were MORE of them! This batch was hanging around on the side of the gate post that faces the other gate post - which meant I had a perfect up-close-and-annoying view of them.
There were one or two out of all zillion who had gotten brave and decided to leave the safety of their little groups. Tiny, tiny little perfectly formed spiders. I have never seen more adorable arachnids.
I took more pictures, and then I had to run out to the grocery store for something we needed right away. Before I left, I showed the babies to Alex.
You know how baby geese imprint on the first creature they see, and so if you are hanging around when they hatch, you are, to them, Mommy or Daddy?
Well Alex tends to imprint on baby animals. He sees them, and immediately becomes their guardian.
I love that boy.
Anyway, I showed him all the tiny babies and he was enthralled. And practical.
"I want to feed them! What if they're hungry?"
I told him they didn't need him to feed them - they were born knowing exactly what to do to get food (and besides, I didn't want him dropping enormous bugs into their tiny web and scaring them to death), but he could certainly watch them.
I got in the car and headed out, leaving Alex to tend his new pets.
Later, when I got back, Bill said Alex sat and watched the baby spiders for quite a while and was very protective.
"He even yelled at me - 'Dad! You're scaring them!' " Bill told me.