Monday, September 30, 2013

Golden fields

As I was mowing Friday evening, I couldn't help noticing how beautiful the fields looked in the soon-to-be-setting sun.

Remember this field from just over a month ago?

This is it now:

It's ripening fast...

... and will soon be ready for harvest.

There are a lot of soybean fields in various stages of maturity around the countryside. We have some that are about ready to combine, where others, like this one, were planted later and have a ways to go yet. But they'll be changing fast.

Incidentally, in case you wondered (I'm sure you all did)... this is what I mow with:

I figured as long as I'd stopped and had the camera out, I'd snap a pic of it, too. It's kind of a monster machine, and I love it... it covers a lot of ground in a hurry!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Little things 2

Here's a little flower:

Actually it's a weed, I guess. It grows wild in the lawn, usually in little clumps, like this:

See it next to my fingers:

Yep, VERY little! Also quite pretty, if you look closely enough to see them. I even saw some that had a slight purple tinge to them.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Little things

I took a few photos of some very little things the other day. This is the first installment.

Know what this is?

Nope... it's not a tomato. You need to consider the plant it's next to. That's purslane, which grows close to the ground and doesn't get very big.

Here's another perspective... next to my fingers:

Yep, VERY little! Now do you know what it is?

Here's another one, on its plant of origin:

If you guessed an asparagus seed pod, you are correct. Here's another one:

Rather pretty, aren't they?

While I was taking those pics, I noticed something else that was very small and similar-looking:

That's a spotted asparagus beetle. I think it's a bit late in the season for them. I should've picked him off and smooshed him, but I never even gave it a thought at the time. He made for a nice photo, though, didn't he?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I love fall!

From sunrise...

... to sunset...

... fall is beautiful! It's my favorite time of year, for sure.

(The photos are actually in reverse chronological order. The bottom one was from Monday evening, and the top yesterday morning.)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

White-lined sphinx moth chrysalis

My very hungry caterpillar finally went underground to do his metamorphosis! It's been kind of a long story, though. Last week Tuesday, at about 3 inches long, he stopped eating, and he seemed very restless, crawling all around in the jar, apparently looking for the best place to do his thing.

He was so active, in fact, that he caught Josie's attention while Courtney and I were in the basement, and she tipped the jar off the windowsill into the kitchen sink. We heard a 'clunk' upstairs, and then a 'thump' of Josie jumping down from somewhere up high. When we went up to investigate, the jar was on its side in the sink. BAD Josie!! But it appeared that no harm was done, and we put the jar into a closed room for safekeeping when we left the kitchen again.

By evening, I'd seen the caterpillar pushing dirt back and forth with his upper body, as his way of digging. But he was never satisfied, and by the time we went to bed, he was still on top of the dirt. Wednesday morning, however, he was gone. Looking very closely, I could see just a bit of his green, but by the time I got outside into better light with the camera, he had completely disappeared.

I removed all the purslane, and in doing so, I also pulled out what had gotten covered with dirt when the jar fell into the sink (I sure didn't want to start a crop of that weed growing in the jar!). Apparently when I did that, though, it disturbed the caterpillar or messed up his little "cavern", and later in the day I was very surprised to see him back on top of the dirt crawling around again... uh oh!

So the poor thing had to start all over again. Until I saw a YouTube video of one digging in some desert sand, I hadn't realized that they need a cave-like hole with some room to move around a bit. It's a lot of work for a worm to dig a hole like that! This little guy worked at it for a couple of days this time. It seemed every time he'd push some dirt aside, more would fall back into his hole. Maybe by then it was too dry or something. I did spritz a little water in there, hoping it would help. His first hole may have been helped by the purslane under some of the dirt, holding it up. Too bad I messed it up for him.

He finally got the job done... or good enough, anyway. By Friday morning, he was settled into a hole in the dirt and had sort of changed shape, although he was still green. The hole was still open at the top, but I guess he'd given up on completely covering himself... or maybe his time was just up and he had to quit. It was convenient for me, though, because I could see what was going on.

See below how he's sort of squished together, kind of like someone squeezed an accordian? I think he went from 3 inches long to less than 2 inches.

I didn't know how long it would take for him to change into a chrysalis. I thought it'd probably be about a day, like it takes for monarch caterpillars. So I waited, checking often during the day.

And I waited! One day... two days... I was beginning to wonder if something was wrong, but if I disturbed him a bit, he wiggled, so I assumed all was still well.

Finally yesterday morning, after 3 days, I checked once again, and I found this!

He'd finally done it overnight!

By last evening, the chrysalis had turned more of a brown color, which is normal.

Now we wait. I've read that it can take 10-14 days for him to come out as a moth... or being this late in the season, he might stay in there all winter. Time will tell, I guess. I'll let you know if/when anything happens!

Monday, September 23, 2013


As I was heading out to feed the cats Saturday evening, I discovered Snuggles up in a tree.

He doesn't look too happy, does he?

The reason for that dour look is his nemesis, pictured below, who had chased him up there.

That's Tommy. Or at least that's what I call him. He's not my cat, although he's there more often than not at feeding time. I think he likes not only my cat food but also my female cats, and I believe he's the father of most of my kittens (likely even of Snuggles, too). He's a bit afraid of me and keeps his distance, but thanks to camera zoom, I got a shot of him under some machinery, waiting for me to leave so he could steal some supper.

I have to say, Snuggles is a pretty brave boy.  All of my other adult tomcats have eventually gotten run off, probably by Tommy. That's just how it works with cats. But Snuggles, who is I think 2 years old, has remained and fought his battles, although he's looked pretty beat up at times. I'm proud of him. :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Unusual photo

This photo is unusual for a couple of reasons. First of all, because it's of me. I don't like to post pictures of myself. But I'm running out of photos again. Anyway, this is how I often look when I'm outdoors in the summertime. That's my gardening/mowing hat. Hey, it might not be the most attractive, but it does protect from the sun! It also protected my head from a bird dropping one day when I stepped into the machine shed. Ick.

Secondly, it's just plain weird. It looks like a double exposure or something, right? It's not. Can you figure it out?

Update:  Well, since the "unusualness" was figured out right away (see comments), I thought I might as well tell you about it. I was outside on our deck hoping for some nice hummingbird shots. Since the birds didn't come, I was just messing with the camera and noticed my reflection so snapped a silly pic. When I got it into the computer, I noticed how weird it looked with the kitchen window showing "behind" me and the evergreen trees mixed in with the trees that actually were behind me. I was a bit confused at first about the circles by my shoulder there, but then I realized it was the thermostat on the living room wall. If you look closely, you can also see a lamp "over" the birdbath. Definitely an unusual photo. :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Courtney and I had a really lucky day yesterday! Remember those new kittens I mentioned in yesterday's post? We walked out to the barn to see if we could get even a peek at them, but they weren't there. So we headed to the machine shed to visit the other kittens. Much to our surprise, the new kittens were there, too! Luckily, I had brought the old camera along (because it's faster, without all the focusing) just in case.

I'd gotten ahold of this little guy the first time I saw him a couple days ago, the only reason for that being his eyes were stuck shut and he couldn't see me coming:

I was able to treat his eyes while I held him. Looks like the treatment worked, as his eyes appeared to be fine yesterday. He was way back in the dark part of the shed, so I had to zoom in a lot, and the pics turned out really dark even with the flash, but I edited them a little, and at least you can see his lovely markings:

Here's one of his siblings, who happened to be a bit closer and braver:

I managed to get a pretty good shot of him/her:

Isn't that just the most adorable little thing EVER?!! I couldn't believe how cute it is!

There was another one, black-and-white, but it quickly ran and hid, and we didn't see it again. This is Dots, who must be their mother, since she was also out there at the time:

I also got a nice pic of Bitsy... and Bratman... and Climber's head... and others' body parts, including Courtney's hand and knee. :)

I believe my current kitten count is now an even dozen. Unfortunately, two of the adults are obviously pregnant again. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The current crew

This is my current crew of kittens... well, most of them, anyway. Believe it or not, they're even all named! Clockwise from the top, starting with the little pale funny-marked one... Annabelle, Scamp, Climber, Pete the Cat, Bitsy, Rascal, Spotty.

There was one more out there, but he prefers sitting on laps to eating kitten food. And he's quite determined, too... he leaps from the ground and goes right up your leg. I have many puncture marks in my legs. :( His name was Batman (because of the bat wings over his ears), but yesterday we revised it to Bratman. Courtney brought her camera yesterday, so she was taking pics at the same time as I was. She had a "helper"... none other than Bratman himself!

The orange guy below wasn't out there at the time. His name is O.J. They crack me up drinking out of the birdbath. You'd think I didn't give them water with their food.

So those are the regulars (not counting the 10 adults). However, a new kitten showed up a few days ago. It was the cutest little Siamese-looking one I've ever seen! He was also very wild, and was gone again the next day. I don't even know who he belongs to, although it has to be Dots or Princess, who both appear to be feeding kittens but have never brought them around for me to see. Grandpa since saw that little one and two siblings (one that matched it, and one black-and-white) in the feed room by the cattle shed, and I went out and saw them the next morning, but they sure disappear in a hurry! Do you think I have enough cats? Yikes!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I picked a bunch of bell peppers yesterday, some to stuff for supper and the rest to chop and freeze. There are at least this many again left in the garden. Aargh... anybody (local) need peppers?

I cut the top off the first one, and I found a surprise inside! What is going on here?

How strange. I've never had a pepper like this before. Have you?

It's like it was trying to grow two more peppers inside! Or something.

Would you call that a pregnant pepper???

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Ever heard of the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Surely you have. If not, it's a very cute children's book about a very.... well, you got it.

That seems to be what I have! No, not the book... the caterpillar it tells about. He certainly has been hungrily eating his way through a LOT of purslane! Want to see how big he is now? Here he was on Wednesday:

And here on Saturday:

That's a nylon stocking at the top of the jar. I had the jar lid, with holes drilled in it, on for a while, but the sides of the jar got fogged up, and I was afraid it was too moist and things might get moldy, so I did the stocking thing. It took care of the moisture problem, plus now I can see him from the top, too, through the nylon.

Here are the close-ups, for you caterpillar lovers (are there any of you out there? heehee). Wednesday:


Just look at how much of that jar he takes up now! I'm wondering if I'm going to have to make him a bigger home. I didn't know he'd get that big. The moths really aren't so very big.

I'm thinking I should've left him in the garden, to clean up the purslane without my having to pick it for him! Ha! Actually, what I'm really thinking is: What would've happened to him if I hadn't brought him inside? I can't imagine him surviving out there.

Friday, September 13, 2013

More pretties

As long as I had the camera out taking pics of the weeds, dirt, etc., for my last post, I thought I'd snap some pretty ones while I was at it. I always love the moss roses in their many colors. Here are a few of them. This first pic sorta got photo-bombed. Those white streaks you can see are whiskers. I had so much "help". :)

My sedum plant bush in the wildflower bed is becoming so pretty now:

Behind the sedum are a few black-eyed susans still blooming.

I've pulled out pretty much everything else, as it was done blooming and going to seed. I'd like to dig up the whole bed except for the perennial sedum and BES's and plant new seeds next year... or even yet this fall. We'll see if I get that done. Then I could have some new kinds of flowers to show you instead of just the same ol' same ol'.