Raven’s nest

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I was running around the yard, hurrying to get a little yard work done in the five minutes we didn’t have rain when I noticed this nest in the finally bare trees around the house. I initially thought it was a crow’s nest, but when I thought about it, it’s probably a raven’s nest. Raven’s have had a nest in that for a while now. On several occasions I’ve heard a knocking sound that I’m pretty sure is part of a raven’s vocabulary, but not a crow’s. I’ll have to keep an eye on it, see what happens this year.

Stop here

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I’ve come to the conclusion that the boston ivy that covers most of the patio wall has to go. It’s just too hot for it now. It never really looks good except in early spring. Then the weather heats up all the leaves burn and I’m left with a wall of toast. So I’ve been pulling it down, a few feet at a time. It’s easier on me than trying to do the whole wall at once and it gives the local wildlife a chance to move to a new location. I was out trimming this weekend when I found my stopping point. A mantid egg case. Between that and the fact that the trash was full, a good place to stop.

Butterfly weed

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The monarch larvae have stripped this plant of all but a few flowers and a couple of seed pods. The aphids have moved in. I’d never seen aphids in any other color but green until I started growing butterfly weed. Normally I just wipe the aphids off using my gloved hands, but I could see that there are a couple of aphid predators on this plant so I left it alone. I’m going to cut the stem back later. Between now and then I’ll keep an eye on this group of aphids and if it gets too big I’ll manually reduce it.

Banner Year in Butterflies

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I was sitting on the patio, taking advantage of the wonderful weather we were having, when I looked at the passion flower vine and thought that it looked a little spiky. I got up to take a closer look and found that it wasn’t the vine that was spiky. This one vine had six gulf fritillary larvae on it.

After the drought and the severe cutbacks in landscape watering the bugs finally have something to eat again and if the number of caterpillars in my yard are any indication, it’s going to be a banner year for butterflies.

Freaks me out

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The eyes really freak me out. That and every time I think I’ve found them all I find another one. My poor tomato plant is practically denuded. That has not, fortunately, prevented it from producing a prodigious quantity of tomatoes. I’m hoping to actually get some of them since our mouse population has been discouraged by feline intervention.

Cut-rate Pirate with a Pigeon

The pigeon is getting more pigeon-y every day. On Friday evening we left him on the patio thinking “A little more open sky; maybe he’ll fly away.” And fly he did, right over the roof and back into the atrium. When we’re out on the porch, he often perches on the back of my chair. My husband says I look like a cut-rate pirate.

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I’ve started opening the front door and the atrium door when we go out on the patio and he comes out with us. On Sunday he took a short fly around the neighborhood. This morning he was making adult pigeon sounds in addition to the usual squeaks. I’m still hoping that he’ll get brave enough to fly away.

After the heat wave last week I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to move a lot of my plants. Several things got crisped. The leaves on my<a href="http://Haemanthus albifilos” target=”_blank”>Haemanthus albifilos are not looking to good at all. Everything gets stressed when it’s 112 degrees out. My leaves persian shield, which were just starting to sprout, burned to a crisp. I don’t know if it’s going to recover. That one already is in the atrium. The only more sheltered place I can put it is in the house, and I’m horrible at house plants. My Stromanthe sanguinea is looking extra crispy, too. It’s going to go into the atrium, too. The whole atrium needs rearranging. And cleaning out the dead leaves would be ago idea. Aaannnd there it goes again. The tasks propagate faster than the plants do.