Sunday, May 31, 2009

Michael Ray's personal best

Late afternoon yesterday, I heard the turtles hard at work trying to ram their barricade down. Hours of this went by and I was feeling smug that I had finally created the sturdiest barricade ever because those two never let up and hours later, it was still standing. 

And so this morning, stepping outside to start getting my garden together (a very late start this year for some reason), I saw this immediately...can you see him? 

Oh, there he is...Michael Ray...and he has green all over his face so I'm assuming he's been chomping on grass. Could be a hosta though....could be a lot of things...

I don't think he's ever knocked down a barricade so early in the year. It was hot yesterday for the first time this year. And when a turtle gets hot, a turtle gets going and sometimes can't stop.

How do I punish such behavior from him? Spank him? His body is a tank. Scold him? He has no ears. Put him in a timeout? He'd probably like that...or he would knock the walls down. Nothing to do but give him his breakfast and acknowledge that he had won the battle (again) and that he was the man.

Mmmmm...tomatoes taste so much better than grass (or hosta, or peony or whatever he had been chomping on)...
And then he was off.

Back to the area with the knocked down barricade.

A turtle has to have his freedom if only to be able to choose for himself that the place you want to keep him, is the place he wants to be too.

By the way, Cathy Jean was hunkered down under what was left of the peony shrubs, looking a little guilty but I might be imagining that.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Back to the city...

...where you can also find some wild things, like this voodoo lily. 

The voodoo lily bulbs usually bloom in my basement in February or March but for some reason didn't get around to it this year until late April and May. They're the oddest things to see bloom. You don't plant them. You just let the bulbs sit on a table or windowsill and over a period of a week or so, watch the "flower" develop and then open. You could do that, and I have done that...once. The thing is, when the "flower" is fully open, it smells like rotting meat (but just for a day). That's why I leave them in the basement until it's time to plant them outdoors.

Once the bloom dies down and the bulb is planted, one huge frond of leaves spirals out from a spotted green stalk. I usually have two whiskey barrels full of them. Definitely an interesting thing in the garden.

And this little picture-winged fly who was was in the area, seems to be the perfect companion for the voodoo lily. He's got that look of the extra weird to him too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oh, more country stuff...

When we looked in the creek, we saw a big toad sitting on a big flat rock taking in as much sun as he could. But by the time I got my camera out, he was gone. And forget about even trying to photograph all those little black frogs that were hopping around in my peripheral vision. But I did find one the creek.....thinking he had escaped from being photographed and I have to say, he did a pretty good job.

There were a lot of dead crayfish in the creek and beside every one of them was one detached claw. What the...? Maybe there was an all out war with those crayfish and every one of them lost a claw in the battle over who knows what but maybe.....someone else was responsible...

Meg pointed to a little wasp that looked like she was riding a galloping caterpillar. The wasp straddled the caterpillar while she was carrying it so it looked like she was surfing on a big green surfboard. When she got to a step in the concrete, she just threw herself over and continued surfing across the concrete to the other side. She was FAST. 

I tried to get a picture of her but when she saw me following her, she dropped the caterpillar and got defensive. Another wasp (same kind, a thread-waisted wasp) tried to grab the caterpillar and so I backed off a little bit and very quickly, the other wasp did too. Too much going on for all three of us.

And in a few seconds that wasp hopped that caterpillar again and was gone. It reminded me of one of those Pasley sisters stories.  Oh good grief, I really do live to entomologize. Just like those silly Victorian girls.

It was getting late so we headed off to Lowe's because Sarah got an excellent kiwi colored outdoor umbrella there, and so Meg and I had to get one too. I like to shop at this particular Lowe's because somewhere in the area are peacocks and there is always at least one who has something to say.

Meg said there was a miniature horse farm nearby so we went looking for that after we got our umbrellas. It was starting to get dark so taking photos was a little hard (and probably hard on the horse's eyes too).

Oh they were cute. Did they look at me or even face me? No. Did they follow Meg everywhere she went? Yes, yes they did. She definitely has that Pied Piper thing going on with her.

We played with their bangs because they were extra long and covered their eyes. Meg said this horse looked like Rod Stewart but I rearranged the hair a bit and made it more Tina Turner. Essentially the same thing, I guess.

But you know, from this angle...that horse kind of looked like Meg.

Oh, there was way too much mane-icuring getting done. Shake it out rock star.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Trying to stay civilized

My roses are blooming. My neighbor's peonies are blooming. 

I would have peonies in bloom too if these two had not stomped on them so much last year. I'm just happy to have the poor plants make one more unexpected reappearance this year. I don't think I'll ever see flowers on them again because of the you know who two...

But I have a lot of roses.

A lot. I forgot I even had this one.

And my jasmine tree is blooming, blooming, blooming. You can tell how toxic-ly sweet the scent is just by looking at the waxiness of the flowers. The jasmine scent is so thick, it escapes the backyard.

But as nice as it is to be surrounded by all this civilized and cultivated beauty, I missed the country. So I was off....

Everything starts to get bigger once you leave the city. Like the sky...

...and the clouds...

...and the spiders!

Good grief. This was an enormous spider. I had never seen a wolf spider before. But as big and wild as he was, he was still civilized enough to let me take a few pictures of him.

And I did miss hanging out with my new civilized country friend who enjoys roaming the countryside and discovering new things and people and animals and insects as much as I do. 

It's just too hard to stay away when you're so smitten.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting to "nose" you

After tromping through the forest with the retriever mix and the two black dogs, the retriever mix wanted her two new friends to meet a dog she knew...

Maybe she lived with this dog, maybe it was just a friend. All I know is that after spending an afternoon with her, she is one friendly dog who really gets around. 

The two black dogs were unsure about this. I have a feeling they were told they were not allowed to cross streets so this required a lot of thinking and testing. 

...and reassurance.

That other dog  got impatient and just took it upon himself to cross over to their side. 

And then back again. Okay, that street crossing thing could be done. They had just seen it with their own eyes.

And off they went.

Looks like everyone "nose" each other now. All because of Miss Social Retriever. And if you don't "nose" her yet?

She'll come over and get ya.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Driving in the country again...

On Saturday, Meg and I went driving in the country again and stomped some more in the tick infested, poison ivy ridden countryside (oh yeah, poison sumac too) but it was way too beautiful to let things like that stop us. 

And I have got to get a more powerful camera soon because it was hard to grab pictures of skinks...

...and little green frogs, both of whom bolted away pretty fast as soon as they saw what I was up to...

But then we were joined by a very sweet country dog...

...who turned out to be a much easier subject to photograph because unlike the reptiles and amphibians, she moved towards us, not away.

She also turned out to be an excellent guide/companion while we explored a forest.

Hmmm...I'm not sure about the "guide" part because we all got lost together. Our new friend discovered two new dogs when we finally got to an area where we could see daylight. I don't think she had ever met these two dogs before because there was a lot of noise coming from the three of them while they were working things out.  Our guide, being part retriever, eventually "retrieved" her two new dogfriends from the other side of the creek. Meg and I now had three dogs to guide us. Meg said we were the Pied Pipers of dogs.

So off we went and there was lots of tumbling and muzzle grabbing and running and rolling, and maybe a few pets... 

It was a fun day for everyone...

...probably for the ticks too (errrrgh, nasty things).

Monday, May 11, 2009

Driving in the country

On Saturday, Meg and I went driving around eastern Kansas to look at land, just for the fun of it. Meg says this is a Sears-Roebuck house. I looked it up and I think it might be the Chelsea house plan but I'm not sure. Behind and around the house were signs alerting the public that a development would be built there soon. :-/

We drove past the schoolhouse I looked at last year. It looked small to me this time around.

Because once you start looking at land for fun, why not look at 70 acres up for auction? Can you imagine this as your backyard? As far as you can see, all yours.

We drove past a farm that had one of  everything. A goat, a llama, a donkey, a cow, a dog...

...and one loose goose.

She had just laid an egg and she was PROUD. We were asked if we wanted some of the eggs but we said no and kept driving. Meg said that yard was like seeing half of Noah's ark.

And so we continued driving.....for hours. 

There were spots that were absolutely gorgeous (and for sale)...

...and then there were those unique country inventions you don't see in the city...well, not that often...

Meg said that you're supposed to wave to everyone you see in the country and when we did, people really did wave back. We saw cats walking single file across paved roads, dogs walking side by side on paved roads, I think we even saw a toddler and his dog playing on a paved road! Things were extraordinarily relaxed Green was everywhere. And all that green was mowed. We timed our adventure on the perfect weekend and I wish I could have had my parrot Eddie in the backseat to join in our conversation. All we could say for the four hours of driving was "pretty." I have never said that word so much in my life. 

We ended the day at the Dairy Queen and we realized both of us were OLD because dang, it was hard to straighten up after all that driving in the countryside of prettiness.