Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New to Me

I've only been observing monarch caterpillars for a few years, and this is the first time I've witnessed one eating a seedpod.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

And Then There Were Two

Today, after looking for the lone monarch caterpillar I found on one of the butterfly weeds, Asclepias tuberosa (and finding him apparently gone on his "walkabout"), I discovered a second, smaller one on another plant across the yard.  Here's hoping I find even more on the other milkweeds I have.


Yesterday, when observing the only monarch caterpillar I'd found this year, it became clear to me how the white dots on a black background that is found on the adult monarch butterfly is also found on the larvae.

...and the white spots on the black body of the adult (from a photo I took last year).

More Than it Appears (part 2)

What else was going on in the picture:

This is a crab spider that was featured in the photo I posted earlier...with the bee it had caught.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

More Than it Appears

I spotted what seems to be a lone monarch caterpillar again today.  I'm still hoping there are more, but for now it is the only one I saw.  However, when taking the picture, I noticed there are three arthropods in the photo.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Their Getting So Big!

I'm up to seven frogs now...and some of them have gotten pretty big.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Still Plugging Away

My schedule, the heat and humidity, rain, and an occasional lack of motivation have kept me from working on the pond and streambed project.  Today, after waking up too early and going for my usual walk, I began digging a shallow trench for the future stream.

Some sneak peeks:

The uppermost pond is built at the edge of a slope...not the most natural place for a pond.  Throughout my planning, I've struggled with how best to make this look like a naturally occurring pond.  Building up the slope seems pretty unrealistic to me...and, after sitting at the edge of the pond on the slope side, I've realized there is a wonderful benefit to having the slope there.  I can sit right at the water's edge without sitting on ground level.  This also allows for great chances for some good photos.

So, I think I've got a fairly good plan on how to incorporate rocks on the slope which will lend a more natural look while providing a natural "steps" which will allow me access to the water's edge.  After moving my mini-boulder and some other large rocks, I decided to stop and study the area some more.  This is a long-term project, but I'm happy to be making progress.

Hopefully, no more adjustments will be needed on these rocks, however, after studying it, I may very well have to rework them.  Either way, a lot more will have to be added to make this as I envision it:

Friday, August 10, 2012


Today, after at least a month of looking for any signs of monarch butterfly caterpillars with no luck, I spotted one while not even looking.  I've seen an adult monarch at the flowers and flitting around the butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) for weeks now.  So, I had high hopes for eggs or larvae.

I did a cursory look for more, but didn't see any...but that doesn't mean they aren't there.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It's a Frog's Life

In coming up with a title, I figured what a peasant idyllic scene this seemed to me.  What a great way to spend a summer's morning.  Playing with an idiom I've heard, but apparently never understood, I did an internet search...to make sure I was using it correctly.  Being part of the under 50 crowd, I guess I've got it all wrong:  It's a Dog's Life  ( <== click on the link to see what I mean.  Who'd have thought one could learn something like this from my blog?)