Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas blessings from all of us!

This morning, I opened our front door and found a gift bag looped over the door knob. A present! Inside, I found two beautiful Christmas pot holders made by our friends Linda and Rosemary (they're sisters). Then at the very bottom of the bag, I spotted.....YES....a beautiful CHRISTMAS jumping spider! Well, no, that's not her real name. But she does have lovely red spots on her abdomen. From what I can figure, she's a bold jumping spider. Though she wasn't too cooperative, I did manage to get a few photos of her before I let her go outside. 

So anyway, have a wonderful Christmas, y'all! Everyone here at this Texas Wildscape wishes you the very, very BEST!




Friday, December 5, 2014

Winter colors

My little point-and-shoot camera and I ventured outside this afternoon and found lots of winter color. Some of the photos aren't my best. But oh, well. Above: leadwort plumbago. Pretty!

Three-lobed rudbeckia
Common dandelion

'May Night' salvia

Wood sorrel

Fragrant sumac

Chile pequin

'Amazon' dianthus

Mountain mint

Coral honeysuckle

Green milkweed vine

Turk's cap

Another turk's cap fruit

Fragrant mistflower

Purple hearts

Bees work in the winter, too!

Green lichen

Queen on fragrant mistflower

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lost Ladybug Project

I found this ladybug yesterday afternoon in a wheelbarrow filled with rainwater. I thought for sure it had drowned. But nope, it was still alive! Picture, please, for the Lost Ladybug Project. Then I set it free on a milkweed loaded with aphids. Meet a parenthesis ladybug (Hippodamia parenthesis), a native species.
 
Check out this LLP contribution here.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A walk in the Wildscape

I headed out the back door and spotted this handsome wolf man. But, alas, he's missing a leg and likely passing soon.
We've been gone a lot lately. Then rains kept us inside, and I had deadlines to finish. So today was the first time I'd strolled through our Wildscape in a long, long while. GLORIOUS! WONDERFUL! I love nature so much.
This is a new butterfly species to me. Meet this pretty long-tailed skipper (Urbanus proteus).
A puss caterpillar! (Also called an asp.) First one I've ever spotted in our gardens. DON'T TOUCH! 
A banded argiope that I just happened to spot!


Look, a Gulf fritillary child!

Can you find her? The orbweaver?

I spotted this dapper jumping spider guy and took a bunch of photos. You can almost see his little spider brain working as he crawls atop the chain link fence. ANT!
 








I had to share some photos of the coreopsis that's growing quite happily in a rock! There's a life lesson there somewhere...


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New nightshade and milkweed!

This past weekend, I attended the Texas Master Naturalist state conference at MO Ranch near Hunt, Texas. I always enjoy meeting and visiting with other Naturalists and nature experts. For instance, I got to see my friend, wildlife biologist Ricky Linex, who's with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Saturday morning, I took his "Plant ID by Family Association" class. As part of his program, he had rooted specimens of a mystery species that we keyed out as a class. They turned out to be Texas nightshade. You might guess what I was wishing and hoping...

"If any of y'all want to take these home, go right ahead," Ricky drawled. (I LOVE to him talk...his accent is REAL TEXAN.) "Just plant'em, and they should take off."  

Oh, happy day! I INSTANTLY raised my hand! Needless to say, I bagged three nightshades with roots.

At the conference's silent auction, someone brought native plants, including four species of milkweed. (Another "Oh, happy day!") We already have antelope horn in our Meadow but not swamp, slim or green. I jotted down a bid for each. Later, another lady outbid me on all of them. Hmmm. I didn't want to be mean. Maybe I should just concentrate on "winning" one? So back in my room, I checked out the three species online and learned that only green milkweed (Asclepias viridis) occurs in our area. Long story short, I got to take home my green milkweed baby! 



I planted all my new friends yesterday in our Wildscape. Welcome to our home, y'all! And thank you, Ricky!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Lost Ladybug Project

http://lostladybug.org/contributors-detail.php?id=37652&back=id%3D1062

Spotted this tiny lady beetle on my arm last Saturday while attending the Texas Master Naturalist state meet at MO Ranch near Hunt. He/she's been confirmed by the Lost Ladybug Project experts as a Brachiacantha quadripunctata. You can see my other contributions to this citizen science project here.