Friday, September 23, 2011

Spiny Leaf Insects Munching Leaves

If you're not already tired of my photos of the spiny leaf insects, here is a video I recorded on my Blackberry this evening:

If I were clever, I would figure out how to add music to the clip, but it's too late at night for such a challenge.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Garden Treats

This is a wonderful time of year, when the golden "Fall Gold" raspberries produce their second crop, with even larger and sweeter berries than the summer's crop.  The espalier apples and asian pears are starting to become ripe, and even some grapes are ready to pick.  Today I was able to bring in this harvest :
I washed and prepared them, and called the family to sample:
Look at the size of those raspberries :
My absence of posts this summer have not been indicative of the time spent in the garden.  I have been fortunate to have spent quite a bit of time in the garden this year, although never as much as I would like.  During the week I work, and even with taking Fridays off this year, I have spent most of my Fridays doing laundry, tidying and cleaning, attending to various errands and medical appointments and such.  So most of my gardening has been in the evenings (while the days were longer) or weekends.

Today I spent 3 hours tackling my hillside, which is difficult terrain, and full of challenges :  
This summer I started to climb the hillside to remove some blackberry vines which were shooting up from above my Gunnera (top right), very high on that hill.  On my first attempt, I discovered that the wasps had a nest in the ground, and was fortunate to escape (I didn't know I could run that fast!) with only one sting.  I have tried 3 times to eliminate them with wasp killer, and this last time, I finally was successful.  (I probably would have left them alone if I had any other way to approach that hillside, but it is getting too difficult to come from above.)  So today I climbed up, but after removing about 4 wheelbarrows full of weeds and plant material, I still hadn't climbed all the way up to remove all the blackberry vines.  So that will need to be another day.

This year was the first year I planted my giant sunflowers in the small "kitchen" / herb garden outside my kitchen window.  So it has been fun to watch them grow.  Although all their bright cheery faces are pointed in the other direction, I only see their backs from the window.
I think I will do that again.  There is good sun in that location, and I like the result.

I hope you are all enjoying your gardens, the fruits and veggies and flowers, the fall colours, the tidying up and preparing for winter.  It never ends, but that is what makes gardening such a wonderful pastime.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Taking Time to Take Photos

Time flies by so quickly, sometimes the only way to make it stop, for a moment, is to take some photos to remember it by.  My daughter just started Grade 7 (oh my, how did that happen?), and one of her school projects is to make a poster all about her.

She has no shortage of interests and activities and topics to cover.  Her pet rats, her interests in music (flute currently) and photography, her belly dancing, her toys, her faith (she will display her new parallel NIV / The Message bible which I gave her as a first day of school gift), her new ATV (wow, she has her very own one, and has already put 200 km on it).  Not even mentioning her previous experiences in singing, piano, guitar, TaeKwonDo, her hamster, and math awards.  (I guess you can tell, I'm very proud of her.)

First of all, she decorated her poster board, with black paint, fluorescent spray paint, and splattering of neon and glow-in-the-dark colours:
Now she will add photos of her rats, Sammy :
...Jenny :
...Bear :
...and Archie :
And some photos of her riding her new ATV the week before school started :
She will also add some photographs she made this summer which were pretty funky, giving a fresh perspective to some very ordinary objects :
When you look at that second photo, do you see the lock protruding out, or recessed in?  It is a bit of an optical illusion.

Yes, time is surely flying by, ever more quickly, but for just a moment today, it stopped and allowed us to reflect on what is fun and meaningful to us.

PS. Sunday Sept 18 : It didn't seem right that we didn't get a photo of Jenny in the tissue box, so we tried again today, and got a cute photo of her in the box :

Monday, September 05, 2011

Spiny Leaf Bug Regrowing Her Leg

I am still enjoying my spiny leaf insects, my oldest being now almost 5 months old.  Recently she lost a front leg while molting, and I have been hoping that she will regrow it.  Spiny leaf bugs, like stick bugs, have the ability to regenerate missing limbs.  Pretty cool.

Anyhow, after arriving home from a one week vacation, I was very pleased to see that she is regrowing the leg.  See it in the photo below, it is still much smaller than the other legs, but through successive molts, it should get longer.  Way cool.  You go girl!
Spiny leaf bug regenerating leg
I was also pleased to find that I now have a new hatchling too, my 5th leaf bug now.  I am getting quite a collection.

For any of you who follow my blog for my garden, I apologize that I have not shared much of my garden lately. Happily, I have been able to spend quite a bit of time there, and have made significant progress re-working sections of it, but have not been taking my camera with me often enough, and often it is too dark by the time I remember.  I'll try to take it with me and share photos in the upcoming weeks.

There are signs of fall already, with changes in leaf colours starting a few weeks ago. I am doing lots of clean up already. I even got my act together this year, and harvested much of my lavender. Tonight I cut down many of my globe thistle flowers, and will dry and hope to use them for a dried flower arrangement. They look like something out of a Dr. Seuss story.
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