I love August! A lot of flowers in all kind of shades of yellow, orange and reds bloom and attract dragonflies, butterflies and hummingbirds at this time of the year. Here are a few photos of some blooms and the smallest dragonfly, I’ve ever seen before.
The widow skimmer dragonflies begin to visit my yard more frequently, again This means it’s over 100ºF, and it’s mid July. As soon as I fill up the bird bath and water the garden, my little dragons come over for a visit and check out, what I’m doing. They love to hang out in my yard until sunset. And the following evening, the dragonflies show up again. I love Texas Summers. Usually, when it gets that hot, the humidity goes away.
Yep! Every year when we grow vegetables, we have a little “Peter Rabbit” in our garden as well. I just looked through my photo files and got reminded that I still have these photos, I’ve captured five years ago. Little “Peter” hides out from the gardener (me). And when he thinks, he’s safe form the gardener and the cats, he explores the vegetable patch. 😀 😉
Early May, Kevin told me that a couple of Mockingbirds were building a nest in our Photinia. After we cut the bush back to a tree, it seems to attract birds to build nest in it again. (There was a Cardinal nest earlier in the year. But a critter must have gotten to the eggs. The shells were scattered under the Photinia shortly after Mrs. Cardinal laid them.) Over the weeks, I watched the mockers come to their nest. First they checked on their eggs, and then they brought worms and bugs to the baby bird nursery. I always liked it, when the adult birds picked up these pesky June bugs out of my yard. That’s a few less fat bugs buzzing around my head, when I want to have a drink on my porch in the evenings.
Today, I heard a lot of cheeping in my frontyard. Chewbacca must have heard it, too. He looked out the front door. And there was Mr. and Mrs. Mockingbird causing a ruckus, because the cat sat by the door. That got my attention. I walked out on the front porch. Hm, no noisy little cheep. The adult Mockingbirds watched every move I made in the frontyard. Still nothing! In this heat, I decided it was better to go back into the house. A little bit later, I heard a high-pitched “Cheeeep, cheeeep, cheeeep”, again. This time, the adult bird flew over to the Texas Sage. I went outside, looked in the bush and saw a precious little fluff ball. Awww, it’s a beautiful little fledgling. Since the Northern Mockingbird is the Texas State Bird, I have to be very careful around it. But this little guy/girl made my heart melt.
Our peppers and tomatoes love the warm May weather. And the other vegetables, fruits herbs and flowers (to attract pollinators) like it as well. Yesterday I’ve noticed, we are raising Cabbage White Butterflies inside the greenhouse. I found a couple of empty chrysalis on the Ornamental Kale leaves. No wonder, we have so many flying Cabbage Whites flying around in our garden. Well, I can’t blame them. There is a lot of cabbage to feast on for the caterpillars. And Family Cardinal is happy to get fresh caterpillars for their young. Here are several photos of what’s growing in our raised bed garden in mid-May.
Four years ago on a Sunday morning in May, I heard a lot of commotion going on in my backyard. A flock of Blue Jays were screaming as loud as they could in the neighbor’s tree. And when these birds begin to be that noisy, there is usually danger close by. It was nesting season for them. When I looked out my patio door, I immediately saw what the issue was in the backyard: We had a Swainson’s Hawk sitting on the fence. It watched the songbirds on the feeders for a little bit, before these birds noticed the big guy and flew off. The Blue Jays, on the other hand, where really nervous and wanted the hawk gone out of their territory. Some jays came over, and began to attack the Swainson’s Hawk by pecking it on the head. The hawk had enough and flew off to nearby field. I can imagine, when half a dozen of little blue “bullies” would pick on me, I’m out of there too. Well, no baby jays for this hawk in our neighborhood that morning. But it looked very majestic sitting on our fence for a few minutes. It also gave me the chance to capture the moment.
For several weeks, a few Cabbage White butterflies show up in my garden. And I know, exactly what their plan is from day one. I have cabbages, cauliflower and kohlrabi growing in my raised beds. This vegetables are the perfect nursery for Cabbage White caterpillars. Once the female laid her eggs, it is only a matter of days until these little boogers hatch and eat their way through my cabbage garden. I have to pick countless amounts of caterpillars off my cabbage leaves almost every day.
But I also get some help from Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal. Every afternoon, I see them picking caterpillars to feed their offspring. It’s great, having natural helpers in our garden. The downside: When Mr. Cardinal finds some juicy Black Swallowtail caterpillars in my parsley and dill, they end up between his beak and later in the baby cardinal tummies as well. UGH! I guess, we have to take the good with the bad.