Summer Continues

Summer drags on, but we did have a respite with rain and cooler temperatures one day last week.  And thankfully, there have been only a few 100 plus days since then.

summercontinues6Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha) is doing well even though it may receive too much water from the sprinkler system as we try to keep other plants alive.

summercontinues7This one is probably ‘Santa Barbara’ since it has pale purple calyx and flower.

summercontinuesdI like that Drift Roses spread out low to the ground.  Another plus is that they almost always have flowers during the blooming season.

summercontinues8Coneflowers (Echinacea) have won a place in my heart.  These were planted late in the spring, so they’re blooming much later than the older ones I have.

summercontinues9Bees seem to be everywhere gathering nectar.

summercontinuescWhite Plumbago (Plumbaginaceae) or Leadwort looking good. That’s also Plumbago in the turquoise pot.  It was purchased in the spring and is still small but has grown quite a bit.

summercontinuesaThe Plumbago flowers aren’t as full as they were in the cooler temps of late spring.

summercontinues3The Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (A. wrightii) to the left looks a little weary.  The Senna from the family of Fabaceae has perked back up.

In the background, the fields are white from searing heat and lack of moisture.

summercontinuesI love this bush and so do the bees.

summercontinues2The bright yellow flowers are so cheery.

summercontinuesbWe had a seven foot tower built for a rose bush since an aggressive climbing rose tore up the old, less sturdy one.  We pulled that rose up and will replace it with something else this fall.

summercontinues4This Common Garden Spider immediately claimed the tower.

summercontinues5A camera flash was needed to capture the spider’s web.

animals5Freeze.  Let’s play statues and maybe no one will notice me.  This Jackrabbit stays in the yard and sometimes has companions.  I’m okay with them as long as they just nibble on grass.  But lately, they have ventured into the flower beds and are eating plants down to the nub.  Chasing them off is useless.  They return as soon as I go back in the house.  Ah, the pleasures of country living.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” Scott Adams

It’s a Plague

Jumping up from the ground to whack a person in the eye or continually eating everything in sight, the grasshoppers are a plague we just have to endure.  They have devastated crops and plants.  This year they are widespread over most of Texas.

Last year’s drought and heat created the right conditions for them to survive and lay eggs in the dry ground.

grasshopper4Grasshoppers have a repugnant reputation, which I think they deserve.  Remember Aesop’s fable where the ant was the hard worker and the grasshopper was lazy?  This pointed out their characteristic of eating without working.  Basically, I guess most creatures do that.  But I’m down on grasshoppers now.

grasshopper3Trying to think of something good to say about grasshoppers.  In some countries in Africa where food sources are scarce, they are eaten to provide protein.

grasshopper5Chopping all day long on garden plants as well as out in the fields.  The leaves on this Purple Wandering Jew are tough, but they eat them anyway.

grasshoppermetalHere’s the kind of grasshopper I do like.

beewasp2This buzzing creature has been perched on the solar part of this ornament for weeks.  The pole in stuck in a large pot of Ice Plant.  This insect attacks me every time I step out the back door.  At first I thought it was a monster bee.

But it looks like a Hover Fly picture in the Texas Bug Book by Howard Garrett and C. Malcolm Beck.

beewaspIf it is a Hover Fly, then it’s threatening but harmless.

spiderThere are lots of these spiders around the house and in the shed.  It could be a Wolf spider, which is poisonous.  Or it could be a Nursery Web spider that isn’t a problem for humans.

Sometimes I think I need a specialist to walk around with me to point out the good guys and the bad guys.

waspThis is definitely a wasp.  I’m pretty sure it’s a paper wasp.  Since I was stung recently by one, this dead wasp is the only good kind.

grasshopperwoodAnother cute grasshopper that makes me smile.

“This too shall pass” is not Biblical but is still apropo.  This week we’ve been blessed with good rains, which is incredibly rare for July.  So maybe the moisture will send the grasshoppers packing, as unwanted guests should.

“War is the greatest plague that can afflict humanity, it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families.  Any scourge is preferable to it.”  Martin Luther