Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pleasures of the pleasance

We had a fine view of a very dapper fox yesterday morning at 7:15 exactly. It had been a while since we had see one, although armadillos have been more in evidence than ever. The fox was in fine condition, trotting briskly across the street, ears up and tail floating behind. There has continued to be a profusion of monarch butterflies. Their caterpillars are accounting for many, many milkweed leaves. We see the larvae chewing and chewing, fattening by the hour, but have not found a chrysalis yet. We continue to enjoy visits from goldfinches. We see them on wild sunflowers but wonder whether they aren't interested in fennel seeds, also. Some creature is. Cantaloupe seeds from H-E-B Pecos melons have sprouted and so have many kinds of morning glories, some deliberately planted two days ago and others as volunteers. We're finding nasturtium seedlings in all sorts of places, in pots and in the ground, where they were never planted. We'll take that as a sign that it's time to deliberately plant some nasturtiums. Oxblood lilies have not quit yet. We seem to have enjoyed more rain yesterday afternoon and evening than most did. Our screen house collapsed in a gust of wind, but was easily set up again before breakfast this morning. The angle of light from the sun has definitely changed with the season, and so we have adjusted our openings and closings of windows and window-coverings accordingly.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Flights of fancy

We continue to delight in the aerobatics of black-chinned hummingbirds and of monarch butterflies. At a time when neighbors complain that hummingbirds are not attracted to their feeders, Turk's caps in our yard draw hummingbirds every day, mostly in the mornings and evenings. They also go to pride of Barbados, Bright Lights cosmos, and lantanas, but the eternal favorite is Turk's cap. Every day brings more and more monarch butterflies. They prefer milkweed, but are attracted to other flower, also. Four o'clocks and pink oxalis are in bloom again. Every single location where we ever expect to see oxblood lilies has produced them, the last appearing in Mack's flower bed and on the oak motte. We don't know what creature has consumed nearly all the fennel seeds; the goldfinches, which head first for wild sunflowers, are suspected. A majestic red-tailed hawk has been scanning the horizons from atop a utility pole. Early in the morning, just before true dawn, we have seen an armadillo twice in the past week, a very spritely and fast-moving specimen of an armadillo, first trotting across the street and then almost bounding. Chiles are producing many flowers, now that the nights are beginning to be cooler. Morning glories are blooming much more profusely in these more pleasant temperatures. Hyacinth beans are about to bloom. Assiduous watering during the permitted hours of the permitted day has resulted in the appearance of two spider lilies (lycoris radiata) and one miniature yellow rain lily.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Unexpected arrivals

We've been trying to water at least two hours on each of the two permitted watering days per week (now down to one day allowed, beginning this week). We have only two hoses (and therefore two sprinklers), and they must be moved about. Water pressure is extremely low this year. It takes some thinking to settle on the spots that need the water the most. Our efforts have had something to do with bringing forth the oxblood lilies, which have now appeared in some profusion in all the places we expect to see them except one, which is always the last; those bulbs came from a different source, mixed in with some old-fashioned jonquil bulbs that grew originally in Bastrop, not from our old neighbor next door. With our watering, we've also encouraged our more unusual rain lilies to appear; so far, we've seen one small golden one (yesterday) and another today, along with three of the very tiny pink rain lilies with pale greenish centers (picture here). The dainty pink ones are all in a clump. There are quite a few of the common medium-sized white liles. The strong winds have borne monarch butterflies to us. They're to be seen fluttering around the milkweeds, both the all-yellow asclepias and the bi-colored variety with red-orange and golden flowers. Milkweed that survived the summer is in flower pots. We're so happy that we have quite a lot for the monarchs.