insects and trees

9.20.10 ~ Sound Breeze
9.20.10 ~ Sound Breeze

Look who reappeared! On Monday Tim spotted our darling little cannibal taking an afternoon sun bath on the west wall under the kitchen window! Since I never finished weeding the garden I think she decided to stick around after all! I think we’ll call her Iris, as she was sitting on an iris leaf when first I found her. (See Mantidae Stagomantis if you missed her story.) I wonder what the neighbors will think if I just let my garden go wild so praying mantises will feel at home here?

In recent years we’ve had a cricket population explosion at the end of summer, many of them finding their way into the basement laundry room where they would sing and scuttle around. We’ve tried to find a humane and non-toxic way to discourage them from coming inside, and it would seem that Mother Nature decided to help us out by sending Iris the cricket carnivore. We’ve only heard a couple of crickets this year! We hope she decides to deposit her eggs in the garden and helps to restore some natural balance in the neighborhood.

9.15.10 ~ Avery Point
9.15.10 ~ Avery Point

Friday afternoon we got flu shots, which was my first time getting one. And promptly, on the ride home, we both came down with colds. So it was a crummy cranky weekend, and mainly why I haven’t been online (except to play Scrabble) and have missed reading and commenting everyone else’s blogs. Hope to catch up today and tomorrow.

9.15.10 ~ Avery Point
9.15.10 ~ Avery Point

The tree pictures from Avery Point are for Janet, because I didn’t manage to squeeze them into my last post.  πŸ™‚

Last night we did see the full moon and Jupiter briefly through the clouds, but Jupiter didn’t show up in the photographs we tried to get. And we had a thunderstorm soon after we saw them, a regular, nice, thunderstorm.

I’m so happy Autumn is here! (Even if it is supposed to be hot and humid again tomorrow.) I would have loved to go apple picking yesterday or today to celebrate, but I think we’ll have to do that this weekend, when we’re feeling a little better. The weather on Sunday is supposed to be more autumn-like, so maybe I’ll bake a wheat-free apple crisp!

23 thoughts on “insects and trees”

    1. Oh my, I’d prefer not to know how Iris goes about getting her meals and conceiving her children! I trust Nature has her reasons and that they have little to do with our sensibilities. I remember being horrified to learn that some mother ducks have to decide if their ponds are big enough to feed all their ducklings. If the pond isn’t big enough to sustain her brood, a mother duck will kill some of her ducklings so that there will be enough food for the ones she allows to live.

      I’ll have to ask Tim about “Fantastic Voyage” later. He’s a science fiction movie fan, but I’m too sensitive to watch the scary stuff so I haven’t seen it!

  1. I actually bought praying mantis egg sacks one year to try to control insects in my garden. I don’t think many survived, but I did see one that year. Interesting creatures. I’d love to get closer to one now that I have my new camera.
    Apple picking this weekend sounds like a great idea. I want to do that too. My favorites should be out and available to pick – Macouns; I wait for them every year!

    1. You would have gotten a great picture of Iris with your new camera, Karen! I wonder how large a section of weeds each praying mantis needs to thrive? There must be some ratio balance between tended garden and weed thicket that would make them happy.
      My dad loves Macouns, too. I like a variety, but if I had to pick I think it would be McIntosh. If you do go apple picking, we’ll have to compare notes on Monday. πŸ™‚ Nothing like crunching into an apple straight off the tree!

      1. We did end up picking apples. Along with everything else this year, the apples were early too. We went up to Whately, MA – that’s up near South Deerfield, home to Yankee Candles – and many varieties were almost completely picked already. We went Columbus Day weekend last year and the trees still had plenty. My blog post will be coming soon.

        1. We did, too… still sniffing and coughing a bit… Lots of people in the orchard and I was surprised at how many apples had already fallen off the trees and were starting to spoil. But we had a good time and I made us some apple crisp so now I feel like autumn is finally here!
          Tim has family in New Hampshire and we stop in at Yankee Candle in South Deerfield quite a lot on our trips up to see them. πŸ™‚

  2. I found two of these elegant carnivores around our garden this year too, and can’t imagine what it must be like to have a bunch of crickets living in your basement – it seems just one can be quite prolific!
    Long-live Iris and get better soon, Barbara! Beautiful wind-swept trees.

    1. Two praying mantises in you garden?! Were they together? Did you get pictures? We could compare and see if they are the same species… I kept telling myself the crickets were good luck and was very thankful they weren’t spiders. Now, if they had been spiders, I would have used any toxic weapon or spare shoe to eliminate the threat immediately! Spiders MUST STAY OUTSIDE!! Thanks for the get well wishes and I’m glad you liked the trees…

        1. I took a look a your great pictures there and they look to be a different species than mine. Maybe I need to invest in an insect guide book. I wonder if one of yours was male and the other female?

  3. I thought I saw creepy crawly things around here somewhere!
    I have not seen a praying mantis this year, there maybe some in the garden? I did view a egg pod early in the spring in the wood but have not noticed any creatures about.
    They are good for your garden… keep them there!

    May just buy apples at the farmers market, saves the trip of a hour ride to go pick. But may go pick later in the season!
    Yes summer has returned now that it is Autumn ! Funny how that works!

    I am Love, Jeff

    Hope you ‘re feeling better! drink lots of water and do reiki on yourself, I will send if you are in need!

    1. Thanks, Jeff! I’m drinking water as I type. I don’t know that much about praying mantises, but Iris was well hidden in the weeds choking out my irises. If I hadn’t been weeding I somehow doubt I would ever have seen her. Iris seems very aware of her surroundings and follows the photographer with her head so she’s always looking right at the camera. I wish you had been on hand to get a great shot! They only live a year at most, which is why I’m hoping she left some eggs… Leaving her that section of weeds…
      I love farmer’s markets, and roadside produce stands, too. Hope you enjoy the apple harvest!

  4. A cold, or aftereffects of the flu shots? It’s possible to get something like mild flu afterwards, as far as I know. This has some info.

    That praying mantis is looking at you! How funny!
    Maybe you can catch some insects for Iris and make friends with her. It would make a curious friendship, wouldn’t it?

    1. Sorry, Val, I didn’t mean to imply that I believed the flu shots caused us to come down with colds. I’m quite sure we were already doomed to have our colds whether we got the flu shots or not. It’s just that the timing was a little ironic. Your link doesn’t work! Perhaps we have to spell out the URL when including links in comments.
      I guess some people do keep praying mantises as pets, but they only live for a season. A death every year would be too much sorrow for me! Iris does seem friendly, though. I’ve never had so much interaction with an insect before! Hopefully next year I will encounter at least one of her descendants! πŸ™‚

  5. I like what you said: our darling little cannibal. LOL! I hope you are feeling better now and enjoying the weekend. I would like to taste some of your apple crisp, please.

    1. Doesn’t Iris look too sweet to be a cannibal? πŸ™‚
      My son Nate has the most adorable puffer-fish, who I had the honor of feeding last year when he was out of town. It looks so charming and friendly and I felt we had become friends. I was shocked to learn later that it is actually poisonous, aggressive and territorial. Looks can be so deceiving!
      I’ll save you a piece of apple crisp!

  6. I’ve just found your blog via Northpennine’s. It’s a pity more people don’t take your approach to gardening. I get so fed up with people “cleaning up” their gardens. You’re right to think it might restore a balance – the trouble is many people want the “problem” dealt with immediateley, which on the one hand can be understandable, but doesn’t neccessarily work in the long run given that ecosystems are so complicated.

    1. Thanks for the moral (and ecological) support, Sonya! It’s comforting to think that my approach to gardening could be labeled restoring balance rather than sheer laziness! πŸ™‚ I’ve been trying to do things more naturally – perhaps we need to train our eyes to perceive beauty differently than what we’re used to seeing in a garden.

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