Cicadas and Blacksnakes and Hawks…oh my!

I swear sometimes it’s like I’ve got an episode of Wild Kingdom happening in my garden.  This week’s episode was the birthing of a cicada…not real pretty btw; one of my resident blacksnakes climbing the fence to get his lizard lunch; and gorgeous hawks just hangin out.

Cicadas are everywhere in my garden.  I hear their nightly serenade from the trees, see their funky little empty shells hanging out on the shed and on the fences, and watch the birds chasing and catching them for dinner.  But have never seen one doing its birthing/molting thing.  Have to say it’s kinda gross.  Pretty much like some ugly-ass alien baby being born.  Yuck.  Seeing this vision of loveliness (not) started when I was hand watering the Souvenir de la Malmaisons in the Driveway Bed with the hose.  I’m standing there just a watering away when I see a cicada shell on the picket fence.  And it looks like it’s got something attached to it.  So I spray it trying to get it off the fence.  The thing kinda wiggles a bit but doesn’t fall off.  Hmmmm.  That’s weird.  I walk over to take a closer look and this is what I see:

Cicada Molting

What the hell???  That’s just plain gross looking.  At first I thought it was something eating the shell.  After looking at it from different angles I finally figured out it looked like a full grown cicada.  That’s when the light bulb came on over my head…dumbass, that’s part of the cicada life cycle!  One of the reasons it looks so gross…other than it really is gross…is this pic shows its tummy so poor little guy is molting upside down.  Don’t know if that’s normal or not.   I’m just glad I didn’t drown the poor thing trying to spray him off the fence!   This is the empty shells they leave behind after molting:

Empty Cicada Shell

Ahhhhh blacksnakes.  Do you know how beneficial BSs (that’s “blacksnakes” not “bullshitzers”) are to our gardens?  They eat rats and bugs and lizards, and frogs, and other snakes, and birds.  Well, maybe not so much good that they eat birds, but the rest of their diet is very good.  These guys are non-venomous and will only strike when cornered.  Most of the time they turn and hightail it out of there when we come face to face.  I got two that live in my backyard:  Peri and Peri’s Pa.  When I first bought the house Peri had a burrow under the southside pool decking.  He got his name cause he’d lift just his head and neck out of his burrow to see what was happening outside his home and the way he’d turn his head around he looked just like the periscopes you see in old-time submarine movies.  Cracked me right on up.  So I dubbed him Peri.  He was about two feet long at that time.  Then I saw the four foot BS and I knew it wasn’t Peri! They hung out in the same area so I decided he was Peri’s Pa.  Could be Peri’s Ma, but I ain’t gettin close enough to find out if it’s a boy or a girl.  Anyway.  Saturday Gibbs and I are lounging about the pool patio when I hear this noise to the left by the fence.  I glance over there and see this lizard hauling ass up the fence post.  And hauling ass right behind him is Peri!  Man, I never seen a lizard run so fast.  Seeing Peri slither up that fence post that quickly with no hands was just awesome to watch.  Peri never did catch Lizzy though cause Lizzy jumped to the safety of the big oak tree.  Guess Peri wasn’t that hungry cause he didn’t give chase anymore.

Peri

 
 

Peri going into the ferns

 

Peri's tummy

 
 That is just so cool!! Now I don’t want to be hearing that any of y’all kill the BSs in your yard.  If that’s what you do, just keep it to yourself.

Are hawks gorgeous or what??  All birds are cool but there’s just something about the power of the predatory birds that’s awesome to me.  I’m lucky enough to have a couple of hawks that hang around my neighborhood.  One’s HUGE and one’s a bit smaller.  Their fav places to hang out in my yard are the arbor, shed, and fence.  Unfortunately every time they came around this weekend my camera wasn’t handy…so this old pic of the smaller hawk will have to do.  Oh, and I took this from inside the house so it’s a bit grainy…  oh well.

Hawk

 Well, did lots in the garden this week:  made a border out of busted up concrete, dealt with canker on the rose canes, picked up two loads of horse poopy, did the weekly fungicide / fish emulsion spray, weeded, and put out pinestraw in one of the beds.  whew.  Makes me tired just thinking of all that work.  My two favs though were the concrete border and the horse poopy.

I like having a border of some type around the beds.  Informal, non-fussy type borders.  Really, really like the look of uneven sizes of fieldstone stacked two courses high.  But being that I’m on a tight budget and haven’t won the lottery yet and have 1/3 of an acre that will eventually be almost all beds, well, that all adds up to Jeanni ain’t getting fieldstone borders any time soon…if ever.  A few weeks ago I noticed my neighbors had a bunch of busted up concrete just lying around.  I got to looking at the concrete, then looking at my beds, and damn if another light bulb didn’t go off!  They said they didn’t want the concrete so it came home with me to become the first of my busted up concrete bed borders! woo hoo! luv me some free stuff!

 

Other side of west fence bed

 

Part of West Fence Bed

 
Didn’t have enough to tuck the pieces as close together as I like.  BUT! I found a place that’s got a whole bunch of this just sitting around waiting for me to go get it so soon I’ll have all I need to tuck the pieces close and do the rest of the beds.  So…tell me what you think about my busted up concrete bed border idea!

Horse poopy!  Luv me some horse poopy for my garden beds.  Thanks to Paula and Roya from West Volusia Saddle Club for hooking me up with two local stables that give away their horse poopy.  Friday after work I rode over to a stable at Ormond Beach to get the first load.  Unloaded it Saturday morning bright and early, then went to a stable at New Smyrna Beach  (can you tell I live close to the beaches!!) to get my second load.  Here’s my poopy piles:

 

Poopy and Crazy Dog

 

Halfway done

 

Done!

 
Got poop spread around the roses before the rains came.  Gonna finish spreading the rest of it this coming weekend.  My flower and roses are gonna luv, luv, luv me!
 
I’ve got so much more that I want to share with you, but I’m tired and this post is long enough already.  So I’ll leave you with some pics of a rose I haven’t shown you yet.  This is Bow Bells.  She’s a David Austin English rose.
 

Bow Bell's Bud 07-20-11

 

Bow Bells 07-24-11

 
 

Bow Bells 07-24-11

 

Bow Bells 07-24-11

 
This week I’m hanging out with these awesome blogs.  Be sure to check them out!
 
Well, that’s all for now. Cheers to an awesome rest of the day!
 
Jeanni
 
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17 responses to “Cicadas and Blacksnakes and Hawks…oh my!

  • Rebecca

    Cicadas always scared me as a child-I can handle spiders, mice and snakes-I just don’t like those yucky shells. Pretty roses!

  • cherryd6c

    I love hearing the Cicadas .. I’m not a fan of snakes I try really hard to leave them be and ask that they do the same..lol
    Happy weekend
    hugs from Savannah, Cherry

    • Jeanni

      To me they’re such a Southern and summer sound. In the cooler weather I sleep with the windows open so I can hear them. Thanks for visiting, Cherry!
      Jeanni

  • My Little Home and Garden

    Hi, Jeanni. That’s a pretty creative use of old concrete! Love the rose.
    -Karen

  • LaVoice

    Thank goodness no hawks,but Cicada are plentiful. Never had these many before.

    • Jeanni

      Yeah, hawks are one of those love ’em or maybe-not-so-much-love-’em birds. I love ’em cause they keep the vermin population down…and they’re gorgeous. Thanks for stopping by!
      Jeanni

  • Cass @ That Old House

    Cicadas and blacksnakes and poop, oh MY.
    I don’t mind the sound of cicadas, but not crazy about their lovely selves, but snakes? That’s where you see me running screaming out of the yard.

    Was Gibbs rolling in the horsey poo? My dog would be SO jealous.

    Love the concrete edging. It looks like those fieldstones that people sometimes put around trees, in a border. My parents has those when we were kids, and we used to walk on top of them round and round and round the trees and my mom would yell out the window because she thought we’d knock them all cockeyed. Which we did.

    Enjoy the weekend!
    Cass

  • abeachcottage

    It is pretty awesome to hear about the wildlife in your garden 🙂 Thanks for sharing at Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays.

  • Karen

    Wow, I’ve never seen a cicada molting or whatever it was doing here. You’re right, that is kinda gruesome, lol. Your Peri’s look to be very beneficial in the gardens, lucky they have you as their landlord so they won’t be harmed. Great work on the concrete edging…if you lived near to me I could supply you with more fieldstone than you ever could use, you could haul it home by the truckload just like the horse manure. I saw a concrete edging wall done by a homeowner on a recent garden walk and it was awesome. He stacked his in three layers so he could have a raised garden bed. The concrete stacks so well because it is flat, ingenious idea.

  • L'Heure Bleue At Home

    Hi Jeanni, I love the photo of the hawk. You are a very kind landlord to all the wildlife in your garden! The snake would have had me running and screaming in the opposite direction. Thanks so much for dropping by L’Heure Bleue At Home. Chloe

  • sweetbay

    Bow Bells is a very lovely rose. We have lots of Black Snakes here but haven’t named them. 🙂 I agree the molting of Cicadas is a bit stomach-churning, but the part that gets me if if you startle one and they make a noise just like a scream. yikes.

  • Jean

    Funny how lack of funds force us to ‘go green’! Great job! Jean

  • Dirt Princess

    Oh how I looooove the sound of cicadas, but I hate there nasty crusty mold! Ugh! Creeps me out. I have a feeling that hawk is looking for that snake. They are probably dining on the same foods! I can smell the manure from here and I can’t wait to check back and see the progress

  • Fishtail Cottage

    oh, my….i think i would freak out if i saw that cicadas…i’m curious what sound it makes? a few folks said they love the sound of them….hoping for your sake the sweet sound makes up for the looks of what you stumbled upon. yikes! Thanks so much for linking up to Cottage Flora Thursday’s last week! Hope to see you again this upcoming week! xoxo, tracie

  • Tootsie/ Glenda

    Oh my is right!!! lol What a post!!!t!!! Your photos of all the flowers are just lovely!
    Once again I am just loving the tour of all the gardens that have linked in to my little party! I am so excited to visit each and every post…they are all so inspiring and I am NEVER disappointed! The creative gardens and colorful displays that I am lucky to see are inspirations that I would never have found had I not found each of the gardeners I see online! Thank you so much for sharing your garden with my Friday Flaunt this week…I do hope you will link in again soon!
    (¯`v´¯)
    `*.¸.*´Glenda/Tootsie
    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

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