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:
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:
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.
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.
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!
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: