Stating the obvious, I haven't posted for a while. We've had a little rain, but not enough to truly refresh the plants. We've had some relief from the hellish temperatures, but not a steady relief yet. Both rain and some temperature relief are looking likely by this weekend, but I'm not making any serious bets on either, based on the last 2 years' experience.
So, since being outside hasn't been very enjoyable, I've been concentrating on getting a few projects done in the house, none of which have included gardening or blogging. The dogs, though, have been adamant in their desire for daily walks, so I've managed to photograph a few things that I thought I might share with other gardeners and nature lovers....
The dotted gayfeathers (Liatris punctata) have started blooming in the back prairie....
This year they seem to be spacing out their bloom times more than usual. I noticed the first blooms on August 25, almost 2 weeks ago, and I would still say that the stands aren't in full bloom yet. The first spikes, though, are almost done blooming already.
Anyway, because I was looking closely at the gayfeather blooms and trying to decide how best to photograph them, I happened to notice this garden spider in her web. (If you don't see her, the Liatris spike is to the left, the spider and web are in the bottom right corner.) I seriously doubt I would have noticed her, if not for the nearby blooms.
As I moved around to try to get the best photo of her, without getting too near (and without my canine destructo team ripping through), I noticed that she seemed to be pointing her abdomen straight at me - minimizing her profile, I would guess. I'd never noticed the behavior before, but will watch for it now.
Another plant that's blooming prolifically, despite the heat and drought of the summer, is the annual, snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata). Solitary wasps, especially, seem to love feeding at these blooms...and I was surprised, when I got in close-up, at how pretty the flowers actually are. I think this might make an interesting garden plant, if horticulturists would select for low-growing cultivars.
I was reminded that birth defects occur in all species when I saw this dragonfly perched out back on a metal post. Was his malformed abdomen caused by a problem molting? ...a genetic problem? Was he malformed as a nymph? How long did he survive after I took this photo? Could he, possibly, have mated? I've not seen him again, so I can't answer any of these questions.
This is the second time that the dogs and I have come across a box turtle chowing down on a dead cicada. The dogs think that all cicadas were designed as crunchy, noisy dog treats, so the first time we came upon one, they stole it from the turtle before I realized what they were doing. This time I was able to anticipate their greediness and, after disturbing the turtle long enough to get a photo or two, pull the dogs away and let the turtle finish her meal in peace.
Earlier this summer I was struck by how the abundant honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) pods looked rather like party decorations, hanging off the trees. They're still looking like that, although now they're brown spotted green streamers!
And I'll leave you, for now, with this photo of a grasshopper playing peek-a-boo with me. When I moved, he moved. The ensuing game reminded me of a small child hiding behind a little tree. I guess when it's dry out and there aren't many pretty flowers, you have to find something to amuse yourself with! (I'm speaking of me, here, not the grasshopper! I'm sure he was trying, desperately, not to become people food.)