Monday, August 30, 2010

Backyard Ramblings (7/11/2010)

I felt restless early Sunday morning of July 11th, 2010. So, I grabbed my camera and went out into the backyard to practice.

Our current backyard has no rhyme or reason to the landscaping and we're very neglectful caretakers. I'm one of those people who like to let the yard go within reason. As a result, nature loves it. And, a person can find beauty in the midst of what seems like chaos. It's not really chaos out there.

The owner of this place planted an American Agave. Both the Agave and the flowering cactus beside it is overgrown. I know nothing, absolutely nothing, about taking care of cactus or plants like the Agave. I notice this thing sprouting late in May or early in June; but, didn't think much of it. I was shocked at how tall this thing had grown. It is about two stories tall.

You can't see it in this picture; but, there were hundreds of honeybees swarming all over the flowers.

The honeybees were also all over the flowering cactus next to the Agave.

Note: I'm not scared of honeybees. I actually stood in the middle of a swarm once when I was a little girl and I didn't get stung. I have a fascination with honeybees and would love to have a hive or two or three.

Moving on.

This little Clouded Skipper butterfly was resting on one leaf of the cactus.

This bird was sitting in a tree next to the Agave. I was a tad disappointed with it because it moved his head when I snapped the picture. But still, it's a cool shot because it had a bug in its beak.

I decided to see if I could find some butterflies among the various plants and grass. I had fun stalking them. Many are just too shy or skittish to be photographed. But, I was patient and I won out with several. It was early enough for the dew to be present and as a result, many of them were still be resting and/or drinking.

A beautiful Elada Checkerspot butterfly.

A Little Yellow butterfly. This critter is extremely tiny. Thank God for my macro lens. I must have stalked this thing for at least 15 minutes before it decided that I wasn't going to harm it and rested for a bit for me.

Another Clouded Skipper butterfly drinking from a Morning Glory. The Glories around here have run amok in the the backyard. I am not complaining, just saying.

Morning Glories among the Crepe Myrtle bush. I didn't notice the ant until after I snapped the picture. I guess he adds interest. But, I'm not so sure because at this moment, I despise ants and have declared war upon the ones that insist upon entering the house. I must have gotten bitten a dozen times or so amongst my toes and on top of my feet before winning the war. By the way, tracking the ants to plug up the holes along with Cayenne Pepper seems to work best with these suckers.

{takes a deep breath} Moving on.

By this time, the sun had risen and it was hot enough for me to sweat. But, I had to attempt to take just one more picture.

Paper wasps. These are often mistaken for Yellow Jackets. I know I did until I did some research. I'm one of those who hate to destroy a nest of any kind unless I absolutely have to (such as one being in a bad place whenever mowing the lawn). I must say that if they had been Yellow Jackets, I would have destroyed the nest because they are known to be aggressive. However, most wasps are generally good garden critters. They feed on nectar and many will also feed on other insects including beetle larvae.

Like the honeybees, I'm not afraid of wasps. They generally leave you alone if you leave them alone. Mess with them, you'll get stung.