March 3, 2019

Martha O'Kennon

The temperature has hovered around freezing for most of the past couple of weeks. That has not helped the little creatures to gird up their lions to come and sun on the shop siding. Around the second half of February a couple of spiders came out for short times. The first two of these above portraits are images of one of the Eustala genus. This is a bit interesting since the green hump-backed orbweaver we saw a few times earlier (maybe in January) is also in the genus Eustala - E. anastera to be exact or thereabouts. You can see that interesting topographical feature resembling remnants of an earthquake in both of these spiders. It is on the bottom right of the green spider picture.

Remember that there is information in the name of the file for each image. You can see it by mousing over the image - look at the lower left of the screen. Or you can click on the image to get to the (usually) larger image. Then the info is displayed in the address line above. Sometimes the second click will actually display a different view of the original image.

A few days ago I braved the chill to see a spider dangling athletically from the south-eastern corner of the shop. Of course the only part of it that was still enough for me to be able to capture on faux-film was its shadow. Still in February (the 20th) a good-sized fly that I don't recognize appeared at almost that same spot. A small geometrid moth caterpillar hung around for a couple of days, then gave up on the meager warmth and must be under the shop again now.

On March 1, the winter aconites FINALLY opened their blooms to us. Notice that they bypass the greening out of their leaves so that what we see is three or four tiny flowers opened just enough for us to set off fireworks (well, not really). Before you celebrate too boisterously, just try to wrap your brain around the second picture, which is from February 27, 2018. Not only are the blooms opened widely but they are already being visited (February 27, remember) by honey bees! Honey Bees! We are in the way of spring flowers about two weeks behind. This helps me to suppress my petulance at our being weeks behind in bug appearances. Dave S and I, on the way home from the City Council meeting Friday night took a peek at their family snowdrops around their parking tree and mysteriously they are getting their act together! They are the bellwether (I almost spelled it bellweather, which it is in this case) for early spring things in this neighborhood.

So, my friends, the big small steps are beginning to tell us that our courage through the long dark winter is going to be rewarded. One of those small steps is that today my first two Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs appeared in the house. One fell from the ceiling, narrowly missing the spot where my breakfast bowl had been. Later, I saw another trying to drown itself in the tub. But I also have good news, which some of you know I have been suffering through. My orange and white cat, Tripper, has apparently lost most of her teeth (That's what you get if you don't eat your tartar treats!) and has been tossing her food in very unattractive places. The vet gave her a big bag of "digestive problems" food. She continued to throw it up and continued, etc. Finally I decided, "no teeth" means "no getting the food past the stomach". So finally after two months of stupidly feeding her that expensive dry food I picked up a few trial cans from Tractor Supply of something also labeled "digestive help" canned food. Even thought the can comes with one of those "EZ open keys", just the smell of the food seems to be as good as the sound of the electrical can opener at attracting Tripper. Now she has been on the wet food for 4 days and the carpet is as pristine as it can be at this point. Now the problem extends. The black cat, Spooky, has begun to prefer Tripper's "digestive" dry food to her own "cystitis" dry food. So now the good news is that Spooky still has no interest in the wet food, and Tripper has no interest in the dry digestive stuff, Spooky is going to put herself into danger of going back and getting cystitis. I said this was going to be good news, but I never said it was going to be purely good news. Look, this is what passes for good news in this house!

Meanwhile, last week the little floating pond heater gave up its little ghostie, it was just too cold for too long. So I had to get another one. Now the pond can keep a bit of a hole open. Now what was happening to the poor fishes while the pond was frozen closed for two days or thereabouts? The other day there was a good-sized hole through which I found several fishes doing their Let Spring Come Now dance.

So Let Spring Come now, all us Northern Hemisphereans, and to the Antipodeans, Happy Autumn!

Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2019