November 22, 2020

Martha O'Kennon

Colors of late Autumn: The epimedium groundcover along the front sidewalk is turning its gorgeous fall colors. I wonder if it was looking up at the maples and got jealous or just tried to echo (yeah, I could have said "reflect", but I'll bet none of you synaesthetes mind anyway) the many colors on the trees. Anyway, enjoy the result. Next, ALL those beautiful reds fell off the euonymus bushes and left a burgeoning bird banquet in their place. Third, Jadesy a couple of weeks after being brought in - no sign of flowers - and this is several falls since I gave J to my friend Susan and pinched off this start of a new plant. Anyway, we know this Jadesy is a clone of the former one, so one of these years we will see Blossoms!

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.

For people who have never seen Jadesy in bloom, I decided to hold a Séance and invite various manifestations of Jadesy to attend. Here she was in Fall 2015. First, here she is budding on October 25. Second, a close-up of a branch on November 30. And third, in full bloom on December 17. In that third picture, focus on the upper left corner and you will see that the blossoms are actually a delicate pale pink.

The ants weren't much in evidence this week. Still, here is one of the Smaller Carpenter Ants. And, unlike most weeks lately, there were one or two kinds of Aphids. The second and third pictures show one candidate for Aphid.

Another candidate for Aphid is shown in this row. Ken Wolgemuth suggested the Aphid connection and I've written to @glmory, an Aphid expert to see if he can narrow it down. The second picture shows a sudden spreading of the wings that happened while I was just pressing down the "take" button.

Here is a bagworm in its case of sticks. The other case-bearers were all over the Wall again.

For yet another week, the Graphopscocus cruciatus Barklice were the most populous. Most of them are to be found on the edge of a shop siding panel, or racing across the panel. Picture 3 shows some kind of strange shape with what looks like a clutch of some kind of eggs hanging from below it. What can it be?

Here is a surprise! On September 27, a Loving Barklouse called Aaroniella badonneli was seen on the North Wall. Well, here it is again. Yesterday (November 20) I also saw this little creature (last two pictures) that screamed "Valenzuela flavidus" at me, especially the clearer one,

Last year in October and November there were quite a few little yellow-orange Barklouse nymphs. First here is one of the nymphs from last October. Next is one from this May (I had noted by its name that it was a VERY fast runner.) Third is one I found across the street next to the College Theatre. I think they were all Valenzuela flavidus. By the way, flavis in Latin means yellow or blond in English.

Meanwhile, here is the Adult from this year June, last November, and from June 2018, when I had never heard of V. flavidus. Look how different they may look from different angles!

Beetles! They have been a bit scarce. Here is that Flea Beetle again. Speaking of looking different at different angles! Third is probably a Weevil, but a bit too fuzzy to identify.

Here is that Damsel Bug, Nabis roseipennis, again. Last is Drymus unus, a Bug that shows up every year at the end of the Goldenrod season and reappears at intervals through the winter.

Here is one that has been out there several times in the past few weeks - the Spined Soldier Bug. Then comes the Green Stink Bug. I haven't seen one for a long time but that only makes seeing it in the flesh more dear to me.

On November 17, there was snow on the ground when I got up. It didn't keep Spooky from tracing out her territory though (look toward the back of this picture at a little black animal - hint - it isn't one of our black squirrels). Picture 2: On the morning of the 18th there was a bit of ice on the pond, which still had the leaf net over it. Picture 3: on the 17th, the Norway Maple suddenly showed up in all her nakedness. It seemed that every leaf on that tree fell within the space of a day!

Two days later, on the 19th, the temperature was in the high 60's F, or about 20 C. So I fed the fishes. That's what the white flakes are - fish flakes - not the more nearly to be expected snow. I love the ripples on the upper right of the first picture.

This Smoky-winged Woodlouse Fly was acting like a bug on some kind of Speed. It was twisting and hopping as if it had fleas or something that was driving it crazy. I might have thought it was doing a display to attract a member of the opposite sex, but I didn't seen another of its species near. This fantasy made up for the lack of Flies to try to identify!

Here are a couple more Flies. This first one is either a Crane Fly or one of the Fungus Gnats. I'm pretty sure Number 2 is a Fungus Gnat. I think it was the big thorns on its legs that tipped me off. Number 3 looks like one of the mystery flies we see often.

The Harvestmen are all over the bottom part of the shop siding, especially on the North and South Walls. I think the third one is a baby.

This was not Spider Week. I saw so very few of them, and most of those were Grass Spiders, as in picture 1. They had grown from the little fellows that make a web they can run in and out of to capture other curious things. Pictures 2 and 3 show a Chalcidid Wasp of genus Brachymeria. The legs look as if they were made out of yellow play dough.

You know how about February we will start to see the Spring Flowers? Well, since it's almost the end of November, we can't see the Spring things. But what we can see are some plants that will have to wait till Spring to really bloom or become a home for Treehoppers, or maybe something else. Here are some of those plants. I overlooked this plant during the year but here it is, right next to the water tap outside the house. I have submitted it to iNat, and their initial assessment is "Purple Foxglove". I have had Foxglove of some stripe but it obviously got overrun in the front yard. I've never planted or seen Foxglove in this new position. We'll have to wait to see if it is in fact a Foxglove and maybe what kind it is. Picture 2 shows a Thistle plant that I saved from the front yard and hope it will be accepted as home by the Keeled Treehopper next year. Third is a Primrose in the front yard, keeping cool till time to wake up in the Spring.

One more pond picture. The fish will gradually shut down their metabolisms - and so it won't be safe to feed them - once the water temperature goes down. It makes me worry that since the pond water doesn't contain a whole lot of the bacteria, etc. that the old water did. But so far all the fish that I returned to the pond are still with us. Soon I'll have to put out the little floating heater on top of the water. It will automatically turn on if the temperature goes below 32 F or 0 C.

Well, another week has come and gone. The country is still in a strange flux or maybe reflux. Apparently we must muddle through. We woke this morning to two or three inches of snow on the deck, and it kept coming down slowly and is still doing so. Meanwhile we too kept on keeping on. I hope all is well with you all, and that Bill Marr forgives me for missing his Birthday Zoom Party. Please???

Everyone must try as hard as possible to dodge the pandemic that seems to sit on top of everything, and live as good as possible a life until the command "Breathe" comes down to tell us that we did the best of a bad job. And did it every day.

Love, Martha

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