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Monday, April 12, 2010

Bluets and Bugs

Winter often drags slowly in the land of nature/gardening blogs. Sometimes it is hard to see new things each day. But spring is a different story!  In spring it is hard to keep up with the new things.  Everyday brings a new bloom, or an animal that has come out of hibernation, or birds migrating and returning to their summer home.  Oh yes, and tent caterpillers.  The dreaded bugs have hatched from wherever they come and are now momentarily residing in the wild cherry trees and tho not-so-wild apple trees. I don't a complete grasp on their life cycle, but it seems like they come back into that sticky white "tent" each evening.  I'm not sure how they get in or get out, but they spend their day devouring the leaves of several species of trees.  At the peak of their munching phase, it is a bit repulsive to walk in the woods.  The uneducated might not notice the slight clicking sound that is overhead. That sound, though is the dropping of their tiny poo everywhere, including your hair,, shoulders and wherever else it might land. It covers the surface of many leaves on the ground and in the trees. Yeuch! Soon, we will spot them crawling.  In an especially good year for the caterpillers, they will be crawling on every vertical serface searching for the perfect place to build their cocoons. The sticky 2-3 inch long cocoons are a pale yellow, a color that is also apparent if you happen to step on the cocoon builder before it reaches that verticle surface.

There are quite a few of these guys out there too.  They are common in my flower garden but I've been too lazy to identify it. I think it is pretty - unless it happens to be crawling on me. That is when I scream real girly-like then quickly try to look cool.  

Bugs are part of nature, and most I don't mind though I prefer that they are not on me. Some I even try to attract such as the Monarch Butterfly. I protect any praying mantis I find even though they have been known to catch a hummingbird infrequently.  The photos of most bugs don't attract as many admirers as furry mammals or petaled plants
Many people prefer, to look at pictures of these tiny bluets, blooming profusely near the driveway to the barn.  A nice characteristic of bluets is that they will grow where very little else will grow.  If for some reason you don't like bluets, then fertilize the ground or add some good compost.  The bluets will soon be gone.  Be sure to notice the bright yellow center of each of the flowers below which comes with its own sunburst.
Our spring evenings here on the hill are a different color than in past years.  Last year many trees were cut down on the property behind our house - due west. This means that the sunset that did disappear quickly behind dense growing tree tops is  more now obvious as is glows through the trees.

The glow continues past the house to the other side of our road
The sun's last light leaping across the hill confuses my eye which sees autumnal colors in the trees.

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