Tuesday, September 25, 2012


the very last spider lilies accompany the first gourd

leather & turkey feathers make a wild Indian for equinox

after a busy morning's play

these curls I'm in love with

harvesting peanuts - they will go straight from the vine into the boiling pot, just in time for Satuday football games

the season's first deer - with a longbow

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Snow Peas

This being my 4th year living 'below the gnat line' I find that I enjoying fall/winter gardening much more than my summer garden in this part of the world.  

It's the summer's combination of heat, gnats, rampant weeds, and especially MOSQUITOES (and keeping them off small children) that all together makes the fall garden seem luxurious.  

Right now the 80day/60night temps have got us planting.  

Today it was Levi's garden bed. He'd worked by himself over the weekend to prepare this spot & with a little help today we put in about 60 feet of snow peas.

I'm making the holes 6 inches apart, and the seedman comes behind me & drops them in.

He takes this job seriously.

May we create many a garden together Levi, it is a joy to spend this time with you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Almost Equinox

Caught all by himself!  Nice bass.

Wildflowers Joe found at work:  a little over a month after a growing season fire.

Our resident white oak snake.

She's only in her helmet at night now.  Yay!

Joe kept the kids for the weekend while I went to Athens to visit my new niece.   Of course they had to have a fire.

We traded weekends away, keeping the kids for each other.  Joe, the previous weekend, on a North Georgia bear hunt.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ichneumonid wasp

Levi spotted an enormous wasp in one of our pecan trees Sunday (the one his tire swing is hanging from).  Upon closer inspection I discovered it was a female with an incredibly long ovipositor laying eggs inside the tree.  We were there again yesterday & saw a large group of females all laying eggs.  

I had to go grab the camera!  

I knew they were Ichneumonid (thin waist) wasps, but that was about it.  After a little research, there's a really cool story:

The wasp we saw is Megarhyssa macrurus.

These enormous Ichneumonid wasp parasitize pigeon horntail (another huge wasp) larvae. What looks like a long stinger is the female's ovipositor which she uses to lay her eggs into the horntail larvae, which bore tunnels in decaying wood.  Female Megarhyssa macrurus are able to detect these larvae through the bark, and lay their eggs on them; within a couple of weeks, the Megarhyssa larvae will have consumed their host and pupate. They will emerge as an adult the coming summer.

In all my reading I never found mention of a large group of females all laying in the same tree at the same time.  There must be a great concentration of horntail larvae in this particular tree.  At one time yesterday there were 5 females congregated.

two females - the one on the right is pushing her ovipositor in - it is looped up in the air, it's so long

I did this one at a distance so you can see the entire ovipositor - it's twice the body length of the wasp.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Post, Very Quietly While Children Nap

attentive audience during an introduction to dinosaurs 

his latest 'paint on wood' piece in progress, now finished, to be mounted in carport shortly

Friday, September 7, 2012

the weekend ahead

Joe's gone for a 4-day-weekend bear hunt.  And after compulsively cleaning for the first 24 hours, I'm ready for a kid fun weekend.  Tonight while tucking Levi into bed I tell him we'll do anything in the whole world he wants to do tomorrow.  First, he asks me to take him to Wildwood.  Okay, so anything around here.

His list:

Dig a big fire pit.

Take Indi on a nature walk.

Build a fire.

"Anything else?  Anything in the world."

There's a pause, and then:

Can tomatoes!

"Goofy kid, you wanna can tomatoes!?"  

Apparently he likes slipping tomato skins - a job we gave him during our 145-pound tomato canning weekend extravaganza.

No garden tomatoes are to be had right now, but I suppose with my morning coffee tomorrow I'm going to be digging a big hole...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Around Here

My evening stroll.  With children tucked in tightly & daylight to spare.
In my silk sundress & a Fat Tire in hand. 

After their summer dormancy, the spider lilies annouce the coming of Fall!
These and tuberoses are my two all-time favorites.

Gentle hands hold a friend.

A driveway stroll.

A fearsome pirate in fresh turned dirt.
Getting ready to sow a winter cover crop mixture of clover & greens. 

The gourd vine that climbed the pecan tree... 50 feet up now & still going.

Elvis & the girls.  3 1/2 dozen a week.  Frittata anyone? 

Ah, this is near & dear to my heart.

This my friends is a variety of pumpkin that has been passed down in my family for the last six generations.  Family oral history places the origin of the variety with the Cherokee Indians who were present in now-day Wildwood prior to their 1838 removal.  There is historical evidence to support this and I've been devoting a good bit of time lately doing family geneology research.

The pumpkin above is part of the last grow-out I am doing to collect seed.  The mature seeds from this grow-out will be sent, along with the pumpkin's story, to the Seed Saver's Exchange in order that it may be preserved for generations to come. 

Purple coneflower I started from seed last summer.
Pumpkins on a low trellis behind.

A couple wily roosters free-ranging.
They'll be in the last batch headed to the freezer.

'Loud-Mouth' the rooster, who spends a good deal of time being pursued by Levi with bow and arrow in hand.  I'm occasionally ambushed by him on my way to the chicken coop.  Though he's perfectly gentle with Indigo.  

Sharing a snack of cracked corn.

In the middle of the hustle to prepare dinner, Indigo stands in the middle of the kitchen & makes the sign for 'book'.  Daddy stops & settles into the library rocker for a story.

Signing 'book'.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Love, Levi

I love having an outdoor child.  

Levi, upon entering the kitchen, quite covered with dirt and dressed in camo:
"Mother, wanna see what I found?" (digging around in his hip pocket)


"It fell from a tree."

I'm thinking leaf or stick or feather.

He gingerly produces a spiny caterpillar held dangling from one antenna!

"That was in your pocket!?"