Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lizards in my Yard

I realized  that I have neglected a special group of garden creatures in my weekly articles.  I have focused several posts on birds and photos of insects are throughout the blog, but I haven't mentioned or posted photos of the garden's scaly and slimy residents.  I'm talking about lizards, toads, and snakes! 

Lizards in my Yard
Anna Malcom

Green Anole and sometimes brown
Eyes in active search,
Very still, a branch, until
Sudden movement, snatch a meal.

Six lines and a whiptail,
Fast as all get out,
A blur shoots by, dogs go nuts,
Fake left and zoom right, lose dogs, out of sight.   

Skink of ground and leaf litter,
Wriggly body moves quite fast,
Tiny legs and shiny skin, a shadow,
What did I see? a slip, it’s gone.

Scales spiny, and bark for skin,
Pushups on a trunk, show off,
Robust figure, I want a better look,
Go around the tree, so does it, and a little higher.

I promise to not neglect the Scaly and Amphibious creatures in future blog posts.  I will get some current photos, but for now here are a few of my old favorite pictures of these fun creatures. 

Green Anole

How a Lizard Looks, 2011  
I love seeing toads.  The other day, I had one floating happily in the bird water.  It was all puffed up because the dogs walked by it, but they didn't notice it.

Gulf Coast Toad
This is the one and only snake I've ever found in my yard, a tiny 1.5 inch brown snake.  
Tiny brown snake, there are rolly pollies
in the picture for size comparison!

A coral snake trying to eat a hog-nosed snake
at the Nature Center

Arizona Lizards! photos taken my my love, Jacob.
Gila Monster, from SE AZ, photo by Jacob

Texas Horned Lizard from SE AZ, photo by Jacob

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Garden Quiz

Garden Quiz

I love gardening! I enjoy seeing plants grow, looking for garden visitors, spending time outside, and eating the harvest. I am learning new tricks every season, but am thankful that I don't have to rely on my gardening skills to survive.

  1. What are the three primary macronutrients that plants need to grow well?

  2. Potassium

  3. Which of the following vegetables is not in the nightshade 'Solanaceae' plant family?

  4. Tomato
    Bell Pepper

  5. Which of the following vegetables did not originate in North and South America?

  6. Corn

  7. Which of the vegetables is really a fruit, because it came from a flower? (more than one answer)

  8. Corn
    Green Beans

  9. Which garden plant helped Gregor Mendel discover genetics?

  10. Wheat

Thanks for taking the quiz. Share a garden story in the comments section. We would all love to hear how your garden is doing, something funny or interesting, and tricks you've learned.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Favorite Park

Living in a city is challenging for Jacob and me.  We both grew up in the country.  My home 'town' Sunizona, Arizona doesn't get a dot on the map.  The post office was 20 miles away in Pearce, my high school was 25 miles away in Elfrida, and a normal sized grocery store was about one hour either North to Willcox or South to Douglas.  Jacob is from Northwest Virginia where he spent much of his time in the George Washington National Forest.  We miss the open space and solitude of country life.  Hopefully we will be able to find a less populated place to live in the future.

For now, I am ever so thankful for the public areas where I can enjoy the outdoors.  The places that I frequent are my garden :), the nature center, St James Episcopal Church property, Hornsby Bend, and Mueller Park.  These places help me get outside, see a little nature, and keep sane (well, you know me!)    

Mueller Park is in a newer development at the old airport in Austin.  It has two park areas; a more traditional park area with mowed grass and a playground, and a natural area with prairie grass and native plants.  I, of course, prefer the natural area with its wildflowers, tall grasses, and large oaks and pecans.  There are ponds in each of the areas.  The classic park pond has some domestic ducks and geese that children like to feed, and both ponds are home to wild ducks especially in the winter months.  I have seen Wood duck, Ring-necked Ducks, Redhead, Canvasback, Black-bellied whistling ducks, Gadwall, Ruddy Duck, American Coots, and Pie-billed Grebes during different times of year.  I enjoy waiting for the return of Scissor-tailed flycatchers in the spring and picking up a freshly dropped pecan in late summer.   

Living in a city is challenging, but I find my sweet spots where I can be myself and energize.  I don't think I could live in a place without dirt and plants, bugs and birds.  I love these small living spaces in our large city.  

Halloween Pennant Dragonfly
Pie-billed Grebe Babies hatched this weekend

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Mueller Park Pond (classic park pond)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sunflower Forest

We have a Sunflower Forest for a yard.  This is the second year that the flowers have taken over.  The birds dropped some seeds originally, and now they are well established.  The sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani, are the wild type of sunflower with seeds too small for humans to eat, but just right for many birds.  It has many 4 inch flowers branching out from a main stalk.  The plants grow to about 8ft tall, and are so thick that you can't walk through them.  Jacob and I really love watching the takeover, and seeing all the birds and insects that are attracted to the flowers.  I also enjoy seeing the flowers as you arrive at our home.  The sunflowers seem to say 'welcome back.'

Welcome to our Sunflower Forest!

The Sunflower People

Catch a kiss

Cross your fingers

Fancy hat

Goldie locks

Those teens and their hair-dos
Some people are just Shy


The Takeover

May 15th 2012

May 26th 2012

June 4th


May 26th