Random 5 Friday

It’s still Friday somewhere, right? At least for a wee bit longer. Time for Random 5 Friday at Nancy’s blog, A Rural Journal.8616512946_a8c5cf857d_o

Come join the fun, where you share five random facts about you, your day, kids or pets, whatever!  Or just see what others have shared.

1. It was cool earlier in the day, 70s and 80s, compared to what we’ve been having–90s. We’ve had a few days of thunderstorms this week, too; all in all, favorable conditions for weeds. Today, I decreased their population considerably.

2. I need someone to remind me I am not as young as I used to be–before I deadhead, weed, and prune for hours. It was so nice to be outside, I didn’t want to come back inside.

3. My arm bone is  connected to my shoulder bone, which is connected to my neck bone.  There’s your anatomy lesson for the day.

4. The only spider I like is Spider Solitaire. If you do not play, don’t start. You have been warned. 

5. I finally found caterpillars on the fennel! These will metamorphose into Black Swallowtail butterflies. Shown are three of the five instars (larval stages) before they molt into the chrysalis. 

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Another Lesson Learned

Here’s a “before” picture of our butterfly bush, taken in May 2011.

By the end of August, the storms had taken a toll on it. Many of the leaves looked like they had been through a shredder. The right side of the bush was beaten down, the branch split. It looked like a house divided. 

I considered cutting off the broken section, but couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I thought once it showed signs of dying, it would be easier to part with.

A few more storms have passed this way, and the main body of the bedraggled butterfly bush is showing its faded glory. 

October came and went, and not much attention was given to deadheading. Regarding it from the back door this week, it looked so forlorn. It was one of those 70+ degree days, and I needed an excuse to go outside, anyway, so I took the pruning shears and set out to shape it up a bit. The above picture is what I saw from the house, but this is what I found on the broken down side. Still lush and green, and loaded with blossoms. 

So, I learned another life lesson: Don’t give up when the storms of life beat us down, the harsh winds stripping away things we think we need, bending us out of shape. Where there is life, there is  hope. There is always hope. 

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified. Is.61:3

Wild Wednesday

That would describe my hair mostly, outside doing some much-neglected yard work.

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I took a “brief” respite from weeding when the temperatures rose above 95F (35C). However, I quickly found the weeds had not. 😦

The other night, hubby spotted a black swallowtail caterpillar on the black-eyed susan (rudbeckia). Silly me thought it was looking for variety in its diet. I should have known better! Today I was deadheading flowers and pruning dead stems. I cut and pulled one stem off the black-eyed susan, OOPS! There was a chrysalis attached to it. I now have it in a vase in the kitchen so we can observe it together. 🙂

The area around the birdbath resembles a jungle, so I pruned some branches so I could fill it, and the birds could find it. I wanted to scrub it, and started to prune some of the ivy where I needed to step closer, and found another caterpillar in the process of attaching itself to a stem. No pruning of the ivy or scrubbing the birdbath today. Sorry for the blur, one of us must have moved. 🙂

I also observed a large caterpillar crawling across the mulch, heading for the vinca and rhododendron. It disappeared quickly, so hopefully it has settled in a safe place where the birds won’t find it. I also found this nest, about the size of a quarter, on another plant. Anyone have an idea what lurks within? 

Mystery mud nest