Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baby Mantis on the loose!

After walking the dog 
earlier in the summer, I came in to eat breakfast. 
As I sat down, a flash of green caught my eye and there, 
on the ground to behold was a baby Praying Mantis. It must have hitched a ride indoors. 
I quickly scooped it up before Sigi could step on it and transported it
outside to the Fothergilla gardenii bush in the corner of the garden.
I grabbed my camera to capture these shots. 

Note its powerful forearms that can crush prey in half and are spiked.

I guess it needed to clean up after such an unsettling affair. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Catch me if you can, big dog!

Despite the fact that we have a very large dog, Sigi, we still have rabbits all over our back yard. They enjoy teasing him and leaving remains for him to smell and torment him and then even mock him by hopping right by his door. 

It is a friendly interaction though and provides great entertainment for us all. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Little Fawn, don't be afraid!

From my office earlier in the summer, I could see a young fawn nestled in the grass 
sleeping out in the open unprotected. 

I was curious and watched for awhile and finally went down to investigate. I startled her eventually and she ran unfortunately into my garden fence and seemed very wobbly.

I was concerned that perhaps the mother had abandoned her. I called the Aark Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center for instructions and they informed me to keep a watchful eye out for her but not capture her at this time. If the fawn was abandoned she would quickly become dehydrated and decline quickly.

Another deer appeared within the hour and the fawn gleefully ran to it but was met with some unwelcome kicks. The fawn undeterred remained nearby nibbling on some grass.

I spied the next morning the fawn reunited with the mother eating 
happily some apples under the crabapple tree.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cicada Killers Hard at Work!

I received an email from my good friend, Blanche, regarding an insect in her yard that was making large holes which she could not identify. 

After discussing it back and forth and sending her various insect photos, we determined she had in her flower beds an Eastern cicada killer, which is a very large solitary wasp. The females are larger and sting their prey, a cicada, to paralyze it and then use it to provision their nest. They emerge in June and can be seen until late September.

I visited her yard to take photos and found her flower bed all dug up with many large holes around her plantings and a male flying about keeping us on guard as he flew from hole to hole. A female arrived carrying a paralyzed cicada larger than herself and she promptly carried it down into one of the holes.

See the following article for further fascinating information:

I searched in my own yard for similar nests with no luck but did find 
this cicada, safe for the moment, on my porch. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sweet Clover Honey!

Although we had a slow start this year due to the cold spring weather, we still managed to collect over 90 lbs of honey. The first harvest was July 5th, the same day as last year! The second harvest was just 2 weeks later and we bottled another 40 lbs. The honey is mostly made from clover nectar and is delicious, light and sweet. We had a beautiful bumper clover crop this year that lasted for weeks until the hot dry weather rolled in.

We have 3 hives this year and they are vibrant but we are working hard to keep the mites and beetles at bay. We plan to add a 4th hive next year. The hive to the far left has been odd - just collecting honey for themselves and not putting any honey in the honey super for us and they spend a lot of time just hanging out as you can see. The hive to the far right was amazing and is the one from which we collected the most honey.