Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Good Day for Butterfly and other Critter Viewing

I've mentioned that I retired as a special education paraeducator last spring, and am now substituting.  There is a rule that I can only sub a day or two a week.  I sure am enjoying the extra time, but am not keeping up with everything I do.  It will help if I wean myself from spending so much time on the computer.  Today, I got some compost turned, and some put in the garden, where I then planted some hardneck garlic.  I need to plant more, but I got hot and sweaty and needed to take a break.  During that break, I took tons of photos of butterflies and such.

If you are looking for my Wildflower Wednesday post, you will see it after this one.

Do you know what kind of caterpillar this is?  I don't, and I don't recall seeing one on an aster before.  It doesn't look to have eaten a whole lot so far.

There were several kinds of bees on the asters.  I wonder if this is a Metallic Green Sweat Bee.  It was about half an inch long.

I was pleased to get a couple of decent photos of this skipper.  Like Gail said recently, the skippers have been skittish this summer.

I was elated to see three Monarchs on the Solidago 'Wichita Mountains'.

As on the asters, there were several kinds of bees of various sizes feeding alongside each other and the butterflies.

This Bumblebee on the Pitcher sage caught my attention for a minute.

One of the Monarchs decided to visit a spent Rudbeckia 'Herbstonne' bloom.

As I walked over to the butterfly bush, I saw three Monarchs.  I know two of them had already been there, but one of them may have flown over from the goldenrod.  When Larry mowed a couple hours after these were taken, he said he counted eight Monarchs!  Cool!

I am not sure which kind of Hummingbird moth this is.  I was thinking it was a Sphinx moth, but when I looked that up, they looked a little different.  It seems like there have been more around this season than usual, and they are out during the day more.  I used to see them more at dawn and dusk.

The butterflies are still enjoying the Verbena bonariensis.

Here's a Painted Lady.

Walking back to the vegetable garden, I stopped to take photos of a Sulphur of some kind.

I was excited when I saw what I'm pretty sure is a Variegated Fritillary in the vegetable garden.  It was pretty shy, but I managed to get one with the wings open, and one with them shut, because I knew I was going to check in my book to see if that's what it was.  I don't remember whether I've seen them around before.  I read that violets are one of the larval food plants.  There are some violets that I let grow in the vegetable garden and a few of the pots here and there.  Well, I actually pull them out of the pots from time to time, but never get all of the roots out, so they come back.

Again, it's the Verbena bonariensis that the butterfly is feeding on.  This one is growing in and among the volunteer cantaloupe plants.

When I was turning the compost pile, I came across a few of these creatures. I was right in guessing they were grubs.  I'm reading that there are several kinds, and that they are part of the decomposition process.  I just hope they stay there.

Here are some more little helpers.

I uncovered an area where ants were making a home.  I think the little white things are eggs.  Can you see the ants carrying them around now that they are exposed?  What do you know about this?

Before coming in, I went to the front to check for more butterflies, and there was a Black Swallowtail.  What a fun day!

Oh, and I guess I went back to the asters to see if there was anything else to take photos of.  I had set the camera on the super macro setting, and left it there for these.  I do like the details on the bumblebee.  It almost looks furry.

There are some bee hives at UNL's East Campus, which is not far from here.  I wonder if our flowers are contributing to their honey.

I've seen a few of these around.  The aster is about an inch across, so this is about half to three/fourths an inch.  I'm not sure if anyone has identified them for me before.  Do you know what it is?  I sure like the markings on it.

I hope you check out the Wildflower Wednesday posts, including mine.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September's Wildflower Wednesday

Gail, from Clay and Limestone hosts Wildflower Wednesday the fourth Wednesday of the month, and I am remembering to get my post done a bit early, so I am going to go ahead and post it.

I am pleased that there are more colors added to the predominant yellow in the yard.  The New England asters have been in the same couple of spots for at least 5 years, and are now seeding themselves around. 

I love the way the Boltonias are so full of blooms.

I've mentioned this is the first time I've grown Sweet black eyed susans and Illinois bundleflower.  I am pleased with the long blooming season of the susans.  Oh, and I see some spent blooms of the Rattlesnake master on the right.

Most of the blooms on the Joe pye weed are spent, but there are a few new buds.

This is the Mountain mint that I don't remember planting.  I'm wondering if it's a cross between the Short toothed mountain mint and the Virginia Mountain mint.  The flowers look like Short toothed, and the leaves like Virginia.

The Wild quinine that I planted this year bloomed later than the others, and are still white.

The Common milkweed milkpods are pretty cool looking to me, but these are turning black, so I'm wondering if the seeds are going to be safe to give away.  I don't want to be spreading a disease of some kind.

The Ironweeds have a shorter bloom time than other wildflowers.

Even thought the Cup plants are finished blooming, they are continuing to look pretty cool.

I deadheaded them last year because I was afraid of getting lots of volunteers, and more afraid of the neighbors getting some.  I decided to be brave this year, and let the birds enjoy the seeds.

Speaking of seeds, last season was my first year to grow Golden Alexanders.  I deadheaded them, hoping they would bloom again, but they didn't, so I left them on this year.  One found its way into the ground and sprouted already, and is now in the butterfly garden I am helping with.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but the seedheads are actually pretty, and I think they add some nice texture to the garden.  I have also shared some with visitors to the garden.

It's fun having different kinds of Liatris that bloom at different times of the season.  I seem to get them mixed up easily, though.  This may be aspera or punctata, but I'm not sure.

I've been enjoying the Zig zag goldenrod.

Riddel's goldenrod is supposed to get up to three feet tall, but it gets taller than that here.  I also finally have figured out that some of the seedlings that came up are these.

I don't remember spent Wild quinine blooms turning colors before, but sure like these.

The seedpods of the Wild senna look almost as pretty as the blooms.

Pitcher sage is one of my fall favorites.

The seedpods of Clematis pitcheri are pretty cool, too.

Someone told me that deadheading Gray-headed coneflowers does not cause them to bloom more, but these are.  Maybe these flower buds were already going to bloom at this time, but that's OK.  I cut some back, but not others.  I didn't think to look to see if the ones I didn't cut back have any blooms on them.

Here's the Short toothed mountain mint, sharing the space with Brown eyed Susan volunteers.  You can see the leaves are wider than the previous one I showed.

The 'Wichita Mountains' Goldenrod is a nice cultivar that is loaded with bees each fall.

There are several of these asters, or maybe ex-asters, on the side of the house.  I'm not sure what kind they are.

Gail, here's a view of the leaves, if that helps you or anyone else recognize what kind they are.

Is Blue mist spirea a wildflower?  I just had to include it because I liked how this bee was hanging upside down on it.  I have seen a number of bees on these blooms.

I'm not sure what kind of insect this is on the Butter and eggs, a kind of toadflax.  I'm glad these come back each year, growing in a tub.  They spread too far and wide for me to have in the ground.

This is a volunteer of some kind.  It may be Cutleaf coneflower.  I think it's a little different from Gray-headed coneflower.

Thank you for hosting this each month, Gail!  I hope there are others choosing some plants for their gardens with the pollinators in mind, and are remembering not to use pesticides.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Changes and Rules (not gardening related)

(I started this post 8/31/13, and almost forgot to finish it.)

I am not one who normally resists change, but am still processing the changes that are being made to our beloved Haymarket area of downtown, where the farmer's market Larry and I live closest to is.  We have a routine, and go there almost every Saturday morning of the season.  I don't think we've missed any this year.

Our city has a new arena that has just been completed, and each week when we go to the farmer's market, I have wondered why they didn't put it farther west, which was where I was thinking in my mind that it was going to be.  This morning (8/31/13), Larry didn't go, because he was not feeling well, and I got there a bit later than usual, so had to park farther away.  I had my camera with me to take some photos, and started in the area next to where I parked.

One of the changes is that they are now attending the parking lots on the west side.  This evening is UNL's first football game, and so folks now have to give the attendants $20.00 when they arrive, and if they leave before 1:30, they get $17.00 back.  The lot on the left is new.  I forgot to see if the meters were still in the lot on the right.  I hope they are, for non-game days.  (I parked on the street, where they have not had meters in the past, but are in the process of installing them.)

I have not been keeping up with all that is being put into the area.  This is the first time I have been in this area.

I was walking toward the north, and facing east in this photo.  This is the older part of the area.

I'm not sure if there is a new business in this building, but we are sad that Crawdaddy's is no longer in business.  We don't go out to eat often, but that was one we both liked.

I'm continuing to head north, and facing the old side of the area.

I don't know how old this station is, or when it no longer was used for a train station.  I need to learn more about our history!

Here is the area to the west, across the street.

Back east:

There are two square pillar type things with beautiful glass and art work.

Looking back south:

We have made it to the west edge of the farmer's market (facing east).

I just kept taking photos back and forth.  It's amazing how many buildings are going up!

This is part of the new entertainment district, where people will be able to carry their drinks from one  establishment to another in the outdoor area, but there is a dress code, which I understand businesses are allowed to have.  It just bugs me because tank tops will not be allowed, yet one of the establishments is going to be one of those that has scantily clad women wait staff.  I disapprove of those places for a number of reasons, but really, was this what women have fought for the right to do?  I wonder what some of the women in the past who fought for equal rights would think of this.

I think this is the building where a restaurant is going in that our nephew will be working at.  Except for the arena, I think the buildings blend into the area pretty well.

Here's a closer view of the sign.  People living here will have quite the view.

I love this old sewer drain.

So, here it is, part of the reason for all of the other development, which I forgot to mention was not without controversy.  They are still finding more diesel fuel in the area from the old train station.

There was a Secret Supper held here, that I would have loved to go to.  I guessed at a pretty high price for the tickets, and was shocked when I looked and saw they were way more than my guess.  It will have to be some very special performance that we are willing to splurge for in order for us to go to a concert there.  There are some people coming I may be interested in going to, but we haven't even been able to afford concerts at other venues lately.

I hope the growing areas do well.  That's the post office next to the arena.

I was tickled to see Amsonia hubrichtii in this area.  It will be an awesome plant to have there, looking great in all seasons.

The liatris is stressed, but hopefully, it will be OK.

It was fun to go on this walkway.

I met a woman who was willing to take this photo of me wearing my tank top.  I think this is part of the entertainment district, but am not clear on that.  She had a tank top on, too, and laughed at the thought of us being "rebels".   She didn't know about the dress code, though.  I took a photo of her from behind, but see I didn't get it into the post.

There are some pretty good views from the bridge.  This is the beloved Bob Devaney Sports Center, our football stadium.  I am a rare bird in our state.  I would say a huge percent of us are devoted Cornhusker football fans, while others cannot stand football.  I am one who can take it or leave it.  I don't keep track of who we are playing when until the last minute, if then, and if I have a game on, I am also doing something else, and not watching much of it.

Our football coach has been in the news the last few days because of a foul mouthed rant he went on a couple years ago before an interview, that I'm thinking he didn't know was being recorded.  Maybe I am finished turning the games on, not so much about the remarks, but how much these guys seem to be worshiped to the point they are not held to the same standards as others. 

This is a bridge that goes to what must be the east side of Haymarket Park, which is where the Salt Dogs play baseball.  I'm not into baseball, or any other sport besides gardening, either, so I forgot this is what it was called until I looked it up.  Since this was the day of the first football game, someone looked to be getting ready for a tailgate party.

I'm not sure in what way the railroad tracks were rerouted for the project, but that must have been a factor in the placement of the buildings.

I must have included this photo to see the proximity of the building to where I was, and where the tracks are.

The walkway I was on will be extended to Haymarket Park.  People will be able to park there for events at the new arena.

My zoom was able to reach Haymarket Park.  If I would have been paying attention, I would have seen the name of it on the building.

Back to the walkway, here is an outside gathering area.  There were a number of these planters here.

Looking back to the south and west, here's the building.

Walking back to the south, I used my zoom to get a photo of some older buildings, including the state capital building.

The east side of the arena:

I asked this nice officer if he was going to enforce the dress code, and as he hesitated, I added, or is that going to be up to the businesses?  He nodded.  He gave me permission to post his photo.  I found out I know someone who he is related to. 

The post office is the closest building to the east of the arena.  Some people say the area will be developed in the next few years.

I took the next photos on the east side of the block I had shown photos of before I got to the arena.

These condos, across the street to the east of the new area have been here a number of years.  There used to be an island with parking meters on either side.

I sure took lots of photos!  This is looking back to the west.

Crossing the street to the south, we make it to the farmer's market.

This brick sculpture is "Iron Horse Legacy" by Jay Tschetter.  We have a print of it in our living room.

This past Saturday, the 14th, many of these vendors didn't come, because the football game started at 11:00 a.m.  I don't know what time it is this week, or if it's in town, but I hope it's later in the day.

Heading south, there are vendors on the sidewalk, too.

Here is the east side of the train station.

We've reached the south end, and are turning toward the east.

This is an east/west street, around the corner from the other vendors.  During the peak of the season, there are also sellers on the next block.

I know we will get used to the changes to the area, but I still wish they could have done it all a block to the west.

I hope all is well with you.  I have been watching the coverage of the horrible tragedy at the naval base.  Please give your loved ones an extra hug when you see them, and forgive those who you need to.  Let's all take care of each other.