Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

The Hallo-wieners are on their way. I've had fun decorating the house and garden. The holiday was a good excuse to buy a few items for the house. I found this turret candleholder at Potagers a few weeks ago.

It almost looks spooky with an orange candle inside.

And we've hung lots of webs and giant spiders outside as well.

Just to keep on-topic: I was lucky enough to visit the Natural Gardener Nursery last week where I found some hardy succulents for my old urn. I can't wait to see how it looks after it's filled in.

Hope all of you have a very Happy & Safe Halloween Night. If you want to send a fun/free Halloween e-card I can highly recommend the nice folks at Care2. Every e-card you send helps support good environmental causes...

From ghoulies and ghosties And long-leggedy beasties And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us! ~Scottish Saying
Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Terrariums and Webs

Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

I was tempted one too many times by the Smith & Hawken terrariums until I finally succumbed last week...


I plan on lining the bottom of the small terrarium with gravel and the larger with flat moss and perhaps some stones so they will both look like proper Wardian cases.

I finally dug out my Halloween ornaments and plan on hanging them today. I have several decorative spiders along with webs that I'll use to spice up my home and garden for the little trick-or-treaters.

I doubt my decorations will look as good as this mother wolf spider I found in my garage. Notice the little spiderlings clinging to her abdomen.

And my store-bought webs can never top the real thing I saw this morning lined with dew.

"Do you understand how there could be any writing in a spider's web?"

Oh, no," said Dr Dorian. "I don't understand it. But for that matter I don't understand how a spider learned to spin a web in the first place. When the words appeared, everyone said they were a miracle. But nobody pointed out that the web itself is a miracle." ~ From "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White

Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Halloween Preparations

Many of my neighbors have already decorated their gardens and porches for Halloween by adding pumpkins, spiders, ghosts and scarecrows. My only nod to the season so far is a sweet ivy a friend gave me that I surrounded with gourds and baby pumpkins for my table...

I have noticed the local nurseries are getting in the All Hallows Eve Spirit, though. I love the pumpkin patch at Red Barn Nursery.

I plan to take my son there this week to pick out his favorite pumpkin. I liked these wrinkly pumpkins the best.

Not far away, this black & white Jumping spider, (Phidippus audax) almost seemed in costume as s/he waited for lunch on the sedum.

Jumping spiders are some of my favorites because they are small (and so not scary to me) and they seem curious and brave without being aggressive. They will often check out a person by turning towards them instead of running away. I've never been bitten by a jumping spider in all my years of examining them. The little guy I watched above had beautiful, neon-green mandibles that unfortunately did not show up in my photographs.

I walked outside this morning to see what other visitors were in my garden. I found the bees busy as usual on the passionflowers.

The butterflies are showing their appreciation as well.

Two new mystery mushrooms (or are the toad-stools?) have appeared and beneath the short wrought-iron fence.

And I have the best kind of rose: a visitor from my neighbor's garden that has leaned over and through the fence to say "Hello".

"Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers." ~ from The Naval Treaty by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sunday, October 7, 2007

When Doors Attack

Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

Today we began our day-trip to Fredericksburg to catch the last day of their Oktoberfest. Along the way we dropped off at Starbucks to pick up some hot beverages as well as free coffee grounds for the garden...

Unfortunely, my jaw had a rather unfortunate tangle with a car door in the parking lot. Door-1, Dawn-0. After picking myself off the pavement and getting some ice, we drove back home where I applied more ice and took some pain meds with visions of strudel dancing in my head.

So much for Oktoberfest this year. Ah well. But at least I had one visitor during my convalescence.

This green anole seemed bent on spying at me through the front door.
Before my little accident today I was able to catch some nice blooms like this Turks Cap (drummondii)...

And I noticed some of the local hydrangea colors are starting to turn...

I can't get enough of the Shrimp Plants (Justicia brandegeeana) near my son's school. They are very pretty this year...

And despite the heat, these ilex berries seem to know autumn is here...

Last week I visited the new Neiman Marcus store in Austin. I didn't buy anything, but was very impressed with the thousands of silk butterflies they have hanging from the second floor to the first.

They aren't as nice as real butterflies, of course, but they were still enchanting to me.

Okay, time for another ibuprofen. Better living through chemicals!

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Riding Down Memory Lane...With Carrots

Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

I was sorting through old family pictures and came across this photo of my siblings and me on our farm in 1965. I'm the 3 year old sitting on the pony with my brother.

When I see these photos and remember my rather bucolic childhood in the Ozark Mountains it's no wonder to me that I still love nature so much. I was the kid who spent most of her time outside during the light of day. My playgrounds were the fields, woods, creeks and barns on our 800 acre farm. I'd watch the big black ants for hours as they scurried around their ant hill or lead my pony, Toby, to the pond, pretending we were on a trek to Camelot. I still have the little scar where, as a very young child, I handed Toby a carrot with my thumb sticking out. Poor Toby must have wondered what all the fuss was about as he chewed his carrot and I sat on the ground crying, nursing my bleeding thumb.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting a new friend who has two beautiful horses on her property. Of course, I arrived at her house with a bouquet of fresh carrots in hand. As we fed her horses the veggies I told her the story of Toby & My Thumb. While we were talking about it one of her horses nipped her thumb for the very first time, leaving a bruise on her poor thumbnail. Ouch! I felt a bit guilty that maybe I jinxed her with my story. Later I half-joked to my mother that perhaps Toby had reincarnated as a quarter-horse and was trying to send a message.

If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I would ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.--Rachel Carson

Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Fredericksburg Outing

Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.
Last Saturday I went to Fredericksburg, Texas with a friend and her daughter. Fredericksburg was founded by German immigrants in 1846. Today it's a favorite place for people in the area to go shopping for antiques and other goodies.

Along the sidewalk I noticed this mystery plant...
The flowers reminded me of a penstemon, but as usual I've no idea what it is.
Edit: Annie in Austin says it looks like Mexican oregano. Thanks again, Annie! :-)

Just down the street was this sweet horse buggy.

Saturday was a lovely day and the shops weren't too crowded. The plethora of stores on Fredericksburg's Main Street is mind-boggling. I liked this lamp...

And these carved wood panels...

I may go back and get a couple next week. I'm not much of a spontaneous purchaser.

The drive to and from Fredericksburg is always beautiful. We saw lots of farm animals, a couple buffalo, llama and even an ostrich on the various farms as we drove along. I'm hoping we'll attend the Fredericksburg Oktoberfest next weekend. It should be fun. Oompah!

"One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." ~ Henry Miller
Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.