Category Archives: Blogging Community

Nothing Doing

“When I am constantly running there is no time for being. When there is no time for being there is no time for listening.”-Madeleine L’Engle

Does activity spell virtue or worth. Just because you are not doing anything does not mean you are doing nothing. Why is activity such a virtue? To be bustling around looking busy, saying to the world I have important work to do. One can be standing still and still doing a lot….of thinking.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted Linda G Hill. Word prompt for today, “spell.” Featured image ‘Texture’ by cocoparisienne on Pixabay.com

 

Hope And Spring

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”-Pablo Neruda

I have noticed that some of my rose bushes in the front yard are under aphid attack. I was busy pruning when I noticed a lady bug on one of the leaves. It was a bright red one with black polka dots. I stood there admiring it for several minutes and I said hello and thank you. I was thinking if a neighbor heard me talking to the lady bug they would think I was a bit crazy. I took the ladybug as a sign of hope.

749px-LadyBug-1

Lady bug on a leaf by Alvesgaspar


One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill.

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My Pyracantha Tree

We started doing some landscaping of our property last year. We had the help of a contractor which is good because neither my husband or myself are handy that way. There is a small section in the backyard, that once was lawn, where I wanted to have something low maintenance and drought tolerant. I did not want to have to hire a gardener again or mow and water a lawn. So for the small plot in the back, I picked out ground cover , and my husband and I chose plants, and some fruit trees to add to the succulents and trees that were already there. We put in more succulents, sage, and few other flowering plants. I planted the woolly thyme ground cover myself. On the whole, everything we planted seems to be doing well. Some of the trees and bushes in our backyard were already there when we bought the house many years ago, and I did not know anything about them. I decided I wanted learn and I started doing some research. My daughter recommended an App for my android that helps to identify plants and trees. So I started making observations and taking photos to see what I had growing in my yard. There is a tree, near one wall, that a gardener had said was a Manzanita. Every winter it has small red berries that the birds and squirrels like to eat. I noticed the tree was starting to flower again with small unopened buds. I took a photo of the tree and used my new App to see if I could get it identified. The App was not able to give me an answer so I had to take my research online. I looked at many websites, studying many descriptions and images of leaves and trees. I had noticed that there was this cotton-y like fluff scattered on a few branches. At first I thought it was part of the tree. I was excited when I finally identified my tree as a Pyracantha. One thing mentioned in the description of the tree was thorns which I hadn’t noticed initially. It does have sharp thorns. I found out what the cotton-y fluff was too. It was not part of the tree but something produced by a type of aphid called woolly apple aphid. Yikes, how was I going to get rid of these aphids? Further research led me to aphid predators. I found out there are wasps who lay their eggs in the aphids and turn them into aphid mummies. Other predators of the aphids are syrphid or hover flies, ladybugs, earwigs, and green lacewings. I found something else on a few of the leaves, a reddish dusty looking coating. Turned out that was spider mites. This was getting upsetting because I did not want aphids and spider mites to eat my tree. I did decide to prune a small branch that had more aphids and spider mites than some of the other branches. I wanted to control these little invaders without using pesticides. More research led me to Neem Oil, which is organic.  I have to be careful with it because it can hurt the ‘good’ insects and bees. I have decided to hold off on the Neem Oil a bit because I have observed natural predators on my tree. I have been so excited to see syrphid flies and a few green lacewings landing on the branches. I have gone from being a novice gardener to an amateur entomologist in just a few weeks.


My contribution to the My Stuff Writing Challenge on Almost Iowa @almostiowa.com. Featured image ‘Juene femme lisant dans un jardin’ by Henri Lebasque via Wikimedia.

Frou Frou

Sarah Bernhardt via Wikimedia

Her dress was a fantastical frou frou fantasy, covered with a collection of geegaws, dodads, and whatnots. It could stand up by itself in the closet of her dressing room. It rustled so loudly that it drowned out the voices of the other actors. It was almost like another character in the play. It took all her acting skill to keep the dress from upstaging her. It was so heavy that it was hard for her to even moo….ve.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Word prompt for today ” moo” or a word that rhymes with it.

 

Mars

“You need to live in a dome initially, but over time you could terraform Mars to look like Earth and eventually walk around outside without anything on… So it’s a fixer-upper of a planet.”
― Elon Musk

That would be the scary part, living in a dome with no air to breath outside. NASA has been funding studies on how humans would tolerate living on Mars by recreating a similar environment on Earth. Do you think we could really live on Mars?

It is argued that life on Earth may be destroyed by an asteroid impact and we need to find other planets to live on to ensure that man will survive. It would be a good idea to work on ways to prevent asteroids from hitting Earth. Maybe that should be the priority. There is the argument that this is about science and some say there is a wealth of resources on other planets, moons, and asteroids. The science part interests me most.

On a lighter note, will we have Mars Bars on Mars? This is making me hungry. Not sure about Deep Fried Mars Bars, though. I like frozen candy bars better.

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One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image taken by Mars MRO Orbiter, NASA, of ‘Yardangs‘ or sand dune formations created by wind.

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The Giver

“If nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that–warm things, kind things, sweet things–help and comfort and laughter–and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.”-Frances Hodgson Burnett

I have been reading about how we need to keep a balance between giving and over-giving. How givers can turn into their dark side and become over-givers. Givers that really expect something in return. Givers can turn into little ‘Darth Vader’ givers, or Santa Claus on a spree, The Good Fairy gone wild.  Giving too much can make others uncomfortable and resentful. The Giver can become resentful if they do not get their expectations fulfilled. It can be connected to ‘people pleasing.’ Maybe it’s just a case of unrequited love.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt words for today, ‘give, giving, given.’ Featured image ‘Watery Heart’ by Pezibear on Pixabay.com

Mystery Tree

“To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.”                  -Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

PIA21270 Martian Dust Devil via JPL

Martian Dust Devil Action Gale Crater, Sol 1597

Isn’t that a great Gif from NASA? There is wind on Mars. It is wonderful that we have the technology to capture images from another planet.

Speaking of technology, my new App has been working pretty well up until now. I take a photo of the plant/bush/tree that I want to identify and the App sends me several images of different plants/bushes/trees to see if there is a match. If I do not see a match, I can ask The Horticulturist. I then submit 3 photos of the mystery plant and The Horticulturist will get back to me within 24 hours with an answer. This was all going swimmingly until the App couldn’t identify one of my bush/trees.

Mystery Tree

Mystery Tree

I need to trim some of the branches off the bottom of this tree.  I do remember being told in the past it is a Manzanita. I have been researching, and it matches better with a Toyon or Christmas Berry or California Holly. This would make it a native of California, drought tolerant, and good for bees and birds. It gets red berries in winter. The birds and squirrels like to eat the berries. It is quite comical to see the squirrels hanging upside down off the branches munching on the berries.  After researching a lot some more, I think I have found it, Eureka!  It is not a Manzanita, it is not a Toyon or Christmas Berry, it is a Firethorn or Pyracantha.  The App probably had a hard time identifying it because it has not flowered yet, although it has some little buds, and no berries yet. I was so focused on the leaves and buds that I did not notice it does have some thorns on the branches. Some of thorns are hidden behind the leaves and they are very sharp. It was hard to capture a clear image of the thorns but I included a few below. I noticed that it is getting a couple of pretty white flowers up on a higher branch, and there is this cotton-y stuff scattered around some of the branches. It is not a native of California but it is hardy and drought tolerant.

I found out about the cotton-y stuff on a few branches, and it is good it is few and far between because it is a sign of the woolly apple aphid. The aphids usually do not become a major problem thanks to natural predators like some wasps, lady bugs, syrphid flies or hover flies, earwigs, and lace wings. I saw some flying wasp-y looking insects around the tree this morning and hope they are after the aphids. And I have noticed lots of earwigs in our yard. I have to keep watch for aphid mummies, which is what happens when the wasps attack the aphids. Between those spiky thorns and the aphid mummies this is getting a little scary.  But I am liking earwigs more.


One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. It is a nice way to meet up with other bloggers. Click on the link to check out her site.

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