Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Critters, critters, critters!

My poor Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) has been inundated with aphids... modus operandi: Aphis Nerii! So, I've decided not to wait for the results of the poll. Tomorrow I will pluck all the little Monarch caterpillars that are residing there and transplant them across the road onto Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). At least for awhile.
(I'm working on working on my photo clarity...)

Anyway, once they're moved... WHAM! I have stuff I brought home from the store that's supposed to take care of whitefly, aphids, etc., etc. It looks as though I either take care of the aphid infestation, or they'll take care of my butterfly milkweed!

Another on our critter list is that of a different sort. Squirrels make quite a mess every year about this time. We have three Shagbark hickory - Juglandaceae (Walnut family), Carya ovata trees in our front yard. At this time of year, hickory nuts are still developing. That is to say, the husks are green and the nuts are not ripe. But there beats, in the breast of every hopeful little squirrel, the eternal visage that if they chew enough nuts, they'll find the first ripe one of the season! Therefore, the ground is littered...

and, over the course of this past week, I've picked up five 5-gallon buckets of green hickory nuts!

If they don't get picked up, the little critters find a comfortable spot on the ground, and chomp, chew and spit until they find the nut. There are some fairly sharp pieces of nut skeletons scattered across the ground. You won't want to walk barefoot out there for quite some time!

I saw a little fellow run across the yard with a hickory nut in his mouth today. I just watched him. Squirrels are pretty cute... and what's one more "mess," more or less? Who knows. He may just be the little guy that finds that ripe treat!

The last critter tries very hard to be near and dear to my heart. He's hard not to like... and he never needs a reason to give a person a "Hi, how're you doin' lick."

Anyway, he's taken to backing out of his halter. He really enjoys running to one or more of the neighbors' yards. First, however, he must visit his best buddy next door. A big, black Labrador Retriever. Given that my Sidney stands at the retriever's kneecap, they're a pretty funny looking pair.

Today I foiled his plan by placing a brand new collar around his neck. Backing out didn't work. Sometimes I just want to be in control of his forays. I plan to stay home tomorrow. I'll put his halter on in the morning. ;-)

Maybe I'M the shady one around here.


Iowa Gardening Woman said...

I was thrilled to see monarch caterpillars on my milkweed last evening, it was almost dark so did not get a picture but hope to get one tonight.

Shady Gardener said...

It is a thrill. I'll watch for your pictures!