11 August 2007

It's hot, even for roadrunners

Here at Larrapin, we have three roadrunners who visit: Randy a large male, Rhonda a reclusive female, and Ricky, pictured here. This was yesterday and it was about 99 degrees, so even the roadrunner was panting a bit.

Ricky is a small male and not the least bit shy. He tags along, no kidding, when we walk with the dogs down the drive to the mailbox. Our neighbor thinks this is pretty funny. Ricky brings sticks, deadheaded flowers, dead lizards and even the occasional mole to the window and taps to get our (or the dogs) attention. He's like a winged, two legged cat that way.

When I go out to the garden I often hear a little "whirr" sound from the hedgerow -- as if Ricky is saying, "Hey, I'm over here." He is also nosy. Just this morning I was weeding and tossing the pulled up plants in a garden cart. I went inside for a glass of water and when I returned, Ricky was on the side of the cart, making sure I wasn't stealing any of his lizards I guess. He loves the weiner dogs, especially Buster. Blue could care less. (If I can figure out how to put a video on this blog, I'll put up a typical Roadrunner/Weinter dog interaction...)

And yes, he's very very fast. One day Buster (the dachshund/jack russell cross) bolted out the front door when I opened it and Ricky happened to be standing on the patio. (Neither event is too unusual.) I was terrified for a moment that Buster would catch him. Not to worry. Ricky sprinted down the lawn with Buster close behind. Then suddenly Ricky zagged about six foot to the right -- so fast I could barely see what happened -- and hit the ground. Buster tore merrily on past, barking like mad, never realized he'd passed his prey. Ricky got up an strolled away. All in a roadrunner's day... Since he is so fast, I have many photos of Ricky just like this one:

10 August 2007

Beautiful, But Not a Buckeye!

Caught this lovely on one of the butterfly bushes. This has been an amazing butterfly year now that I'm planting butterfly bushes, parsley, dill and milkweed. More on that later...

I'd originally called this one a buckeye, but Tina alerted me that it's an American Painted Lady instead. We have so many in the garden this year and prior to 2007, the one butterfly I felt certain about was a Monarch. I have purchased the wonderful Arkansas butterfly book. I'll post that later too. Thanks Tina!

Susanna's lovely garden tour

I visited my friend Susanna's lovely garden a few weeks ago and took these photos. What a lovely backyard to stroll around! I was part of a group getting a tour of her rainwater catch system, part of which is pictured below, which she uses for her vegetable gardens, trees and flower beds.

Susanna has a great gardening shed. I particularly loved her story of the mother fox who raised several litters of kits over the years in the crawlspace of this backyard gardening shed. The kits must have been wonderful to see.

How wonderful to have friends who garden wonderfully. And it never hurts if, like Susanna, those friends happen to be fabulous cooks! I've never liked Chard, but Susanna has a great recipe that involves ginger. Yum. I'll ask her if I can post it later...

Everyone needs a garden cart. How much better to have one that is personalized!

Susanna explained that her tiny vegetable garden has three layers of fence protection from critters -- the high bamboo with tape for deer, small low chicken wire for rabbits, and a decorative wire for armadillo. Seems to work. This vegetable bed is just behind the white shed. She gets lots of produce from a very small space.

Here's her rainwater roof catch system. I'd like one of these! The woman who built the system for Susanna is named Kaz and she is the one with her hand up, explaining the plumbing fittings...

Thanks for opening your garden to your pals Susanna!