June 22, 2008

Love is in the air

What an interesting and fruitful weekend around the yard it's been! It all began on Friday evening when I happened to notice these two Pearl Crescent butterflies doing the butterfly dance, at least that's what I told Ben they were doing...dancing. I'm not quite ready to have that conversation with him yet.







I do wish they could have been against a prettier backdrop, like some nice pretty green grass or something instead of the driveway and garage door. But what can you do?

Here's another type of insect, um, dancing...



And here's a couple more bug shots, not dancing...



This guy was only as big as the tip of my pinky...


I never thought I'd enjoy taking pictures of bugs so much. And to be honest, some of them creep me out so bad I end up deleting them. But for the most part it's pretty fun, educational, and challenging.

Okay, back to baby making...

Yesterday Ben came flying in from the backyard exclaiming it was another Mr. Turtle and to come look. I grabbed my camera and we headed down the hill. As soon as we got near I froze. This was no Mr. Turtle....it was Mrs. Turtle. And she was laying eggs! What an amazing opportunity! I love turtles and have never seen such a thing in real life. I snapped a few pictures, but being a mother that has gone through labor twice I felt pretty guilty invading her privacy so we left her to her business.





She was there all evening and into the early morning. It's really quite an amazing process. She dug a hole approximately 4-5 inches deep with those short stubby legs, laid her eggs, and then filled it back in. When I went to check after she had gone you could not even tell where she had been. If I had not known where to look I never would have found it again. The dirt is packed in nice and tight and she covers the dirt with grass and leaves.

After reading up to ensure I wouldn't do any harm, curiousity got the best of me. I gently dug out her hole to get a peek at the eggs. Normally I would not advocate disturbing a nest, but you have to admit this was a rare treat.



I only saw one, but the hole was not only deep, it also tunneled inward. I didn't want to disturb the nest too much in my poking around. If they survive they should hatch in about 3 months. I can't wait to see baby turtles! We are going to put a chicken wire cage around it tomorrow to keep the predators out.

Speaking of predators, this next tale has a tragic ending. We found a sparrow's nest in our Holly bush with 4 blue eggs in it. I went out this morning to try and snap a few pictures and found the nest tipped over, empty. I have no doubts that Tweety found it and enjoyed a little snack.



I love our cat and I know she is only doing what is natural, but sometimes I wish she would just stay inside and leave the critters alone. Last week she brought us a bunny that was as big as her. Fortunately it didn't appear to be harmed and took off as soon as we were able to free it from her clutches.

Other things multiplying are our fruits and vegetables. I'm guessing within the next 2 weeks several things will be ripe for the picking.

like these...


and these...


I also spotted our first yellow squash, or squish as I apparently called them when I was younger...


I can't wait to harvest them! Our other plants are doing well and the wild blackberries are almost ready. Some of our herbs haven't faired so great. It's just a matter of figuring out the right lighting location and watering levels. At least we'll know better for next year's crop.

3 thanks for stopping by, i love comments!:

Sarah June 23, 2008 at 9:45 AM  

Boy! Love is in the air! The butterfly dance...too cute lol It is just so cool that you have a turtle nest in your yard! I can't wait to see pics of the babies :)

I am totally jealous of your garden! I'm going to have to try harder next year to have a veggie garden. That pic of the strawberries made me hungry :)

Vicki C June 23, 2008 at 10:40 AM  

GORGEOUS photos!

Amy June 23, 2008 at 1:52 PM  

OMGosh, these are such beautiful photos. I love the turtle egg and the nest. I WANT your lens.

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I'm a mom with a camera that loves exploring the world around me through my macro lens...and of course showing off my handsome little men.
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