Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Random Thoughts from a Random Mind

I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself. ~Marlene Dietrich

It's raining! Color me happy, happy, happy. It's supposed to rain on and off all day long. I'm so thrilled. :::happy dancing:::

I've been watching the female crab spider we have outside. At first, I thought she was hiding underneath the milkweed leaf to hunt (they don't spin webs, exactly, they wait for an insect to get near and then - WHAM! - they nab it). She's there every day, legs outstretched just looking like she's ready to grab something. But I finally looked closer and realized ... she's guarding her egg sac. The tip of the milkweed leaf is folded over and then sealed with webbing, and she backs up onto it and guards it. The sad thing is that she'll die before her babies are born. I was worried about her eggs over the winter (I'm feeling very "Wilbur-ish"), since the milkweed dies down, but I discovered that they hatch in summer (which means I won't have her to watch much longer) and grow to be about 5mm, then overwinter in the ground as spiders. I hope I get some again next summer. They're fascinating.

Yesterday, while walking Dakota, we encountered the Schnauzer at the end of the street again. I don't think I mentioned our last encounter with him a week or so ago, but it was ... interesting. He came charging out, barking and posturing as always, and I had Dakota on a short leash behind me (because he attacks her) and was slowly backing him into his driveway like I do when -- BAM! -- Dakota slipped between my legs and attacked! I guess she'd just had enough of him and gave this low-throated bark-bark-bark and lunged. He lunged and we had an old-fashioned dog fight on our hands. Thankfully, all it took was me yelling at them to knock it off, but it was a little dicey since my dog's leash was wrapped around one leg (why she had to got THROUGH my legs, I have no idea).

In any case, when we saw him yesterday, he was about 100 yds away and started barking. I refuse to be forced to not walk anywhere on my street, so I put Dakota on a short leash (and warned her very sternly to be good this time) and walked around the circle. That's when the most incredible thing happened -- when we got about 75 feet away he shut up. And at about 50 feet he slowly retreated into his driveway, watched us walk past with nary a yip, and let us pass completely unmolested. He's always been afraid/cautious of me, and won't challenge me, but I guess Dakota putting him in his place finally showed him that we weren't to be messed with.

I told DD -- that's the perfect example of a bully. He picked on Dakota as long as she was weak. But the moment she showed her strength, he backed down. Fascinating.

I've picked five nice, long cucumbers from my garden (I grow the burpless kind that are long and skinny, with few seeds) and have about a dozen more that will be ready in a week or so. My squash is growing like crazy ... BUT... I saw another squash borer moth yesterday, so don't expect it to live much longer. I've been spraying the base of it with an organic pesticide that will kill the worms if they ingest it and it doesn't affect beneficial bugs like ladybugs (though it will kill bees, so I've been careful not to spray the flowers and pulled all the blossoms from the base of the plant). I don't know if it will work or not, but I'm doing the best I can. These stupid borers are the only bugs I can't "pick" and it frustrates me to feel so helpless.

In Pillar Place: Monarch, all the pillars are growing like weeds. It's truly amazing how quickly they grow! While getting food for them yesterday (had to pick TEN milkweed leaves), I found two more teeny, newly hatched pillars, so we have a new Upsilon and a Matthew. 25 monarch caterpillars. I'm a little afraid to look for them at the library ... but we have to go there today to drop off/pick up books and it's become a bit of a compulsion to at least glance at the milkweed.

We have four pupae thus far: Xi, Rho, Pi and Omicron. They take 10 - 14 days to emerge, and Xi became a pupa on the 11th ... so earliest will be the 21st. I can't wait.

I'm so thrilled it's cooled off outside.. and there's a break in the rain for an hour or so, so I think I'm going to take a walk! YAY!

Have a great day.


You Are Mild

You get as many thrills as wild people do, however your thrills tend to be more of the laid back variety.

You believe that the deeper you get into something, the more you enjoy it. And you need calm to do that.

You are one of the least superficial people around. You have intense and passionate interests.

You don't get bored easily. How could you? There is so much to learn about and think about!

Yep ... that's quite true.



Michele said...

My Bad this year, becaues I know better and I didn't do it but in the past?
I wrap the base of my squash/zuchinni plants with old panty hose... (Not the whole hose, just a portion) when the plant just has enough stalk to wrap and when I do that, I don't lose the plant.
I read it somewhere as a gardening tip and it works.

Dru said...

Good for Dakota for showing that bully dog a thing or two. I'm glad you both were not harmed inthe encounter.

re quiz: I'm mild.

I'm glad you got your rain.

Have a good Wednesday.

Brandy said...

Yay for rain! I hope it helps. Our zucchini squash is doing well, but out yellow crookneck is not blossoming much.

Re quiz: I am Mild, too.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

MaryC said...

Yes, this is our second rainy day and DD and I are enjoying it.

Your Dakota story made me wonder if you know the answer to this. Usually when I'm walking Fenway, he's fine - either ignoring the other dogs or playing around with them. But sometimes, from even half a block away, he'll go into that crouch and I have to keep him on a short leash with constant reminders of Good Boy to keep him from lunging. Sometimes I notice the same dog setting off every dog he/she passes even though there's no obvious sound or action to me.

Fenway's the first dog I ever had so I have no experience with this and I keep wondering what's really going on. I assume some signal or scent is triggering it.

Marianne Arkins said...

Michele, I'm going to the dollar store from some cheap hose today and see what I can do. My squash plants are HUGE and covered with bloom and babies ... I really don't want to lose them.

Hi, Dru -- thanks for stopping by!

Marianne Arkins said...

Brandy, how odd that your yellow squash isn't doing as well... they're such similar beasts, you'd think they'd be performing the same. Good luck!

Marianne Arkins said...

Mary, dogs have an uncanny sense for "energy". If Fenway doesn't like someone, and he's usually mild-mannered, odds are something's a little off. Just like a dog can sense when you're tense or sad, even if you're not outwardly showing it, they can usually tell when another dog (especially one that doesn't really have issues himeself) is weak or mean or whatever. You should listen to him :-)

Thanks for coming by!