Thursday, September 29, 2011

Veggie Garden Update, September 29, 2011

This willbe one of the last updates, I guess. There is nothing more to do than to collectrest of the tomatoes, pick all green and red peppers and I don’t really knowhow long I can pick snow and snap peas. They still produce lots of flowers andpods but with the weather cooling down and daylight being quite shorter I amnot sure if it is worth it to keep those few experimental plants going. It doeslook like that I will pull out everything sometime next week. Of course thearugula and green onions will stay in cold frame and I will have fresh greensway past Christmas, just like I had last 3 years.
I almostforgot about my garlic! Bed is ready and I will be planting in two weeks or so.Right now everything is so wet! So far this month we had over 6 inches of rain! Whata weird year it was. Makes one wonder what the winter will bring. Better notthink about it!

 The peas are still doing great...

 and so are red and green peppers.

Tomatoes do look a bit tired, though. They produced so much this year!
Arugula is doing fine and I will cover the cold frame early in November. I will be picking fresh greens till well after Christmas.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

“Our” Black & Yellow Garden Spider “Charlotte”

Not for the squeamish!!!

What other name can you give to spider? I’m sure that most people in North America have seen the animated movie for children called “Charlotte’s Web”. Actually, the story is more about a pig then it is about spider, but, who cares?
Back to our spider. I have started to feed him earwigs and other harmful bugs and watch him operate. Am I ever glad that spiders are this small! The speed at which they mummify their pray is nothing short of astounding! As soon as I placed the earwig in her web she was there in one leap and immediately grabbed and spun the pray over few strands of her web. Within seconds you couldn’t tell what was inside the cocoon. Then she carried the still moving earwig and started to eat it. Totally gruesome! Only reason I am posting this is because they are gardener’s friends as they catch mostly harmful insects. She has eliminated quite a few cabbage butterflies and moths.
Even though I had camera ready shoot a movie how she starts to catch her pray I was still too slow. After all, I had camera in one hand trying to hold it and start recording while feeding the spider with other hand. Basically, I would have to have as many arms as spider has legs in order to do it or have a helper.

The insect is wrapped in part of her web that is missing. Also, you can see that she is shooting new silk directly at the pray. It was so fast and right on target!
I had no chance to get the start. She was too fast form me.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fun with Camera – September 1st

Few days ago I have noticed new tenant in our Japanese Garden pool – beautiful frog that I still have to identify. What struck me, besides colors on frog’s body, was how tame it was. I could come within few feet of him/her and it never moved, just a perfect camera subject. It gave me a chance to try my new 1.4X tele-lens extender for a real close-up shot. I am happy with the quality of this lens, very happy.

At the other end of focal lengths are micro lenses. I used one to take pictures of bee and “Black & Yellow Garden Spider” (Argiope aurantia). (Yup, that’s the spider’s name.) Day before, I took picture of the very same spider in same net dismembering white cabbage butterfly. The fact that I had a lens just inches away didn’t bother him one bit, he just kept removing the wings from body.

Walk around the garden with couple lenses stuck in your west and you never know what you will see.