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Wings of lace

I was very pleased to see this green lacewing on the coneflowers while I was photographing honey bees. Lacewings are a beneficial insect in a garden and as beautiful as any flower! This one was, most likely, feeding from the nectar of the flower along with the honey bees. It is the larvae of the lacewing that eats up soft-bodied insects such as aphids and caterpillars in the garden. They will, also, eat the larvae of other insects. To attract lacewings, you might want to plant (or allow to grow) flowers in the Asteraceae family such as sunflowers, dandelion, and cosmos and the Apiaceae family such as dill and angelica.

lacewing

 

 

Categories: Herbaceous Plants, Insects, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Marshmallows!?

Take a gander at all the fluffy marshmallows hanging in our tree. Have you ever seen such a healthy crop of marshmallows?

 

No, of course you haven’t. This is a crop of Wool Sower Galls! Yum!

Here is a closer shot.

oakgall

(Please, click on image once or twice for close-up.) 

 

There is a gall wasp called Callirhytis seminator. The grubs of this wasp secrete a chemical which reacts with that of the oak growth hormone in the spring. The reaction stimulates the formation of the wooly substance around the seed-like structure in which the wasp develops. There are, actually, many small wooly galls joined together to form one larger gall. I went to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture website for this information. I’m happy to find out that the tree will not be overwhelmed or harmed by this amazing occurrence.

We sliced the gall in half. Here is a picture of the inside of the gall. The gall is tougher than it looks. It is quite substantial. I understand it functions to protect and to nourish the developing wasps. Each “seed” has the potential to produce a wasp.

insidegall

I’ve observed gall activity in the white oaks before. In fact, here is a gall post that I wrote in spring, 2013 .

(A big “Hello!” to Tom of “Feed the Burbs.” (Check them out in the greater Philadelphia area!) Thank you, Tom, for the very gentle nudge to get some marshmallows…I mean…new content up on the blog!)

Categories: Fauna, Flora, Insects, Trees, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Goodbye to StellaLou…

This post is in memory of a stellar chicken and our farm’s namesake, StellaLou. It is, also, to celebrate a magnificent creature…that is, this red-tailed hawk.  

hawk

This is our first encounter with a hawk in the chicken coop. It started with June’s red hen. She was ailing. That very day, I watched the poor girl walk around the yard without purpose and kind of in a daze. I thought to myself, “That hen would make a good target for a hawk.” Sure enough.

I chased the hawk out of the coop. I pulled the door closed most of the way and open just enough to allow the hens in. I hoped that I was done with it. The hawk came back to kill StellaLou. That hawk and I had another face to face before I sent it off.

But I have to say….

If anything should take out StellaLou, let it be this…

hawkhead

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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