Monday, October 20, 2008

Assassin Bug

This insect was on the kitchen screen yesterday. After looking through the book, I believe it is a form of assassin bug. It was at least one inch long. I love the "gold leaf" wing on his back!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Ladybugs are Back!

It happens every year. The Asian ladybugs come out of the woods and the trees and try to find a place to hibernate for the winter, inside our home. They like warm, sunny, light-colored surfaces. They usually come the end of October, but they are early this year. What does that mean? I don't know, other than that we didn't get around to putting the cloth sprayed with bug spray around the back door where they come in the most, and it also means that we'll probably have to have our get together that we had planned to have outside on Sunday, inside. The ladybugs are a nuisance and they fly at you when you are outside, occasionally pinching you (they don't bite). If you kill them, they make a bad stain and a disgusting odor. Seeing them all over the house and on the windows reminds me of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

We moved here in September of 2004, before the emergence of the ladybugs. I'm glad we didn't see the ladybug problem when we looked at the house or we might have passed it up, and we love it here! When the ladybugs came, it was a bad year for them, and our roof was a metal roof and had no vapor barrier underneath it! We had not only ladybugs, but all kinds of other critters getting inside. So the following year we put a shingle roof on with the help of our kind neighbors, and we included the necessary vapor barrier and now we don't have the ladybugs and other bugs in our house, other than a few that do get in. Being in the south, we have to expect some bugs!

These aren't the cute little red and black ladybugs I saw as a child. These are from Asia and they are orange in color. They were imported to the USA to help control the aphid population, which they do and I'm glad they are of SOME use! We have no aphids in our garden. But in the USA they generally have no natural predators so their population grew out of control, although I did read somewhere that the braconid wasp is a predator they have here in the USA. They can be found in some areas of the country more than in others.

They come, they stay for about a month, then when it gets cold, they disappear once again. A good website for reading about them is:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Panoramic View of Hottin' Holler

I was fooling around with my camera the other day and took this panoramic picture of the holler. The locals called it "Hottin' Holler" and we figure it might be because we have a lot of barred owls and they get rather vocal at night! Or it could be the coyotes (but then it would be called "Howlin' Holler"!). The picture is slightly distorted because it is panoramic, but gives the general idea. I was hoping the leaves were more turned but they never do get real, real bright here like they do up north and we have been in a drought which caused them to start turning earlier in the summer and not look as nice.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Old Cemetary

We have an old cemetery on our property. I don't know how old it actually is. Only two of the graves have markers. Those graves are for an infant and a two-year-old. The rest of the markers are field stones turned on their sides and in some cases, a larger field stone for the head and a smaller one for the foot of the grave. We know that our neighbor's little sister, who died at the age of 5 or so about 70 years ago, is buried there, but we don't know which marker it is. The cemetery could date back to Civil War times. I go up there once in awhile. It is so peaceful there among the pines. I never go up when it is windy, and the picture of the fallen tree shows why!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cross Orb Weaver

This guy (or gal) built its web by the side of our back door the other day. Now he's moved it to in front of the rear deck hummingbird feeder (we haven't seen a hummingbird there all day so the one that occupied that feeder may have moved on now.), although it may be a different spider (but same species) than the other one. This is a Cross Orb Weaver. The spider's name is explained by its puzzling method of making its web. It makes an irregular orb, crossing back between the spokes, as though it frequently changes its mind as to which direction it wants to go! Very interesting critter.

More Sights on Trip to Spring

(see previous posts) When we hike up to the spring, we are always relieved to see that the reservoir is full, despite us being in a drought and about 4 inches below normal on our yearly precipitation! We are also relieved when we finally get down to our lane and head to the house. Going up there is a tiring activity, especially for us old folks!