Tuesday, November 3, 2015

After Rain: Lichens, Muhly Grass and Butterflies

There wasn't that much rain yesterday but it was a grey day and the wind blew hard, leaving the dog and me Stick Patrol today.

Picking up sticks is much more fun when the dead limbs are full of non-flowering plants. 

 I am always fascinated by the fruiting bodies on various lichens. We have abundant lichens, an indicator of clean air, they say.

I ran across and excellent guide to lichens yesterday and forgot to bookmark it.

Rain and damp days bring out other non-flowering plants. Two of my favs are Resurrection Fern and Hair Cap Moss. The metal Armadillo is the work of  Texan Bobby Varley.

Moss and Fern on a piece of vintage brick. Unintentional art.

Once Stick Patrol was done, we went to look at Muhly Grass backlit by sun.

Drops of dew glistened on the inflorescences of Pink Muhly.

Skippers were busy on Porterweed where new blooms were open.

I meant to catch this Gulf Frit on the flowers. He flitted away.

 It's the time of year when we get to see Monarchs as they migrate through. 

A Monarch and a Bee enjoyed company on Tithonia blossoms.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Syrup Kettle as a Garden Feature

He-Who-Was-a-Farm-Boy helped cook syrup in the old kettle that is still here despite the ravages of time on brittle cast iron. I tried using it for a water feature. It made a mosquito haven. We have little use for a fire pit. If it's that cold, we stay indoors.

This photo was borrowed off ebay. 
The item was deleted. 
I hope it sold to someone who enjoys it. Sometimes I have to see things through the eyes of others. I never thought of tipping up a kettle for display rather than having it sit flat on the ground. 

When the water feature failed I tired of rocking the kettle back and forth to slosh the water out, so we turned it over. Turning over an iron kettle is not a task done easily done by hand.

  It was inevitable that using heavy machinery was going to break something, 
and those crinum lilies on the left were going to get run over.

Another piece chipped off the kettle, 2 pieces, actually.
He offered to maneuver it into place. I preferred to gently rock it around.

... and I did. Rainwater will drain out naturally, now.

It's a sentimental piece. 
Hundreds of gallons of syrup were cooked in this old kettle, cane juice was extracted in a grinder pulled by a mule who walked 'round and 'round. Cooking syrup to just right is an art hardly practiced any more. 

My site has a huge stone that the kettle leans against, vetiver grass, shell ginger, trainling lantana, kniphofia and some other interesting seasonal plants. I want to add calla lilies. Now to find some suitable smaller stones and make sure there is still room for the mower to pass between the kettle and the crinum lilies that got run over by the tractor. I think they're not harmed.

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