June 01, 2003

Banner Day

We have a winner! Several of you recognized the critter living in the little cage, header-left, as an insect from a group called "periodical cicadas", and this one is of the 17-year variety, sometimes erroneously called "17 year locusts" (locusts are actually grasshoppers). Can you believe that the larval form has been growing slowly underground since 1986! I remember them that year, from their cacophanous and unremitting weeee-oh, weeee-oh, weeee-oh, weeee-oh lovesong that the males sing to attract a female. They live in the dirt for 17 years sucking sap, then one day quite to their surprise, climb up into the light of day, sing a song, have sex, and die. (Life lesson here?) Watch for the brown branchtips in oaks and other trees, caused by the female laying eggs in the terminal stems, which kills a few leaves right at the tip. No harm done, except to young trees. So locals, time your fruit and ornamental tree plantings to avoid 2020!

The other new banner image on the right shows the pasture and ridges on either side, across from the house, and the view I see now looking out my window from my desk chair. The gravel road (heck, let's be honest: dirt road) and Goose Creek lie just behind the vantage point from which this picture was taken. The grasses are now chest high, and last night, just about exactly in the middle of this image foreground, a deer head barely poked up out of the sea of waving gray-green stems. The day of the picture, cloud shadows raced across field then up and over ridge. So even though there is no specific subject in the picture (which generally is a mistake, leaving the eye wandering around looking for something to settle on), the full image that covers my monitor will remind me in January of standing in a wide space under sailing clouds on a jewel of a day in May. What does it look like where you live?

Posted by fred1st at June 1, 2003 08:19 AM | TrackBack
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