Monday, August 22, 2016

Rain on the Brain

More signs of fall!  Some much-needed rain.

My sweet *autumn* clematis has begun to bloom!

Fall-blooming ginger lilies are opening up.

Our Japanese maples are definitely starting to turn.

More liriope, and more evidence of fall-grazing deer nibbles too!

Beautyberries are finally changing colors.

"Stage one" acorns!  My favorite - a lovely green.

A large group of ruby-throated female hummingbirds have swarmed our house this week.  They typically over-winter in South America, so they're working overtime to get enough sustenance for their fall migration.  They're incredibly territorial and have been chasing each other like mad!

Love their beautiful iridescent feathers.  Speaking of iridescent, check out this Chrysis nitidula-complex, or cuckoo wasp!  They get their name from the way they, like the cuckoo bird, lay their eggs in the nests of others.  Then their larvae eat the host larvae and thrive. 

Another cool insect I recently found is the spider wasp.  I was working at my desk and kept seeing a wasp dragging spiders across my window.

I went outside and got a better picture.  These wasps use spiders as hosts for their larvae.  These spiders you see have been given a paralyzing sting, and each will receive a single egg.  As with the cuckoo wasp, the larvae will have a built-in source of food when they hatch.  I think it's so interesting!

A South Carolina mantis sits on a zinnia blossom, waiting for its next meal.  They're so small compared with the Chinese mantises in Indiana!

Doesn't he look a little grumpy?  I left him alone so he could get back to hunting.

Lots of tiger swallowtail butterflies around...

...but many of them are looking a little ratty, like the one below.  They only have a one-month life span and they can get a little tattered by the end! 

When not outside prowling around for seasonal clues or working, I'm spending time on my sewing.  I made two 10-inch paper pieced quilt squares this weekend.  Both are the same pattern, but have a look at the one on the right.

I chose the colors and put it together, only to realize that the diamond sides and half of the star points faded into the background.  I studied the example and saw that the author chose dark complementary colors for the stars and tips.  My second attempt (on the left) has much more "pop" than the first one!  I finally felt confident enough to make a large online fabric order for my first "no more practice" quilt!  I chose more contemporary colors and designs (snails!!) than I have traditionally used, but the patterns really spoke to me and I just decided to go for it!  I can't wait until it comes.

Have a great week! 

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