Monday, June 26, 2017

Not-red tail and the quilt, all hail!

We're rushing to get the yard stuff done before the real heat of summer hits, so we've both been out working in the yard.  Mulch, gravel, and sand delivered, and we both have lots of blisters on our hands from hoeing and raking.

Lots of blisters, and lots of bites!  I was bitten by a fire ant again.  Thankfully it was just one bite, on the top of my foot, but there was a 4" diameter of swelling around the bite.  No hives, no ER, just a super stiff and sore foot.  Poor Todd was bitten/stung over fifty times by fire ants, working in that same bed where I was bitten.  We haven't seen a nest mound, and the ants were so small that Todd didn't even see the swarm on his ankles.  Thankfully he didn't have a reaction...just pain and itching. He was standing up, weeding...and his wrists and ankles are still peppered with welts.  This is why I'm afraid to get into those beds now!

From my "safety zone," I was still able to get some good observations in.  Love all the mushrooms that are coming up.

All sorts of flies are attracted to the mulch.  These tiny grey flies are everywhere.

I thought this was a hornet at first.

I was totally fooled because of his markings.  I realized, though, that it's a type of fly that uses protective coloration to fool predators.  I think he's a kind of syphid fly, although they're normally about a quarter inch long, like this one:

This fly was about 1 1/2 inches long.  His coloring really gives him a LEG UP on the competition (bada BOOM!).

First came the ladybug larvae, and now...the ladybugs.

Ladybugs are beetles, but they look a lot different from this black beetle on our driveway!

Love seeing the wide variety of leaf hoppers.

They're so more than a quarter inch long...but have such an amazing variety of colors.  I love their "Muppet" eyes, too!

We've had a bit of a nature mystery around here.  There's a hawk that has been shrieking from dawn 'til dark almost every day for weeks.  It's maddening.  At the same time, I've been seeing a hawk that looks like a red-tailed hawk, except for the conspicuously not-red tail feathers.

He looked so much like a red-tailed hawk, though.

What a beauty!

I consulted some on-line forums and discovered that despite his size, he is a juvenile red-tailed hawk. And I was finally able to find a recording of the non-stop shrieking (fast forward to second 21).  Lord have mercy, I hope he matures quickly!  That shriek! personal observation has been that most birds defecate immediately before flying, although I can't seem to find any internet confirmation.  Still, when I saw this hawk lift his tail, I knew he was getting ready to take off...and I was right!

Finally, in crafty news...I finished my quilt!  I love it.

I think the half inch quilting makes it look kind of contemporary...and I love the texture.

Here's a picture of the whole thing, although the light is harsh and it's not a very good representation of how it actually looks.

Quilting is kind of amazing to me.  With knitting, I critique my work pretty harshly, and I'm never fully satisfied with the finished project.  But with quilting, I easily overlook the imperfections.  It's a long run-on sentence in my head:  "I picked the colors...picked the fabric...sewed each line...those margins!...did the block layout...managed to sew the top together...made the quilt sandwich...then quilted every inch of it...all of the disparate elements and little mistakes came together to make something beautiful!"  I try not to romanticize it by saying that quilting is a metaphor for life, but I have discovered that if I'm patient and don't become crushed by discouragement, little steps forward really do tend to culminate in something surprisingly good.  Hey, I'll take encouraging metaphors wherever I can find them!  :)

Have a great week!

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