Shadows cast.

The roses have buds. Branches glow, casting brisk lines. Cranes blot the sky as the earth sheds the day. The seasons have changed and the world feels crisp, crunchy.

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The sog battles the snap underfoot. Giving with one step, resisting the next, I feel the transition dance through my soul.

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My timing is off. The beat, I’ve lost. I am not the only one out of sequence.

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It’s time I pause to join once again in the rhythm of things.

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A moment for green sheen.

Everything has a tinge to it these days. Cloudy. Dusty. Mossy green. There are oaks in these parts that grow dangling tassels that release pollen into the world. The wind conspires to help it along and soon enough everything is coated in a soft greenish yellow powder. Most people delay car washes until the trees have finished their raucous pollination. Not everyone notices when it coats the doorknob to the office or the top of the recycle bin and fingertips transfer the pollen from the outside world into the boxes of the day – the office, the car, the home. It isn’t as cursed as an allergy culprit as the clouds of juniper pollen (that causes cedar fever, go figure) that plague the area near the turning of the calendar to a new year, but for some it comes close.

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I took the moment today. I remembered my camera today. Today, I went for the usual walkabout with our pooch. But this time, I made time.

Before we got here, our yard had grass, trees, and roses. I haven’t pruned the crepe myrtles so I’m not sure they’ll bloom. I also haven’t pruned the roses. They don’t seem to mind.
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Walking down the street, there’s this fuzzy little thing coming to life.
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DH is particularly fond of this arrangement of Four Nerve Daisies, Blackfoot Daisies, and lavender.
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The snails here don’t seem to mind succulents. This one being nice and smooth, I can understand. I do find them on actually prickly ones in my pots though and wonder if spikes are to snails as spice is to us.
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What started out as decoy weeds have turned into quite the smattering of happy.
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Speaking of a smattering, these irises are having a joyous spring. This bed is roughly ten feet in diameter and the neighbor across the street from them has its twin.
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This little purple “weed” is not to be confused with…
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This little purple “weed” (who has wood sorrel neighbors that were dancing in the wind so much as to blur for the lens.)
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These “bushes” (most are grown to the size of trees by Texas’s standards of “tree”) are keeping the bees in a tizzy. (Bee butt!)
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The brightest smile on the block by a long shot.
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And soon to be the sweetest bite on the block.
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Speaking of those juniper bushes…
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As the clouds thickened, smothering the diffused bright light into a dimmer world, I came upon this treat. It reminds me of a childhood home where we had a snowball bush in the backyard and a giant bush of baby’s breath in the front.
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I do hope you’re able to take a little time to spot the wonders in your world. It’s a whole new way to take in a breath of fresh air.

Short ‘n sweet.

This little Lemon Basil (success at growing basil from seed! finally!) has enjoyed the shade of the carrot greens while adapting to the ways of the outside world.

These two characters made me laugh when I saw them. It takes some special kind of talent to hang from the very thing you’re eating.

I used to pull the snails when I found them, dropping them in soapy water or taking them down to the pond. Then upon closer observation I noticed they left all of my food alone, and spent their time devouring the spent vines, the decomposing leaves, and the other not-quite-yet-composted goodies on the surface. Since then, I’ve left them to their own devices in the garden. Hopefully they’re not the ones responsible for the Squash Disappearing Act?

What looks like a squash bug, but maybe isn’t?

Imagine a squash bug. Or a giant stink bug. Or a huge box elder.

Paint it mostly brown.

Give its rear legs some leaf-shaped bits.

Stretch its antennae really long and make them light yellowish for the ends, with two thin dark bands further back along the brown lengths.

And a light stripe short-ways across its shoulders.

Any ideas?

(I wish I’d had my camera!)

A leaf-footed bug (leave it to me to complicate things by thinking it would have a less-obvious name!) I really don’t have the stomach for crunching bugs still. I wonder if I should just start carrying soapy water in a jar every time I visit the garden? Like Bob’s goldfish Gill, in a jar around my neck? But then I’d end up with dead bugs in a jar around my neck…and that’s a little weirder than even I need to get.

I’ve lately found the perfect time of┬áday to go snail-hunting in the garden. It’s about two hours after that side of the house goes into the shade that the snails move out for their dinner, but it’s not yet too dark to see them. I have a giant old honey jar full of soapy water and pick them up and drop them in. They particularly like the section of garden with my beets and carrots. This last trip out snail-hunting, I noticed something new – on the far side of the bed the snails had forgone a tasty meal of carrot tops and beet bottoms in favor of an old dried up squash vine. Those snails, I left alone. Sure, they may move over to my carrots and beets tomorrow, and if they do, into the soap they’ll go, but until then I’m happy to let them turn dried up vine into snail poop.

What else I learned? Be sure to empty the snail soapy water when you’re done. Rotting snails smell something awful after boiling in the afternoon heat the next day!

Another battle I’ve decided not to wage? The caterpillars on the broccoli.

I sowed some Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli late last September. It’s been about four feet tall since January. It didn’t beat the cauliflower in the race to make heads to eat. Even though it was called “Early” I gave it the benefit of the doubt and waited. And waited. And here we are nearly in July and still – no broccoli. (I did notice the seed catalog I purchased it from has since renamed it “Purple Sprouting Broccoli.”) So I figured that if I wasn’t going to get to eat any broccoli, the least I could do was let the moths have at it.

There are probably a hundred caterpillars on it at the moment, and while it may make more sense to pull the whole thing and throw it in the compost bin that’s baking away, it’s made a miraculous improvement in my chard leaving it there as fodder for their hungry little mouths. So I thought I planted broccoli. Early broccoli at that. What I actually planted was some architecturally interesting, purple stemmed caterpillar food. I’m at peace with that.

Just like I’m at peace with the fact that each year a monarch caterpillar (or three) feast upon my potted parsley. It grows back, and I’m not eating it right now, so why shouldn’t they? And isn’t it just amazing how of all the plants in the yard, in the neighborhood, in the world, that there are some insects that only eat one plant – and that they find enough of that one plant to survive? It’s impressive and fascinating.

Slugs!

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The slugs (or snails as I more often see in my garden) like my Violetta Pac Choi as much as I do, it seems.

My solution?

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An old spaghetti sauce lid full of an IPA some one left at our house. Stouts, wheats, and other Other Half Approved Brews don’t make it to the garden. Thankfully our friends are a diverse crowd and I usually have a misfit beer on hand.

If you’re without unwanted beer, I’ve also had luck with rings of rock salt (sold less expensively at our grocery store when labeled “ice cream salt.”)

Of course, if you’re less squeamish than I, there’s always the seek and squish method.