Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cha, cha, cha, chia....


A Chia pet??? I hardly think so....
But we had "3" smart Wizards that figured out the mystery!!
You shall find out below....


Last week was a creepy one that is for sure. But my Wednesday Wizards put their pointy hats on and gave it some good thought! Lots of great answers! The images I had to use were re-sized to begin with so to just crop out a small piece to give you a hint, made some of the images a bit blurry, but you still made it through! You are getting smarter each week!

Here are just a few of the great and imaginative answers we had last Wednesday...
butterflies emerging from there chrysalis (this was very close), a moth, a fly or horse fly, a beetle (didn't give a name, so I am assuming a crawly type not the singing type, *snort*) bees, wasps (ugghh, my mortal enemies!) a caterpillar, blackberries ( I thought this one really showed imagination, as I could easily take a photo in a goofy manner and decide to post it) china berry and poke plant were a few others.

Our three Winning Wednesday Wizards are in no particular order :

and the ever present and knowledgeable
(and a very sweet lady )

So what did they guess??? 
See below if you dare!


 
Meet the 17 year cicada! 
I am sure many of you have heard them on a hot sultry day the loud buzz as if the electric wires were on fire from within. That is Mr. Cicada calling for a Mrs!
Instead of using throats and lungs to sing, these insects make sounds using other specialized parts on the skeleton on the outside of the body.
Because they are cold blooded, insects need hot days to warm up their instruments. You won't hear them on a cool morning. But if you listen, you will notice them around midday. By late afternoon or early evening, more insects will have joined the chorus. A cicada is 1 to 2 inches long, with a blunt head and clear wings. Similar to true bugs, it has a mouth-part for sucking. Like a drinking straw with a sharp end, the cicada's mouth-part can pierce a woody plant and suck up sap.

 


  colorful cicadas on a variegated barberry bush
click for a larger view,

please ask if you would like a copy to share


The female cicada has an ovipositor folded under her abdomen. She uses it to slice into the tip of a branch and deposit eggs inside.
After the eggs hatch, the young cicadas (called nymphs) drop to the ground and use special front legs to tunnel into the soil. Underground, they feed on root sap and grow in dark burrows for many years (on average of 13 to 17, ours belong to the periodical cicadas if the genus Magicicada 17 year Brood XIII). They are not locust but Orthoptera.
Each cicada crawls out of the ground and up onto a tree or other woody plant. Then the cicada nymph inflates itself with air, moisture, and blood, splitting open its exoskeleton. They leave a pretty good size hole behind too. Eventually, the grown-up cicada emerges and leaves its exoskeleton on the bark or leaf or where ever it happens to crawl out! It then has to rest and dry out, much as a butterfly. They do not seem afraid , we have touched them and picked them up and put them down somewhere else, and they do not seem to care. The exoskeleton is crunchy after it dries too.
Males begin to call for a mate, and females listen for their courting call. After mating and laying eggs and living the good life for about 2 weeks the adults die. Sounds like a real romantic life doesn't it....


 If you look closely in this photo you can see both the exoskeleton and many drying and lively meeting pairs of cicadas. This growing echinacea (purple cone flower) is one hopping dating joint! You can click on the photos for larger view.


Talk about showoffs and loud mouths, males cicadas are one of the loudest insects around! An African cicada was recorded at 106.7 decibels (as loud as a chain saw) at 1 meter.
Their noisy love song starts in stiff but flexible ribs found in parts called timbals. Only males have a pair of timbals: one on each side, under our wings.
When they want to attract a female, they lower their abdomen and puff it out. Then use the timbal muscles to pull in the timbals. The timbals buckle like a squeezed pop can. One at a time, each little rib on the timbal makes a quick sound. When these muscles relax, the timbals pop back out. Timbals pop out and in many times very fast. So that is where that loud electric buzzing sound is coming from.
Scientists 'think' cicadas can change the amount of air in the expanded abdomen and it changes the pitch and makes the sound louder, but it is still a secret yet.
On the underside, males have two tympana. They use them like amplifiers to make the sound go far. To do this, they have to open up opercula, flaps that cover and protect their tympana. (sounds like a regular rhythm section!)
Females don't have timbals, but they do have tympana. They use them to hear the mating calls. So these guys may be small, but they have a really cool way to make awesome, loud sounds, and I think they are quite vivid looking too!
Hello there. Are you to be my sweetheart?

Did you find my creepy bug story interesting? I have experienced the 17 year cicadas twice since we lived here, and I still find them fascinating. Plus the fact that they are one insect that does not care to eat me for lunch helps a lot!
I did a post on the 24th about the nasty weather that blew through here. I am aware that lots of other areas as well have been dealing with floods and other of Mother Natures temper tantrums (my thoughts are with you)... I posted a few photos from my yard and what Mother Nature decided to prune and clear out.  (I left that a clickable link in case you want easy access to go back and read it) If you would like me to post part two of the story next week along with regular Wednesday post, please leave a comment along with your guess for this weeks clue. Mr. Linky is also below for those that play along. You can also visit our wonderful Wizards and see what goodies they have to offer this week as well.

Now for this weeks clues...

and lastly

 


Enjoy your week everyone. I hope to 'see' you during of course, and if you leave a comment I will be sure to leave a nice one on yours as well. If you would like to use any of my photos, please do not take without asking, I am happy to share with a link back and proper credit in kind. I'm looking forward to some good answers and don't forget to also reply if you would like to hear about part two of what happened here in my wild cheesy acre.


 Until next time...








Saturday, July 24, 2010

rain, boomers, more rain, crack



It's raining time again, 
I'm feeling weepy.
All that thunder and lightning sparks up the sky.
And I know the song the wind is playing...
That it won't be long before it's messy time.

lightning rain cloud images

Sorry, I know that was an awful intro...
a real groaner... (wink)

We have been deluged with hard rain, wind and boomers again that last few nights, with more expected tonight. I am thankful to God we have not experienced a collapsed basement like some of our neighbors just a few miles to the north, and sinkholes. Or the other areas of floods and tornadoes, but some of us think we may of had a little one buzz through. The ground is definitely saturated, and I am praying it does not start looking for ways to come in!

If you are a regular reader ( I thank you!) and enjoy my garden posts, many of you compliment me on how nice it looks, which I humbly tell you it is a wild and natural yard. The recent storms have done some unexpected pruning for us... well, some I wanted done, but not as severely as it had to get done! Usually every year and after most storms we play a game here. We find a lot of these...

crack sticks broken branches
click on images to enlarge, ask to use

We get to play "pick up sticks!" A lot!
Well today we got to enjoy it a lot more! 
We had a break in the rain during the day, like it has been the last few days. Then the sun comes out and the mercury climbs along with the humidity... ughh.
Today was one of those kinds of days. So we went out to access the amount of some of the sticks or damage... Some big branches came down yesterday and were sticking straight up in the ground like a naked, newly planted tree. Hubby got most of those big boys yesterday. Here is a peek at what we found today.

floppy phlox rain mess

Really big sticks! Whoo hoo! (Not really) It is really bright and sunny there too! If anyone remembers some of my earlier posts, it may look strange.
This was a couple days ago looking the other direction.

storm mess

Hubby was having fun using his chain saw for some clean up (ahem). And is now trying to burn up some of the mess in our fire pit. If it rains again, which it is suppose to, more and harder, we may have more to do... ( I am tired of this game)!!
This is a peek of what is looks like "almost cleaned up" ( I am going to save some of the story for my Wednesday regular post). (Our yard is never completely cleaned up, that is why it is natural and wild!!)

after cutting down cracked trees

My poor phlox was blooming and smelling heavenly, and now are just floppy phlox. Do any of my regular readers notice anything missing?

I sure would like to know what has Mother Natures' undies in such a bundle lately? Wouldn't you? 
How has the weather been treating you?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a what?!



Holey moley Wizards!!
Did we have a great week! Lots of NEW and returning Wednesday Wizards to announce. Along with the answer to last weeks quiz! Some were still thinking plants... but gave some great guesses because of it! Last weeks clues do sort of look like the silk of a corn plant! You deserve extra credit for thinking outside the box for that!



We had "8" winners last week! A new record! I am so proud of my Wednesday Wizards! I finally figured out how to add the grab box to the Wednesday Wizard grab badge so be sure to grab it if you won this week or in a past week and proudly display it on your blog! To show off how knowledgeable you are in all things Cheesy or otherwise (giggles).
So without further ado I will name our Winning Wednesday Wizards and then show you what those fuzzy wuzzy things belonged too!


Now make sure to go and check out the winning competition, fellow wizards! They have some interesting things going on all the time too on their blogs as well. What would Wednesday be with-out fun and sharing some love, right!

  So who is itching to know what the answer was from last week? 

I mentioned that I was able to go up and visit my grandsons for the 4th of July weekend. We had so much fun, and they wore both of us out! And just before we went up, I was long over due for a hair cut... way long over due... We don't get to see the boys to often and when we do Memaw (or Grammy) seems to be a different color, so I am like Rainbow Memaw! LOL! Sammy took a while to cuddle up to us, as he only had just turned that magical age.. "2"! Hubby (Buppa) has had surgeries the last 2 years so we have been up to visit even less, so Sam really doesn't know us as well as Collin who is 4 and 1/2. Of course I had to "try" to get some pictures. Sammy is a lot more active than Collin. A lot more!
So here is the photo answers to the fuzzy wuzzys (hair) from last week...
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a fuzzy haired grandson!!
 

grandpa with grandsons photo image
click on photos to enlarge, ask to share or copy

I was able (with buppa's help) to corral them up together!
The big strawberry soft curls belong to Collin, and the fuzzy tight blackish curls belong to Sam! (and that would be buppa in the middle)

melon eating time photo image
melon eating Collin

What would the 4th be without a picnic?
Collin was loving some watermelon!

seesaw sam photo image
seesaw Sam

Sam was extra hard to snap! So here is one from after playing at one of the local parks that was a kiddie water pool and a big sand area with toys for climbing and digging. He is on the opposite end of a seesaw playing with mom, so this is a tight close up.

4 th of july roasting marshmallows photo image
smores around the campfire
click to make larger, ask to use

As dusk came around dad made a small fire and made smores and they had sparklers and a few small fireworks.
So there you have two of the mystery fuzzys...
 
Oh, I mentioned something about me needing a hair cut
  badly didn't I???
Okay, a warning, 
the next photos may be a be frightening for the weak of heart...

So just a word of warning,
  a before photo of the old gray mare,
other wise known as rainbow memaw...


smirking gray mare photo image
  I can really use a trim, LOL!

 and now after...
new hair style long hair perm photo image

Should I of saved this post for Halloween?

One last thing before I ask you to link up to Mr. Linky (below) if you play along , and to please leave a comment... as I ask you to leave your guess of this weeks clues...

clue photo image



have any idea what these/this is?
clue photo image

                  one more to make you scratch your head...



Okay Wizards, put on your pointy thinking caps!
Thank you so much for playing along each week, and I will do my best to get back to everyone who leaves a comment to comment in kind :) 



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Burning Rubber ...

image by D. Edward

What kind of images, sounds 
 or smells does that bring to mind?
Peeling down the road in your first car trying to impress
  your friends?
Saturday night at the race track?
How about one lone tree in the middle of practically 
  no-where Idaho??

Last Thursday night fireman responded to a blaze of intense heat of one lone tree. A legendary tree know to locals and tourists alike since 1940 as the "Shoe Tree of Priest River." Considered by many to be a landmark.

 undated photo from U.S. Forestry Department 

Tourists and locals have dressed the tree with hundreds of pairs of shoes, nailing sneakers to its trunk and hanging work boots from its branches. Firefighters found the tree engulfed in flames late Thursday 7-15-2010, and the blaze was difficult to extinguish because the sizable old-growth cedar was covered in melted shoe rubber.

The tree is known as the “shoe tree” because of hundreds of pairs of shoes that have been nailed to or hung from the branches. Officials have asked a long time for people to stop adding shoes to the tree, which has become an eccentric roadside attraction featured on various websites and blogs. When Forest Service firefighters responded to a report of smoke in the Priest Lake area Thursday evening, they came to find a single tree engulfed in flames. It was destroyed. Melting shoe rubber made the fire difficult to put out, officials said. It most likely will die.

“I really feel for the community’s loss of this tree. People started adding shoes to this tree as early as the 1940s, so we appreciate the history and the community’s attachment, but we would like to discourage the public from creating another shoe tree to take this one’s place,” said District Ranger Dick Kramer.
Forest service officials say lightning is not the cause of the fire and they are now investigating how it started. 


I have some food for thought...
I know there are several other "legendary shoe trees" out there,
some with their own ghost stories, many in California.




I've also seen many a pair of shoes hanging from a stray power line or a single shoe laying in the road, like a jilted lover...

I was a bit puzzled, as I often get and I came up with a theory... 

Maybe most of these shoes started out involved in some 
  lovers quarrel! 
"I can't stand you no more! 
 It's either those terrible stinky shoes or me!!!"

Being brought to the desperate decision of there beloved or their favorite sneakers that I am sure are past their prime and I don't even want to think about what the socks look like... especially if she can smell his feet with those monstrous shoes on! He begrudgingly gives up his first love for his "true love" and tosses them into the tree with a gentle fling. As you know darn well she is not gonna touch them with a ten foot pole using his arms! Then I imagine she opens her purse and pulls out a giant sized bottle of Listerine and Lysol to have him scrub those puppies down before they head home... and a new legend is started!


What do you think?
Have you ever added to a Shoe Tree 
  or found a "jilted lover shoe"?

  One last thought...
Now that all those soles are now burned and free....

Do you think they made it to heaven??? (giggles)

      until next time ...    Faythe ~

One local person wants to start an online memorial for the Priest Lake Shoe Tree, Pecky Cox is asking for photos historic cedar near Nordman. If you have a photo of the Shoe Tree, you can send it, along with your name, to pecky@sisna.com.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Holly "Hobby", "hock" or "house" or is it Christmas?



  Welcome back my Wednesday Wizards!

I had a wonderful visit with my son and daughter in law and of course those two adorable grandsons! We even got to babysit one day ( boy am I out of shape!!!)
We had activity every moment it seemed! It had been since last Christmas that we saw them, so the youngest little "wild boy" Sam who just turned two, did not quite remember us, and it took a bit for him to warm up to us, but not to long. I will try to post a short tale and maybe a few photos of our visit. Again I could not get those two wiggly worms to sit together or even next to ME, long enough for a photo! Little Stinkers!

I so appreciate you understanding my not being able to post last week. And thanks so much to the wonderful readers who still took time to wish us a good time!
It really warmed my heart!

Now lets get back to our last quiz I left you with...
We did have a Winning Wednesday Wizard I will announce!!
First a reminder, it has been 2 weeks!  Last time clue...

white hollyhock full of pollen
click on all photos to enlarge, 
ask to copy please

This magenta ringed eye full of weeping pollen is open of business! It is flashing a sign too all who are hungry for fresh yummy , gooey pollen that the Hollyhock Diner is open!

The Hollyhock is a popular and common flower found in many traditional as well as non-traditional cottage gardens; hollyhocks are easy to grow and may even produce flowers in the first year, if planted early enough. The Alcea species of hollyhock produces tall flowers and should not be confused with Althaea (or Mallow); both plant species are botanically related and belong to the Malvaceae plant family but the Althea species of hollyhocks are shorter.

pink hollyhocks after rain


Hollyhocks!

  Hollyhocks are hardy in zones 2-10. They are herbaceous biennials or short-lived perennials, they easily self-sow. But some species in some zones are considered annuals just the same. Hollyhocks have large 4-5” saucer shaped flowers for up to 2+ months in midsummer. By me they can start in mid to late June and flower into early August, depending on the growing season. They are available in a variety of colors such as yellow, red, purple, pink and white on large flower stalks up to 8’ tall! Some people have claims to have grown much taller ones. I never measured mine, but know they were at least 2 feet over my hubby's head, and he is just shy of 6 feet! It is a good idea to try and keep them spaced about 1-2 feet apart for air circulation (something I have yet to do, oops!)
Hollyhocks begin flowering low on the stalk, with blossoms opening progressively higher on the stem through the season. Unless you intend to collect seed, plants of biennial varieties can be removed when flowering ceases. Since neighboring hollyhocks readily cross-pollinate, seed gathered from groups of mixed-color plants seldom bears true. You may want to mark the stalk with the color of the bloom if you plan on harvesting seed and try to keep them separate, mine are mixed, came that way from the garden I harvested them from and scattered them in the ground without care to color. Wide spacing and single-color plantings are the best means (short of division) to ensure true-color descendants.
Rough textured heart shaped leaves are large and generally attractive.
The upright and slender, hollyhocks add a strong vertical interest to a garden space. They really are almost as easy to grown and add visual interest as sunflowers!  If I needed a dividing wall, I think it would be fun to have one of hollyhocks and sunflowers mixed in!
Deadheading wilted hollyhock flowers can encourage reblooming and should be done until the end of the season unless self-sown seedlings are desired. Many hollyhocks rarely require staking except in high-wind or very rainy areas (which was my dilemma this year, as I have told you many times.)
They are susceptible to rust, leaf spot, aphids and cut worms.
lacy hollyhock leaf

I think the aphids were the culprit at hand on my leaves, although a bit pretty, not very tidy looking.
Hollyhocks are easy to grow from seed that can be scattered outdoors in the late spring through early fall for blooms the following August. Division is not normally needed as individual hollyhock plants are short lived, however self-sowing happens frequently so hollyhock clumps are often perennial in nature (or in MY yard!) I have found some new plants around the corner in a different area that must of been blown by the wind or planted my the critter gardeners I have. When you are cutting off the brown (or ugly eaten) leaves or deadheading (always using a sharp snips) never compost any part of the hollyhock, as any of the susceptible diseases can contaminate the compost and make it unusable. Bag it up and toss it or if allowed in your area add it to the burn pile. At the end of the season cut the stalks close to the ground and do the same to them.

bug eating pollen
click on all photos to enlarge,
please ask to copy

If you look close in the top bloom their is a bug in there collecting the gooey pollen. 
I do not know what kind, just that it flies! 
Now just a few quick "Did you know?" about Hollyhocks and then I will announce the Winning Wednesday Wizard for this week.

Did You know


  • Hollyhocks were often planted next to outhouses long ago. Why, you ask?
    So that in the event visitors came calling, a lady need not announce in front of everyone her need to use the privy. (Toilet) As the hollyhocks were next to the outhouse, one merely asked where the hollyhocks were, and when pointed in the direction, did not need to reveal if she were going to admire the hollyhocks or do something else while there. Such a lady-like gesture! So if you have an outhouse, be sure to plant a few next to it even just for fun. I wonder if it would work indoors? ☺ A fun question to ask at the next family reunion of one of the elders to "see' if they remember what it means.



  • Deer don't like to eat Hollyhocks. So if you live in an area populated by garden diners, don't worry about your hollyhocks. What else do they find unappetizing? Bleeding heart, Calla lilies, Columbine, Larkspur, Evening Primrose, Foxglove, Iris, Lamb's Ears, Lavender, Marigold, Poppy, Coneflower, Sage, Thyme, Mullein, Wormwood and Zinnia just to name a few! Hollyhocks also can tolerate the toxins secreted from black walnut tree roots, so are a great choice to plant under black walnut trees! 



  • In 1921, Elizabeth Gest; pianist and composer, produced "HOLLYHOCKS"... a progressive series composition which goes as follows:
    The Hollyhocks stand straight and tall
    like captains in command. If they could walk, I'm sure they'd march like soldiers, to a band.
    From 'A Day in My Garden' by Elizabeth Gest




  • In Los Angeles exists a Hollyhock house....visit when you have a moment to browse! It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

  • The name "Hollyhock" is a mixture of two words. HOC was often a term used for mallow, a smaller, though closely related species. Because it was brought about during the middle ages, thus the "holy" part. Combined, they form "HOLY HOC" or "HOCK" as we have come to know it. Althaea rosea has now become known in the genus Alcea. Genus Althaea / Alcea, family Malvaceae Named by Linnaeus, who used both Alcea (Latin) and Althea (Greek) from the Greek word meaning 'to cure'. Often said to have first reached Europe in the 16th century. It was them used as a medicinal and also a culinary herb. Hollyhocks are among the oldest cultivated plants.

  • The term "Old Fashioned Hollyhock" does not refer to just any hollyhock. The true old fashioned hollyhocks do indeed very much resemble a small Hibiscus flower, yet the foliage remains the typical Hollyhock foliage. You can't mistake an old fashioned for those of today's gardens, often blended, hybrid, etc. When you see a true old fashioned hock, you know it. I believe that is what I have and why I call them heirloom, plus the old garden I was allowed to harvest them from.  

  •     And now for this weeks Winning Wednesday Wizard...  


    Sukhmandir Kaur from A Guide to Sikhism 
    She is a repeat Wizard, please give her around of applause and visit to her blog as well ☺!   

    We still are having our bouts of heavy wind and rain. While we were gone the rain must of been very hard as my poor hollyhocks are no longer standing at attention as they normally do and are laying across the ground... I fear I will be cutting them early this year.

    Now a new teaser for next Wizards Wednesday !!! 
    Only one clue from me this week....
            it is not a plant from my yard!
    Put on those thinking caps..... here are a few photo clues...

                              
                     clue photos removed
    click to enlarge, please ask to copy

    Geezers! I hope I did not make it to difficult this week....
    Mr. Linky will be below for those who play along, and remember to please leave a comment and a guess! You may just be the next person to claim that coveted Wednesday Winning Wizards Badge you see in the left side bar... You Know You Want One!

    I always try to return any comments left in kind, and I love to see what is going on at your blogs as well.



    I leave you still
    with wrinkly, muddy hands               

    until next time☺  

                          

               

    Thursday, July 08, 2010

    Criminal Minds cast host fund-raising film event for one of their own



    Cancer Awareness... Cancer is Not a friend!

    A good Blog friend of mine Lee Allport of My Sentiment ExactLee is friends with Andy Swan, one of the crew members on the set of Criminal Minds, starring Joe Mantegna, Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, Pagent Brewster, and many others.
    Andy, a non-smoker, was diagnosed with Stage IV Non Small Cell Lung Cancer in February of this year. Andy has been very sick and unable to work. It’s been a long journey and he wound up at Dana Farber Hospital in Boston, MA. He is currently receiving drug treatment with Tarceva and is beginning to show improvement day by day.


    Andy’s friends from Criminal Minds and Area 9 Productions are hosting a charity benefit for The Lung Cancer Foundation Of America in Andy’s name on July 24, 2010 at 6PM. Tickets are on sale now at aoffest.com and seats are limited. Tickets are $20 and include the film Swan…One Man’s Journey, the story of Andy Swan and an after party. I hope you all join me in purchasing your tickets now as undoubtedly these tickets will sell out.

    Besides the film there will be generous door prizes awarded to lucky ticket holders for purchasing a ticket and viewing the film to help get out information about lung cancer and support.
     Here is a list of the prizes including :

    One Lucky audience member will win a day on the set of Criminal Minds

    One Lucky audience member will win $1000 scholarship to Video Symphony

    One Lucky audience member will win a 7 night stay in an Orlando, FL Vacation Home via Global Resort Homes  *airfare not included



    *celebrity appearances subject to change

     
     I was not paid to promote this event. I shared this information for the benefit of my readers and to further the awareness of cancer in all forms. I also wanted to help bring attention to this cause through my friend Lee. For more information regarding this event contact Lee at  mysentimentexactlee@gmail.com.

    Tuesday, July 06, 2010

    Wednesday Wizards!






    Hello my wonderful Wizards!
    I am enjoying some long over due time with my grandsons!
    I will report any Winning Wizards in next weeks Wednesday post.
    I also have to come by and visit a few of you I did not have time to do before leaving. So I will be popping in and saying hello. 
    If you would still like to take a guess on last weeks Winning Wednesday Wizards clues you can easily reach it by clicking Here!

    I am looking forward to next weeks Wizards post and visiting every one!
    Until then try not to melt if you are in the areas of the extreme heat and humidity (as I am.. huff, puff) Keep Cool!

    Believe it or not, even though I am enjoying my grandsons immensely,
    I also miss all my online and bloggy friends as well!

    Until next time...