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Posts Tagged ‘creepycrawly’

We had a sudden change of weather here in the Pacific Northwest: it suddenly got warm! February was unusually cold, so this was what I refer to as “all-out-gardening” weather. The problem with all out gardening weather is I’m so used to having two days out of a week to get a month’s worth of gardening done (because you never know what next weekend will be like). I tend to over-do and hurt my back and…

I am learning to slow down. I have time. I don’t have to get up to an alarm clock. I have every morning that is slightly warm and dry to work in the yard, clean debris, dead-head last fall’s flowering plants, pull the first weeds, and clear sod for new flower beds. And, after I iced my back for two days, slow down is exactly what I did. I hurt my back in a frenetic attack on the day lilies, pulling out the old leaves and the moss as if the day would end too soon & I wouldn’t have accomplished something. Silly me. (But I did watch some good movies while my back muscles recovered, so there’s that.)

I ordered roses. One has arrived, the other is on back order. I bought rhubarb roots because my original one has been transplanted too many times. The race was on to get these all planted in the narrow window of nice weather – BUT the flower bed hadn’t even been created yet!

So – I spent three days digging up sod, which you can’t put into the yard bin because it has too much soil attached. I have to dump it in an empty corner of the yard to let the rains come and wash the sod off, returning the loam to the yard. The filbert tree kills the grass, so that’s where I dumped it. Take that! Nasty grass!

Day one, I kept finding cool creatures in the loam. Centipedes, army worms or cut worms, earthworms… And no camera. Mud on my garden gloves. There had to be a better way.

Day two, I placed my Google Pixel in my hip pocket. The thing has a great macro lens. I’d dig up something, take my gloves off, zoom in, and click! Unfortunately, looking at the LCD image on my cell phone is a foreign way of taking photos (I’m a die-hard DSLR – formerly a die-hard SLR film photographer). The sun reflects off of the LCD image and I couldn’t always tell if I had the subject in focus. The photos aren’t large by DSLR standards (I normally shoot at the highest setting on my Canon), but they’re decent – and focused for the most part.

Now that I have that out of the way: DO NOT PROCEED if creepy crawlies get you creeped out. If you dislike any of the following: spiders, wasps, cutworms, earwigs, centipedes – do not scroll on down.

This fine piece of thin material appears to be part of a beetle wing. It could be plastic, too, but I think it is organic. It was extremely fragile and only a portion of it ended up being in the photos. I found it with a couple pieces of pottery and a vintage playing marble.

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This guy (all 11 of them I found) was as large as a U.S. quarter or a Susan B. Anthony silver dollar. Very green-hued. I can’t identify it without the moth it turns into, but it’s much larger than the usual cutworm one finds in the soil. I took to tossing them out into the streets for the crows and automobiles to take care of.

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The cutworm (also a moth) was about nickel sized when curled up. I only found a couple of these and they got to go flying into the Great Asphalt Desert as well.

Don’t worry – I probably didn’t harm the overall moth population at all.

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It has taken me years to come to terms with earwigs. They were a pestilence in my childhood. I later learned they have redeeming qualities (they eat aphids) but I still don’t like them in my house or crawling on me. One of the few insects I truly struggle to like.

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Bingo! There’s nothing to compare the size of this critter within the photo (sorry) but curled up like this, it was only the size of a dime or less.

 

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Stretched out, the centipede is not much wider than a blade of grass and about 17mm long (just over half an inch).

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I love jumping spiders. They’re very friendly. This one was about the size of a penny, the size I used to find lurking around the office back in my employed days.

Paper wasps, not to be confused with their aggressive cousins (yellow jackets). These are solitary, make small nests of paper (they will protect their nests with stings, but you have to really threaten them to anger them). We live at peace with most stinging insects here (yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets can be exceptions, but only when they get aggressive or nest in the yard).

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The woodlouse spider! It is about half an inch long, hates sunshine, moves fast – it hunts the wood louse (pillbugs, roly-poly bugs, sow bugs, potato bugs – whatever you grew up calling them – although potato bug is a misnomer).

What I did not find were slugs. This is good. It means I have done a good job of cleaning up our yard so slugs don’t want to live here. I hate slugs. The Pacific Northwest is renowned for slugs. We have giant slugs, banana slugs, big brown slugs, black slugs, green slugs, and leopard slugs. I put down hazelnut shell mulch to discourage slugs.

I got my rhubarb roots in the ground today. Tomorrow, I will finally plant my rose. Hopefully, I will get my second rose to plant soon. And my hops rhizome. I’ll be taking a lot more photos of creepy crawlies.

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