This will be my only post for October, so Halloween comes early
the garden provides the finish.
There once lived a cat whose lustrous coat of gold, silver and snow set it apart in a household of just greyish feline companions. She preened herself in the sun of the huge bay window that she had claimed for herself in the morning hours of warming sunlight, and stole to her mistress's lap curled up tight the minute another feline was interested.
She was quite full of herself, but perhaps part of the blame lay on the doting affections their mistress lavished mostly on her and little on them. The balance of equilibrium between the three began to wobble as the greyish ones grew older and wiser, and the narcissistic beauty was completely wrapped up in her own need to be the center of attention day and night.
As she laid curled against the back of her mistress in bed one night, her dream was being filled with beautiful butterflies flying around her singing please eat me, eat me first as she licked her luxurious fur as if it was all her little life was about. As the alarm clock clicked one second beyond midnight, it stopped and a dark owl swooped in and perched beside her.
"Vamoose dark spirit, I have not granted you access into my dream...be gone!" Her dream was once more a lovely butterfly meadow with little bunnies lined up in a row to be dinner.
The dark owl circled around her and would have landed on top of her with crushing talons if she hadn't looked up and fled for her life. "What have you done mad spirit? This is my dream, and you do not belong in it!"
"I've been summoned by the greyish ones, and since their dream includes you, it was expedient to combine the two dreams, delectable one. Please cooperate, as I am late, I am late for a very important date."
"What the...that's Alice in Wonderland, you duffous!" She lunged with too furious of a hiss for such a demure creature and sliced her claws right across the spirits left eye. He was gone.
She laid under a blush rose bush with a convenient tangle of thorny stems above her for shelter. The butterflies had flitted away, the bunnies were nowhere to be found, and as the pale blue sky above her began to darken with an immense cluster of black clouds, the owl landed on her rock with a patch over his right eye.
"Shouldn't the patch be over your left eye?" She wondered out loud.
"This is a dream. Anything can happen."
She backed further under the rose bush and pondered his words for a bit. "Oh, mighty spirit, what if I sold you my soul to be collected in my old age to be yours forever more?"
"And what would you wish for this exchange, my little nugget of deliciousness?"
"That you snack on the greyish ones in their young age, my gigantic lug of a grunge."
"I already made that bargain with the greyish ones to eat you now and collect their souls in old age. I'm not really that hungry, so their bargain seems more desirous, my tasty treat."
"Hmmm, perhaps you would like to marry me and have me forever, you great big hunk of owlness!"
"An owl and a calico...whatever would we do as companions, you daffy little morsel of tender delight?"
"Do owls growl?"
"That's my hungry stomach, my little lunch to go."
"Just imagine a beauty of a feline at your beck and call providing you with freshly killed robins day in and day out. I'll preen you as beautiful as me, and you'll be the envy of all that is in heaven and on the earth." She purred with that alluring look that sucked him right in to her world of dominatrix with her beautiful glossy fur laying gently on the ground as she stretched out to show off her great form. He was lost in her hypnotic gaze and would haver promised her anything, and he did.
Miss Narcissus' little tootsies never touched those steps again either, for fear of her betrothed circling the skies above, and pouncing onto her for a delectable cuddle. As for the two greyish ones, she settled on a bargain to teach her narcissistic ways to them, but she knew they would never be as perfect as she. And although she agreed to share her mistress's lap time as well, she was a hoggish little stinker and usually forgot her promises.
Perhaps she might benefit at being a bit more wary of disappointed felines and bad dreams with a punch, but I'm sure she'll be bargaining once again with a disgruntled spirit down the road in a second beyond midnight dream. After all, to narcissistic cats, promises are but words, and words but wind, but aren't they just the cutest little wads of fur when purring in ones lap?
Deciding not to spy for little beings that might not be there, with a sigh, I stop just to listen. The thunderstorms have left a sprinkling of broken old ash tree branches here and there, and the freshly fallen leaves of the male persimmon tree seem plastered like glue to ground and my shoe soles. A gust of wind sends a rush of more loose leaves to the ground, and that lovely persimmon tree stands almost naked while the others are still properly attired.
What to write...
Spicebush leaves yellowing in autumn
Blackhaw Viburnum leaves in autumn turning from green to red to black
Red Winterberry berries and Swamp Sunflower
Right: Fructicose Lichen with bushy growth
Left: Foliose Lichen with leaf like lobes
An alga and a fungus living together as symbionts called Lichens.
The alga photosynthesizes, providing energy,
and the fungus obtains water and minerals,
and protects the algal cells from desiccation.
Polluted air kills them, so they are an indicator of a healthy environment.
They are also an indicator that my white ash tree is in it's declining period.
Hibiscus moscheutos (Swamp Mallow) gold autumn leaf
White Ash Tree fallen seeds and empty Black Walnut shells left by squirrel
We seem destined to die with garden tools gripped in our hands, as the gardens reach thirty years old. Instead of aging in grace, they are a slight disgrace...worn out, it would seem. The two rather ratty looking, non-native hollies along the back fence line were removed and replaced with winterberry, purple coneflower, and zizia aurea.
Three 'Hummingbird' Clethra dwarf shrubs out back have no fragrance when they bloom. Such a disappointment. They were replaced with two of the original Clethra alnifolia, in hopes my yard in the years to come will once again overflow with that intoxication fragrance of what some have described as honeysuckle, rose, clove, and heliotrope. Whatever it is, it's a fragrance to die for.
Some type of Funnel Cap Mushroom
Somewhat flat at first, then flexing to a funnel shape later
In their funnel shape, they are 5" across, give or take
Rain splashed bits of soil and mulch onto the caps
which have turned into small ponds with snails.
I'm not sure if the snails can get back out.
Collection of Redbud Tree autumn leaves
in stages of gold, red, and mildew
The underside of a dead Gilled Bolete mushroom
with its gills that look a bit like sea sponge.
Whatever reason, the healthy Gilled Bolete mushrooms are melting.
Our female persimmon tree will sadly be cut down this fall, as we can no longer keep up with cleaning up all those ripe persimmons plopping to the ground and attracting flies as they rot. It becomes a freaking mess...such a headache. As a smaller tree, clean up was attainable without too much fuss. Now...I'll just be glad when we have a quote for the cost. The ratty non-native hollies under it were removed also, leaving a rather bare lonely landscape.
I suppose I'll always have that urge to plant just one more plant before winter settles in, right up to that moment when winter settles in. On the porch waits six aster 'Patens' and two blue lobelias for what's beginning to become forever for the rains to stop long enough to dig eight little holes. Usually our autumn weather is drawn out into November, but if the first frost comes in late October, then turned-over buckets are used to cover their heads on frost nights. Being native, they aren't fussy.
Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum autumn leaves (red) on aromatic asters
Potter Wasp (Eumenes fraternus)
The female builds a miniature pot out of mud on a plant stem,
stuffs it with a live paralyzed caterpillar,
and lays an egg on the meal. The developing larva eats on this,
while the adult wasp feeds primarily on nectar.
Blue-green Sweat Bee
The clouds have thinned out, the sun is shining, and I'm contemplating, if I really want to wade into that sea of aromatic asters covered in honeybees to snap a few shots of those no time to pose little buggers. I've done it before, and it's a bit tense deciding when to part the bushes and walk back out through the bees.
I think I'll do dinner instead with Applegate chicken and maple sausages, and lovely asparagus, sitting in olive oil to roast in the oven. A cup of English breakfast tea in the evening will complement it nicely. I hope this post has been a fun bit of witty humor for you, and that on All Hallows' Eve your dreams will have nothing to do with a ghoul, a goblin, or a demonic owl.
Inchworm - caterpillars of the
Eupithecis miserulata species of moths
Lacewing larva with its weird looking protection cover
of plant bits and dead carcass bits from food eaten.
Bits of pollen stamen are attached to it also.
Inchworms are a good food source for it.