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Exit Strategies (and bits and pieces)

July 27, 2009

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This year I’m growing corn for the first time. I planted it late, but it has made good progress, tassels and silks are well-formed. I’ve watched the growth with interest, learning the signs of distress (or pests) and have dosed them several times with BT to eliminate the worms that try to eat the new growth and flowering parts. I found a disinterested visitor a few days ago—my corn provided the perfect exit point for a cicada leaving it’s old skin behind. (I find these all over the yard, but it was interesting to find it in the corn).

One evening last week a friend paused at the side door, waiting for a mango-sized toad to hop across the step and out of the way before he entered the house. We watched as the toad paused long enough to eat a Junebug the size of a quarter. Huge bug, huge toad. And when they unload all of those bugs, it is a huge tangle of carapaces and scaly parts. We have been known to perch under the porch light and pitch Junebugs at the toads, and every so often on the path or at the edge of the garden, I find a steaming pile of exoskeletons. Good work!

The coolest place in my front yard is under the vitex. The canopy is a complex of spicy-smelling fast-growing branches and I’ve trimmed it to allow for an arched walkway through the front yard. It’s a good place to stand on a very hot day and look and listen to the front yard wildlife. A lizard lives in the vitex, I sometimes hear it scramble up a branch when I walk past; other times it freezes on a limb, blending in with the bark. I’ve never seen this particular lizard on the ground, it always moves out of the way up the tree, but there are several interesting holes in the dirt underneath. I haven’t managed to catch the owners at home yet.

Just a few bits and pieces.

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