Today was one of the first reasonable days for yardwork we’ve had in a few month – I don’t think it was up much past 80 degrees, and with a bottle of gatorade at hand, you can really get something done. One of the things I did was take pictures! 🙂

Around the House

That patch in the front has really filled in, hasn’t it? You should’ve seen it before I mowed it – the rest of the yard is manageable, but that rectangle is a jungle, after only two weeks!

This copse of flowers is well on its way to foresthood. As I see it, there are two likely outcomes for this patch: either they grow into a strong, healthy stand of tree flowers, to be chopped down in 15 years as timber for a fort for our kids, or the Secret of NIMH soil we have will turn these things sentient and they’ll show up in our bedroom one night, brandishing gardening tools of doom, demanding the deed to the property. Don’t worry, I won’t cave.


Jenny’s becoming scared of the 2 or three feet around the steps from the deck. Once she’s out in the grass, she’s fine, but those first few steps are like a firewalk for her.

Tree Buffalo

While I was out on the back deck nailing back in the nails that have begun to slowly make their escape, I noticed this scary looking patch on the tree.

I thought it might be some kind of fungus or mold until I dollied in.

It was a swarming herd of insects! Some kind of tree buffalo, from their behaviour. When I blew into the center of the herd, they would all stampede off in the same direction. (Don’t forget you can click on the picture to get a closer look).

I found one that had wandered away from the herd and got a closeup. I’m worried he looks suspiciously like this. You think?

Mutant captured on Film! (err.. compact flash card)

I finally got pictures of one of the mutant bugs I’ve been describing.

Look at that poor beast. It seems like this one had once been a poor, unsuspecting red ant, to judge by her head and thorax. Like the one I saw last week she has those thrumming white antennae, red and black coloring, and that wicked curved stinger at the posterior. Like all of the mutants I’ve seen, she has those out-of-place green grasshopper legs, and boy! could she jump with those. Unlike the one from last week, she has some kind of spidery palps at her jaw, and she’s considerably smaller and has an entirely different body and head shape. I’ve also seen mutants that seemed to have fly heads, complete with bulbous complex eyes, and ones with wings. So this strange mutation must be a danger to all manner of insects around my house. Damn you, Secret of NIMH soil!

My Enemy

I don’t know what my enemy’s name is – I usually just call it “the weed”, or “that damn weed”. Here it is in a lineup:

The criminal is on the left. You can tell him by his success – he grows quickly, sending viney stalks off through a garden. On the right is a snippet from a rosebush. The similarity is not immediately obvious, but look at the shape of the rose leaves, and their serrated edged, and their occurance in groups of three. Now look at the criminal – same leaf shape, same serrated edge, same groups of three. When he hasn’t gotten himself infected with leaf blight, he can be the same dark color as the rose leaves. Even more insidious is the criminal’s behaviour of growing up through a rose bush, mingled with the rose’s own thorny branches. But the enemy’s thorns are far more insidious.

I tried numerous times to get a clear shot of his spiny thorns, but he was just far too elusive. Maybe you can make out some of the spikes, if you cross your eyes hard enough.

What is clear is the carnage he leaves behind. This is after just a few minutes of clearing out stalks.

The enemy will die like any other natural plant, but his corpse is entirely unnatural. It becomes a skelton warrior even more insidious than the living foe. There are no warning leaves, and the thorns are harder and more difficult to see.

Go back up to the line-up shot, and look at the sprig in the middle. See how the leaves are just like the criminal plant, but they grow as singles? See how the twig is smooth and shiny instead of ridged, and there are no thorns? I suspect my Secret of NIMH soil is at it again. The middle plant is probably just your average, law-abiding weed, causing no problems and just doing his thing. But he shoots up next to this rose, and whatever glowing bile of the earth that causes my yard to roil with unnaturality takes over, and before you know it, he has this bastard child – half weed, half rose. All thorns.

Damn you, Secret of NIMH soil! (I bet it’s made of people.)