Outdoor Hour Challenge #20 Our Summer Tree Study

We have had hot smoky weather for the past two weeks with all the fires burning in our area. It is very unusual for the wildfires to start so early but my husband says that the fuel in the forests is so dry that it doesn’t take much to get it going. We had several dry lightning storms and two weeks ago we had extremely high winds. All these factors together make for extreme fire danger.

We have been enjoying our outdoor time both in the garden and out on hikes in our local area. First of all though, here is my son’s summer tree study.His tree doesn’t look that much different from our last study. There are lots of green leaves which my son thinks are darker than they were in the spring but it is hard to tell.

Here is a close up of the leaves.This time he measured around the trunk and found it to be 28 inches in circumference.

This is what he noticed had changed the most about the tree. It had these sprouts coming up from the bottom of the trunk. We usually snap these off as they sprout but my son wants to leave them just to see how they grow.

We are anxious to compare our summer tree with our autumn tree!


Purple Day in the Garden: Blackberries and Hydrangeas

Today was watering the corners day in the garden. But I was greatly rewarded by a whole bush full of blackberries……some ripe enough to pick and eat.

So here is just a sampling of the fruits of my berry picking. Mmmmm….don’t tell anyone. I probably ate just about as many as made it into the bowl. :)

The blackberries in our yard are the stubbornest plants around. My husband has tried over the last 21 years to eradicate them from the edges of the yard but they will come back year after year. I have come to a working relationship with the blackberries. I let them grow a little and be watered and they provide me with an organic, delicious, sweet treat on hot summer days. Tonight I will be making a blackberry cobbler for my hubby….maybe he will come to peace with the pokey, thorny, hearty blackberry like I have. We can always hope.

The hydrangeas are such a wonderful purple color this year. This is my third bouquet and there are plenty more to come.

Here is the vase for the kitchen table.

How can you help but smile with that greeting you in the morning?

The little joys of summer.

Grasshopper on the Daylily (Katydid)

As I was watering the garden this afternoon I noticed this big guy on the daylily. He was rubbing himself in the pollen and thoroughly enjoying himself. He didn’t seem to mind that I was watching him and taking a few photos. Amazing….simply amazing.

Look at those really long antennae.

What a great discovery this hot summer afternoon. The flower is just gorgeous too…..if you didn’t notice. :)

“When any creature has unusually strong hind legs, we many be sure it is a jumper, and the grasshopper shows this peculiarity at first glance.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 339

There is a section on grasshoppers starting on page 338 of the Handbook of Nature Study.

Edit to Note: Makita helped me realize that this particular insect is actually a Chaparral katydid. So now here is my question: Is a katydid a kind of grasshopper? In my field guide it says, Chaparral Katydid, Platylyra californica, grasshopper order. Are grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets all related or am I reading my field guide and misunderstanding? Insect identification is my least favorite thing to do in nature study.