I knew they weren’t box-elder bugs, but what? Hundreds and hundreds were mating and scurrying about on a (stupid) bush honeysuckle covered with (stupid) English ivy. So I type “red shoulder bug,” into BugGuide and guess what they are?
“Red-shouldered Bugs.” Continue reading “Red-shouldered bugs and a fresh assassin”→
Once upon a time, a new grass appeared in the yard. At first, I thought the narrow leaves were wild onion, but they didn’t taste oniony. They didn’t look oniony, either, not on closer inspection: each wore a silvery line down the middle of the green. Continue reading “Star of Bethlehem”→
There are swaths of yellow right now in Elmington Park: small yellow blooms massed in the lawn. I hope the city doesn’t mow soon, because the yellow is Nashville mustard—our mustard—and it needs to go to seed and spread. I saw it on the way to Hebrew School, and as soon as I could, I went back and parked the car in the lot, then parked my body flat on the grass.
To me, this particular “spring ephemeral” is as welcome as a wildflower. It is a sign of the season: a “cedar apple,” doing its wacky thing in wet spring weather. This one is on our volunteer red-cedar tree in the front yard, and I’ve been waiting for the rusty, dry galls to wake from winter. Continue reading “Cedar Apple”→
Our dog loves hackberry trees. If there is a hackberry seedling within range of her face, she finds it. Under the neighbor’s boxwood, up the U-channel of the stop sign, poking from a storm drain, or wherever. She plucks the leaves with her teeth. She will chew as many as her leash lets her have time for. The seedling may be flanked by baby elm or privet or althea or bush honeysuckle of a similar size, but she only goes for hackberry leaves. Continue reading “Hackberry Jam”→
Oaks are hard. Hard wood, yes, and hard to identify. This morning, I’m trying to key out a mystery oak on our dog walk, so I came home with a twig, buds, acorns and leaves. A few leaves are still green, and the undersides (the abaxial surface, thank you) gave me pause. Continue reading “Leaf armpits”→