Category Archives: Gardening

Owl, Hawk, or Chupacabra?

So *this* happened.

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Yes, that is a pigeon’s head.

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Found it this morning. I have not yet ventured on the roof to see if the body is there.

What do you think?

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The other day we found a pigeon body (yes, just the body) on that very same corner of the roof.

We have been finding dead pigeons on our property for the past week or so.

The first time, we saw a stream of blood coming down the wall above the garage door. My husband just sprayed it off with water, without going on the roof to check.

The second time, we found just a body on that corner of the roof. It was whole. Like the head was just ripped off. And that’s it.

Then yesterday, there were 8 vultures in our backyard. They were ripping apart two dead pigeons in the yard.

Today, just a head. The body is quite possibly still on the roof.

My teens and I have been making up stories about what it could be:

1) Our long lost cat has come back and is now some feral thing living on our roof.

2) There is a serial pigeon murderer among the mass of pigeons that live on our neighbor’s roof (another story).

3) Someone is sending a message to those pigeons to not land on our house.

4) Could be an owl or a hawk.

5) It’s a chupacabra.

Oh, look. The vultures are back.

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Any theories?

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So You Want To Attract Some Ladybugs?

I discovered this by accident recently.

The perfect ladybug magnet.

aphids, brittlebush

Yes, ladybugs love aphids. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

Let me tell you a quick story.

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About a month ago, my husband released a container-full of ladybugs into our garden.

We followed the directions. Kind of.

We released them at dusk, just not over the period of a few days. So as we watched, about half of the ladybugs took flight and disappeared into the sunset.

Over the next few days, the ladybugs were fewer and fewer. My hubby was fairly annoyed, saying, “That’s the worst 9 bucks I’ve ever spent.”

I was disappointed but had previous experience gardening, and knew we’d eventually be home to some ladybugs. After all, we did have a lot of flowering plants and shrubs, and there were aphids here and there, as well as other yummies.

Fast forward a little over a month, and the other day my husband decided to trim the wild brittlebush growing in our garden. I went outside and the bush was very lopsided, and obviously not done being trimmed.

My husband told me that as soon as he started trimming, ladybugs started flying out of the bush, so he stopped.

My teen daughter and I took a closer look, and this is what we saw.

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Ladybug larvae at different stages. All. Over. The. Bush.

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Ladybug pupa stages. My daughter commented this looks like a gross, mutated strawberry.

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Some ladybugs still looked long.

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Some had no spots. This one had half its shell darker than the other half.

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And of course… *queue up the Barry White*.

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What has these ladybugs procreating like there’s no tomorrow?

Well, yes, the enormous food supply on this one plant. But this plant that is coated in aphids is called a Brittlebush, or Encelia farinosa.

It grows wild in the desert around us. It’s a beautiful weed really.

It attracts birds, bees, and other little critters that you want in your garden.

They normally grow like crazy once they get going, and they self-seed. I have several babies growing beneath this mama. I don’t consider it invasive, though.

I’m not sure about the ones you would find in a nursery, but the wild ones here have a taproot. I’ve tried propagating from cuttings. Failure every time.

If you want one, you have to dig it up, making sure to dig up the taproot with it.

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Ours is about 4 feet high right now, including the flowers.

So if you live in AZ, or another similar environment, give this weed a try! Let the aphids go crazy, and the ladybugs will come.

And stay.

And have lots of hot, wild lovin’.

Been Gardening…

I know.  I know.

Em and I have been severely neglecting our blog.  Life and ADD have been getting in the way.

I don’t know about Em, but I’ve been taking lots of photos and have lots of post drafts saved.  I just need to… ya know, follow through and finish.

I’ve been gardening again, though!

I’ve been dabbling in different planting methods.  More like half-assing them or only partially implementing them on purpose.

Experimenting.

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My bare root roses that I planted in December are starting to bloom.

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It’s been fun because I didn’t mark any of them, and I didn’t plant any duplicates.  So it’s a surprise each time one plant blooms.

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I planted all sorts of colors and types, mainly fragrant, hybrid ones, though.

There are about 20 bushes but only a few have opened their buds.

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Everything else is flowering and doing really well.

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Ice plants.

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My daughter’s azalea plant is pretty much throwing up flowers left and right.

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I’m planning to propagate this potato vine and create a wall of these things on the chain link fence.

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So gardening has been my focus lately, among all the mom and wife duties.

I’m still working on that post about lasagna gardening and Hugelkultur.  I’ve been sort of implementing these methods.

As you can see, everything is growing wonderfully.  Plus, I have no weeds.  That’s the best part.

Em and I are still here, if not completely.  Thanks for sticking around!  🙂