DSC_4847 (1600x1060)Lots of praying mantises today.  This one had a hold on a hummingbird before Mrs J, hearing a small commotion in the bush, reached in to rescue it.  She said she thought it was hung in a spiderweb at first and only saw the mantis when the bird’s foot didn’t come clear.DSC_4857 (1600x1060)This fellow is in the coleus but isn’t the same one from the other day.  That one had green eyes.  I’m not sure if mantises can change colors, a quick search found answers all over the map.  Some said yes, some no, and a few were firmly in the sometimes camp.DSC_4855 (1600x1060)I’m pretty sure this one is the same one from before.  He is in a green coleus right next to the vari-colored one, both of them in pots Mrs J has set in the shade of a small crabapple tree.DSC_4858 (1600x1060)My habaneros are loving this August heat.  I picked this bush once already and there are as many ripe now as before.  These are more than I will use.  Need any?DSC_8964 (1600x1060)We’re loving the big slicer tomatoes the garden is producing.  They are perfect for BLTs, or BELTs, as is the case here.DSC_4845 (1600x1060)Toby is still not sure I won’t do something to him he won’t like.  Ginger plays with him quite a bit and Toby doesn’t seem to mind, but let Homer come by and there will be trouble.  Toby has taken a serious dislike to that boy and we’ve had to separate them lest fur fly and the dogs become fearful for their own safety.DSC_8971 (1600x1060)I’ll close with a few more sammiches.  I fired up the panini press for this reuben and all the cheese ran out.  The pickle is a bread and butter spear.  Tasty!DSC_8968 (1600x1060)Last is a mushroom Swiss burger.  I sauteed some brown buttons in butter and olive oil, added beef stock with cornstarch for a thickener, and ladled them all over the cheese covered patty.  It’s a classic burger recipe, and for good reason.


A juvenile male Ruby Throat eschews the sugar water for the real deal.  The flower is on a cigar plant, Mrs J is growing it in a pot on the patio.The old moth eater is waiting near the Lantana for bigger game than the fly.  I bet he had his share of flies growing up this spring.I’m pretty sure this is the same hummer, this time at the bush we planted way early in the spring.  It has several names but I’m just calling it Vitex.Another yummy breakfast.  Of note are the longer, yellow, and orange peppers in the foreground, they are from the garden this year, I’m keeping them in the fridge in a brine so they will pickle.  Same for the cherry tomatoes but they haven’t been in long enough yet although they have picked up heat and some taste from the jalapeno slices I put them with.  I have several cherry peppers in the same big jar as the other peppers.  The smaller whole jalapenos are from a batch I canned last year and just opened today.  Mmm… they are crunchy still, and good.

More Mantis

I saw this morning that Anne Laurie, in her regular Thursday Garden Chat, featured a couple of photos that a regular commenter had taken of a praying mantis.  I put up a picture of my own that I had taken of a large mantis face to face with a hummingbird.

I had another series I was meaning to put up of a different mantis, taken later on the same nectar feeder.  This guy was a bit smaller than the green one in the other pictures but he was actively stalking the hummers.  He watched them as they flitted about.  Usually they avoided landing near him, and I think he was a bit frustrated. Finally a bird landed pretty close-he turned towards it, then lunged to grab it with both front legs (arms?).  It was just too far a reach, the bird flew and the mantis was left sprawled out and empty handed.  He soon flew off into a nearby bush where I lost track of him.  (All the “he” pronouns are the generic “it”.  I have no clue whether this is a male or a female.)

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The Day of the Mantids

000ooOOO000OOO!  Cue the Twilight Zone theme.   In her last post TaMara pictured a praying mantis.  I go out to take a few hummer pics and…

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I thought the situation interesting and picture worthy.  I assumed the mantis was waiting for a wasp or a butterfly, I saw it make a grab at a big red wasp while I watched this morning.  Then I looked at this link sent to me in a Flickr comment.  Egad.

Views of My Brother’s Harvest

Before I head out of town again, thought I’d leave you with some fall harvest photos.  Sadly they are not mine.

My youngest brother had a bumper crop this year in his garden.  He called last night to give me a final tally of the canning and freezing he and my sister-in-law did.  Sounds like they are set for the winter….and spring…and possibly next summer as well.

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The summer in NE was hot, so their bean crop was very late, but still abundant.  Sounds like the cucumbers overran the place, so there was lots of relish.  The yukon golds got so big, one was almost enough for a family of 3 for dinner.  And of course if you’re going to grow your veggies big, your bugs will  follow suit.  And I pretty sure I see some room on that shelf for apple butter, don’t you?

Some bugs

Yeah, yeah, they aren’t really “bugs”.  So sue me.

A mantis prowls the basil.  Mantises are some of my favorites.

While I was out with camera in hand, I ambled over to the butterfly bush to check for the hummingbird moths, and found a few.  The bush was in shade this time of the day, and with the shutter speed set at 1/2000 to stop the wings the pictures came out very dark even with the auto ISO run to 1600 or so.  I brightened the shots while processing but that brought out the grain.  Ah, good enough for a blog!