The foundation plantings around the house are all overrun with weeds and vines, and the gutters are sprouting miniature aerial gardens.
When summer comes, I no longer have any motivation to go outside in the heat and humidity to beat back the green hordes. I didn't used to be this way; I don't know what happened to me.
Anyway, last evening, Kali had to work late. She didn't know when she would be able to leave work, so I didn't want to go off on a walk or a bike ride, only to have her call me 10 minutes after I departed to tell me she'd be home in a half-hour. So, instead, I decided to tackle the very modest green spot immediately outside our back door which has been invaded by a plant that generates stick-tight burs. Last year, I cleared out this mess, but I waited too long so the stick-tights were ripe and they clung to everything, as they are wont (and "designed") to do. This, year, I decided to make a preemptive strike, and the still-green burs only got a few holds on my arm hairs. By the way, I don't know the identity of the plant I was clearing out. Because the plant is no longer flowering and has nondescript leaves, it's almost impossible to identify.
|Ripening stick-tight burs|
In the course of clearing out the weeds, I exposed a stick insect (image above). These insects are not common in the northern Piedmont, so it was a treat to see one skulking in the vegetation. Stick insects are herbivores, so this one wasn't stalking prey despite its similarity to the carnivorous mantids.
|Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar|
I did manage to clean out all the stick-tight plants in the area I targeted, then noticed that an adjacent bed had even more than the area I had just cleared. I guess I know what I'll be doing at least part of this weekend...