8-13-14 – Crooked Acres Wednesday

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Sights from around Crooked Acres.

Hibiscus in the back yard. I look forward to seeing these every year.

Woodpecker on the tractor shed.

Autumn Clematis on the fence. It’s blooming (obviously) and smells so good right now.

The water station. I love that that young Robin is just sitting in the water dish, taking a soak.

In the pot where our Meyer Lemon tree is planted, a volunteer tomato popped up. We left it, to see what would happen, and it’s very happy. I wonder what kind of tomatoes it’s going to give us.

The catnip is blooming, and the bees are loving it.

This year, for the first year ever, we’re getting tons of cantaloupe. Right now, Fred’s bringing in 5 – 10 of them per day. The refrigerator is full of them – what he doesn’t eat, he’s freezing to eat this winter. There are two people who live here, and only one of them likes cantaloupe (I ate a slice of it the other day, and I’m all set ’til next year).

The cantaloupe/watermelon patch.

Lemon squash (which looks huge here, but is actually only a little larger than a lemon). Usually by mid-August, we’ve pulled up all the squash plants. This year – maybe due to the cooler-than-usual summer – we’ve still got lemon and pattypan squash coming in.

Bell peppers. The habaneros are still not really bearing fruit, probably due to the aforementioned cooler-than-usual summer.

The compost heap is putting out tomatoes like crazy and they are so, so good. I have zero clue what kind of tomatoes these are – they’re smallish (larger than Sungolds, smaller than Campari) and a deep pink when ripe.

Volunteer lettuce plant has popped up in one of the raised beds.

One day a few weeks ago, I stopped by Target. As I was walking toward the store, the sound of an agitated bird caught my attention. I looked, and saw this Kestrel (I think it’s a Kestrel) sitting there.

I just happened to have my camera with me, so took pictures as I walked toward it. A mockingbird was sitting in a nearby tree, shrieking. I thought maybe the Kestrel was too close to a nest.

Then I realized that the Kestrel had a dead baby mockingbird in his talons, and I gasped and called it names (I know, I know, circle of life), and it flew away. I’ve blurred out the baby mockingbird, but you can see the uncensored version over at Flickr by clicking on the picture (it’s not gross or bloody, but some people might not like to see that.)

WARNING: This next section contains pictures of spiders and other bugs. Click here to skip this section, ya big baby.

Making space

so no one who doesn’t want to see them

doesn’t have to see

the pictures

of the spiders

and the other

very cool bugs

because I’m nice like that.

Is that enough space?

Maybe a little more.

Little more.

Liiiiiiiittle more.


I think that’s good.

I’m sorry, I can’t help it. I think these jumping spiders are utterly adorable. This one showed up on my desk and stared at me ’til I scooped him up and took him outside.

He looks like a bearded old man, doesn’t he?

This, I think, is an adult assassin bug. I almost never see the adults, just the little ones.

She did not appreciate me getting all up in her face trying to take her picture.

Every year, we get a Golden Orb Weaver, who we name Dolores. You can see 2013 Dolores here, and 2012 Dolores here. This year she set up camp in the area between the garage and tractor shed (previously, she preferred the front flower bed). This is the first time I’ve seen a male in the web with her.

Mister Dolores on the left, Dolores on the right.

The next day, they switched sides and Dolores was having a snack. Obviously he was attempting to woo her with chocolate-covered flies.

Okay, that’s it for the spider pictures

and the bug pictures

at least for this time.

I need to get some dog pictures

and chicken pictures

for next time

don’t I?

Is that enough space?

Maybe not.

A little more.



Okay, no one tell the people who hate the spider and bug pics that we were totally talking about them.



Angelo still has that really pretty “stripe” down his back.

Orlando, up close and personal.

Orlando and his expressive ears.

Angelo, chillin’.

Sweet boy.

I love the whiskers.

(Play-) fightin’ bros.

“You just stay over there, dude.”

Orlando will be headed back to Petsmart on Thursday; once another cage is freed up, Angelo will be going back as well. Hopefully they won’t be there for too long!


Sheriff Mama is scolding me for having the utter reckless nerve to be outside the back yard. “I can’t protect you out there!”


2013: Norbie gives me the Eyes of Skepticism.
2012: Before you start reading this, please know: it does not have a sad ending.
2011: No entry.
2010: Julie is NOT sitting on the table.
2009: I have fallen head over heels for these monkeys. I always do.
2008: It’s good to be king.
2007: Maryanne continues to make herself at home.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



8-13-14 – Crooked Acres Wednesday — 46 Comments

  1. I do love cantaloupes, but they do give me a sore throat. So maybe they don’t love me back. I am strange with spiders. Up to a certain size I too find them cute, then I am starting to get wary and then I freak out – a lot. And when they are getting huge like Tarantulas they make me feel queasy, but I could probably tolerate them.

  2. Cantaloupe galore: lucky you, or rather Fred! Is he dehydrating them as well? Glad Kara is keeping you in line, and those brothers get more dashing every day.

  3. I love all your pics, as always, but the little spider on your desk totally cracked me up. Also, regarding cantaloupe:I WANT to like it, I really do. I don’t dislike it. I just…let it sit in the fridge and then throw it out.Always.

  4. Love the bird pictures. I believe you have a Sharp shinned hawk. I can’t see the tip of the tail to see if it is rounded or squared off. If it is rounded off it is a Cooper’s hawk. Great pictures.

  5. I’m sort of ‘meh’ about cantalope (and honeydew) but I do lurves me some watermelon! I never get tired of eating that!

    That Kestrel is beautiful…even if he is a murderous [bleeep] !

    Thanks for the pre-spider/bug warning. It helped me steel myself against what I was about to see (I force myself to look at them… usually a bad idea, but I just feel I have to keep facing my fear). I have to admit the jumping spider was only slightly less icky… but the rest? OMG I would not be able to handle seeing one live & up close & personal.

    Kara is such a good little Sheriff Mama! LOL Love her to bits!

    • I love watermelon too, but they’re taking a lonnng time to ripen. That’s what we get for planting the huge ones, I guess. 🙂

      • We use to give the “unused” garden watermelon to our horses. We would put them in our garden and let them have at all the wilting plants. They would smash them with their hooves and woof them down!

  6. Orlando actually appears to have a cross on his back – big diamond shape at the base of his head, then the stripe down the back and a line going from side to side below his shoulder blades. or maybe it is just me 🙂

    blech to cantaloupe and spiders

  7. I love the jumping spiders. They have such cool markings. The banana spider is pretty cool but I know I would yelp if I rounded a corner and it was sitting on its web. I try to help the spiders out of the house, I don’t kill them. I have this weird thought that one day the tables will be turned and those of us that were good to the bugs will be treated well when they take over the world.
    Kara, my goodness she really was giving you the business. Such a beautiful girl.

  8. Mrs. and Mister Dolores! If you see the web a rockin, don’t come knockin’?? But I have to confess I expected the last picture to be of Dolores smoking a cigarette and snackin’ on the Mister, not chocolate-covered flies! 😀

    • The funny thing is that yesterday I reported to Fred that Dolores was having a snack, and he thought I meant she was eating the Mister. 🙂

      Also, in what I suspect is a defensive move meant to scare off predators, if I get too close to Dolores’s web, she starts rocking it back and forth! I need to get a video of it, it’s kinda neat.

      • Only if you post it with appropriate “boom chicka wow wow” music! (OK – pulling mind out of the gutter now and refocusing on cute kittens…) 🙂

        • I just went out to eyeball Dolores (she is so tired of me right now), and she was alone in the web with one single spider leg hanging in the top corner of her web. I went into the garage and came out, and the Mister was back and they looked at me all innocent-like. I wonder if he was off hiding the body!

      • That is cool! I hope you can get a video of it.

        I like the wee jumping spiders too, they’re so cute! I found one exploring my desk at work one day and, once he’d checked everything out, caught him in a cup and put him outside. A couple of people looked at me like I was nuts, but hey, cute spider!

  9. Beautiful photos. We have a couple of hawks that have come to visit our neighborhood. They are amazing.

    Freezing cantaloupe? I had no idea. I am swimming in cantaloupe. Please tell me how to freeze cantaloupe. (Yes, I could google it, but I trust your directions so much more than the random folk on the internet.)

    I hope all the kitties at Petsmart get adopted soon! Especially Tricki and Livia.

    • You just slice it, put it on a cookie sheet, flash-freeze it for a couple of hours, then put it all in a big freezer bag. Fred says it’s not as good as fresh cantaloupe, of course, but in the middle of winter he’s not going to be too picky.

  10. I can’t really see the jumping spider too well but my first response was tiny Tarantula! Tina Tarantula!

    Yeah, the circle of life sux sometimes. Times like this I think, well, maybe they’re taking food back to their little fledglings.

    • Oh, he was just the cutest! I wanted to get better pictures of him, but he was being all jumpy and wouldn’t sit still. 🙂

    • No, he doesn’t like any kind of soup. He did say that he might be willing to try roasted cantaloupe, though, so there’s that.

  11. If you want to see something beautiful for a garden party, hollow out half a cantaloupe (or do the basket thing if you know how, use a melon baller to hollow out some of the flesh, and combine with blueberries and raspberries and whatever other fruits make you happy. 🙂 Cutting a flat spot on what will be the bottom of the basket makes it sit on the table better.

  12. I think that might have actually been a Cooper’s Hawk going for dinner at Target. I can’t see his backside, but they dine almost exclusively on songbirds and are the most likely to be found in suburbs. Poor little mockingbird!

  13. An especially tiring day today. I always feel happy and energized when I read visit your site. So thanks so very much and blessings for all of you, even the spiders!

  14. Your garden is doing great. Mine isn’t doing so well – the cool weather had the tomatoes confused! It’s sad the little mockingbird didn’t fly away fast enough, but the Kestrel has to eat. They are amazing to watch hunt.

  15. so do you do anything with Hibiscus? I’ve got a box of Hibiscus Tea here, so I was just wondering..

    So do you know that it is the same Dolores every year, or do you just assume?