Signs of Second Spring

lace wing eggs august 2014

lace wing eggs August 2014

Signs of Second Spring.

Made it through another August. I don’t know where all the air goes when summer peaks. It must rush out to the seaside leaving a void so weighty, so sullen I sometimes struggle to breathe. It is the same feeling I’d get hiding under a blanket when I was a girl: sticky with sweat, lungs heavy with carbon. I don’t think my husband and son notice but they are dwarves and rarely venture outside without some kind of reward. But mercy is coming. The air has started to move again. I felt the first whisper of cooler weather flow through my bedroom window a few nights back. It was brief but unmistakable. Daytime temperatures have ‘dipped’ down to the mid-nineties.

A bit of rain would clean things up. The soil at the edges near the curb is so dry it has turned into a silty powder. Rain did visit Austin this week but the clouds were empty by the time they rolled over to the East side. I could nearly taste it. Petrichor.

Seeing the autumn lacewing eggs fills me with joy. Lacewings are pretty abundant both in the spring and fall: lacewings mean life and growing things. If you click on the photo you can see these eggs have already opened like tiny tulips. The larva are on the prowl cleaning up any last minute aphids. More importantly for me since aphids aren’t usually a problem, the larva might target the spider-mites that showed up this year. They were worse than a plague slowly turning green leaves into ghosts.

I found a must-see picture of a lacewing larva at BugGuide.net Are you a Firefly/Serenity fan? Do you remember that horrible scene where the crew used the bodies of Shepherd’s massacred flock as camouflage to ease past the Reavers? Maybe Mal got the idea from watching lacewing larva back home on the farm. Nothing new under the sun ….

Leaf Fall

mulberry leaves August 2014

mulberry leaves August 2014

It feels a bit early for leaves to be turning. I kind of wonder if this is more like a symptom of water or heat stress but I always enjoy the clear yellow of mulberry leaves.

Autumn used to mean the end of the growing season but it is now the opposite for me. With each leaf that turns and falls space opens up for sunlight to stream in making ground level growth possible. How complete is the leaf canopy in summer? It is so dark my camera insists I need to use the flash! But soon I will plant nourishing green things: some bok choy and a little later some spinach.

Things with wings

Lacewings are one of my favourite insects. What a thrill to see the lovely eggs that look a bit like flowers. Just as I was about to take the picture along came this housefly. Even worse … I think it is a she …. Her eggs are not as welcome.

housefly aug 2014

housefly and lacewing eggs

Looks wintery but in fact this picture was taken in August. The sky is a hot ozone grey. The branch is dead but a favourite perch for many birds.

dove on branch

white-winged dove