Progress report on my thumbkins.
Last fall I planted Texas Persimmon seeds collected from a wild tree. They sprouted and got to be about as tall as my thumb. They now inhabit a corner of my garden. They are so small they are nearly invisible to the naked eye and therefore vulnerable to being squashed to death by the letter carrier’s heavy boot. I did place plant stakes here and there but I kind of wonder if the postal guy sometimes sees said markers as targets! 10 points for a tree … 5 for a perennial …
I can picture what they will look like in ten years. But that vision exists only in my mind. So I broke my stop-going-to-the-nursery-so-often rule and bought a small persimmon tree last fall. So many excuses … so little willpower.
When the weather got slightly cold all the leaves fell. I was expecting this so I didn’t totally panic. I merely worried.
Today the branches are covered in soft new leaves … and flowers! Today would be a good day to die because my heart is overflowing with happiness.
I took a walk to check out the parents of my thumbkins and was happy to see they were all healthy.
When I am on a wildlife hunt I often start by visiting a native plant. I almost always find something. (Though I do need to MacGyver an anti-glare device for taking insect photos!)
Smaragdina militaris and Zero Waste
I couldn’t find much info about the adults but I learned that the larvae eat detritus — a polite way of saying they eat their mother’s excrement. As each egg is laid the female beetle covers it with her excrement which will harden into a kind of case or container that will protect the larvae as it develops. The larvae will continue to build up the case by adding its own waste. It sounds gross but it is also a creative way to solve a bunch of problems.
Here’s another angle:
So cute. I like the feathery antennae that I suppose can only be seen if you click on the photo. At first I thought this little guy might be some kind of a carrion beetle but corpse beetles have brightly coloured antennae and well … ought to be seen burrowing through something dead. Thanks to the people at BugGuide for providing the correct identification.
I also saw a lot of these bumps:
Here’s a closer view. What a monster!
Mercy and the Mockingbird
The soft shade cast by the new leaves was a relief to my eyes that are becoming permanently squinty. This has been a spectacular year for meadow flowers but already the sunlight feels a bit mean spirited. Maybe I really am more of a forest creature.
This particular wild persimmon seems to be ‘owned’ by a mockingbird. I always see him nearby. Lately he has been performing nearly nonstop. He must be very old. His song repertoire is like the Library of Congress. My husband and I walk through this area frequently and when we are together I ask him to whistle the Mockingjay tune from the Hunger Games film series. Just cuz.