Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Changing of the Guard

The cool weather has definitely settled in, and the bug population has changed. There is barely an aphid to be had on the maple tree, nor a mosquito in my bedroom, and I think I've seen the last of those little lemon-yellow lauxaniid flies. No moths on the window screen, no leaf-hoppers on the rhododendron.

The wood-bugs are still around, though; they will be here until it snows. And my assorted spiders are busy with their families.

Over in the vacant lot across the street, the weeds are suddenly jumping with grasshoppers.

I brought home a weed to identify (hedge mustard) and an armload of lamb's quarters* for supper. From one of those, a tiny crab spider (Xystius, I think) escaped onto my countertop:

Over in the church parking lot, the bees were busy at the mint and yarrow. Among them, on a mass of small pink flowers, was this monster, twice the size of the others.

And I have a visitor on my desk at the moment: a fat crane fly, with an unusual pen-nib tail. I've never seen one like this before.

And then there's the mini-wasp. But that's a longish story. I'll leave it for tomorrow.

*Lamb's quarters; some books call them pigweed, but that name seems to be attached to several different weeds. Laurie calls them "fat hen". In Mexico, we called them "corazoncitos" and we bought them in the market. Whatever the name, they are delicious, de-stemmed and cooked like spinach. I like them just quickly pan-fried with chopped onions.

I take one precaution; they are a waste-land and roadside weed, but I never cut them too close to the road, or to cultivated land, where they might have been polluted with insecticides. In the centre of an abandoned, block-long vacant lot, I think they are safe.


  1. Ahhh yes, we eat Lamb's Quarters too. Last year we had a bumper crop of them in our front yard!

  2. Cis; A whole yard full! And you don't have to worry about insecticides. How nice!


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