the kitchen cricket

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today with all sorts of interesting things. You may remember me from such similarly-themed posts as “The Engine Rabbit”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically horticultural pose.
I’m checking the garden for voles, which I think have moved into the garden.
The guy I live with is very much against having voles in the garden, I mean like super-extra-totally against, but, well without going into any detail, he knows I’ll take care of them. We purebred border collies dislike voles intensely. I don’t know why; we just do.
This is me again, going to another part of the garden, to check again.
It’s been super dry here, and so the guy I live with has been watering, a little. Maybe you can see how dry the garden is.
And look at the field. They mowed it just a few days ago. You can actually see the mower off in the distance.
With the watering in the garden, things are changing here. I mean, things always change, which is kind of weird, since I like things staying the same, but we can see the changes with just twenty minutes’ worth of watering.

We can also tell that the seasons are changing. It’s still way too hot every day, but the nights are cooler. September and October are very difficult months, emotionally, for the guy I live with, even after all these years, but we are looking forward to cooler daytime temperatures, eventually.

The cowpen daisies (Verbesina encelioides) like a little bit of watering, depending on the soil they’re growing in. Soil types, texture and stuff, make a big difference in how plants grow and endure drought, but not many people talk about that sort of thing except to go on about organic matter, which isn’t what we’re talking about here.
They have a kind of chocolate smell, according to the guy I live with. I’m not allowed to have chocolate.

The main garden in back (not the “way back”) has lots of Aster oblongifolius flowering now. (We don’t have time to type Symphyo whatever.)
They’re purpler than the picture shows.
This aster is native to areas farther east, so it’s one of the very few plants native east of the 100th meridian in our garden. It’s also native to Colorado, in the extreme southeastern part of the state, near the New Mexico and also Oklahoma state lines. The guy I live with has never been there. He says it would involve a several-hour drive through basically nothing, just to get there to look at asters.
When the guy I live with and his wife got Slipper, a purebred border collie who lived here before me, and Chess’s first cousin, they drove out to eastern Colorado, to a place where there were no trees within sight in any direction.
Colorado, if you didn’t know, is actually three regions. The eastern plains, which are called plains for a good reason (though there is a wooded area to the southeast of us called “The Black Forest”), and then the mountains, and then the “rimrock country” and other places, out in the western part.
We live pretty much right where the mountains stop and the plains start, but not really on the plains, like where Denver is. We live surrounded by what they call “outwash mesas”; there’s a mesa within walking distance of our house. (If you want to get a better idea, see Chess’s post “Where We Live”.)

Sedum ‘Matrona’ has been attracting hundreds and hundreds of bees. The plants have been getting a little extra water, since they’re growing next to my Private Lawn (which is buffalo grass).
The colchicums have started to flower, too. They’re being devoured by the zillions of grasshoppers in our garden. I don’t like grasshoppers, because they land on me.
This is ‘Innocence’, the guy I live with’s favorite, maybe.
Let’s see…what else?
Oh, there was another visitor on the patio, but much less large than our last one. The guy I live with said this was the caterpillar of the Achemon sphinx, Eumorpha achemon.
I thought it was pretty scary.
One of the moths flew into the kitchen last summer. The guy I live with went to a lot of trouble to catch it, and then he released it out onto the patio. I caught it and ate it.
He was pretty upset with me, but I think that was because he’s never tried moths.

And then there’s the cricket. We have a cricket in our kitchen. It’s really loud. I suppose if I saw the cricket hopping around, I would try it, too.
You never really know what’s good until you try it. Lots of protein, I guess.

And now I have two fairly unbelievable things.

The first is that I have some owl pictures. I know, right? Owls? Hard to believe we have owl pictures and are going to show them, but we are.
They’re down at the very end of my walk, in the evenings. So not as close by as they were last year.
Then, yesterday evening, there was one, I think it was looking into the kitchen of the house we walk by, because we could hear that there was someone there. It was just looking and looking.
The guy I live with got its attention, and it looked at us.
Then just this evening, there was one on the fence that marks the end of the field, and the beginning of someone’s property. (I guess the guy I live with knows the people who own this property now.)
The other unbelievable thing, and this is pretty unbelievable, is that we are getting very close to our thousandth post. No, really. One thousand posts. We’ll let you know when it happens.
That’s something to think about.

Until next time, then.



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48 Responses to the kitchen cricket

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Many of your species dislike voles intensely. It is instinctive. Terriers dislike them even more because that is part of their job. You would think that voles are scarier than caterpillars, but they do not seem to be. I think that owls are scary!

  2. Furabuluss post Mani!!!! Ferst let mee mee-yow you look lovelee inn yore fotoss’. An seckond it iss furinallee kewlin off up here two! Iss about time…too much *heet* iss just too much **Heet** rite???
    Yore Owlss are furry BIG an sorta like sentinelss of THE Nite…mee wuud bee sort of scared of them!! An Mothss are TASTY!!!! Don’t knock im till you try then Guy!!! Mew mew mew Mani, Hu’manss do NOT eat Mothss……too dusty fore their palatess.
    Yore flowerss are speck-taculur: CowPen Daisiess are so purrrty (an now wee know their name!) an yore Asterss are beeuteefull.
    Beess have a sayin: “Feedum with Seedum!” They all look furry happy!
    An that white Colchichum iss so dellycat……
    Youss’ allwayss amaze us with how well yore flowerss grow.
    Wishin you both a Happy Peecefull Laburr Day πŸ™‚
    ***purrss*** BellaDharma an best wishess BellaSita (LadyMew’s mew name!)

    • OMC!! Mee furgot to meow ’bout Cricket!! They ARE crunchie an tasty Mani~~~my Hu’man BellaSita beeleevess a cricket inn THE house bringss Guud Luck…
      Wee had one inn here last month an it jumped rite onto BellaSita an then shee tooked him out to flowerss an set him down gently…hee bin tryin to get back inn efurr since, mew mew mew…. πŸ˜‰

      • paridevita says:

        I guess the cricket slept in the house last night. The guy I live with found it in the kitchen this morning, caught it in the bug jar, and let it go out in the garage.
        That way, it’ll be closer to its friends.

      • That was a kind thing to due for Cricket!! BellaSita used to catch Cricketss when shee was a teenager an keep them inn a BIG pickle jar. They had snax an grass an a tiny bottle cap for water. They had to stay inn basement overnite butt shee wuud go get theem at 6 A Em an bring jar to bedroom. They wuud allwayss start singin an wake up BellaSita’ss Meowmy who wuud holler “TAKE those noisy Cricketss back downstairss!!!” So BellaSita wuud take THE Cricket jar an pillow an blankit an sleep inn basement with them. Aftur lunch shee wuud let Cricketss go. Shee did this nitely an shee thott purrhapss same Cricketss came back fore ‘Bed an Brekkie’ mew mew mew ……

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with and his wife would walk around the apartment complex to the north of here, at night, and try to locate katydids they heard. I hear it’s not that easy.
        One year, his wife caught a katydid in autumn, which was near the end of its life, and she put it in a jar in the kitchen, with some leaves to eat. It lived there for quite a while. The guy I live with would hear happy katydid noises at night.
        Now, when he sees a katydid, he sheds a tear or two.

      • What a bittersweet story ’bout Guy an THE Katydidss! Cricketss have that effect on my Hu’man BellaSita….
        Mee likess their singing two!

      • paridevita says:

        A couple of tiny katydids have come into the house, but they were rescued and moved outdoors.

      • They were lookin to hang out with you Mani an Guy!! πŸ˜‰

      • paridevita says:

        Could be. The sliding glass door here is open all day, and until we go to bed, late at night.

      • Mew mew mew ‘hoppin’ mad!” Mee-yow Mani yore so furry funny mee frend!!!!

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; it’s still hot here. It’s hot every day. But cooler at night.
      I keep telling the guy I live with that moths are tasty, but he doesn’t believe me.
      They call them “cow pen daisies” because the plants often grow around cow pens. Or horse pastures. There’s one next to my doctor’s office, and there are cow pen daisies there.
      The asters are pretty weedy, but they do well here without much fuss.

      • CATFISH!!! Wee sorry it iss still *hot* there!! That iss not nice. Butt kewler at nite iss guud!!
        Mothss are a bit too crunchy fore Hu’manss Mani!
        BellaSita sayss shee has seen those CowPen flowerss ’round cow penss an horsie pasturess butt nevurr mew their name…so you tott her sumthing! Thanx Mani πŸ˜‰

      • paridevita says:

        It’s still hot here. Smoky tomorrow, then temperatures in the mid-90s by the end of the week.
        I guess the daisies like pastures and pens. Maybe because of the extra fertilizer. The ones by my doctor’s are not very tall, but they have lots of flowers.

  3. barbk52 says:

    The crickets must be getting pretty frantic in your area. If those boys haven’t found a mate by now, well, time is short. So, do you really catch a lot of voles, Mani? I used to have them and there was certainly plenty of unproductive digging. It doesn’t seem an efficient way of catching many. Lucky TGYLW feeds you. Of course, you can eat bugs.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with was kind of a cricket matchmaker, I guess. We really don’t know when there are going to be temeperatures below freezing. (They call it “frost” here, even though we really don’t have frost. The air is too dry.) It could happen this month, or next month, or even in November.
      The weather here has become so different. The average precipitation for August used to be almost two inches; we got about a tenth of an inch. And then we get these very sudden drops to 0F in October.
      I understand that Flurry, the first purebred border collie who lived here, dispatched a lot of voles. He really hated them. I like to hunt for them in the field, and I’ve caught a couple, which makes the guy I live with unhappy. But I have to be me.
      Bugs can be pretty tasty. I don’t know why the guy I live with hasn’t tried them. He can be such a weirdo.

  4. Elaine says:

    Wonderful owl photos. The guy you live with did a great job. Love, love, love Matrona sedum, a real garden workhorse. Very disappointed this year as our night time porcupine visitor stomped all over it trying to find apples. However, have taken the broken bits and am using them to start many more.

    • paridevita says:

      I guess it’s pretty easy to make more sedums. The guy I live with dug up a bunch earlier this year, tore them apart, planted them, and now they’re almost as big as all the others.
      We see the owls almost every evening. It turns out that there are more than just two…

  5. Paddy Tobin says:

    Life is too short for many things and out front in that list are the newer and longer names for Asters and sedums. Time is far better spent with voles, crickets, moths, caterpillars and we cold spend our entire lives looking eye to eye with such a beautiful owl. I share your man’s enthusiasm for colchicums and one called ‘Nancy Lindsay’ is leading the way into flower here and, thankfully, there are no crickets to eat it in our garden and the slugs and snails seem to leave it alone also. Despite your adventurous attitude to eating anything which comes your way, I suggest you pass by the colchicums as they are quite poisonous – worse than chocolate even!

    • paridevita says:

      I’m not interested in colchicums, but the grasshoppers are. We have a plague of them here. Millions of grasshoppers, all landing on me when I walk into the garden, or go on my walks. Pretty gross.
      Maybe that makes up for not having slugs here.
      The guy I live with says that Colchicum autumnale doesn’t like the conditions here as much as the others do. We have ‘Nancy Lindsay’ here, but it just mopes. Maybe the soil isn’t damp enough.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        Yes, most of them are lovers of a little dampness in the soil and all has been very dry with you of late – get the man back to the watering or do a rain dance!

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with said there was a discussion on Facebook about this, because of course unsold corms flower in garden centers.
        But he suggested that the corms remain dormant for a period of time, until maybe there’s a chemical that degrades (or is activated) around this time of year, and water at the basal plate of the corm triggers flowering.
        The ones in the garden centers possibly are at the end of that chemical period, and flower regardless.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        The season comes and the flowers perform!

      • paridevita says:

        Pretty much. The guy I live with is really ticked off that it’s ‘Innocence’ that’s being devoured. There are nine or so separate clumps of it. And one in the shade garden.
        The pink ones, which are mostly out in back, are fine. Then there are some species in the bulb frame (cupanii, psaridis, boissieri, etc., which I guess grasshoppers could get to, but hopefully they won’t.
        The guy I live with said maybe we should get some ducks. I’m against that. It would be just something else to deal with.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        We had ducks for a while and enjoyed having them very much. That’s an impressive collection of colchicum species!

      • paridevita says:

        Might be even more species here. Well, the spring-flowering ones, hungaricum and kesselringii. And others. The ones formerly known as merenderas.
        There are ducks next door, but they don’t get to eat grasshoppers.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        Great collection of plants!

      • paridevita says:

        Thanks. There are more, of course.
        Most of the collective instinct here is now confined to bulbs. Summer here is just a lull. And endlessly hot, dry lull full of flying things.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        Yes, it’s best to grow what grows for you!

      • paridevita says:

        We agree. Snowdrops do pretty well here, though they did better before the last two winters, and so do all kinds of other bulbs.
        The guy I live with grew a bunch of oncocyclus irises, too, but gave them to the botanic gardens a few years ago.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        I am awaiting the appearance of the first snowdrops, an early G. reginae olgae which came from Primrose Warburg’s garden to me via two very kind gardeners. She grew it as G. Rachelae, one of the very first introductions of G. reginae olgae but experts have commented that it was a self-seeding clump in her garden and that the name could not be validly applied to present-day bulbs. With another enthusiast, I am considering renaming it G. reginae olgae ‘Rachel Mahaffy’. It should certainly be in flower by the end of the month if not a little earlier.

      • paridevita says:

        We probably won’t see those (reg-olg) until November, if even then, the way things are going.
        The guy I live with waters, but then high temperatures and low humidity (9 percent today) undo everything.

  6. Mark Mazer says:

    Crickets: “You never really know what’s good until you try it. Lots of protein, I guess.” There are commercial dog foods made with cricket protein. Pricey.

  7. Mani mee hopped rite to wrong commint when mee reepleid to you!!
    Flowerss are so purrty aren’t they?? Yore Guy has a Green Thumm even inn a dessert umm no aiat, Desert place!! πŸ˜‰

    • paridevita says:

      That’s okay, the guy I live with gets confused, too.
      It’s frightfully dry here. There are grasshoppers everywhere. But he’s been watering more than usual.

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