Insects and Illness

I'm feeling spectacularly grotty today. Woke up with the de rigeur sore throat and fuzzy brain. G has been shipped off to the F.U.T.S. (Friends Up The Street) where she will have a much better day than had she been locked up with Moaning Myrtle, as I am styling myself today.

And where are all these little black moths coming from? They hop around on the cool cement right outside the front door, a little moth circus on the doorstep, telling me to step right up and watch their amazing feats as they flip in and out of my garden clogs and swing from the living room drapes. I think they make their way inside underneath the front door and so last night it was Professor Plum, in the living room, with a vacuum cleaner.

And what about the Mount Hermon June Beetles? We haven't seen one yet this summer. Usually by this time they are hurling themselves against our windows at night, sounding like someone is tossing pebbles, trying to get us to come out to play. I don't know much about them, except they're endemic to the Santa Cruz Sandhills, and live in the roots of the Ponderosa Pines that dot the sandy soil of our area. Ponderosa Pines look like they belong on a movie set or a child's drawing. They seem to plunge straight into the ground, like a telephone pole, and at first glance,with their dusty bark and scraggly grey green canopy, they are singularly unlovely. I mainly try to enjoy them in that "1960's Brady Bunch Go Camping" sort of way. They do lack the grace and movement of the redwoods and oaks that line our streets, but I'm trying not to be picky about trees, especially since many are burning down on the next ridge over. Counting blessings, and all that.

But the MH June Beetle (Polyphylla barbata) is a little bundle of buggy hilarity. They are so gangly and topsy-turvy in their flight patterns, and whenever one gets in our house, they careen around the room, banging into everything: T.V., lamps, your head, whatever. They always remind me of someone's drunken old Aunt June, bumbling around saying, "Oh deary me!" with lipstick stains on their teeth. Not to mention their feathered antennae, and the way they hiss at you when you stroke their striped backs. I miss them.


Mum said...

Sorry you are unwell, Lovie.
Take care and Mummie will be back soon. Wouldn't you know it, I leave tomorrow and the sun has decided to come out. Ah well, it is Canada.

Love you!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Rosa, so sorry to hear you were sick--you hid it very well when we spoke on the phone that night. Hope to see you today full of vim and vigor.

When you said Ponderosa Pines were like telephone poles stuck in the ground, your words were apt: these trees are harvested for that exact purpose. I could not tell from your wording if you were hinting at their lives in public service. When looking up my facts online to verify before posting, I found a very interesting tidbit: according to woodweb.com, you can look for a code either in the wood of a telephone pole or on a metal plaque on the pole that tells you what kind of wood gave its life for your neighborhood power cables.

Some common timber species codes.
WC = western red cedar
WP = ponderosa pine
JP = jack pine
LP = lodgepole pine
NP = red pine
DF = douglas fir
SP = southern pine
WL = western larch

Personally, I am going to be looking at telephone poles as I walk around SC today! ; )


Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.