Living and Growing

After our hot and unusually long summer, the weather has suddenly turned cooler. On my daily walks around the neighbourhood, I have begun to notice that it isn't just me enjoying the weather but all the plants and creepy crawlies too.

Our little street has a sort of rusty, run down beauty in early fall. The train tracks become lined with a healthy tangle of blooming cosmos and red spider lilies and the green mountains rise up in the distance. After a year and a half in our little house, it is really starting to feel like home.

The view down our street
Higanbana, or red spider lily

I have been coming across a lot of hornworm and hawk moth caterpillars (from the Sphingidae family of moths). It is almost impossible to miss seeing them since they are about 7 cm long, as thick as your finger, and have a little wagging "tail" at their end.

An Impatiens Hawk Moth (Theretra oldenlandiae) caterpillar making its way across the street
This caterpillar was a little smaller and also from the Sphingidae family (I have no idea
what genus and species though!)
A tobacco hornworm caterpillar making short work of a morning glory leaf on our bike shelter

And we have also seen the adult stage of these hawk moth caterpillars frequenting our four o' clocks and morning glories each evening. Dustin and I never grow tired of seeing huge hummingbird moths flitting in and out of the flower bed. 

There has also been a boom in the spider population as of late. Dustin managed to get a picture of this stripey and colourful individual last weekend.

Last year Dustin was pretty disappointed by the vines I chose to plant near our fence and bike shelter. He was envisioning a lush green blanket enveloping everything in sight but the flowering vines I planted barely covered half the fence before frost killed them off in December. This year I promised Dustin that I would make his dream come true and so I planted morning glories. I didn't really even plant that many of them, maybe six or seven plants around the yard, but they have really taken off. Every weekend I have to spend a few minutes cutting them back or else they would have long since eaten the road in front of our house, been all the way up the electric line and across the street, and completely covered the entrance to our bike shelter. 

Now that the weather has cooled, the morning glories have started to bloom. I love it! 

William posing outside our fence on a bright, sunny morning (yes, there is a fence under all those vines)
We also trained morning glories up a net in front of our window
From inside, it fills the room with green, dappled sunlight.
and the side of our bike shelter

Maybe I did go a bit nuts planting vines this year but there has not been one complaint from Dustin!


Carol said...

Those morning glories are gorgeous! I should try them next spring. I saw an interesting item about the tobacco hornworms in (I think) the last Nat. Geo. In a lab, they were fed some lab meal instead of leaves, and they turned a pretty pale blue.

Laura said...

Yes! I have seen photos of those too. They turn almost robin's egg blue. The natural, bright grass green is pretty but there is something beautifully otherworldly about a huge blue caterpillar. A...A,e,i, o and uuuuuu, u, e, a, i and oooooo...