Monday, September 29, 2008

That fallish time of year

The day before fall officially began our weather turned cool and rainy and fall was here.
Not many trees have turned colour yet but even on warm days there is a coolness and as soon as the sun sets, which is earlier every day (at 6:00 pm this evening), there is a chill in the air.
As we're getting ready for winter we look forward to a killing frost, not because we wish an end to the growing season or to the of the flowers in the garden, but we look forward to less wasps. They are a plague this year. Their nests are in every nook and cranny and this weather has them very grumpy. On cool days they are not so evident, but these sunny warm days they are really busy and really cranky.
We have praying mantis this year.
Today we found 5 praying mantis on the side of one of our raised beds.
Praying mantis are new to our area, but if you want something to expand it's territory this is a good candidate as they eat many, many unwanted insects and do no harm. Besides, they are truly wonderful, being up to 4 or more inches in length at maturity.
Here's an article about how they are expanding their territory in British Columbia and a history of how they even came to North America.

Praying mantis change colour depending on what they are on and we've seen them anywhere from a pale fawn wheat colour, to bright green, to dark green, and to a rich brown. Their egg cases are a pale brown dried bubbly looking affair that can be found stuck on a board or other object. It is sort of oval shaped. If we find one we can photograph I'll add the picture later.
This was a nature weekend. On our way home from town on Saturday afternoon James and I were in separate vehicles and a minute or so apart, and we both saw a badger cross the road going from left to right at the foot of the rise before our gate. We think it was likely two separate animals, but even one is wonderful. They are red listed in our area and they too are a very beneficial sort of wildlife.
Badgers will dig out the burrows of gophers and stay until their job is finished before moving on.
James has seen geese flying south. The white tailed deer who only weeks ago were a lovely red have turned to their grayer fall and winter coat.
It is hunting season. We do not hunt nor do we let anyone hunt on our land and I always am cheering for the wildlife. We know that people poach and we have no interest confronting someone who may well have been drinking, and we know they have a gun. It affects our ability to enjoy our wild land as not all hunters are careful. Soon enough, though, the season will be over.

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