|An Ajisai as big as my head! The biggest one this year--I put my hand on it for perspective:-))|
I didn't get a chance to take an actual walk last week or this. When I sat down to look through photos taken willy-nilly over the last two weeks, I was surprised at how many things I'd stumbled across without particularly looking-- just out and about. On my way here or there (usually to or from school or Kumon).
|Gardening on the Porch|
The last two summers we've spent at my parents', and so haven't done any gardening on the porch. But the summer before we had quite a little kitchen garden going out there-- basil, mini-tomatoes, green peppers... and an eggplant. That's Yochien Cici there, with her eggplant:-))
Thing is, one day I went out to water plants... and the eggplant had sprouted a bizarre branch. With white (instead of purple) flowers and *thorns*. Thorns all over the stems and even down the middle rib of the leaves. It was slightly Jekyll-and-Hyde scary. The only thing I could figure was that edible eggplant must be grafted onto wild stock, and that this one branch was a throw-back to the wild variety. Ka na?
|Solanum torvum... Wild Eggplant|
Have you seen this before? I never had--but I knew immediately what it was. Wild Eggplant-- the exact same thing that sprouted off the main stem of Cici's eggplant, only these were whole plants (I counted 24 of them coming up around the stump of a cherry tree removed last year).
|Pretty white flowers-- "Prickly Nightshade" is another name|
|Hey, you cows! Don't eat my leaves!|
Those center-vein thorns confirmed, though, that this was indeed what I'd seen growing off the main stem of Cici's eggplant, and a visit to Wiki proved my "wild eggplant" theory right. Hah! *crosses arms triumphantly* Also, eggplants are botanically classified as berries. Got that? Quiz next week;-)
On small, white daisies that look like weeds until they are sat upon by a lovely butterfly... (he sat obligingly still while I took his photo, intent on drinking nectar as he was)
|The Small Copper|
...and I saw him again on bright yellow daisies (or coreopsis), where he turned all the way around getting nectar...
...on a flower whose whorled center made me think of Fibonacci numbers...
On my way down the river to go home, I noticed a moth I'd never seen before. A pair of them, in fact, copulating with their bottoms stuck together so that they looked like a single, double-headed creature.
|The White-spotted Mot|
Then I saw them again. And again... I must've seen five pairs of this moth mating, though what exactly was so special about the 28th of June that they must all needs copulate on that date, I'm sure I've no idea. Everybody was having June weddings?
The following day (Tuesday) was Kumon day, and Cici forgot her homework... necessitating a trip on the bike up to the Kumon classroom to drop it off.
Thank *goodness* I had the camera with me!
Aosagi (the Grey Heron), who doesn't visit our little branch of the river too often, was right there! In the river behind the bus depot! I dearly love watching Aosagi-- gawky and elegant, all at the same time--and this time he didn't fly off at my approach (they tend to be rather shyer than the Little Egret, Kosagi).
As I watched, I noticed him open his mouth and shake (or vibrate) the skin beneath his long bill (his wattle, maybe). I wondered why. When he did it again, I was ready for it and hit 'record'... and got lucky enough to record him catching and eating a fish! Have a look:-))
|Hagurotombo... Calopteryx atranta|
I was nearly back home when I looked over and saw that the pair of black damselflies I'd seen several times over several days were still in the same place...
...sitting on the same leaves I'd seen them on the day before.
I think they sat on those leaves, over the drainage river, for a week. They occasionally changed spots to a neighboring leaf, but otherwise remained in roughly the same place. Very mysterious behavior, I thought, for which I still have no explanation....
|Nothing to see here... or is there?|
Of course, I've saved the best for last:-))
I was just in a hurry to get home before the predicted drizzle started in-- I had laundry out drying that needed to come in.
Hopped on the bike at school... pedaled past the temple... took the left fork at the machinist's shop behind the bus depot... and looked at the fence.
Do you see it? No? Have a closer look:
He sat there-- I would say still as a stone, but it would have to be a very flexible stone to be woven in and out of those small spaces in the fence like that.
I walked right up to him and took several pictures, and he never moved. I took the camera out of the bag, thinking to catch him and take him home to Koshi so we could look him up online. As soon as my fingers grasped the longest part of his midsection protruding from the fence, though, he instantly slithered quickly forward. I let go, afraid that if I held him tightly, he would struggle and scratch or hurt himself in the metal fence. He wove his way further down the fence, like a shuttlecock in and out of the weft... then disappeared into the vegetation behind the fence.
Stop and stare whenever you're out and about-- 'cause you just never know... ;-)
|Japanese Four-Lined Snake... Elaphe quadrivirgata|