Target continues to be my remorseless enabler. also, I probably freaked some people out because I cackled loudly in the dressing room the whole time I was trying this thing on
Last time I raided the kid’s department at Target, I got these sweet shark shirts (I don’t remember if I saw the button-up or not—if I did it was too expensive!):
The tooth one glows in the dark! I’m still a huge fan of my gateway shirt into the children’s clothing department:
Front and back, shiny silvery letters containing an animal fact, anatomically correct representations of sharks with their names (again, shiny silvery letters), and in the little girl’s section. The sharks are CUTE!!! Just like they are in REAL LIFE!!! I want to kiss all their little noses!!!
Anyways yeah I also have an addiction. I think the Target people figured out they have two key customer bases. They just need to start making the same shirts in adult sizes! I’m lucky I’m relatively small and can squeeze into the kid’s shirts, everyone else deserves them, too! Maybe we should start a petition.
But seriously, when we got our property, it was all just…grass. A sterile grass moonscape, like a billion other yards. With two big old maple trees. Just grass and maples, that was it.
But then I got my grubby little paws on it, and I immediately stopped fertilizing, spraying, and bagging up grass clippings and leaves. I ripped up sod and put in flowers and vegetables. I put down nice thick blankets of mulch around the flowers and vegetables.
When I first was sweating my way through stripping sod, I saw a grand total of 1 worm and 0 ladybugs. The ground was compacted into something that would bend shovel blades.
Now, six years later, I can’t dig a planting hole without turning up fourteen earthworms, and there are so many ladybugs here. Not the invasive asian lady beetles; native ladybugs. They winter over in the mulch and in the brush pile. I see thousands of them.
The soil is soft and rich. There are birds that come to eat, and bees of many sorts.
Like this is something that you, yourself, can absolutely change. This is something that you, personally, can make a difference in.
Like, last year I watched no fewer than twenty-nine monarch caterpillars grow up on my milkweed and fly away as butterflies. I watched swallowtails and moths grow. There are hummingbirds fighting over flowers now.
I did that. Me. You can do the same.
I would like to learn how to do this. Sometimes it all seems so overwhelming. I just want to find someone who can come over for a cuppa, and we can wander the yard and they can make me a plan.
Preferably a very easy to follow, doesn’t take too much time every day plan.
It’s not nearly so intimidating as it sounds.
You can do a whole lot of good just by not spraying your yard, not mowing it so often, and not raking up leaves and grass.
But as a certified Lazy Ass Gardener, I can tell you for 100% certain that this is attainable, and requires absolutely zero, none, nada, zilch expensive or complicated equipment.
I don’t even have a plan. I just do things.
Wait so, dont mow as much, dont pick up the grass when you mow, and dont pick up leaves and your grass is healthier? my dad likes to mow the lawn every one to 2 weeks in the summer💀 what other tips do you guys have?
Yup. Those grass and leaf clippings rot down and fertilize the soil.
Grass does BETTER when it’s not mown short, and gives more hiding places to all sorts of insects.
Don’t spray. Let the bugs and ‘weeds’ live.
i have a 10’x10’ piece of garden that i initially used to grow things, but i abandoned it completely and now its absolutely covered in “weeds” and i even have a volunteer shrub that makes berries! the amount of native bees and other insects i attract is incredible. and all i do to maintain it is nothing.
For reals. I have to mow my front yard (I live in an HOA… ugh), but I don’t bag my clippings. I never water my yard (and I live in Texas!), but my grass is green all year. The clippings and mulched leaves keep in moisture and they’re nature’s fertilizer! Lizards and frogs hide under the leaves and clippings, and when you remove those, you are removing their habitat. Bugs will show up and munch on the clippings, and their waste adds more nutrients as well. I don’t fertilize. I don’t spray. I let nature do its thing. Even just in the front, there are bugs everywhere. I’ve found the tiny green sweat bees nesting in the ground under my rose bush, and the giant cicada killer wasps had a nest somewhere in my front yard last year–I couldn’t find it, but they were pollinating the sorrelvine that randomly showed up and decided to climb up my oak tree (which was the host plant for the Vine Sphinx moths and the first batch of sawflies I raised!)
In the back? I planted a few things in a small garden area, and I intentionally planted three (3) trees, but I’m busy/lazy and the back yard became the paradise jungle it is when I was writing my Master’s thesis after moving into this house, and I never had the heart to start mowing it. A bunch more trees decided to start growing on their own and I constantly have to murder soapberry and hackberry and elm saplings. My yard is covered in a mix of native plants and invasive bunch grass, in addition to random grains and sunflowers growing under the bird feeders. They all serve as hosts for insects.
In less than three years, I have documented almost 1000 species of plants, insects, birds, fungi, slime molds, and mammals. My yard is 0.10 acres. I have ladybugs crawling out of my ears. The larvae are pupating all over my horse skeleton!!!
So yeah. Want species diversity in your yard? Plant native plants. Are you a lazy ass like me and want species diversity? Then don’t do anything, congratulations, nature still wins (just look out for all those invasives, and have fun pulling out catchweed -_-
April 5, 2019
READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF THIS THREAD!!! YOU CAN JUST LET IT ALL GROW THE HELL OUT!!!!!!!!!!! REMEMBER THAT
plus catchweed, or cleavers, IS EDIBLE!!!!!! (but you must boil it for a some time so that the hooked hairs on it dont irritate your esophagus. The younger cleavers require less cooking.*)
*also some people are allergic to it, so do a skin test by rubbing on skin to see if you develop a reaction, and eat a small amount of it first
I do not react to poison ivy (apparently). And I can’t tell the difference between the mature vines and boxelder maple (apparently):
^ that’s poison ivy
^ this is the same poison ivy
I had no idea until somebody on iNaturalist corrected my ID and asked me if I felt itchy. Pro-tip, maple doesn’t have berries, dummy.
But: I am so allergic to plants in general that I can’t eat most fruits and vegetables raw. I can’t carve a pumpkin for Halloween without wearing gloves. When I was a teenager and my allergies were a lot worse, I couldn’t sit in the grass if I was wearing shorts without getting a huge rash. When I had my first prick test at the allergist, I reacted to oregano. When the pollen count is high, I have to enter a Zen meditative state to keep from clawing my eyeballs out they’re so itchy (like right now, and this is after I’ve taken my allergy meds). One time I went for a short spring hike, and my allergies got so bad, my throat became so swollen, and my sneezing became so powerful, that I launched out a tonsil stone I didn’t even know I had (!!!).
But I can manhandle poison ivy all I want, I guess.
I wear gloves when I go out on catchweed-killing missions (I’m not joking, my entire back yard is getting overtaken with that crap), but if I’m wearing short sleeves, and it touches my bare arms? I basically want to die for the next couple hours. My arms look like I got the worse chiggers ever. It’s all those damn hooks breaking my skin and letting all that pollen in!
Which reminds me, chigger season is coming! It’s not getting me three years in a row, I’m PREPARED! (*change/wash your clothes and take a hot shower ASAP after wandering around in tall grasses/vegetation!)
i went to Explore UT today and got some cecropia moth eggs from @nanonaturalist !! thank you SO much, i’m so excited to watch them grow up!
i also got to hold a hissing cockroach which was fun
Yaaaay! Good luck! I haven’t raised Cecropias before (just kidnapped older caterpillars and cocoons), so I’m excited to try these out too!
It’s funny, I wasn’t planning to be at ExploreUT, but last night one of my friends told me they had volunteer cancelations and were hurting for people. Also, he suggested that I bring my Cecropia moths and stick insects. Both my and my babies’ surprise appearance was much welcomed, and oh boy, the Cecropia moths were mating the entire time. One kid asked if they were kissing with their butts. 😂
The entomology collections had four tables, three had specimens in drawers plus an interactive game at one, and the last table had the living specimens, which would have been only the hissing cockroaches and (well-contained) black widow and brown recluse spiders had I not been present. We were pretty busy all day, so I didn’t get a chance to get better photos of the tables, but loooook!
There’s the hamper with my babies! Their cocoons are off to the right so people could touch them. The sticks are in the tank you can almost see to the left.
(Funny story: that little pink book on the table in front of the bald dude, aka Alex Wild, is a baby album/scrapbook my friend who dragged me into this put together for his botflies. He had ultrasounds done on them and everything. Nerd)
The moths were Popular. I mean, Look;
People were leaning in on the tables to see the moths around the crowd so much that this is how offset they were at the end of the day. Also, here is a better view of the baby sticks. They were very well behaved. Only one escaped, that I know of. At one point I was informed I had a stick insect on my shoulder and I just sighed.
It appears I have successfully infiltrated the Biodiversity Center at UT!
turns people into cowboys or samurais depending on which place you’re in
That explains why cowboy movies and samurai movies are so similar.
Cowboys are Alolan form Samurai
So in Japan it’s called Kirinomitake while in Texas it’s called either Texas Star (because after releasing spores it’s unfolded into a star shape) or the Devil’s Cigar because it starts out as a long oblong mushroom but then it unfolds with an ominous hissing noise and releases a big smoky black cloud of spores.
It only grows in these two places, and people did genetic testing and a bunch of math to determine that the two populations started diverging from each other nineteen million goddamn years ago, so it’s not possible for humanity to have moved it from one place to the other. They’re at the same latitude, but 11,000 fucking kilometers apart not to mention the goddamn ocean in the way.
“this is only another illustration of the unusual and unpredictable distribution of many species of the fungi. It would be difficult indeed to account for it, and we merely accept the facts as they are.”
So apparently it’s pretty common in the mycological world to find some bullshit that can’t be explained and would probably drive men mad to look at too closely, and just sort of shrug and move on with your day.
The species is also the only example of its genus.
Your daily reminder that anyone who devotes their life to studying fungi is not to be trifled with because their brain is full of things humanity was never supposed to notice.
Oh hey fun fact, apparently the sanctuary I do outreach at has these. I haven’t seen them, but the Travis Audubon Outreach Coordinator has photographed them and had them IDed. She was telling me about them a couple weeks ago and I was like WOW I NEED TO FIND ME SOME!!!
In exchange, I told her about the magical super butterfly-attractant Lantana that was off-trail. I swear like 30 species at once on that thing it was redonkulous.
If you’re in Austin, the Blair Woods Sanctuary is open to the public, dawn to dusk. It’s behind The Austin Wildlife Rescue’s intake center. There’s a pond, and two weeks ago it was STILL swarming with dragonflies! Nice little patch of wilderness with some walking trails and rare fungi I guess.
December 12, 2018
Update: Texans, Guess What?
They’re out right now and iNaturalist can tell you exactly where to find them [link]. They have been found within the past couple days in Austin, and within the past week-ish in Dallas-Fort Worth. Looks like this fungi come out in the cooler months between October and April, and they grow on the stumps and rotting roots of Cedar Elms.
If you look at where these have shown up on iNaturalist historically (if you follow the link, click on the filter button in the top right and get rid of my date filter), and you will see they have a very interesting distribution pattern…
It’s almost like, the spores are in the water or something 😂
i know ive talked about how much of a fucking jungle university libraries are on here before but just now i was looking for a book and accidentally stumbled upon three solid bookshelves on a topic that the library database told me didnt exist two months ago and then i spontaneously lost cell phone connection as soon as i got to what i was actually trying to find and only regained it when i left the Book Hoard with my prize and that is exactly the kind of slightly-ominous feel that im talking about
If anybody ever finds themselves at the University of Texas at Austin, you have to visit the Life Sciences Library [link], which is in the Main building (aka, the Tower). And I’m not talking look around the reading rooms, I’m talking, go into where the books are. At first, you may be profoundly confused, because… you walk in. You are in the main lobby, faced with the front check out desk. You go to the right, and it’s a study atrium. You go to the left, and it’s another study atrium. Where are the books?
You have to follow the arrows painted on the floor, to go behind the check out desk, through the offices, to the guts of the main building. You have to go down strange, narrow staircases. Half of the books on the shelves are in archaic Cyrillic.You never see another human. You must continue following the arrows on the floor. The numbering on the shelves is not sequential. Time ceases to pass. You never find the book you are looking for. All of the books are written in Chinese. You take the elevator back up to the lobby. There wasn’t an elevator when you entered. The books you check out have not yet been written.
Very surreal experience, I highly recommend it. I legitimately felt like I was in a video game designed by David Lynch. I ended up checking out a book on forensic entomology titled Maggots, Murder, and Men by Dr. Zakaria Erzinçlioglu [link to Google Books preview].
I’ve seen these babies in the wild! They are endangered! They are AWESOME! They were… on the ground! I was still figuring out how to use my camera, so the photos aren’t the best, but look at these damn birds.
From Liwonde National Park in Malawi, November 2017
that mushroom time lapse post made me think about how the sex organs of some fungi look similar to penises and now my mind is blown. like??? why would human sex organs look similar to the sex organs of a mushroom please help
i was actually reading about this in a book the other day (the intro was talking about the penis-like structures of stinkhorns specifically). the answer is….its purely a coincidence.
for fungi, the goal of a mushroom is to spread their millions of children far and wide. they do this by running into a compatible fungus under the ground and ‘mating’ with them, meaning that they fuse a little and start building the initial fungus structure. when it’s finished, they just inflate the already-finished cells with water, which is why they can sprout up out of nowhere overnight and why they have the ‘inflating’ effect u see in those gifs (note: this doesn’t count for shelf mushrooms and other long-lasting mushroom structures, where the fungi just build a really hearty structure that they grow new layers on each year, but if we’re talking about Dick Fungi then we’re talking more about the ones that sprout from the ground and wilt in a few days/weeks). fun fact, this is what a stinkhorn mushroom looks like before it’s inflated:
nervous.jpg. to pick the above image apart a little, stinkhorns work by having a coat of sticky, smelly substance full of spores coating their very-nsfw-ish caps that attracts insects to carry it off into the sunset. in this pic, the outer layer is a protective covering that the mushroom breaks through, the brownish jelly stuff just inside that is the spore substance that coats the mushroom, the greenish layer forms the actual head of the mushroom, and the white layer forms the stalk. this is easier to see when u look at an inflated one (that in this case has a lot of the spore goop already eaten off):
this is an especially lewd patch with one inflated and two uninflated. its just very unfortunate lmao, like….really unfortunate in this case holy shit
anyway, the resulting structure- which spits spores that are the sexual result of the two fungi mating- is apparently just functional. if you want to spread your spores, you want to be high enough off the ground for the wind to carry them off or for bugs to see it or for water to hit it or w/e, so u gotta have a stalk to support the actual spore structure. from there, u just gotta have something to transmit the spores, wether it be by wind or water or w/e, and for whatever reason….they just Look Like That. like thats just…..a very unfortunately highly effective shape, i guess.