Weekend Coffee Share ~ 6/24/2017

Happy Saturday Everyone!

Can I offer you a cup of sludge (Folger’s coffee that over flows the filter, even though I’m only making two cups)? Since I flood my coffee with cream and stevia, it really doesn’t matter if I buy cheap coffee… I can’t taste the difference 😉

My hubby is off to work another Saturday. He feels guilty if he doesn’t work it before we take the next few days off. Me? I don’t feel guilty one bit for taking off work. It’s a dog eat dog out there, however I’m not planing on dying before I enjoy this life of mine.

I always remember my parents listening to Paul Harvey and his show, “The Rest of the Story”.   It irks me that news affiliates rarely report the outcomes of stories, due to the need to grab folks attention with new, fascinating stories, rather than ‘dwell’ on old ones. In the spirit of Paul, I figured this post would be a good place to update you’all about some things.

Back in January, when I was due for a salon visit to cover my roots, I made a decision to stop dying and let my inner silver fox appear. Which I have been, sans one visit to dye the lower hair to match my natural color (darker than where I was) so, in theory, I’ll never have to dye again. My hairdresser did not dye my roots, however I do feel she went a bit darker than my natural color. Honestly, I love it! It really is a dark, dark brown. It actually does compliment my complexion quite well, I thing.

The roots are about 2 inches long now. Clearly, I have a few Lily Munster streaks right in the front… Awesome! I’ve been taking biotin, and feel it’s really making my hair grow like a weed. It’s long enough now, that when I’m driving, I go to check blind-spots and realize I can’t because I’m leaning on my hair. Very happy with these results. I need to learn some cool braiding styles now. I do have anxiety issues, that force me to play with my hair… I might as well put those issues to good use and learn updo’s 😉

Both of us have been to the DDS now. I knew hubby was worse off than me, however…. 😯 I didn’t really think we were going to be that far apart. My visit went pretty much as predicted. This new DDS had ALL of the most recent gizmo crap available in the DDS world! All my x-rays were splashed across the 52″ flat screen mounted on the wall, followed by real-time photos of each tooth, front and back! When was the last time you saw the back of your mouth from the back of your tongue?!? After that was a periodontal exam… 232-332-222-332… only one 4! Awesome, I can squash that quickly. She agreed that the 2 teeth can just be removed and sadly, found 3 small cavities. I’m slated for the chair after vacation. In total, $1,000. Not bad.

My husband was not so lucky. We talk about many things, however the DDS is a touchy subject. Not so much that he didn’t want to go or anxiety issues, its because he realizes it’s kind of a necessity to quit smoking to avoid issues in healing his mouth. In short, if you’re not aware, when you get teeth pulled, you should avoid ‘sucking’ on things (straws, candy, cigs) to avoid dry socket. Since I quit smoking in 2006, I’ve only mentioned to him quitting a hand full of times. Nagging rarely gets you anywhere in this house… I know the phrase, ‘you won’t quit until you want to’. We have touched on it. I can just say, I hope he can do it. I need him to be around. Without him, I’d be lost.

After we talked about his visit, I didn’t realize he still had all four wisdom teeth. Yikes… and they are all impacted. I was lucky, I didn’t have lower and tops are tucked away forever in my skull. He also needs four crowns and a couple of root canals. All in all… $15,000 was the bottom line. No worries, let me get you a tissue for the coffee that blew out your nose.

I’ll have to give a report in the future.

Work has been better, slower this past week. There is always a slight lull at this time. I think many of the 1%ers travel after the kiddos get out of school. No one is home to complain. I have been teaching my young padiwan how to use my quoting program… At least how to retrieve existing quotes when I’m absent. I told her she should learn as much as she can at every job she works at. I told her, her goal should always be to take the bosses job away. At least that was always my strategy. She’s smart, I feel she will go far. She reminds me of me a little bit 😉

Otherwise, on a whole, we’re all good! Everyone is healthy and happy =-) I hope you are all the same! Enjoy the long 4th of July weekend, if you’re with me in the states. We’ll be enjoying Door County, Wisconsin in the toyhauler, with the boys. I’ll be trying out my Instagram skills out that weekend with the picturesque scenery of ‘The Thumb’. I may not be able to join you’all next Saturday, however I’ll check in the next.

See ya!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spittlebug or Froghopper ~ Cercopidae species

Midwesterners may have noticed there has been a rise of folks spitting on plants… Nah, I’m just pulling your leg! Spittlebugs are on the rise this Spring, as I’m seeing them not only in my ornamental garden, but in the forest preserves and right of ways. These little Froghoppers are in the Cercopidae family, which contains 23,000 different family members.

For strawberry farmers (a fav of spittlebugs), the spittlebugs are mildly annoying at one spittle mass per square foot, also called “aesthetic threshold”. At five or more spittle masses per square foot, harvests can become affected. I think we’re there this year.

Spittle is produced by the nymph manipulating its body and using broken-down plant juices to blow the tiny bubbles. After there are enough bubbles to surround their bodies, they use their rear legs to cover themselves. Ironically, it’s not spit that makes the spittle… it comes out of the other end of the nymph (farttle?) 😉 The spittle protects them from predators, temperature changes and helps them from dehydrating.

Adult Froghopper

Although spittlebug nymphs and adults do feed on plant sap, the damage is minimal and populations are generally small and don’t warrant pesticide use. In extreme cases, they can cause stunting and weaken plants or reduce yields. An easy way to rid yourself of them is to dislodge them with a blast from the hose. I have read about predatory wasps of the spittlebug, however not sure if they are here in the Midwest. Should you have a severe infestation, be sure to remove plant debris in Fall and lightly till the soil to reduce the amount of eggs for the next season.

After five instars, spittlebugs become froghopper adults, named as such because of their resemblance to frogs. They now have a hard exoskeleton, which keeps them from drying out and they are able to emerge from the spittle. Adult froghoppers travel by jumping, with some species jumping vertically as high as 28 inches/70 cm! This feat surpasses the ability of fleas!

One last little tid-bit:
There are two other insect families that are not related, however look just like the froghoppers; treehoppers (Membracidae), and leafhoppers (Cicadellidae). One of my favorite sites to research bugs is: BUGGUIDE.NET, Here’s how they tell the difference,
A leafhopper (Family Cicadellidae) has a row of prominent, regular spines on its rear tibiae (the second long leg segment). Spittlebugs/froghopper (Cercopidae) have no such regular spines, (but may have a few irregular ones). Treehoppers (Membracidae), usually have elaborated pronotums.

 

     

On Lychnis chalcedonica ~ Maltese cross  ||  On Weedy Grass

     

On Echinacea    ||    On Chaenomeles speciosa

They’re everywhere!!!!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Ah, Home Sweet Home!

This is my front door. I took the left side photos May 30th and the right, June 20th.
     

Most of April and all of May was a rain-out. We had 10 inches (25cm) of rain in those 8 weeks. Even when it wasn’t raining, Sweet Sol was hiding behind her fluffy, white shawl. There’s not even a trace of her shadow on the wall. At least, the foliage looks green and lush in this light!

June 9th it got hot… like Hell Hot. I’m not complaining… Yet.

Things grew very well until the heat. Things were looking really sad and I even had to water my established perennials.

      

We don’t use our front door. It’s too awkward to enter here. No overhang. No space. No where for shoes… It’s so much easier to enter from the garage. It’s like having a huge foyer! So, this year we finally decided to embrace our inner Red Neck and start sitting on the porch. It’s so nice to enjoy all the beautiful things that fill our senses. The flowers smell so sweet, the fountain sounds so melodic, the birds look so joyful and the chipmunks make us smile.

Ah, Home Sweet Home!

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

 The Last Spring Blooming Flowers 6-20-2017

Happy last day of Spring / First day of Summer!!! I’ve got mixed feelings. I can’t believe Spring is over, however that means my job gets easier. The rains have finally seemed to back off a bit, as I thought I’d have to build a Plant Ark. Can’t forget about the plants when another flood wipes most of us pink apes out 😉

Come with me to the past blooming flowers: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

       

Syringa reticulata~ Japanese Tree Lilac

Not smelly, but pretty.  Also salt tolerant. A great street tree.

Philadelphus (Mock Orange) x. ‘Buckley’s Quill’ ~ Buckley’s Quill Mockorange

These smelly little cuties are right under my window that is downwind. These have such a strong sweet smell. It’s 92F /34C out and windy. I have the window cracked ever so slightly to get the smell in without bringing in too much heat. Electric bill be dammed!!

Peonies in a backyard on Bangs Lake. Beautiful!!!

Valeriana officinalis ~ Garden valerine

Another smelly one!

Common asparagus beetle – Crioceris asparagi

Ugh. Just when you were enjoying all the smelly flowers, this stinker joins the party. Sigh. Welp. It’s time to offer them a swimming lesson, free of charge. Well, it’s not really a swimming lesson, as you will only learn to die at my pool. My fav way to trap these buggars is to use what they know as my advantage. They like to drop to the ground as a defensive tactic to avoid predators. So, I place a cup of water under them, wave my hand above them and watch them do the belly-flop into my cup. I mean, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel!!

     

Asparagus officinalis ~ Very small bloom   ||   Onoclea sensibilis Sensitive Fern

     

Nyssa sylvatica ~ Black tupelo   ||   Mullberry update = Almost!

Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 6-19-2017

Come with me to the past blooming flowers: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

     

Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Firewitch’ ~ Cheddar pinks, carnation   ||   Lotus corniculatus ~ Birds-foot Trefoil  (so cool!!)

     

Lonicera japonica – Japanese honeysuckle   ||   Plantago lanceolata ~ Buckhorn plantain (weed)

     

Not even gonna try on these grasses. Guessing weedys.

     

Barbarea vulgaris ~ Garden Yellow Rocket    ||   Stellaria media ~ Common Chickweed

Chickweed is known for its soothing and healing quality. Its high saponin content is thought to be the reason for its effectiveness in relieving skin problems, such as erysipelatous and other forms of ulceration, as well as many forms of cutaneous diseases.

Hesperis matronalis ~ dame’s rocket, damask violet, dame’s-violet, dames-wort, dame’s gilliflower, night-scented gilliflower, queen’s gilliflower, rogue’s gilliflower, summer lilac, sweet rocket, mother-of-the-evening and winter gilliflower.

Here, many folks think this is ‘wild phlox’. Sure, you could call it that if you like. However, the easy way to tell the difference is that this one has 4 petals and phlox has 5.

       

When this gets with this, does this happen?

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

 

What’s That Bird? 

Knowing that my camerone can’t take a photo at a distance, I’ve learned that shooting a quick video can make-up for the lack of detail. I may even be able to pull a still from the video. Sadly, not in this case.

I am a beginning birder and try to key these little guys out to the best of my knowledge, however it is based on personal perspectives also. Although I think Juncos are black and white birds, many keys have them under brown. I furiously search under black, then white and can’t find them. Now, I’ve also employed other websites like allaboutbirds.org to know even more about the birds I have identified. I’ll admit I don’t feel like I’m any better at ID, but I’ll learn. I’m used to plants that love to be admired and stand still white I look for identifying features, leaf shapes, petal count, undersides… etc. Birds and animals… Not so much.

This little, yellow guy has a black face and is not a American Goldfinch, at least not a common one, I know those. I’ve looked through trushes, flycatchers, finches… exhausting!

I was in Central Illinois during Memorial Day, not sure if migration was still happening or these guys are residents. I was in a prairie/savanna area, not too far from water.

Any guesses??

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

White-Crowned Sparrow ~ Zonotrichia leucophrys

This post was a bit lost in my drafts folder… These guys were passing through last month. They, like the Juncos, like to be up North for the summer. And I mean like the Great White North! I’m also too far North to be in their Northern, Southern range. Ah, alas I am in the migration range only.

The male does most of the singing, however the female likes to belt out a few delicate, but more intricate tunes. Males learn their songs not only from their fathers, but from all of the other White-Crowned Sparrows in the neighborhood. If a male grows-up on the edges of two communities, they might sing two different songs, one from each community, you could say bilingual. 

They mainly eat seeds, however will feed insects to their young. These guys were happy to see many protein-packed sunflower seeds and peanuts on the ground, as they need a bunch of energy for their migration. These guys have been known to stay awake for two weeks straight! Not only that, the can fly for a long time without tiring. Scientist have this little guy running tread mills and other endurance tests. They are trying to figure out what keeps the little guy ticking for so long. Clearly, Scientist’s want to learn how to keep us humans working longer than our standard, 40 hours, sigh.

See you next Fall, White-Crowned Sparrow! I wish I could go with you to Mexico for the winter!!

     

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 6-14-2017

Happy Hum Day!! Hope the ride down the hill of the week is a fast and furious! Wheeeeee!

Wanna see into the past? Click to see what was blooming in 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

     

Penstemon pinifolius ‘Mersea Yellow’    ||    Silene vulgaris ~ White bladderwort

Cornus racemosa ~ Grey Dogwood

     

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’ –  Diablo Ninebark   ||   Geranium ‘Alba’

Vitis riparia ~ Baby Wine !!!  😉

     

Sedum ~ Not sure of flavor   ||   Penstemon Digitalis ~ Beardtounge (Is this like ‘hair of the dog‘ after a night of drinking??)

     

Tradescantia ohiensis ~ Spiderwort   ||   Keep Calm and Chive on!!!

Achillea millefolium ~ Yarrow

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 6-13-2017

Good day!

All of these were taken from my Memorial Day Weekend trip to Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area. This beautiful area is totally man-made! They started construction (or is it de-struction??) on the area in 2002. The creek was flooded, trees and other wildlife came and now we have a party!

Wanna see into the past? Click to see what was blooming in 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Blooming water plant

     

Carduus nutans ~ musk thistle, nodding thistle or nodding plumeless thistle  ||  Rainbow!!

I’m kinda guessing here… Rubus pubescens ~ Dwarf Raspberry

Eryngium yuccifolium ~ Rattlesnake-master

Not blooming but interesting foliage. Latin is a wonderful language that I love. Yuccifolium translated to Leaves like a Yucca. So straightforward. We all should have just stuck with one language. Things would have been a lot easier had we.

Rosa multiflora ~ Wild rose

Iris pseudacorus ~ Yellow flag iris

     

Rosa multiflora ~ Wild rose   ||    Blooming Toxicodendron radicans ~ Poison ivy

    

Tradescantia virginiana ~ Spiderwort    ||    Melilotus officinalis ~ yellow sweet clover, yellow melilot, ribbed melilot or common melilot

Vicia cracca ~ Tufted Vetch

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl