Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tarantula Hawk Wasp and Dinner

The tarantula hawk is a large wasp (about 2 inches long) that hunts tarantulas. The wasps don't actually eat the spiders, but they feed them to their larvae. Only the females hunt, so I'm supposing this is a mom.

We watched this one spend most of a day hunting down this fairly small tarantula -- well, it was small for a tarantula, but still bigger than the wasp, about three inches or so.  Once she got it and had it under control, she dragged it all the way across our yard, across the driveway, across the sidewalk, and out of view.

She didn't do a lot of flying, but then I guess her victim was a little heavy. The tarantula was still alive during all this, and struggling to get away, but apparently the tarantula hawk's sting is one of the most powerful stings around, so the spider didn't really have a chance. And although they're supposed to be pretty docile, the wasps have been known to sting humans when they think the human is threatening. Needless to say, THIS human stayed well away from the hawk and the spider, and used her telephoto to grab these shots.

(Click on photos to enlarge. Sorry that the lightbox feature doesn't seem to be working on these. Blogger moves in mysterious ways.)

Outdoor Wednesday is hosted by 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Day for Flags

M put out our flag this morning, for Armistice/Veterans/Remembrance Day. There's very little breeze today, so the flag isn't so much flying as drooping. But I think that's actually fitting, what with the dreary weather we're having today. An arctic front blew through the Hill Country this morning or last night, and the outside temp is only in the 40s right now. Much too chilly for this time of year.

I guess winter really is on its way. 


Monday, November 10, 2014

Blue Monday: Miscellaneous Blues

Blue Monday is hosted weekly by Smiling Sally.
To see more offerings, or to participate yourself, please head on over to her blog.

OK, first of all -- here's a shot from a few days ago. It's a photo of a Western Scrub-Jay in a tree across the way from our property. We've had bunches of them around here this year, and they can make an awful racket. But they're really very pretty birds. I've been trying to get some pictures of them for a long time, but they don't stay still very long. They really are a lovely blue, but they're also kind of nasty critters.

Blue Bird of Happiness?
I'm a little disoriented this morning. I keep thinking I've forgotten something. Today is shaping up to be pretty quiet around here. For the last month or so we've been unbelievably busy with medical and dental adventures, household chores and just general everyday chaos.  For some reason, we managed to get all sorts of STUFF planned for October and early November. And all that PLANNED stuff added to the UNEXPECTED STUFF that came up -- well, it left us with very little free time. So it's sort of nice to have a whole day with NO plans.

But, even though I don't have anything planned for today, I AM waiting for something -- and here's a hint:

It's a case for an iPad Mini-3 -- I've got the case, but not the pad yet!

I know it's a little hard to tell, but this case is a very dark blue. The color is a little easier to see on the inside:

The case is made of really soft leather, and it's waiting to be filled by the new iPad Mini I'm expecting to arrive later today. It's sort of an early Christmas gift from me to me. We bought one of the original iPads back when they first came out, and it's been great. But it's very heavy and doesn't have all the nifty bells and whistles the new models have, so I decided to splurge a bit.

(The hubby just checked on the tracking, and it's out for delivery. Very exciting!)

OK, that's about it for today. Just one more blue thingie. We've actually had some pretty substantial rain lately -- not quite enough to break the drought here in central Texas, but great for the lawns and gardens anyway. And right after a good rain, we usually find a bunch of these have sprung up everywhere:

Not sure what they are -- probably some sort of noxious weed that we should be pulling up as soon as it shows. But they look very sweet around the patio, and they usually only last a day. They come and go with the rain.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Unconscious Mutterings: Week 615

Time for some muttering. Here we go with Week 615. LunaNiƱa says: and I think....

1. Fencing :: Hamlet, Errol Flynn, Tom Sawyer

2. Mediocre :: bland, sub-par, middlin'
3. 19th :: Nervous Breakdown
4. Candy :: chocolate, Terry Southern
5. Scorch :: cooking, ironing (the way I do them, anyway)
6. Allergies :: I got 'em
7. Swirl :: Dairy Queen
8. Level up :: ???? (Nothing comes to mind.)
9. Modern :: Mid-Century
10. Tasty :: Dairy Queen