Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Down but not drought

Even the most casual news follower is likely aware of the serious storms that have been moving through Central Texas the past few days.  There has been significant damage caused, much loss of life as well as property.  I feel quite fortunate that so far, family and friends living in the path of the storm systems have reported in they are soggy, but safe.  That is and has not been anything to take for granted recently.

Yesterday I went out prior to the arrival of the heaviest rains to see what was blooming despite the rain, and who was making their rounds besides the happy happy snails.

Jewels of Opar, Althea, Polk Salad plant and Cannas are not waiting for the sun to shine.

I caught a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar just as it had attached to a branch and was preparing to form a chrysalis.
Three minutes later it seemed to be slightly less colorful, and had assumed a "J" shape.
Not quite twenty-four hours later, after weathering some hail and over four inches of wind driven rain, the protective casing seems complete.  Great camouflage job don't you agree? Now it looks like nothing more than a withered leaf.
On the fennel, waterlogged and leaning over to touch the ground, several swallowtail caterpillars continue to work the fronds, albeit with a lot more company than is usual.
I passed on taking a picture, but ease of access has opened up the banquet table to all sorts of less ambitious climbers.  Two kinds of snails and a host of pillbugs of varying sizes were all joining the cats in nibbling on the well washed fennel fronds.
Finally, a shot of some Mammatus clouds that appeared yesterday evening as the sun was setting.  As striking as these clouds are in combination with weirdly colored skies, they are harbingers of significantly severe weather.  No kidding mammatus clouds, we were already copied on that memo.
For the moment our immediate area is in the clear weather wise, though the death, injury and property damage tolls are still climbing as the storm systems continue moving to the north and east.  Population areas towards the low end of all runoff lines are flooding and can expect that to continue for days, if not weeks to come.

Area lakes are now half full, moving our area from what might be considered an agricultural drought more towards a hydrological drought, still affecting future municipal water supplies.  People living around Lake Travis reported a heavy layer of debris accumulating, as the runoff after heavy rains acted like a wildly inconsiderate power washer, moving small docks, jet skis and all manner of loosely anchored material into the water.

I am deeply grateful for the safety of friends and loved ones, relieved to have escaped significant property damage, and on a much smaller scale, happy to note that despite winds, a bit more hail and torrential rains, the smallest inhabitants of our garden seem to be staying calm and carrying on.

Wildlife Wednedays