I found this recently in my yard. iNat was stumped. I call it Plantus Drivewae. It is a low growing plant that is heat tolerant, tire tolerant and needs little water. Anyone know what it really is? Send your answer to: firstname.lastname@example.org
September 12, 2020
This week is a big biodiversity search in our DFW area but I have been unable to participate due to other circumstances. So today I took a walk in my yard. I discovered I had missed three moon blooms last evening as their blooms were now hanging listlessly on the vine. BUT there is the promise of two more coming and very soon. I will have to be watchful after the sunset. As I looked at the blooms I became aware of a parade of ants going up and down a metal fence post. Those going up were ‘empty-handed’ but those going down were carrying egg sacks to a new destination on the ground in the ground cover. They had apparently taken those precious bundles to a high spot during the rains – which happens to be a hole in my fence. As a I watched them I was aware of another movement as a very small green anole moved along the fence and then jumped into a bush for a morsel to eat. This animal was less than an inch long but its tail was at least two inches long.
All over the yard are patches of surprise lilies in a brilliant orange red color. They suddenly pop up from the ground after that first fall rain – September 1 was the date this year – and they have continued coming up and blooming since them. Some have started their decline by losing their vivid color. I noted that in one area some were laying on the ground and something had stepped on them and broken them. Who or what was exploring my garden when I wasn’t looking? A tiny toad – about a half a penny size – moved away from my big feet. He could only hop a few inches but he did so quickly and disappeared in the ground cover of leaves.
I walked around a corner and found another anole of a more adult size. Part of its tail was green but the lower half was smaller and brown. I would guess it had met with a predator and was able to escape with just the loss of part of its anatomy. As I watched it climb up a wall of the green house a very small frog suddenly jumped high into the air and continued hopping towards a bush. I had finally seen one of the Rio Grande frogs that I can hear so often at night. Biodiversity journeys are often found at home.
Folks have been writing about some of their experiences in the field and on their journeys and a trip with an alligator in the back seat. I understand those stories so well. I remember having a rabbit given to me and I tried to keep it but if finally had to go to the animal shelter. I cleaned that cage so well and had new litter and extra food. Oh it looked so good. We put the cage in the car and drove the thirty minutes to the shelter. When I went to get the rabbit and cage it was a horrid mess. I had forgotten to take the water bottle out and the water had come out, soaked the litter in the litter box and was standing in the bottom of the cage about a half inch deep. The rabbit was soaked and littered with litter. I was embarrassed and felt pretty stupid. They still took the rabbit. Blessings on them.
But the real story is when I worked with Mr. Jim Dunlap at the Plano Ind. School District’s Outdoor Learning Center. He was always getting animals in from animal control, folks who had tried to keep wild critters as pets, confiscated animals, injured animals, baby animals found in unusual places, etc. Many of the animals from animal control were just animals from city folk who didn’t want them in their yard. Snakes, opossums, baby birds or baby squirrels, raccoons, and occasionally coyotes and bobcats were the usual critters.
One such ‘rescue’ was a big male bobcat. He was a very unhappy fellow and just wanted to be ‘away’. Jim needed some place to turn him loose ‘out in the country’ far enough so that he did not go back to his old neighborhood. We had twenty acres of open land in an area that had a pond and lots of other open land and it was about twenty miles north of Plano. I offered to take him out there one afternoon and turn him loose. Sounds like a generous person and a caring person on my part, right!?
Jim and another gentleman loaded the cat in a big carrier and put into the back of my Suburban and off I went. It took me about thirty minutes to get out there. The cat was nervous and I could hear him sort of growling and pacing in the crate. He began to leave his mark on the crate. That meant he began to pee on the sides in tiny spurts and the odor was to warn any other creature to stay away. It worked well as I didn’t want to be in the same car with him! Oh it began to really reek!!!!
When I got to the big open area I stopped the car and opened the tailgate and pulled the crate toward the opening. My intention was to open the crate door and watch a grateful animal leap out and across the field toward a row of trees about two hundred yards away. Then I would drive home feeling so happy that I helped this animal.
As I tried to open the crate door the cat growled and jumped towards the door. The stench of the marking was really strong! I jumped back and then tried again and got the door open and then quickly went around the car to the other side. Instead of jumping out, the cat went back to the back of the crate and sat down. He didn’t move. We stayed there for over twenty minutes – stalemated! Finally I got into the car and moved toward the back of the crate and he moved away from me and finally out of the car but he jumped down and under the car. Run, cat, run! Another twenty minutes went by and I finally saw him WALKING away in the other direction from the trees. I didn’t wait. I closed the tailgate and got out of there but the windows of the car were all down as the cage still carried a very strong scent. It was a long ride home.
Tonight I slipped out onto the patio as it got dark and sat quietly for about thirty minutes. I saw the last vestiges of the sunset, two squirrels dash about in the tree and then climb into some vines, a rat run the roof and drop to the fence and then to the ground, three owls come through on their nightly prowl ( one was a kid and sat in the tree above me and clicked his beak. He wasn’t sure if I was ‘good or bad’.), and heard the katydids and the Rio Grande frog begin their nightly chorus.
For more info –
For more info –
Just as I started to rise to come in something came from the area of the creek and went across the yard. It was a skunk. It was very busy and had its tail very low. It went into the bushes and I dashed into the house. Didn’t care to visit with that one tonight! Such excitement. Last evening we had a yellow-crowned night heron in the yard about ten. This is our fun during the pandemic. Oh, yes, the mosquitoes were there too as well as some fireflies.