The Best Garden Friends, EVER!

CAN YOU SEE WHAT MY FRIEND, THE WASP, IS EATING??!?!?!?!  Click the picture for a larger version.  Can you see it now?!?!

How about in this one?  It was tricky as all get out to get any decent pictures because I didn’t want to scare my waspy friend away from doing her valiant, noble, beautiful, wonderful, ordained-by-heaven, incredible, lovable, I-could-kiss-her-for-it-but-that-would-probably-hurt job.  SHE IS EATING A CATERPILLAR!!!!!!!!  YAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY WASPY!!!!!!

Ok.  I’m better now.  I just now popped out to the garden on my lunch break to stare at my tomatoes and will them into ripeness when I noticed this lovely lady with her own lunch on my cauliflower.  I made a mad dash back inside for my camera and made it back out in time to get a few shots, though there was only about half the worm left by then.  Deader ‘n a doornail.  Isn’t it beautiful?  In case you couldn’t tell, anything or anyone that helps me in my quest to rid the world… ok, at least my life… of caterpillars automatically gets 10 trillion bonus points on my love-o-meter.  I just hope she tells her friends about the lovely lunch buffet my brassicas can provide.

An Unexpected Garden Friend

Miss Tigerlily, garden friend extraordinaire!

Oh, sure… she may look like a harmless, sunbathing alien-dog there, but don’t let her calm exterior fool you.  She is a ruthless killer of young and old alike.  Let me explain…

This morning, I was in a fitful sleep and dreaming that I needed to throw up, but instead, I was gagging over and over again… kinda like… a dog.  Suddenly, I awoke, and I opened my eyes to find a small Tilly sitting calmly up against my bed, 1 foot from my face, wide awake and staring at me.  Hmm.  Strange.  She is a total princess and is usually sound asleep, curled tightly in her bed until close to noon, long after everyone else  has been up for hours.  Through bleary eyes, I said, “what’s wrong, Tilly, do you need to go outside?”  And I swung my legs out of the bed and stood up, only to be rewarded with the squish of a pinky toe in a pile of dog vomit.  So that’s where my dream came from.  I gingerly removed my toe and washed it in the sink, before taking the dogs downstairs to go outside.  Then I returned, armed and ready to clean it up.  Not that I enjoy it, but having owned animals of all types for my whole life, I am used to this sort of thing.  No biggie.

I went to grab the bulk of it and noticed a large-ish pink thing.  I looked closer, and lo and behold… it was a newborn mole.  I soon realized that there were at least three of them in there, completely whole and undigested, but I think there were more.  I didn’t exactly comb through the whole mess to get an accurate count.  Anyway, so my girl managed to find, dig up, and eat an entire mole family!  Now THAT is what I’m talking about!  Clearly her stomach didn’t agree with her plan to control the local rodent population, but that’s a minor detail.

She has always been a great little mole-hunter.  She can hear them underground and follows their tunnels around the yard, nose to the ground, dashing earnestly this way and that until she locates her quarry and then promptly begins barking at the dirt and digging frantically.  You wouldn’t think this would work very well, but I’ll be damned if she doesn’t manage to pop up with a face full of dirt and a full-grown mole in her mouth more often than not.  And yesterday she must have hit the jackpot when she didn’t just find a single mole, but an entire nest of babies instead!  Go, Tilly, it’s your birthday!!

One More Pretty Picture

bronze-colored Pacific Tree (Chorus) frog

I saw this guy right after I photographed the wasp, and I thought he was so pretty I had to share him with you.  Are you tired of my froggy pictures yet?  He is the typical bright green, but covered with a brilliant, metallic bronze wash.  Click the picture for a bigger version to see the metallic shine.  It’s pretty amazing.

Anyway, I love that I have a whole army of living, breathing pest-fighters living in my garden.  Whenever I see things like this, it always makes me think of how all the frogs and beneficial wasps and honeybees and mantises and everything else are killed by blanket applications of chemical pesticides and herbicides.    Nature has such a lovely system to keep things in balance, if you let it.

Having a mole-hunting dog doesn’t hurt either.


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