More local “news”

It’s about 7:30 PM right now, only a little chilly, with clear skies, unlike last night. Will I go back out and make another futile and disappointing attempt at the Leonids? The answer, may surprise you. But first, let’s check in with what’s happening on the Estates.

Well, what was happening, five days ago to be precise – these are all older photos. But they’re newer than some others that will be posted soon, which is very important for you to know. Somehow.

Japanese maple tree on Walkabout Estates, with not-too-hidden occupant
The average temperature has dropped, but we’re still getting some pretty warm days with the nights only dropping low on occasion. The Japanese maple out front displayed some nice color, and within that time I spotted a little occupant. I shot wide here for context, but certainly went in closer, because you know I had to – it’s like a curse.

juvenile green treefrog Dryophytes cinereus on Japanese maple tree
I keep expecting these guys to find their winter hidey-holes, and yet keep spotting them in various visible locations during the day, though I suspect at least some of them have decided that it’s time to pack up for the year. This juvenile green treefrog (Dryophytes cinereus) was perhaps a little smaller than the top joint of my thumb, so less than half of adult size, and hasn’t been seen to return since that day. Unlike the next ones.

two green treefrog Dryophytes cinereus taking advantage of adjunct greenhouse
Due to neither The Girlfriend or I knowing what ‘restraint’ is, we have overflowed the original greenhouse and had to ‘construct’ a second one, that I call the adjunct greenhouse. This uses the back wall of the shed and the back fence as structural elements, and largely consists of plastic sheeting, but it can hold the various plants that need to be protected from a hard freeze but otherwise can go dormant for the winter. It works actually much better than I expected and can get toasty inside fairly easily, despite not being airtight, and the treefrogs have discovered the charms of it, yet they seem to favor being right at the very edges where the benefits are minimal – I guess they know what they’re doing. This flap of plastic serves as the ‘door,’ tucked in around the ladder that hangs back there, so I always have to check carefully before I pull it aside to enter. They’re both adults, with the top one being a good-sized specimen – tucked in as seen here, roughly 45mm in length and 30 in width, give or take.

A short distance away on the gate, this Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) had shifted away from me warily, then appeared to grab a 12-second power nap.

adult Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis snoozing briefly on narrow tree, showing color variations
Really, it had just dodged off of the gate as I approached, acting quite concerned about my presence, then immediately closed its eyes as I leaned in, like I was going to believe it was asleep and not up wrecking the bedroom well past its bedtime. Moments later it opened its eyes again and surveyed me judiciously, but I wasn’t moving then and it no longer appeared concerned – as much as I’ve watched them, anole behavior still seems a bit random at times. What I was after here is the coloration, though, which I suspect might be in transition between a darker, more heat-absorbing color for basking, and the green hues that help it blend in to the various plants; to my eyes, this appears to be occurring within individual scales rather than as ‘regions’ around the body. Makes me think I could train them to produce distinct patterns, maybe spell out advertising for the site? Let me think about this – forget you heard anything.

And finally, a quick pic from the proper greenhouse.

serious crop of lemons on tree in greenhouse
I’ve been monitoring these all year, so I’m 95% certain that all of these lemons were ones that I pollinated personally back… shit, I thought it was February, but it’s just shy of a year ago, once again in the greenhouse. In the intervening time they’ve been outside enjoying the sunlight and warmth, natural pollinators and the rain and, when the rain wasn’t sufficient, my own routine waterings (from the rainbarrels, asshole,) and while the lemons grew bigger, they never did more than turn just a little more yellow. Put them in the greenhouse in late October and boom! it’s about harvest time. People that actually know about growing citrus are likely shaking their heads at my ignorant antics, but hey – we were never after any kind of agricultural pursuits, we just liked the trees. And the limes are coming along fine too, while the avocado pit that we planted about 18 months ago is now a proper sapling over a meter tall and still putting out new leaves in there. I can’t say it wasn’t worth the effort to put that cheesy little greenhouse in, at least.

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