Thursday, August 20, 2020

Here There Be Dragons


When I took this photo a couple of weeks ago, I was in the midst of my morning-in-the-garden-with-Molly Qigong practice, so the actual pareidolic "moment" got a bit fuzzy. It was somewhat more solid and dragony before I got the phone out of my pocket, got the photo app up, and actually shot it. But I think it's still pretty suggestive of the hot, fire-breathing critters that have found their way into so many human fantasies.
In fact, I had been considering a post on heat, in order to pull away for a bit from my rantings on things political and pandemical, but a front stormed through last Sunday night. Since then, the 100F temperatures have scooted down to the low nineties, the humidity has dropped, and we haven't even had the air con on for the last three days. Mind you, we're not your typical denizens of north Texas, since we only have four window units (there are thirty windows), and keep the thermostats at around 75F. At this very moment (1:15 pm CDT) it's only 89F and the ceiling fans (and one of two attic fans) are doing their jobs quite nicely for us all. Large Hairy Dog included.

So, I can't bitch too much about the heat. I've even been doing some put-off cooking projects (making ricotta and moussaka from stuff the co-op delivered last week--fresh cream-on-top milk and "exotic" eggplants). Last night I made a very nice pasta dish that was linked to Melissa Clark's New York Times recipe for fresh ricotta, and tomorrow will use up the rest to make a berry tart. Tonight we get leftovers from last night and a use-up-the-lettuces salad, because tomorrow is also delivery day from the co-op.
The same "farmlet" that provided the eggplants is now making baba ghanoush, which I ordered, so we'll be snacking on that for a bit, too. It's probably time to make some pita out of the Barton Springs Mill flour I've been squirreling away.

What I didn't realize about the consequences of buying from seasonal producers is the pressure to get it all used up before it spoils. Hence the cooking frenzy. But as I get used to the regularity of the delivery, the reduced need to hit Costco for anything but wine and San Pelligrino, and the occasional order to Whole Foods, my creative juices have been flowing (ahem), and my Culinaria board on Pinterest is getting a lot more use. 

Anyway. Back to the dragons.

Just the other day we had another visit from our friendly neighborhood Neon Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula croceipennis), an annual occurrence, at what seems to be mating time. The piece of rebar stuck in next to Molly's pond is really there to support a bit of Astilbe that comes up in the spring and needs support.

But it also seems to provide a nice resting spot for the male, who seems to spend most of his time trying to get the female (who's usually hanging about in the Inland Sea Oats patch next to the former fire pit/now watering hole) to pay attention. The image below was taken just about a year ago, when I did manage to get a closer-up image.

I suppose I should include the dragonfly sightings in my Phenology 101 collections from now on. It might help make up for some of the phenomena that aren't showing up.

It is rather reassuring that some of our wildlife is doing well enough to come back for a visit. The scarcity of bats and fireflies is troubling, but we've actually benefited from some of the environmental incursions occurring just to our south. A new housing/retail complex next to the highway "necessitated" the cutting down of a rather nice little suburban forest, which, in turn, de-homed several hawk families.  So, of late we're being treated to hawk vs. crow skirmishes and wonderful aerial ballets whenever the thermals provide the opportunity for raptor frolics. 

Sunday's storm inflicted some serious damage to the scraggly old elm tree growing on the property line with our next-door neighbor. A huge limb broke off on her side of her fence, and proceeded to bounce off her garage roof into our yard, where it took out a large swath of sea oats and knocked off some of the Virginia creeper that helps to mask the offensive fence.

But things could have been worse. The patch hit hardest was where we should someday have a greenhouse; had it actually been in place, there would have been serious damage--although since it won't be a glass house (due to the abundance of aging pecan trees nearby) at least it wouldn't have shattered spectacularly and rendered the whole place unusable. Sometimes procrastination (this time brought on by our reluctance to visit the retailer who handles the greenhouse we want during the Plague) has its benefits.

The Beloved Spouse was able to take care of our side of the fence and the limb is now in bits on one of the strategically located woodpiles, ready to house whatever critters decide to use it for living space.

The weather and the somewhat hopeful DNC broadcasts have lightened our moods a bit, although I'm sure the next atrocity and/or heat wave is just around the corner. Nonetheless, I thought it prudent to take this opportunity to post something appropriate for Skywatch Friday and spend the next couple of days seeing what other folk looking skyward are finding. 

Stay safe and be well. And happy Skywatch Friday.


Spare Parts and Pics said...

Yes, definitely a dragon! We see crow/hawk skirmishes here on a regular basis, too. Still, too bad about the suburban forest.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

pretty blue sky

Jim said...


Tom said...

...great dragons, if only the flying ones were bit slower for me!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I learned a new word from you and for that I thank you.

I read your article on air conditioning with interest. 89F is still pretty darn hot, especially inside, fan or no fan but I am glad it works for you.

I grew up in the west where the humidity is pretty low and the air high and thin so even though we may have died during the day, the temps fell after the sun went down and we were okay. I graduated from school and went to work on the Texas Gulf Coast halfway between Houston and Corpus. I thought I was going to die that first summer. Some of the guys I worked with were from the area and they slept with the air conditioner off and a big box fan blowing on them full blast. Not me!!

Take care and have a great weekend!!

Amy said...

That is a beautiful dragonfly, I don't envy you in Summer there right now, I'm not looking forward to it here.

eileeninmd said...


I see your dragon cloud, you have a great eye. I love the pretty neon Skimmer, it is a lovely color. Pasta, eggplant and ricotta are some of my favorite things, yum. It has been hot and humid in Maryland, kind of dry lately too. We could use some rain. I have been watching the convention, they have had some great speakers. Take care, enjoy your day! Happy weekend!

Lady Fi said...

Great cloud shot and how unusual to see a red dragonfly.

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Here in south Florida we have seen a decrease in the diversity of butterflies since Hurricane Irma three years ago. It hit at the right time to kill adults, larvae and eggs and destroyed so many flowering plants. However, the Zika scare and the mosquito swarms which followed the storm set up an outpouring of insecticides from airplanes, fogging trucks and especially backyard contraptions which sterilize the land. I really enjoyed your thoughtful observations and photos. I have to squint to see the dragon but I know how fast the sky show can change scenes.