Tag Archives: nature

Backyard Harvest

16 Sep

A pile of passion fruit

The fruits of my labor

Passion Fruit in a Potted Plant

Some of the passion fruit landed in potted plants.

Passion Fruit and Palm Tree

One got wedged in this palm.

Bowl of Passion Fruit

The Cream of the Crop

Every year a large black walnut tree would drop scores of nuts in our backyard at our home in Maryland. It was an ongoing chore through the summer and fall to gather those nuts. We didn’t even eat them. They were bitter and nasty tasting. Sadly that walnut tree was taken out recently by Hurricane Irene.

Here in Israel we have another type of harvest to make. High above one wall of our backyard runs a passion fruit vine. We don’t know who planted it. Considering the mass of tangled vines and branches back there it’s hard to tell if the vine is rooted in our yard or our neighbor’s.

As I was weeding the other day (a chore I had been putting off) I came across a few passion fruit on the ground and gathered them up. Then today I went out to see if there were any more passion fruit. I was astounded at the number of fruit lying in our yard. Not only were they lying on the ground, some had landed inside plant pots. One had even become wedged in a palm tree. It was like going on an Easter Egg hunt.

I gathered the fruit into two plastic grocery bags. In all, I had gathered 8.5 lbs. of passion fruit! This was not counting the ones that had withered and rotted away already. I sorted through the fruit and discarded many that had been gouged or otherwise damaged. Those that passed my quality control inspection weighed a total of 2.5 lbs.

Now I just need to wait for the skin of the fruit to turn wrinkly — that is when they are ripe and ready for eating.

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Invasion of the Mantids

6 Aug

Last night before going to bed I was browsing through Flickr and came across some stunning macro shots of insects by Scott Cromwell. I spent quite a bit of time marveling over his images of mantises and was actually creeped out a bit by their bizarre appearance. As I was browsing the images I realized I hadn’t seen any praying mantises since our arrival to Israel last December and I wondered if they existed here.

Mantis Tries To Scare Dog

Mantis Tries To Scare Dog by Scott Cromwell

The Poser by Scott Cromwell

The Poser by Scott Cromwell

This morning when I went to check my email I saw a praying mantis perched outside on the shutter of my studio window. He swiveled his head around to look at me as I sat down at my computer. I am not making this up. Did I just conjure the mantis up by musing over them or was it just a freaky coincidence?

My images aren’t nearly as spectacular as Scott’s but I think I get extra credit for going outside in my pajamas to get this shot.

Praying Mantis on Window Shutter

Unexpected Visitor

And yet the story continues. After breakfast I went outside to do some weeding in our front yard. Just as I was ready to pull out a weed I spotted a miniscule recently-hatched mantis on the weed. I ran in to get my camera and managed to get a couple of shots of the little guy before he hopped away.

Baby Praying Mantis

I wonder if he ate the critter that chewed the clover?

Baby Praying Mantis

In this shot he has swiveled his head around to inspect me.