Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weekend Rest

I have a couple of pictures to share.  Two are from Friday evening, just as it got dark.  We have a Cuban Tree Frog ( I think that is the species) living in a small decorative ceramic bird house hanging outside the screen on our back porch.  In the effort to identify him/her, I discovered that, of course, he is an invasive species.  Unfortunately, most of what I run into in my backyard is of the invasive type.  Racing lizards, a.k.a., whiptail lizards that start out striped, then, as they mature, their head is a dull beige, but their bodies are a combo of neon green and blue with a spotted pattern.  They are beautiful when the sun hits them.  I thought the extra cold winter we had this year might have knocked them off, but they have reappeared throughout the yard, flicking aside the leaf litter and dirt with their front "hands" and zipping up uncovered bugs with their forked tongues. Here is a picture I took last year sometime of the whiptail.

Green Iguana baby

The fellow above is another non native species - a green iguana.  They can get to 6 feet long and once they get to be that size, they are no longer a pretty green, but a kind of brownish orange.  This past winter DID decimate the iguana population from what I can see.  I've only seen a very few iguanas on Griffin Road, where there used to be literally hundreds by the canal there.

Now for the little cuban tree frog.
Cuban tree frog gearing up
Cuban tree frog about to take off


Right after I took the above two pictures, he hopped off the bird house and went off to start his night of feasting.  I did catch him eating a moth, but I hadn't gotten the camera out yet,  so it went unphotographed.

On a different note, the mulberry tree that my husband wanted us to plant last year because of his nostalgic memories from childhood is doing VERY well.  There is a passion vine planted next to it that is climbing it, creating big purple and white flowers that peek out from the branches laden with various stages of unripe/ripe mulberries.  

Passion flower on mulberry tree

Mulberries in stages of ripeness

Mulberries wrapped by passion vine

I picked a handful of ripe mulberries this morning and they were yummy!  I never thought that in sultry South Florida I could have fresh berries.  I know that strawberries will grow here - that's true - but I've never planted them.  My favorite berry - raspberry - will not grow down here - it's just too darn hot.  Happy Happy Joy Joy - I have mulberries - yummmmmmm!

Fresh Mulberries - YUMMMM!  

I don't think I'll ever pick enough at one time to make a pie - and I'm not as ambitious as that - but some sort of cobbler could be manageable.  
Now for an update on the butterflies.  Since the last of the cold weather, the butterflies have been out like gangbusters.  Monarchs laid so many eggs on all my many milkweed plants that they are decimated.  I'll have to go out during the week and purchase some more plants to feed the voracious little guys.
Only a few leave left!!
These guys are going to have to duke it out....
Purple flowers of one milkweed species before it gets eaten
Beautiful green lantern monarch chrysalis

And of course - above is the "finished product" - a beautiful Monarch butterfly on yellow milkweed.

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