Rhonda's A 'Muse'-ing Rambles

Life and Times of a Busy Woman

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Nature friendly yard

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on May 25, 2008

Phew! I smell like – sort of a citronella candle! I was playing out in one of my little gardens and moving around some plants and brushed up against my latest ‘mosquito plant’. This is one of the genetically enhanced plants that is supposed to ward off mosquitos. I think it is just a citronella plant with a different name tag. It smells great when the wind is blowing softly from the south.

My husband is working this weekend on building a new small herb garden in the back of our yard. Since I’ve been wanting to try a few new plants, I picked up some skull cap (for ground cover) and a small chocolate mint. We’ve found that lemon basil does real well here no matter where we put it. Ah! The aromatic herbs.

The lizard population is expanding. For years, we had one Texas horned lizard that shows up every year, but we haven’t seen him this year (yet). He’s been my favorite all along. Always, we have the battle of the geckos getting in the house and smashed in the doors. They sit there by the doors, maybe as a great hunting area where the bugs are drawn by the light leaking out the doors and windows. Then, when we open the door, they dart into the house. About 50 percent of them get smashed in the door frame – ick – scraping geckos. Now I hold the door a little longer and look around to make sure I’m not gonna make gecko paste. I no longer try to stop them or catch them in the house; if they can find mosquitos and spiders to munch – more power to them I say! We’ve never had a problem with roaches, fleas, ticks, ants or silverfish in the house, so I want to believe the geckos are doing their job since we have never advocated using massive doses of chemicals inside or along the outside walls of the house. Way to go geckos!

Back to my husband’s herb garden. While relocating some bricks and rocks for the base of the new raised garden – of course my husband came across some eggs. Nature loves our yard – we find eggs and nests everywhere! This time, it is lizard eggs. I’m hoping for more geckos, but can live with just about anything. My husband and son carefully prepared a nursery and relocated the eggs to another spot. Now how many people would do that? Last month it was the wren nest on our patio table – the wren found it where we moved it a few feet away, thank goodness. So now we have lizard babies to  look forward to as well.

A new lizard, more than one, has appeared in our gardens the past week. While we have enjoyed the Anole family for a few years with their red-throated, push up antics, another type has moved in and hopefully will not encroach on Anole & Gecko territory. Before I tell about the new lizards – I have to mention that yesterday I found one of the male Anoles enjoying – Hummingbird nectar! I’ve often seen the anoles lick the leaves of a plant after I have watered. But it was fascinating to see this little lizard lap on the leaves of my sego palm. I hadn’t watered, so couldn’t quite figure out what he was going for. Then I saw a drip – looked up, and there was the hummingbird feeder! It would sometimes drip a spare drop or two down onto the sego palm, and there the little anole was having a feast. I hope he didn’t get a nectar high! Who knew they would like that? I tend to attempt keeping the feeders from dripping so they won’t draw ants, but this one I think I will allow, as long as the lizards have the problem licked.

The new lizards – back to them. I think they are some kind of racer. I’m familiar with the blue racers, quite common back home in Missouri. But this one is brownish with a white stripe. Of course, I’ll have to look it up and see if I can find it on the internet. I saw the first one Friday afternoon, it was about 9 inches long and FAST! Very skittish. Then my son found one on Saturday about half the size and pointed it out to me. It was perfectly well hidden on the bricks of my home, but because it was skittish, it moved, so we saw it. It’s possible this may be a family of brown anole’s – I just don’t remember the destinctive stripe down the back. It looks somewhat like a Sand Dune Lizard we brought back from the coast one time – except for the stripe.

So – more eggs to watch, more nature moving in. Just as long as they aren’t more snakes. We have an assortment of those also. Mostly non poisonous, but the rattlers find their way in too.



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