Pile-O-Piglets and Other Critters

October 21st, 2008

Last Friday we went to a fun night for families at the elementary school.  It was great seeing the kids go crazy, and enjoy some silly activities.  They even had a mini-petting zoo with a cute “pile-o-piglets.”  These little guys were pretty tuckered out from all the attention.  It would be neat to raise some  pigs as Ron’s family has done this year, but I’m not so sure we could, uh, invite them to dinner if you know what I mean! 

Pile of piglets

It has been wonderful weather outside, and a chance to get a lot done.  Of course it’s nice to just enjoy the outdoors as well, and after school yesterday we jumped in a little paddleboat on the pond.  The boy loved paddling around collecting leaves, while the basset hound followed around the shoreline going “Bowwooo!”   We saw a few of our large Koi swimming around.  There should be five in the pond, but we’ve only seen four recently…  we call this one “Orangey.”  I’m not sure how big they’ll get, but compared to those oak leaves this one is really growing.  I’ve heard they can live for decades.

Big Koi named Orangey


The big garden news:  After planting 3-4 watermelon starts and watching dozens of vines grow and flowers bloom this year, we finally have our ** ONE ** watermelon for the year.  Yipee! I don’t know why the plants didn’t set more fruit… they were in full sun and really nice soil. We’ll see how this one ripens before we try it.   Our pumpkins didn’t set this year either.  Maybe it was too much rain?

 Homegrown watermelon

But the tomatoes are doing great- and I put up another 3 quarts of spaghetti sauce.  We’ve got enough green tomatoes on the plants still for another 3-4 quarts of sauce, but I may have to pick them all before we get our first frost.  For now we’re enjoying cool nights and warm days.  The frost can just stay away, thank you very much!

For the bug aficianados out there, here’s blue and black butterfly of some kind.  I thought it was a swallowtail of some type, but can’t quite identify it.  ***Update***  Beetle Doc was kind enough to tell us this is a “Red-Spotted Purple” butterfly.  That’s what I was going to say! Not… :) 

Unknown black and blue butterfly

And here’s a Comma butterfly, or maybe a Question Mark (yes, that’s a butterfly name!).  It’s the first one I’ve seen here.

Comma butterfly in October

Okay, one more bug today. This little thing is really strange.  It’s a wood wasp of some type I think, and was flying along just above the ground.  It’s about 2 inches long!  That long part is normally an ovipositor for laying eggs.  But again, I tried and was not able to identify it.  Anyone? The wings are a blur as it is flying along in this picture.  *** Update ***  Beetle Doc got this one right too! It’s an Ichnuemonid wasp, and lays eggs into larvae of beetles, caterpillars and other wasps using that long ovipositor.  Strange critter…

Uknown Wood wasp

8 Responses to “Pile-O-Piglets and Other Critters”

  1. Pine Pod Farm

    Nice pictures!

  2. I’m no help on the bugs but I can say that the most common mistake I see done with growing watermelons is the soil. They do best in sandy soil. I’ve tried numerous times to grow watermelons here or there but have never had any luck. Like you, I just get a very few fruits or none at all. The people that do raise them in plentiful, amend their soil with sand.

  3. R. Sherman

    I have a client who rears and sells koi “off the books,” as it were. He once told me that his fish will easily outlive him. He has some huge ones which he sells at obscene prices to rich people in Ladue for backyard ponds.


  4. beetle_doc

    I would say that the butterfly is a red-spotted purple, Limenitis arthemis. The wasp looks like some species of ichneumonid. Not luck with melons either.

  5. Thanks Pine Pod! Need to have a goat or two in there to really make it look right :)

    Ed- I had not heard that about watermelons, and our soil is thick loam on top of clay. Sand? Nowhere to be found. I’ll try that next year though, thanks!

    R.- Wow… never realized Koi were so popular. Kind of neat to think they’ll probably outlive me too. As long as someone doesn’t catch them I suppose.

    Beetle Doc- That’s it! Red-spotted purple butterfly. Go figure- it’s pretty common, but I couldn’t find a good picture anywhere until you named it. Thanks for helping out. And I think you’re right about the wasp too… I’ll find some more bugs to stump you one of these days!

  6. Thanks for stopping in my blog and leaving a comment. Always glad to hear from new people! Looks like you have some good stuff over here. I am jealous, we’ve yet to successfully grow watermelons….someday. I’ll be peeping around, come back and visit ;)

  7. Up here, Muscatine Melons are the cream of the crop. Muscatine isn’t a brand but a place, in the sandy bottoms of the Mississippi river valley.

  8. Muscatine melons?! I had heard that, but never knew it was a place. Learned something new I did, in Yoda speak… (we’re watching Star Wars with the boy this month) :)

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