Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dinu's Eden Board in new place

Termites had attacked the pole and even climbed up to the board already weather beaten for 100 years.  I had wanted to move it since long, but where?  Now I found a necessity and a new place for it.

This is where it was.  

The base of the pole had been chewed by termites and it was standing precariously.  I thought I was in time to save it.  When I examined it while removing, the back of it had been hollowed in many places.  It has some more life left.  

See the black line across and above the compound?  That is the new telephone cable pipe I put up with the help of cousin Subbu. The old cable runs across the yarden you see here.  Just out of picture on top.  I wanted to have it in proper condition.  So I requested our old neighbour Upendra who is in the telephone dept. to get some cable which he did a month ago.  He will be requested to connect the ends now that the cable is in place. Why that old cable was across the yarden is another story I will not touch. 

Now that cable had to cross the yarden passage.  My plan to have something like an arch near the gate and bird bath was long standing.  So this need gave me the shot in the arm to also display the weather beaten board differently.  There were two important needs.  1. To support the telephone cable [instead of it loosely hanging] that had to cross the passage and 2. To display the 'Dinu's Eden' board there. 

I got two termite eaten wood pieces salvaged from the other half of the property while the building was being torn down.  The pole wood was made to fit into the GI pipe supporting the gate and another piece across on top connecting the wall. 

View from the other side - see the cable pipe - rather crude looking at this time.  I ruled out the underground method, but in the end chose the overhead one. Ah, here in these two pictures you can see the old cable across, running haphazardly.  That will be removed once Upendra connects the new cable. 

Just another photo. 

Due to winter, yarden is dry-looking. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Common Jezebel Eclosion

Watching the eclosion of Plain Tiger Butterfly is still fresh in mind.  

I happened to notice a caterpillar on the compound wall close to the Fiddlewood Tree. This was on 11th December.

It was not moving.  Next day, I saw it still in the same position, but it seemed to be sticking silk at its rear end, which I felt was upside down.  So with the knowledge given by my Mexico-living friend, Beverly, I now knew it was preparing itself for making its chrysalis.

 On 13th December morning I rushed to see how it was.  Lo, it had already made a chrysalis. It was still settling itself in, making itself comfortable, just like we settle in our bed covering with a rug in winter!! It had made just a few minutes ago, or so I felt. 

On 14th morning again, I checked.  It had settled nicely.  Since I had spotted the empty chrysalis of the Common Jezebel recently, I guessed this was also a caterpillar of the Jezebel.

The chrysalis was just below the corniced top of the compound wall. I felt a need to give some protection from the birds as it was prominent.  I had hung up a cloth covering shielding its view. I kept a watch every day.  On 22nd December evening, I checked for any change in colour.  There was a hint which meant that eclosion would be very very soon.  Beverly had written it would be about 7 days.

Today, 23rd December, first thing in the morning, I went to see. There were wing patterns visible through the now transparent chrysalis.  
I was worried about its upside down position.  So I removed it carefully and hung it with a thread. 

Since it was 8.40 am it was late.   So I rushed in for my quick ablutions. When I was about to leave for work, I saw that it had already showing its wings!!  I rushed in again to take a picture and ran in to keep the camera back in.  I buttoned my shirt while leaving in a hurry!  I was yet again, Dagwood Bumstead. 

My guess was on dot.  It is indeed a Common Jezebel.  

There was the second one below the compound cornice again.  Yesterday I knew it would emerge today.  It was in its chrysalis on 21st December morning.  Today, 24th, it emerged.  Just 4 days.  Cool temperatures. I was there as if waiting for the moment. 8.10 am.  Hand held, I shot a series of pictures at intervals for about 15 minutes and then went for breakfast.  See the "slideo" - this is another new word I coined just now!! Howzzat?  See: [Click}

My tying with the thread was perhaps needless, because this one came out from the horizontal position quite smoothly.

There was a third chrysalis close by.  Pictured this on 17th December. It was fresh and fine.

Look at its fate this evening when I went to check.  It was fine and still green in the morning.  Ants had attacked it. It should have emerged soon, see its colouring.  So with that, one beauty less in nature, but that is part of Nature.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Some random updates from the Yarden

Some activity happened in the last couple of weeks.  Some of them I bragged, nay, blogged in other posts.   Here are some random selections:

This is the backdoor facing the tool shed.  It cried to be painted since 40 years.  The cry was finally heard but it got its due in its different location.  I did a small pavement leading to the Yarden from this door which I showed in my other blog. The wall around this door also needed to be painted for the first time being a new wall.

Having bought a packet of seeds at the Lalbag Nursery as Mexican Sunflower, I expected it to bloom in red, but this turned out to be yellow.  Checked the web and found that there was also the yellow and I did not know it!! But this is profusely blooming. 

Drier months of winter [December-January] will encourage pests.  Some plants are prone to be attacked. This is the Gaillardia flower.  The ant needs its sweet substance and it knows it has a supply on mealybugs already appeared.

The favourite Jaquemontias are all in nice bloom. This is near the gate.

This is beside the pond.

One climbing another arch near the pond.

There was some work that needed bricks, to keep stone slabs like seats/benches for the new house also.  So when I was with the brick dealer, I just asked him where we could get some 'cement pots' because that was also the plan when we embarked on this trip to the Ring Road.  I needed those pots.  He showed in some direction that someone sells them there and quickly added that he had some clay pots if I needed them. We were shown one sample and were told that there were a hundred in stock on the balcony.  This was almost just the size I had in mind, probably a shade bigger would have been better, but I thought of buying them.  The bricks were already ordered.  I  chose ten pots by checking if there was any crack because they were from a place called "Kundapur" which is near the west coast, some 200 kms away.  Soon the bricks and pots were on their way in a three-wheeler luggage vehicle.  I do not have enough soil for these.  Have to buy new red earth when I start to use them for the next season.  It cost eighty rupees each.  They look good.

 A caterpillar was spotted on the compound wall.  In two days, it had made a chrysalis.  It should be of the Common Jezebel which I showed in my recent post.  I will watch this out in the next two days.

Firewood stock was getting low.

So I borrowed Ramu's saw again to the the branches I had brought down with the same lovely saw some weeks ago. This time I took a close-up of the teeth to see why the saw saws nicely! 

The bigger pieces had to be chopped with an axe.  I have a vintage axe that is heavy.  Its edge is blunt and has a curvy handle made from a guava branch.  Because of its curvy shape, sometimes I miss the mark as the axe itself is heavy and it takes a slight tilt while it is coming down. I had to compensate by holding the grip more firmly.

Chickpea season has begun and this is the first supply.  Almost always, these caterpillars are found as chickpeas are host to certain butterflies or moths. 

I noticed some leaves of the almond tree being cut in the edges.  I could see something from below.  I pulled the branch down to see what it was.  I now think it is a bunch of some butterfly eggs covered by something.  I see one egg on the left.  Have to wait and see.

While inside, something sweeter is happening.