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“Web Worms are insulating my house”


Ahh, webworms, webworms and more webworms. Here they are in all of their glory in the upper canopy of my two Pecan trees. Like cottoncandy on a stick they are showing up in abundant numbers this year.

The web worm makes nests over the ends of branches, as the worms grow, so does the nest, devouring the encapsulated foliage as they go. Right now it is raining web worms, they are everywhere, it is a plague of Biblical proportions. Even more disturbing, I think they are getting smarter. I have done everything I usually do this year; I cut down the webs as early as I can, rip open the higher ones to let the wasps in, dance around my yard humming an anti-bag worm mantra etc, etc.
This year it seems like they all got PhDs and built up high, really high. Outside of adorning some Wallace and Gromit-esk trousers, there is no way to get up there to rip open the nests.



“Make them stop Gromit!” … “My trousers have gone berzerk”
They are blocking out the sun with all their webs, their webs, so many webs. Half of my house is now inside a web! The limbs that I cut down in the early spring and discarded onto my “brush” pile have also continued to expand, the worms have now “webbed over” the entire brush pile. It is like a Stephen King novel.



Where there are webworms, the skies darken and crap begins to fall from
the heavens…………………………..enough said. On the upside, I would
imagine this is makes a better compost than it does a top dressing
on a burger (watch out what you are grilling under!)



It was so hot here in Texas today – even the webworms are sweating – ok, so I fished this one out of my rainwater collection tank.
The egg-laying adult is a moth.Typically predators keep them in check, with two being especially important – the ichneumon wasp and the braconid wasp. Important also is the leaf litter clean up in the fall, as that is where the overwintering pupation takes place.



Still, I suppose there are worse things than bagworms, mosquitos for one (so far so good) – or…
camel spiders?.. I need to change the subject:


to iron gates. . . here is my gate ready to get strapped to a couple of posts cemented into the ground. The posts are steel so eventually they will turn to the rust color of the gate. I decided to angle the gate away from the Post Oak, and from the view from my back deck, straight-on would have looked to formal and weird. I played around with the positioning of this hardware for quite some time until I found “just the right spot.” (remember the nerdy wind chimes escapade)

This gate is extremely heavy, my father-in- law helped me hump it from the side entrance to the back yard, to almost all the way down the backyard to its current position, where it will remain forever. No one is moving this again – it is as permanent as Stone Henge. I plan to fill in the circular sections from the backside with colored acrylic panels. That is my most mature Giant Timber Bamboo in the background.


Here it is – strapped onto the posts with metal wire. The intention for placing the gate so far down the yard was to make the yard seem longer, a doorway to a “distant” area, as it were. (If I read one more time such a design feature creates a sense of “mystery” I am afraid I will have to scream).  When the 6 Loquats fill in this area, the area the gate opens up to will seem a lot more private. I softened the edges of the gate in the meantime with Bamboo Muhly, shell gingers and ever-spreading cast iron plants.
I am considering this as a potential future home for my smoker grill.

Here is the gate door that is permanately open.

In the background is a well established Pittosporum tobira shrub. After a visit to the Zilker Japanese gardens, in Austin, I was influenced to trim this shrub up more like a tree. Has anyone seen the one there? it must be 50 years old, it really is amazing. When I am 90 this pruning endeavour will almost be perfect, I on the other hand, will be a cantankerous old fart, refusing to sell a little “patch” of land on the “East-side” to surrounding successful loft and retail tycoons. Oh well, something to look forward to;

“Get aarrf my land, young good for nothing, lay-a-round scallywag.” I will croak, whilst injuring myself throwing a hand-full of my finest sloppy compost onto the individuals hybrid Land Rover.

Another common name for this plant is Japanese mock orange because the scent put forth by its blossoms is similar to that of the sweet orange Citrus sinensis
. The variegated variety I grow here thrives under the canopy of my Post Oak, as it does in any shade.


Here is the same shrub pruned up like a tree – now I just need to wait 40 years . . tum te tum te tum etc….etc!

Other Ridiculous characters in the yard right now:



Like the old 80’s band… Dead or…………………..                           alive.

This guy is slowly devouring all of my fish. I see him occasionally in the
moonlight working on his political acumen whilst tormenting Gulf toads with a
seeming-less endless monologue about why they should migrate to the
equatorial Rain Forrest and not to a backyard habitat in Austin, Texas.
“Run toady, runnnnn”.



I have never had so many water lilies as this year, the pond is at full capacity. At least it cuts down on evaporation. The fish are hilarious, mass hysteria sets in as I approach, a frenzy ensues as I kick the side of the stock tank, (their audible signal for fine dining). Then a Michael Palin moment sets in as they try to circumnavigate the pond to find a path through the lilies to the small clearing where I feed them.



Right about . . here.



The lilies are lavender..



The lilies are tangerine.



On a final note, if at all possible in this heat, “always keep gravel headed” . . .  now that was bad!


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“Web Worms are Insulating my House”


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