Monday, July 12, 2010

A good weekend

I had thought I might want to rent a movie this weekend, but when I really thought about it, I realized I'd rather read and go on a nice walk with Marija and Joe.

So after we spent Saturday trying to fix up bikes and water heaters and the like (does anyone know why a water heater would mysteriously stop leaking?), we went to church Sunday and I read a couple articles and we ate Joe's strawberry sorbet and then we headed out to Laurel Springs Park near here.

Laurel Springs is perhaps most famous for its playground, which is so neat that even Joe went over to play with a digging machine in the sand area, but we spent most of our time investigating a walking trail that goes all around. Parts went along sunny edges of baseball fields, where grasshoppers flew out near our stepping feet, and other parts went through the shade, where we breathed deep because of the warm piney fragrance.

Marija talked to herself a long time, and clapped cautiously when a nearby ballfield erupted with cheers, but she quieted down about halfway. I found a thicket of blackberries and couldn't leave them uneaten, even though we'd already had desert.

Movies can wait until winter.

Maybe tomorrow I will get to post the pictures I've taken of Marija lately.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence

After a visit to see my parents and Vecmamma and Selin, Joe and I drove back down to see the fireworks in Waldorf.

We got there early, so we parked in the perfect spot, on the side of the road between two scenic little lakes. Joe stayed in the car with the sleeping baby while I walked to see the ducks. Later we sat in the grass and read about how to build your own log cabin on the cheap. The family near us had two cute little children. Someone offered us free popsicles, but we were full.

The fireworks were beautiful -- and Marija slept through the whole thing! Joe was disappointed because he wanted to see how she'd like them, but I enjoyed the peace.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

So cool but so ew ew ew

I was pretty excited when I found out the caterpillars returned to our dill plants this year, but even those cool striped creatures pale in comparison with this three-inch-long garden discovery:

I haven't seen anything like it, but I guessed it was one of the tomato hornworm caterpillars I've heard about, since it was on the tomatoes, it's a caterpillar, and it has a little horn. I checked into it, and it's actually the related tobacco hornworm, apparently.

But it's a parasitized tobacco hornworm. That means those white things on its back are wasp eggs, laid in the back of a host caterpillar that will eventually be killed by emerging parasitic wasps!

I probably should just have let it be, but since the caterpillar was still alive, I plucked it off my tomato and moved it across the yard, trying to disturb as few of the eggs as possible. The caterpillar squirmed, and even though I was wearing gloves, I squealed in an enthralled-but-viscerally-disgusted kind of way.

I wonder what my neighbors think if they overheard my gardening pursuits. Meanwhile, Joe and I have been trying to work the word parasitized into our daily conversations. And I should soon have a little squad of defender-wasps protecting my garden in their own parasitic way.

Nature is weird.