So I have some totally cool, super rad things to tell you about! This is kind of a random post… but these things are too cool to NOT mention.
Ok, so… about a month ago we started noticing this really trippy sound outside. It sounds like we’re under a powerline (which we are obviously not). It’s this really strange constant buzzing noise accompanied by a methodical chewing noise way up in our pine trees. We don’t remember this sound from last year, and it was really making us a little crazy.
Originally we thought pine beetles. Pine beetles are a big problem in this area, and destroy pine trees in quick time in CO, creating a massive fire hazard. But when I researched pine beetles, we didn’t have any of the “symptoms” in our trees. No sawdust piles on the ground, no holes in the bark, no yellowing of the trees. One of R’s co-workers suggested maybe the sap running through the trees is making the sound (now that they’ve thawed out from Winter), since we had done a lot of limbing of our trees recently. There is quite a bit of sap running down some of our trees. That seemed reasonable, until we took Loki for a long walk down one of our nearby roads, and the trippy sound was everywhere. Then someone mentioned cicadas.
Honestly I didn’t think too much of that idea at first. I had never heard of cicadas in this part of the country. That always seemed more of a mid-west kind of thing. It took a few days for me to finally sit down and do some research about cicadas. So I’m reading about cicadas, not really seeing anything significant, until I literally googled “electricity noise in pine trees” and cicadas came up! Then I saw a picture of their exoskeletons that they shed. We had these little skeletons EVERYWHERE in our garden about a month ago and couldn’t figure out what they were!
Ok, so now I’m reading all about cicadas, and learning that every 13 or 17 years (it’s very precise), they come up out of the ground, shed their skeletons, fly up into the pine trees, eat sap (that chewing noise) for a 4-6 weeks, then the females lay their eggs in the trees, the eggs hatch and the larve fall to the ground, at which point they dig deep into the Earth, attach to a tree root, stay there for 13 or 17 years, then dig up and do it all again. How weird, right?! I also found this random article from August 2016 from somewhere in Ohio I think, saying to prepare for cicadas this coming year because it’s been 17 years!
Then, if all this isn’t weird and cool enough, just the other day at my day job in town, this crazy looking bug flew into the lobby. I caught it in a clear cup and had no clue what it was, then one of my co-workers was all, “oh cool, a cicada.” Totally enthralled, I told him all about all the research I’d done about cicadas and about that crazy noise in our trees at our house. Then, get this, he tells me his family moved here 13 years ago, and he remembers hearing that noise when they first moved here, and hadn’t heard it again until this year. WHAT?! Cicadas are so freaking cool. I can’t even stand it. Ok, so that’s cool thing #1.
Cool thing #2. We’ve gotten pretty familiar with all the weeds that grow here, while pulling them from our garden beds. A couple of weeks ago, this weird thing popped out of the ground in our arugula bed that we didn’t recognize. It was just a pink spear. Not knowing what it was, we decided to let it grow. As it got bigger, it looked more and more like asparagus. Pink asparagus? And why just one random spear?
It kept growing and kept looking like asparagus, and it didn’t make any sense. So I sat down with google again. After quite a bit of online digging, discovered it’s actually a type of fungus called Pinedrops. They’re attached to ponderosa pine roots and come up as these weird asparagus-looking things. Ironically, one of my favorite seasonal beers from Deschutes is called Pinedrops. We’ve decided to let it grow. It’s pretty strange looking.
In other news, It’s hot and dry and buggy here. This is officially my least favorite time of year. The cedar gnats (or no-see-ums as they’re also known) are out in full force and totally destroying us. These freaking gnats are only out from about Memorial Day until monsoons come through, but my are they obnoxious. Instead of puncturing your skin like mosquitos do, they actually have little tiny saws for mouths and cut your skin open to suck your blood, while injecting anti-coagulant into your system. Isn’t that lovely. I appear to be allergic to their anti-coagulant. I’m so red and itchy and swollen and miserable right now. Poor Loki gets it bad around his hairless boy parts. We both get dopey on benadryl from time to time.
They’re out during the hottest part of the day, which is like 10am to 6pm these days (which is why I’m inside blogging right now). Ugh. We can’t wait for monsoons to come. R’s Mom sent us this really awesome bug repellant from doTerra called TerraShield that works well, but even having them buzzing around your face isn’t all that pleasant. So outside chores are saved for early morning and evening these days.
And here’s some other pics from the homestead I think you’ll enjoy! While I drink beer and try not to scratch myself…