Wednesday, April 08, 2009

SPRING dacha days

After being away from our dacha for about a month (!), we've had two wonderful days there recently.

On April 2 we planted
  • mustard greens (I hope Will likes them as much as he says!  We have a whole row.)
  • spinach (So excited to find that here!)
  • marigolds
  • some old salvia seeds (Not too much hope of seeing any results there.)
  • baby lupine plants, along with some old lupine seeds
  • the poor lavender plants that have been wanting to go into the ground for so long
  • peonies!
  • and peas for the children.
The greens that we had planted under a window frame so long ago were up and looking great, but none of the little bottle "greenhouses" were successful.

Yesterday we planted
  • morning glories
  • two kinds of petunias (Jaan)
  • calendula (Raia)
And we did lots of exploring, observing, and wallowing in dirt.  We had also lost a tree , so Will cut it up.  The most amazing part was the flowers!  When we got there in the morning, I could tell that we would have a few blooms soon.  I went around and took pictures of a fat daffodil bud and some on the apricot tree.  They looked like they would be blooming the soonest.  And by the time we left in the evening, they were open!

And of course, a day outside wouldn't be complete without a nature discovery.  After lunch, Will put the girls down for naps, and I settled down to read outside.  Jaan was supposed to just be quiet, so he was sitting up in the top of a tree.  We've been curious about the small holes in the ground that we've been seeing around here lately.  There were several right near me, and I saw movement in them.  I waited, and soon a beetle poked its head out of the one nearest to me  As soon as I moved, he hid again.  I called Jaan over, and we set the camera up, aimed at the hole.  When the beetle started to come out again, we got this photo:

We also watched one of these beetles cut off a dandelion leaf and drag it home.  And then we dug one up to show the girls when they woke up.  Asya was especially thrilled to have a new "baby" to play with.

Last night Will and I figured out what the beetles are: Кравчик-головач (Lethrus apterus). Unfortuntely, they're a vineyard pest.  Yes, they're concentrated around where our grapes grow.  I don't think they'll be a problem, though.  We have enough grape vines to share.  We started out thinking that maybe our beetle was a kind of scarab beetle, but the body shape wasn't quite right.  And why would it have been carrying leaves?  So, we kept searching and found this.  The article I linked to is quite interesting.  (Sorry, it's in Russian, though.)  I'm planning to read it to Jaan and Raia.

I put the rest of the photos from yesterday in a Facebook album.  (You should be able to view them, even without a Facebook account.)


Wendy said...

Isn't it a blessing to be out in the earth again. That's quite a beetle!

MissElaineous said...

Yea for spring starting to peek its head up.

Baba Julie said...

How neat! So, the pretty blossoms and tree are an apricot? Exciting! I would love that! And, the beetle is wonderful! So glad that Asya has another "baby"! Love to all!

Stephanie in AR said...

Spring is so beautiful! We are beginning to notice more insects though the daffodils are nearly gone.

Anonymous said...

Until the flower actually opens, the ones on the tree look like radishes, so I'm calling them Blooming Radishes.

Speaking of blooming, we have dogwoods in full bloom and many azaleas also, all over the place. Springtime in Charlotte is always beautiful. Our Russian lupines are doing what they do well--multiplying--and I think we'll have a decent show from them later!

much love,