Monday, September 20, 2010

Green Grasshopper - Take 2

Now that fall has arrived, the grasshoppers are plentiful, and the crisp sounds of their hopping can be heard as I walk through the garden. I was taking photos of some flowers a few days ago when this green one caught my eye. For some reason the green ones seem to stand out to me, as seen by this earlier post.

This grasshopper is sunning himself (see below) on a piece of driftwood, next to one of my flower beds, with Cosmos and Verbena Bonariensis in the background.

Click on the photo for a larger view.


One of the most important aspects of the life of a grasshopper is the seasonal cycle. Every day plays an important role in the seasonal cycle. The grasshopper usually starts his day right after dawn by looking for a place to warm up from the colder temperatures overnight. Most grasshoppers turn one side to the sunlight for a while before turning the other side to the sun, so they can warm up. After about one or two hours lying in the sun, grasshoppers then start to walk around, look for mates, or feed. Grasshoppers tend to be less active on cold or rainy days because they are cold-blooded insects.

The grasshopper typically forages for food twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. All grasshoppers feed on different kinds of plants and have different ways of taking their plants apart to get food from them. Grasshoppers are very picky about what they eat, and they often use their antennae to taste the plant and decide if it's worth eating before they consume it.

When looking for a mate, grasshoppers communicate through physical motions and verbal sounds. Grasshoppers make sounds with their hind legs and wings, and they have small ears in the front section of their abdomen. They also use their wings and hind legs to flash messages to each other, using their complicated eye to gather the messages and interpret them.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dilly Beans

I have done very little canning in the past several years, since our children grew up and left home. But this year....I just had a craving for some tangy, hot and spicy Dilly Beans! I grow the skinny French filet beans every year for fresh eating, but they are not good for canning, so I this year I ordered seed and planted two rows of green beans, just for the special purpose of making some Dilly Beans.

I picked this large bowl full of PROVIDER beans yesterday. The beans are thick and meaty, some over 6 inches long. I got them planted a bit late, because of our long rainy Spring, so they are just now coming into full production. They are growing next to a double row of 'Cut and Come Again' Zinnias in my garden, which provided the pretty backdrop for this photo.

The Pinetree Garden Seeds catalog tempted me with this description of PROVIDER beans;

"This is a popular stringless bean in New England. It is reasonably early on plants that are quite compact. Size is 5-6 inches and yield is good. Disease resistance is a strong point. The flavor is really different from other green beans and difficult to describe, maybe "beanier". This our bean of choice for making Dilly Beans. There are a number of strains of Provider, all pretty good, but we think this one from an Idaho grower is the best."

So, there you have it....good for Dilly Beans, and the fact that the seed came from an Idaho grower just helped to seal the deal for me! :-)

I had enough beans from one picking to make 7 quarts of delightful Dilly Beans, and some left over to snap for supper. They are very good for fresh eating as well. My hubby even commented on how great they tasted!


In case I have whetted your appetite, and you are now craving some Dilly Beans of your own, here is a link to get you started.