I spent a nice time today just looking at the plants and insects around the Hermits’ Rest. As I was walking down the path I enjoyed the Mexican Hat flowers (Ratibida columnifera or upright prairie coneflower).
I’ve always loved these plants, because they look cheerful, have cool leaves, smell interesting, and attract lots of insects.
I’m glad they are all along the drive between the two main houses, because I get to be distracted by the butterflies, bees, and bugs.
What’s weird is that I’ve been noticing weird flowers in the Mexican Hats. Really weird flowers.
They range from double flowers to extra flowers growing out of the cones to multiple cones. It’s quite odd.
Of course these aren’t “normal.” I see no flowers like that along the roadside. These flowers are next to the field where the oats were grown that became this year’s silage for the cows on the land we’ve leased out. They applied herbicide to get rid of non-oats, and it landed on the edges of the oats.
I feel bad for the flowers, but we gave permission for the spraying. That’s modern farming. As a Naturalist I may have a different viewpoint, but these folks need to make a living and feed their cattle efficiently. And they ARE cute when they are young.
There’s plenty of wild space here at the ranch, so I’m happy. Look at this gorgeous milkweed beetle!
It’s grasshopper season, too. There are just “a few” in the pasture where Sara’s horses are.
And I just have to say some of the bugs make me smile. This flower scarab beetle with its pollen butt is just cute.
I’m very grateful to have so many things to discover and observe here. I really enjoy sharing it with all of you. It’s a great journey.