Yes, yes, yes…I see them. Those oaks ARE beautiful! But, really, I do want to talk about that mud puddle. Because, I want to talk about Mud Daubers. This unbelievably beautiful view is off the front porch of Rochelle Plantation’s main house. That direction we are looking is the finest selection of coastal plain of the South Carolina Santee River Delta I can find and I am lucky enough to get to wake here and have some coffee and walk about. We are looking East towards Bulls Bay, ultimately leading to the Atlantic Ocean. Very close to being beneath sea level, too. So, the bugs around these parts are plentiful and varied and important and some can be super cool and interesting. Like, the Mud Daubers, or Dirt Daubers, or Sphecidae Wasps, a category of thread-waisted wasps that build their nests from mud and cling them to the side of the cabin. Or, porch. Or, bury them up in the bow of your jon boat. These wasps abound around Rochelle. I have seen their nests all over the joint. They fly down to that particular mud puddle there after a rain and navigate their tiny bodies to the rim and collect their material for home building. They are non-aggressive to humans. No need to fear. What they really want to eat and feed their young and store in their tubular larders are Black Widows. Dang, can you say “Thank you?”
I shot this photograph while touring the coastal plain of South Carolina. The Longleaf pine, Pinus palustris, is the probably the most majestic of the natives of the forest of the savanna reaching heights of 100 feet. The natural resistance to forest fires creates this particular habitat above of wide open spaces and pine needle beds. Early settlers of the states released their hogs to feed beneath these trees and the hogs took to the environment nibbling away at the saplings causing a disruption in the ecosystem. This disruption and endangerment to the tree, introduced by man, has consequences that continue today. One emergency that comes to mind is the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, which is dependent upon this beauty for her seeds. But, don’t stop here if you are reading this post. There is so much interesting information available on the web including Wikipedia about this tree. The Longleaf Alliance might make a better read on this subject than my attempt here today, as well. Please go see.
Wow! I am very lucky some days and I get to visit places that look like this. Airy Hall in Charleston, South Carolina is a private piece of heaven and this is the ancient Live Oak, or Quercus virginiana, drive way. She is underplanted with lime shaded, gorgeous annual Ryegrass or Lolium multiflorum. Used for color, beauty and erosion control out of doors and quick growing (seeding almost overnight) color terrarium extravaganza indoors by me (see category). And, I must credit myself with the photo, though, I would like to make sure that everyone knows that I have not always used mine own photographs and will continue to find others that enchant me….however, I will try and find the author and give credit where credit is due!