Jun 02

Back to Reality

Posted: under Activities, photography, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , ,  June 2nd, 2017

Yesterday morning as I went outside, I saw a very small cicada on the kitchen storm door.   I thought immediately of one seen some years back (turned out to be four years) in the same place, photographed then and identified by Bill Reynolds, an expert on cicadas at BugGuide.net.  First I went back inside and got the camera, then photographed it, then went to BugGuide to compare…and sure enough, it’s the same critter.  Length about 1/2 inch (not counting wings.)

Pacarina puella  Little Mesquite cicada

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Jun 02

A Bit of Fun

Posted: under Uncategorized.
Tags: ,  June 2nd, 2017

There’s a site that will generate imaginary moths if you retweet its Twitter account (@mothgenerator) and tweet you an image of the same.   I thought it would be fun to see if I could get it to do an 80-acres moth.  And it did.   Turns out whatever message you send that account turns into a moth named whatever you sent, with “the” in front and “moth” after.  Here’s the 80 acres moth

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May 31

New (so far) Species

Posted: under Officialdom, Water, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  May 31st, 2017

When talking about a new species, I need to make clear that it can have different meanings here:  1) a species we have not previously identified on the 80 acres (could be IDed or not, photographed or not…just something new seen), 2) a species not previously identified here which is documented, IDed, and added to the list, 3) a species none of the experts consulted can identify and consider a new (to science) species.

So what have we had this spring in any of the categories?   First, a planthopper that hasn’t been IDed yet…it’s been photographed, but not as well as I’d like.  It was on the kitchen windowscreen one late afternoon, and the next day (when the light might’ve been better) it wasn’t.

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Jun 19

Mystery Plant: New One for the 80Acres Plantlist

Posted: under Plantlife.
Tags: ,  June 19th, 2016

R- found a tall blooming plant Saturday, June 18, that he didn’t recognize: a colony growing  in the creek woods, in the ‘swamp’ area, now very wet again.  There’s a kind of “sandbar” (except it’s not sand, but alluvial mix from flash floods including black clay)  that gets midday sun.  He found a colony of these, 4 feet and more tall, and since he didn’t have a camera with him, he pulled the shortest one to bring back and show me.  It was about four feet.  By the time it got back to the house, it was fairly limp, the main stalk actually broken.  I snipped it short enough to fit in a pitcher, hoping it would perk up.  Some of the pictures were taken shortly after that; over time it did regain turgor so this morning I set it outside for a bit and took more pictures.

lg-resize-Mystery-plant-drooping
Clearly Mint Family–square stem, opposite leaves, flower shape.


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Jun 19

June 16, 2015 Is the Rain Over?

Posted: under Activities, Land, photography, Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , ,  June 19th, 2016

The rain stopped a week ago; the winter grasses are brown or browning, the early wildflowers have gone to seed.  But soil moisture is still good. The tallgrasses (switchgrass, Eastern gama, Indiangrass, big bluestem) are doing very well (switchgrass in the secondary drainage is taller than we are.)   There’s an area in the east grass we call “The Bowl” because it’s a roundish area that seeps in wet weather as it slopes down to the old drainage line.  It stays green longer.  When we got the place, it was covered with broomweed (non-native), bare under the broomweed with a few scattered grass plants, not doing well because of the chemical defense of the broomweek.  Today it looks like this:

The-Bowl-06-16-2016
You can see the upslope edge (pale beige of dry grass)
Every different shade of green, every native plant, reveals something about the soil where it is.


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Jun 19

May 5, 2016, Between Rain Events

Posted: under Activities, photography, Plantlife, Water, Weather.
 June 19th, 2016

Most but not all the surface water has dried up, soils that were seeping and running with water last week are dry enough to walk on in regular shoes.

Gaillardia-Qanne"s-lace-05-05-2016
Main grass: Queen Anne’s Lace, gaillardia, scattered bluebonnets
stiff-stem prairie flax, coreopsis, goldthread, Venus’s looking glass,
skullcap, green antelope horns, others


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Jun 19

Earth Day 2016

Posted: under Activities, Land, photography, Water, Weather, Wildlife.
 June 19th, 2016

Lg-main-grass-4-22-2016

Earth Day 2016

It had rained in the day before, and dawned cool, with a northeast breeze–a perfect day to go checking the water quality on the east half of the place.  Not as much rain as the previous weekend, so with some difficulty I was able to make it from place to place in ordinary walking shoes.  In the distance, the line of woods along the seasonal creek; to the left the “dry woods” growing on a hump of rock.  Out of sight to the left, the line of trees along an old ditch dug by a former farmer, intended to carry runoff from the highway to the south property line .   A beautiful day, with signs of recovery from the drought…and signs of much management still needed.

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Jul 21

Queen of the Prairie: Big Bluestem

Posted: under Activities, photography, Plantlife.
Tags: , ,  July 21st, 2015

big-bluestem-CloudPav-7-21-15 Why it’s called BIG bluestem: the pole is six feet tall

Four grasses form the foundation of the tallgrass prairie biome in the US: Big Bluestem, Switchgrass, Indiangrass, and Eastern Gama.  Before this land was broken to the plow, fingers of tallgrass prairie existed here in the wetter lower spots, with midgrass (Little Bluestem, Sideoats Grama, Vine Mesquite, etc)  prairie on dryer slopes and shortgrass on the rockiest areas.  This is not quite the southernmost bit of tallgrass country, but it’s getting there.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct 17

October Butterflies & a Moth

Posted: under photography, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  October 17th, 2013

October-west-grass042

A cool sunny day after some rain: grass is green,  fall flowers are in bloom–including some non-fall flowers, like a pear tree.  Monarchs are migrating through, and this afternoon were busy among the Maximilian sunflowers.  Most of those are short this year (dry previous winter and spring) but loaded with flowers.   In this patch alone  (a few yards across) I saw five or six monarchs at a time.

monarch-Max-sunflower015

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Apr 13

April on the Land

Posted: under Activities, photography, Plantlife, Water, Weather, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , ,  April 13th, 2013

It was a dry fall, after a dry summer, and a dry winter followed the dry fall.  Other places got rain–sometimes nearby–but we had none for months.  March brought a little–April has brought a little–and now we have some flowers.

hist-adj_bluebonnets

The bluebonnets may be only 4-5 inches tall, instead of knee-high, but they’re there–in a few places–and should be able to make seed for another year.    We had more through most of the dry winter, but many finally just died–or were eaten, since they were the only green thing out there.

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