Feb 17

Elbowbush or Spring Herald

Posted: under photography, Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , ,  February 17th, 2010

Elbowbush, either Forestiera pubescens or F. angustifolia (we have both species), is the first of our woody plants to flower in spring, and yesterday the first of the elbowbushes on the north fenceline west of the dry woods was opening.


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Feb 10

The Land Is Leaking (and Blooming)

Posted: under Land, Plantlife, Water.
Tags: , , ,  February 10th, 2010


The upstream part of the dry woods swale, with water seeping through the grass on both sides.   This area produces the best water quality, as most of the water has seeped through both rock and soil. Read the rest of this entry »

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Feb 05

First Anemone

Posted: under photography, Plantlife, Water.
Tags: , , , ,  February 5th, 2010


At the end an hour slogging around a very wet, running-water-wet field as the sun gets low, you might wonder why you didn’t go back before now.  Then you look down and there it is…the first one this spring.  The sheer audacity of it–that determined stem, those leaves reaching for sunlight, and then that fragile, pale pink flower.

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Jan 27

Reaching Towards Spring

Posted: under photography, Plantlife.
Tags: , ,  January 27th, 2010

A little rain, after the hard freeze…a week of warmer weather and some sun…and more plants have burst into bloom or begun to pop buds.   Here a rusty blackhaw viburnum’s buds have lengthened and changed color and texture, reaching out for another year’s growth:

rusty-blackhaw-viburnum-buds411 Read the rest of this entry »

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Jan 06

Cochineal Scale on Cactus (plus…)

Posted: under Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  January 6th, 2010

When we first got the place, an SCA friend asked if any of the cactus had cochineal bugs on it.  At that time, I didn’t find any.  But Monday, January 4, I found this prickly pear thickly covered with the scale insects:

closeup-cochineal-scale240 Read the rest of this entry »

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Dec 30

New Species! (And Big Bird)

Posted: under photography, Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , , ,  December 30th, 2009

During migration and winter we have a lot of birds in the grass–birds that fly up and dive down a little distance away, birds that fly up and perch in bushes, birds that fly up and away and dive down over there. Most of them are sparrows of some kind.    Today one of the “divers” posed long enough for me to note salient characteristics and even get some slightly blurry pictures–good enough for an ID:


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Dec 27

Midwinter Walk

Posted: under Activities, Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , ,  December 27th, 2009

We had clear dry weather today to get some work done, and no choir duties.   Our first chore was moving water iris taken from the lily pond (which had overgrown with them) out onto the land, to see if they’ll naturalize in some of the temporary pools.  We were successful with a few transplants a few years back.

floating-iris-pond063 Read the rest of this entry »

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Dec 18

Trees and Bees

Posted: under photography, Plantlife.
Tags: , ,  December 18th, 2009

Richard and Michael were up in the dry woods today to cut down our Christmas trees (we use Ashe junipers we’d want to get rid of anyway), and while they were looking for the right tree, they found a swarm of bees.   I wasn’t able to go out right away to photograph them, and by the time I did get out, mid-late afternoon, the bees were very, very, very active.    As in, those bees did not want anyone to come closer to where the swarm had been seen.

I’ve had bees (nice gentle Italian bees) and know that Africanized bees are in this county…so when a bee starts that “vrooom-vrooom” kind of humming/buzzing, I’m not inclined to argue with her.   I went on up the trail to Fox Pavilion.   The stonecrop is getting large enough to see; I love the delicate colors it has before its flowers open.

stonecrop-winter-forbs001 Read the rest of this entry »

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Dec 15

Mid-December Afternoon

Posted: under photography, Plantlife, Sky.
Tags: , , , ,  December 15th, 2009

A cold front cleared out the warm moist air of yesterday and gave us a brisk chill wind out of the north and partly-sunny skies.   So a long walk in the afternoon, producing (as usual) many interesting and beautiful things to see and think about.

First was a mockingbird’s nest in an osage orange or bois d’arc tree:

winter-nest407 Read the rest of this entry »

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