Jul 31, 2009

Where is Jessica?

Hmm, where could I be?

Me being silly in the car. Pardon, my hair as we were up most of the night driving. Add to that the humidity. Phew!

CLUE 1: I am east of Michigan but still in the United States.

Beautiful scenic views on the highway to our mystery destination.

CLUE 2: I am seeing insects I normally don't see in my part of the country.

Very cool looking fly in the backyard of one of the folks we are visiting. I would love to get an ID on this guy but I am tired of searching for the moment.

CLUE 3: It is a very diverse urban area with any number of styles of restaurants.

My husband, Dave, and I out to dinner tonight.

Any guesses?


Jul 30, 2009

Blooming Thursday

I decided to implement something I have read on a couple of different blogs. Once a week, you post what is blooming in your area, whether it is wild or in your garden. For more examples of this, try these quality blogs:




So without further ado, here are the flowers blooming today in my yard.

Black Knight Buddleia (I am just really close and in bright light. It looks much darker to the naked eye)

Two kinds of snapdragons that I took from my mother's garden years ago. These are actually from the same woody stem every year. I have managed to perennialize them by extreme coddling in the winter.

My mother in law's Rose of Sharon tree in bloom. She says it has been here as long as she can remember, and she grew up in this house. Possibly her mom or dad planted it.

My mother in law's Easter Egg plant is flowering too.

Last but not least is...

Wild Chicory. This is my favorite wildflower. Not only does it have nutritional and medicinal purposes but it is beautiful as well. There is something about their blue little blossoms waving in the summer breeze that makes me smile. To me, they are a symbol of summer as strong as ice cream, fireworks and beach sand.

What is blooming in your area? I would love to here about it!


Jul 19, 2009

Update on Slug Love

I blogged the other night about the mating process of slugs. In it, I mentioned not staying up to try and catch the actual mating portion. I stand corrected. On a whim, I went outside one last time with camera in hand. I was hoping that just maybe I had caught the end of the courtship rather than the beginning.

Upon stepping outside, I didn't see the slugs at all. Then I noticed a faint glimmer of moonlight on their slime trail. Using my expert detective skills, I followed the trail down the sidewalk and up the side of the house. There were our lovers in their twisted embrace, fully in the mating process.

So here for your viewing pleasure is the mating tiger slugs in all their sluggy glory.

On a completely different but still creepy crawly note, here is a little spider I found this morning. She was near the same location as the slug mating from two nights ago. I love how my camera picked up the water droplets in her web. The smaller spider was dead and I am assuming a snack for later.


Jul 18, 2009

Slug Love

From Wikipedia: Limax maximus (literally, "great slug"), also known by common names such as the great grey slug, or the leopard slug, is one of the largest kinds of keeled air-breathing land slug in the world, (Limax cinereoniger being the largest). It is in the family Limacidae, the keeled slugs.

I will photograph just about anything and this post definitely shows this truth. As an avid gardener, my brain says I should get rid of these foul beasts. The naturalist and photographer in me says otherwise. So here I am at a quarter until 1 in the morning photographing tiger slug courtship. Talk about a wild nightlife.

The Chase is On

The mating habits of Limax maximus are considered unusual among slugs: the hermaphrodite slugs court, usually for hours, by circling and licking each other. After this, the slugs will climb into a tree or other high area and then, entwined together, lower themselves on a thick string of mucus, evert their white translucent mating organs (penises) from their gonopores (openings on the right side of the head), entwine these organs, and exchange sperm. Both participants will later lay hundreds of eggs.

While I find the topic of slug mating quite interesting I am not staying up several hours just to photograph the actual deed. There are photos on the Wiki page though.


For a lovely blog post extolling slug love, try this one:



Jul 17, 2009

Wandering Around the Countryside

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost ~ The Road Not Taken

My family can often be found taking a scenic route to where ever we may be going. It is always fun to see what may be discovered if you stray from your normal path. The first photo was from Monday's trip to the grocery store. The second from a trip to our good friends' house on Wednesday. Both were taken while taking a scenic, lazy drive.

Herd of cattle with calves. Did you notice the three calves laying in the grass?

Four Greater Sandhill Crane. This is a Life Sighting for me! For those of you who don't bird watch, this means I have never seen them in their natural habitat. Zoos and Aviaries don't count. At one point they were almost completely gone in lower Michigan but have had a come back over recent years. http://www.bakersanctuary.org/crane.html

On a more personal side note, my cousin is home for a short visit. She lives in Japan, where her husband is stationed with the US Marine Corp. It was so nice to see her. Here is My cousin, her youngest daughter and me. I am in the red tropical shirt.


Jul 10, 2009

Busy Week

It's been a busy week and I apologize for ignoring my blog and other internet activities. Between laundry, baking, other chores, visitors on several days and a trip to the movie theater, we have been busy as bees. By the way, "Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" got two thumbs up from all of us. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1080016/

Today's photo share is a before and after of the field that I affectionately refer to as the prairie. My father in law came over and mowed as it was well over waist high. While I was sad to see it go, we still live some what in town and the neighbors don't like having a "prairie" behind their homes. Plus the ticks are bad this year. Also, make sure you take a look at the last photo. It is a visitor that took up residence in the drainage ditch for our sump pump.

The back prairie before mowing with waist high growth.

The back prairie after mowing. Note you can actually see a neighbor's home in the background.

Green Frog (Rana clamitans) living in our sump pump ditch. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rana_clamitans


Jul 3, 2009

Midsummer Scavenger Hunt Challenge

One of my favorite blogs to read and reflect is Flandrum Hill, http://flandrumhill.wordpress.com/. Over there Amy posted a scavenger hunt. The object is to is to take five photographs of natural subjects that expresses the five elements of Chinese philosophy: Fire, Water, Metal, Earth & Wood. Here are my entries:

"Wood (Green) is the element of growth and creativity, associated with the Spring. It is a masculine element with a dark side of anger and depression." Moss growing on the side of the house.

"Water (Blue) is a feminine, flowing element associated with patience and quite strength, but it can also generate fear with its power." Vetch blooming in the back field.

"Fire (Red) is a dynamic, masculine element which moves upwards, and it is associated with joy and luck. When fire goes bad, it brings about hate." View of purple plum tree from under the canopy.

"Earth (Brown) balances feminine and masculine elements, with a tendency to conserve, consolidate, and strengthen. Anxiety and disquiet are associated with earth imbalances." Bark from a tree in our yard.

"Metal (Silver), the final element, is feminine, with a contracting energy and the ability to conduct and control emotion. The negative association with metal is grief." Beef bone from the dog's outside area.

If you want to participate go look at Amy's blog http://flandrumhill.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/a-midsummers-scavenger-hunt/

Descriptions of the elements came from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-five-elements-of-chinese-philosophy.htm


Jul 2, 2009

The Grass is Greener On the Other Side

Three times yesterday our flock escaped from the coop. I would send the boys out to herd them in and sternly remind them to latch the gate shut. Twenty minutes later I would hear loud clucking and quacking right outside the window and the flock would be on the loose again. Finally the third time this happened, I went out to investigate and do a impromptu photo shoot. The problem ended up being with the gate post. It has shifted slightly in the ground so the latch is not catching all the way.

In other ducky news, they have all been named. The two Rouen ducks were named Roe & Wynn. The two Pekin ducks were named Angel and Winifred (Wini for short).

So here are some photos of The Great Escape starring our flock of poultry. Enjoy!

Clockwise from top left: Goldie, Miss Queen, Amber & Checkers.

Amber and Checkers


Roe, Angel, Wini & Wynn digging in the mud.

Roe with her head buried in the mud.