Entries to Win Afghan

If you like my books, essays, etc. you might want to put your name on this private email list (no spam ever) for advance notices, coupons, and occasional freebies. Tell your friends too! Books Leaving Footprints Newsletter. Previous gifts include a short story, a poem and a half-off coupon for the newest book. Sign up, and don't miss out!"
Winners are: 3rd place- e-book of your choice: Wendy Nystrom. 2nd place- book of your choice, paper or e-book: Sue Ann Crawford. Winner of the afghan: Elaine Hull.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Zucchini Zoup

Why yez, it'z zucchini zoup.

zucchini soup

Yum. That is all.

(All zucchini donations accepted with smiles- despite the jokes about too much z vegetable in August)

See Houston, we have soup
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Amazing Adaptable Beetles

If you are going to have vermin in your kitchen, you might as well get something interesting from the experience, right?

I had a small bag of wheat flour that had been sitting in a styrofoam tray for quite a long time. I knew I was going to have to throw it out because the mice had chewed into the corners, and I could see that those tiny beetles that like flour had also taken over the territory. But I hadn't quite gotten into dealing with the mess yet.

Today I did. Just threw the whole thing into the compost and peeled off the plastic bag. But look what I found in the styrofoam tray.

styrofoam with beetle galleries

The tray has beetle galleries in it! Who knew they'd chew their way through styrofoam just like they do in wood? I guess they can digest it, since I didn't see hoards of dead beetles. Is there a waste management application here? When I was working on my Masters (in that topic) we learned that actually everything, even the nastiest chemicals, can be broken down naturally. The big question is... can they be broken down in a meaningful time frame?

Anyway, here's a closer look.

styrofoam with beetle galleries

Yes, those dark spots you see through the thin foam are more beetles, and/or larvae.

styrofoam with beetle galleries

Hope this didn't gross you out. I just think it's fascinating. And, also, there is no particular pattern to the galleries like there is with some of the wood eating beetles.

See Bark Beetle Galleries
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Oh Yes I Did! (See a New Plant)

You know any hike/outing where I see a new (to me) plant is an extra treat. I thought I didn't see a new one on this last hike, but tonight when I was looking at the pictures I discovered I was wrong.

I thought this was Swamp Rose Mallow. Pretty much a look-alike from a distance.

halberd-leaved rose mallow

But then I got a little excited when I looked in the book and saw that the dark throat is a better match for Halberd-leaved Rose Mallow.

halberd-leaved rose mallow

But did I get a good enough picture of the leaves to be sure? I did! Very distinctive. The name, Hibiscus militaris comes from this shape like a halberd or spear.

halberd-leaved rose mallow

Also note the funky buds.

What fun!

See Swamp Rose Mallow
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Horse Nettle

If I showed you this plant and asked you what it is, you might not know the exact answer, but you might say that the flowers look a lot like a tomato, or a potato, or maybe deadly nightshade.

horse nettle

You would be right on! They are all members of the Solanaceae family of plants. The flowers of this one can be white or purple. Very distinctive shape.

horse nettle

But the giveaway to identify this one is the soft spines on the stem. Solanum carolinense, horse nettle.

horse nettle

See Ag Report- Odds and Ends
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Northern Pearly-Eye

I'd love to show you a picture of this butterfly on some beautiful flower. But it landed on my car door, so that's the background you get. It's a northern pearly-eye, Enodia anthedon.

This is not an uncommon butterfly, but I don't recall noting it before. I probably wasn't looking closely because it doesn't have bright colors. Shame on me; it's really pretty.

northern pearly-eye

There is a southern pearly-eye, and a creole pearly-eye. They get progressively lighter colored.

Yesterday was a day of exhaustion, a sore foot, and rain. My goal was to do as little as possible, and I succeeded.

Today was better. This afternoon the sky was blue, the air was cool and I took a 3-mile walk just so I wouldn't forget how. Ha!

See Common Wood Nymph
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