Entries to Win Afghan

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Shoal Creek Nature Preserve

We found the most wonderful small nature preserve today. It's just north of Florence, Alabama. About 300 acres and 5 miles of hiking trails, and a 2-mile horse trail.

There are several creeks through the tract. I think this one is Lawson Creek. We crossed the bridge and did the Lawson Trail loop.

Lawson Creek

Sunlight on running water sure is a welcome sight!

Lawson Creek

We immediately began seeing wildflowers. There are too many pictures today, and I won't even show you all of them. Here is Rue Anemone, Thalictrum thalictroides, a sweet little spring gem that is also found in the north.

Rue anemone

I wanted to take a picture of the back of this leaf (no ID yet), and look what I found when I looked at the photo on the computer! A cute little green spider. No ID on him either.

green spider

Of course, it seems like every natural place has to have it's own invasive species. This is a new one to me, but it was easy to find. It's a vine, with some early leaves that look like oak leaves, but the terminal leaves won't have the lobes. Well, I suspected it was a honeysuckle, and it is. Lonicera japonica, Japanese honeysuckle, is already banned in some states, and labeled noxious in others. It's virtually impossible to control once established, and crowds out native plants. Sigh.

japanese honeysuckle

Here comes the best find! I have added a new flower to my life list. This is Sweet-Betsy Trillium, also known as Large Toadshade, Trillium cuneatum. I kept looking for one that was all the way open, but now that I've studied the flower book, I think it's at its prime when the petals are still erect, and the open one is "over the hill." Either way, it's gorgeous. [species and upright habit confirmed with a real botanist]


I think it doesn't always have mottled leaves, either, but we saw everything from almost all dark green, to ones like this with almost no dark green.


I couldn't resist a closeup of the velvety stamens.


And when we were almost back at the start, a lovely female tiger swallowtail butterfly decided to dance around us, and she even let us take her picture.


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Sunday, March 30, 2014


I've seen both of these species of birds before, but never got pictures this good. I have nothing against our winter birdies, and will welcome the robins coming north, but it was awesome to see a couple that aren't often seen where I live.

First is the northern mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos. They just barely come as far north as I live, but are much more common in the south. They are common visitors to parks and urban areas, so getting a picture of one of them isn't too difficult.

northern mockingbird

I'm much more tickled to have caught this shot of the Rufous-sided (eastern) towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus. This bird is easy to hear, but not so easy to see.

eastern towhee

We spent most of today doing church activities, but there are plans to do some outside things as the week goes forward.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Blooming Trees

I am just feeling like I'm in temporary heaven with trees blossoming! [updated ID info in brackets]

Always so busy when visiting people that I'm too tired to say much at the end of the day, but I don't think you'll mind. The pictures speak for themselves. There is not a snowflake in sight.

This is a row of trees across the street from where we are staying. I think they are crabapples, but they are awfully large so I could be wrong. [I am wrong. The white ones are Bradford Pears- which produce no pears, but are often used for landscaping trees in this area.]




This looks like some sort of tree rose. [This one has been IDed for me as a red camellia. I didn't even know they came in that color!]


This is an azalea.


And a weeping cherry.

weeping cherry

Sigh... you'll never see every wonderful thing from this week. There's just too much. It's wonderful already and I've been here one day. Took a five mile walk this afternoon, too.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Fossils on the Way

At a rest area in southern Indiana, there was a large rock with a bunch of fossils in it, and an interpretive sign about the Falls of the Ohio State Park where there is a 200-acre Devonian fossil bed visible when the water is low. Wow! How had I never even heard of this? Of course, now I want to go see more than just this one sample. Here are a few of the fossils.




Here is one more picture of a couple of old f....riends. Don't even think it.


(This is a reflection in a window. Worked out OK, I think, except we made the rookie mistake of looking at the screen instead of the window.)

See Trail Work Day
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Arrival and Departure

I haven't seen any at my house, but have seen sandhill crane tracks at several work locations. Nice to know they have arrived, even if all they can find is snow.

sandhill crane tracks

Me, I'm working on a departure. Loretta and I are going to Alabama. We leave tomorrow morning! Gotta finish packing.

packing suitcase

See Crane or Heron
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Mailbox or the Deer

This story happened last week, and earlier, but I just got the mailbox picture today. Here's how to play tricks on your mind.

Let's start with earlier. Sometime last fall I was driving down a hill, in a snowstorm, always watching for deer, you know. I saw one! Right on the edge of the road too. But when I got there it was only a mailbox that was leaning.


OK, that picture probably didn't fool you, but maybe it gave you the idea. I have no clue exactly what road and mailbox were involved in this incident.

Fast forward to last week. Snowing again. Looked down the road. Not going to be fooled like that again. No sir (or ma'am). But I was. Those darned slanty mailboxes with another post (like for a paper box) showing are very deceptive.

Same day, maybe an hour later, I see another of those mailboxes.

When I got there, YIKES, it was a deer!


Who did just what you'd expect. Stood there and looked at me...


Then ran down the road.


See Hunting for Spring
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Housekeeping Notes


This is a meaningless post, but the OCD side of me says I must. Blogger has changed my ability to edit the template I've been using. Thus, the reason for the same background for almost a year. I'll be dealing with that one of these days.

The biggest annoyance is that the server where we had space for about ten years, and where all the pictures for this blog before 2011 were stored, has really gone away. I've slowly been getting the images put back on the older posts. It's really maddening, because I often link to older posts that have the same or overlapping topics.

If you follow a link and the pictures are missing, just let me know you'd like to see it and I'll fix it. My updating has been totally random- I just fix one as I go to it and see the pictures are missing.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Green and Blue

OK, if I can't have green and blue outside, or even much hope of it, I'll get them any way I can.





Guess what color we got more of here, today.

See Blue
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Cold Cakes

Cold cakes. As opposed to hot cakes- round flat things made hot on a griddle, and good with maple syrup.

Today the Muskegon River was serving up cold cakes- round flat things made cold by a never-ending winter.

You can't tell in a still photo, but they were being served up fast. Anyone who went in that water today would have a low probability of coming out alive. Big, fast, cold water.

Muskegon River

Ready? Here come some cold cakes. The last one has powdered sugar.

ice on the Muskegon River

ice on the Muskegon River

See Lake and River
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