Entries to Win Afghan

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Trail Lost

Went hiking one of my standby short trails today at Scottville Riverside Park. Hadn't been on the whole trail this year. Sad to say, it's in complete disrepair and covered with nettles, Japanese barberry and poison ivy. Had to do some serious clean up when I got home.

But that didn't stop me from finding some nice photo ops. Of course, the Pere Marquette River is always the main attraction.

Pere Marquette River

You know I like to do close-ups of the ripples.

Pere Marquette River

If you don't like your ripples in water, how about in wood?

grained wood log

I love how the afternoon sun lighted up some things and left others in shadow.

sun on leaves

I think this one might be my favorite. I can't decide if it looks like a caterpillar, or a volcanic slug dripping oily flames into the water. It's certainly not just ordinary moss.

moss on a log

See Quiet River
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Nothing Left to See?

Sometimes I think that my commonly taken three-mile road walk has become boring. There are no particular high quality ecosystems along the route, they paved the last piece this summer, so there's no longer even any dirt road portion.

Sometimes I think I won't bother to take the camera with me. Glad I don't follow through with that thinking. Here are three scenes from this evening.

First, the sandhill cranes flew over. I wasn't even alerted by rattling cries; I just looked up and saw them as they flew over silently. These are times I'm glad of the auto camera settings. I'd never have time to get all the manual adjustments made.

sandhill cranes

Next, I was squinting out over a cattail marsh trying to see into the small open water. Sometimes there are wood ducks over there, although I haven't gotten a good picture of one yet. Too far away. However, I liked the sky and the light and the shapes of the trees. Sort of looks like a painting of the Hudson River School.

light on marsh

Later, the sun was getting lower (in my eyes, actually), when I realized the light was making inverted scallops of the wires, to mirror the edging of the cloud tops.

light on wires

And I took a couple of pictures of plants. Not too shabby for a walk where there is "nothing left to see."

See Fire on the Space Station
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Monday, September 28, 2015

Butterflies Like Purple!

OK, butterflies like all kinds of colors of flowers. But I recently got two good pictures on purple flowers.

The first was in New York, a monarch butterfly on New York ironweed. Incidentally, you'll never see a truer, darker purple in nature than ironweed, Vernonia noveboracensis

Monarch butterfly on New York ironweed

The other picture I took just a couple of days ago. It's a common cabbage butterfly on New England aster. And while we're doing "incidentallys," this lighter shade of the New England aster seems to be quite common here. It must have gotten established and I see fields of it mixed with the darker ones.

Monarch butterfly on New York ironweed

I never get tired of seeing sights like these!

See Something Worth Looking At?
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Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Blast from the Sky

On our hike yesterday we saw something that wasn't super unusual, although one doesn't always see them of such recent origin.

This first picture is for scale. You can see the people looking up at the tree. Notice there's a stripe on it.

lightning struck tree

I tried to take a picture looking up the trunk. The peeled strip was only 2-3 inches wide. Yup, this tree was hit by lightning, quite recently. We found strips of bark blown 50 feet away from the tree.

lightning struck tree

Guess what? Some of the lightning strike jumped over to a nearby tree. There are two of them!

lightning struck tree

These trees will probably heal and go on living. Of course, whenever a tree is wounded bugs or fungus have an easier time getting a foothold. If you pay attention in the woods you can find quite a few trees with scarred strips running down their length from their own encounters with a blast from the sky.

See the hike on which we saw this
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Saturday, September 26, 2015

North Country National Scenic Trail Day

Across the whole 4600 miles of the North Country Trail, hikes and events were held today. Our chapter did about seven miles on the trail that cross the Big Sable River. Here Loren gets the camera set up to take a picture of all of us.

taking a photo

And, here we are... all 15 of us. A good group, lots of new people.

hiking group on a bridge

We saw quite a few interesting things. I'm saving a couple of them for another day to really explain them better. Today I'll just concentrate on the river. In the floodplain, the ostrich fern is turning orange and gold. It always looks so pretty in the sun.

autumn ferns

Loren and I thought our shadows on the water looked friendly.

hiker shadows

It was a great time. Of course now my sleep time is really messed up. Night work, sleep an hour, up all morning, doze off in the afternoon, now I'm awake. Wonder what I'll be like tomorrow? It's an adventure every weekend.

5 Mile Road south, out and back, Lake County, MI

See July 2012 hike on pretty much same trail (overlapped)
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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Why I Am No Mycological Expert

Here's a pretty little orange mushroom. Looks like it would be easy to ID, right?

orange mushroom

Ha! OK, it's either Jack-O-Lantern (definitely poisonous), or Red Chanterelle (highly edible), or a False Chanterelle (not really poisonous, but not great to eat). Well, that info doesn't help one little bit.

Size- these ones were about 1.5 to 2 inches across. Not huge, which seems to suggest not Jack-O-Lantern. Location- growing from the ground (not on dead wood or from tree roots or stumps), same suggestion as above.

Gills- I did remember to take a picture. It does not help much. The gills extend down the stalk, called decurrent. General shape- starts flatish, becomes funnel shaped with downcurved edges. All of the choices are ditto.

orange mushroom

Here's a difference. The chanterelle gills are forked. Let's look closer. I see those forks! That pretty much eliminates the Jack-O-Lantern.

orange mushroom

Now, what about the False Chanterelle? The main difference (except the color of the spore print which I simply can't be bothered to deal with... collecting samples, labeling, bringing home, drying, placing on light and dark paper, waiting... see I care more about plant ID than fungus) is that the false one has many branches in the gills.

The true Chanterelle has blunter edges on the gills and the base of the stalk can be white to yellowish. Seems right. But the false one is broader at the base, which fits this one. Of course any of these things could have an exception on one sample.

My best guess is Red Chanterelle, Cantharellus cinnabarinus. Am I certain enough to eat it? Not on your life.

The book says ID of Red Chanterelle is fairly easy. Well, I think I'd want more samples confirmed by an expert. Experience is a great teacher, and I'm sorely lacking in this field.

See Nestcap Fungus
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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Howe Lake

Here's a little lake near Luther, Michigan. It's really not much more than a pond. Howe Lake. But the road curves around it and there always seems to be something pretty to see when I drive by, so I have to stop to take pictures.

Howe Lake

The first hints of autumn color are beginning. Seems a little later than usual, but we haven't been too dry. That keeps things green.

Howe Lake

Details always grab my eye. The cornflower blue of the water really had my attention.

water lilies

And a reflected sunken log turned into chevrons defining the edge of another reflection.

reflected log

Howe Lake showed up once before, in the last photo of My Favorite Sandwiches.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Same and Different

I'm always fascinated by the textures of water surfaces in different lights. I can let my eyes unfocus and see the patterns shifting and swirling, the colors weaving in and out. Yet it's so hard to capture that with a camera. Our brains must do some editing on the raw data.

But here are two attempts at sharing the moods of Pentwater Lake with you.

rippled water

rippled water

Ready to call it a day. Tomorrow is work.

See Ripple-y
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Monday, September 21, 2015

Full Size or Miniature?

Went for a short walk today on the North Country Trail north of Timber Creek. Do you prefer your forest full size?

North Country Trail

or miniature?

moss sporangia

Timber Creek Trailhead US 10, north out and back, Lake County, MI

See Almost Good Timing at Timber Creek
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Sunday, September 20, 2015

More Fun! What, Me Work?

Just call me Maynard G. Krebs. And if you are old enough to understand this joke, you'll know how young we are. Today after church I headed for Pentwater to spend time with Loretta, GayLynne and Paula. Loretta leaves to go home in the morning. So sad.

We sure do have fun when she's here.


Lunch, fooling around, games, and watching the sunset over Pentwater Lake. Mighty fine.




What, you don't think we were having enough fun? OK, how about this?


See "New" Friends
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