Archive for February, 2015

I’m Back — Finally

I’m so excited to have my computer back and to be back online!

We had snow, then a heavier snow, then freezing rain and then sleet. This translated into my not leaving the property for two weeks. I want to keep my person in one piece.

Heavy rain is forecast for Tuesday with highs in the 50’s. I can’t wait. Here are a few of the pictures I took during this time.


I took this picture last night about sunset. The snow/sleet was pretty firm, and I seldom broke through as I walked.


Obviously, momma fox is pregnant! More about the foxes in a later blog.


Jelly fungi hydrated from all the moisture.


The layer of sleet fascinated me with the patterns it made.


A couple days of warmer weather started melting the snow/sleet from underneath too.

Only See Fox Signs


Eight inches of snow fell Monday into early Tuesday.


It was late morning before a fox left the den. It headed toward the back corner of our yard where there’s an opening under our neighbor’s fence.

The temperature was low and the wind strong. I didn’t linger over each shot … obviously.


The glare was so bad I couldn’t see what was on the camera’s display. I just took several pictures, hoping for the best.


Poor Buffy. She couldn’t get under the barn where the intruders live.


I added this picture so we could see the fox I didn’t see.

To The Woods …

We finally had a sunny day, so Buffy and I went to the woods at Stone Face.

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The caddisfly is a small moth-like insect. Their larvae collect whatever they can and bind it together for a protective case to grow in.  These were 1/4 inch long at the most. They will continue adding on until they’re full grown.

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Water movement and the resulting moving reflections always fascinate me.


Every time I see these two trees, I wish they were in my backyard. Grandkids would have a lot of fun with them. Wildlife probably couldn’t resist them either.

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Corky warts on bark of a hackberry tree look like a city of futuristic buildings.


I was unable to identify the shelf fungi. It had a smooth surface underneath.

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Obviously, this tree stood out! I have no idea what removed all the bark almost to the top of it. There were only a few small limbs at the top of the tree.

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The bark pieces at the base of the tree would’ve been only a small fraction of what was removed. It had to have been a determined mammal! This translates to a lot of bark removed and transported to ???

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Somehow this nondescript moss and script lichen caught my attention. Is the script lichen a messenger for the plant world?

A Mystery Mushroom

 I just had to go on a hike and ended up returning to the site of the the mystery mushrooms I found the end of January and recently blogged.


The picture shows that these are shelf mushrooms and that they do curl upward as they age.


These few had just started curling.


They were scattered along a log approximately 9-10 feet long.


The top surfaces looked slightly velvety.


I plan to study the few mushroom books, hoping to identify them this time.

No luck.

A Napping Fox

I didn’t see the foxes during our last two days of cloudy weather.


It’s convenient to have my computer by the picture window that overlooks our backyard.


The sun is out, the wind calm, and the 42-degree temperature must feel warmer on the piece of conveyor  belt.


A little grooming.


Now that’s a yawn!


And then she just couldn’t stay awake any longer in the warm sunshine.


This picture was taken later, and I suspect this one’s the male. Its color seems darker than the fur of the one in the other pictures.


The sun just set. The male fox is still curled up asleep. The temperature’s now down to 40.

An Interesting Stick

Our weather finally turned off nice for a change, and I found myself picking up sticks in the yard.


 I picked up a stick under the sweet gum tree and found two surprises underneath — a small shelf fungi and a slug. The shelf fungi was so small I couldn’t see if the underneath side was smooth or had pores.


There was no shortage of lichens on the fallen wood. My Missouri book “Walk Softly Upon the Earth” calls this a blister lichen (Physcia stellaris). My “Lichens of the North Woods” book calls it a star rosette lichen.

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Then I found these yellow-green lichens.

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It looked like they’re more yellow when they were young. The black had me confused, because it looked more like a crust than like the top of the smooth black ones above.


I do get frustrated at times when I’m trying to identify a find and can’t.

For me it’s more of a matter of learning to see, find and enjoy.

The Foxes Are Baaack!

… and I hope they’re here to stay, at least for a few months.


Buffy and I were in the backyard earlier this morning, and she didn’t act like the foxes were under the barn.


 There’s an old strip pit behind our house, and I suspect they have a den there too.


 I take all the fox pictures from inside the house because of the layout of our backyard.


Obviously, this is the female (vixen). Notice the slight “baby bump.”


She got back up on their observation platform and napped before going back under the barn.

Catalpa Mystery


The seedpods on the catalpa tree can grow to up to 20 inches long, and in every which way but straight.


I’ve racked my brain trying to come up with an explanation for this coiled seedpod.


What were its growing conditions? If it grew around something, why isn’t it still around it?


Maybe it’s the Jonathon Livingston Seagull of the catalpa pods.

A Persistent Flower

The ice and snow melt.


At least one dandelion can’t resist blooming, nestled down among dried leaves and grasses.

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The ray flowers open  in anticipation.

Photographic Challenge


Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) grew in clusters along the side of a fallen, long-dead tree.


For a picture of their gills, I held the camera upside down, focused and snapped the picture.


It was fun and had surprising results.