Archive for April, 2015

Three Trilliums

Trilliums all share the same characteristics.


They have three leaves,

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and three sepals that protect the flower while it’s still in the bud.

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Nodding white trillium (Trillium flexipes) has six stamens (with the pollen) with the pistil in the center.


Purple trillium (Trillium recurvatum)


Yellow trillium (Trillium luteum). This one was a gift from a friend a few years ago. I’ve never seen them growing naturally in southern Illinois.

A Honeybee

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A lone honeybee stayed busy gathering pollen in the black ash tree in our backyard.

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It was obvious from the size of its pollen sacs that it was finding plenty to take back to the hive. I wonder how much pollen the sacs can actually hold?

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Ash trees are pollinated by the wind … and maybe with a little help from the honeybee.

A Ladybug

Ladybugs overwinter as adults.


My first ladybug of the year just happened to be on a purple trillium in my spring wildflower garden.

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It must be either the pine or the hackberry tree that’s dropping all the pollen.


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Ladybugs overwinter as adults. Here’s a picture I took March of 2012 in the bluff at Stone Face. This definitely wasn’t anywhere near all of them!

March “Snow”

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I don’t mind “snow” in March if it’s snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis).


 Their clump, with all the white, make them the most obvious flower in the yard. (I’m ignoring the dandelions.)


 The clump grows among purple violets, dandelions and gill-over-the-ground.

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Snowdrops and their bulbs are poisonous to humans and can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Fingers Crossed

Today is Thursday, April 16. Last weekend had such nice weather, every neighbor was out mowing their yard, including us.


My last pictures of the foxes were taken Friday, April 10. I can’t see them going nocturnal with 6 kits running around.


I thought if we all crossed our fingers and asked politely that, maybe, the foxes would return.



I looked out after supper and saw …


This groundhog sure didn’t waste any time moving in. Buffy knows it’s here and it knows Buffy’s here.

I’m still crossing my fingers for the foxes’ return.

Carpenter Bees

Buffy and I walked a loop around the yard before we went inside. The sun was near setting.


Carpenter bees were busy. I wasn’t sure if were looking for something or doing it.

The barn was built when the original house was here. We’ve lived here forty-plus years, and it was old when we bought the house.

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Carpenter bees are often confused with bumblebees. Both are about the same size. Carpenter bees build their nest in wood, and bumblebees nest underground. Male carpenter bees have a whitish spot on the front of their face, which wasn’t evident in the evening light.

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Carpenter bees are not social insects. They construct their nests in trees or in eaves of a house by drilling in the wood. These are the adults emerging from the nests. They overwintered in tunnels as adults.


 The barn sure has a lot of character. Besides the foxes living under it, a pair of eastern phoebe flycatchers nest in it too.

Unexplained Sparkling Mystery

We had strong storms in the evening and overnight on April 3.


The sun shone the next morning. I sat at the computer, beside the picture window. A faint breeze “sparkled” the over-abundance of water drops in the hackberry and sweet gum trees. It gave the trees a crystalline look.

  One drop repeatedly sparkled red, like it was winking at me. A few drops also reflected red, only they were smaller and not as obvious.

  The red drop remained “drop size” when I took the picture.

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I just don’t understand how a teeny drop of water, reflecting the sunlight, could transform into this in a picture?

It never looked like this when I was watching it.

Maybe drops in the molecular structure of the water enlarged themselves for the picture?



Another interesting component to this storm happened during the night. I was sleeping soundly when suddenly — blinding light, loud thunder boomed. I opened my eyes at the exact time of the lightning …. and saw a ball of lightning. I’d never even heard of a ball of lightning. It filled about one fourth or so of the top window, and thin lightning streaks went out in all directions from it. I was amazed, excited and went right back to sleep.

There ARE Five!

Recent weather has been wet and cold, with strong storms last night. I didn’t seen the foxes for days. I even thought they’d moved somewhere else.


 I fixed my lunch, started for the living room and there were the foxes!


This picture definitely shows that there are five kits. They sure match the colors of the shaded rocks.

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They were an active little bunch, investigating, playing, a lot of practice pouncing.

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There didn’t seem to be any sibling rivalry.


I’m not sure, but I think this was a young groundhog. I couldn’t think of anything else that would be that color.


The little one could smell what had just been brought in for “lunch.”

They played for an hour and a half before going back under the barn, probably for a nap.


Early evening play.

Obviously, the light is better for pictures later in the day.


Usually the parent checks out the yard for any possible problems/intruders before the young come out.


And then there are six! (Four on the left and two on the right.)



Surprise, Surprise

March 8, another cloudy day… after a rainy day yesterday. So, I took advantage of the little sunshine in the afternoon.


The Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) were just starting to bloom.

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 I had quite a surprise when I went through my pictures and found a young praying mantis hiding among the flowers.


Only six or seven purple trilliums (Trillium recurvatum) bloomed.

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One of them also had a young praying mantis hiding down in the leaf. I just didn’t expect to see them early in April.

(A visitor to my blog pointed out that this as a Zeus assassin bug nymph. I was looking at the body, especially the abdomen and not the head. Oops.)


I photographed these bloodroot flowers on April 1, with plans of taking more pictures later. It rained for three days.  I’d completely forgotten about them until it was too late, and all that were going to bloom had already done it.


Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) blooms March into April here in southern Illinois. Each flower is 1 1/2 inches wide and lasts for only one day.


Not every plant blooms. The leaves can grow to eight inches across and will remain until the middle of the summer.