Archive for May, 2016

Moth Mullein

This is my last groundhog blog. They moved out sometime yesterday afternoon. There’s two of the few pictures I took of them yesterday morning at the end of this blog.

I’ve been taking ground hog pictures several times a day, since the first of May.

IMG_4038

During this time there’s been a plant in my line vision that was often between me and the groundhogs. I thought it was a moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria), but wasn’t sure. Two of them grow beside the moon garden, the only two in the yard.

IMG_3998

They have finally started blooming.

IMG_4001

The flowers are absolutely beautiful inside, with so many colors to attract the insects.

IMG_4002

They have such a tall inflorescence, that they will bloom for a while. Luckily, the groundhogs don’t show any interest in them.

IMG_4088

I was working on this blog, looked out the window and there was a young groundhog.

IMG_4089

It went back under the barn, and one of the adults came partially out, probably  to see of I was still around.


Both of these pictures were taken at noon yestererday.

IMG_4137

As you can tell, they were growing like “kids” do.

IMG_4140

And they liked to play.

They will be missed.

A Long Strong Storm

We had a strong storm today that lasted from 10:30 till 1:30

IMG_3933

There was heavy rain and a lot of thunder. The thunder actually last at least three hours after the storm ended. Light rain continued too.

IMG_3903

The young ground hogs didn’t seem to mind the weather. It was probably fun.

IMG_3925

This one kept me laughing. It was under the bench for the picnic table out of the rain, munching away.

IMG_3930

It looked around before

IMG_3901

joining the others out in the yard. It was still raining relatively hard.

IMG_3888

I wonder if this one was surveying its domain.

IMG_3895

This is the adult. I don’t know if it saw me or not. It took off for the barn as fast as it could go.

 

A Slimy Resident

I found this slug on a leaf of a Solomon’s seal plant.

IMG_3467

A slug is a snail without a shell.

IMG_3469

Slugs live underground where they can remain moist.

IMG_3470

They feed on tender leaves, seedlings, soft fruit, fungus and decaying matter. They breathe through the “hole” in its shell called a mantle.

IMG_3472

Birds, toads and ground beetles are a few of the predators that eat them.

IMG_3477

Slugs are one thing I rarely see, and I wouldn’t have seen this one if it wasn’t for the wet weather.

Giant Solomon’s Seal … and More

IMG_3343

Giant Solomon’s Seal (Commutation sp.) grows at the edge of my spring wildflower garden. The garden is between a pine and a hackberry tree, with a sweetgum to the south. The arch of the Solomon’s Seal is three feet high.

IMG_3325

 The flowers are 3/4 inch long.

IMG_3328

The three to five flowers dangle from the leaf axils.

IMG_3338

Then I find this caterpillar on a young wild cherry tree nearby. I have yet to identify it.

IMG_3345

I went back out later to take a couple more pictures. And … one of the adult ground hogs came part way out of the barn while I was still out there, which was definitely a first! They usually dart under the barn if they see me moving in the house.

What a morning!and wasn’t even 10 a.m. yet!

IMG_3385

An hour later I looked out the picture window, and there was a red-eared slider heading east across the back yard. it didn’t cooperate while I was out there.

What a morning!!

Do You See Her?

The morning fog blurs the background of this picture.

IMG_3435

I sit on the couch across the living room from the window. Every time I sit here I see a face staring back at me from the oak outside the window (three windows side-by-side).

The leaf hanging on the left is her hair, the twig angling in from the top right is her closed eye, and the lowest leaf on the right is her mouth.

What is she thinking? Does she have a message for me?

Busy Little Groundhogs

It’s hard to get work done with the four young groundhogs becoming more active every day.

IMG_2918

It’s hard to get all four in the same picture. They’re all so active.

IMG_2919

They can see me move, even with me 40 yards away in the house.

IMG_2920

I wonder what holds their attention?

IMG_2928

Of course there’s rabbits, squirrels, and birds to watch in the backyard.

IMG_2932

I think this picture is just precious.

 

First Damselfly

I waded out in one of my flower gardens, and

IMG_2544

this damselfly landed right in front of me. It was my first damselfly this spring (early May). I’m not sure, but I think this is a male blue-ringed dancer. It was small, a little over an inch long, and didn’t stay long.

Visiting Turtle

Every spring I usually watch a turtle crossing our yard, heading west.

IMG_1971 red

This one didn’t like my attention,

IMG_1977 red

and stayed where it was for about two hours.

IMG_1988

I’m not sure,

IMG_1990 red

but I think it was a melanistic male red-eared slider.

 

Ground Hog Family

The pair of ground hogs moved under the barn early this year. They apparently got there before the foxes, or the foxes had another den and weren’t interested.

IMG_2567

This is one of the parents. Maybe it was taking a break from the little ones. It did this at least once a day.

What really gets me is how easily they see me in the computer room. I have to sneak into the chair. My husband says it’s 40 yards from the computer down to where their den is. (From the corner of the barn, to where the wood touches the ground.) Even the little ones see the slightest movement, and they run for the barn as fast as their little legs can go. They’re so close to the ground when they run.

IMG_2628

Then one day, I saw a little head, and then another and another. There’s two in this picture and

IMG_2629

two in this picture too.

IMG_2631

I think I got caught taking this picture.

IMG_2632

There’s a lot more to look at.

IMG_2628

There’re two of the four young ones in this picture.

IMG_2699 crop

I used to have a pretty good size summer wildflower. It turned to a weed patch with lots of sprouting trees and thorny bushes. Two weeks ago, my husband spent three days cutting out all the dense growth. I plan to sow grass soon.

This young one’s running for one of the tunnels.

IMG_2648

The interesting thing was the four underground dens the groundhogs had in the weed patch. The one above was by far the largest. It won’t be long and they’ll be like little lawn mowers in our backyard.

A Red Admiral Butterfly

I was walking around the backyard, looking for things to take pictures of.

IMG_2417

This red admiral butterfly landed on a daisy fleabane right in front of me. I’ve seen an occasional sulphur butterfly in the

back–back of our yard … this was my first non-sulphur butterfly this spring (March 30).

128 red

This picture of a red admiral was taken in a previous year. Our butterfly numbers are low probably because we’ve had a wet cooler-than-normal spring.