Friday, August 28, 2009

Another load of tansy joined the rest of the outcasts on the pile today:

This just in: leafcutter bees like sumac too.

The results of the after-storm cleanup across from Todmorden:

Have I mentioned that the goldenrod is covered in bees?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It rained this morning, but what an afternoon! I baked in the sun as I dealt with more knotweed and the odd Manitoba maple and tree of heaven. A swarm of tadpoles caught my eye:

Here's some white turtlehead:

One nice thing about being at Beechwood on a summer afternoon is the variety of dragonflies. This is a common whitetail:

A couple of blue ones:

Ooh, a red one!

On the way to Beechwood I found some goldfinches enjoying a patch of bull thistles:

The roses are turning themselves into rose hips:

Some plants put their energy into developing various burrs and stickers that attach themselves to me anywhere they can. This is how my gloves looked when I was finished today:

Can you stand looking at more bugs? I can't resist the goldenrod full of busy bees:

And one more spider:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Normally I'm not the type to get excited over footwear, but I think these are pretty spiffy:

They allowed me to get over to the little islet (which I think I'll name the Islet of Langerhans) and clear out the purple loosestrife lurking there. The boots could stand to be a bit taller, but as long as I squelched fairly quickly and didn't linger in one spot, I was fine. I'll just confine my pond incursions to dry spells when the water level is lower.

(Boots made in Canada and bought at Canadian Tire.)

The loosestrife joined more knotweed on the pile:

Some other things I saw around the pond:

I can't quite figure out those tracks. The smaller ones look like raccoon prints, but there were a couple of really large, deep ones that puzzled me. I didn't see any others in the area. Perhaps a large creature swung down on a bungee cord, snatched a raccoon, and pushed off again. (It's really not hard to solve these little mysteries if you just think it through.)

Seed pods formed by a ... plant of some kind:

It was a day of strange fruit. First, on the bike path:

I can just hear the local ants: "This is fantastic! What is this?!" Then, in the pond, a nice example of Rondus wimbledonii:

Finally, a few more bugs to admire:

Don't get close to the pointy part on this one:

This is a beetle pretending to be a scary wasp:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Today was a repeat of yesterday, but without the mink. I cut a lot of knotweed and yanked out a few other bits and pieces around the edges of the pond. I found more turtlehead and more buttonbush, more water plantain and lots of sedges to admire, and freed up some space for things like maple trees:

Some butter-and-eggs and thistles had cleverly moved off-shore in an attempt to evade me, but my jurisdiction reaches that far and I was able to pull them out by the roots:

Two black-crowned night herons, one adult and one juvenile, were watching over the pond when a great blue heron arrived with a mighty croak. (Scared me half to death.) The adult night heron wisely moved over and made room in the big dead tree:

Here's the young'un:

The goldenrod is really coming on strong now:

The cup plants are still holding their own:

I found another cicada. (Or the same one? Hard to tell.)

There are elderberries ripening:

I must admit I've never seen the appeal of elderberries, but I know people who love a nice elderberry pie. Another fruit I don't enjoy is blackberries, which I've realized is probably what we have growing at Beechwood, even if I thought they might be dewberries. (I've never encountered blackberries growing before so I wasn't expecting them, although it seems pretty obvious now.) I tasted one this morning and it fit with my very limited experience of eating blackberries: they don't taste like much of anything. I just don't get the point.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

More artwork, this time created by some kind of leaf miner:

There was a welcome coolness in the air this morning, although the dampness remains, and I got a lot of work done before it got too hot. I cut down a bunch of Japanese knotweed and pulled some of the usual tansy, Queen Anne's lace, and thistles. The knotweed's showy flowers are helpful in giving away its location:

It was too early, cool and damp for this bumblebee to be up and about -- I had to give him a few minutes to collect his thoughts and move on before I cut down the knotweed he'd been resting on:

More insect life:

Here's a funnel web spider in its complex home:

(Aha, researching funnel web spiders has just given me the name of the Unnecessarily Long spiders I saw the other day: they're really called running crab spiders.)

Bugs are interesting but my favourite sighting today was a mink running across the path as I arrived at Beechwood. That's the second time I've seen one there -- they must like hunting in the pond.

I was afraid all our turtlehead had disappeared, but no, here it comes!

I love that flower. We have it in that lavender colour and also in white. I'm also finding more great blue lobelia around the site. It's very encouraging to see these things doing well.

I keep heading for purple thistles to pull them up, only to discover they're really purple asters starting to bloom:

I'll be darned, these dewberries are actually ripening into a dark purple/black as promised:

Stay tuned for a taste test soon.