Sunday, June 06, 2010

Here's the video I promised. Watch for the frog leaping to safety and the raccoon suddenly realizing I'm there:

You can tell that's a proper wild raccoon. A city raccoon would have kept coming, stolen my camera and pushed me into the pond.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

I've been slacking off lately at Beechwood, but I made it there for a while this afternoon. After pulling up a load of thistles and Dame's Rocket I spent some time just admiring the simple beauty of things like clover:

(I'm thinking this is alsike clover, but I'll see if I can tell for sure next time I'm there.)

A cedar twig:


People may not find them as beautiful as flowers and dragonflies, but I'm intrigued by slime molds. These were on an old stump:

There didn't seem to be as many frogs around today. Do you know the difference between a frog and a toad?

I've also got a video clip for you but I can't get it to load right now. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Last year's rosehips are well past their sell-by date:

Some more anonymous yellow flowers:

From now on we're all frogs, all the time at the pond:

A beautiful Tree of Heaven shortly before its untimely death:

(It's the same one I cut down last year. As far as I can tell, it's called Tree of Heaven because it has eternal life.)

A few nice yellow and black bugs:

(Helpful Rosemary has identified that as Propylaea quatuordecimpunctata, the Fourteen Spotted Lady Beetle. That's an awfully big name for such a tiny bug. You can read about them here; click on the relevant picture for specifics.)

This poor lifesaving ring has been trapped below the weir for many days. How do you save a lifesaver? If that's not a Zen koan, it should be.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I saw this lovely little spring azure on my way to Beechwood today but it refused to open its wings for a photo. (Follow that link if you want to see what a pretty shade of blue it was.)

Purple-flowering raspberry gearing up for summer:

It forgot to shave its legs:

A few ants:

Meanwhile, over at the pond, there's an abundance of pondweed:

Ooh, look!

Frogspawn! Go frogs!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's nice to see more flowers appearing as the season progresses. Here's a Canada anemone:

This is red osier dogwood, a common shrub around here ...

... and a closeup of its flower, with requisite ant (some kind of union rule, I think):

Not all flowers are welcome, of course. This is garlic mustard:

This morning I worked for a while across the path from Beechwood, trying to clear out some of the garlic mustard in the sumacs there. It's looking good as long as you don't raise your eyes and look beyond the immediate area to see the advancing horde:

Field horsetail holding the morning dew:

Monday, May 17, 2010

I haven't seen any deer yet this year but these tracks by the pond give me hope:

Another sign of life around the wetland:

The wild geraniums are blooming and the ants seem to approve:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I'm still working on the garlic mustard but at the moment I'm dealing with a brand new (today!) computer and the accompanying adjustments and headaches. This means that for the moment I have no photos to offer you. Until I sort that out, you're welcome to visit Don Watcher's blog to learn more about garlic mustard and many other issues concerning the Don River and its valley. Now, back to my exploration of Windows 7 ...

Monday, May 10, 2010

The weather was dreadful over the weekend, cold and rainy with hella high winds. I slipped down to Beechwood last night to see how things had fared. This broom was lying by Pottery Road:

I'm worried about the witch who must have blown off in mid-air.

As usual, the trees around Todmorden Mills took a hit:

I didn't find any major damage at Beechwood but the invasives are progressing at lightning speed. I still think I can beat the garlic mustard if I buckle down for the next week or two, but the rest of it, oy.

The wetland gods were obviously angered by my neglect of the place last week, and they sought revenge by trying to take my eye out. A dead branch was hanging down near the path and I was too caught up in searching out garlic mustard to notice it. I got lucky and just missed disaster; there's a scratch on my eyelid but nothing worse. The branch was quickly taken out, as are most things that hurt me. "Now you must die!"

Fungus is going to provide a whole summer's entertainment, I can see. This ...

Has now turned into this:

Not sure of this pretty yellow flower. Anyone? I haven't consulted my reference books yet.

Some random bits of wood:

The pond is looking better after all the rain and the ants were subdued by the cold, so it's promising to be a good week at Beechwood. Garlic mustard removal isn't everyone's idea of a good time but hey, it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Hang in there, O Faithful Readers of the blog, and I shall return one day. For now my energies are being given to my own garden, which was in terrible shape. As Voltaire said, il faut cultiver notre jardin. It's looking a little better now, especially since we finally got some rain, and I'm pleased to see the milkweed and goldenrod establishing themselves so well. (Honestly, if you can't get goldenrod to grow in your garden you may as well pave it over.) The purple coneflower, seen above in a photo from past years, isn't quite as happy, but I've moved it to a sunnier spot where I hope it will flourish.

Not everything in my garden is native, by a long shot, but I try to keep it in mind. The butterflies and bees need as much help as we can give them, and I really like these simple "weeds" that don't require any care.

Stay tuned for new Beechwood reports next week!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Turtle cam:


Yes, I am extremely tall.