Thursday, December 11, 2008

Supernatural experience, 1982

Oh to Sprout Wings and Fly

"One exciting day last summer, a group of Campfire kids found a
dragonfly nymph climbing up a branch along the Bog Trail. Suddenly it
began to look strange. The back enlarged and it appeared to have what
the kids called 'eyes' under its skin. The back of the thorax
(shoulders) burst open and the adult dragonfly began to slowly emerge.
All of us watched transfixed as the dragonfly crawled out of its
nymphal skin and ever-so-slowly pumped a fluid from special reservoirs
(the 'eye-like' structures) under its skin d into the abdomen. It
gradually elongated and became exquisitely thin. Finally, after
beating its wings several times, the dragonfly suddenly flew rapidly
away. The children and I were thrilled!" 1982 (Photo from Stoney Creek

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

dining companion

While I was sitting on the terrace eating breakfast, a female cardinal landed in the tree beside me and kept me company while I ate.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Small Feeder notes

The sparrows did something this morning that I had never noticed before—they lit on the vertical wall of the back of the house, first one, then two, then three, then many, clinging to the vertical wall. It was raining lightly and windy and leaves were falling in yellow flurries from the elm. A sparrow lit on the slatted vent to the attic and another followed. One disappeared inside. I watched and watched and watched. A long time later, it reappeared. A male cardinal joined the sparrows at the feeder, and then a mourning dove.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

small backyard notes

The squirrels keep burying acorns in our yard.  Soon we will be living in an oak forest.

A small rabbit is eating from the bird feeder bowl, bending to the bowl, sitting up and chewing.  I am curious what it is eating. 

The squirrels are afraid of the rabbit and back off as the rabbit timidly approaches.  The rabbit is also afraid of the squirrels when they move quickly.  When the squirrels fight on the feeder, the seeds go flying and the little sparrows have to work hard to find them all.

The robins are eating the pokeberries, which I thought were poisonous—time for some research!

I love it when the sparrows fly through the sun and their wings light up.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Black Swallowort

An invasive alien. Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville, NY.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Away Message

I just wanted to let you know that I will be away Friday June 27 - Wednesday June 2.
I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Shadbush, shadblow, Service berry, Amelanchier. Juneberries. Ripe. Yum. Photo by BB.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Two more backyard journal pages: peony and Creeping Bellflower

I'm way behind on everything, but here are two more backyard journal
pages. I did the drawing one day and the painting another because
I've been so busy.

I would like to write more about these and post the photos I took to
go with them, and maybe I will sometime. Or not. Aiee.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Backyard Journal

I have too many computers! Yes, it is possible to have too many computers. I can never find my pictures--which computer are they on?

Here are three "new" (and unfinished) pages from my current backyard journal. Part of the problem with the second one is that the finished version must be on some other computer, but if interested, you can see it here.

The third one I have yet to paint. It was a super-hasty 12-minute sketch.

These are drawn/painted in a journal given to me by my older daughter and with instruction and hints from a book given to me by my younger daughter for my birthday.


Composting is important for the earth, the community and for the individual.

Here are our compost piles. From left to right, fresh, medium and
old. The old compost is wonderfully rich and friable and makes great
potting soil and is great for the flower and vegetable gardens.

Composting recycles stuff that would otherwise sit unused in a
landfill. And composted soil is rich and produced healthier foods
than depleted soils. It is better for the garden than artifical
fertizers. It provides micronutrients in a balanced way. And it
grows great flowers, too! :-D

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

what I learned from drawing

I looked at these anemone's for years and never noticed that they have two pointy petals and two dimpled (or notched) petals until I tried to draw them. These have just opened here.

Monday, June 02, 2008

3 pages from my current naturalist's journal

Unfortunately, the journal is just a little too big to fit on the
scanner. Click images to view larger.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Columbine, by Mary Stebbins Taitt. With my macro and my new 90-degree

Fringed Polygala

Fringed Polygala, by Mary Stebbins Taitt. Also known as "gaywings."
These are not common wildflowers in most places I have been, but were
fairly abundant at the Pinery in Ontario this weekend.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

3 irises

These are not great photos, unfortunately, but interesting. Notice anything strange about them? LOL! (Not Photoshopped, as found in "nature" if you call a garden nature.)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Phenology: Bloodroot

This is the first day bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) has opened up
on the Black River near Sarnia, Michigan. I can tell that because
there is a sepal visible in the picture, and the sepals are deciduous
and fall off after the first day.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Budburst, first report (Phenology)

I made my first budburst report of the season--common dandelion.
First one opened yesterday, second today. We'd seen them elsewhere,
but not within a half mile of our registered site.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Phenology: Shadbush!

"The earliest flowering native shrub" is in flower now as of 4/23/08.
Baldduck Park, Detroit.

Phenology: Dutchman's breeches

Phenology: Dutchman's breeches, 4/23/08

And this within a half mile of my house, so I *could* report it to
Budburst if I ever have time.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Phenology: Periwinkle

Periwinkle is in full flower at Belle Isle, In Detroit Michigan, along
Nashua Creek.

Phenology, Spicebush

Spicebush is fully open on Belle Isle, Detroit. YAY!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fractal Friday: Fern

I made this "fern" with a free fractal program I found on Andree's page. I was astounded at how much it looked like a fern! Fractals are certainly a part of nature!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Singing wood frog

Along with a chorus of chorus frog and spring peepers, the wood frogs
were also singing--quite the din!

Spring Peeper Underwater

The spring peepers are out and peeping! YAY! This one is completely
underwater, and therefor, at this point, not peeping!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Mallard in early spring

Mallard in early spring, by Mary Stebbins Taitt. Straight shot with
300 zoom lens. No effects. Nashua Creek, Belle Isle, Detroit, MI.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


YAY! Spicebush is opening in the woods at Belle Isle! Spring is
springing! Wahoo!

Phenology: spicebush 1st budburst 4-5-08 Belle Isle, Detroit
Michigan. Along Nashua Creek.

Anyone recognize this?

Haven't figured it out yet.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Local Earth Hour Report

At our home in Detroit, Michigan, at 7:45 PM last night, there was a mad scramble to get the computers down and the lights off and locate candles, oil lamps and matches.  I was afraid we wouldn't make it, but we did!  YAY!  We could see three other houses from  our front windows that were dark, so we decided to walk around the block and count dark and light houses.  On our immediate block, there were 111 electrically lit houses and only 17 that were dark, and some of those were abandoned (empty, for sale) and I am sure on a Saturday night, some people were just out partying.  There was a row of six houses all dark on the next block over, but we had agreed only to count our block.  BB thinks maybe 5% of the people complied.  He thinks most people didn't even know about it.  I was really disappointed.

PB complained bitterly the whole time and kept wanting to turn the light on and if I used the indiglo on my watch to let him know how long he had to wait, he called me a hypocrite.  He refused to do anything but sit there and complain for a full hour.  BB told PB we were "doing it for Mama."  Not for the earth or the environment, but for me.  In other words, they wouldn't have bothered if I hadn't insisted.  Very sad.  I am sad, hope your report is better.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


REMEMBER!  Turn off your lights tonight from 8-9, and all unessential power users.  Computer.  TV.  Help save the earth and raise awareness.

Read what BerryBird has to say here and here.  Visit the official site!  AND TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS!  8-9 PM.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Project Budburst

I have just joined Project Budbust, A National Phenology Field Campaign for Citizen Scientists after reading about it over at Lake Loop. I've been keeping phenological data for over 40 years, so was thrilled to see this. I have only signed up for the dandelion and the lilac so far, but intend to sign up for more locations and more flowers, hopefully. Phenology is the study of when natural events occur such as flowering and fruiting times, egg laying, births, hibernation etc. Project Budbust concentrates on easily identifiable plants.