Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mystery of the dead birds

Along a trail I walk almost daily, dead birds keep appearing,
sometimes, different kinds of birds, sometimes Emglish sparrows or
starlings. They are always in the same place. I don't know why. Is
someone shooting them and leaving them there? Is there something
poisonous that they're getting into?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


I never thought much about okra. I liked it in gumbo but never considered the plant, thought I'm educated as a botanist. A non-practicing botanist, however. I never thought about okra until on impulse, I decided to grow it. It's a lovely plant with large maple-like leaves and a tree-like form, but hibiscus-like flowers. A mallow, I said to myself, a hibiscus! I wanted to look it up, but I'm getting a little forgetful--I never remembered to do it! Finally, I did, and lo and behold, it's of course a mallow and one of its alternate generic names is Hibiscus! Wahoo.

Abelmoschus esculentus. Malvaceae. I'm not TOTALLY senile yet! How fun! It brought back memories of eating mallows and concocting soups and "poisons" as a child with hollyhock flowers and seeds. Sorry the bugs have gotten at this blossom. I use no sprays.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


in late summer, autumn intermeshes with spring. (See previous post).

First Fringed Gentian of the season

The very first. In a bog at Indian Springs. The phenology sites are
documenting the fall migration and the fall leaves are coloring up,
but some plants are still in their "springtime."

Dead bees

We found a number of dead bees attached to these bee balms. These are
two different one, and there were were more. I don't know why they
were dead or what killed them. Other years, I've found dead
grasshoppers attched to plants.


It crawled up out of the ground onto Keith's car tire and emerged,
blowing its wings up. I took it off the tire and put it on the oak

Ripening Sunflower Seeds

The birds are picking them out, one by one.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ('Possum)

I posted this to No Polar, but it occurred to me I should post it here.  This 'possum, in a tree, is trying to make itself invisible, but I see it anyway.  They really do a good job playing dead--you can poke them and poke them.  One time I poked on one too many times and it got up in disgust and walked off, but mostly they don't, and they sort of get bloated.  They get hit in the road a lot though--and if you look in their pouches, you may find babies--I've raised a number that way.  (I used to try not to post the same thing to more than one blog, but I have different readers on different blogs.  I have company coming and have to run off.

Monday, August 17, 2009


When I was leaving to walk to Rolandale, there was a young man
digging up the soil around the base of the elm in front of the house.
I asked him what he was doing--he had machines, tanks, tubing, a
drill, and he said he was treating our American Elm against Dutch elm
disease. He said the city has hired him to do it every three years.
The also treat the ashes every year. I know this because I asked. I
was concerned about the ash on Rolandale. That's Detroit, though, not

He's giving "our" elm 40 GALLONS of treatment.
I asked whether or not a treatment was likely to save our ash, and he
said it depended on how much had already died. If a lot of the top
has died, it is likely to be too far along to save. I'm going to study
it when I get there. I'd like it to live. However, it seems unlikely
that the city will pay for it, and if it's every year that it needs
treatment, if it's expensive and unlikely to help, we may have to cut
our losses and let it go.

I told that guy I went to Forestry school and I'm sure he looked at me askance.

The elms in this picture are growing at the Edsel and Eleanor
Ford House. Ours is probably as big or bigger.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Through the Trellis (ox-eye daisy)

Through the Trellis (ox-eye daisy), by Mary Stebbins Taitt. This did
not scan well, so I was attempting to fix it in photoshop and art
rage, but I've decided it probably isn't a good candidate for that. I
like it on paper (A4 size [8.5 x 11]), but no matter how I try to fix
it on-line, it doesn't look the same as it does on paper. It's a
water color background with an oil flower, which gives it texture and
depth, but that doesn't translate well to digital imaging.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Skulls and Roses (Daisy)

Muskrat skull, Ox-eye Daisy, by Mary Stebbins Taitt. In my new A4 Mole.

Monday, August 10, 2009

goldfinch on Black-eyed Susans

It was VERY HOT yesterday, and I did not enjoy my walk very much. The
highlight of the walk was watching this goldfinch madly pecking away
at the seeds on these black-eyed susans.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Marigold, quick sketches

In my returned Moleskine. May not yet be done.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Bluejay Feather

I was fascinated with this tiny blue jay feather, only about an inch
and a quarter long. It's sitting on a violet leaf, to give you some
idea of scale.

I am way behind on blogging and commenting because of the impending
deadline at the Rolandale House and the work on my novel etc. So

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Eager Again

Eager is a Grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) that we raised from a baby who fell out of a next. He or she is getting much larger but still eats from our hands or even sits confidently on our laps.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Eager today

This is Eager, the squirrel I taised from a baby, taken today.

Sketch of Skulls

Sketch of Skulls, by Mary Stebbins Taitt, for the art piece "Everyone
We Love" (Must die).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Green Frog again

Another green frog, Rana clamitans. (see discussion below).

Young Green Frog on Lily Pad

Young Green Frog on Lily Pad, by Mary Stebbins Taitt.

You can tell this is a green frog, Rana clamitans, although it looks a little like a bull frog, because of the "seam" that starts at the eye and moves abck toward the "tail." This is a female; the males have larger ears. I love their golden eyes!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wild Goose Feather

The wild geese, once such a thrill to see, are becoming so common they
are a nuisance, but I still find them, and their feathers, beautiful.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Baby Geese now

They're a LOT bigger!

This is a young wild Canada goose, Branta canadensis. You can read
more about them here. (Photo by me, of course).

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Baby Geese

I love seeing the baby geese, but they are now almost all grown. I
haven't had time to paint because I'm working on a novel, but hope to
paint some soon!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Wild Ginger

I'm way behind on The Naturalist's Journal--haven't had time for
drawing or posting. This picture, of Wild Ginger, was taken this
spring at Cranbrook. The wild ginger is a different plant from the
ginger used in Chinese cooking, but can be used the same way or made
into candied ginger root. However, it is protected, so it shouldn't
be used unless found abundantly on your own property or the property
of a friend or relative.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Birdfeeder predation

Something has been killing birds at the birdfeeder (not this one). I
wanted to post a picture in case anyone knew what it was, but the
three latest victums have disappeared. Of the three latest, which
were all English sparrows (why do I care? They might get other birds
or my Eager), the first one was partly torn apart and the head was
missing but the second two had holes poked in their skulls and their
brains were gone, but the rest of the bird was untouched--anyone know?
Other birds taken include more English sparrows and a mourning dove.
Please advise--should I stop putting out food for the birds? That
causes a dilemma with Eager, our rehabilitated squirrel. We want to
be sure he has enough to eat. But I don't want all the birds being
picked off!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Ox-eye daisy in rain

I love the spirals in the center.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Ceruean Blue

Of course, they are pretier with their wings OPEN!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sandhill Cranes

Today at Kensington! (I put a similar but slightly different one on
Detroit Daily.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eat those Invasive Plant Pests

from the
Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council

Eat those Invasives!!

You can do more than just get mad at them and pull them. You can eat some of them!!