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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

I spotted a friend in the yard this morning – well, not so sure he will be invited over for a friendly lunch once the gardens are growing …

groundhog Baby Groundhog

I brought along the camera on the morning walk and captured some sure signs of Spring –

birds-along-path 

The picture is quite a distance so somewhat unclear, but those are geese in the background and the larger birds in front I am not sure!  I have seen blue heron and different cranes in the area, but one at a time.  There was 5-6 of these larger birds and I did video them but it is still unclear.  I need to scan my bird book!

ducks-on-path Pair of ducks

Video of ducks  I am learning how to video so it is a bit shaky – well,  ALOT shaky (I need to hold my breath and not move when taking videos!)   Another video

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What a nice, long wonderful weekend down south with family and friends – it’s so hard to leave and come back up north to the old routine life.  The Luffa is starting to dry on the vine …

  2 luffa on vines Luffa half dried

The Coneflower (Enchinacea) has gone to seed also –

 At first I thought this was some type of moth, but after I googled it, I found it to be a Painted Lady Butterfly – quite common.  We visited the State Park nearby and captured a deer roaming the trails …

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The trip home yesterday was quite the experience – 3 hours of downpouring heavy rain that nearly lifted us from the road and swept us away.  We are extremely happy to be alive and well and seeing all the flooded areas, it is quite clear we missed some heavy rains all weekend.  I believe the Chicagoland area broke records and it is said to be the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.  I can only image the winds and rains they had and pray for their well being.  While down south I did make a unique discovery and I am not sure what it is!

 Polka dotted seedpod?  At first we thought it was a little rubber ball, but where would it have come from? So we cut it open to investigate further…

 Looks very alien to me.  I tried searching on the internet but came up with no clue.  I will have to watch for more and hope the home doesn’t get invaded while we are gone!

Something else which I found rather interesting was … a Tomato Hornworm eating our Alma Paprika Peppers which at this stage are very, very hot!  When they are yellow (the initial stage) they are raging spicy hot, then they turn orange and mellow out a bit.  Finally, when they are red they are sweet hot.

These guys are so big and nasty looking!

 

I did find some very cool mushrooms and snapped a few shots!

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I was somewhat concerned with the Luffa plants down south since I had been keeping an eye on the weather and it appeared very dry and sure enough it was!  The luffas were droopy and the first thing I did was give them all a good drink of water .. then I shot some pictures of their progress and can only hope they get enough water to grow into big luffa sponges!

 Luffa developing

Our last night I spotted a Luna Moth and just read up on it and it only moves around at night so is a rare sighting … there also seems to be less and less of them lately.  I had no idea what it was – just that it was huge and beautiful!

 

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Traveling down south this past weekend was Great! We took an extra day and it seemed like we actually had some time to relax! The big project was installing the aerator pump on our 3 acre pond and I will post detailed information on the installation later this week at GRIT on my Reader’s Blog I recently started SO make sure to check it out! Here are a few pictures of the aerator .. well worth all the work to install

Oil in Southern Illinois – I never figured! Once you travel down past central Illinois area you start to see oil pumps working out in the fields. When we bought our property we were told to make sure the mineral rights were transferred to us. If oil is ever discovered on our land we will have the rights to it. Now didn’t you think all the oil came from some far off land?

We always seem to plan our meals much more carefully when we travel and we eat very well! We brought down our first harvest of corn (3 ears) and Wowee they were Excellent! I have posted additional garden vegetables here. The tomatoes are starting to turn now and I still think thus far the Amish Paste Tomato is the best. Great harvest and a superstar for canning.

I saw at least 5 different types of mushrooms growing and will be researching them to figure out what types they actually are ….

This tiny blue tailed lizard is SO cute and very quick and the turtle basking in the sun didn’t stick around long for his photo shoot!

Also thank you to all those who have commented on my blog! I would comment back but rather have your comment remain listed on the “Recent Comment” section of my blog…..So I Thank you all here!!!!

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I first saw and photographed the baby swans on June 8th and it’s amazing how much they have grown!

 Proud parent and six babies!

There is one white baby and the other 5 are dark grey – not sure what the difference is.

  Two baby swans

 Closeup of baby swan

 Checking each other out and this last pictures is a Great Shot of one of the adult swans, the blue heron and a couple of ducks!

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As we pulled up to our home in Southern Illinois and glanced across the pond we saw White Birds!  They were wading in the water and several were on land.  Neither of us have ever seen these beautiful birds before and I did my best to capture them on the camera.  They were very observant and once they sensed my movements they all flew up in the trees and finally they flew off as I tried to get closer to them.  They are either Great White Egrets or Snowy Egrets or something else all together!  It was a fantastic sight …

As we entered the garage we were greeted by a friendly little lizard …

Walking around the property we spotted baby birds screaming for food – they were high up in the outside corner of the barn and mother bird was feeding them like crazy!  I know I saw at least 4 of them and by the time we left to return home, it seemed they had all left the nest.  I searched the internet and I want to say the birds are Spotted Flycatchers.  The reason I think this is not only do they resemble the bird, but mother bird was actually bringing the huge horse flies to the babies to eat.  Straight up … she didn’t even eat them first!

 Baby birds

 Mother Spotted Flycatcher

 This black crawfish is only about an inch long, but sure is scary looking and the two tiny peepers next were ALL over the place!

  A hummingbird in action and the last picture is ……. The Bluebird of Happiness !

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