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Crazy Weather!

A long spell of unusually warm weather with temps in the 60s has really changed up when we see things. Stephanie was going to the mailbox and spotted this garter snake on the gravel drive.

snake

 

I went to the mailbox on November 22nd and saw that the forsythia bush was blooming. It was still blooming on November 29th.

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Doing yard work on November 4th, I noticed that one of our apple trees was blossoming! This doesn’t bode well for next year’s crop

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Butterfly Garden

One of the most important parts of my vegetable garden is actually not vegetables–it’s the strip of zinnias I plant around the edge of the garden. I collect some seedheads every year but leave most of them out all winter for the birds. The butterflies love them!

I have monarchs, buckeyes, painted ladies, white and yellow sulphurs, red admirals, and more!

 

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Mini-vac

We’re constantly fighting the chipmunks–we call them minivacs because of how quickly they take the bird feeder down. The feeder in this video by Steph was full yesterday!

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Monarchs Are Welcome

I try to leave as much milkweed growing on the property as I can as an enticement for the monarch butterflies. It seems especially prolific in my blackberry patch. It makes picking the blackberries and mowing between the rows a little difficult, but the end result is worth it.

And the smell of a blooming milkweed flower is heavenly.

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Frogs in my wildlife pond

I’m so behind on my posts. This summer has not cooperated with how I imagined it to be. I think we’ve had more rain this June than the past four Junes added together.

I was working outside at our little wildlife pond, trying to get control of the weeds. I discovered that even though we were very late in cleaning out all the oak and hickory leaves from the pond, the frogs had evidently been able to lay their eggs!2015-06-18 12.14.24

 

There are at least five in the small pond.

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Red Admiral

Tuesday morning I found a dead butterfly in our garage. The picture isn’t great, but I took it inside later to get a better picture of it with my macro lens for the iPhone.

The picture does show the checkered black and white antennae.

 

Red Admiral Butterfly

 

Unfortunately, when I got back inside after mowing, a naughty kitty or two had been up on the table and ATE my specimen! So I didn’t get picture of the underside or get to look at it under magnifier.

The Butterflies of Indiana does not show this butterfly in our county, but it must have flown in from one of the three surrounding counties that are within two miles of the property.

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Snow!

A picture of an oak tree and a line of Norway spruce in the snow

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Feeder watch

This is my third year to participate in Cornell’s Feederwatch Citizen Science Project. It is a simple task of counting the number of each species of bird that comes to your feeders or your yard because of the natural planted food available. You then report this to their online website.

It helps me be more intentional about observing the birds.

I have lots of help as can be seen by this picture!

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Blackberry season is good for nature lovers

Discovered a Chipping sparrow nest in our blackberry patch this afternoon.

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Also thrilled to see a Monarch caterpillar. The milkweed are doing their job!

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Monarch of the Blackberry Patch

We let milkweed grow up inside our blackberry patch because it’s good Monarch food. Yesterday I was rewarded with the sight of this handsome fellow.

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