Posts Tagged With: Indiana

Finding the Limberlost

I have long known of Gene Stratton-Porter and her amazing life as naturalist and writer. We have visited her home sites several times over the years. During the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum’s Golden age of Literature Exhibit in 2016, I became involved in their book club. One of the books we read was Girl of the Limberlost.

I determined to try to read all her books. I purchased her Moths of the Limberlost at her Rome City home and enjoyed it greatly! She alternated between writing nature books and writing novels, many of them set in Indiana and featuring the landscape she loved. Most of her books can be found and read online or downloaded to an e-reader for free due to being out of copyright. I spent hours devouring them and being transported to another time and place.

At some point, I discovered the Limberlost blog and found that they have a Rent-A-Naturalist option! I asked my husband and daughter if they would arrange a hike for my birthday. We had a commitment at the ACPL Author Fair in Fort Wayne the day before (which was my actual birthday) so it wouldn’t be too far out of the way to come home that way.

We left our Fort Wayne hotel by walking across a parking lot very slick with sleet! Ugh! Not very inviting hiking weather, but we had hiked in inclement weather before.

We drove towards Geneva with a slight detour to see the Deam Oak. I had seen this as a child and wanted them to see it. The sleet and rain had stopped and at one point the temperature went up to 48 degrees. Maybe the weather would cooperate!

Deam OakWhen the State Historic Site opened at 1 PM, the drizzle started again. Oh, well!

Loblolly signAs we talked with Curt Burnette, our naturalist, we devised a loose plan because of the rain. We drove in our own cars, both with walkie-talkies and he explained various sites as we drove, stopping and walking a little at some of them. He has done an amazing job of researching Gene’s books and writing down clues of various locations in her books and then locating them on the early maps of the region.

School

The remains of the school where Elnora (the “Girl of the Limberlost”) might have attended classes

We saw bald eagles, a great blue heron sitting on a beaver dam, cardinals, sparrows, kestrels, blue jays, and a flicker.

Eagle at Loblolly Marsh

Curt talked about different mammals, amphibians, and birds that can be seen at other times of the year.

We had a wonderful time and didn’t get too wet or cold even though we walked for a while at one time after the temperature had dropped again. We are determined to return in spring and early fall to enjoy more nature and hiking at this amazing site.

 

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It’s hard to tell, but the heron is standing on top of a beaver dam!

 

I encourage anyone who enjoys Gene Stratton-Porter’s books to engage this knowledgeable guide for a few hours – money well spent! It gives a very different feel to her books now and I’m anxious to read the few of hers that I have not yet read.

 

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#OptOutside or Hike Friday

Shades State Park- This is how I enjoyed the day after Thanksgiving!!!

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Happy Thanksgiving

Today as we gather with family and friends today, let us remember the bountiful blessings God has given us. Let us share those blessings with others throughout the whole year.

I saw this flock on my way home from work a week or two ago. They brought traffic to a stop on the local state highway!

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Second Brood Growing Fast

Our second brood of Eastern Phoebes is getting closer to fledging. The nest is over the small garage door. 

This is actually the third time she laid eggs this year, but the first clutch was raided.

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End of year wrap up – Good bye 2016

Our Indiana Bicentennial Year has ended as has the Centennial of the State Park and National park systems.

We logged a total of 147 birds, 93 of which were in the State Parks and Reservoirs.

We visited all 24 state parks, 8 lakes and state recreation areas, all 3 national sites (seashore, memorial and national park).

We visited all 92 counties and several state historic sites.

I logged 68.81 hiking miles. ROC logged 27.16 hiking miles. SAC logged 55.96 hiking miles.

I logged 45.28 Advanced Indiana Master Naturalist volunteer hours and 14.65 IMN learning hours.

Highlights: Whooping Cranes, Pacific Loon, Blackburnian Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, Mississippe Kite, Wilson’s Snipe, Smith’s Longspur and Great Horned Owl on the nest.

We enjoyed seeing the state, driving the backroads and visiting the many beautiful small towns and county seats and visiting all the sites. Weather quite often seemed against us, but welcome to Indiana! We haven’t added up the miles driven, or the dollars spent. That may be added at a later date!

Lesson to be learned – Get out and visit your home state. You never know what’s around the bend!

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Final Indiana State Park Visits

Trine, Chain O’ Lakes, Pokagon–November 13, 2016

We left early Saturday morning, November 12 for Fort Wayne. Stephanie had an author fair to attend at the Allen County Public Library. She was a speaker on the panel in addition to having her books in a booth. We had supper at Cheddars with a friend and stayed at the Quality Inn in Fort Wayne.

Let’s back up to Friday evening, when we had a voice mail on our phone informing us that our reservations for Sunday night at the Potawatomi Inn in Pokagon would not be honored. This was due to the deer hunt scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. Since we weren’t hunters, we weren’t even allowed to stay at the Inn overnight, even though there was no mention of it when we made the reservations two weeks earlier. We would have to find alternate accommodations. I had to struggle to find mention of which parks were taking part in the deer reduction hunting as the DNR website DID NOT HAVE IT LISTED!

Very disappointed and angry about this, we only did a drive through of Chain O’Lakes, Pokagon and Trine, Marsh Lake, stopping only to get the SPRGO numbers, and to say we were in those parks in 2016.

Our visiting all the State Parks in the centennial year of the State Parks goal: Achieved.

We made sure to get all the counties in that area and then, since we didn’t have reservations for that night, ROC decided we were going to get the counties in the southeast part of the state that we had left to get.

supermoon-november-2016

We headed south, getting various counties and driving by Levi Coffin House in Fountain City. After watching the super moon rise Sunday evening, we spent the night at the Comfort Inn in Richmond. We continued from Richmond towards Lawrenceburg and aurora along the Ohio River through Madison County then up I-65 to home.

We traveled 825 miles and got all the counties, or so we thought. ROC later decided we had not been in Starke County earlier in the year.

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ROC and SAC on the river walk in Lawrenceburg

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DePauw Nature Park – October 10, 2016

We hiked at DePauw Nature Park before we went to nephew Patrick’s football game (Franklin vs. DePauw). We didn’t see any new birds but had a great hike!

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Cardinal Nest watch

Discovered the cardinal nest in the blackberry patch on June 6:

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Eggs have hatched on June 13:

Cardinal babies

Cardinal babies

 

Punk hairdo on June 18! Forgive the bad photo, I didn’t want to scare them off the nest.

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By June 21, the babies had fledged.

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Indiana Dunes State Park

September 15, 2014

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Even though the day dawned cool and rainy, we decided to proceed with Stephanie’s plans to drive to Lake Michigan and get our “lake fix.” We had been needing this for quite a while and just hadn’t been able to make it happen.

We drove first to Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center, which is an excellent nature center that always deserves a stop.

Our next stop was the Pavilion and Beach house where we ate our meager lunch on one of the benches as we looked out over the gorgeous lake. Although the wind was a brisk and chilly 56 degrees, we observed probably three dozen or more monarch butterflies migrating east to west along the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

There were several gulls on the beach. The one closest to us was very territorial and put up a squawk as only a gull can do, whenever another gull came into its area. I am not good at gull id at all, but I am fairly sure they were ring-billed.

We then walked up to the fairly new Bird Observation Platform. On our way up, a flock of crows was mobbing either a sharp-shinned or a cooper’s hawk. We couldn’t get a good fix on it as it disappeared amongst the pines.

We next took Trail 3 through the Dunes Prairie Nature Preserve. Wow, what a neat area! I know monarch butterflies are in decline and even threatened, but one could not tell by the numbers present at Dunes this day! The Prairie Preserve was absolutely filled with them! We couldn’t hazard a guess as to the numbers. There were even plants – goldenrod? – that had 3 or 4 on them.

After hiking along the board walk on the trail to the campground, we left for the beach at New Buffalo, Michigan, where we were entertained by more gulls.

Unfortunately we had to hit the road. We were glad the rain held off until we were back on the road.

 

Monarch butterflies on goldenrod

Monarchs on goldenrod

 

Categories: Botany, Butterflies, Indiana Dunes State Park, Insects, State Parks Indiana | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A trip to Celery Bog

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Friday we decided to make a quick stop at Celery Bog. We were amazed at the low levels of the water in the wetland, which is actually a marsh. Indiana is mostly in a state of drought. We saw a huge number of Great Blue Herons, as well as many ducks we couldn’t identify. We were deemed not a threat by a doe who wanted to eat lunch nearby. A Cedar Waxwing stopped on a branch long enough to pose for a few shots.

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