One of the boats that passed by my office window this week, headed south. Wonder where they will stop next...


...and not with Blogger this time. No, it's Earthlink that has me pulling my hair out. I haven't had reliable service since Wednesday and am seriously considering changing to another ISP.
Guess I better post this quickly...never know when Earthlink is gonna hang up on me :(


Sing a Song of Joy

If you're so inclined, I suggest you crack open a bottle of your favorite brew (ours is Xingu)...

and join us as we get happy...

The reason for our joy? A new camera! I'm back in business after nearly a month and Treebeard no longer has to share the Olympus.

Of course, not everyone in the family is thrilled...

Bullet, interrupted by the flash during his bath, remains quite indifferent, if not a trifle peeved...


On Today's Hike

Here a frog (Acris gryllus)

there a frog (Acris gryllus, again)

everywhere a frog (Hyla cinerea)


Mystery Solved...

Have you ever looked high and low for that note you knew was there the day before? It was right there, next to the computer, you know for a fact it was. And then another note on another scrap of paper goes missing...again, you know it was right there by the computer.
Scraps of paper have been going missing for a while now but Treebeard and I have just chalked it up to forgetfulness...one of us must have moved the notes 'cuz they're just not there anymore. Today we discovered the truth...

...a Mouse took them!! I kid you not, this mouse made off with whole sheets of paper, Hershey's Kisses wrappers, dog hair, cat hair, my hair...

How do we know this?? Treebeard was cleaning out the nether regions of the woodstove in preparation for the winter and there, tucked way in the back behind the blower, was the evidence - a mouse nest constructed lovingly of our missing notes. A quick search under the bookcase next to the computer revealed even more evidence - chewed paper waiting for another midnight run by the mousie.

Well Mousie, the jig is up! Your nest has been destroyed and if we catch you, you're snake food.

The evidence from under the bookcase. Dastardly mousekin.

Yesterday, outside my office window, I watched a flock of yellow-rumped warblers (aka "Butter Butts") munching out on poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) berries. I was a little surprised to see them eating the berries this early in the season because there are still plenty of insects out there for them.

Another tasty treat for the butter butts...berries of the wax myrtle, Myrica cerifera.

As other plants drop their leaves, the cranefly orchids (Tipularia discolor) send theirs up. These purple-backed leaves will take advantage of the open canopy and capture the light of the winter sun to carry on photosynthesis.


We often find sign of black bear on our property. This is one of several trees that show claw marks from climbing bears.

A shot of the "driveway" - looks a little Star Trek-esque due to the motion of the canoe.

Winterberry - Ilex verticillata - one of the shrubs along my "driveway"


Saprophytes on Parade

I had fully intended to add text to yesterday's pictures immediately after posting them, but I got sidetracked and this is the first chance I've had to get back to the computer.

Mr. Swamp and I own some property along a nearby creek. Unfortunately, the property is only accessible by water at the moment (wish us luck with the adjacent landowners!) and the water has to be high enough for us to get our canoe down the creek. The previous weekend's 7+ inch rainfall provided the water we needed so we loaded up the boat and headed to our real backyard. Mr. Swamp, who shall henceforth be known as Treebeard, was gracious enough to loan me the Olympus so I could take a few pictures. He is the sweetest thing :)

One = Pinesap, a.k.a False Beechdrops (Monotropa hypopithys) and is considered a saprophyte of pine or oak woods. If you look at the leaf litter around the plants you will notice beech leaves...go figure. [Indian Pipe looks somewhat similar to Pinesap and is easily mistaken for it]

Two = a gilled bracket fungus, not sure of the exact ID and Treebeard has absconded with the mushroom guide (don't worry, I will get it back!).

Three = one of the coral fungi, again not sure of the ID due to the sticky-fingered Treebeard!!


This is either a musk turtle hatchling or a mud turtle hatchling...either way, it's a cute little critter.



No, the camera didn't magically begin to work again, this is just a shot from my files. I got tired of not posting so I dug out something from last October. Sadly, I can't offer you the common or scientific name for this particular fungus. Guess I never bothered to key it out. Sorry.

We just returned from a trip to Charlotte. While it was nice to visit with family, I can say with all my heart that there is no place like home. City life isn't for me; too many people, too many cars, too much noise, too much light at night, simply too much everything. But then again, that Thai food sure was tasty... :-) Posted by Picasa


Sight Unseen

I did not realize how unhappy being camera-less could make me. Despite my most sincere apologies and even after following the camera's demands (see SquirrleyMojo's comment under the last post), the Panasonic is still refusing to function properly. Seems I have no choice but to ship it off to be repaired. Who knows when I'll get it back???

Meanwhile, I am seeing things (no, not that way!) and I want you to see them too. Frustrating.
Of course a new camera is out of the question this month. We try never to buy anything that we can't pay for outright and all of my "disposable" income is earmarked for other uses at the moment. Drat! Must we be so financially responsible?!? Oh well...perhaps I can pry the Olympus away from Mr. Swamp now and then...