It's Everywhere!

Yikes! Good thing I'm not the paranoid type or else I might think this slime mold stuff was taking over the world. Today I found these clumps of fruiting bodies just outside the office over in the work swamp. Interesting...



Wish I could tell you, but I haven't a clue...

Update: May possibly be a slime mold of the genus Stemonitis. Seems to most closely fit the description of Stemonitis splendens, aka Chocolate Tube Slime, aka Pipe-cleaner Slime, as given in our copy of the _National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms_.


Images From My Saturday

Treebeard and I went for a walk today. Here are some of the things we saw...

I can't even imagine how this umbrella found its way onto this beaver's lodge. Perhaps the beaver thought it would make a lovely decorative accent.

All the red floating out on the pond is coming from...

...this little plant: Azolla caroliniana, Mosquito Fern

A snake's skeleton on the trail...lots of vertebrae and ribs. Nothing left to ID the snake, though.

Sometimes, nature seems brutal. I watched as this yellowjacket severed this rosy maple moth's abdomen from its thorax. The head and thorax moved away as the yellowjacket made off with the fat abdomen. A bountiful harvest for the yellowjacket and a violent end for the rosy maple moth...such is life.

A pretty Banded Tussock Moth, Halysidota tessallaris, visits my license plate.

Datana major, Azalea caterpillar, in defensive posture.


Darn Cats

Okay...that's it. What is it with these cats? I have no food outside, the dog guards the carport...yet, here's another stray, invading my curtilage.


I just want to tell people around here: spay or neuter, PLEASE!

Dinner Bell

Recycle. It's a waste not, want not kinda thing.

I don't know what led to the demise of this European Hornet, Vespa crabro, but it really doesn't matter. The ants are taking full advantage of the bountiful meal the hornet's death provided them. Ants are amazing creatures, and I have no doubt that once they penetrate the hornet's formidable exoskeleton, they will make quick work of the tasty innards.


Shades of Green

A quick walk around the yard after work offered up an assortment of things green...

Swoop, there it is. Blinded sphinx moth caterpillar, Paonias excaecatus

Just hanging out. Luna moth, Actias luna

A fine fat fellow. Green treefrog, Hyla cinerea


On a Sunday Morning

Treebeard and I trekked over to a vacationing neighbor's house to check on things and feed his dogs...

We found the morning glories wide awake

in the morning sun,

but the cotton in the fields was sleeping in.

And I nearly ate a spider while I was out picking figs.


Another Carport Critter

Last night I went out onto the carport to get something out of my truck. As I stepped out of the door I heard a rustle off to my left. As you know, things can be sort of wild around here so I felt it prudent to step back in the house and turn on the carport light -- I usually don't turn it on when I go out because a wren likes to roost in the light fixture and I don't like to scare her.

A quick scan of the ground around the door didn't reveal anything, but my peripheral vision picked up some movement at eye level just off to my left. Ah ha! Something was in the grape vine. Perhaps I would have my chance to catch that blasted cat...

But no, a closer look revealed the culprit - a porch 'possum - possibly the same opossum that made a visit to my stove drawer a couple of months back. The little guy was a tad bedazzled by the light and a little confused by the three faces staring at him (Treebeard and Flamebrain had stepped out to see what I was laughing at.). I dashed back into the house to grab the camera while the guys watched the 'possum.

When I got back out the critter decided it was time to amble off a little deeper into the grape vine. I did manage to snap a couple of shots though. If you look closely at the photo in the lower left quadrant of the grid you will see that the opossum has an apple core in his mouth. How do I know it is an apple core, you ask...because Treebeard gave it to him. Even with all the commotion, the little guy reached out and took the apple core when Treebeard offered it up. Opportunistic little suckers, 'possums.

What's that in my grape vine?!?

[If opossums aren't your thing, cruise over to SwampStuff to check out a post on butterflies.]


Territorial Dispute

Bold and brazen, that's what he is. He's also trespassing.

Yes, this is my yard, but this is NOT my cat. My cat is strictly indoors because I don't believe in letting domestic cats roam unsupervised - they are simply too efficient at killing wildlife. We have a lot of ground nesters like ovenbirds around here. Cats are pure hell on ground nesters. They are also hard on lizards, snakes, rabbits, rodents...the list goes on. I don't think cats are evil, mind you, they are just excellent hunters and they do what comes naturally.

This male cat showed up a couple of months ago. I've found his tracks on the back porch, I've smelled his...well, you know. He is a clever cat and has proved impossible to catch thus far -- but I'll keep trying.


Outside, Just Now

The bird seed bandit (and apple bandit, elderberry bandit, etc.) and her little ones as seen through my (yes, dirty) bedroom window.

These three have become quite the regulars in our yard. Treebeard yells at them when they pull apples off the tree, Hannah (the dog) ignores them, and I just sigh...where there are deer, there are pesky ticks. But then again, it is entertaining to watch the fawns play. I'm such a sucker.


And So It Begins...

Seed tick season. I do so hate seed tick season. Thousands and thousands of tiny little six-legged larval ticks, most less than the size of this period [.], and all eager for their first blood meal. I was that blood meal for about a hundred of the little suckers today. I stopped counting at a hundred anyway. And I did have the satisfaction of knowing that their first meal was also their last.

Guess it's time to add a roll of duct tape to my backpack, re-Permanone my boots and pants and adopt the paranoid attitude that every little tickle is a tick...man, I do hate seed tick season.

[seed ticks are the babies of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum]