Tick'd Off

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Thought I would show you just a few of the ticks I came in contact with yesterday at work. These are Lone Star ticks - both adults and nymphs. In the fall the larval stage, known as seed ticks, will be a plague.

As you can see, duct tape is a wonderful thing. A few taps along your pants leg and you can simultaneously capture and contain the little blood suckers. Awesome!

And now you must excuse me. It's time for work and I need to find another roll of tape.

Put 'Em Up

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Don't you just love crayfish? Those claws are always at the ready. I haven't keyed this one out yet, so I can't give you an ID.


Slowly But Surely

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Wiring is in, HVAC ductwork is in, all the windows except one are in, tubs are in, and part of the roof is on. Now we wait...

Over Easy


As I was poking around under a rotted piece of plywood out in the woods, I happened across these little spheres. They are snail eggs...I think. I'll have to go out this afternoon when I get home from work and check on them again. Curiosity's got me...
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Pretty Boy

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Swamp Darner, Epiaeschna heros
This bad boy is over three inches long with pretty blue eyes and an amber wash on his wings.

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Yellow and Yellower

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A little friendly competition between tweetie birds. The goldfinch is bright yellow for sure, but the prothonotary, in my opinion, is yellower still.

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See what I mean?
(He's after suet, not seeds)

Pretty, But Poisonous

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Fly Poison, Amianthium muscaetoxicum. A member of the lily family, this perennial has pretty grass-like leaves. Another common name is staggergrass. According to some texts, colonists mixed the bulb of this plant with sugar to kill flies. (Wonder who thought of doing that the first time...)


Heads Up!

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It's not a good photograph in the technical sense, but I don't care. The face of this rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus) is just too cute not to share. It was busy hunting for insects and spiders in a tangle of grape vine when I startled it. After checking me out, it slipped back in among the leaves and vines.


Behave Yourself...


'Cause you just never know who's got his eye on you ;)

This alligator was sneaking around the shoreline of the millpond, with only its eyes and nose showing.
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Excuse Me

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If you've never had the opportunity to observe these little aerial acrobats, I urge you to make the effort to seek them out. Barn swallows are guaranteed to delight and amaze. Hugh, over at Rock Paper Lizard, tells of the decline in numbers of these birds. Distressing news. It makes me doubly glad that we have some nesting on the bridge bascules at work. This one gave me the once over when I disturbed it during its morning ablutions.

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I'm an equal opportunity annoyer -- this yellowbelly slider was on the road shoulder just across from the driveway at the new house. She was not delighted at having her picture taken. I finally took the hint and left her to her task of finding a place to lay her eggs.


Around the House

No pictures this morning -- but I did want to give you an idea of what's active around the house this spring. We have several species of birds nesting in the yard: bluebirds, prothonotary warblers, chipping sparrows, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, blue-gray gnatcatchers, mourning doves, Carolina wrens, summer tanagers, blue grosbeaks, indigo buntings, brown thrashers, catbirds, and red-bellied woodpeckers. There are hummingbird nests nearby, I'm sure. In addition to the birds, we have quite a crop of cotton rats and cottontails this year. I also expect to see momma deer introducing her fawns to our platform bird feeder before too terribly long.

This will be our last spring in this house. We've been here 18 years. I imagine whoever moves in after we leave will "clean up" the "yard." What a shame.


Prothonotary Warbler

Bright yellow and busy, Prothonotaries are always fun to watch. We have a pair nesting in the yard this year. They have built in a blue bird box right next to the driveway. This is the second time we have had them to nest in a box in the yard. Last time we were fortunate enough to be watching when the little ones fledged.

Want to learn a little trivia about the Prothonotary? Check out this article at Cornell's Birds of North America site.
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Hanging Out With Turtles

Yellowbelly slider, Trachemys scripta (Thanks, Tom)
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Hey, baby!
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Spangled Skimmer


Female spangled skimmer, Libellula cyanea.
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As Promised

Here you go, woverman, a picture of the house in progress.

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Millpond Cabana

As I paddled along yesterday, savoring the fact that I was actually out and about with the whole pond to myself, I spied one of my favorite critters savoring the day as well. Green treefrogs never fail to make me smile.
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This brown water snake also made me smile. Gotta love a snake wearing a duckweed wig...
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The Merry Month of May...Please

Okay, remember me? I've been away a while. Seems the fates weren't done with us afterall...April turned out to be just as bad as March - more loss and sadness. But things have to get better, right?

On a positive note, the house is coming along nicely. The framers finished last week and the masons should have the chimney completed today. We are supposed to get the windows this week, too. Also, I found a vinyl floor design that I actually like - one more decision made!

Our older son came to see us over the weekend. He took his kayak back home with him when he left -- good thing, too. We don't have any out buildings at the new house. Storage is going to be an issue don't you know...

The flower above is a pink lady's-slipper, Cypripedium acaule. We have quite a few blooming this year.
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