Posted by Picasa
Deep in a particularly rugged part of the swamp I happened across a blueberry bush that the bears hadn't found. High bush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum.



Posted by Picasa

Sometimes the pond can be a little cryptic...apparently the number nine holds some significance we can't fathom ;)

We popped down to the pond yesterday afternoon to see if the little hummers had fledged. The nest was empty with no sign of trauma, so we have high hopes that the little ones are out there catching insects and sipping nectar. Be safe, little hummers.

Posted by Picasa
Tupelo gum, Nyssa aquatica.


House Update

Posted by Picasa
The house is coming along nicely. Almost all the siding is done now, with just two small areas needing to be completed. The ceiling is up on the porch all the way around and the floor joists are in place on the porch off the master bedroom.

Posted by Picasa
Inside, the drywall is up and mudding is well underway.
That's Treebeard hanging out in the Harry Potter room - our cupboard under the stairs. We asked our contractor to give us as much space in that closet as possible and he did a great job.
In case you're wondering about Treebeard's sling, he had surgery about two weeks ago to repair a torn rotator cuff. His recovery is going pretty well, but it will be a while yet before he can do much with that arm. I have to keep an eye on him because he will do too much if I let him.

Posted by Picasa
Here's a crooked shot of my favorite room, the dining area off the kitchen. We tend to think of it as a sort of all-season part of the porch. We will be able to keep an eye on the vegetable garden, the grapevines, and the fruit trees from this room.

Posted by Picasa
Here's one of the yard critters we saw on our visit to the construction site yesterday. It's an eastern amberwing, Perithemis tenera; one of the smallest dragonflies in North America. This little guy is just shy of an inch long and from a distance can be mistaken for a wasp because of the way it moves its wings and abdomen when it perches.
Other critter sign in the yard included deer tracks, fox tracks, turkey tracks, and opossum tracks. We heard a variety of birds in the swamp next door, including a barred owl, a woodduck and a red-shouldered hawk. When I stepped out into the weed patch that will one day be the front yard, I was fussed out by a yellow-breasted chat, serenaded by an indigo bunting, eyed by a blue grosbeak, heckled by a fish crow, and buzzed by chimney swifts and purple martins. Bluebirds, prothonotary warblers, parulas, yellow-throated vireos, common yellowthroats, yellow-throated warblers, a Louisiana waterthrush, white-eyed vireos, cardinals, Carolina wrens, great crested flycatchers, mourning doves, brown thrashers, and turkey vultures rounded out our bird list for the visit.

Yep, it already feels like home.


Waiting For Mom

Two little ruby-throated hummers, waiting patiently for mom to come back and feed them. We've been keeping an eye on this nest since the female first started building.
Posted by Picasa

Aren't they cute?

Posted by Picasa


Identity Crisis

Posted by Picasa

Those sure don't look like hummingbird tail feathers to me...

Posted by Picasa

Aha! I thought so. It's a juvenile downy woodpecker pretending to be a hummingbird.

A juvenile red-bellied woodpecker has also been visiting the hummer feeders.

Kids -- just after a sugar fix ;)


Silly Rabbit

Posted by Picasa
Such a funny bunny. Marsh rabbits, Sylvilagus palustris, are very common in the work swamp. I have read that they are good swimmers, but have no personal knowledge of this fact. I think it would be very amusing to watch a rabbit swim -- do they keep their ears up or lay them back? Exactly how would one do a bunny paddle?
I should be able to keep track of sightings of this particular rabbit. It has a distinctive notch in its right ear. Hmmm, wonder if it caught its ear on a briar....

Posted by Picasa
Maybe if I turn away that pesky ranger will leave me alone. This grass is delicious and I have much more to eat...go away ranger.


What's Shakin'?

Posted by Picasa

Things are very busy, both at home and at work, so I don't have time to do a proper post. But I can't let you go without a swamp fix for too long :) So here you go -- this is a picture of the south end of a rattlesnake I saw at work today. I didn't get any good shots of the whole snake -- sorry :(



Posted by Picasa

This fellow appears to be a cooter...genus Pseudemys. I'm having a little trouble working him down to species though. His characteristics are proving difficult to key out. He keeps coming out betwixt and between species. Hybrid, perhaps?

But, no matter what, he sure has a pretty face.


Battered, But Beautiful

Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

Box turtles hold a special appeal for me. For many years now I have kept a photographic record of the ones that live in the home swamp. It is always a pleasure to come across one of "my" turtles, especially if it's been several years since I have seen a particular individual. The turtle above was first found and photographed back in July of 2004. She was quite distinctive because of the obvious trauma she had suffered at some point in her life. Treebeard found her again last Friday and remembered that she was one of mine. He brought her to the house so I could see her. She is still in great shape and quite perky. I updated her photo and took her back to where Treebeard found her.

Live long and prosper, Lucky One.

Posted by Picasa


Meanwhile, Back At The House

Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

Things are progressing at the construction site. There was a hiccup with the county inspectors over the chimney, but that has been resolved. Work inside is moving along as insulation and drywall are being installed. Siding should be making an appearance sometime soon.

We are becoming more and more comfortable with the idea that we are going to be homeowners -- or perhaps we're just numb with the shock of being in debt ;)

Incident Info

For information on wildfires visit the inciweb.org website.

You can see pictures and maps at this site and find out all sorts of information about the fires that are burning in the US.


Saturday Morning

Posted by Picasa
I shared the trail with a very pretty ratsnake. He was unusual in that he retained a good bit of his juvenile markings despite his large size.

Posted by Picasa
Skinkus interruptus...accidentally disturbed a pair of skinks that may have been getting ready to get to know each other a little better. This is the female; the red-headed male scampered off when I got too close.

Posted by Picasa
Treebeard is showing you this male turtle's long front claws. Male sliders use their impressive nails to stroke the face of females they hope to, uh, persuade...

Posted by Picasa
Damsel in distress, but the robber fly is happy.

Posted by Picasa
Lichen-covered bump on a limb cuddles a couple of pea-sized hummingbird eggs.
Mom is off feeding.

Fire update:

Over 1500 acres now
Creeping closer
Over 200 people working the fire
Lots of smoke