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Frankly, I am not amused...

It is going to be very hot the next few days. We are expecting temperatures in the low 90s. Quite the shock after our comparatively cool spring thus far.


Soggy Spider

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A couple of days ago Treebeard found this wolf spider trapped in a container full of water. He reached in and plucked her out.
Such a good man, my Treebeard.
As you can see, the spider had her egg case firmly in tow.
Looks sort of like a little blue world, doesn't it?


Nummy Yummy

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Yellow Morel

No, I didn't harvest them. But if I had, they would have been sauteed in a little butter and then eaten with the utmost appreciation. And yes, I would have shared them with Treebeard.


Froggy Thoughts

A pensive green treefrog sitting atop one of my B27s.
Wonder what he's pondering...
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Quiz Time

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After a long winter it's nice to see leaves on trees again. So how did your ID skills fare over the cold and barren months? Can you identify these five trees based on their newly emerged leaves? (That first picture is probably the hardest one - unless you know your buds!)
They are all native to NC and occur naturally in the coastal plain.

She's a Good Old Dog

Treebeard and I wandered the property this morning and Hannah decided to come with us. She'll be 15 years old in May and she doesn't do much walking any more, preferring instead to doze on the porch or on her bed under the kitchen table. Perhaps the pleasant spring weather motivated her this morning...more likely it was the banana that Treebeard was eating and the apple that I was eating. The dog is crazy for fruit! Whatever the motivation, it was nice to have her along for our walk. We know we won't have her company for too much longer and she's such a good old dog.

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Plowing the Back Quarter

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We finally had an opportunity to borrow our friend's tractor again. Our project this time was to break up the ground for our new vegetable garden. Treebeard did all the initial tractor work and then it was my turn to play. I love to drive the tractor -- and I suffer from serious tractor envy. It would be great if we could afford a small tractor but we just can't justify the expense. Meanwhile, thank goodness for generous friends!

The next step in garden prep will involve the tiller. I do not love the tiller. The tiller once tried to take me for a cross-country jaunt. I was not amused. Needless to say, the tiller work will be all Treebeard's :D

Stay tuned for garden updates as events warrant.

Spring Riot

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The glory of "weeds,"

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the business of bees,

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the promise of fruit,

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and the greening of trees.

Pawpaw Potential - Lost

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Asimina triloba

The pawpaw flowers are beginning to open. This branch had a nice progression from tight bud to open flower. Unfortunately, these particular flowers will never result in fruit. Someone broke the branch and it is just barely hanging on. We will have to cut it off the tree because it now hangs down into the trail just at eye level.


Tidbits from Sunday

Sunday was a beautiful day. We headed out onto the pond (of course!) and then up into the swamp. We were paddling with a friend from Vermont who has been down camping for the past few weeks. He really likes it here - well, except for the ticks ;) He didn't even complain (too much) when Treebeard insisted he look in a couple of hollow trees in order to see the bats within.

Below are a few snippets from our day. I didn't take nearly as many photos as I usually do. It was just so beautiful out I wanted to concentrate on being out and not so much on trying to capture images.

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Things have greened up quite a bit since our last paddle into the swamp a few weeks ago. The spatterdock (Nuphar lutea) has emerged, much to the delight of the beaver and nutria who have been nibbling off the leaves. Guess everyone enjoys a fresh salad now and again.

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Although we usually see them mostly along the shoreline, the gambusia (aka mosquito fish) seemed quite happy swimming amidst the vegetation out in the middle of the pond. Good for them! Gobble up those wiggle-tails (mosquito larvae) little fishies, gobble 'em up!

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A nice fresh tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) enjoying a not-so-nice and fresh scat. Aren't you glad we get our salts and other essentials from more appetizing sources?

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The larger tree mid-frame is a bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum). It's one of those odd deciduous needle and cone-bearing trees -- hence the name, "bald". This one is extra special. Up there where it crooks off to the left there is a cavity and that cavity houses a beehive. We have found several bee trees up in the swamp this spring. I hope that's a good sign that there are at least a few healthy wild bees out there and that not all hives are suffering from colony collapse.

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Otters don't have discriminating tastes, it seems. The head and skin above belong to a blackfish, Amia calva (aka bowfin, grinnel, mudfish, dogfish, spottail). This was a small one - they can get up to nearly 43 inches and 20 pounds - but I'm sure it filled the tummy of the otter that caught it. Click on it to enlarge it and take a look at its teeth.
Blackfish are capable of breathing air and they are tolerant of high temperatures, both valuable traits for a fish living in a shallow southern coastal plain pond. They offer fishermen a nice fight but are not particularly tasty.

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A few of the least trillium (Trillium pusillum var. virginianum) are still blooming. We were surprised by that. They are usually through by the last week in March. This flower has some age on it as evidenced by its pink petals.

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Sceloporus undulatus hyacinthinus, such an impressive name for a lizard. Me, I prefer the common name, Fence Lizard. This one is just a youngster. Hopefully it will grow up to be a fine fat adult. As lizard's go, these are quite personable and even moderately tolerant of being observed. They aren't nearly as jumpy as skinks.

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Smacked tight to the trunk of a bald-cypress, this green treefrog (Hyla cinerea) was hiding in plain sight... just a whisper of Spanish moss breaking up its profile.
I can't help myself, I absolutely love these little amphibians and never pass up an opportunity to photograph them.

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It was a fine day spent in excellent company in my favorite place.
I am a very fortunate person.


Keeping a Low Profile

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Canada Goose nesting on a beaver lodge.
You will note, the swamp is not in Canada.
Wish the goose knew that. They are pretty birds and they are impressively protective parents, but they are also floating feathered fertilizer factories.