Sunday, September 26, 2010

Autumn collages

This seems to be a good year for nuts (last year was not so good). The Hickories and Buckeyes in our yard are really dropping them like crazy. I stood in a spot in our driveway today and counted at least 25 buckeyes on the ground within a 2-foot radius. They are all so beautiful and perfect. I want to collect every single one of them! I'm glad it's a good year for nuts, though - that means there should be plenty of winter food for the squirrels and chipmunks and such.

The trees are turning slowly but surely, and several super windy days have brought a lot of leaves tumbling to the ground. As the fallen leaves dry out and turn brown, there's still a little bit of color to be appreciated among the wildflowers and my potted plants. The asters are really showy right now - I love it.

Work continues on the guestudio. I'll share some more photos with you all in the near future.

P.S. All of today's photos taken with a Nikon D5000 that was graciously loaned to me by one of my co-workers. It's a pretty sweet camera! Thanks, Mike!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The whisper of autumn

Crows - caw, caw, cawing... a melancholy song
Squirrels scamper amidst a carpet of crunching leaves
Crisp breezes slowly denude the trees and
Nuts randomly pelt the ground
Crickets chirp at midday -
Fields of corn and soy, brown and spent,
prepare to give of their fruit for the harvest -
Asters and pumpkins, cider and bonfires
Brilliant leaves offset by brooding skies -
Daylight fades sooner
Dawn shimmers with dew
Coolness set in
yet butterflies and dragonflies
still fill the fields
holding on as long as they can.
I, too, am holding on, clinging to summer -
The siren song of autumn is drawing me in,
enticing me.
It is my only choice -
to embrace and rejoice.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I miss

Right now, I miss lots of stuff. I miss walks in the woods. I miss walks in the woods with my camera. I miss my camera - we haven't bonded in ages. I miss sharing cool stuff with you guys, like this...

A fantastic moth found in our living room in early August. I think it may be Conchylodes ovulalis but I am still waiting for confirmation on that (ID has been confirmed by the regional co-ordinator of Butterflies and Moths of North America). Look at that coloring, and check out the antennae!

I had to run quickly to catch this before the sun went down and the effect was lost.

Tired and tattered, but a butterfly's still got to eat! Tiger Swallowtail (I think) on Joe Pye Weed.

Two interesting bugs I found - one in the woods, one in Dave's truck. I'd love to tell you about them sometime.

I miss writing, both informatively and in prose form. I miss catching up with your blogs, and connecting with you. Guestudio work has been, continues to be, ongoing. It's ironic that this place we are making, intended as a haven for my creative endeavors, is taking me away from... my creative endeavors. But soon enough it will be finished, and I will be settled at my desk, looking out at the woods, smiling and writing and sharing once again. Until then, I am making a vow to myself to go for a walk in the woods this weekend, no matter what.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Weekend - Guestudio update

Hope everyone had a good Labor Day weekend. I had hoped to spend a little time outdoors at some point, but there was just too much to do. Dave and I labored all weekend long and managed to prime and paint the entire guestudio! Here's the progress report.

The last time I shared photos of the place, the drywall had just started to go up. Here is the main room as it stood with the drywall just hung.

Here we have the same room, with the beginnings of the drywall taping and mudding process.

Fast-forward to today, when we got those walls painted!

Same view, but taken from the loft.

Speaking of the loft, here is looking up toward the loft, pre-drywall.

Drywall hung, waiting for tape and mud.

The scene as of today, all painted. Sorry for the shadows, but I didn't feel like using the flash.

A view from the outside, with all the siding hung. It's got trim around it now, too, but I haven't taken a picture since they hung the trim for some reason.

Looking back toward the parking area. Emmett is the official greeter of both the house and the guestudio.

There you have it folks. Lots of progress made in a short time, but still lots more to do. I'll try to keep you posted.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Marvelous mallow

I've got such a backlog of photos to share, it's shameful. One flower that I finally got photos of this year was a lovely, large, showy hibiscus-looking flower that grows out in the middle of one of the fields on our road. It grows down in a low spot that tends to have its feet wet, so to speak, when we go through spells of rainy weather. It stands out not only because it's so gorgeous, but because it's pretty much the only flower of its kind in that immediate area.

I am still trying to determine if this is Common Rose-Mallow or Halberd-leaf Rose-Mallow. One way to differentiate between the two is to look at the leaf shape, but both types could have 3-lobed leaves. I didn't get great shots of the leaves, but they are definitely 3-lobed. I need to go back and see if the leaves are hairy or not - if they are hairless, then the ID is most likely the Halberd-leaf species (at least according to my handy-dandy National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America).

A not-so-great shot of the mallow leaves and blossoms

The seed pod can also aid in identification, but both rose-mallows have "many-seeded capsules," so that doesn't really narrow it down.

These dried out seed pods are from last year's flowers, mixed right in with the new flowers from this year. I guess I could snag a few and try planting them somewhere else closer to home.

They both prefer similar habitat (wet, marshy areas), so again, no help there. For now I will be content to simply admire how beautiful they are, but my learning antennae will be up to find the key to lead me to a positive ID.

Nice pollen. I have to wonder what evolutionary purpose these large petals, which can catch pollen, might serve? Is it to be a "landing pad" of sorts for the insects that are meant to pollinate it?

Does the stamen of this flower look like an elephant's trunk to anyone else?

P.S. A big thanks goes out to Dave, who mowed a path with the tractor so that I could get to these flowers. They are amidst very tall grass and dicey terrain, wherein I worried that I might encounter snakes or other surprise animals hiding out. I wasn't too crazy about the possibility of bushwhacking my way to said flowers, so my man helped me out. He's pretty nice like that. ;)