Sunday, October 31, 2010


If you are out hiking in the woods this Halloween, keep your eye out for the Giant Walking Stick!!!!

If you aren't careful, he will grab you with his huge octopus-like tentacles...

And drag you back to his lair...

And you will never be heard from again because he will eat your bwwwwaaaaaiiiiinzzzz!

Happy Halloween!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It pays to look twice

This weekend, I was in need of places to hang my bird feeders to dry after a thorough cleaning. I usually opt for shepherd's hooks to act as drying racks. That means that sometimes I need to displace a hanging basket or two that is occupying said shepherd's hooks.

Just before I reached to remove one of the hanging baskets, an unidentified blob-like object on the hook caught my eye. At first glance I didn't know what it was. I thought it might be
a.) some dirt
b.) some poo
c.) larval form of unknown bug

This image doesn't do justice to my first glance at the mystery object, since its shape is slightly more telling from this angle. In case you haven't identified it yet, it's a frog.

A sweet little Gray Tree Frog, methinks.

Except I'm not sure. We have both the Gray Tree Frog and Cope's Gray Tree Frog in southern Ohio, and the only way you can tell them apart is by the rate of their trill (Cope's is faster and less melodious). Since this frog wasn't making any noise, its true identity remains a mystery.

What good camouflage this would be if he were on a TREE!

I was worried about this tiny frog making it through the night since the temperatures would be dipping down into the low 40's. I know frogs have mechanisms for dealing with cold temperatures, but they are usually burrowed underground by the time it gets really cold. I checked in on him this morning, and he was still there, and still breathing. Later in the day, though, I became worried that he make an easy meal for the Blue Jays that were hovering around in the trees very near this shepherd's hook. I checked the hook early this evening, and froggy was not to be found. Either he was able to move to a safer/warmer location, or he did indeed become someone's meal.

Despite his exquisite natural defense of camouflage, he was out of place on that hook. If he caught my eye, it's not hard to imagine that the sharp eye of a hungry bird would have seen him, too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Room with a view

When you have a house in the woods, it's hard to go wrong with a window view. The views from the house are great, as are the views from the guestudio. But I have a new favorite perch, one that looks like it will make for good birding come winter. Here, have a look for yourself.

Here's a slightly more magnified view.

Pretty nice, huh? Some might say that the seat looking out onto this is "fit for royalty." Can you guess where it is?

Here's a hint, it shares the room with this:

That's right, the best seat in the house is... the throne!

Nice views can be had from the main room, too, though. It looks really nice during the day when lots of natural light is streaming through the windows.

I can't WAIT until its finished!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Asters aplenty

These days I'm enjoying all of the asters that are blooming in the woodlands, meadows, fields and roadside ditches. They seem to be everywhere. The aster family (also known as the composite family) is a large one, and contains many flowers that we may not immediately identify as asters, such as Dandelions, Chicory, Ironweed, Joe Pye Weed, and yarrow to name a few, as well as various coneflowers, sunflowers and daisies (the family is also called the daisy or sunflower family). But come fall, I think many of us could look at a plant and correctly conclude "That's an aster."

As to what species in particular, I can only readily identify the showiest of them all, the New England Aster, shown here:

In the same field I found this specimen...

... and this one that is similar, but obviously not the same.

In our woods we have lots of these, which I believe to be White Wood Aster.

It seems to change color from white and yellow to pink and purple with age.

If anyone out there knows of a good guide to asters, I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, October 4, 2010

strange obsession

One aspect of the guestudio that I fretted over for a long time was the flooring. I knew I wanted a hardwood floor, and that I wanted it to be light in color, and it had to be rustic-looking. After much searching and consideration, I finally decided on some lovely handscraped flooring from Lumber Liquidators. It is birch ("Matterhorn Birch" by Virginia Millworks, to be exact), and it is exactly what I was looking for. I'm a bit obsessed with it, actually. I love it. The natural variation, the character, the charm - I find it... inspiring.

If you would like to see a timeline-style view of the guestudio construction, head on over to my Flicker page here. We're getting there!