Monday, June 13, 2011


Why don't she write?!


I've meant several times to start up again -- geez, it's been a year! But well... blogs (writing and reading) for me are huge time sucks. And Facebook is the huge time suck that I've been abusing most recently.

Note to spammers: that does not mean that you can graffiti my blog with your crummy, spammy links. I still delete those.

Anyway, I'm still alive, though parched with drought. Thinking about starting back up again, or at least posting every now and then.

The photos show something I've been obsessed with lately: I'm on a huge succulent kick, potting them up in thrift-store finds. I can't say which is more squee-inducing, finding new plants, or discovering containers that speak to me (marked way, way down).

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Too sweet

I said that bugs are attracted to me because I'm so sweet. My husband had to point out that they're really more attracted to... other things.

Hackberry emperor, Asterocampa celtis. His favorite foods: Sap, rotting fruit, dung, carrion.


I like that Butterflies and Moths of North America site and their detailed range maps. You can get a custom list of the butterflies in your state. It even goes down to county level, but I'm not sure if all counties have the same level of detail.

Here's another one for the more common Alabama butterflies.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sometimes you're lucky, and they just come to you. (Green Barking tree frog, Hyla cinerea gratiosa.)

Shortly after whining about being sick yesterday, I chipped my front tooth while biting my fingernail.

So, maybe I'm just frog-lucky.

I was going to say, "Doesn't he have a pretty eye?" But after staring at the close-up while doing the photo cropping, I'm finding it slightly creepy. A hypnotist's eye. Squinting and wide-open at the same time.


Thanks to Swampy for correcting my ID!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ick, sick

Since just after my last post almost a month ago, I've been unwell.

First there was discomfort, and an attempt to postpone the doctor til after the craft show. Then there was pain, a can't-take-it-no-more doctor visit, and the missing of a craft show. Finally there were pills and a little loopy relief. Eventually a long, slow recovery, with lots of wish I had more pain pills malaise.

I'm 90% better, but that last 10% is taking forever. I'm still not in good form for bending, stooping, or scrunching photography maneuvers. So I've been playing in Photoshop with earlier shots.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vroom Vroom: Indy at Barber

We spent the weekend at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham. Friday we roamed the park scoping out the different viewing spots, before finally coming back to our old favorite under the trees (on the straight between turns 11 and 12).

Various car clubs gather at the races and park in "car corrals". My husband wished he could take one of these Vipers home with us.

Although not the headliners, two Grand Am series races were also held this weekend, and turned out to be a lot of fun, even though I didn't know much about them. I was surprised at how many of those racers' names were familiar to me though... Hubby loves to watch those "24 Hours of Daytona" type races, and some of it must have rubbed off on me.

Pirelli employee taking a break. (Tired tire girl?)

There was a "fan walk" for the Rolex Grand Am series on Saturday. You have to pay extra for a Paddock Pass, and we didn't have time to fully take advantage of it. But I really enjoyed being able to walk on pit lane. It's even narrower than it looks on tv.

The crews couldn't have been nicer -- we even saw them opening the car doors so little kids could look inside.

Hot Dog Boy was there on pit lane. I took the flyer, and still have no idea what that was about. But he was awfully cute.

In which I pretend to be part of the pit crew... I imagine that Fernando Alonso just sped by in his Ferrari. I held the pit board to give him vital info, since his radio was broken... (Never mind that he's in F1, a series that doesn't come within 1000 miles of this track.)

Marco Andretti demonstrates how to pass at Barber.

The one thing I really got SICK of hearing was how you couldn't pass at the Barber track. I must have heard it a hundred times, from Joe Schmoe in line at the Porta-Potties, to radio announcers, to some of the drivers themselves. (I saw Ryan Hunter-Reay by chance, the only time I didn't have my camera, and he was saying it too.)

Indy Lights drivers take turn 5 three-wide.

But it's really not true. There was not much passing, granted, and it may not be easy, but it is possible.


Still more photos to process... more later!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Goo Day

Happy Goo Day!

I was mistaken in thinking that I'd already missed Orange Goo Day this year... That is, the day the Cedar-Apple Rust and Cedar-Qunice Rust make their outlandish annual appearances.

Hooray! I hate to miss it. This year the appendages seem more noodly than ever, don't they? I wonder if that's because it's rained so much in the past year.

Well, if you aren't hip to the whole orange goo phenomenon, don't fret. I wasn't either, until we moved out to the country. You can read my past posts (with slightly more scientific explanations) here.

So, was it Goo Day with you too? Did you have fun shouting sporulation and heteroecious and gelatinous telial spore horns?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Game Cam

Some recent game cam photos:

A sleek bobcat (Lynx rufus).

Murphy's law of game cameras:
You get mostly southern views of northbound animals. (Coyote, Canis latrans.)

Looks like she barely escaped that bicycle pump. (Virginia opossum, Didelphis virginiana.)

Finally, our first shot of a beaver in action. (Castor canadensis.) Click to embiggen!

We nearly ruined the game cam, trying to get a photo of a beaver. Positioned it too near the creek last spring. The heavy rains came, and... well, it's not meant to be an underwater camera. It still works, but not as well as it once did. The batteries used to last forever; now they need replacing every two weeks or so.

And this was the only beaver pic we got out of that sorry situation:


If that's the miscreant who gnawed down the only white-blooming redbud in our woods, I wouldn't be too sad if that flash gave him a mild heart attack. I really miss that tree.


Sirens from emergency vehicles screaming down the highway roused us in the wee hours last night. Jasmine howled, which she almost never does. It sounded so funny, I couldn't help but laugh, even as I was trying not to wake up too much. But then every coyote in the woods howled too. There are a lot more of them than I'd thought. I had imagined the population somewhat reduced, since our chicken flock has stayed intact for the past year. Now I'm worried.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Finally wonderful, Pt 2

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). The bloodroots are almost two weeks late this year, due to cold weather.

I haven't tackled moss identification yet. This is a common one here.

Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata). Most of them are still not open yet.

First damselfly of the season. They are frustratingly difficult to identify.

Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis). You know it's a late spring, when the hepatica aren't open til after mid-March. I've found them blooming in January and February, most years.

The beavers are out in force and at it again.

Yesterday was decidedly not wonderful (got colder, rained all day). And snow flurries this morning! I think the wonderful is due to return tomorrow, though.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Finally wonderful

The meteorologist was right Friday morning, when she described the coming weather: finally wonderful!

Wildflowers are popping up everywhere. I've been out with the camera, and will post some pictures soon. (It's raining this morning, or I'd be out trying to find more.)

I should know by now to take the camera everywhere, though, since I ended up really wishing I'd had it yesterday in Birmingham. You just never know when you're going to be surprised by bagpipers.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Usnea strigosa

We see this lichen here all the time, only usually without quite so many things on it. The technical name for the things is apothecia. If that's exciting to you, you may want to look here for related technical terms. I spent way too much time there, following links and trying to figure out what was meant when they said something was shaped like a skittle. The candy or a British bowling pin?

Anyway, I finally identified the lichen: Bushy beard lichen; Old man’s beard; Usnea strigosa.

I haven't found a good southern or eastern North American lichen identification site. I was lucky and happened on a page that told me that this "is the only Southern Usnea with large, pale, terminal apothecia."1

The Ohio Moss and Lichen Association has some good photos, including this one that shows what Usnea strigosa more commonly looks like. But there's no key. Let me know if you find a good lichen site.


1If you could actually get the pdf file to come up, it might be useful. I had to make do with the hodge-podge cached html version.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Pileated woodpeckers wuz here... Dryocopus pileatus calling card.

This fallen log is along the path that I've been taking to scout wildflowers. They bloom first on the higher elevations, and I've made the trek two or three times in the past week, with no luck. Nothing blooming yet. It's been an unusually cold winter, followed by an annoyingly tardy spring.

Since it's been raining in near-biblical proportions, I get to tromp through plenty of mud and standing water to reach the higher elevations. A good test for my new rain boots, I guess, but now I feel slightly guilty at how abused they look, so soon out of the box.

Plants are starting to emerge, at least. It won't be much longer.

Via my superior weather radar-sleuthing skills, I suspected that it would rain again before we got back. I was right. Next time, we're taking two umbrellas... I keep forgetting that somebody is a lot taller than me, for umbrella purposes.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The better to see you with

Here's a recent game camera shot of a reddish coyote. I still haven't managed to get a better photo of the suspected melanistic (black) coyote. I think this one may be his/her mate. I've gotten a couple of shots of them together, but Red here is always the one in the foreground.

After viewing our previous shots, the local Extension agent agreed that the black canid was most likely a coyote. He advised me to bait the area with meat for a better photo. I'm a little afraid that would attract the wrong element though... stray dogs. There have been a few more of those around lately.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Work, work, work

During a previous set-up at Cottontails

My first spring craft show will be Cottontails next weekend.

I'll be in normal chicken-with-head-cut-off running around mode this next week, working on all those last-minute things that I think will take 10 minutes and invariably end up taking 3 hours.

So, of course it is the perfect time to start a new project! A page on Facebook for the soap biz.

Come be my fan. See behind the soapmaking scenes. Get special deals on my handmade soap and other lovelies. Help me expand my "fan base" beyond just relatives who owe me money.

I'll endeavor to be at least 50% less annoying than a telemarketer, and I promise never to call during dinner.


Not calling during dinner offer does not apply to relatives.


My booth at Cottontails will be Azalea 1202. Come see me!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Boat in the woods

Sure, lots of people have boats on the river, or boats at the lake.

If you want to be really trendy, try a boat in the woods. It doesn't go very fast, but there's no danger of drowning.

I really thought this boat would have fallen totally apart by now, but she's still hanging in there. (Here it is in 2006.)

It used to say, "Jazz Feeds". I've no idea why anyone would paint an ad on the side of their boat.

This one makes me feel like a sort of tumbledown Walker Evans, only 1000% less likely to take a good photograph.)

Maybe I really should plant something in it.