Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Our boat

I wondered if I was seeing things.

It was several months after we bought the land. We were driving on one of the paths, when I thought I spied something a bit odd. "Stop! Back up!"

Yep, it really was a boat. In the middle of the woods.

World's biggest planter?

Many country people don't see the point in paying to take things to the county landfill, when they've got so much perfectly good land of their own on which to dump stuff. So we're continually finding surprises in the woods.

Monday, January 30, 2006

In the still of the night

You may remember me obsessing lately about the game camera that we got for Christmas (here, here, and here.)

Last weekend we moved the camera to a diffent spot. I checked it two mornings in a row, and found no pictures (other than the ones I can't seem to avoid triggering myself). So I decided to put some corn out, and leave it alone the rest of the week.

In the early morning hours of the 26th, a hungry coyote appeared.

At first I thought he was alone. Then I looked closely at the left side of the picture...

Those two beaming headlights are eyes!

His buddy's eyes! Actually they are probably a mated pair.

The flash didn't seem to bother him. Each of these pictures were taken two minutes apart.

Then thirty minutes later...

More coyotes! Or is it the same ones? They look a bit different to me. The one on the right seems a lighter color and heavier than the others. And the tail of the one on the left seems a slightly different color. (I'm far from an expert on coyote identification so I could be wrong though.)

About an hour and forty minutes later... I'm not sure if this is the same coyote from the last picture or not (but I think so).

Then two minutes later...

Hey! That's not nice!

I supposed she is scent-marking. Or maybe she just got tired of all those flashes going off, and decided to moon the camera.

I can't believe that all this was going on during the same night.

But the best was yet to come.

4:26 a.m. Bingo! Bobcat!

I am so glad we got this camera.


Click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

Coyote, Canis latrans
Bobcat, Lynx rufus

Friday, January 27, 2006

Crazy dog!

My name is Jasmine.

I do what I want!

Great Pyrenees dogs are bred to be independent. Their "job" is usually to stay out in the field with sheep or goats for long periods of time. They are not suited for obedience training. At all.

Lately she has to be on a leash, or else she won't stay with us when we go for walks.

She doesn't mind the leash - in fact she gets excited when she sees it, because she knows that it means walkies.

But the very instant that we turn and head back for home, she starts acting like a crazy dog.

The leash is not a toy!

I've read that Pyrs can stay in a puppy-like behavioral stage longer than most other dogs. Two years or more.

She'll be two in March. Something tells me that she's not going to settle down any time soon.


Visit the Friday Ark for links to more critter pics.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Old boundaries

On one part of our property, there are three types of boundary markers: surveyor's tape, a barbed wire fence, and these tree blazes. They don't always precisely agree, but are usually within 10 or 20 feet of each other.

I don't know how old the painted markers are. The fence is rusty and has trees over it in a few places. I wonder if previous owners kept cows here... otherwise why bother to put up a fence in such hilly terrain? Nowdays it's not going to keep much of anything in or out, but it does a fairly good job of following the property line.

The ground in this area is extremely rocky, so the trees may be older than they appear.

I know it sounds corny, but - I wish the trees could talk! I'd love to hear their stories.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A year of blathering

I can't believe that I've been blathering on for a year now.

If you're tuning in late, here are a few golden oldies - one per month.


Steadfast Plastic Articulated Man

Chick Lit

The Visitor

Postdiluvian (Baby)

You Again!

Butterfly Wrangling

Mystery Solved

Catalpa Worms

County Fair

Highly Collectible Art

Cute cats

Strange Yellow Fungi

It was difficult picking one post per month... sometimes there was too much good stuff going on and sometimes too little... Anyway I'm going to have to cheat and throw in this one too:

Proof that Chickens are Crazy

April was the best month, picture-wise. Lots of flowers!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The debate is over

I found this in the creek. A lively debate ensued concerning the origin.

Me: "It's an ancient Indian artifact!"

Hubby: "It's a rock."

Last weekend a chicken farmer/archaeologist gave a talk at the local museum. (Yes, in Alabama you can be a chicken farmer and an archaeologist at the same time.)

The newspaper had promised that after the presentation, he'd identify any local artifacts that people brought.

Most people had arrowheads. Except that we learned most were actually spear tips instead, and older than true arrowheads (which in this area apparently tend to be quite small). One kid had a particularly fine Clovis point. A man showed everyone a hematite atlatl weight (bannerstone) that his father had found.

There was a large crowd. I waited impatiently at the end of the line. And finally discovered that my curious artifact was... a rock.

A piece of chert. He told me the scientific name of the phenomenon that caused the groove. But in my crushing disappointment I've forgotten it.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Ooh, nice...

I can't bring myself to type the last word of that double entendre because it would only invite more of the um, wrong element.

Like the ones who come here searching for pictures of people mooning, bigbooty, little cuties, cute chicks, etc. (Though I do admit to a sort of a perverse satisfaction in knowing that I made them look at pictures of the actual moon, Christmas trees, my cats, or chickens, respectively.)

Anyway, here's another picture from the game camera (1, 2). I had to alter this one quite a bit, since the deer was near the edge of the flash's effectiveness.

We decided to move the camera to another spot, to see if we have better luck. There was one last picture from the old location:

I have no idea who these dogs belong to, but they've obviously found a hole in the fence.

Hubby put the camera in an area where we've seen lots of scat lately (coyote mostly, I think), and aimed it down the road a bit.

As you might imagine, Jasmine ends up as the star in most of the pictures.

We're having trouble setting the camera to be as sensitive as we'd like. It sometimes fails to take a picture of us when we cross in front of it, so it must be missing animals too. It's heat-activated, so it works best in cold weather.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Friday Ark

Check the Friday Ark at The Modulator for this week's critter pics.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


The rain was so loud that it woke us up. It was still dark outside, but we couldn't get back to sleep. So naturally the talk turned to... nanobots.

"If they had nanobots, they wouldn't even have to make an incision - you could just put nanobots in there and they'd clean all that up."

"How would you get them in, through the ears?"

"Yeah, or you could just inhale them."

"Well the next thing you know, the government would be sneaking little spy nanobots in there, to record your thoughts."

"Yeah. And the big companies would get in on it too. They would be putting nanobots into candy bars, that would make you want to eat more and more candy bars."

"Then you'd have to take diet pills with nanobots that would fight the candy bar nanobots."

"Eventually we'd probably all just be zombies controlled by the nanobots."

We decided that nanobots wouldn't be such a good thing after all.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Fall wildflowers

I found these pictures of flowers that I took during the fall. I'm a lot bigger fan of the spring ephemerals than other wildflowers. Maybe because they're the first ones to appear, or because so many of the autumn ones look so much the same. There seem to be five million species of goldenrods. Ten million asters. But in the winter I start craving wildflowers of any sort. And unlike the Ontario Wanderer, who seems to have the uncanny ability to find any number of blooms in winter... in Canada... all I've got is these memories from the computer.

A Helianthus. Or maybe Heliopsis. Or something.

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis). Lots of people have this one in their garden. It really is this red! In the wild it seems to like damp places.

Something in the aster family.

Ironweed (Vernonia sp.) & goldenrod (Solidago sp.).

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Strange weather

It's been cool again the last couple of days, but last week you'd have thought spring was well underway.

The honeybees (Apis mellifera) must have thought so too.

Except that when they were tricked into leaving the warm hive, there were no flowers. So they had to substitute... chicken feed?

I doubt that there's nectar in the layer ration pellets. But something must have attracted them. They seemed lethargic though. Torpid. I thought that the chickens, who in warmer months chase moths and flies all over the yard (to great comic effect), would make a quick meal of them. But they just ignored them.

Then out by the pond, I felt about as slow as the bees.

Why is the mud walking?

Finally it dawned on me that it was a snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina). Guess he realized it was too early to wake up.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Adult Medulloblastoma

It's not such a great picture.

The light level was too low and it turned out grainy, like most of my indoor pictures do.

But I love this photo, because it means that my brother's wife is a cancer survivor. And her hair is growing back!

She had a brain tumor - an adult medulloblastoma. "Adult" because it's normally a tumor that is found in children. It's rare in adults.

Luckily, she was diagnosed quickly after the onset of her symptoms. She had surgery and came through with few serious deficits. She's had a rough time of it though, especially during radiation and chemo, and I didn't want to mention it here before now. But she's doing better every day.

Even if one of her nieces did ask why her hair was growing back in a different color.



My sister-in-law said that it helped a lot to be able to speak with other people on this Yahoogroup email list for Adult Medulloblastoma.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Friends now

I believe they've worked through their differences.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Native orchids

Scouting around one day the first winter we moved here, we found what we later identified as Puttyroot Orchid leaves. They're easy to find in the winter, or at least easier than in the summer when they bloom. I thought so anyway, until we started trying to find them again.

We found lots of Cranefly Orchids (Tipularia discolor) instead.

Like the Puttyroots, the Cranefly Orchid leaves remain green throughout the winter. Sometimes they have a few bumps or none at all.

Most of the time they have several.

The underside of the leaf is purple.

The Cranefly Orchid is fairly common. I was happy to find them, but it wasn't what I'd been looking for.

We searched and searched in vain.

I couldn't find them in the area where I thought I'd seen them before. I was ready to give up. Then of course we found them somewhere else.

Several Puttyroot Orchids (Aplectrum hyemale) all together!

The leaf in winter feels dry like parchment.

The back side is green.

The blooms of these orchids are nothing to write home about, I suppose. They bloom in the summer, and this time I made note of their locations so I can find them again when the woods are dense.