Friday, June 5, 2015


I am between semesters and seemingly between big gardening seasons. It has been cool, rainy or gray most of the week and as of late. I got the big garden in and now I wait for summer delights- eggplant, tomato, basil, squashes, peppers.

Kiddo and I took a quick hike at a local nature preserve.
Either I rarely hike when Poison Ivy is in bloom or I don't notice it, but this is what the flowers of PI look like in full glory.
 PI flowers

 Box Elder sapling
Poison Ivy is often confused with Box Elder saplings. PI is on the left and BE is on the right.
PI can take the form of a shrubby plant or a vine. Both have leaves in 3's. BE has more serrated leaves and green woody stems. 
Wild Quinine (below)
 Bradbury's Monarda with mating bugs on top (below)
 A forest Milkweed. I need to go back in a couple of days 
and check out the flowers for ID. Very cool. (below)

 White Wild Indigo (below)
 Penstemon digitalis (below)
 Yarrow (below)
 Green Dragon
 Moonvine- not to be confused with the non-native
annual with huge white flowers. This one has crescent-shaped
seeds, which I believe is where the name comes from.
 Viola palmata (maybe?) below
 Wild Yam vine
I really like these leaves. I think it's the palmate veins that
attract me.
 A putty-root orchid! Found along the trail.

Karst Topography
Stemler Cave Woods Nature Preserve sits atop an underground cave system and the area is full of sinkholes. This geological condition is called Karst topography. We are lucky to live so close to this unique landscape. Some of the sinkholes fill with water, some do so temporarily and others permanently. Because of their relative shallowness and impermanence they make great amphibian ponds. 

Fungus Amongus
 White Coral Fungus? I can't find my Mushroom
Field Guide!
 Red Jelly Fungus (above)
Wood Ear Fungus
One of the largest ones I've seen

Mama Wolf Spider with babies on her back
 Spittle bug on Narrow Mint
 Zabulon Skipper (male) on nasty honeysuckle

What Fire can do
I wish I had a before picture of this. 
Volunteers put in many hours each year pulling the
invasive Bush Honeysuckle and burning unit by unit thereafter. 
The reason you can see the forest AND the trees is due to these
efforts, otherwise there would be no view of the forest floor here. 
I love that this special place is so close to home. 
Wish there were more.

Back at home
First of the Snap Peas
I made a cold Peanut Noodle Salad with these 

 Indian Pink- Spigelia marilandica
(above-native) just started blooming
I started this Blue Angel Salvia
from seed. The blue is amazing and the blossoms
are huge!

Chicken feeders: Greens & Nasturtiums
covered with wire enough so the chickens can eat greens 
w/out killing the plants. The new coop in the background. 

The Dome in Summer
 The madness within. Everything going to seed.

Cleaned up and planting more in this area (below) in the Orchard,
Holly, arborvitae, Black Eyed Susans, 2 kinds of Monarda, 
P Coneflower, 2 kinds of daisies, asters, blueberries, lilies

Rosa showing the feeding station below the new coop. 
The older girls love it so much I haven't fully enclosed it yet, as
it is suppose to be for the young gal's new coop. 

Next Generation

The curious little ones. 

They like me.
They really, really like me. 

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