Journal for August 12, 2011

It’s been busy here at the farm – we’ve had lots of visitors in the last few weeks.

Some of the folks Mike has worked with came to visit with their families.

Our favorite photo spot is the Big View Prairie bench.   Here we are, standing around waiting to get the photo taken.


Mike & Carlos Sr.


Shirley, Alex & Zerek


Zerek & Diane


The bench photo

The kids had a good time stalking the butterflies on the driveway.


These are the butterflies – Giant and Tiger Swallowtails


Cousins Pat, Paul and Tom came to visit.  This was another bench photo opportunity except that it was too hot to sit right on the bench, so we stood behind the bench in the shade.


This week some of my insect friends came to visit.  Here’s the Big View bench photo.

And the Knife Edge bench photo.


And the folks from West Wisconsin Land Trust came by for our annual visit.


I saw an unusual Tiger Swallowtail this week.  Most female Tiger Swallowtails are yellow, like the males, and there’s a less common form that’s black.  We see both kinds at our farm, but this week I saw a female that was in between these two forms.  I think it’s pretty unusual – although there are lots of photos of them on the internet.  I think when people see odd ones they take pictures, because they’re so unusual.


This has been a good year for Queen Anne’s Lace.  Queen Anne’s Lace is a non-native weed that is very common everywhere around here.  It’s almost impossible to get rid of.  I’ve tried mowing it, and pulling it, but there’s so much, and its seeds are so well distributed, that I don’t have much success controlling it.  I’ve finally decided that I’ll just have to get used to seeing it.

It’s especially common in the Cat’s Paw Prairie this year.


There are actually quite a few prairie flowers, but they tend to get hidden by all the Queen Anne’s Lace flowers.

Fortunately, most of the prairies look better than this.


I found a beautiful little mushroom that I’d never seen before.  My mushroom friend Pete thinks it’s probably Boletus bicolor – Two-colored Bolete.  It’s dark red on the outside, and bright yellow underneath.


This shows the bright yellow of the pores under the cap.


Another great find was a new plant growing in Western Prairie – Great Indian-plantain.  I’ve never planted it, so the seeds were either in the soil, or came in with some other seeds I bought.  Great Indian-plantain is considered a special concern plant in Wisconsin, and recently I’ve found a few plants growing along the roadsides near here.  I’ve collected some seeds – I’d like to grow more of it.


Yesterday we finally got the boat out, and went for a ride on the Mississippi River.  It’s the first time we’ve gotten there all summer.  It was beautiful – calm and quiet – hundreds of tiny damselflies skimming over the water, and tiny fish skimming just under the water.



A Bald Eagle glared at us as we floated by.


The frogs have discovered that my moth lights are a good place to find dinner.  I usually find several of them climbing on the wall of the garage, or even on the sheet.  The one great photo that I missed was a tree frog with two long antennae sticking out of its mouth.  The frog jumped before I could snap the picture.

Tree Frog


Tree Frog


Leopard Frog


American Toad


A few of the newest moths.

The best one – a Luna Moth – the first time one has ever come to my lights.

And – it was a female.  I kept her for a few days until she laid some eggs.


Variable Antepione


This is one I’ve seen a few times before, but I always like seeing it.  It’s an Archigera Flower Moth – its caterpillar eats the flowers of asters.



American Barred Umber


Brown-bordered Geometer


I’ve seen photos of these moths, but never a live one before.  It’s called a Brown Scoopwing, and is one of a group of moths called Swallowtail Moths.  It’s wingspan is only about 3/4 inch.