Journal for August 29, 2014

We’re having more wonderful late-summer weather.  We just had a great thunderstorm – thunder, lightning strikes – mostly just over the ridge, but one so close we could feel it.  And a rainbow at the end.



We made two big changes to the farm in the last few weeks.

We were finally able to buy the piece of land across the road – we’ve been wanting it for years.  It’s 38 acres of mostly north-facing woods, so it’s different from most of the rest of our land.   This is looking from our driveway, across to the new hillside.  The hunters’ trailer is still there – it will get moved out sometime in the next year or so.

maple hill 1


There’s a big grove of Sugar Maples, with Nodding Trillium and ferns underneath.

maple hill 2


And several very overgrown trails.

maple hill 3


This is the trail that goes along the top of the ridge.

maple hill 4


Since we’d never walked there before, we didn’t realize that it also has some very overgrown prairie remnants on the south-facing side of the ridge.

maple hill 5


It will take some work to open them up, but already I saw one plant that we don’t have on any of our other remnants – Cylindrical Blazing-star.

maple hill 5


The other big change is that we were able to get the domain name, in addition to  So now you can go to either address, and the farm will be there.

We had several nice visits from friends, and got a couple of great bench photos.

Me, Rudie, Susan and Helen – Rudie is the first dog ever photographed on one of our benches.

bench photo


Jonathan, Sylvia and Carolyn

Jonathan Sylvia Carolyn


Canada Goldenrod has never been one of my favorite natives, but it is a favorite of a lot of insects.  This plant had a whole community of insects living in it.  The small round beetles are Shining Flower Beetles.  They spend their lives on Goldenrod.  The larvae suck juices from the flower stems, the adults eat goldenrod pollen.  The little green bugs close to the central stalk are aphids, being tended by ants.  Aphids produce a sweet substance that the ants like to eat.  So the ants get sugar, and in return, they protect the aphids from predators.

bugs on goldenrod


In the last 2 days I’ve found 3 of these caterpillars.  They’re the larvae of Snowberry Clearwing moths – one of the hummingbird moths we have here.  I’ve only seen an adult of this species once.  The other species of Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) that we have is much more common.  I’ve never found a caterpillar of either species before.  Two of the caterpillars were eating non-native honeysuckle.  This one was eating Tinker’s-weed (Triosteum perfoliatum) – a native savanna plant that I’ve planted in some of our restored savanna areas.

Hemaris diffinis caterpillar 8-27-14 1


I’m trying to learn more about bumblebees.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to learn the species – there are only about 13 that have been documented in Wisconsin – but it’s very difficult to photograph them.  They’re always moving, usually away from the camera.

I think this one is a Redbelted Bumblebee.

B. rufocinctus T 8-21-14 1


Here are some more photos of the landscape and the creatures we’ve been seeing.

A bee fly

Bee Fly


The view from Big View Prairie

big view


This was taken on a misty day looking out from Indian Grass Point.  Not much of a view of the valley!



The cabin road

cabin road



Rough Blazing Star, Showy and Stiff Goldenrod in the Knife Edge Prairie

knife edge


White Snakeroot in the woods near the cabin

walnut grove


Western Prairie

western prairie


This is a black female Tiger Swallowtail.  Most Tiger Swallowtails are yellow, but a small number of females are black.  We only see a few of these every year.

Black Tiger Swallowtail


It’s so nice to be seeing Monarchs beginning to migrate – last year there were almost none.



Northern Crescent

Northern Crescent 8-21-14



Jonathan, Sylvia and Carolyn had fun looking at moths.

moth sheet 1



Here are a few favorite moths from the last few weeks.

The Pink Streak

Dargida rubripennis The Pink Streak 8-22-14 1


Implicit Arches


Lacinipolia implicata Implicit arches 8-22-14


A friend at the moth lights – Gray Tree Frog

gray tree frog


This is another moth that’s often called a Hummingbird Moth – its other name is White-lined Sphinx.

Hyles lineata 8-25-14 1


Rose Hooktip – a moth I’ve only seen once before

Oreta rosea - Rose Hooktip 8-27-14 1


Wavy-lined Emerald

Synchlora aerata 8-24-14 1


Silver-spotted Fern Moth – another one I don’t see very often

Callopistria cordata 8-23-14 L


Brown Angle Shades

Phlogophora periculosa 8-23-14 L


White Underwing

Catocala relicta 8-23-14 L


Oldwife Underwing

Catocala paleogama annida 8-20-14 L