Journal for April 24, 2016

It’s gotten to the time of year when I have more photos than time to post them.  I only have time for computer projects when it’s raining.

We had 4 days of summer – up to 80 F – but now it’s back to normal spring temperatures.  Spring flowers are blooming, birds are coming back, and spring insects are here.   The valleys look greener every day.

Center Valley


We spent some days clearing fallen trees from our savannas, and then Mike did the spring mowing.

This is Indian Grass Savanna – the third season for some of this, but we’re clearing more, and Mike is mowing more, every year.

Indian Grass savanna


Mike mowing Hidden Oaks Savanna – some of this area is also having its first mowing.

mowing hidden oaks 4-23-16


Mike got out his drone and took photos of the two big savanna clearing projects we did last fall.

This one is Indian Grass Point – the hillside right behind the house.  The newly cleared part is the big slope in the front – still with many fallen birch trees.  The open parts on top are dry prairie and savanna.


This is Hidden Oaks prairie – with dry prairie on top, and the newly cleared slope coming down the front.



It’s exciting to find flowers coming up on these newly cleared hillsides.

Wood Anemone

Anemone quinquefolia 4-22-16 1


Sand Cress

Arabis lyrata 4-22-16 1


Rue Anemone

Thalictrum thalictroides 4-17-16 1


Bird’s Foot Violet

Viola pedata 4-21-16


Small White Violet

white violet


Wild Strawberry

Wild Strawberry


Pussytoes comes up in large patches in both the savannas and the prairies.



I found two flowers of Blue-eyed Grass yesterday – it’s still a little early for them.

Sisyrinchium campestris 4-22-16 1


Prairie Smoke is blooming – especially along the paths in our planted prairies.

Geum triflorum 4-23-16 1


Serviceberries are blooming in our woods now, but this one is growing in a crack in the rocks behind the house.  It’s only about 8 inches high – but it seems happy there.



Bloodroot is blooming in the ditches along the road.

Sanguinaria canadensis 4-17-16 1


I’ve been paying more attention to bees this year.  Hoary Puccoon is just beginning to bloom, and one day I found a bee head down in one of the blossoms.

Puccoon with bee 4-17-16 1


Eventually it pulled out so I could see it better.  It was a Small Carpenter Bee, in the genus Ceratina.  Ceratina nest and overwinter in old plant stems, so burning is hard on them.   (Thanks to Beatriz Moisset and James Trager for the ID and the information.)

Puccoon with Ceratina 4-17-16 2


Prickly Ash has been blooming for the last few days, and the bees love the blossoms.  I especially notice them in the late afternoon, when I look against the sun, and see the haze of yellow-brown flowers and the yellow-black fuzzy bodies of bees flying around them.

Prickly Ash with bee


These are male Mining Bees – in the genus Andrena.  (Thanks to Heather Holm for the ID.)

bee 4-22-16 2


My biggest project has been spraying and pulling Garlic Mustard.  I always think I’ve found all the patches we have, and then I discover another one.  A few days ago I found a ravine that I didn’t even know existed, and it was full of Garlic Mustard.

garlic mustard valley

Mike helped me spray one morning, and I think we got most of the plants that were going to flower this year.

I love our EV – the electric ‘ranger’ – our new work vehicle.  It’s so quiet that I see many more birds and animals when I drive around.  This grouse was standing on the trail.  I slowly inched up to it in the EV – completely silently.   I finally convinced it to move over enough that I could get by.



A friend told us about a place near here that had Dutchman’s Breeches growing in the woods.  We went to look and found the flowers carpeting the woods, in full bloom.

Dutchmans Breeches


Most of the flowers were white, but there were some pink ones.  I didn’t know they came in pink.

Dutchmans Breeches detail


We’ve been seeing a pair of owls on our trail cameras recently.  We moved one of the cameras to the little stream near the cabin, and it seems to be the owls’ favorite hunting ground.  We get photos of them nearly every night.    I’m pretty sure they’re Barred Owls.

Two owls – one at the edge of the stream, one on the hillside

4-18-16 1 owl


One owl on the hill

4-23-16 1 owl



4-15-16 owl 2


And here are a few of my favorite spring moth visitors.

Intent Zale

Zale intenta 4-23-16 1


Intent Zale – I like this side view showing the jagged bumps down its back.

Zale intenta 4-23-16 2


Lettered Sphinx – always the first Sphinx moth of the year

Deidamia inscripta 4-23-16 1


Dogwood Thyatirid

Euthyatira pudens 4-15-16 2