Journal for July 21, 2017

We had almost 3 inches of rain last night, and the creek flooded, but our driveway didn’t!  The beavers are still building – but most of their efforts are far enough from the driveway that they’re not a problem.

We were lucky – the southern part of the county got over 6 inches of rain, with washed out roads and mud slides. 

The creek had already gone down a lot by the time we got out there.


Last week was our annual butterfly count – our 14th year.    This time was a little disappointing – a beautiful sunny, warm day, but fewer butterflies than in the past.  Here’s the full story, and the details of what we saw.

A few folks came the night before, and we took them on a surrey ride out to Big View Prairie.


We put up the moth lights that night.  The best moth was an unusually dark Promethea.


Here we are, inspecting it.


Here are the counters – setting off in the morning.


The counters on the Hidden Oaks Point bench – Mike, Ann, Pam


My two big projects these days are pulling wild parsnip, and cutting and treating Mullein.  This is mullein growing in our newest planted prairie – the upper part of Pat’s Prairie.

A few mullein plants don’t cause problems, but I don’t like to leave thick forests of them since each plant makes so many seeds.  So I’ve been spending my afternoons cutting plants, treating the cut stems, and hauling the flowering stalks to the compost pile.  Hot work!


When it’s very hot we do our afternoon walks in the woods – this is our ‘shady walk’.


The deer like the woodland paths too.


But the heat has brought out the flowers.  This is peak flowering time – so many species blooming all at the same time.

It’s been an especially good year for Butterflyweed – there are more blooming plants than I’ve seen before.


Prairie Phlox and Northern Bedstraw


The Knife Edge Prairie with Butterflyweed


3 Finger Valley


Buffalo Ridge Prairie with White Wild Indigo, Monarda, and Oxeye


Buffalo Ridge Prairie with Butterflyweed, Oxeye


Indian Grass Point – Prairie Coreopsis, Monarda, Whorled Milkweed


Michigan Lily in East Center Valley


Hidden Oaks Point looks so much nicer now that the plants have grown up.


There are lots of fawns on the trail cameras now…


Playing on the driveway


A buck in the early morning


Here are a few night creatures….

I found this Treehopper by shining a UV flashlight on plants at night.  Some insects glow in UV, so they’re easier to find than with white light.


Gallium Sphinx – a new moth species for the farm


I’ve been having fun taking photos of tiny moths with my new camera (an Olympus OM-D E-M1 with a 60mm macro lens) – we bought it so I could take better photos of smaller creatures.   The next three moths are really tiny – so small that I could barely see that they were moths until I looked at the photos.

Red-streaked Mompha


Cosmopterix sp.


Bucculatrix sp.


We’ve been having some very dramatic storms.


Some lovely misty mornings


And a few rainbows.