Journal for October 31, 2009

Here are some views of the farm from the last few weeks.

These first few photos are Mike’s – he brings his camera everywhere, and I don’t always have mine with me.  This was a very frosty morning.

I’ve been staking the upper part of East Center Valley – getting it ready to plant this winter. This is the gator with stakes.

Staking the field

And here it is from the driveway – all finished.

A Garter Snake on the driveway.  Snakes like to soak up the sun on sunny fall days.  They come out onto the driveway, and unfortunately, onto the road.  We find their squashed bodies on the road in the mornings.  The driveway is a much safer place – we don’t drive on it very often.

We’ve had a few ladybug days – those warm fall days when ladybugs are flying everywhere.  But not nearly as many as usual, because it’s been raining so much.

The camper is covered in ladybugs.

On warm days I’m still seeing a few butterflies – species that overwinter as adults.  These are Compton Tortoiseshells.

Nymphalis vau-album

I think they’re are trying to find sheltered places to spend the winter.  They flutter along the walls of the garage, and explore the cracks around the windows.

Nymphalis vau-album

Nymphalis vau-album

Sumac berries

We have the animal camera set up next to the Frog Pond – a small artificial pond behind an earthen dam.

We’re hoping that some interesting animals will come down to drink, but so far it’s only taken photos of deer – lots of them!

Tonight when we walked up to Western Prairie we saw 8 or 10 moths flying at the edge of the prairie and up into the oak trees.  It seemed cold for moths – 40 degrees.  But they were Linden Loopers, also called Winter Moths.  The adults of this species hatch very late in the season – October in the north, and November further south.  This is a male.

Erannis tiliaria

The females are wingless – they wait for the males to come to them.  I found several of their very colorful caterpillars last summer – I tried to raise them, but none survived.  Here’s one of the caterpillars from June 2009.

Erannis tiliaria

After a very cloudy day today, the sun came out just at sunset and lighted the trees with red.