Journal for June 30, 2023

The past month has been hot and very dry. We had a lot of early summer flowers at the beginning of June, but now the plants are slowing down, waiting for rain.

Golden Alexanders, Wild Lupine and Indian Paintbrush in early June


Promising clouds, but they didn’t produce any rain


Smoke from Canadian wildfires has been blowing in and making hazy skies.


Smoke and morning mist


We’ve been doing outside projects early in the morning when it’s cooler.

My big project right now is pulling Wild Parsnip.  I finally feel like I’m making progress – every year there’s less.  I went back through some old photos and found pictures of a few of our wetland fields when they still had a lot of Parsnip.

This is the field we call ‘Parsnip Meadow’ in 2007.  Mike mowed it for quite a few years, and then, when the number of Parsnips was more manageable, I pulled it for many more years.


Here it is – slightly different view – a few days ago.  The wetland flowers aren’t blooming yet, but there’s almost no Parsnip.


It’s fun to be spending time in the wetland.  I’ve found a few Red-winged Blackbird nests.


Viceroy butterfly


There’s Wild Iris blooming along the creek.


The creek has mud flats along the edges this year – the mud attracts both birds and butterflies.


The wetland with Sheep Hill Bluff and Sumac Prairie beyond


Peonies are blooming in the garden next to where the old farmhouse used to be.


June is the time we see lots of butterflies on the driveway.  They especially like animal scat.  The males suck up minerals from the scat that they use in mating.  These are Red-spotted Purples with one Hobomok Skipper, and one Northern Cloudywing.


Baltimore Checkerspots and two Silvery Checkerspots – also on scat


Another driveway find – this is a large female Wolf Spider carrying her babies on her back.


An Arctic Skipper in one of the wet ditches along the road.  I don’t see these butterflies often, and they’re skittish – they don’t like having their photos taken.


These are the 4 woodchuck babies that live in the cliff behind our house.  Mama leaves them to explore the rocks by themselves, but she scurries back if she hears any strange noises.


This is a Smooth Green Snake.  We don’t see many snakes – they’re good at hiding – so it was nice that this one kept still long enough for a photo.


White Wild Indigo is blooming in all our planted prairies.


And the blister beetles that eat the flowers are here too.  The first few years we saw the beetles they ate every flower and every seed pod.  Now they seem to have come more into balance – there aren’t quite so many, and they eat many of the flowers, but not all.


Butterflyweed doesn’t seem to mind the drought.


Great Spangled Fritillaries on Swamp Milkweed


Clouds – with no rain – over Buffalo Ridge


Finally – rain!  We’ve gotten a few small storms but we’re wishing for more


Tall Meadow Rue in the mist


Sunset over the wetland