26 July 2014

Chokecherry Jam

After last year's success with chokecherry jam, it's time to make a few more batches of jam. I've selected a couple of chokecherry bushes and the cherries look ripe.

The chokecherry bushes were loaded and the picking was easy. We may have gone overboard on the picking.

Cooking the whole cherries to get the pulp and juice.

The pulp and juice after removing the pits and skins.

The pits and skins that were removed.

Cooking a batch of jam. Mary made 6 batches of jam which made about 20 pints of jam. We had extra pulp and juice, so Mary made some chokecherry vinegar. The  chokecherry vinegar needs some time to sit, I'll post the details when it's complete.

We used the following recipe from Cooks.com to make our jam.

Chokecherry Jam


2 qts. chokecherries
2 c. water
8 c. sugar
1/2 c. liquid Certo

Clean and wash chokecherries. Add water and bring to boil. Simmer until cherries pop and flesh comes easily off from pits. Strain through sieve washing chokecherries thoroughly. Rinse leftover pits and skins with water. Add some rinsed water to strained juice to make 1 quart liquid. Combine liquid and sugar. Stir thoroughly bringing juice to boil. Add liquid Certo and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Cook at full boil for 60 seconds. Skim off foam. Pour into hot sterilized jars. Seal with melted paraffin wax or cool and freeze. Store in cool dark dry place. Yield: 7 to 8 cups.

24 July 2014


While taking photos of wildflowers I sometimes get a chance to take close-up photographs of insects. Insects, unlike flowers, don't stay in the same place for very long while I try to get a photo. I recently had some Two-striped Grasshoppers (Melanoplus bivittatus) that posed for my camera.

The Two-striped Grasshopper is easy to identify by the two yellowish  stripes that run down its back and the bright red hind legs.

The main diet of grasshoppers is plant material (leaves. seeds and fruit), but the grasshoppers are a source of protein for wildlife, such as turkeys and other birds. I've seen flocks of wild turkeys form a line and sweep back and forth across a field feeding on grasshoppers.

A close-up view of a grasshopper shows its armor-like exoskeleton and large compound eye.

23 July 2014

Wildflower - Black-eyed Susan

As we reach the hot, "Dog Days" of summer, patches of Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) appear along Joyce Road. The Black-eyed Susan is a member to the Asteraceae (Aster) family and is native to the Eastern and Central United States. This large, showy wildflower is widely cultivated in gardens, for summer bedding schemes and borders.

Butterflies (and grasshoppers) are attracted to large mass plantings of Black-eyed Susans.

21 July 2014

The bears are back

This year's bear activity in the neighborhood has been nonexistent until this weekend. Harley and Barb Kay had a bear visit their bird-feeder  while they were not home Saturday night. Very little damage to the feeders and Harley will be putting his game camera out to get photos if the bear(s) visits again.

19 July 2014

Wildflower - Butter and Eggs

Depending on weather conditions, some wildflowers are more abundant some years than other years. This summer we have an abundance of the wildflower Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris). This wildflower goes by several names, such as Common Toadflax, Bread and Butter, Brideweed and Bridewort. The wildflower Butter and Eggs is native to most of Europe and northern Asia and is now common in North America.

The flowers are similar to those of the snapdragon, pale yellow except for the lower tip which is orange.

18 July 2014


This group of six (6) male turkeys survived the spring gobbler hunting season and now enjoy a tasty snack of grasshoppers.

17 July 2014

Summertime Deer

After a long, cold winter and spring, the local deer have shed their brown winter coats and now display their lightweight reddish summer coats. Along with the warmer weather, the deer enjoy an abundance  of fresh grass to feed on, but also the swarms of deer flies.

This year's fawns are now more visible as their wobbly legs become stronger and they become more mobile and independent.

16 July 2014


Did you see this weekend's supermoon? The term “supermoon” is used to refer to the “perigee full moon”, basically, when the moon comes to the closest point in its orbit to earth. Don't worry, if you didn't see it this time you get another chance on August 10th to see the next supermoon.

A view of the supermoon from Joyce Road.

15 July 2014

Hopkins' New House

As Brian & Tish Hopkins' new house nears completion, here are the latest status photos.

Kitchen area.

Still some appliance install/hook-ups to tomplete.

Foyer area.

Looking up the finished stairs from the foyer area.

Looking down to the foyer area from the top of the stairs.

Master bath.

Second floor bath.

Water heater and water softener equipment in basement

Garage area.

14 July 2014

Wildflowers - Mullein

Many of the summer wildflowers are in bloom on our property and two types of Mullein are currently blooming. The Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) and Moth Mullein (Verbascum blattaria) are both members of the Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family and are non-native invasive species that have naturalized in the United States.

Common Mullein can grow to 6 feet tall or more. Its small yellow flowers are densely grouped on a tall stem.

A close-up view of the Common Mullein flowers.

Moth Mullein gets its name from the resemblance of its flowers' stamen to that of a moth’s antennae. While the Common Mullein is easy to locate due to its tall thick stem, Moth Mullein is shorter with a very thin stem. There are two color variations Moth Mullein in our area, white and yellow.

The white Moth Mullein is the most common variation in our area.

While not as easy to find, yellow Moth Mullein can be found growing side-by-side with the white variety.

13 June 2014


This time of year it isn't unusual to see adult Eastern Painter Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta) walking through our yard looking for a place to lay their eggs, but I almost mistook this baby turtle for a stone while mowing my lawn.

Even climbing over mushrooms was a challenge.

This little guy is an exact scaled down version of an adult.

Blades of grass seemed like trees to this little guy.

After a few photos I gave this little guy a ride to our cabin and released him in a pond full of turtles.

10 June 2014

Peeping Frog

While watching TV in the basement "man-cave", I suddenly realized I was being watched by a visitor on the other side of the sliding glass door.

It had been raining for most of the evening and a Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) had jumped onto the glass door and stayed there for over an hour. Maybe the frog like the TV show ...

Or, maybe the frog was after the bugs, attracted by the room light and  on the window.

06 June 2014

Hopkins' New House

With the concrete work complete on the porch of Brian & Tish Hopkins' new house, the stonework around the front door was added. Cardboard used to protect the front door is still in place.

Inside the house, most of the kitchen cabinets and trim-work is installed awaiting the installation of the counter top. 

29 May 2014

Hopkins' New House

The concrete crew was at Brian & Tish Hopkins' new house to pour the garage and porch floors.

Garage floor.

Front porch.

25 May 2014

Chuck & Nikki's Wedding

On May 25th, 2014, our son Robert C. Beebe Jr. (Chuck) and Nicole Carpenter (Nikki) were married on a hilltop vista on our property. Both Chuck and Nikki are professional meteorologists and must have done some long range planning over a year ago to select this perfect day for a wedding.(photo by Michael Gard)

Nikki and Chuck sharing their wedding vows.

Planting an oak tree at their wedding site.

Nikki in a field next to the wedding site. (photo by Mark Davis)

Following the wedding ceremony, Chuck and Nikki traveled to the reception site at our barn on a John Deere "A" tractor.

The new Mr. & Mrs. Beebe.

Chuck and Nikki greeted at the reception by Chuck's Grandfather.

Chuck and Nikki with Chuck's 98 year old grandfather, Henry Beebe.

Chuck and Nikki's  first dance as husband and wife.

Matt Beebe, Best Man and brother of the groom, toasting the new couple.

Time to party in the courtyard of the barn.

 The wedding celebration lasted into the evening  and   Nikki, accompanied by her three dogs, had some time to sit and talk with her aunt.  Tim Bell, a member of the wedding party, checked to see how the refreshments were holding out. (photo by Mark Davis)