16 November 2014

Ice on the pond

This fall has been warmer than normal until this weekend. The cold weather from the north has moved into the neighborhood and ice is starting to form on Miner's Pond. A flock Canada geese was checking out the first ice of the season and maybe thinking of moving south for warmer weather.

15 November 2014

Knock! Knock! Who's there?

The day was cold and overcast, but otherwise clam and a good day for a walk in our woods. It was a very quiet day and I started to hear what sounded like someone hammering in the woods. As I approached the source of the hammering I soon discovered a Piliated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) looking for a meal. It was easy to spot the brightly colored woodpecker against the dull grey and brown background of trees.

Some of this woodpecker's handy-work as it looked for bugs and grubs in dead trees

13 November 2014

'Tis The Season... Already???

You wouldn't know it from this week's November weather, in the 60's, but a local "big box" home improvement store had Christmas decorations out before Halloween and other stores are starting to run their holiday specials. As if those hints weren't enough, the holly bush next to our house is showing-off it's holiday colors of bright red and green.

Our holly bush is loaded with bright red berries this year and you can't miss it as you walk by.

10 November 2014

The "Rut"

It's the white-tailed deer's breeding season, known as the "rut", and the buck's have one thing their mind, find as many does as he can. White-tailed bucks are more active, less cautious than usual and more visible during the daytime

It's a wildlife dating game and the does are out showing off for the bucks.

05 November 2014


The cooler fall weather has triggered some local deer's mating urge and the bucks mark their territory with "Buck Rubs". "Buck Rubs" are created by scraping or gouging on a tree or sapling with the buck's forehead or preorbital gland. Not only is this a visible sign of the buck's territory, but also carries the buck's scent to act as a calling card that identifies the buck that made the rub.

The size of the rub usually varies with the size of the deer. While most buck rubs won't kill larger trees, they will slow the tree's growth and may disfigure some trees.

03 November 2014

Hornet's Nest

Several weeks ago I posted an update on Bald-faced Hornets (Dolichovespula maculata) and described how they are known for their large "paper" nests and their defensive behavior to protect the nest. I found a hornet's nest in one of our overgrown fields and decided to take a closer look.

As I started to remove goldenrod and small brush in front of the hornet's nest, several hornet's started to appear at the entrance to the nest. After some cold mornings this week I had assumed the hornets would be inactive. They were slow, but not inactive. One of the hornets started to buzz me after I overstayed my welcome.

A close-up view of the hornet's face.

31 October 2014

Happy Halloween

A photo of our son Brad's Halloween Jack-O'-Lantern.

Happy Halloween

29 October 2014


This Saturday is the start of the state wild turkey hunting season and these birds have been taunting me for the last week. If they follow the same game plan they used last year, I'll won't see them at all on Saturday.

26 October 2014

Sunset fron the top of the hill

After a week of dark, cloudy days, a colorful sunset was a beautiful sight. Timing is everything when trying to photograph a sunset. The first problem is being in the right location at the right time. Having a good viewing location doesn't help if there aren't some clouds on the horizon to reflect the sunlight. The next timing issue with sunsets is the duration. They don't last very long and the colors are continually changing along with the cloud formations.

I was very lucky to get a photograph of this sunset. By the time I noticed the pinkish/orange glow in the sky and drove to my favorite sunset location, I only had a few seconds to enjoy and photograph the sunset.

24 October 2014


The bright colors of fall leaves and berries make some plants stand out and are highlighted from their normal surroundings. Several of the barberry bushes on our property are showing their fall colors and I now realize this plant is popping up all over. The native species, American barberry (Berberis canadensis), is being crowded out by Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) and European barberry (Berberis vulgaris) which are non-native and introduced for landscaping and hedges. Both species are dense, spiny shrubs that produce bright red berries.

Barberry forms dense stands and once established, it displaces native plants. Unlike American barberry, white tailed deer will not eat the non-native Japanese and European barberry. Because barberry has sharp spines, it acts as a nursery for small animals which carry deer ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease.

18 October 2014

Rose Hips

As the wildflowers of summer are disappearing from plants, the flowers are replaced with fruits and seeds to propagate another generation of the plant. The fruits of the multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) are know as "hips". Rose hips are particularly high in vitamin C and can be used to make jam, jelly and marmalade.

The rose hips of the multiflora rose are small, but what they lack in size they make up with numbers. The multiflora rose hips are a favorite winter food for birds, which in turn distribute the seeds.

12 October 2014

Fog and Fall Foliage

It was another cold frosty morning and the valleys were full of fog as the bright sun came out and started burning off the fog. I was able to get this photo of fog and fall foliage from our cabin property. Click on image to enlarge.

10 October 2014

Where have the wildflower gone ...

There have been a few frosty mornings this week and many of the wildflowers have wilted. I found 5 bumblebees (the fifth bee is on the backside on the right) busy gathering nectar from a small goldenrod bloom.

06 October 2014

Working the Roads

As the daylight hours are getting shorter, the Rome Township road crew is busy grading some of the 50 plus miles of township roads.

Grading a section of Joyce Road to fill in potholes and re-establish a proper road crown for drainage.

03 October 2014

Fall Colors

The maple trees are turning bright red and for a brief time we can enjoy the colorful fall foliage.

With a bright red maple tree in the background, a flock of wild turkeys have a meal of grasshoppers.

A view of our barn.

The woods at our cabin property.

Enjoy the leave now, they will soon be gone for another year.