31 July 2014

Dragonfly - Ruby Meadowhawk

The Ruby Meadowhawk (Sympetrum rubicundulum) is a species of dragonfly of the family Libellulidae. This variety of dragonfly was mostly  found at the grassy, shallow end of our pond where it would hunt for insects.

Adult males are identifiable by a distinctive orange to brown face and red bodies. Females faces have same colors as males; bodies are brown to dark-red.

Close-up view of the head and thorax.

30 July 2014

Dragonfly - Autumn Meadowhawk

I was walking around the pond by our cabin and noticed several different varieties of dragonflies darting about. I was lucky to find some dragonflies that would pose for pictures.

The  Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum) is also known as  the Yellow-legged Meadowhawk and as its name implies can be identified by its yellowish colored legs.

A close-up view of the head and thorax showing the wing attachment.

A close-up view of the head showing the large compound eye.

29 July 2014


This year's crop of fawns are getting bigger and bolder. The fawns are now 6 to 8 weeks old and starting to explore  as they learn the layout and hiding places in the neighborhood.

These two fawns analyze a path that takes them to an electric fence. By fall these fawns will be able to jump over the fence.

28 July 2014

Wildflower - Wild Bergamot

As we approach mid-summer, patches of blueish/purple  Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) are appearing along the roadsides and fields. Some of the many common names for this plant are bee balm, horsemint, bergamot, and Oswego Tea. Wild Bergamot is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae and has fragrant leaves.

Butterflies, hummingbirds and bees are attracted to Wild Bergamot as a nectar source. It is commonly planted in gardens to attract wildlife and also to provide a “naturalized” appearance in a border.

As the common name Bee Balm implies, bees are attracted to the flower for its nectar. A close-up of a bumble bee with its face deep into the tubular part of the flower.

A close-up view of the center of the flower.

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.