29 September 2015

Lunar Eclipse

For star gazers, Sunday night was a special/rare combination of events. There was a total eclipse of the moon that was visible here in the neighborhood and it happened on a "supermoon", then the moon is at the closest point in its orbit to earth.

This supermoon was particularly special, though, because it coincided with a lunar eclipse, which gave it its distinctive pink color, and earned it the title "Blood Moon". The last time this happened was in 1982; the next will be in 2033.

I set up my telescope and mounted the digital camera, but the cloud cover at moon-rise obscured the moon and the chances of getting any photos looked dim. After a couple of hours the clouds moved out of view and the moon was in clear view for hours.

Here are some of my photos of the September 27th lunar eclipse. The first photo is the "supermoon" prior to the start of the eclipse.

The first sign of eclipse appears on the left of this photo as the earth's shadow moves onto the moon.

The earth's shadow is now clearly visible on the left side of the photo.

The earth's shadow has now eclipsed nearly half of the moon.

More than half of the moon is eclipsed and the reddish "Blood Moon" starts to appear in the next four photos

The moon is totally eclipsed and a full "Blood Moon".

27 September 2015


This year's spring fawns are getting their dark brown winter coat and losing their spots. These 4 fawns, 2 from this doe and 2 fawns from another doe, are enjoying an evening meal and the warm early days of Autumn.

The "button bumps" on this young buck are starting to show and next year he will grow some antlers where the "button bumps" are.

This young doe doesn't have "button bumps" on her forehead, just a couple of dark spots. Some of the reddish summer coat hair is still visible on this fawn's forehead.

22 September 2015

Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar

I've noticed a lot of fuzzy white caterpillars in the neighborhood recently and did a little research to associate the caterpillar with the butterfly/moth.

This is the caterpillar stage of the Hickory Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae). This white caterpillar may look cute and fuzzy, but contact with the hairs on this caterpillar can cause a poison ivy-like rash. The hairs are microscopically barbed and may cause serious medical complications if they are transferred from the hands to the eyes.

If you have the misfortune of being stung, you can use tape to remove some of the broken spines in the affected area. Follow by washing the area thoroughly with soap and water in order to remove some of the remaining venom.

19 September 2015

Wildflower - Chicory

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a striking wildflower on display in the late summer and early fall. It is a common roadside weed that prefers stony, poor soil and is therefore suited for this neighborhood.

Chicory is found all over the globe and is useful as a coffee substitute or extender. The color is a bright blue, light purple and sometimes pink. We have the blue and pink flowers growing along the dam at our cabin pond.

17 September 2015

Honeybees and Goldenrod

As the overgrown fields of Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) turn bright yellow, it's a sign the start of fall (autumn) will soon be here.

While this yellow flowered weed is not a favorite of farmers, it is a favorite source of food for many insects, such as these honeybees.

16 September 2015

Wildflower - New England Aster

If you have followed my blog for a couple of years you will know my favorite late summer, early fall wildflower to photograph is the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

While each flower of the New England Aster is small, about the size of a quarter, they make up for the size disadvantage with the number of flowers per plant.

They also benefit from being one of the few purple fall flowers and can stand out in an overwhelming sea of yellow goldenrod.

A close-up of a bumble bee looking for a meal.

Some different views of the New England Aster.

14 September 2015

Changing Seasons

The days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are cooling down as summer winds down. Some of the local deer have exchanged their reddish summer coats for the warmer brown winter coats. The spots on this fawn are starting to fade as its new winter coat appears.

11 September 2015


After almost a week of hot/dry weather we were greeted with a much cooler, dreary, drizzly day. The gray overcast skies became a bright orange at sunset.

07 September 2015

Wildflower - Common Mallow

It doesn't take long for weeds to takeover a garden when the conditions are right. I started attacking the weeds in my garden and found this small white/pink wildflower embedded with the other common garden weeds. This flowering weed is Common Mallow (Malva neglecta).

The Common Mallow flower is small, about the size of a honeybee, and are overshadowed by the many large leaves of the plant.

05 September 2015


It was almost like a scene from the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock movie "The Birds", but instead of crows, it was turkeys. First thing this morning, a flock of turkeys formed a single line on Joyce Road in front of our house.

A pickup truck, which didn't slow or stop for the turkeys, dispersed them into the neighbor's field where they quickly formed a line across the field and marched off to the woods.

I then encountered more turkeys, possibly the some flock, at our cabin property in the early evening.

The turkeys were rearranging the straw covering a newly seeded area.

Where will they be during the fall hunting season?

04 September 2015


It looks like this year's crop of tomatoes may be a combination of good growing weather and over planting. Mary has canned 11 quarts of tomato puree and 64 quarts of spaghetti sauce.

We were in Iowa last week visiting our new granddaughter Myra and returned to find a garden of ripe tomatoes.

We don't know the name of this variety of tomato, but it's a large meaty paste type heirloom tomato. A friend gave us some of these heirloom tomato seeds years ago and we have been growing them since then. Some of this year's tomatoes are the size of softballs.