Still plenty of color, but definitely past peak foliage display on this side of the hill. The warm weather has been very disorienting. Hard to believe it’s past mid October, when it feels like September.
Causes me to wonder how this Winter will set, when this Winter sets in.
Walking out to greet the UPS man, I almost stepped on this little critter. Reminded me of a pumpkin.
Araneus marmoreus, commonly called the marbled orb-weaver, is a species of spider belonging to the family Araneidae. It has a Holarctic distribution.
Araneus marmoreus is found throughout all of Canada to Alaska, the northern Rockies, from North Dakota to Texas, and then east to the Atlantic, as well as in Europe. It is one of the showiest orbweavers.
From a distance, it looked at first like a piece of grass, or maybe pine needles that had blown against the wall and stuck.
Closer inspection revealed movement – it is a bug – a walking stick!
The Phasmatodea (also known as Phasmida or Phasmatoptera) are an order of insects, whose members are variously known as stick insects in Europe and Australasia; stick-bugs, walking sticks or bug sticks in the United States and Canada; or as phasmids, ghost insects or leaf insects (generally the family Phylliidae). The group’s name is derived from the Ancient Greek φάσμα phasma, meaning an apparition or phantom, referring to the resemblance of many species to sticks or leaves. Their natural camouflage makes them difficult for predators to detect, but many species have a secondary line of defence in the form of startle displays, spines or toxic secretions. The genus Phobaeticus includes the world’s longest insects.
Members of the order are found in all continents except Antarctica, but they are most abundant in the tropics and subtropics. They are herbivorous with many species living unobtrusively in the tree canopy. They have a hemimetabolous life cycle with three stages: eggs, nymphs and adults. Many phasmids are parthenogenic, and do not require fertilised eggs for female offspring to be produced. In hotter climates, they may breed all year round; in more temperate regions, the females lay eggs in the autumn before dying, and the new generation hatches out in the spring. Some species have wings and can disperse by flying, while others are more restricted.
On my way to make my morning tea, I glanced out the back door. There under the apple tree, a deer and rabbit enjoyed their breakfast of newly fallen apples.
When I went to open the back slider to photograph them, I could see yet another buck breakfasting on the other side of the tree.
A buck, a buck, and a doe, or a buck, a buck and a buck?
Before I could figure out, they noticed me and all were quickly gone to the rest of their morning.
Summer sighs, her breath tingeing some trees orange, coloring others completely. Goldenrod and other grasses stand silent sentinel as Autumn, days away, patiently awaits her role on season’s center stage.
All of a sudden it seemed, the day of the eclipse arrived. Friends had shared plans to travel hundreds of miles to “the path of totality” to experience a total eclipse of the sun.
Monday morning, I realized that I was woefully unprepared. No welding goggles, no eclipse viewing glasses. I found paper plates in the cabinet, and experimented with different size pinholes. At least I would see the eclipse’s shadow.
I had gone to the farm stand and picked up fresh vegetables to make a casserole, portion and freeze. Maybe leave some in the freezer long enough to have a taste of summer when things turn winterish.
I began cooking before noon. The clock drifted toward the time when the eclipse would peak. When time came, I went out to the patio where the sun dial happens to be, and observed the eclipse with my paper plates.
Crescent shadows appeared on the paper plate as the moon obscured seventy-five percent of the sun, leaving it still too bright to look at without protection.
“Interesting and fun” I thought as I went inside to the kitchen, but not nearly as dramatic as the view from an area of totality. Everybody has a different eclipse experience, I guess.
As I turned back to cutting carrots I noticed all the holes in the colander and wondered what kind of a shadow it would cast.
I found that the colander shadow eclipsed the sundial,
a constellation of star shaped crescents cast by both moon and sun.
Apparently a favorite fishing spot of locals, the Blue Heron stands a few feet from where we recently spotted a Great Egret.
It’s uncertain whether there’s more critters in the neighborhood recently, or if they’ve always been there, and I’m just slowing down and noticing them more often.
This time of year, I try to keep an eye on this pond alongside the road. Depending upon the time of day, it is often covered with lily pads.
It’s not uncommon to see Blue Herons fishing for dinner in the early evening.
Earlier this week, instead of the more familiar blue grey plumage of the Heron, this brilliant white fellow stood patiently waiting for someone tasty to swim within the range of his lightening quick beak.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology www.allaboutbirds.org website reports:
The elegant Great Egret is a dazzling sight in many a North American wetland. Slightly smaller and more svelte than a Great Blue Heron, these are still large birds with impressive wingspans. They hunt in classic heron fashion, standing immobile or wading through wetlands to capture fish with a deadly jab of their yellow bill. Great Egrets were hunted nearly to extinction for their plumes in the late nineteenth century, sparking conservation movements and some of the first laws to protect birds.
A spark of orange drew our attention to the forest floor. There, a red giant sun within a constellation of green VanGogh stars.
In a stunning display of solidarity with their outdoor cousins, these orchids recently burst a half dozen swollen buds into beautiful blooms.
Fed on Sundays with three ice-cubes, these guests seem to have found their window.