Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cranberry Fields in Bloom

This last weekend was the Cranberry Festival in Wisconsin Rapids. They advertised several days of actives and tours of the cranberry fields in bloom and I was all excited imaging how beautiful they must look.

We ended up taking a drive out there, but did not make it to any of the activities, we drove the 29 mile bike route through the country and fields of cranberry. When we finally got out of the car to look at them closer I have to admit, I was just a little disappointed. I had imagined them being much more bigger blooms and much more colorful field; as it was you could barely see the blooms. However, I got super excited when I saw the double winged dragonfly right next to the field we stopped at. Seems most of these cranberry fields have water canal surrounding them....they were full of dragonflies, lily pads some were even in bloom, Sand Hill Cranes and even Blue Heroins. Here are just a few pictures along the way....

This last picture, as you might notice, is not a cranberry field,
I just thought it made a nice landscape image.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Since I thought I killed the Raccoon

I was actually happy when my dog went baazerk yesterday afternoon as the Raccoon came to the deck to get some birdseed. It was so early too, full sunshine and all. Well, I ended up scaring the little guy off just to calm the dog down, but did notice that he looked a little ratty and thin. I had put ant bait traps out the other week and soon after noticed three of them missing, one had bite marks or claw marks on it and the plastic was broken and the bait was half eaten and was just laying on top of the deck railing, so I know it wasn't the dog. The other two just plain were gone. I have no idea of who or what carried those two off. Since that time I hadn't seen or heard anything to do with the Raccoon and so I concluded that he died from eating the ant bait.

Well He's Back...maybe he got sick and decided not to come back around for a while, but I felt so sorry for him that when he came back later in the evening, when it was just getting dark, I let him stay and eat. And eat he did for over an hour, notice the feeder is full, this morning when I went out, it was empty down to the last flower. Sparky was actually pre-occupied with a stuffed bone and did not even notice him out there. I probably make more problems by doing this, but he really is cute look at this little face as he took a break from eating the sunflower seeds and came to drink some water...then went right back to the seeds.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ten Acres of Blackberries ripening up soon....

They literally are everywhere throughout the property and I'm sure the birds will get most of them, but I'm really hoping that I can be motivated enough to make some jam (I'll have to make it seedless style as I don't like jam with seeds) I've never made jam before, so will be interesting and will have to go buy all the tools I'll need, and I might even bake a berry cobbler. I am almost positive this is a Blackberry, and I'm pretty sure we have some Raspberries too.
The berry above is what I think are the blackberries;
we have way more of these around; they are everywhere
The berry below is what I think are raspberries;
these are only in a few spots here and there.
I'll find out soon if I'm right on my guessing the type of berry!

And as usual while I was out taking pictures of the berries, I saw this flower

then I saw this beetle. The neon color really caught my eye...

I also saw a frog that I almost stepped on; a pretty nice sized mushroom, a round fuzzy thing attached to a tree limb, two beetles with the longest feelers I've ever seen mating and I also saw a few other things, but it is muggy and buggy today, the flies, mosquitoes and bees or whatever buzzes you right around your ears were really bugging me.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scarlet Tanager came back........AND..... not one, not two, but three Baby Deers...

This morning was a little exciting, not only because of this; seeing the Scarlet Tanager again, but because I thought we only had one baby deer, but there really are three. I was just watching from inside the house, as the few times I'd gone out on the deck I scared the mom deer away and along with her went the baby, so this time we watched from inside the house. The deer were in our 'mud puddle' or their water hole drinking as it's pretty warm out today. Then all the sudden I see that there is a second baby, then a third. The were so cute, they were running in and out of the water, chasing each other up the hill and then ran back down into the water again. We watched for several minutes before I couldn't stand not taking a picture any longer. I had to get the camera and sneak out as quite as possible, the opportunity was too good to pass up. And as usual, once I got out there I think the mom sensed me and left, and I didn't see the baby's any more. But a moment later, I did. There were only the two babies, the third must have gone up the hill with mom, and then they made their way back down to the mud puddle to play and I snapped away...

It was during this time I noticed the RED of the scarlet tanager land on the tree above. Quickly I changed my focus and while I didn't get the shots I had hoped for, you know perfectly focused and lighting just right, I did manage to get this which is a little grainy and a touch out of focus but still ok I think to post.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Critters and Buggies

Today started with me going out to photograph a plant that I don't know the name of. It had little tiny flowers (not opened yet) that dangle from the leave above it. It's hidden really, but anyways, that is not what I'm posting, I just started with that picture and seems that lead to another and another and another, but of different critters and bugs I saw today.

Before we got the railroad ties moved from the front to the back yard, I was playing ball with Sparky. I went out to the yard to pick up his tennis ball and found that there was a slug on it. I thought, wow a slug, wouldn't that be interesting to photograph. So I did....

Then we moved the railroad ties, and Clayton saw this caterpillar on the fence and commented about how colorful it was with the blue spots and the orange...well we'd just moved two of the railroad ties and I needed to rest...so I rested by running in and grabbing the camera to take its picture.

Then while we were digging the dirt for our garden bin, Clayton noticed this inch worm. He was sort of spazzing out and the top part of his entire body would lift off the leaf and swing far to the right then back to the left...it did that several times, but I liked this shot of him straight on...

Then this moth I think it is, seems a little fuzzy for a butterfly, well it landed and just stayed the entire time we dug...so I had to take it's picture too...interesting look with the thin brown stripe going through the wing.

So after we finished with digging the dirt, Clayton went to the store to buy the pete-moss and the veggies to plant. While he went shopping, I went back out for another little nature walk and came across a few other critters....This spider below, name unknown and hopefully not poisonous or deadly, because they are everywhere, was just sitting here on the leave. To the right of this one was two others and we've seen them everywhere, accept for in the house...so far that is.

Then I saw a little red spot on a green leave, and at a closer look turned out to be this little cute lady bug, at least i think it's a lady bug and not some other type of ladybug looking beetle. This guys head is so amazing, seems a little different than what I'd think a lady bug head would look like, and his eyes, this little bugs got the buggiest of eyes...and they are slightly blue or a light grey...so pretty....but I also think we get infested with these guys...

And then there is this fly...a fly? I'm sure it's a type of fly, just don't know what kind, but these guys are everywhere. They love the dirt too when freshly dug up. This one had the most beautiful red eyes I've ever seen...hahahah

And then there is the picture I didn't get; of a double winged dragon fly...I hope I am able to caputre that one another day, it didn't stay landed long enough for me to take it's picture or to see it super clearly, but from what I did see of it got me really wanting badly to capture its picture. The obession of the need to photograph the double winged dragon fly has taken over me....to be continued.

Operation Gnome - - - The garden has been planted

Clayton has been talking about starting a garden now for two months, and today, we finally got it started and planted. We used railroad ties for the frame, (these are heavy and moving just the three we used just about killed me) we decided it would be better to built up rather than dig down to plant the goods. We dug a few weekends ago to plant some flowers and well I think we dug up more rocks than we did plant flowers.

We ended up digging up some of the earth on the top side of the property and it took two trailer load full worth of dirt to fill in the frame. (see the trailer to the right of Clayton in the background in the picture above) Our dirt is rather sandy, and so we also got two large bags of pete-moss and added that to the dirt we dug up to add additional nutrients.

The garden since it is a little late in season only includes the following veggies: Four different types of tomatoes, three different types of bell peppers, one is a black bell pepper and the inside is supposed to be red; this one will be interesting to see and taste. We also got brussels sprouts and one basil plant. We did want a few other varieties, but since it's late, they were out of the others we wanted. That filled the bed up. We watered; now we wait.

I hope raccoons don't eat garden plants, and I also hope Sparky doesn't dig, pee or poop in there either.

I asked Clayton what he wanted to call his Garden and he said, "Operation Gnome" you know what that means...time to go shopping for some garden gnomes to have something watching over it.....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Iverson Park - a walk in the midst of unspoiled beauty

Sunday morning we heading out with our dog for a nice walk at Iverson Park. I didn't know about this park until Saturday when we drove past it on our way back from the grocery store. I saw a glimse of this bridge and river from the road as we drove past, the picture above and below is what made me really want to go there. So I did a search on-line and found out that they actually allow dogs! I was excited as I started to think most places around here did not want dogs around. The last two lakes we went fishing at specifically say No Dogs allowed. While there I learned that they also rent canoes and you can take a four hour trip down the river and then have the company pick you up down river and bring you back. That will be something we do for sure before too long I hope or in the fall. They say the river will go down quite a bit during the summer and that Spring and Fall would be the best time to go. I'm thinking Fall...I'm thinking fall colored leaves will be incredible to see.

There is also a pretty nice sized pond that this trail goes around (pretty sure it's part of McDill Pond), and I'll be going back when the weather is nicer for some better birding opportunities. I only saw Red Winged Black Birds, a few ducks and some other identified bird that landed on the cat tails pretty much the same way the Black Birds do. (so I just did an Internet search for Female Red Winged Black Birds and guess what? That unnamed bird I just mentioned is the Female version of the Red Winged Black Bird; wow what a complete difference in the way they look compared to the male) Oh and some type of bird that swoops down and skims the water for little insects and fans it's tail out while doing do. Looked to have a white strip at the end of the tail...not sure what that species is...Will try for a picture of that next time....

Saturday, June 6, 2009

And then there was NONE - - - Day 7

I have a feeling the Raccoon got them...if it was the raccoon, then he's not such a cute raccoon after all...The nest is empty and I am very sad..........That's all I have to say about that........

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sparky's Coon Hunting....

A few weeks back (May 12th to be exact) I talked about getting a bigger bird feeder and attached it to the post of our deck out back. Shortly after that, Sparky started hearing something at night and would bark up a storm and would literally slam himself into the sliding glass door to get out. I had a feeling what it was, what other types of critters come out after dark....and so I did not let him out. I'm afraid of what might happen if Sparky got cornered by it. The last few weeks I've had several sleepless nights, as Sparky would go running and barking down from the bedroom and into living room wanting to so badly get out and after what was lurking in the night on the deck. It got so bad that I actually started putting his leash on at night and would strap the leash to my arm, so he wouldn't be able to cause all the ruckus and I was able to control him enough to get him back to sleep quickly....Yes even I heard the little pitter patter of the critter feet running across the deck after midnight.

So last night Sparky acted up again while we were watching TV, he went crazy and moaned and whined and shook, he did it all. He wanted out so bad he could hardly stand it. So I decided to put his leash on and put him in a down stay in my reclining chair which is positioned where he cannot see out the sliding glass door. I on the other hand sat on the floor in front of the window and waited...watching and waiting till I saw it for sure! It is a Raccoon! The cutest darn thing you've even seen. Sparky was being a good boy and stayed where I had put him so the raccoon decided I was not a threat and climbed up the post to my feeder.

Well I've been battling with the squirrels too since I put that feeder up, and so I only put a days worth of bird seed in it and I knew there wasn't that much left...so I let the raccoon scoop what he could get and eat away till there was none.....

OK, so this evening, it's not even dark outside, the sun was barely even starting to set, and I'm looking out the front window. I'm known to see animals all the time usually while we are hiking that actually turn out to be stumps or rocks in the end. So I said to Clayton, have you ever noticed on that tree at the end of the nub it sort of looks like a Raccoon. He replied, yeah I've noticed that too. I kept looking and I swore it was the tree, but something made me grab the binoculars and look a bit more closely. Oh my god! it was the raccoon, not just an design in the tree that looked like one. I grabbed my camera and stepped out the front door and snapped away. Check this series of shots out! We've got ourselves a little raccoon living in our tree. I've also decided to start taking in the bird feeders now; as we don't really want to encourage a yummy smorgasbord for this guy on a nightly basis.

and then there was ONE - - - Day 6

I was very sad to see that this morning there was only one baby left. It grew a lot too, that nest definitely was not big enough for four babies let alone two. The black marking I mentioned in Day 5 are much more distinct now, and he popped up high enough to see almost to his wing tips. I believe over the weekend he should start getting some pin feathers. I hope at least, as this little naked baby needs some warmth. It's supposed to rain all weekend.....

Day 5

They didn't seem to have changed much since day 4; but I keeping wishing I could see more of their bodies. Their bodies have stripes of dark area's where I would think the feathers will start coming in at. One thing I did notice today was their their beaks are starting to look like a birds beak now. I think they are getting harder and there is a little tiny nostril hole of some sort showing now.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What Ugly Babies - - - Day 4

I'm posting a day behind again, so these were taking June 3rd, and as they are getting bigger, they are not getting any prettier. I think they are sort of ugly, but in a cute sort of way. The longer I look at them the less they look like birds. They look like some kind of alien creatures to me. Their eyes are open now, they were sort of open on Day 3 too, but today I could tell that both of them had eyes opened.

The Mom continues to clean up the nest, she eat little feathers and I'm sure all their discarded ingestion's, this one picture below when you see it you can almost hear the baby screaming as if the mom is squishing it to death. There was another time I saw her sitting on the nest, and the little baby's head sort of peaked out; it was as if the baby was playing peek-a-boo.

Also Dad brought a large beak full of worms and such and shared with the mom; after that swamping of food, they both stayed and fed each of the babies.