August 17th, 2014
Well worth doing! Pam and I went Saturday, and had a blast. But, I determined that I need to learn to swim. I know the basics of swimming, but I’m so inept at it, I might as well say – I can’t swim. At least, not enough to say I can.
We saw the first musk turtles I’ve seen in the wild. Pam caught about three of them. And, since I got out of the water about 30 mins before she did (leg cramp) I also got to see a wasp dig a hole in the dirt beside my foot.
Right at the waters edge there are black walnut trees, paw-paw (with fruit!), silverbell, and a tall redbud. It was a worthy day!
August 12th, 2014
Baby blue tailed skinks have hatched out at the house. On August 8th, we were in Gatlinburg and the downy rattlesnake plantains were in full bloom. I love those little flowers. They were one of the first plants I took notice of, when Pam started introducing me to plants. She didn’t recognize the first I found (a lone specimen in a white pine thicket in North Carolina), but now we point it out to each other. Its quite common, and grows wild on our property. There is a single one in our front yard, which was accidentally transplanted by me.
July 25th, 2014
First, to get the sad note out of the way. I had to kill a baby chimney swift (bird) yesterday. It was very sad. It had fallen out of the nest in my folks chimney, and flopped around in the ashes for a bit. It was dehydrated, quite young, and not in good shape when we found it. If It had been in better shape, and a few days older, we could have kept it alive through the night and gotten it to a wildlife rehabber today. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. The best I could offer was a quick, painless demise. (Oh, and I got filthy trying to figure out a way to put it back in the nest.)
Anyway, we made a mosey out to check the paw-paw patch at Pine Log creek. There are quite a few paw-paw this year. Not as many as last year, but its still going to be a good crop.
Pam found numerous spotted salamander young in the creek, gills and all. These are the first salamanders she has found in this creek. There were far fewer snails as well.
July 23rd, 2014
Baby chimney swifts in the parents chimney. Going to go see Doctor Strangelove at the Fox tomorrow.
May 27th, 2014
There are two baby killdeer (really adolescent ones) hanging around work. They are in the mostly but not quite look like adults stage, but they can’t yet fly. Its amazing how quickly and totally they can vanish into an empty area too.
They are much older than the cute and fuzzy 2-3 day old ones I got pictures of a couple of years ago.
May 27th, 2014
I saw four northern rough winged swallows mobbing a crow this morning. The crow was eating a biscuit in the parking lot, and the swallows (who nest in the nearby building) did NOT like that at all. They were almost, but not quite, touching the crow.
May 10th, 2014
Pam and I watched our first four episodes (ever) of Big Bang Theory tonight. Its a hit. Then I snorted max-dogs tongue into my nose, which compounded the hilarity. We laughed until we cried.
April 27th, 2014
I just cleared a bunch of poison ivy out of the yard – some Virginia creeper too. While I have a lot against poison ivy, I don’t have anything against Virginia Creeper. Except that there is a lot of it where we don’t particularly want it.
Poison Ivy though – Pam is badly allergic to it. I’m highly resistant to it, but if I go wallowing in it, I’ll get a reaction. If it just brushes me or the like, I won’t. I took extra care though – gloves, long sleeved shirt, jeans, etc. All my clothes went straight into the wash. Shoes were rinsed off and wiped down. The gloves were thrown away.
There is still lots of both to be removed, but there is less now than there was! We have two shrubs to remove later this summer, after their bloom season is over. Bush Honeysuckle, both of them. If they were only mildly invasive, I would be all for keeping them. Unfortunately, they are very invasive. Right now they are covered in pollinators (LOTS of bumblebees, and some interesting wasps). They are also covered in carpenter ants. Pam maintains the Ants are after aphids. I maintain they are interested in the pollen. Observation will tell who is right!
In related notes, the woods in the yard are full of Soloman’s Seal. Ours are not as far along as the ones in the Great Smoky Mountains. We also have Adders tongue fern growing up close to the road. Last year the chickens ate it. Hopefully that won’t happen this year. Hmm, I just discovered via Google, that Adders Tonque has the most chromosomes of any known species of life. Now thats interesting. The Pink Ladyslippers are blooming. (Pam didn’t know they are bumble bee pollinated).
My pot of Venus flytraps died over the winter. It appears they are semi cold tolerant, in this area. I will have to rebuild!
April 24th, 2014
Once again the Wildflower pilgrimage in the Great Smoky Mountains was a fun time for us!
We attended the following classes\events
We did skip out on two flower walks Saturday, but we enjoyed a hike up up Chestnut mountain trail. Sunday we did the trail up past Laurel falls to the old growth grove that lies beyond.
I enjoyed myself immensely, and made some mild progress in my nature skills. Pam made some strong gains in her nature skills – especially in salamander and fern id.
I was particularly pleased with finding Morels, my first time finding these much sought after mushrooms. I didn’t collect any of them, but I now have some knowledge of where to look, etc. Pam is less than impressed with the things. Something about slugs…..
I enjoyed seeing Squawroot again. Its an incredibly ugly plant, but like Mistletoe, I like it because its so weird. Its a non photosynthetic plant which acts very much like a fungus. Interesting stuff!
I got to see Bumble Bees, which I’m always a fan of, including one pollinating Solomon’s Seal. All in all, it was a grand trip!
April 14th, 2014
I’m about to finish up reading aloud the Martian, by Andy Weir. Which has an interesting story behind how it was written.
Anyway, I would rate it a 4 out of 5. Its a very solid book, though not perfect. There is a certain degree of “What NOW?” to Mark’s series of never ending problems. But then, being stranded on Mars will do that to you…
Pam is enjoying it. She forbid me from reading ahead, so I’m finding out about things at the same pace she is. Which increases the pressure to read, I’ll give you that… Anyway, its an excellent example of how math can be solidly useful. The science is neat, and the drama is intense.