Tulip Tree Seedpods

Back on May 9 we showed you the canopy-high flowers of this native tree. The seedpods are forming now, still green.

The trees grow straight and tall in the forest, with few branches for us to rest on during the climb up. Compare them to the branching oak in the background.

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Cottontail

We squirrels aren’t the only cute mammals in the neighborhood. We’re seeing more and more wild rabbits.

Maybe it’s the golf course location, we’re not sure. But they don’t seem to mind running down the sidewalks and darting under fences.

Thirsty Thursday

Ol’ Wally’s gotta admit, this summer has been up and down for too little water, then too much wear. Seems we never know what to plan for. Thought I’d offer up a good solution for when you have too much water movin’ over your land. I hear humans calling it a dry creek bed.

The rocks keep the soil in place with lots of water flown’, but if fin you just have a trickle, it can seep between the stones and return to the soil That way it’s not carried off somewhere for no good reason.

Playing Tag

One of our first followers, Holly Michael of Writing Straight has tagged us in a human blogging game that looks like a squirrel version of fun chase. The rules are thus:

You must post the rules


Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post


Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged (or use the existing ones)


Tag eleven people with a link to your post


Let them know they’ve been tagged

Here are my given questions and answers, that perhaps will give you a bit more insight into my squirrelly life.

1/ If you could change your name, what would you change it to and why? Nutmeg Squirrel is a pretty good name for a squirrel, but some days I’d like to be Meggie, because it’s shorter. 

2/ Name 3 things you couldn’t live without (not people or animals): It’s the same for every living being: air, water and food, right? If not, I pick acorns, hickory nuts and beechnuts.

3/ Which do you prefer – beach or forest? Why? The forest, for obvious squirrel reasons.

4/ Do you have a ‘I need to do this by the time I am ……‘ age? Which one is it? Squirrels don’t think like that. But by winter, I need to have hidden many acorns.

5/ Laptop or desktop? Laptop. It fits my living arrangements much better.

6/ Are you still friends with your best friend from childhood? No, but I’ve found a new best friend in Hickory.

7/ If you could critique any book, which one would it be? Why? Acorns and Eat ‘Em by Suellen Ocean. It’s a cookbook packed with recipes I’d like to try out. It’s free, go see it and make a treat for your friends! http://www.californiaoaks.org/ExtAssets/acorns_and_eatem.pdf

8/ Describe your perfect day? I emerge from my nest to find a pile of acorns and beechnuts spread across my favorite eating stump. I run and scamper with my friends on a day that’s not too hot or not too cold, snack and rest when I need to and fall into my leaf nest for a good night’s sleep.

9/ Where in the world do you feel most at home? My new neighbor hood is suiting me quite well, thank you.

10/ Do you talk with your hands (ie do you gesture wildly when you talk?) No, but if you want to count tails, that would be a yes.

11/ How well do you know the history of your country of birth? Thanks to Miz Flora I’m learning about the natural history, which is more important to squirrels than human history.

Now for the second part of the game, tagging others. Please use the questions above or make up your own. Enjoy tagging!

Great Stems  http://www.greatstems.com/

Nancy Weeks  http://nancycweeks.com/home.htm

Photo Nature Blog  http://photonatureblog.com/

Jan Goldfield   http://www.pondlady.com/

Michelle D. Sinclair   http://michellesinclair.wordpress.com/

Callan Bentley   http://blogs.agu.org/mountainbeltway/

The Soulsby Farm  http://soulsbyfarm.wordpress.com/

Ace Pacana Photography Blog  http://abrahampacana.wordpress.com/

Alison Amazed  http://alisonamazed.wordpress.com/

WASAIA Life http://wasialife.wordpress.com/

Jeremy Gradney http://avgmansfashion.com/

Joe-Pye Weed

Miz Flora pointed me to an unusual plant for a suburban garden, but we’ve got one. Oh, several, she says, and they’re spreading around by seed now.

It’s Joe-Pye Weed, an Euthrochium species. Kind of hard to miss because they are tall for a flower – six to eight feet once they get established. And as you can see, quite popular with nectar-feeding insects.

In the short time we visited, a Tiger Swallowtail, a bumblebee and another solitary bee visited and several other smaller insects came and went, too fast to see what they were. You can see one flying through the bumblebee photo.

 

It’s neat how all those bitty flowers that attract even the smallest insects combine to make a huge head of pink on this wildflower.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Here’s a little thing we find hanging around on plants, sometimes fences or walls. What is it?

I’ll pop back with the answer later!

~~~

Hey, there, this is a tricky one. The insect that made this covering is a bagworm, the larval stage of the Bagworm Moth. The caterpillar collects small materials from it’s surroundings—sticks, leaves or conifer needles, and even dirt and rocks—and sticks them together with his silk to make a case to protect his soft body while he continues to eat. The ‘bag’ grows with him, as he builds onto it. Then when it’s time to metamorphose into a moth, he sticks the case somewhere and turns to a pupae, then later emerges as an adult moth.

It really works for these caterpillars; we hardly ever see them and have given up trying to tear into their silk to get at them.

Katydid Instar, perhaps

This is the label I found on another photo during my internet search. I decided it fits this insect hiding in a magnolia flower.

I don’t profess to be a bug expert. I like them for a quick protein snack, same as every other squirrel, but we aren’t too picky.

Anyway, an instar is what scientists call the stages between an insect’s molts—the shedding of their exoskeletons as they grow. This young one doesn’t have the hump you see on a mature katydid’s back, but neither did any of the other instar photos I looked at. His long antennae and red feet match identified katydids. If any of you human readers have a positive identification, or even a half-positive one, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.

Even without the correct identification, I still enjoyed seeing this little guy’s bright green body in the flower. Better yet, I’ll enjoy hearing his adult song, ‘kaydid-katydidn’t’ serenade me to sleep.

Thirsty Thursday – Thunderclouds

A few evenings ago I heard a rumble, so I sent those two young squirrels off to check the clouds for signs of rain. They were gone so long I left my post to them. An old squirrel like Ol’ Wally needs his sleep.

Hickory and I ran off to get the report for Ol’ Wally, thankful we might get some rain. “Let’s go watch from a green clearing on the golf course,” I told Hickory. We ran and leaped branch to branch with the rumbles sounding the whole way. We found a giant thunderhead cloud covering the skies to the north.

Those ornery clouds never moved closer, just passed us by to the north. The winds cooled our air a bit and made it a pretty evening for a romp. Finally another storm blew through and we had our rain.