An Ice Character

This ice character looks like royalty from …

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an ancient civilization, a visitor from a different planet, or even one from another universe.

Ice obviously takes on many forms besides icicles and frozen surfaces.

Ice Personalities

Who knew ice had a sense of humor?

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Ice first formed on the water. As the water level dropped, the ice continued forming on the areas underneath that were still touching the water. Air filled the areas not touching it. The ice kept freezing, getting thicker, designs forming and changing. This would continue until there was either no water underneath or the ice melted.

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This figure looks like it was parachuting and was a little worried about the outcome.

Maybe it was an alien parachuting to earth.

Fox Update

Please excuse the quality of these pictures. Thick clouds dulled the hazy day.  Sunshine’s been rare the last 2 weeks.

I hadn’t seen the foxes since before the heavy snow/sleet/freezing rain event.

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Then I looked out around noon, and there was a fox. It scratched and scratched and scratched.

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I figured the unusual upward position of the hind leg indicated this was the female.

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There’s no doubt that this was the female.

 Red foxes begin mating late January into February here in southern Illinois. Their gestation period is 51 days. So I figure she’ll probably give birth in a couple of weeks or so.

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…. And here I sat in the evening, working on the blog above. I looked out the picture window and there was a doe. A younger deer soon joined her.

A New Lichen

One of my lichen books calls these blister lichens. The other one calls them star rosette lichens.

Their scientific name is Physcia stellaris.

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Black is the most common blister lichen I find here in southern Illinois.

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Some blister lichens have brown discs,

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and others have green.

The discs are called apothecia and are where the spores are produced.

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Then I found a blister lichen with gray discs in the backyard yesterday.

Now I wonder what other colors that I might find?

I’m Back — Finally

I’m so excited to have my computer back and to be back online!

We had snow, then a heavier snow, then freezing rain and then sleet. This translated into my not leaving the property for two weeks. I want to keep my person in one piece.

Heavy rain is forecast for Tuesday with highs in the 50’s. I can’t wait. Here are a few of the pictures I took during this time.

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I took this picture last night about sunset. The snow/sleet was pretty firm, and I seldom broke through as I walked.

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Obviously, momma fox is pregnant! More about the foxes in a later blog.

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Jelly fungi hydrated from all the moisture.

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The layer of sleet fascinated me with the patterns it made.

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A couple days of warmer weather started melting the snow/sleet from underneath too.

Only See Fox Signs

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Eight inches of snow fell Monday into early Tuesday.

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It was late morning before a fox left the den. It headed toward the back corner of our yard where there’s an opening under our neighbor’s fence.

The temperature was low and the wind strong. I didn’t linger over each shot … obviously.

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The glare was so bad I couldn’t see what was on the camera’s display. I just took several pictures, hoping for the best.

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Poor Buffy. She couldn’t get under the barn where the intruders live.

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I added this picture so we could see the fox I didn’t see.

To The Woods …

We finally had a sunny day, so Buffy and I went to the woods at Stone Face.

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The caddisfly is a small moth-like insect. Their larvae collect whatever they can and bind it together for a protective case to grow in.  These were 1/4 inch long at the most. They will continue adding on until they’re full grown.

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Water movement and the resulting moving reflections always fascinate me.

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Every time I see these two trees, I wish they were in my backyard. Grandkids would have a lot of fun with them. Wildlife probably couldn’t resist them either.

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Corky warts on bark of a hackberry tree look like a city of futuristic buildings.

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I was unable to identify the shelf fungi. It had a smooth surface underneath.

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Obviously, this tree stood out! I have no idea what removed all the bark almost to the top of it. There were only a few small limbs at the top of the tree.

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The bark pieces at the base of the tree would’ve been only a small fraction of what was removed. It had to have been a determined mammal! This translates to a lot of bark removed and transported to ???

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Somehow this nondescript moss and script lichen caught my attention. Is the script lichen a messenger for the plant world?

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