Posts Tagged ‘underground’

A Slimy Resident

I found this slug on a leaf of a Solomon’s seal plant.


A slug is a snail without a shell.


Slugs live underground where they can remain moist.


They feed on tender leaves, seedlings, soft fruit, fungus and decaying matter. They breathe through the “hole” in its shell called a mantle.


Birds, toads and ground beetles are a few of the predators that eat them.


Slugs are one thing I rarely see, and I wouldn’t have seen this one if it wasn’t for the wet weather.


More Amazing!!! Ice

Welcome back for the second part of mine and Buffy’s hike on Eagle Mountain.

Areas of the creek were dry where the water dropped underground, and other areas had running water.

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 Ice only remained in this shaded 25-30 foot area.

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Areas had multi-layered ice, and others had a thin sheet of it.

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I hope you enjoyed the second part of your vicarious hike.

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I have to give Buffy credit for staying off the ice, so I could capture all this beauty.


Here’s the link to my first ice blog:

Lower World Exposed

Twelve inches on rain fell in in one day in Harrisburg, Illinois on May 6, 2008. Needless to say, the area had major flooding. We live on a hill just outside town and had no damage.

The same storm system produced flooding strong enough to expose the “lower world” near a lake where I used to hike.

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The height of my best friend offers scale to the changed landscape. The following pictures were taken on an earlier trip when I discovered the flood results.

The lake  is to the left behind the hill.  A creek was dammed up to form it.

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Rocks aren’t debris, even though this looked like a debris field

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The water also left interesting-shaped mounds of sand over the landscape. Their size and shapes varied considerably.

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Notice the height of the sand, soil and rocks that had traveled a considerable distance.

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Walking took a lot of concentration … and energy.

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I sure had to wonder how such a variety of rocks were shaped and ended up underground. It had to take eons.

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These stones were limestone, if I remember right.

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There’s a lot of exposed sandstone in the surrounding hills.

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The round stone looked like it belonged in a grist mill.

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I wondered what wildlife might have been hiding back in the tunnels/cavities, waiting for me to leave.

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The road to the lake used to be straight ahead and tad left.

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It would’ve been handy to have a geologist along for the hike … but that would’ve been a distraction. It was just me and Buffy, alone to explore.

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My truck stopped way back  here.

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Here I followed the narrow remains of the road into Millstone Lake.

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The levee is near the upper left corner of this picture.

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The water rose high enough in the lake to go over a low area between here and the levee.

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The area was grown up by the end of the year, and didn’t have anywhere near the character by then.

I wasn’t upset with the changes resulting from the storm. Instead, I stayed excited, going from one discovery to the next, as I explored the “lower world.”

The forces of nature always fascinate me.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jacket nest entrance -- Where?

Can you find the opening to a yellow jackets’ underground nest? It’s not the small hole in the middle of the picture near the stick. I obviously wouldn’t have found it either if I hadn’t been stooped there taking flower pictures. I kept on taking pictures and then had to hunt to find the tunnel opening to photograph it. I didn’t find it until the yellow jacket came back out of the nest.

Entrance to nest, with yellow jacket coming out

The arrow in the picture (left) shows the head of the yellow jacket coming out of the nest. Today’s Tuesday, April 17. This blows my mind. On Monday, April 9th, Buffy and I were hiking here at my rural property too. We were walking up the trail in woods toward the barrens, when a yellow jacket flew in, landed and went into the hole to its nest. In all the years I’ve hiked, going back over 30 years to when my kids were young, I only saw 1 yellow jacket nest. The yellow jacket flew from its nest. There I was, and it stung me right below the elbow. That was when I found out I was allergic to them.

This other picture is one I took several winters ago when I found a nest that had been dug out by either a skunk or raccoon. Bears will dig them out too, but we don’t have them here in southern Illinois.

Yellow jacket nest dug out

Yellow jackets are 1/2 to 5/8 inch long. They live in meadows and edges of forested land, where they usually nest in the ground or at ground level in stumps and fallen logs. Adults eat nectar. Larvae are fed insects pre-chewed by adults.

Yellow jackets overwinter as fertilized queens. The queens become active in the spring, when they gather nesting materials and start a small nest. After she makes a few hexagonal cells and a covering around them, she lays an egg in each cell. The eggs hatch in a week, and the queen feeds the larvae small bits of prey for 10-12 days.

The larvae then pupate in their cells for another 12 days. The adults emerge as sterile females and start working for the queen. Late in the summer, the queen lays eggs that develop into males and fertile females. These mate. The fertilized females overwinter, and the cycle begins again.

I do hope my luck goes back to not seeing yellow jackets going in or coming out of their nest.