Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Sky and Low Clouds

The clouds seemed more active near the end of November than they do now (The first part of January).

                                                                                                      We’ve had very little sunshine so far this winter.

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Variations Spider Silk

Activities slow as winter approaches.  The spiders still let out silk for webs later in the day.

The transparent “line” is a strand of silk let out by a spider. The spiders usually don’t widen the silk strands like this one did. The back lightning highlights the colors.

 

American Toad

I walked around the corner of the house, and

there was a toad, still, not moving.

It measured roughly three inches in length.

They can live to 10 years, or even longer. They hibernate in burrows through the winter.

I’m not sure what’s covering its eye. It was gone the next time I walked past … an extra eye lid maybe?

The toad was gone in the evening when I walked by. I hope I’m lucky and see it again.

Cloudless Sulphur

Cloudless sulphur (Phoebis sennae ebule0)

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I just happened to be in the yard at the right time to see this cloudless sulphur land on a hosta flower. They are one of the few butterflies that visit tube flowers. They also visit moist places, which can be dramatic if their numbers are high. Several other butterfly species visit damp places too, having what’s called a “puddle party.”

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The butterfly changed position and left only seconds later. They are not able to survive our winters and migrate south in late summer and fall.

Under a Full Moon

I know these pictures are a tad strange and suggest leaning back to view them.

Back in the early 90’s I wrote and illustrated weekly nature articles for several local newspapers. This meant I spent a lot of time hiking and camping in nature. I illustrated each article with an ink drawing. I also own 33 acres that is now a registered land and water reserve, translating to one step below a nature preserve.

My goal was to see the different plant communities in different weather, at different times of day and in the different seasons.

One winter full moon started out cloudy, and I had planned to go to my land and paint small watercolor pictures by moonlight. The sky partially cleared. I suited up and hurried the seven miles down there.

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Water ran in the creek, and snow blanketed the ground.

No flashlight was used. This first picture was viewing across the creek, with moonlight hitting the water, and trees casting their shadows across it.

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This was painted after I crossed the creek and where a trail started up the hill.

I painted with colors I couldn’t see.

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The night was humid and the paint didn’t dry.

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I became immersed in the night, the full moon … heard a barred owl hooting and coyotes calling.

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My last painting was of the grassy barrens with the wooded ravine in the background.

That night stayed with me for a long time. These pictures hang in my bedroom, and occasionally take me back to that special night.

Puttyroot Orchid

Three days of dreary inclement weather called for a loop drive through the country. I parked on the road to the trail head at Stoneface, a popular spot on the Shawnee National Forest.

A light rain fell as the temperature gradually dropped.

I decided to walk a short distance, just to be out.

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These puttyroot orchid seed capsules actually stood out among the colors of fall.

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They were in the process of drying.

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Puttyroot orchids (Aplectrum Hymale) send up a single leaf in the fall. This one has c0nsiderable growth yet to go. (Today is October 11).

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A smaller leaf, on the opposite side of the seedstalk, was of another plant.

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This is how the leaves look through the winter. There is a single leaf for each plant.

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Dried seed stalks are easy to find in the winter,

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and the flowers bloom later in May.

Velvet Tree Apron Moss

 Buffy and I  rounded the corner of the creek on Eagle Mountain.

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All the drab colors of winter made the green moss on the bases of several trees stand out.

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This was the first one I came to, and it had the most dramatic root system.

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Frost dulled the green in the shaded area of the moss.

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Velvet tree apron moss grows on rocks, the bases of trees and decaying wood.

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It’s appearance changes when it dries. This was higher on the same tree.

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This arrangement just begged to be photographed.