Sunday, February 26, 2012

Praying Mantis Egg Cases

Nature offers up interesting finds even during winter. As I was clipping away at some shrubs this past week I found some Praying Mantis egg cases. They were in three different areas. One was in a holly shrub. Ithought it looked interesting how the case incorporated some of the leaves from the holly. This holly doesn't lose its leaves in winter so the egg case is decorated with green.
The next two were in some spirea shrubs. One obviously had a leaf incorporated in it but those leaves die back during winter so it is all curled up.
The other was on a limb and the case had adhered to another smaller stem which came with the case as I cut them off.
I stuck the limbs with the cases in my window box hoping that eventually they will hatch when I am sitting here watching. I would love to see them emerge from the case. We will just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Animal Wednesday - Winter Wren

Sunday while we were out birding we got a real treat. We pulled up to a spot to listen for birds that might be about and out pops this winter wren. It was quite upset that we were in it's territory. It stood on this stick and did push ups fussing for quite some time.
This behavior was unusual because these little birds are secretive. They only come down into my territory during winter which makes it so appropriate that their common name is Winter Wren. It's scientific name is Troglodytes troglodytes. They breed way up North and are fiesty little birds only 4 inches/10cm long.  
This sighting is the first since 2007 so you can see why I was so excited.
Have you seen any exciting animals lately? Do join us over at Mim's for Animal Wednesday.
HAW to all.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Winter Walks

I live in a very historic town. One of the interesting aspects about the town is that it was established right along the Wabash River. Of course the Native People lived here first. One of the unusual and interesting sites around are the Mounds.
There are two Mounds that were once used by the Native People. They haven't been completely explored but they have been brought to the fore lately. One of the Mounds was cut in two by a highway coming through years ago and this is where a friend of mine and I decided to hike this week.
She is doing a study of the plants growing on and around this Mound. There is an old sign on top of the Mound declaring it a property of the Knox Co Parks Dept. No one does anything to the Mound now days but they are thinking about it so the study is being done.
I always learn something when I go out with my friend. She knows more about plants than I will ever learn. One thing that was brought to my attention while we were out was the seed pods of the Bundleflower Desmanthus illinoesis.  It is a weed by any other name but I found the seed pods most intriguing. It is hard but it looks soft like the petals of an open rose. 
The petal peel off and the seeds drop out to spread about. This is growing in sandy soil. No doubt it would take over if it were planted in half decent soil. I am tempted. The blooms aren't much to look at but it is in the mimosa family and it has those tropical looking leaves. 
I hope you get to get out this weekend and hike around. Be sure to share what you have found.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Animal Wednesday - Common Redpoll

This crazy weather has driven another unusual bird into our territory. A friend wrote to tell that he had a Common Redpoll coming to his thistle feeders along with the Goldfinches. This is highly unusual to have this bird so far South despite it's name being Common Redpoll. It is most uncommon around here.
It was such fun going over to our friends house and sitting in the truck watching for the little finch to come in. We had to wait an hour but it was a nice sunny day so we kept warm despite the wind and cold temps as the sun kept the truck cab toasty.
Happy Animal Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day

I went to a Victorian Tea this past weekend with friends. It was sponsored by the local Library. They had a young lady, Robin Smith, from IU come to sing for entertainment. Robin did a great job. She gave a little history about every song. The tea was good, the eats were delicious, wonderful company.
This is the page I did. We received a single rose wrapped in music and pink cellophane. I drew the rose and pasted bits of the cellophane over the page.
Happy Valentines Day to everyone.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hooded Crane

There has been great excitement in my neck of the woods in the birding world. The Hooded Crane that was first seen in Nebraska, then in Tennessee is now at Bee Hunter Marsh which is part of the Goose Pond Wildlife Area near where I live.
I can't tell you how rare and exciting this is...if it is true. True enough that we have seen it. It is here. The provenence of it's origin is the issue. Is it an escapee from a zoo or a private collection?  It has no tags, bands etc that are visible. It has been debated and investigated adnausium. No one can prove it was an escapee.  I am just thrilled to have seen this beautiful creature in the wild. I think it is a great wanderer.
I have some reeallllly bad photos of it. You can go here to see a decent picture of it when it was in TN. I am sure that someone with great camera gear will take a photo of it here this weekend, if it stays. There have already been people from surrounding states coming to see it.
I hope you have an exciting weekend too.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Rained In

It has been raining all day. I am stuck inside so I got to thinking about the collage I did honoring my Dad and his Parents. When I was working on his collage I thought that I would immediately do one for my Mother and her Parents but I didn't get around to it until today.
I wanted to so something a little different for hers. I have had this delicate little box for some time. I don't use it for anything but I could never bring myself to get rid of it. I have turned it into a memory box.
You open it and you can see what I did. I took a couple of recipes that Mom had written out for me and copied them to line the bottom of the box. This way I have her writing in the box. On the left is a picture of her parents on their wedding day. The oval photo is my Mom when she was in her 20's. The ring is my Grandmothers ring. It has their Grandpa and Grandma's (A.S. to S.H.) initials on it. I find that so romantic.
On the right hand side I have a few of my favorite pictures of my Mom. The little figurine is one she had collected when she had a little Boston Terrier that she loved.  I realized when I was gathering things that I don't have much of my Mother's. She wasn't into things and the things that she did collect were destroyed in a tornado a few years ago. I picked the little dog figurine from the rubble.
I have hung the box closed on the wall. It has a little brass catch on the side to keep it closed. When people look at family photos on the wall they can open this to find a nice surprise.
All of this has stirred up many memories. Good for a rainy day.
I hope you all are having a nice weekend full of fond memories.  Maybe you are making some fond memories? What ever you are doing enjoy.