Arboretum, April 9, 2021

We finally made it out to the arboretum yesterday to get a take on what wildflowers are up. We missed all of last year due to pandemic, and even now are leery of going. We used to go early in the mornings- 6 or so, before anyone else was there, with a few exceptions. But now there are restrictions and they don’t open until 8 AM, by which time we feel like half the day is gone already. But I am glad we went- we saw many of our old friends, still in the same places they were in 2019. Here is a sampling.

Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia)

Then home, to begin spread a truckload of leaf mold on the garden. More on that later-

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Forest Park, April 7, 2021

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Full moon, March 26, 2021

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Eagles and turtle soup

On Sunday last we drove up the River Road, above Alton in Illinois. Crossed over the Illinois River on the Brussels Ferry at Grafton, over into Calhoun County, where we saw a few eagles, a few pelicans, and thousands of snow geese massing up on the river and Canada geese flying overhead in chevron after chevron. We also went to Meppen, where Dennis used to go every August on his motorcycle to eat turtle soup and drink beer at the annual festival at the Catholic church, where he visited the many Droeges in the graveyard there.

Brussels Ferry
Mature bald eagle in a pecan tree by the Illinois River, Calhoun County, IL
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Full moon and fox, January 28, 2021

Snow yesterday, full moon this morning. And Dennis saw a fox in our back yard this morning. Its prints are all over the yard in the snow.

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New Year

New Year- We have a new President and the vermin that infested that office for four years is gone, thank God, if not the people who somehow thought he actually represented them and was worthy of their support and a bunch of cynical or reality-challenged politicians, not sure which is worse. Everyone I know, myself included, is smiling more, sleeping better, feeling lighter, even in the midst of the other storms we are facing- pandemic, sour economy, racism, polarization. There is at least some hope again that things can get better.

On the home front, the goldfinches are beginning to change from their winter olive green to goldish-green, to be followed by their brilliant gold. There is a Carolina wren who has been around all winter. I have seen him recently diving into the old sherbet tubs that we fill with food scraps and put out at night for the possum. There are still lots of juncos and white-throated sparrows and woodpeckers and cardinals and crested nuthatches and chickadees. And of course house finches, too many house finches, and squirrels. The eagles are here and we will go on the weekend to see them up on the river in Illinois.

So 2021 begins.

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Creek bottom walk

I took off this morning for a much-needed walk in the woods with Dennis. It was raining little ice pellets most of the time we were out. They looked like little white fertilizer pellets:

And when we got down by the creek we saw an amazing collection of frost flowers.

In the background, coming up under the leaves, it looks like Erigenia bulbosa (Harbinger of Spring). Must’ve come up recently during warmer weather.

And to top it all off, we saw TWO pileated woodpeckers!

Here’s hoping for a better 2021 than 2020. The bar is not too high.

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Full moon, October 1, 2020

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Forest Park walk, Sept. 6, 2020

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Full moon, pandemic hair

Time passes surprisingly quickly in this time of pandemic. Without the daily to-and-fro of the gym, work, meetings, with being mostly inside the boundaries of home and immediate neighborhood, I function in a sort of suspended reality, and have missed the full moons in recent months. An occasional bicycle ride or trip to the store is exciting these days. The daily monitoring of garden, birds, insects is a joy. A good counterpoint to the crazed and often frightening news of late; the unleashing of all sorts of evil for all to see. I only hope, and my husband assures me, that it is all part of a transition to a new era, the rising of the feminine principle in the collective, in Jungian terms, and the current awful state we are in a manifestation of resistance to it.

At any rate, here a few photos to document our small recent history.

Full moon, September 2, 2020
We grew tomatoes in pots on the porch this summer, the only place that gets enough sun. We surrounded them with chicken wire to prevent the squirrels from eating them. A young reddish squirrel would visit every day, and when he could reach a tooth through the chicken wire would scrape off as much tomato as he could reach, evident by his tooth marks. I think he had wet dreams every night about the tomatoes.
Ms. Bumblebee at work on the physotegia, August 2. This type bumblebee I haven’t seen much of, with her furry yellow and black abdomen. Most I see are more black than yellow.
The cardinal flower that is jealously guarded by the alpha hummingbird who hangs around to chase away all the other hummers. Occasinally they come in bunches and some of them get to sip nectar while he chases the others.
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