I’ve got a bunch of pictures and a few videos to put up.  We’ll see how many I get to today in this bunch.  Here are some of the early ones.

These are from late April.  They include a garter snake on the road enjoying the sunshine, a view of the property to see how spring is looking, and you probably won’t see the Killdeer in the parking lot bunker full of rocks, but it’s there.  I actually am at that store frequently, and like to park out in the boonies, so I’ve seem that bird a few times, and thought to myself it must be lost and think it’s in a field or whatever, and it’s a horrible place for it to hang out.  Too much traffic, not a lot of grassy fields, what’s it going to eat?  So to my surprise a few weeks later, I spotted it again…and then another adult, and holy cow, are those baby Killdeer or are they painted golf balls with tooth picks for legs?!? SO CUTE!!!  I tried to get a video and pictures but they were soooo tiny, and I only had my phone (with the horrible camera).  I saw them again a few days later, and then never saw the adults or kiddos again.  I think they nested there just long enough to incubate the eggs and get the babies mobile, and then headed out.  I wish I could have gotten great pictures of them, but well, I’ll tell ya about them!

Here is another late April item for ya, it’s a video of the fence gate… and it’s part of an experiment.  The gate was not latching easily, and we determined that the gate support post seemed to be a bit saggy, so we decided to see if bracing it to something would help.  Indeed, it has prevented it from sagging, and latching the gate has returned to nearly as easy as day one the gate was installed.  However, I thought we might have issues if we braced it to the tree with a solid brace or high up the tree.  I figured the tree might flex a bit with the wind, but it was the easiest way to test the brace it to fix it idea.

Here’s what happened in a moderate breeze…

So I’ve started to use a bungee to double sure the gate doesn’t sneek open in high winds, as I have found it hanging open twice when I was darn sure I had latched it… and until I actually heard the creaking sound one windy afternoon, I thought I was just careless or remembering things that I hadn’t done when I found the gate open…on it’s own.  So I’ve included the video here to share a bit of info with others who might be thinking of trying this.  I’m thinking attaching the brace from the top of the post to the near-base of the tree might work better, but our brace is approximately level at about my head height from top of post to tree trunk.  It’s  taller, skinny cherry tree, with healthy roots so it should be able to handle helping the gate, so the major problem is the tree is bendy, possibly a bit whippy.

May 1st through the 6th is mostly plants.  I have some videos afterwards.

There are some hawthorn (I like their flowers, they smell nice, as well as the have some pretty blossoms!  Then again, they’re tricky buggers because there are several closely related species, and I’m pretty sure they have some interbreeding/crossbreeding kiddos, so I have trouble nailing down which they specifically are… but hey, I know enough to not get stabbed by those spikes!  Some of them are pretty long!), there are black cherry flowers, some Flowering Dogwood near our driveway (I am fond of Dogwoods of all kinds, in Wisconsin where I grew up, we had a less showy variety, I think the Red Osier, and I like how the branches and leaves look), the grape vines over our driveway in an oak tree which hadn’t leaved (leafed?) out yet (I’m not sure if they leaved early and got frost nipped, and this is their second try, or if they all waited), there’s the onions and garlic I planted when they sprouted before I could cook them, there are what I thought would be tomato volunteers, and our American Holly tree near the driveway… I really like this little tree, and it’s been doing ok, but this year something is mow-ing (not mow like lawn, but mow rhymes with ow like om nom nom mowing).  I’m hoping it will make it through. There’s of course, one of my bestest buds, Kyle, who is keeping an eye on me for Ryan, and a look at the stream bed along the edge of our property.  There are skunk cabbages and I think, some kind of Hellbore (helbore?) coming up.

Here are a few videos, starting with some not so picnic weather and the turbine.

And here is some nicer weather, with some birds in the background.  I was trying to get a thrush on audio…and as soon as I turned on the video it shut up.  I got it once at the end of the second video, and it’s out there right now (I hear it!! but of course if I go out with the camera it will clam up… plus I need to put these pics up!).

towards the end of this next video is the ?thrush? call I’m curious about.  I don’t think it’s a hermit thrush, I’m very familiar with those from where I grew up.

I love the sound of birds and the woods, just about anywhere.  People at work and wherever quite often ask a pretty predictable question after they find out Ryan is attempting the entire Appalachian Trail (first they usually ask “what is is?” then a set of “how long” will he be gone and “how long” is the trail?)…they ask “Why is he doing it?” … and my answer is “for fun! Because he wants to…” and I often say I’d love to do it too, one day.  They often ask why he wants to do it…again.  Like… they don’t see why he’d want to be on the trail hearing the forest and the meadows… ok and getting wet and tramping through mud and storms but hey, there are ups and downs to most things.  Ryan, I hope you are hearing some beautiful sounds out there!

And  here come some pics from May 7nth to the 9th.  They include the water levels at the bridge where Kyle and I turn around on our approximately 6 mile jogs, a Flowering Dogwood on the jog (I think the flowers seem to aim at the sun… or just happen to aim at the sun?), those flowers I keep trying to get a good picture of… because both my MP3 player (an old Android phone) and my actual phone (less smart than the Android, but has way better reception so hey, it’s a phone… go with the phone capabilities but they player options are hard to use and annoying)… but both seem to wash out some of the red from that flower.  There are also some yellow flowers, not Hawkweed, that have started to blossom.  I may or may not have a chance to look them up and figure out what they are… one of the tricky parts of figuring out some plants is they seem to often be invasive species/aliens, which often means they aren’t in guidebooks yet.  Sigh).  Anyway, there are also some lovely clouds (ok, I love clouds too… sue me!), and some pictures of a Black Cherry trunk.  I’ve noticed that these guys (and gals?…I’m not sure if this species is one that’s got trees that are always guys or gals, flower one kind at a time, or both at once–and you thought human gender issues got complicated!) anyway these trees, when it’s really raining, they seem to suck up more water than they need (?want?) and it sorta leaks out with sap from their bark.  I’m not sure if it only comes out through injury points in the bark, or through pores… but it doesn’t come out all over, just in some places.  And it’s kind of like a gel, really sticky gel that comes out.  And it dries a bit out eventually and gets a bit thicker and stickier… so I’m wondering if maybe it’s sort of like a scab…or a plug.  I’d lick it, if I didn’t know that most of a cherry tree is poisonous to various degrees… leaves, bark, twigs… just about everything that isn’t the cherry fruit… including the pit.  I’m pretty sure it’s arsenic of some sort…not tasty, no mowing, no nomming!  There’s a shot of the tent caterpillars, of Kyle, and of Nim.

Here come more pictures from May 10 to the 13th.  Some more pictures from our jogging route, the stream levels and Kyle enjoying his “get wet” time.  He jogs well, but when it’s warm, both of us get really warm.  I sweat, but he doesn’t…he pants.  And he gets slower, so to help him in the heat, any areas where we can get him easily into the water, I tell him to “get wet” and he goes wading… he likes this idea, it’s nice ‘n’ cool, and he gets to sniff and look at stuff and lap a bit… and look at stuff and sniff.  There are also pictures of the wild strawberry starting to bloom, Mayapple leaves, Buttercups, Ryan’s hickory tree blossoms, Kyle, Indy, and Echo, some Trilliums, possibly some wild geranium or mallow?, violets, and Lilly of the Valley.  And another look at the Tent Caterpillars.


Also from the 10th to the 13th are a few moths.  One is a Luna moth (the large green one), I don’t know what the other is.

Right, here are some from May 14… I was working on getting a food drop together and a few other things to pre-get ready for going to Trail Days, and saw out the back windows… a deer!  (ok, I think it’s female deer, but it could be a male… buck, a deer, a real male deer?).  The dogs didn’t notice this one, but I’m pretty sure that they often notice others (or this one at other times) back in that area, ’cause they bark that direction at night a lot.

Well whatever it was, it eventually left, and I had to do other things than stare at it all day.  Here’s some other pictures, from May 16th.  I did some chores around the yrd, including moving about 2 piles of logs from the woods to the yard (how I cut my hand), cleaning the chicken coop… which is how I got chicken poo on my back… Just when I was putting back their food dispenser and bent over, the last thing I had to do, and of course, someone has to drop a sloppy warm plop on my back.  Usually when they get me, it bounces off ’cause it’s drier but they must have been eating a lot of vegetation or something.  It wasn’t sick looking (like ill), but it was definitely not something I wanted to continue wearing as it soaked through the shirt really fast…at least it was warm outside. Also included is a few picture of one of the flowers from Ryan’s wildflower mix (or one of the perennials we planted…but I think this is one from his flower mix seed packets) which came back well.  I think we’ll have a few returns, either of the ones planted as plants, and also some from his mixes.  Goody!

After this comes TRAIL DAYS, which I will upload separately.  And I will probably upload the pictures from after that as a separate chunk too.  This is getting pretty long!