Thursday, September 27, 2018

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Weekly Maine Foliage Report

The trees are changing rapidly, even though it still feels like summer! They know that winter is on its way!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Banded Tussock Moth caterpillar

I found a banded tussock moth caterpillar munching on the leaves of one of our Arctic hibiscus plants.
There's a head down under all that prominent furriness!
These furry fellas also feed on asters, joe-pye weeds, and broadleaved woody plants like blueberry, alder, ash, birch, oak, etc., most of which we have on our property and in the nearby woods.
Check out those spines. The female caterpillars concentrate alkaloids in the spines for defense from predators.

It's starting to feel like Autumn!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Growing Lavender

I just purchased a Lavendula x intermedia plant (also called Lavendin as it is a cross between L. angustifolia and L. latifolia (Portugese Lavender) and am going to try to grow it successfully. Two feet away from it I have an old Lavendula angustifolia plant, also called English Lavender. I found a website for growing Lavender in Maine.

I built a mound of earth with sand and soil. Then, after the ground is frozen, around mid-November, I am going to cover the lavender plants with a heavy floating row cover for protection over winter. 

Lavenders do not like their roots wet and they do not like to be fertilized. They do like lots of sunshine with no watering. They like a pH of around 6, but not too acidic. Finicky!

Quote from Moore Manor Lavender:
If you plan on growing lavender in Maine, for best results you should cover them once consistent cold occurs. Don’t be in a rush or the mice will make their home along with the protected lavender and ruin a lot of it. Wait until the mice have made their winter burrows elsewhere. Cover with a thick layer of straw, or heavy floating row cover that’s pinned or weighted down. It should be checked periodically to make sure the wind hasn’t uncovered any of it.Once the weather has warmed, and there’s no threat of a hard freeze the covering can come off. Don’t be distraught if it looks as though the lavender is dead. It takes a bit of warm weather and sunshine for the lavender to start its new growth. By May you should see the your lavender coming to life.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Turkey Alert!

Oh, the gobblers are gobbling all over the State of Maine.
We have been seeing some good sized rafters (groups) of turkeys on our daily travels to and from work.
We haven't seen any in our yard in a long time, and Drew was excited to see a few walk the path between us and Neighbor Carla's house. They have the most amazingly beautiful feather colors and patterns.
Look both ways before crossing the road.
Then, cross the road with caution.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Maine Foliage Report

The leaves are starting to change color in Maine. We are seeing a tiny bit of red mixed in with green at the moment! But, it will be a few more weeks before we'll be in full color swing;-) In the meantime, check out the Maine Weekly Foliage Reports, that come out each Wednesday, to see our colorful autumn progress.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Osprey juvenile

Click on the photo to see more detail.
I was done boating and had stowed my camera, unplugged the electric motor, and was paddling over to the dock when a juvenile osprey flew overhead toward the north. It landed on a tree and then flew back overhead to a tree on the south shore. I think the bird was taunting me. Well, not to be out done, I paddled toward his perching tree and proceeded to photograph him. What a gorgeous bird!
One distinguishing feature is that juvenile ospreys have pale tips on their feathers.

Who knew??? Grey Squirrels can swim!

While boating on Caesar Pond, I zoomed in on what I thought was a beaver swimming across the pond. In fact, it turned out to be a grey squirrel! 
He was swimming at high speed to reach the eastern shore. I can only surmise that maybe he escaped the clutches of a bird of prey and fell into the water.

Sun and cloud reflections on Caesar Pond

See the propeller of the boat to show that I am shooting onto the pond surface.
The sun was shining hot and bright this morning, and I was happy when a tiny bit of cloud cover obscured it for a short time. I snapped a few photos of its reflection on the water.

It is safest to photograph reflections of the sun so as not to blind yourself while looking through the view finder.
The sun was starting to emerge from behind the clouds
Just that little bit of cloud cover, for a few moments, cooled the air to a comfortable temperature.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

What a Hoot!

What do you do when you can't sleep? Some people read books, some people clean house, and some people go outdoors at 3am to record audio of barred owls. I belong in the 3rd category of people! 

I have been hearing barred owls in the distance over the past several nights, and got lucky to be awake when they flew to the woods behind our house. I have had the audio recorder at the ready, so I was able to grab it and race outdoors when the hooting started. There are also tons of wood frogs and some crickets in the background. I think you'll enjoy it and find it rather relaxing;-) 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Great Blue

The wing feathers have subtle color variations. Click on the picture to see the wings in more detail.
Beautiful winged creature...the great blue heron... I love looking at the feathers of birds in flight. Their wingtips bend to catch air as they glide from one destination to the next.