Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Change

The sale of Habitat Home. 
Oh how I will miss Habitat Home!
 But a decision needed to be made...stay and love our new grandchild from afar or move and take along fond memories of Habitat Home.  We have chosen to move closer to family.  We will start a new chapter in our lives (and perhaps a new blog?) in Snohomish Washington.
What a great blessing  it has been to create Habitat Home.
Wishing the new owners much happiness in their new home.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mushroom Log

So many of the decaying logs at Habitat Home have this fungus growing on them this fall. It is classified as a puffball and Lycoperdon pyriforme is its name. One reference book says it is "presumed edible" and another source says "edible". However, I do not think I will try cooking any but rather choose to enjoy their unique forms on the old logs. I did notice after a closer examination of the fruiting bodies that something has been nibbling on them, perhaps mice or squirrels?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dead Heading

Dead heading may not be a kind thing to do, especially this year.  The birds have had a long hot summer devoid of a lot of moisture.  Scarce rain and  extreme temperatures have made for a reduced production of plant material and insects. The scrawny gold finch pictured below was really working over the dried purple cone flower seed head. If ever you wanted to forgo deadheading this is a good year to do so. Leave the dead plant material standing and you will be helping birds and various other wildlife. 
 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fallen Tree

 Most dead trees at Habitat Home are left standing till they fall. So, we often have to spend a morning or afternoon cleaning up a dead fallen tree that happens to fall across a path.  The job is made easier with a chain saw and the decision to leave most  fallen wood on the ground close to where it fell (but off the path).  The discussion this morning was whether to leave the fallen logs along the bank or move them farther from the river.  We decided to leave them along the  river bank as we noticed more vegetative growth along banks with fallen logs than those without woody debris.  The river path at Habitat Home is shown below.  Before and after our morning's workout. Maybe the remainder of the dead tree will just fall towards the river next time.
  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Butterflies

Gray hairstreak (Strymon meli)Cloudless sulfur (Phoebis sennae)
We have not seen a lot of butterflies this summer.  The drought and being away on vacation are two good reason why.  So, it was nice to see these two butterflies  out and about today.  A gray hairstreak Strymon melinus and a cloudless sulfur Phoebis sennae.  Besides being photographed on the same day do you know what else these butterflies have in common?  They share a host plant, wild senna Cassia hebecarpa, which grows at Habitat Home.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Iron Weed

They don't call Vernonia noveboracensis Iron Weed for just any odd  reason.  It is tough as iron.  Blooming beautifully despite the severe  drought we are experiencing here in East Central Illinois. We had been vacationing out West.  We grew more and more concerned with the lack of rain reported back home.  When we did return we found a parched and brown lawn, some dead shrubs, but as expected, the prairie plants were blooming, liatris, butterfy weed, sunflowers, and rattlesnake master to name a few others.  One noticeable difference in the prairie is the grasses, mostly Big Blue, Switch and Indian.  They are not nearly as tall as in previous years, but still green and growing.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Echinacea tennesseensis

Echinacea tennesseensis
If you can find this endangered plant for your garden, make sure you plant it away from the more common Echinacea purpurea. Otherwise, it will be crowded out. This plant is growing with others of its kind amongst Prairie Dropseed grass in the flower bed along the walk to the front door of our home. The only problem is the gold finches which pluck off some of the petals, disfiguring the flower. The finches also eat the seeds as soon as they appear. Echinacea tennesseensis has petals that turn upward not downward like Echinacea purpurea..