Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It's just a few days before the annual Maple Leaf Festival here in Baldwin City. Our yard has numerous maples and here are some that are changing. Great time of year!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hot raccoon

This little guy showed up on my porch yesterday afternoon. Very unusual since raccoons are active at night. He may have been hot and thirsty, and was separated from his mother.

After sitting on the bench a while, he got down then scurried across the stone to the small pond where he drank for a long time.

He then climbed the cottonwood and went to sleep.

I thought he was snoozing when I zoomed in but when I looked at the picture on my computer screen, I realized that he actually had known I was looking at him the whole time.


Baldwin is like many other places right now--in the midst of a serious drought. We have many cracks in our ground, some so wide we're not letting the dogs run around in case they might step in one of the two foot deep crevasses (good thing we don't have horses). My gardens are doing well, however, because I mulched heavily and the ground is not losing moisture as quickly as the grassy areas.

My smaller, elevated butterfly garden is going strong.
All my "full sun" potted plants are now under the porch. Semi-sun plants don't even get morning sun and some of the shade plants are now inside. I was given the hosta in front but will wait until the weather cools to plant it.

Peppers are especially happy

Our big pond is down about six feet and we see more deer, oppossom and raccoon tracks every morning.

I picked a variety of peppers today. Also this morning, MSNBC news featured a story, "Heat, drought make for potent peppers." Lack of moisture causes the alkaloids to become concentrated, resulting in more intense flavors--and heat.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wren Parents

We have a pair of adults wrens who nest in a bluebird box nailed to our screen-in porch. The eggs hatched and a baby peeks out from the box. The parents spend all day--and I mean all day--making a frantic chipchipchipchip cry. The babies are in the box so maybe they do this to coax them out?

Parent chipping on the porch step.

Parent chipping on the rail edge

Chipping by the pond

In the maple tree

On the bench

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Baby Purple Martins

Martin eggs are white. Sparrow eggs are brown speckled and their nests fill the entire space. Martin nests are a "carpet" of leaves, grass and small sticks.
We have four Purple Martin houses, each with 12 "apartments." I look in the houses at least once a week to make sure sparrows have not built nests in them. If they do, I pull them out, Sparrows are invasive and will kill babies and adults. They also will peck the eggs or push them out. They do this to martins, bluebirds, catbirds, wrens, robins and cardinals, at least.). Here is what's growing in some of the apartments.

Baby Bluebirds

We have four bluebird boxes and here are two shots--taken one week apart--of what's in one of them.  

Summer Plants

The roadsides around Baldwin City have quite a bit of color. I took these shots yesterday with my iphone.
There is a lot of milkweed around Baldwin, but very few monarchs. I only found one.

Baby Swallows

Swallows have returned to the same nest under our porch for five summers. I took the shot on top two weeks ago. A week later, they had doubled in size. I took more pics every few days and you can see how they have outgrown their nest.

Trying to get comfortable

One looks like it is about to jump out

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Yellow Finch

 I shot all these birds within a ten minute period from my back porch..


A hummingbird drinks at the feeder in front of the yellow finch. You can see the tail of the female finch on the back feeder.

A house wren is making a nest inside a hanging, very fat finch nest.

A bluebird with a bug sits atop one of the five bluebird boxes. She has five babies inside.

Geese/goose parents teemed up for protection and now there's a gaggle of them in our pond.

This robin made a nest on top of our lattice porch

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Purple Martins

A male sits on top of an apartment.
Purple Martins returned a few weeks ago and have started building their nests inside the four apartments in our backyard. For information about Martins, see the Purple Martin Conservation Association
A male and female sit on their porch.

Spring Plants

My butterfly garden has grown dramatically. Butterflies are flitting everywhere Strawberries are almost ready and I pulled up some nice onions this morning.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring burning

Guys love to burn things so a few weeks ago Josh got out the fire starter and burned various plants in my butterfly garden.

Less than two weeks later, almost everything has popped up and there is no evidence of the burning.