Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oklahoma Aquarium

We visited the Oklahoma Aquarium in Tulsa this week. I took a lot of shots--the fish, crustaceans, and other creatures in the aquarium--including river otters and beavers, are quite photogenic.

Ari sits in a tunnel surrounded by bull sharks. And they really are right in front and on top of viewers. If you like bull sharks, this is the place for you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bird Nests

 Late fall is a great time to look for birds' nests. When the leaves are gone, many nests are easy to spot. I saw these (in maple, cedar, and pear trees, in a rose-of sharon bush, and on top of a lattice) on my run around Baldwin today. This week I plan to explore the local woods and see what else I can locate.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Elk In Baldwin City

The bull elk usually snorts and moves away when I run by.
We moved to Baldwin City, KS from Flagstaff, AZ in 2005. One of the many things I miss is seeing elk everyday in our yard. We lived by forest service and the big bulls and cows felt entitled to stroll across our property stripping the fruit trees and drinking from the bird baths.

One afternoon I went out for a long run and thought about how much I missed them. As I ran past a thick stand of trees, I saw a large pen and to my great surprise a small group of elk were standing in it!

These elk are much smaller than the wild ones and the cows, especially, seem to have much less muscle mass in their chests.

I took this shot yesterday with my phone and wished I had my camera since they rarely stand by the fence.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Monarch Watch Day at KU

Saturday September 10 was Monarch Watch Open House at the University of Kansas. Left: Director Chip Taylor demonstrates how to tag a monarch. Pictures below are various views of the garden, and at the bottom is the indoor monarch breeding area.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cooler Days in Baldwin

Finally! The heat wave has broken and we have cooler days. Even though it still is around 90 in the afternoons, we keep the windows open. All my plants survived the heat and the recent rains reinvigorated growth. Top left, the Mandevilla wraps around a bluebird house.
A swallowtail butterfly caterpillar eats fennel in my garden.

My pepper plants are healthy and still producing.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kansas Heat Wave

Left. It's still brutally hot in Baldwin City, KS. This morning I pulled out the corn that hasn't produced ears--it's depressing to lose anything from the garden!

Middle and bottom pictures: cucumber vines and tomato plants are still producing. I made two gallons of salsa yesterday. Today I saw dozens, if not hundreds, of yellow tomato blossoms so hopefully more fruit is on the way. My water barrels are rapidly becoming depleted. I hope it rains soon!
Cucumber vines grow up an old ladder, a bit of chain link fence and the frame of a wire compost bin.

One of the 70 or so tomato plants. This one is in a raised bed.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's Hot in Baldwin City!!!

The heat index is around 105 degrees. This purple martin mother is venting--they like the heat and I have been told not to worry, but she does have babies inside the apartment. I looked inside and they are fine.  

Some nice sunflowers popped up amid my tomatoes.

We stocked our large pond with catfish, perch and other fish a few years ago and have not properly thinned the mass of fish until this year. Here is a nice catch.

My largest butterfly garden is still thriving in the intense heat. I water the plants from my rain barrels each morning.

Here's a shot of the variety of butterfly plants outside my office window.

Quick Summer Salsa

Make some salsa in a hurry. Left: Red, orange and yellow cherry tomatoes in the food processor.  Below: Rough cut onions, green bell pepper and sweet corn scraped off the cob. Put in heated skillet with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Saute until tender. Add all of this to the tomatoes in the processor along with salt, pepper, finely chopped jalapenoes, and garlic (a couple of fresh cloves or powdered). Chop up until desired consistency.
Below: Cherry tomatoes and a few squashes I picked this morning, plus the daily compost stuff like corn husks and onion pieces.

 Finished product. We ate the entire half gallon:
Get more recipes on my site, American Indian Health and Diet Project

Friday, July 1, 2011

Monarchs and Swallowtails

Here are three caterpillars I photographed this morning. The monarch cat, left, is munching on front yard milkweed while the swallowtail cat (middle) eats fennel. The one on the bottom is the dreaded, yet beautiful, tomato hornworm. This one will basically devour your tomato plants (and pepper plants). You have to look carefully for them since they blend in with the green stems. You can sometimes track them down by looking for their black poo pellets. I hate to kill them, but....my pond catfish love them.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Baldwin City Milkweed

Along N 375 Rd.
I have seen more milkweed this year than in the last five summers. Some has come up in my yard in unexpected places, such as between paving stones and amid the gravel under my porch. Monarchs need it, so consider planintg some in your yard. For more info, see the Monarch Watch page at http://monarchwatch.org/index.html You can click onto the link from the MW picture on the right column.

Along E 1750 Rd.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

MooShu and Draco, Bearded Dragons

MooShu, Ari's guest this summer, is her teacher's Bearded Dragon and we are hosting him this summer. He and Draco below (in a separate enclosure because you do not want two males in one area) eat romaine, parsley, cilantro, mustard greens, bok choy and kale as their staples, with blueberries, bananas, mango, papaya and apples as other daily nibbles. Both get dragon crunchies, vitamin spray and powdered calcium and they lounge under uv lights and real sunlight at least half the day. They get weekly soaks in warm water and daily backrubs. Seriously spoiled little creatures. Baby dragons like to eat little crickets.

Draco sleeps under a "blankie"--a washcloth.

Baldwin City, KS Vegetable Garden

My gardens are almost too crowded. The top photo is the entrance to the larger garden that features an aggressive grape vine that has grown along the top of the fence, along the rails of the metal gate and now has latched onto the maple tree. A few feet inside the garden are some of the tomato plants with red "water walls" that I bought from gardeners.com. Behind those are honeysuckle and various vines that grow on the dog kennels.

Cucumbers like the Baldwin weather. Every year I have enough cucumbers to make three or four cases of pickles. Here the vines grow up an old metal stand that I previously used for pole beans.

A crazily happy group of tomato plants. One of the six sections of tomatoes I grew from seed.