Wednesday, June 28, 2006


The Asclepias are coming, the Asclepias are coming. Well, I guess they are here. There were four species of Asclepias in bloom last week.

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata)

Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Mostly Shadows

Given that we had about 10 minutes each for thirteen exercises, if we chose to do them all, we had very little time to gather our thoughts and materials to do our tasks for the Manitoulin art experience. That being the case, many of my projects were small ones. Here is another mini-sculpture. This one was made of a twig, a feather and a bit of grass all held together by friction after making small holes in the twig with my pocketknife. I then held up the structure and photographed it against the sky to make it a bit more dramatic.

On this particular day, I also collected some tree seeds from a poplar tree and made some shadow pictures. Here is one of them.

And here is one more shadow picture. This time, I changed the light reading on the camera to make a bluer cast and used a root on my sketch pad in full sun to create another shadow.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Manitoulin Vistas

I took this photo, looking west from our B&B, just a few minutes after sunrise. Someone had been up early to get this far out on the channel so early.

As we left the B&B to go to our art location, Églantine yelled, "Stop." We had been told the night before that we might see Sandhill Cranes in the meadow and sure enough, there one was walking through the daisies.

At the end of our day we found a young native boy and the B&B dog out enjoying the cold water and the sunset.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Paraphrase Art

For one of my art projects I made a mobile sculpture using all natural objects. The parts were twigs and bark that I found on the ground tied together with blades of grass.

After photographing the mobile, I turned the image on its side and duplicated a reverse image and put the images together.

Next I duplicated the new image, flipped a copy, and put the images together again.

Our art course was called "Paraphrase" which, we were told, is a jazz music term for playing with a theme. My last paraphrase consisted of going back to the original photo, taking the colour away, and using Photoshop to make a few more changes to get this last image.

I do enjoy playing with images!

Thursday, June 22, 2006


More by accident than by design, I celebrated the end of my first year as a blogger away from the internet. Églantine and I are just back from a five-day art experience on Manitoulin Island which is the home of seven different aboriginal reserves on islands in Lake Huron. Last Sunday we spent our morning in M'Chigeeng, one of the villages on Ojibwe land. We were treated to a demonstration of drumming and dancing by some of the Medicine Star Drummers. The so-called "calendar boy" in the following photos demonstrated several dances that he uses in Pow Wow competitions. He has on the special regalia which he uses for the dances.

Here is one of my "artistic" shots of him in action. (More art from our course will follow in the next few days.)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mystery, Mystery, Mystery?

Wayne, Bev, Somebody? Please help. I have some mystery grub/insects larvae or something that I cannot identify. The first larva is currently eating on our goldenrods. I suspect that it is eating both Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima) and Canada Goldenrods (Solidago canadensis). That it is eating goldenrod does not bother me too much, but I would like to know what it is.
You can judge the size by the left part of the photo where I left my thumb and finger in the picture. I have not seen any of the tens of thousands of the larva at a much larger size.

The second larva/thing I have no clue about other than it appears to have 6 legs or maybe something with 6 legs is eating something else? I found it on a blade of grass all by itself. No other examples were around. (I put in on a Milkweed simply to have something large enough for my camera to focus upon.) The beast is about the size of a small bean or very large pea. The yellow part moved up and down a bit but there was no other movement even though I picked the blade of grass and moved it across the field to a milkweed for photography.

OK, I have found a photo in Caterpillars of Eastern North America that seems to fit this third caterpillar fairly well. With it I would just like some second opinion. I think it is a Fall Armyworm caterpillar (Spodoptera frugiperda). It was chewing on White Sweet Clover.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Flying Things

Here is a quick post about one moth and one butterfly. I hope I have identified them correctly. The first, I believe, is an Eight-spotted Forester moth (Alypia octomaculata). Églantine took the photo about two weeks ago on one of our flower walks and one of the participants has been waiting ever since for the photo to come up. Sorry it took so long!

The butterfly is an Easter Comma (Polgonia comma) that Églantine and I found this past Sunday on a walk near the Grand River. It looks rough which makes us think it might be one that overwintered as an adult.

I got a photo when its wings were closed. Both open and closed wings are useful in making the ID for this butterfly.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Goatsbeards, on our property, comes in two flavours. There is Meadow Goatsbeard (Tragopogon pratensis ssp.pratensis) which is bright yellow and has florets that are longer than its eight bracts and Yellow Goatsbeard (Tragopogon dubius) which is more lemon yellow with ten or more bracts that are longer than the florets.

Below are two photos from about 9:00 in the morning. One can see that the flower is having difficulty opening due to a spider's web.

When Églantine and I came back at 10:30 a.m., the plant had forced the spider web to almost give up. We probably should have gone back at noon to see what had happened by then as normally the Goatsbeards close up again by then.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Tree Adventure

Nothing too unusual about an American Robin in a tree.

But what is Ontario Wanderer doing up in a tree?

Oh, babies and one egg . . .

Thursday, June 08, 2006

3 from Églantine

I seem to be running late this week. These three photos from Églantine are all from our Monday evening wild flower walk. First is one of the most common, showy wild flowers in bloom right now. It is Dames Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) or, as Églantine would say, "Julienne des dames."

Her next photo was of a grasshopper.

The last photo is of a Great Blue Heron, Grand Héron in French. It was flying west as we drove home.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Monday Magic (Posted on Wednesday)

In addition to my being slow to post Monday's photos, the blog page is also giving me a problem. There is so much to do and see outside right now, it's a bit of a pain to be inside. I guess the blog maintenance people feel the same way.

Anyway, here is the first magic shot of Monday. It is Églantine's photo of a dragonfly. We are looking for a species name.

As we drove home in the evening, these power towers marched across the sunset.

The Ontario Wanderer was just spinning with happiness.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Random Nature Photos

Each Friday I volunteer at the Royal Botanical Gardens in the herbarium and then, before driving home, I visit various wild and semi-wild places on the RBG property or in nearby conservation areas to look for wild flowers. In addition to wild flowers, I also observe birds, insects, trees, etc., etc. Following are three more photos from last Friday's ramble.

The Red-winged Blackbird was in the marsh by the boardwalk in RBG's Hendrie Valley trails.

The mushroom was at ground level so it may have been from the ground or a stick or stump at ground level beside a path in the RBG rose garden.

This Wisteria grows beside, and over, one of the connecting paths in the RBG rose garden.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Friday Finds

One of the brightest flowers of the swamp or streamside in our area is the wild Yellow Iris.

At the other extream of soil, in sunny, dry, sandy, hot railway banks, there grows the Hairy Beardtongue.

And for those of you that might not know, Poison Ivy too has a flower. Sorry this photo is not too sharp but the plants are just beginning to bloom and I was not willing to crawl into the middle of the patch for this photo. I'll try for a better photo when I can find a plant in bloom next to the path.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Damselflies and a Garden Photo

I think this is an Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly. What do you think?

This is probably the same species of Spreadwing Damselfly that Églantine photographed yesterday. It's just a different angle. Agree? Disagree?

This is the garden after three days of not weeding. Sigh! It will keep us busy. You can see the children's circle maze garden made by three youngsters (5, 3, and 1 year old) with help from their parents, Églantine, and I. as well as our tomatoes, potatoes, peas, and Rue if you look closely.