Thursday, May 31

awwww, Mom!

For anyone who has small children...when they are whiny or demanding or just into mischief. Finding a spot to just sit and catch your breath for a minute is heaven. Been there, done that.

 Ma and Pa Robin have fledged out 4 spot-breasted, very demanding kids in the past few days. Both parents are meeting the constant food demands at an amazing pace. She landed right above me when I was out filling birdbath, fluffed out her feathers and I swear I heard her heave a sigh and just sit for a minute and catch her breath before the Beaked Beggars discovered her whereabouts.

Wednesday, May 30

prairie Rose

It's a cool, cloudy day but the breezes brought a blush to the cheek of Prairie Rose.

Monday, May 28

Memorial Day 2012

An Oakleaf Cluster is awarded to those who win more than one high military honor, such as a Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross or a Purple Heart.

My father, my grandfather and my uncle are all decorated veterans. To them, their brothers in arms, our current military service people and their families, thank you.

Saturday, May 26

pink Grapefruity

After 1.8" of rain in a couple of days (thanks, Ma Nature, love your gift) my pink iris has taken on the look of iced grapefruit.

Friday, May 25

shake your Tailfeathers

the dude had no intention of showing me his front view....

he was saving it for these ladies who seem bored with the whole thing.

Monday, May 21

the white One

Penstemon albidus
Love penstemons, this one and the larger shell-leaf grow in the natural prairie grass in the yard. They are marked and carefully mowed around till they have set seed. I have little "islands" of prairie wildflowers all over the place, we never look properly trimmed up in the spring.

Click on the photo and you can see the "landing strip" that white penstemon provide for the pollinators, ultraviolet drawing them right in to the pollen. The flowers don't usually have fur, but the cottonwood tree just north of us let go a blizzard of cotton and it is making everything furry looking.

Sunday, May 20

i do see You

up there, peeking down the hillside at me.

Saturday, May 19

Friday, May 18

the Heirloom

As a new bride 95 years ago, Cora Stafford, my husband's grandmother, our daughters' great-grandmother, planted these iris at her first home in the Lake Champlain valley of New York. When the family moved to the "big farmhouse" in 1948, she took some with her to plant in her garden there. When the farm was sold several years ago, I dug some to save, these are growing next to our front door in the Black Hills of South Dakota. As those daughters moved into their own homes in Minnesota, some went there with them. For more than 90 years these iris have been growing in a family garden, some of them, miles from where they started. Cora would be so delighted to see them still blossoming 3 generations later. 

Tuesday, May 15

bath Time

Chickadees favor showers some days. I see them "leaf bathing" when I have the sprinkler running near the shrubbery. I turned the water on my nearly blooming peonies and new transplants, and this little dude was having a heyday with the drops flying over the top of him and the soaking tub under his feet.

Monday, May 14

furry Butterfly

The Painted Lady butterflies seem to think that allum and dame's rocket are hot stuff! They have been all over the flowers the last few days. I think of moths being the furry cousins, but these 'flies look like they are wearing a fur stole over their shoulders like an elegant lady from the 40s out for the evening.

Sunday, May 13

bee Sweet

to your moms, grandmas, aunties, stepmoms, adopted moms, and honorary aunts on Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 10

mary todd Lincoln

This is the second year that this robin has built her nest right outside the window of our office at school.
We are Lincoln Academy, so it was only fitting that she be dubbed Mary Todd, and he, Mr. Lincoln. She chose the tangle of wires and conduits that bring communications into the office, her previous choice is about 5 feet to her left, on the downspout. She is against a solid brick wall, under a 2 foot overhang and behind an 8' chainlink fence that protects gas meter, etc. The fiber optic guys worked around her last week and she stayed busy building. I am guessing we will have baby robins about May 15 or 16, just in time to distract 9th graders taking finals!
 From the underside you can see how much vegetation and other bits she hauled in to create a foundation to build the nest proper. At least with a roof over her head and a solid south wall she won't get washed out.

Wednesday, May 9

flower Birds

Known also as Cherry-bird or Cedar bird,the always elegant Cedar waxwings are notorious fruit eaters. They seem to find flowers to their taste as well. There was a flock of them in my cotoneaster hedge this morning, chatting to each other in their wheezy style and having flowers for breakfast. Favorite children's author, Thornton W. Burgess dubbed this fellow Dandy, the Cedar Waxwing in his books. A dandy bird for sure.

Sunday, May 6

an admiral in King Arthur's Court

A medieval jousting tournament is taking place in the backyard this afternoon. With the sun full on rocks, trees and Adirondack chairs, the Red Admiral butterflies are going at full tilt. There are at least 4 who are claiming territory, or trying to, in about a 100 foot strip between the house and the pine trees. They sit in various sunny places and spread their wings flat out, in what I assume is an intimidation posture. Suddenly, they all leap into flight, mill around each other, dart back and forth and then go back to where they each started and pose again. They did not appreciate my being in their way when I was filling birdbaths. It is quite windy, so their choreography is a little tipsy.

Saturday, May 5

the warbler Rainbow

I went out barefoot in the rain, trying not to go on my rear in the wet grass to catch the rainbow before it disappeared. I never saw the bird in the upper right corner. When I looked at my results in Photoshop, there was the bird. Zooming in, there were just enough field marks to identify it as a Yellow-rumped warbler known as  "butterbutt" to birders. Score a bonus point on that one. :o)

Friday, May 4

a shaggy dog Story

Captain Jack Sparrow needs to find a barber to turn him back in to a Schnauzer.

Wednesday, May 2

prairie Spring

Lanceleaf bluebell
Southern shootingstar
Buffalo grass
Western wallflower


A walk on a bit of short grass prairie just before an approaching thundershower. There aren't as many wildflowers this year due to the dryness of the early spring, but I did find these hardy souls this afternoon, and packed a few interesting stones into my pockets.

Tuesday, May 1

May Day

Happy May Day, wherever you are! Ma Nature treated us to a lovely morning, then a few afternoon showers, and 2 rainbows to end the daylight hours. Now, Venus is shining brightly in the western sky.