10/08/2022 Ruby Grant park

Caterpillar on broom weed
A grasshopper with very worn wings on Grindelia.
A tree cricket on Grindelia!
A megachilid bee on Grindelia.
Fall is starting! Sumacs in particular are turning red.
A noctuid moth on Maximilian sunflowers.
A bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) nearby on the same sunflower plant.
So many Maximilian sunflowers!
Briar poses in front of the prairie filled with more sunflowers.
A purple aster!
On the first Liatris we saw, Paula found these purple caterpillars.
Mom mentioned Schinia sanguinea at home recently and we think that’s what these are. She saw the adult first then later the caterpillars. Two other Schinia sp can apparently also eat Liatris according to this website (and of course they don’t provide a citation). However the owlet moth caterpillar book, which Mom has, doesn’t mention this.
A sleepy Dainty Sulphur. It was a cloudy and cool day afternoon before sunset.
A parasitic wasp resting on snow-on-the-mountain.
Another interesting moth on Maximilian sunflowers.
Green grasshoppers were distracted so I got a close up of their textured greens!
The prairie is full of messages. Briar sniffs sunflowers as we walk by.
A long-horned bee rests on a Grindelia. There were so many Grindelia at all stages.
A very fuzzy Croton species.

10/09/2022 Saxon park

Schinia gaurae moth (the clouded crimson) caterpillar on false gaura! We counted nine around our 1.75 mi loop.
The tall rosettes of the false gaura were nice to see since they look just like my garden one.
A Schinia moth I haven’t identified feeding on aster flowers.
This bumblebee loved the Salvia azurea.
Back of two spotted bumblebee where you can see the spots!
Funnel web spider says no pictures, please.
A tree cricket hiding on Liatris.
The seed pod of a Baptisia. Mom said possibly B. australis var. minor
Paula found two big beautiful lynx spider mommas! Wow! This is one guarding its egg sac.
A tiny caterpillar on false gaura.
The first Solomon’s seal I’ve seen in the wild! We have several in the yard but no idea if they’re volunteers or planted.
Probably a buckwheat, the botany consulting committee says.
Abby, Mom, and Jeanne also agreed this was probably a dwarf lead plant.
Paula found a magnificent sumac leaf turning yellow to red.
The Sumac is really turning beautiful reds all over!

09/24/2022 seedlings and fall flowers

Wild tepary bean has a flower!
Mystery seedling. I put a lot out here of many species so it gets to be a surprise unless someone recognizes it.
I suspect this is an Illinois bundleflower as I distributed a lot of them.
The big leafy seedling looks neat and is accompanied by a spotted euphorbia and maybe a blurry lyre leaf sage?
An almost metallic little moth on the goldenrod from Abby (probably S. canadensis). Mom saw a similar one recently at home on frostweed.
Possibly a Ceratina bee on the mistflowers.

08/20/2022 fruit tree check-in and pruning

I was going to trim the granny Smith back carefully to see if any life remained in the tree, but it broke right off at the base, completely dry, in my hands. So that one’s a goner. I’m not sure if it was too much water or too much heat. I don’t think it was too little water, as the soaker hose leaks prodigiously near here.
The north star pie cherry died this year and I checked the trunk- no green left. I think it was irregular watering (boo, me) and heat.
The surecrop pie cherry lost all its leaves a bit later, but I found a bit of green as I pruned back its branches. I think this winter we will move it to where the Granny Smith apple was, and then replace the soil in the corten planters and do native calcareous barrens flowers there instead.
Paula found a magnificent preying mantis and it helped us look at clouds in hope of rain.
We pruned the remaining apple and pear trees back. The first summer ones are supposed to be down to three short branches, so it’s especially sparse looking. This is supposed to help them stay small. The two remaining second-summer ones are trimmed back but more branches left in place. They’ll all get pruned again in the winter for structure and shape.

08/14/2022 straw bale potatoes

We lifted and sorted through our two straw bales of potatoes since the leaves were all eaten off by blister beetles. Upon moving the bales, we found eight bess beetles
One fast isopod
A second fast isopod
Three baby house mice
And one click beetle. This brings us to a total of 14 photographed animals plus a whole nest of ants and a small earwig that got away.
Compare this to our glorious harvest: ten potatoes from two bales. Paula is researching where we went wrong. I feel like maybe we should just go back to growing them in soil. (These experiments were my idea so I’m not blaming anyone else.). At least this year’s harvest is safer than last year’s crop of black widow spiders??

07/30/2022 pretty!

Good thing I’ve planted the borer resistant cushaw squash! It is a native moth and it sure is pretty.
A Madhu ras cantaloupe melon slipped its vine so we figured it was ready.
The only red yucca that’s sprouted from Judy’s seeds is doing good in its new spot. It has a third leaf now.
Briar found Shackleton. He was not as happy as she was about this.
The dog corner of the prairie

07/16/2022 red letter day!!!!!!

I flushed a really big moth as I walked on to the patio after dinner. It landed on the window and turned out to be a Black Witch!!!!! I have always wanted to see one and this is my first.
With flash, so you can see the intricate patterns of brown and black and gray.
Without flash, for a more natural color closer to what I saw. This is the biggest moth species in North America.
A side view. The underwings are not nearly so patterned. By dusk it was gone. Good luck, big friend!