Thursday, September 30, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Up North

I spent the week in the north woods, where a first frost -- presumably weeks ahead of ours -- has already started turning the maples red and orange and yellow. On cloudy days, their brightness popped against the grey of rain, and on sunny days the blue of the sky contrasted starkly with the autumnal oranges... it really was beautiful. I wrote in my nature journal, during one of our reflection times, that I think I must have nature ADHD... this after a sentence about mergansers, then one about autumn colors, one about the sound of the lapping of the water on the shore, and one about the shape of the dead log, already harboring a small oasis of new life, jutting into the water. But upon looking at my photographs, I have determined that I am surprisingly mycology-minded.

And, if you think that this is overkill with the fungus photos, I would like to state, for the record, that a) I edited a lot out of these, and b) I would have taken a LOT more pictures of fungi if I hadn't had 58 lbs of canoe on my head for a lot of the time, which seriously diminishes the ease of... and desire to... take pictures.

We saw mushrooms in every color but blue and green. The first one here, though the photo doesn't capture it that well, was light purple!
I think the eyelash cups are so cute, don't you?

That last one was very crazy... about 4 inches in diameter, covered in dark purple-grey powder above and below, and curved up. Students noted that it looked like the empty paper of a Reese's peanut butter cup.

You made it this far? Here were a few non-fungal discoveries...
a brightly-colored leopard frog
This moth LOVED me, sat on my hand and probed my skin with its proboscis, and came back several times even after I got tired of not being able to write and brushed it off. It landed on my head for a while, where its wings buzzed by my ears like a tiny helicopter, and spent time on both of my hands. Eventually, it tired of me and decided that a yellow flower was more to its liking.
Such pretty colors in this hawkweed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This male spotted spreadwing had striking blue -almost purple- eyes that didn't quite come across in this photograph. He's a late-season odonate, but as far as I'm concerned, while dragon- and damselflies are still on the wing, summer hasn't lost the fight yet.

Speaking of that... Recently, it has been cool in the mornings -- pleasantly so -- and warm during the day. The world is still green but it has the yellowed tinge of the end of summer. Goldenrods, false sunflowers, and grass tassles paint the prairie with barely a purple brush stroke anymore. They days are getting shorter while the shadows get longer... which makes me want to be terribly lazy although this is one of the busiest times of the year for me! Ah, well...

Monday, September 13, 2010

More Partial Pictures

Maidenhair fern, which I could have spent hours drawing, but even getting this far I felt like I was doing the same thing over and over. It was neat, though, because it was wort of backlit by a setting sun so all the shadows were somewhat reversed of what they would normally be.
We have TONS of gentian this year, which is excellent, it's so pretty. Rather a scribble picture, not my normal style, but I kind of like how it came out.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sunflower, Unfinished

For the past few days, I have had these gorgeous, green-and-yellow centered sunflowers on my desk at work. They were brought for me by a co-worker who grew them for our wedding, as several friends did... but they chose to bloom quite a bit late. So I got some now. And they are so lovely, I just wanted to draw one. But I didn't have a lot of time, so... but I actually kind of like the picture this way.

Once again caught camera-less, today I saw 7 monarchs all together in one bunch of false sunflowers. Quite striking and lovely. A migration? And speaking of monarchs, the fat caterpillar from the last post? Is gone, and I can't find a chrysalis to save my life. I really, really want to. But it's not to be...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Things that Make a Blah Day Better

Some days, I am the person that sees things. Other days, I feel as though I miss what'sright in front of my face. Today, it took kindergarteners to point out the special discoveries...
This saddlebags dragonfly just emerged, is still resting on his nymphal exoskeleton. There were three within a 2 foot radius, and who knows how many more around the pond... one got blown by today's extreme winds into the water, but I rescued it and I think it was OK.
This was the second, and larger, of two monarch caterpillars they found munching on milkweed. It was dripping with dew...