Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tippi Raccoon

I enjoyed the day at Tippecanoe State Park.

This little one was foraging in the picnic area. He tried to ignore me snapping pictures but then he decided I was hanging around too long and took off up a tree.

Sorry I disturbed your picnic little one.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blooming out

Some plants get more interesting as time goes on.     

After the flowers are spent the tangled locks of this plant are quite beautiful.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fields of Gold

If you are allergic to Goldenrod, I feel for you this year.

The autumn fields have rarely looked more gold.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Star Mushrooms

Mushrooms are the flowers of fall. These mushrooms with the stars in the center I discovered on my walk this morning; real beauties.

The forest floor is beginning to shut down for the year in a reverse process of spring. Things are dieing off and disappearing and soon all will be at rest.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sneezeweed -- God Bless you!

Doesn't it feel good to sneeze?

This beauty gets its name from its previous use as snuff.

A person who felt the need to clean out the sinuses would take a snort of the dried leaves of this plant and would sneeze.  

This is a member of the aster family. This specimen was found in a swampy area at Coffee Creek and is currently in bloom.   

Friday, September 24, 2010


The Gentian is often mentioned in poetry. Here is a poem by Emily Dickinson for the first days of fall:

THE GENTIAN weaves her fringes,
The maple’s loom is red.
My departing blossoms

A brief, but patient illness,
An hour to prepare;
And one, below this morning,
Is where the angles are.
It was a short procession,—
The bobolink was there,

An aged bee addressed us,
And then we knelt in prayer.
We trust that she was willing,—
We ask that we may be.

Summer, sister, seraph,
Let us go with thee!

In the name of the bee

And of the butterfly And of the breeze, amen!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Flowers into Autumn

The flowers are still going strong at Coffee Creek; all golden. Butterflies and birds are celebrating the arrival of autumn this week. We better get out and enjoy it while it lasts.   

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This sweet little fawn was munching some plants on the path we were hiking yesterday morning.

The tiny deer didn't know what to make of us, as we stood, very still, watching him eat. Even my dog, Daisy, was cooperating with the photo shoot for a change. Daisy sat silently admiring the deer.

The fawn's mother was just around a bend in the path; out of our sight. I wonder if she knew that her baby didn't quite enjoy his breakfast.   

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A First Taste of Indiana Bananas

No, an Indiana Banana is not some new brand of politician; I'm talking about the fruit of the Pawpaw tree.

This spring I posted some pictures of this tree's beautiful early spring flowers. The culmination of those beautiful flowers are hanging off the trees at Coffee Creek today.

The leaves of the tree are large and truly resemble banana leaves. I managed to find a tiny ripe fruit that had fallen to the ground and broke it open for my first Pawpaw taste.

The verdict on Pawpaw taste; it is delicious. It does resemble a banana in texture, and the taste is something like a banana with a twist of lime.

 I vote for more of these lovely and delicious native trees that produce fruit without pesticides or special fertilizers.        

Monday, September 20, 2010

Photographing a Monday Morning Deer

Deer are really quite blind.

When you are walking through the woods and see a deer,  stop in your tracks. A deer will usually continue looking for a few minutes and then go back to whatever it was doing when you first walked up.

This can allow you to get some good photographs if you are quiet and patient.  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Tribute to Asters

Asters make up one of the largest plant families in the world.

There are many varieties including sunflowers, zinnias, goldenrods, coreopsis, daisies, dandelions, and safflower for your favorite oil.

Together the asters support a variety of birds, butterflies and wildlife including humans.

Some asters will be in bloom from now through the first hard frost. Then they will provide the seed for the winter for many birds and wild things. And not only that they're quite beautiful.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cucumber Beetle

It's not easy being a beetle.

You are blamed for spreading wilt and virus' to plants. Your larvae get blamed for being corn root worms. You suck the juicy squash, cucumber, and many ornamental plants; just trying to survive and make a living.

This cucumber beetle can do a lot of damage to crops and gardens. He sure is a beauty though.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Nature came to me yesterday evening. Three hummingbirds joined me in the garden. Life is good for the hummingbirds here. They have a variety of flowers to buzz. And I make them nectar whenever they ask.

I think this little guy must be a baby. He was not as afraid of me as the other two were and the other two were a bit protective of him.

Sadly, they will be leaving us soon.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Coffee Creek September Morning

Nothing but blue skies and fields of gold this morning at coffee creek. Goldenrod and sunflowers light up the fields in the last blaze of the season before all will turn to brown.

It was a beautiful morning for a walk; a little chilly with migrating birds stopping in for a tweet and a seed breakfast before moving south.      

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just a couple of turkeys....

In case there are people who don't believe that there are wild turkeys in Indiana; here's a couple of turkeys making a quick get away at LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area.

The birds blend in with the soil color; making them difficult to spot. LaSalle makes a fine habitat for the turkeys. As a result, turkeys can often be seen running through the fields.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thousands of Rainbow Making Prisms

Thousands of tiny rainbows were glowing at Coffee Creek the other morning.

A cool night and a warmer morning painted tiny dew drop rainbows on all the leaves and flowers in the park; making a magical morning.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I have never seen this plant outside of the Indiana Dunes, although it does grow elsewhere and it is said to be invasive. 

The groundnut is a very beautiful and distinctive member of the pea family. It grows tubers that are good to eat and somewhat like peanuts. 

It has been blooming at the Dunes since early August.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Butterfly and the bee

Things are busy out in the fields and woods. Summer is running out of time. Butterflies have to fill up and leave. Bees have to fill their winter nests.

Sometimes you just have to share a flower like this Monarch and bee did the other day. The bee ended up chasing the butterfly away. The butterfly was clearly annoyed and disgruntled.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

White Snake Root--It could kill a cow!

Hard to believe but the White Snake Root plant could kill a cow that munches on it. And before the cow even appears ill a human or animal who drinks the milk from that cow would become ill.

This beautiful 3-4 foot tall plant has been blooming since July at Coffee Creek. Usually it is covered with butterflies and bees.

A lot of butterflies use the plant as a larva host, so it's nice to have around inspite of being poisonous.

The name comes from early settlers and Native Americans using the root as a snake bite remedy. This is not recommended today due to the poisonous nature of the plant. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Biting Sand

There were only a few people hiking through the Indiana Dunes to Lake Michigan the other day. The day was cool and very windy.

I didn't realize how windy it was until I reached the lake shore. Along the shore the wind was blowing up the sand and with every step every inch of exposed skin was sand blasted.

It is hard to believe something as tiny as a grain of sand can inflict so much pain.

The view was beautiful although I didn't stick around long to enjoy it. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Great Lobelia

Beautiful, purplish blue Great Lobelia has been blooming since late July and is still going strong. It grows in partial shade at Coffee Creek, Indiana Dunes, and other places in Northwest Indiana.  

Great Lobelia is said to be the blue version of Cardinal flower. Wouldn't a garden full of the blue and the red together be beautiful?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Acorns--It's a Good Year.

Acorn production can cause crashes in animal populations that depend on acorns for food. There's good news for those little creatures that depend on acorns; 2010 is a banner year.

Acorns are cyclic; some years are a feast; some are famine, making it rough on the little creatures that depend on them.   

A flour made of acorns was once eaten by Native Americans after the tannin was leached out. Native Americans understood the acorn cycles and would plan for famine years.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hungry Caterpillars

If you hike outside this weekend be on the lookout for all the hungry caterpillars.

Besides finding monarch caterpillars munching on milkweed plants, you just might find a Buckeye caterpillar munching on just about anything. 

Buckeye caterpillars are all dressed up for an early Halloween in black and orange with a little bit of white thrown in. Buckeyes, both butterflies and larva, seem to be particularly abundant this year, so you are bound to see them when you get out on this gorgeous holiday weekend.  

Friday, September 3, 2010

Woolly Caterpillar Crossing

Woolly Caterpillars like to travel around this time of the year. This one was racing along on the sidewalk just outside Coffee Creek Park the other morning.

I have seen hundreds of these little guys crossing roads and bicycle paths in the autumn. A lot of them get smushed by feet, bicycles, and cars.

They never seem to be happy to stay where they are. They can move very fast, going to their appointed place. Watch out for them, and try not to smush them if you can help it.    

Thursday, September 2, 2010


This morning it's raining. The boiling hot, humid, sun glaring days of August are over. Everything is fresh and glad again.

Overnight the plants, half dead from the heat, have returned to life.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Froggy Fishing Buddy

Have you ever had the feeling like someone was watching you but when you looked around you couldn't find anyone?

The other day while fishing I looked around and found this frog watching me from the shadows. He or she had found a lovely shady spot to view the happenings at the fishing hole.

This may or may not have been the frog parent of the tadpoles that swarmed the edge of the pond. Either way he made a quiet, yet eerie, fishing buddy quietly staring from the shadows.