Friday, May 31, 2013

In the Summer It's All Good

Sitting amidst  a daisy's pollen, this insect looks suspiciously like a bee, however, it also appears to have only two wings which would make it a fly. Bees sport four wings.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Life's Summer Mood

In summer, when the days were long,
We walk’d, two friends, in field and wood;
Our heart was light, our step was strong,
And life lay round us, fair as good,
In summer, when the days were long.

We stray’d from morn till evening came,
We gather’d flowers, and wove us crowns;
We walk’d mid poppies red as flame,
Or sat upon the yellow downs,
And always wish’d our life the same.

In summer, when the days were long,
We leap’d the hedgerow, cross’d the brook;
And still her voice flow’d forth in song,
Or else she read some graceful book,
In summer, when the days were long.

And then we sat beneath the trees,
With shadows lessening in the noon;
And in the sunlight and the breeze
We revell’d, many a glorious June,
While larks were singing o’er the leas.

In summer, when the days were long,
We pluck’d wild strawberries, ripe and red,
Or feasted, with no grace but song,
On golden nectar, snow-white bread,
In summer, when the days were long.

We lov’d, and yet we knew it not,
For loving seem’d like breathing then;
We found a heaven in every spot;
Saw angels, too, in all good men,
And dream’d of gods in grove and grot.

In summer, when the days are long,
Alone I wander, muse alone;
I see her not, but that old song
Under the fragrant wind is blown,
In summer, when the days are long.

Alone I wander in the wood,
But one fair spirit hears my sighs;
And half I see the crimson hood,
The radiant hair, the calm glad eyes,
That charm’d me in life’s summer mood. 

In summer, when the days are long,
I love her as I lov’d of old;
My heart is light, my step is strong,
For love brings back those hours of gold,
In summer, when the days are long.

Summer Days by Wathen Marks Wilks Call 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Torn and Tattered

This butterfly was having difficulty flying and, on further inspection, its wings were quite damaged.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


In spite of the recent tree chopping to save the bog at the Indiana Dunes the tiny frogs are doing well and taking over the puddles in holes left behind by the heavy machinery.

Here are a few of hundreds of tadpoles that are easy to miss unless you know beforehand that they are there. No bigger than a hulled sunflower seed, these tadpoles are in a race with time. Will the puddle dry up before they mature? Or will the recent rains save them? Only time will tell.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Dared to Be Different

 Nearly all of these wildflowers are a plain violet. But once in a great while there appears suddenly one that is stripped. Whether through some genetic anomaly or, more likely, a stressor the variety is quite beautiful.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


It was a windy day and the Wild Columbine was difficult to capture close up as they swung their heads widely in the wind. But in this quiet place between two dunes this specimen was nodding off in the sun silently showing off it's festive hat shaped bloom.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Lazily She Lingered Cradling a Dream"

In the sleepy forest where the bluebells
Smouldered dimly through the night,
Dermuid saw the leaves like glad green waters
At daybreak flowing into light,
And exultant from his love upspringing
Strode with the sun upon the height.

Glittering on the hilltops
He saw the sunlit rain
Drift as around the spindle
A silver-threaded skein,
And the brown mist whitely breaking
Where arrowy torrents reached the plain.

A maddened moon
Leapt in his heart and whirled the crimson tide
Of his blood until it sang aloud of battle
Where the querns of dark death grind,
Till it sang and scorned in pride
Love—the froth-pale blossom of the boglands
That flutters on the waves of the wandering wind.

Flower-quiet in the rush-strewn sheiling
At the dawntime Grainne lay,
While beneath the birch-topped roof the sunlight
Groped upon its way
And stooped above her sleeping white body
With a wasp-yellow ray.

The hot breath of the day awoke her,
And wearied of its heat
She wandered out by the noisy elms
On the cool mossy peat,
Where the shadowed leaves like pecking linnets
Nodded around her feet.

She leaned and saw in the pale-grey waters,
By twisted hazel boughs,
Her lips like heavy drooping poppies
In a rich redness drowse,
Then swallow—lightly touched the ripples
Until her wet lips were
Burning as ripened rowan berries
Through the white winter air.

Lazily she lingered
Gazing so,
As the slender osiers
Where the waters flow,
As green twings of sally
Swaying to and fro.

Sleepy moths fluttered
In her dark eyes,
And her lips grew quieter
Than lullabies.
Swaying with the reedgrass
Over the stream
Lazily she lingered
Cradling a dream.

The Awakening of Dermuid by  Austin Clarke

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lupine and Butterflies

One of my favorite times at the Indiana Dunes is right now---the sand dunes are covered with wildflowers. And when the Lupines bloom the woods glow with the lilac colored flowers. I love the whirling green leaves of this plant that is the host plant of the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly.

The Karner Blue, a rather picky sort, relies on several continuous Lupine tracks for its existence that occurs basically around the Great Lakes Area.

Even without considering the endangered butterfly, though, the Lupine bloom is a silent firework display of beauty and color that happens every year and is happening in the Dunes woods right now. Take a minute to admire a closeup of the beauty:


Monday, May 20, 2013

Fast Snake

This snake was fast and not a bit intent on hiding. It raced around a 10 foot square of ground like it had lost something and was frantically looking for it. Perhaps I had disturbed a meal. I think it's an Eastern Rat Snake, which would make it hungry for some small mammal or perhaps a bird.

It was not in the least bit scared of me and would race towards me and then back off. They're not to be feared, although at over 5 feet long, I kept my distance.    

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Blooms and Blue

Nothing beats a bunch of spring blossoms against a brilliant blue spring sky, don't you think?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013


A trillium with 4, not 3, petals; it also sports extra stamens, making it quite the mutant. It is equally as beautiful though.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In a Mushroom Gown

Its friendship and its carelessness
Did lead me many a mile,
Through goat’s-rue, with its dim caress,
And pink and pearl-white smile;
Through crowfoot, with its golden lure,
And promise of far things,
And sorrel with its glance demure
And wide-eyed wonderings.

It led me with its innocence,
As childhood leads the wise,
With elbows here of tattered fence,
And blue of wildflower eyes;
With whispers low of leafy speech,
And brook-sweet utterance;
With bird-like words of oak and beech,
And whisperings clear as Pan’s.

It led me with its childlike charm,
As candor leads desire,
Now with a clasp of blossomy arm,
A butterfly kiss of fire;
Now with a toss of tousled gold,
A barefoot sound of green,
A breath of musk, of mossy mold,
With vague allurements keen.

It led me with remembered things
Into an old-time vale,
Peopled with faëry glimmerings,
And flower-like fancies pale;
Where fungous forms stood, gold and gray,
Each in its mushroom gown,
And, roofed with red, glimpsed far away,
A little toadstool town.

It led me with an idle ease,
A vagabond look and air,
A sense of ragged arms and knees
In weeds grown everywhere;
It led me, as a gypsy leads,
To dingles no one knows,
With beauty burred with thorny seeds,
And tangled wild with rose.

It led me as simplicity
Leads age and its demands,
With bee-beat of its ecstasy,
And berry-stained touch of hands;
With round revealments, puff-ball white,
Through rents of weedy brown,
And petaled movements of delight
In roseleaf limb and gown.

It led me on and on and on,
Beyond the Far Away,
Into a world long dead and gone,
The world of Yesterday:
A faëry world of memory,
Old with its hills and streams,
Wherein the child I used to be
Still wanders with his dreams

The Path to the Woods by Madison Cawein.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Just in Time---May Apples

This morning the first of the May Apples blossoms opened underneath their umbrella shaped leaves. Unlike last year's batch, that were very early, this year's blossoms arrived right on time.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Why Did the Fish Cross the Road?

Recent flooding has changed the landscape in many ways. Here a group of carp are crossing to an area that was previously home to only frogs and aquatic insects.

The fish, however, will be quite sorry that they crossed the road when the water dries up this summer.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Inner Beauty

Variegated Trillium are beauties from up above, but at ground level they have a mysterious inner beauty that is easily missed by the casual hiker.

Friday, May 10, 2013


I walked down alone Sunday after church
To the place where John has been cutting trees
To see for myself about the birch
He said I could have to bush my peas.

The sun in the new-cut narrow gap
Was hot enough for the first of May,
And stifling hot with the odor of sap
From stumps still bleeding their life away.

The frogs that were peeping a thousand shrill
Wherever the ground was low and wet,
The minute they heard my step went still
To watch me and see what I came to get.

Birch boughs enough piled everywhere!—
All fresh and sound from the recent axe.
Time someone came with cart and pair
And got them off the wild flower’s backs.

They might be good for garden things
To curl a little finger round,
The same as you seize cat’s-cradle strings,
And lift themselves up off the ground.

Small good to anything growing wild,
They were crooking many a trillium
That had budded before the boughs were piled
And since it was coming up had to come.

Robert Frost--- Pea Brush 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reflection of Spring

The wildflowers are covering Potato Creek State Park this year. White Trilliums, Blue Sweet Williams, Pink Spring Beauty's---all making the spring show of the year; a most gorgeous spring. Here the old pump house is reflected in its pond that is loved by spring peepers and turtles, as well as people admiring the beauty of spring.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Green Overnight

Spring green---overnight the leaves appear simultaneously. This spring morning the forest is full of green for winter starved eyes.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Parade of Jacks in the Forest

Jack in the Pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum) are popping all over through the forest floor. Apparently, even though they are poisonous enough to kill, people have survived to tell the tale that they are as hot as hell. Apparently Jack preaches hell and damnation from his pulpit in the park!

According to Wiki, Native Americans used this species to poison enemies. They also figured out how to safely eat the roots and used the plant for various medicinal purposes.

Jack in the Pulpits take 3 years to mature to the flowering stage.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Marsh Water

A jar of marsh water yielded hundreds of these larvae recently. Having previously been the proud Mama of a damselfly that I raised from a nymph I thought that these were damsel larvae too.

Until I took a better look at the picture this morning and decided that these were a different insect altogether. What clued me in were those gills on the abdomen segments---I don't believe that damsels have them but mayflies do and it's about the right time for a mayfly hatch.

And this explains why there were so many of these critters climbing around the marsh---it's going to be a huge hatch this year; better than any I've seen.


Friday, May 3, 2013

From the Tears of April Rains

When April rains make flowers bloom
And Johnny-jump-ups come to light,
And clouds of color and perfume
Float from the orchards pink and white,
I see my shamrock in the rain,
An emerald spray with raindrops set,
Like jewels on Spring’s coronet,
So fair, and yet it breathes of pain.

The shamrock on an older shore
Sprang from a rich and sacred soil
Where saint and hero lived of yore,
And where their sons in sorrow toil;
And here, transplanted, it to me
Seems weeping for the soil it left:
The diamonds that all others see
Are tears drawn from its heart bereft.

When April rain makes flowers grow,
And sparkles on their tiny buds
That in June nights will over-blow
And fill the world with scented floods,
The lonely shamrock in our land—
So fine among the clover leaves—
For the old springtimes often grieves,—
I feel its tears upon my hand.

The Shamrock by  Maurice Francis Egan

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hanging On

Here are two dragonflies intent on creating more dragonflies. He has her by the head and will not let go until she lays his eggs into the water. They will fly around connected like this for hours.

Their offspring will live in the water as nymphs until they grow wings and emerge to fly like their parents, unless, of course, they're eaten by a frog or fish.