Friday, December 31, 2004

North Florida

We spent a week around Christmas in Gainesville, where Elizabeth grew up. It was great to see family and to get back to some of our favorite outdoor spots. Forget about palm trees and beaches -- this part of Florida is all about beautiful spring-fed rivers and majestic live oaks draped with spanish moss.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

We spent an afternoon on the Ichetucknee River, a beautiful, crystal-clear spring-fed river not too far from Gainesville. We tried to take our time and stop to watch the birds and turtles. Here's a little blue heron we watched for a long time as he walked around on the floating vegetation, snatching bugs periodically. The longer we sat still, the closer he came to us -- until Mom came back up river to make sure we hadn't fallen in. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Sunset at Cedar Key Posted by Hello

a typical cypress swamp Posted by Hello

This is Manatee Spring -- like a lot of rivers in North Florida, because it's spring-fed, the water is a constant 72 degrees year-round, which attracts manatees in the winter. We didn't see any manatees, but there were a few people swimming.Posted by Hello

Monday, December 27, 2004

We went out to Paynes Prairie to check out the effects of the flooding from this year's hurricanes, and hoping to see some alligators since it was a warm day. Instead, the highlight was spotting two great horned owls in the live oaks on the edge of the prairie (with the help of an expert birder). First they were calling to each other, then the male flew over and mated with the female. We stayed and watched them preening for a long time. Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 23, 2004

We went to a new butterfly rainforest exhibit in Gainesville where a blue morpho landed in Matt's ear! It was a treat to see these bright blue beauties again after visiting a farm where they're raised in Belize. Posted by Hello

A blue morpho in a bromeliad. The underside of their wings doesn't give any hint of the irridescent blue hidden on the other side. Posted by Hello

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Dawson's Cabin

This rainy weekend we stayed in southern Pennsylvania at cozy Dawson's Cabin, with our friends Mark, Elaine, and Clark. Posted by Hello

There's lots of witch hazel in bloom. Posted by Hello

Mark and Elaine's greyhound, Aster, really enjoyed the clearing by the cabin. Posted by Hello

The wood stove kept us toasty warm, but so did chopping the wood. Posted by Hello

On the way home we stopped briefly at Sideling Hill. It was refreshing to see their timeline for the creation of these cool rock layers after reading this week that a) the Grand Canyon visitors center is now selling a book claiming the canyon was made during Noah's flood, and b) 40% of people in the US don't believe in evolution. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

November 3

We couldn't stand to watch the news anymore, so we went to the woods. On the way home Tom Daschle was on the radio giving his concession speech. Heartbreaking.

puffballs releasing their spores Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Jug Bay

Took a walk at Jug Bay today, one of our favorite spots because there are always lots of critters and mushrooms to look at. Posted by Hello

Along the boardwalk on the edge of the marsh we saw five different snakes jump out of the trees and slither away when we walked by. Posted by Hello

We spent quite a while watching this turtle -- imagine our surprise when it started devouring a mushroom! Posted by Hello

Drag Race

Last night was the annual high heel race in front of our building on 17th Street -- these were some of this year's contestants. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Woke up to a beautiful sunrise today. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Bird Knob

Sunday night we camped by a little pond on Massanutten Mountain. A highlight was seeing a little black bear cub in the clearing below Bird Knob -- it scampered away when it saw us. The low was the low -- it got cold! There was frost just above where we were camping.

A view of the lake from our campsite.

We nibbled on lots of wild grapes. Posted by Hello

E on a hovering rock at the overlook Posted by Hello

Pale corydalis near the top of Bird Knob Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 07, 2004


A few weeks ago we brought home three black swallowtail caterpillars from our garden. We've been watching them transform ever since, and today one hatched from its chrysalis. It has been a real gift to be able to watch this process up close.

September 17. We went to check on our carrots in the garden and found them infested with caterpillars. They change markings as they grow -- see how the biggest one has different stripes? Posted by Hello

September 22. What a difference a few days (and a lot of parsley) makes! Posted by Hello

September 24. When they're eating and growing, caterpillars are perfectly happy to stay in one place as long as you keep bringing them new food. But when it's time to start making a chrysalis, they like to wander. Today one of our caterpillars spent hours crawling around its box. It finally decided the screen on top was where it wanted to hunker down. It spun silk to hold itself in place. Several hours later the caterpillar shed its last skin, leaving this chrysalis.
Posted by Hello

October 5. When we woke up, this butterfly had emerged from its chrysalis. Posted by Hello