Wednesday, December 31, 2008

FL Pics: Juniper Springs Run

We took an early-morning paddle down the river that flows from Juniper Spring. It was a cold night, and the water is always 72 degrees, so there was magical steam over the crystal-clear water for much of our trip.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

FL Pics: Way Down Upon the Suwanee River

It's only about an hour from Gainesville, but we had never gone to the Suwannee River. Very different from most of the other rivers in the area -- for most of the stretch we paddled, at least, there are limestone cliffs that have been eroded into swiss-cheesy formations.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

FL Pics: Gators & Cranes at Payne's Prairie

Three years ago Payne's Prairie had so much water in it we went kayaking. This year it was back as I remembered... more sandhill cranes than I ever remember seeing.

On our walk out to the observation platform a ranger told us to look for the mama alligator and all her babies. We saw the mama...

...but totally missed the babies until we were walking back. (They're actually in the background of the picture above.) I count at least a baker's dozen in there.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Our Newest Pet

A green frog, now residing in the pond.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall at Meadows

We rented Meadows Cabin for the long weekend with Patrick, Shannon, Riana, Cara, Miro, and Dominic. Festivities included a visit to the Graves Mountain Apple Festival, eating apples and wild grapes from the yard of the cabin, hiking down to the Rose River, games, and lots of songs around the campfire. Also some potty training issues and a fork in Shannon's eye -- par for the course, perhaps, with two toddlers along.

Down the road from Meadows there is an abandoned apple orchard with a great view -- and some asters that were attracting Buckeye butterflies.

A selection of the wild foods eaten over the weekend -- sassafras, ground nut, spicebush berries, and aborted entolomas:

And wild grapes!

Dominic slept so hard on the way down to the Rose River that he didn't even wake up when his dad took off the backpack and took a swim.

Oh, and did I mention the leaves were changing? What a weekend!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

In the Yard Lately

spicebush swallowtail caterpillars on our spicebush

passionflower/maypop/Passiflora incarnata

a migrating warbler by our pond - common yellowthroat, we think

monarch on new england asters

white wood aster & winterberry

Monday, September 29, 2008


Had a short visit to David on my way home from Albuquerque. We just had time to hike up to this lovely view before it started thundering, which sent us down the mountain much faster than we came up!

On the way home we got stuck in traffic, but there were mountains and then a double rainbow over the highway. Nicest traffic jam I've ever been in.

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Mexico

After finishing up with business in Albuquerque Elizabeth headed into the wilds of New Mexico -- definitely big sky country.

A majority of the architecture is adobe, including lots of little churches.

The rabbitbrush was blooming profusely.

Stopped in Chimayo, where there is a Catholic church where the soil is supposed to have healing properties. There were many altars decorated in full Latin American style.

(And, not pictured, there were many signs along the roads saying "Obamanos!")

The next morning, climbed up to the hill by my hotel for a beautiful sunrise.

Sightseeing around Santa Fe included this adobe hotel said to look a lot like Taos Pueblo.

And then, on the way back to the airport in Albuquerque, stopped at Tent Rocks, where you can hike through a slot canyon and amongst funky rock formations.

And on to Denver...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Raising Monarchs

We've got over a dozen monarch larvae and pupae in our kitchen right now, eating lots of milkweed. It is especially heartening to raise so many this year, because we've seen so few butterflies this summer -- it seems they can use all the protection from predators that they can get.

This generation should all be heading to Mexico when they emerge as butterflies. We tagged our first butterfly the other day using tags from Monarch Watch. They pay folks in Mexico for every tagged butterfly they find. So we'll be checking this winter to see if any of our babies made it!

UPDATE: As of 9/20, we've successfully hatched, tagged, and released 17 butterflies!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jug Bay

Elizabeth took 24 hours off from non-stop proposal writing to spend a Tuesday night at Jug Bay, one of our favorite places to go canoeing. The butterflies weren't out in profusion like they have been in previous years (it seems like a bad year for butterflies in general). But we saw lots of other critters, especially birds.

the dock leading to our campsite

osprey and blue heron

Least Bittern

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Dolly Sods for the Other 4 Senses

We've got lots of pictures of previous trips to Dolly Sods (here and here, for example) so it wasn't too much of a disaster that our camera was being fixed when we went on our annual pilgrimage. But it made me think about all the other senses that never get reported on when we're just posting pictures:

  • The sound of wood thrushes calling to each other every time you walk through a forested grove amid the bogs;
  • The smell of the pine and spruce in those groves;
  • All-you-can-eat blueberries and serviceberries everywhere you turn;
  • The feeling of taking off your pack at the end of a hike, and soaking your feet in a cold stream.
Beyond the visual beauty, these are the reasons we keep going back. Especially the berries. We hit peak season just right this year.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What's Blooming in the Yard

It's really starting to look like summer!

pickerel weed in the pond

Canada lily and bee balm

oxeye, threadleaf coreopsis, and butterfly (milk)weed