Moosewood in the Woods, Moose in the Field

  • Post published:06/12/2013
  • Post comments:5 Comments

Yesterday we took a (wet) walk in the woods and saw  this moosewood tree. It is more properly known as a striped maple, and more properly still as Acer pensylvanicum. It is a small understory tree, very tolerant of shade, and has very large leaves. Late in the afternoon, there was a flash of brown passing my window. I ran outside to see what it was. A moose. A young moose, who only stopped briefly to pose and…

Hungry Cowbird and Beauty

  • Post published:06/07/2013
  • Post comments:4 Comments

Yesterday morning I watched what I later confirmed was a cowbird being fed by another  bird. I just happened to look out the front window and there was this little bird (fully fledged) standing still and looking around while another bird, a different type of bird, much the same size was running around picking up insects from the lawn and bringing them over to the cowbird. Through the window I couldn't hear the cowbird squawking, or whining piteously, but I…

Jono Neiger – Mimic Nature in Your Garden

  • Post published:02/02/2013
  • Post comments:8 Comments

  Jono Neiger of the Regenerative Design Group which has its office in Greenfield, spoke to the Greenfield Garden Club a couple of weeks ago. His inspiring talk explained how gardeners could mimic nature, and require less work and inputs to create a garden that would give us what we desire out of our garden and what wildlife and pollinators require. He gave some very specific advice beginning with the suggestion that vegetable gardens, and gardens that need…

Compost: Feeds the Soil and the Oppossum

  • Post published:01/22/2013
  • Post comments:3 Comments

This opossum has been a regular evening visit to our  compost pile. I don't think it is heating up at this time of the year but at least s/he is loading up on nutrituous peels. ADDENDUM - I had forgotten that oppossums are Marsupials - just like kangaroos. Only smaller, of course. Lots of fascinating information about oppossums here from the National Oppossum Society.

Cynthia Boettner and the Silvio O. Conte Fish and Wildlife Refuge

  • Post published:11/17/2012
  • Post comments:0 Comments

    The first thing Cynthia Boettner had to explain to me about the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge is that the Refuge consists of  the 7.2 million acres of the Connecticut River Watershed that runs from the far reaches of New Hampshire, through Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut before it exits in Long Island Sound. That is an enormous charge and responsibility. As Boettner explained how she works to monitor, control and eradicate invasive plant…

Beavers are at work – on Wordless Wednesday

  • Post published:11/14/2012
  • Post comments:6 Comments

Beavers have been working this area out on Rte 8A and now the water has risen nearly to the road. The pond has become quite large and there is more. It's hard to see the steps of the dam below the beaver pond but the water is rushing here. And here is evidence that work continues. For more (almost) Wordlessness this Wednesday click here.  

Priorities and Preparations for Hurricane Sandy

  • Post published:10/29/2012
  • Post comments:3 Comments

While Hurricane Sandy was making its slow and warning filled way to Heath we had to set priorities and make preparations to weather the storm. With so much notice, and stories about a possible Sandy snow  storm (like last year) I realized it was time to plant the garlic. Fortunately I had already prepared the bed so it didn't take much to pull apart my choice garlic bulbs and plant each clove about eight inches apart in four rows. Then…

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar – Provoked

  • Post published:09/20/2012
  • Post comments:5 Comments

I think the black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes) is really pretty and I have never complained that it eats so much of my dill. How unlike the  Giant swallowtail butterfly caterpillar I showed yesterday. However they both have the forked osmeterium that they exhibit when they are provoked and alarmed. It  sends out a bad smell to discourage predators. I got to see what I thought was a forked tongue when I was trying to put my…

Does This Look Like Bird Poop to You?

  • Post published:09/19/2012
  • Post comments:4 Comments

  Some creatures will do anything to keep from  getting eaten by a bird! Great camouflage Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes). For more  Wordlessness on Wednesday click here.

Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn Galbraith

  • Post published:09/05/2012
  • Post comments:0 Comments

My friend Kathryn O. Galbraith was recently presented with a Growing Good Kids 2012 award from the American Horticultural Society for Excellence in Children's Literature. This book, beautifully illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin depicts the myriad of ways that we all, people, birds, and animals as well as the wind and the rain plant the beautiful and fruitful gardens that grow along the roadsides, riversides and meadows. I wrote about Kathryn and her book when it first came…