Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bain of Missouri

Remember the famous stories about briar rabbit? Here is the infamous briar...look at those thorns. This vine would never have to worry about anything feeding on it and consuming it for food, who could munch through those thorns? I made the mistake of grabbing this by accident one day while weeding a section of my garden that this was growing in. Talk about hurt. I am still trying to figure out how it even got into my gardens. It is near to impossible to get rid of, I dig it up and it comes right back. Now I have it in two more places in other flower beds. GRRR!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Beautiful Missouri blooming flower, the Spiderwort is a favorite among many. Very hardy in perennial flower gardens. Grow Native whenever possible. I have these planted in many of my flower beds and I love the contrast they provide against other foliage and flowers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fungus Among Us

Mystery fungus, this appears to be an Ink Cap Mushroom of some kind, but I have never seen one before with this goopy yellow stuff clinging to it. These were growing at the base of an old Maple tree that had been cut down several years ago. Hidden in the shade behind some plants, I noticed a bright yellow object. Closer inspection showed it was a mushroom with yellow stems, but no ordinary yellow stems, they were sticky, almost like they had been painted by a very messy painter. Does anyone have any idea what this is, to me this was an unusual phenomena.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dinner anyone?

Last summer I heard a commotion in my garden, upon further investigation I found this poor old toad being eaten alive by this big mean bully! Okay, maybe not mean or a bully, but it sure takes you by surprise to see nature in action when it involves animals being eaten alive. Does this toad look majorly mad, or is it my imagination? After a few struggles the toad was able to get away and the big mean bully had to skip dinner that night. The toad high-tailed it to the shrubbery and hid, no doubt licking his wounds and trying to figure out what the heck just happened.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Baby Opossum

It seems people have a natural aversion to opossums, it has always been beyond my comprehension to understand why. Many will say they look like overgrown rats....does this sweet face look like a rat? I say possums are awesome! They are Missouri's only marsupial (they carry their babies in a pouch) When those babies are born they are the size of a raisin and must find their own way to the pouch where they will attach themselves to a nipple and remain there until they are about 2 or 3 months old, then they will start to venture out of the pouch and ride on mommy's back for outings into the world. They are also the only animal in Missouri with a thumb, this allows them to grip as they climbs trees, not to mention it comes in handy when grabbing things. Just try to grab something without your thumb (not as easy as it sounds right?) They have never been found to carry rabies, as some other mammals can. Opossums also perform a very good service for us by cleaning up roadkill and other dead or decaying animal matter. They are not very aggressive and will usually avoid human contact (if you leave kitty food out expect a nighttime visit) When truly frightened they will faint, often times this is what people refer to as "playing dead" actually they are just so scared they faint from fright. If you get the chance, the next time you see a possum out for his nighttime walk, instead of shooing him away (or worse); instead watch him, maybe you too will begin to like this unique animal in Missouri.

Harris Sparrow

What a lovely little bird, when most of us think of sparrows we think of the not so lovely or welcome "house sparrow" The one who is responsible for raiding nesting boxes and taking away shelters from our native birds, and the ones who swoop down to relieve themselves of their dinner on top our clean cars. Let me assure this wonderful little Sparrow would never degrade himself in such a manner. He is a gentlemen among paupers. Even his feathers give him a noble appearance, much like the lord of the manner. He appears in Northwest Missouri for a short period of time through the winter months, then he heads back north to his breeding grounds in Canada. He towers over most sparrows, at 7 inches in length. This picture was taken in November in a fence row on the backside of our property. They tend to be very secretive, sometimes spotted at feeders, usually walking on the ground gleaning whatever seeds they can find. Watch for this wonderful little sparrow, and see if you too aren't impressed.

Robin...Harbinger of Spring?

Most of us grew up hearing from our parents or our grandparents something similar to "The Robins have arrived it must be spring" Many of us still believe that, and will defend our right to believe it to the death or at least to the very extent of arguing about it. I will set the record, it does not mean that spring has arrived with the first spotting of the robin. In fact those robins have been around all winter...well, maybe not those exact same robins, but certainly robins. In all probability the robins we had around all spring and summer did migrate a little further south, but then the ones who reside up north came south to our area, so in effect we have robins year around. For most of us seeing these lovely singers, brightens our spirit and represents the ending of a long cold winter. Even though I know they are here year round, I will stick to my right to believe that spring is right around the corner.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Baby Robin

This young fledgling left the nest and stayed near our chicken coop for several days, the parents came frequently and fed him (or her) and made sure he was safe. Often he would hide under some overgrown flowers nearby and come out when he heard his parents.

Northern Cardinal (male)

This gorgeous "red bird" sang from high in the tree tops for what seemed like forever before finally venturing down low enough to allow for a picture. He seemed curious by my presence, and sat very patiently while I snapped his photo. Does he not look endearing in this picture. I noticed 2 other male cardinals in the same area as this one, no females were seen.