Monday, August 30, 2010

Coyote Crossing

While lighting the charcoal grill last night, I noticed an unexpected visitor.
He heard me rattling around on the porch and headed down the drive.

Then he cut across the pasture to the cover of the woods.
It was 90 degrees and he was panting in the heat.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Circle of Life

These hot dry days of late summer signal the end of the growing season and Mother Nature prepares for the future.  She is producing seeds and fruits for next years glory.
Ironweed seedheads

White Oak acorns

Honey Locust seedpods

Also known as the Indiana Banana

Orange red berries of the Jack in the Pulpit



 Redbud seedpods

Dogwood berries

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Slithery Snakes & Skins

Snakes are a part of life on the ranch.
This lumpy fellow crossed our path as we headed out to trim trails.

And they're not just on the ground either.  

Rat snakes are good climbers.
This tiny garter snake was in the berry patch. 
He's not much bigger than the dandelion leaves he's hiding in.

And, they like to swim too.

This snakeskin found in the barn is 53" long.

Raccoon Plague

I've been seeing dead raccoons quite often this summer.
They show no signs of trauma and are deep in the woods away from traffic.

I believe they are infected with distemper.
Distemper runs in cycles of about 5 - 7 years but usually enough raccoons survive to repopulate an area.

This guy was out waddling through the woods in broad daylight.
Hope he escapes the disease.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The Ohio buckeye is one of the first trees in our woods to leaf out.

The buds quickly open into compound leaves.
Flowers are clustered on the ends of the branches in Spring.

The fruit is a spiny pod enclosing the dark brown buckeye that appears in late summer.

Buckeyes, when first shelled have a silicone slick feel to them.
They are like nature's worry stone,
but don't eat them, they are poisonous.

The buckeye is also one of the first to drop its leaves.
Fall isn't far behind.


 The whitetails are finally bringing their babies out of the woods.

Shrouded in the early morning mist, the doe leads her fawn to the woods.

I think this is probably a doe and her older daughter, each with a fawn.

 Mother & daughter will stay together in a family herd, if there's no competition for food.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Memories of Yellowstone

Yellowstone is such a wondrous place.
There are surprises around every corner.
The steamy air enveloping Black Sand Geyser Basin in the cool of early morning.

Blue Star Spring.
Every feature is unique and different.

Even the little things are interesting, like these volcanic rocks on the shore of Lewis Lake.

The wildlife is plentiful and up close.

Wildflowers were adding color to hillsides and gullies.

Learning about geology is actually fun.
Screaming face in Mound Terrace.

Its a place everyone should see in their lifetime.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ross Creek Cedar Grove

Leaving Glacier, we headed across Montana to Ross Creek Cedar Grove.
There is a .9 mile nature trail through the grove.

The grove is home to majestic giant Western Red Cedar trees more than 8 feet in diameter.

The trees tower 175 feet into the sky.
And are more than 400 years old.

Going To The Sun Road

Leaving Many Glacier Hotel, we drove the Going to the Sun Road across Glacier Ntl' Park.
One of the first scenic points was Goose Island on St. Mary Lake.

Jackson Glacier is only one of 24 glaciers still in the park, down from 150 glaciers.

Logan Pass is on the continental divide.

Unfortunately,  construction was underway on the most scenic part of the road near Logan Pass.
It was difficult to get photos but I snapped this of the road near the pass.

The road has two tunnels.

McDonald Creek runs beside the road on the west side of the park.

Critters spotted in Glacier National Park

Glacier has Columbian Ground Squirrels, which are larger than Uinta squirrels and have a reddish nose.

 Osprey roosting outside the St. Mary Visitor Center.

Red Squirrel seen on our hike.
Ptarmigan seen on our hike.  
These birds stay here all year and turn snow white in winter.

Mule Deer seen at Logan Pass
Mountain Goats, the symbol of Glacier National Park.
Grizzly bear seen from our hotel.  
Yes, he was far away and we liked it like that!