July 16 – Waiting for the heat wave

As of this writing we are awaiting a forecast six straight days of 99-degree highs.  But lately we’ve had a few days of relatively cool weather, during which I’ve been able to cut and split some wood.  I’ve been taking photos around the yard when opportunities present themselves, all with the macro lens.

From Summer 2011

I hadn’t seen a Russet-tipped Clubtail in a long time.  This one was in my prairie. 

For my birthday, Savannah and I kayaked the Wyaconda River.  It was hot and buggy, though the scenery was good.  We saw a lot of wildlife.  It started off roughly, as the put-in was blocked by trees that had been downed by the recent wind storm.  We had to bust through some poison ivy to get our kayaks in the water.  I got a tick and several chigger bites from that experience, but the ectoparasites weren’t done with me.  It’s probably been 15 years since I had…

From Summer 2011

…a leech.  It was a very small one.  I used the awesome power of osmosis to kill and remove it.

From Summer 2011

A pinch of salt goes a long way.

From Summer 2011

I saw another clearwinged sphinx moth, this time in the back yard.  This one isn’t as colorful, but I caught it in midflight with its tongue out.

From Summer 2011

This colorful bug nymph was in our garden.  Wish I’d gotten just a bit more depth of field out of this.

July 6, 2011 — Garden Club

Tuesday held a rare occasion when I was able to attend a meeting of the La Grange Garden Club.  We met at Linda’s house and car pooled to Quincy to see “Hosta Heaven.”  This guy is an expert on hostas and has his back yard tastefully landscaped with them.  I learned a lot about hostas, and now have a greater appreciation for them.
Here are some photos of the place:
Slide show:

Direct link:

2011_07_05 Hosta Heaven

Afterwards we went to QU North Campus and I showed my prairie to the other members.  The Monarda was in full bloom.  Some of those images will be in the previous slide show.  We had lunch at Sprouts and went to a member’s home in rural LaGrange.  She had great flowers, but perhaps more interesting to me were all the butterflies they attracted.  I ended up taking 499 frames this day, but only show the best here:

Slide show:

Direct link:

2011_07_05 LGC Member gardens

Wednesday I was back on campus to meet with students.  I went to dig a mulberry tree out of the prairie and noticed a Great Golden Digger Wasp on the milkweed.  I ran back to the truck to get my camera.  Naturally, the wasp flew off as soon as I arrived.  There were a few other things of interest there, but I haven’t been able to identify them.  I can’t find my copy of Butterflies and Moths of Missouri.  I also found that the storm had broken two windows in our greenhouse. 

Slide show:

Direct link:

2011_07_06 NC Prairie

June 30, 2011 – St. Louis

Stacey had a meeting in St. Louis last week.  I tagged along for fun.  We decided to take the motorcycle since the dogs were staying home with Savannah.  It was a nice trip down in the morning, not too hot.  During her meeting in the afternoon, I went to the Missouri Botanical Garden.  I had nver been there in summer, and was looking forward to seeing a lot more species in bloom.  It was pretty hot, but I saw a lot of neat stuff.  Most people don’t know what a world-class facility it is.  It ranks with some of the European botanical gardens.  I’m not going to post all the the pics here–that would be nuts.  I just learned how to embed a slide show into the blog, so now you can see some pretty flowers and various other things without necessarily having to click through. 

The next morning I motored over to August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area.  I had never been there before.  There are something like 35 lakes.  I spent the first couple of hours around the visitor’s center shooting butterflies and dragonflies in a little patch of prairie.  I rode around parts of the place.  There are huge old bunkers where they used to store munitions when the area belonged to the army.  I stopped at a lake and shot some more insects, fish and turtles.  Here’s another slide show.  I hope these work. 

The ride back from St. Louis was most unpleasant.  We got stuck in a traffic jam on I70.  For 20 or 30 minutes it was start-stop or go as slow as possible in first gear.  And it was stinkin’ hot.  We were both kind of sore and were glad to get home.  That night we and some other fire department personnel posted ourselves at the Lewis County Nursing Home to supervise the fireworks.  I brought my camera and got some good shots of the proceedings.  Let’s try another slide show.

In case these slide shows don’t work, here are the links:

MoBot Garden:

2011_06_29 Bot Garden

Busch CA:

August Busch Conservation Area

Fireworks:

2011_06_30 LCNH Fireworks