Monday, August 8, 2011

Cow Killer

This crazy bug is a cow killer, also known as a velvet ant. They get the name 'cow killer' from the painful sting of the female. It is so severe that some claim it could kill a cow! We know that this is a female, because the male has wings. These little creatures can run quickly and are ferocious fighters.

Monday, March 28, 2011


These are pics that I have taken, mostly in my backyard, in the past few weeks.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Infrequent posts, but frequent in nature!

Goodness, I do struggle to keep up with blogging. I don't, however, struggle to enjoy nature. Each morning you can find me at the kitchen window, coffee in hand, looking outside for each 'hello from heaven' that God blesses me with.

Squirrels, birds a plenty, the rays of the sun, my ducks, scattered evidence that my children have enjoyed the many blessings!

Second son and I are both learning photography. He is in a class at co-op and his teacher, my friend, is great! We are learning a lot. AND for the second year in a row, faithful husband has spoiled me for my birthday. Last year I got my binocs, a bird book, and a new kitchen window to better see the birds. This year, he got me two tripods and a new lens for our camera...OH...and the camera! Yes, a spoiled birder am I. We have taken many pictures lately. Here are some of my favorites.

Starling (taken by me)

(taken by me)

American Robin (taken by me)

Leaf with bokeh (taken by second son)

Snail shell with bokeh (taken by second son)

Beauty (taken by second son)

Tufted Titmouse (taken by second son)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Homemade Suet

I make all of my suet. In my backyard I have a suet log, two suet cages, and one suet bag. The Downy Woodpeckers, Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, Carolina Wrens, and others love my suet. I have to fill the feeders mulitple times a week (except when the starlings, blackbirds, and cowbirds are here...then it is daily!). The pictures above are suet cupcakes that I made for my mom for Christmas. It is an easy gift for the birder in your life.

Suet Recipe
1 cup fat
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup cornmeal

Melt the fat and peanut butter in a pot and stir in the remaining ingredients. Use this as a bark log filler.

To make suet cakes, stir in some seeds, nuts, fruit...whatever you have on hand and fill a greased cake pan. Freeze, cut into squares, serve.

If you want to make cupcakes, just spray some cupcake liners with nonstick spray, fill, freeze, and serve.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

So Many Sparrows

Who hasn't grown up surrounded by sparrows? I used to think that they are just a nuisance; so common and so ordinary. After all, brown in the safest color for this ground bird. What's so great about a little brown bird?

Well, I was wrong in my thinking! The chests and heads of many sparrows are highlighted with bold stripes, crown patches, throat patches, and spots. There is great variety. Twenty-one types of sparrows can be found in parts of Missouri and I want to know each one. I want to look out my window (or car) and have the ability to distinguish one variety from another.

My current favorite sparrow is the white-throated sparrow. They have beautiful striped heads, white throats, and an amazing yellow patch in front of their eyes. They give me a heavenly hello every morning.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What critters are visiting my yard today?

Do you know what's what?

Carolina Wren
Northern Cardinal
Downy Woodpecker
American Goldfinch
Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Habitats

We always seem to be surrounded by animals of some sort. Here are two of our habitats that we are enjoying right now.

Both aquariums were given to us by our great neighbor, Griz. We went to the creek to catch some critters and we got some crawdads, darter fish, minnows, and a sunfish. While we were there, Elijah found a $10 bill, YAY, so we went to the pet store for their .99 fish sale.

This morning, as I was out running errands, I happened upon a new critter catching spot. I took Chris and Ben there and they caught five baby Northern Fence Lizards. We dug up some plants, gathered some rocks, and used our second aquarium to set up a habitat for the little sweeties. They are only an inch and a half tiny! How many can you count on this log?

I hope to add these to our nature journals soon! What critters are you enjoying?