Monday, April 9, 2012

wandering the well-worn paths...

this weekend we needed to take a break
working on the bathroom, laundry, raking winter's leaves, trimming dead limbs,
and all the other chores that fill up your time...when you're off work.

so while the burn barrel was smoldering
we put on our boots and headed out back...
wandering the well-worn paths.
well-worn by us...and all the other little critters that share the land.

milo follows us on our hikes...
making her way through the underbrush and climbing the downed trees.

at the edge of the wooded area we spotted the strangest
and coolest
looking caterpillar!
Catocala Badia

look at those cute little legs!!  and little pincers on it's tail end!
(underside) Catocala Badia
i had no idea the name of this caterpillar.
after looking online and through my Butterfly field guide...i was unsuccessful at ID'ing it.
it was time to send the pic's to my friend on FB who is a Moth expert.
*Genus: Catocala.  an Underwing moth!!*

time to carry a big stick...
to keep from walking face first into spiderwebs.
Crab spider

the woods out back are a mix of Pines, Oaks, Maples...
ferns, thorny blackberries, Virginia Willow, Fetterbush...
and so many other trees and plants that i wish i could name, but i can't.

i spotted this fuzzy caterpillar dangling from a fern.
 a not so lucky Tussock moth caterpillar

upon closer was being eaten by some smaller bugs.

the forest floor is so packed with peat moss that it's spongy.
peat moss, tree roots, downed trees and lots of thorny brambles...
makes for a sometimes difficult trek.

a jelly-like fungus on a downed tree limb

a huge yellow mushroom. at least a foot across!

sam spotted this nest, hanging from a limb on a small tree...about 5 feet off the ground.

peeking small lightly spotted egg.

we walked back out there just before dusk...hoping to see the mother bird.
we hid behind some trees...across the clearing...but it started to get too dark to see...
so we headed home.
i looked in my bird book, and think it might be a White-eyed Vireo.
they build these hanging type nests, 1-8 ft above ground...
and they like to hang out in thick brushy tangles, forest undergrowth and blackberry thickets.

grasshopper nymph...i think...anyone know for sure?
>>>i've said before...i'm not an expert at IDing stuff...
but biobabbler  thinks this little guy might be a katydid nymph...
not a grasshopper.  sounds good to me!!  thanks! :)

Polyphemus moth cocoon

in this same clearing where we saw the nest...we also saw some poop.
scat.  full of fur...and some small bones.
i may collect owl pellets...and dissect them for bones...
but the owl pellets are coughed up...that's ok.
i don't collect ANYTHING that comes out the OTHER end...
whether it has bones in it or not!!
i just take pictures.
possibly Coyote...or maybe Gray Fox scat.

in the early 1900' this these woods...
they collected sap from the pine trees...for the turpentine industry.
we've come across the clay collecting pots while wandering the woods before.
i get SO excited when i see a portion of a clay pot sticking out from under the leaves and peat.
i spotted another one!

it's pretty rare to find one UNbroken.
i've even glued a couple of them back together...when all the pieces can be found.
not so lucky with this one. but we collected what we could unearth.
i'll put the larger piece in one of the flower beds.

(i did a post in Aug. of 2010 about these pots : ...into the woods )

we spotted a couple of areas where the deer bed down...
where the thickets are smashed down...and smoothed out.
other evidence of the deer...
White-tailed deer pelleted scat

we hear...and see...woodpeckers all the time.
the Pileated, Red-bellied, Red-headed...
but once in a while...we'll spot this little guy.
sorry for the blurry picture.
male Downy Woodpecker.

part of a snake skin on the ground

small pile o' mushrooms

the hummingbirds are back!
we've heard them buzzing around...and seen them dive bombing each other
for nectar competition.
i haven't taken any pic's yet, but i will.

the dragonflies are showing their cute little faces too!
this is the FIRST one i've seen this year!

more fungi 

well, it's ALWAYS nice to take a break from life's hectic times.
getting outside...breathing the fresh air...smelling the scent of nature...
swatting the mosquitoes, plucking off ticks, getting bit by yellow flies.
no,'s worth it.
i could EASILY give up everything. no phone. no computer.
sell the trailer. sell everything.
but then what?  it's not really feasible.
not nowadays.
you still have to have $$.
so i guess it's just a waiting game.
i hope social security still exists by the time we can retire.
i also hope i live that long.

Nature is the great nurse for tired minds. Let her have her way with you, and all will be well.  
~Herbert Pryke 

TWO Phaon Crescent butterflies on the tiny flowers of a Fleabane weed.

stay cool & be safe.

*see you in blogland as i catch up during the week*


  1. nature is soothing yes?

  2. You get as excited as I do when I'm on my excursions!! Only you are smart & take the camera...I take two dogs on leashes! That dragonfly is beautiful...I saw my first Bumble Bee here recently...which means I WILL HAVE FLOWERS...I WILL HAVE FLOWERS!...:)JP

  3. Love going for a walk with you, Sam and Milo!

  4. you always share such cool finds with us - even scat. :) love all your fungi you have there.

  5. Loved being taken on a walk. Fun to travel with Milo and see all those living, extraordinary things.

  6. God willing you will live long enough to collect social security. Cooooooool pictures of snake skin and the moth being eaten by other bugs. Keep snapping.
    Have a cool week!

  7. I seriously think you should put a children's book together with all your lovely creatures out there! My one grandson is just now beginning to ask, why are there ticks grandma? Where do spiders come know all the important questions about bugs out around us. Call me silly but I just adore your crab spiders, I know they probably aren't ones you want to come in contact with right? But they are really amazing looking. I just love your trips around the lives of all those creatures lurking out around your place....thanks for sharing them! They are way more interesting then bathrooms, I totally agree with you!

  8. Laura, that catepillar is NOT cute! Where do you get all those weird, eery catepillars? I've never seen the likes.

    Now, the mushrooms, I can very interesting. And so many species. They're amazing to me, I guess, because I can't figure out how and where they imerge. And I'm happy to be able to identify with you the Downy woodpecker. We got to see a few of them this spring. They are so beautiful in the flesh, (I mean feathers)!

    You had a very prosperous hike, and Milo, I'm sure was just as prosperous! Love your butterflies, two at once. We've had quite a few outdoors this spring, too!

    So glad to see your stuff again...hope you regenerated for the week ahead, blah! Work and work! And, I'm with you, hope Social Security is still around in a few years. Karo went ahead and started drawing...he's 62. He says, he's gonna get it while he can. Yay! A man after my heart! See you soon! ooxx

  9. such a curious cat
    and what an amazing caterpillar

  10. What a delightful tour. =)

    A polyphemus moth cocoon?!? Poly's make me SWOON, and that's SO cool you can ID them. slick. =)

    And how funny, I just noticed your badge on the right re: "I am not a robot" when of late I've been bothered by the new things we have to try to read and type to prove that sentence is correct, and it's difficult for me. Maybe I'm partially robot? Perhaps it's the metal fillings in my head. =)

    oh, btw, that looks more like a katydid nymph to me, but I am NOT certain, nor am I an entomologist. Like you, I know people who'd know, but I don't. =)

  11. thanks everyone for stopping by & leaving a note!!
    i've been pretty busy lately...but AM going to catch up on my blog reading. i am. i am!

    to biobabbler...i have a few people who are pretty good at IDing butterflies & moths. that's how i found out the cocoon was a Poly. moth!

    have a great day whoever comes back to read this! :)

  12. What a wonder YOU are, Laura, in sharing your walks with the rest of us!

    You mention trying to "catch up" with others in blogland - no need to apologize, as I really don't know how you manage to accomplish all that you do. There are those who spend much of their time in front of a screen, those who never do, and then there are those of us who are busy in life doing other things besides (like working) and just trying to keep our heads above water and strike some kind of a healthy balance. I'll hungrily gobble up whatever tidbits of this grand earth you care to share here, but I totally understand and applaud your need to do other things also - take care of yourself, my friend, some of us are quite patient and your great posts are well worth waiting for - as are your comments on ours!


thanks for stopping by! it's always nice to hear from fellow wanderers!