Found along the trail

This weekend we worked on our trail through the woods by clearing it of debris from recent storms.  Over the next few winters some carefully planned thinning of our little woods will be a productive endeavor!  Trees growing too closely together get thin and spindly, and they simply cannot hold themselves up in a wind.

More information on the above flora and fauna may be found by clicking on the links below:

False Coral Fungus ~ Tremellodendron pallidum

Spiny Orb Weaver ~ Gasteracantha cancriformis

Resurrection Fern ~ Polypodium polypodioides

Fall revisited, and a bit more on Winged Sumac

First let me demystify the Winged part of Winged Sumac.

Winged Sumac gets its name from the “wings” that grow along the shaft of its composite leaf.

Here in the closeup is one composite leaf.   For those who may not know, a composite leaf is made up of several leaflets attached to a central stem.  In this young specimen the stem is attached to the main stalk of the plant.

Notice the growth along the shaft?  Those are its wings!  😉

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Now for a few more photos of Autumn before it is all gone for 2012

     This was taken at the end of the day with an overcast sky.

So beautiful!

Squirrel!

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Note:  Want to know more about Sumac?  Then check out these informative sites!

How we can utilize the plant…

And how nature and wildlife utilize use the plant…

Ribbit

When we moved here there was grass, trees, and little else growing on our property.  Over time we have carved gardens out of the grass, stopped using chemicals, and let a few areas go a bit to the wild side.

Why?

To make room for the little guys who keep the Farmlet bug and rodent free. Birds, snakes, spiders, and toads all do their job to help me keep the Farmlet a poison free zone.

I think it is working, because I have been seeing a lot of these guys around…

My little friend here is a Fowler’s Toad.  It likes to burrow underground when it gets too cold in winter.  Apparently, we now have quite a few of these here because we have many little toad holes this spring.  I always wondered what came out of those holes.

Now your thoughts may differ, but I find him beautiful.

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Photo Friday: garden spider surprise

This week in the garden I found a Wolf Spider with her egg sack in tow…

The white round thing is the egg sack, but even so, she herself (legs included) was the size of a silver dollar.  The bright silver bits in the lower right are the tines on my pitchfork.  I left them in for size comparison.

Can’t see her?  Oh, OK!

For a really close up view you can click the image and get as close as you like…

How’s that?

Personally, with the exception of Brown Recluse, I don’t mind spiders in my garden.  They perform a beneficial service for me by ridding my plants of bad insects.  She is obviously well fed living here in the compost pile.  From the looks of her egg case, her babies will be hatching soon!  Which means more hungry spiders to eat all those nasty flying Palmetto bugs hiding in there!

I have been partial to Wolf spiders since I was seven.  Back then I was brave enough to touch that gigantic fluffy looking spider in the barn…  Whereupon all her ‘fuzzy’ sprouted legs and went scurrying off her back!  Lady Wolfspider will carry all her babies on her back for a while after hatching thus making herself look even more enormous as well as affording her progeny a bit of extra protection!