Beau November 11th, 2007
This is one of the longest Autumn seasons in recent years, especially because of the warmth. We may see 70 degrees F this week, and then freezing weather and snow flurries. But the trees have held their leaves so very long, and we’ve enjoyed the colors. But some plants are confused- I found some flowering shrubs and ground cover that normally would flower in the spring. I’m sure the plants know what they’re doing… :)
A few years ago where we used to live, there were two giant Bur Oak trees (Quercus macrocarpa) growing that I really loved… the size of the tree, and the “mossy” cup holding the acorns were really interesting (the link above goes to a nice tree identification site by the way). The Bur Oak tree is native to Missouri, but we didn’t have any at Fox Haven. So a couple years ago I went back and collected a couple dozen large Bur Oak acorns, brought them here, and walked around with the young one planting them. The next season, two little oak seedlings grew up! This picture is the second Autumn for this little Bur Oak. One day it could be a massive oak tree… I”ll give it room and help it grow.
On the subject of trees, we also have a variety of Hickory trees around the landscape. My favorite are the Shagbark Hickory trees (Carya ovata), two of which grow right along the pond. These trees are important as summer habitat for bats, and provide forage for squirrels and other critters. The bark peels and sticks out in all kinds of directions!
And who doesn’t like Ladybugs? Well, at this time of year, I’m not very fond of them! The warm weather has caused an explosion of these little guys everywhere… in the windows, on the eaves of the house, just flying and buzzing all around. And do you know what? They bite! Because there are few prey for them to find and eat, it seems they try to eat whatever they find. If they land on you, ouch! They prick like a little needle. Maybe I should collect them and sell them on the internet? I read about a guy up north who does that and makes a living by it. Some of these are typical red with spots, and others are more orange with an absence of spots. Not sure if they’re all the same or not, but there’s a lot of them!
Last year I was trying to take a picture of a migrant raptor, the Northern Harrier or Marsh Hawk (neat bird site at that link also). It came drifting across the fields for a few days, and then was gone. I saw it again on its journey south, but only got a faraway picture. Here it is, a little fuzzy, but it’s a beautiful bird.