Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sourdough Canyon - Bozeman Creek Trail

Before I took on my latest adventure, i.e. working at the school, I decided to go for one last bike ride. I rode up to Sourdough Canyon, about 4 or 5 miles from my house. These are some of the shots from that ride.

Look closely and you can see a bee and some sort of black bug, I think it's a beetle, crawling around on this thistle.

I couldn't quite figure out this moth. It appeared to be stuck on the thistle. There was a dead moth on another thistle, and it definitely appeared to have gotten impaled on the thistle and died there. I wondered if this was on purpose, but I couldn't find anything to back up that theory.

I thought this was a nice shot of the rocks in the river.

The Ants Go Flying - Not One by One Either

At our soccer practice a couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure of ants starting a new nest. I use pleasure loosely as this means there were a lot of flying ants in the air. Worse yet, they had no time to hone that skill and would fly into us. Blech!

Fortunately, by the time practice ended, the swarming ants had calmed down. A lot of them lost their wings before they got far. I guess that's a way for the competition for new space to remain low. The site below said a lot of these new queen ants don't survive long enough to start a new colony. Lucky for us humans or we'd be more over run than we already are!

Colorado State - Flying Ant Page

My poor husband. He's been an insect magnet this year. He might be the subject of next year's calendar. I have enough shots! He's been a good sport, and I appreciate it. Here he is being invaded by one of the new queens.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hospitals and Museums

A couple of weekends ago, I was out to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital getting recertified for my first aid and my CPR. I like to do that since I spend so much time at the school and I'm around kids. I feel like it's my responsibility. They have a really cool fountain out there with a ball made of marble. I happened to notice the nice reflections it gave off and commmenced taking all kinds of shots. I think this one is really interesting since my shadow is like a cutout of me and then the building is in perfect focus behind me.

After I passed and was recertified, I joined my husband, my son and my in-laws at the Museum of the Rockies. I took these shots of the sunflower and the blue corn in the Lewis and Clark outdoor exhibit.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mess of the Month - September

This is a quick post.  I took this a couple of weeks ago just after my in-laws visited, so there's not much of a mess.  In fact, it's remained rather clean.  This baffles me.  I get a job and my house is cleaner.  All I can figure out is that the constraints on my time have forced me to be more focused.  Check Out August's Mess!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Out at Night

A couple of weeks ago, not that I'm behind, we went over to MSU to feed the ducks. We couldn't because they were conducting flu tests and so needed them to be hungry so they could trap them. Bummer. I did however get some good pictures that evening.

A koi in the pond.

The MSU gym. It looks really cool at night.

I took this shot of the moon when I got home. I love it when clouds cross the moon. This is one of my best shots of a cloudy moon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bohart Ranch

I took these photos when I went hiking up at Bohart Ranch a couple of weeks ago. I always go cross country skiing there, so I thought it would be nice to see what it looks like without snow. Very pretty.

I have never noticed this carving before. Probably because it is covered in snow. Also, because I don't tend to go by Jane's Gate much. It's straight up a hill that leaves me very winded, so I tend to go around the loop that's halfway up. Easier and I can ski a bit longer that way.

I found this bee crawling on this flower that had lost its pedals, but not it's pollen. Looked like a good choice for some late season pollen gathering.

This darn squirrel gave me a heart attack. Well, fortunately, not literally. I'm walking up this narrow trail that I've never been on before because I couldn't ski that far if I wanted to, when I hear thump. Thump?! OK. Nice bear?! I look around, I don't see anything. Then thump, thump, thump. Sigh. Fine, I'm out of here. So I start heading back figuring it's probably a squirrel throwing nuts down, but who wants to take their chances. On the way down, I stopped to photograph some backlit leaves. When I look up, he's in the middle of the trail. Well, at least I confirmed my suspicions and got some really awesome pictures.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Stuck in Sap

These poor insects have all gotten stuck in tree sap.  I think the first one is a beetle.  The other two shots are of the same insect, possibly a fly, from different angles.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wonders Never Cease

I believe the insect below is the nymph form of a cloudy-winged cottonwood aphid. Hard to say, though. The wings are similar. The description for nymphs is translucent amber coloring. However, it sounds as if the nymphs have no wings. Only certain generations of mature female aphids will have wings. So while I'm pretty sure this is an aphid, I may not have the correct species. One thing I can say for sure, this landed on my husband's hand while we were at our son's soccer practice. He's just a bug magnet which works out pretty good for me.

This bunny lives somewhere near our house. Can't tell if it's under our neighbor's spruce or under our juniper bush. He's uses both to escape to depending upon where he is in the lawn. One morning I happened to catch him munching on a dandelion for breakfast. Go bunny go!

This is a tree cricket. He's on our new garbage can. I believe I unearthed him while clipping my neighbors' hedges.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Being Eaten Alive Part II

It's kind of hard to see but if look really close you can see the hedge in front has been clipped back.  It was about 10 feet tall.  I cut it back to 5.  I got about four feet done.  However, that's after my husband went through with an electric trimmer.  He got a lot of the dense branches cut back so they were out of the way.  I went through with the large hand held clippers and got the larger branches done.

A shot of the rake with the branches that I cut down.

These are the trees (I know they look like one big tree.) in our back yard.  The one closest is the one with the rot.  It's definitely next.  The other one on the end has some damage from bark beetles, but not a lot.  Also, no rot.  It stands a good chance of being saved.  The middle one is huge solid and has nothing wrong with it.  Yea!  (If you look really close, you can see the branches from our crab apple tree.  I need to clip them up and toss them out.  It got some sort of blight.  No clue.  Cutting the diseased branches seems to have fixed it for now.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Being Eaten Alive

I have developed this theory probably due to the fact that I photograph very small things and therefore would notice them. We are smaller than the dinosaurs and we won and we used what they left behind to get by i.e. oil. Well small mammals co-existed with dinosaurs, then there was a shift in the mammals favor and bye-bye dinosaurs. I've begun to think that the same thing will happen to us with things that we currently co-exist with. They will be smaller, too. Although, if these things get larger, I'll be happy to be gone. It seems like one small slip on the evolutionary ladder and we can hand over the crown to fun things like: mold, bacteria, viruses, algae, lichen, moss, very tiny insects. I forget the whole list. I'm sure I've painted a lovely picture, though.

Case in point, the following photos.

This first one looks like a beetle impression. Not sure it actually is. I do know that this tree has a bark beetle infestation though. Probably have to cut it down.

These little orange dots on the tree branch, yeah, that's fungus. Apparently it will come after the scale. It's a secondary attack. We had Jerry Cashman come out from Cashman Nursery. Very nice of him. He said at least you don't have banana slugs yet. Great. He also said it doesn't look half as bad as the rest of this area. Peachy. So I've been cutting those back and we'll spray this april and may. They're technically my neighbor's hedges. They were kind enough to supply the equipment and chemicals in exchange for the work.

Finally, the same tree that has beetles is rotting at the base. It'll have to go probably in two or three years if we're lucky.


This is a series of photos I shot last week when there wasn't a whole lot going on. I love how the world continues to spin and brings interesting things your way anyhow.

The grasshopper is on my dog's back. Just landed there while I was taking her for a walk. The feather was in our front yard. I have not idea what kind of bird it belongs to. I tried Red-Tailed Hawk and Owl. No luck. The Bald Faced Hornet was on the hedges we're cutting back. May be attracted to honeydew that scale leaves behind. I knew that aphids do this, but apparently, so do scale. May just be looking for dead wood to build a nest in. I can't say for sure.