Paper Wasp Nest

This was hanging on my Mom’s home:

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She waited until she was sure all of the wasps were out of it, then had it carefully taken off. This is the inside:
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Is this cool, or what???
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Watching the Sky, Woodchuck in a Tree, & More

It’s getting to that time of year again where when I leave for work the sun is just rising, and there have been some gorgeous sunrises this week.

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There’s also been some intense cloud action on the way home.

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Last night we walked in Mt. Hope Cemetery (in between the rain) and saw a woodchuck hanging out in a tree. We couldn’t believe our eyes, so I took some pics.

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I’ve never seen a woodchuck in a tree. What’s the deal with this?

The hyrangea shrubs were beautiful – starting to turn pink.

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We saw a couple of owl boxes.

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And a tree with interesting burls.

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Sassafras saplings just waiting for a hole in the canopy.

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Cicada exoskeletons were stuck to various places:

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Some of the trees are acting stressed this year, including horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum).

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It’s Nice to See Bees

While investigating the flowering plants at my Mom’s home one day, I came across a bee on her grape hyacinth. Of course, I had to investigate what a bee finds so interesting about such a little flower.

Here’s the bee, a little blurry, but nice to see the bees again
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Aha! They crawl up the little “grapes” to get to the goods
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It’s so cool to look really close at flowers, isn’t it?
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Doin’ It

I was outside minding my own business taking photos of my daffodils, which seemed to have all blossomed at once given the great weather we’ve been having, when I spied insects on one of my daffodils.

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Already then, I couldn’t wait to blow this photo up to have a closer look, because it looks like they’re doin’ “it!”

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I’ll look this bug up in my bug book when it’s dark and cooler out. For now, I want to show you the coolest spider, and then get back outside!

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It looks like he’s transparent! Hmmm, I’ll check this guy out later, too! Enjoy the weather!

Book Cover Meme

I saw this book cover meme on Jen’s blog A Passion for Nature and I had to play along. To play along, go to Amazon.com’s advanced search and type your first name into the title. Look through the results for the most interesting book cover and post it on your blog.

So I typed in “Pam” and you can imagine the dreck that came up for Pamela Anderson and her fake girls – blech. I was getting discouraged, but found a set of cool books on page two.

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Book Description
From “Baby Bumblebee” to “The Ants Go Marching”, children will sing, dance, and learn with these songs about the insects they encounter in their own backyard. The CD is accompanied by a book with over 250 activities that teach children about colors, counting, growing things, friendship, and of course, bugs. Each of the eight CD/book combinations will provide hours of learning fun. 128 pages plus CD.

About the Author
Pam Schiller’s career spans nearly every aspect of the early childhood profession. Pam has authored or co-authored over 30 books on topics ranging from curriculum development to the management of childcare centers to the use of current brain research in the classroom.

How appropos to where I’m working now, huh?

And when I saw the bug on the nose of the child on the cover, I immediately thought of one of my blogging friends. Hmmmm, can you think of *who* I thought of?

Would You Pay More For Green Energy?

Every year lately I’ve been receiving ‘Voice Your Choice’ packages from my local gas & electric company. This year I have decided to go with a new electric company which offers “green” energy for a little more per kilowatt hour. Per the brochure, green energy is referring to water and wind energy, as opposed to the non-green energy of burning coal and/or etc.

I was surprised to learn that electricity in my part of the world was generated by anything but water given my close proximity to Niagara Falls. Grrr, this is where I need my Dad so I can ask him, because his Dad used to work at a gas & electric company, and he would know.

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So here’s my question, pretending I can believe the ‘Voice Your Choice’ brochure about green vs. non-green energy, if you were in my shoes, would you pay a bit more per kilowatt hour for green energy?

P.S. I wasn’t trying to trip anyone up with the woolly caterpillar question, I just assumed everyone knew that the size of the orange band on the caterpillar represented how mild or how bad winter is going to be. A narrower orange band predicts a bad winter vs. a wider orange band predicts a mild winter (Thanks for the correction Jen – I was totally fried when I wrote this last night). That’s it! Sorry about that.

What Kind of Winter Will We Have?

I was walking out to my truck at lunchtime today and saw this woolly caterpillar travelling along the parking lot. I *love* woollies so much I just had to take its photo! I can imagine what my co-workers would say if they saw me taking photos of the parking lot. LOL!!

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So, looking at this woolly, what kind of winter do you think we’ll have?

P.S. Thank you all so much for your kind comments on my birthday post. It was tough, but you guys helped me through it. Thanks so much!

Ladybug Beetle

Sunday while I was cutting down more of my Mom’s hostas, I spotted, among other things I may talk about later, a ladybug. These are the ladybugs I remember seeing around when I was a kid, instead of the funky ones from overseas that are all over the place now. I’d say this is a Seven-spotted Ladybug Beetle (Cocinella septapunctata). Do you agree?

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It crawled onto a dead leaf, so I picked it up to get closer to it. I love all of the fibers on the dead leaf!

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This type of ladybug is always welcome in the yard to eat any aphids that may be around!

I Interrupt This Program. . .

I know I owe you a continuation of the Allegany State Park post, and I will do it, I promise! My finger got banged a few times while working today, so I can’t get carried away with posting today.

But I just have to show you this one thing! Yesterday while I was helping my Mom put her gardens to bed (cutting down hostas) a daddy long legs came towards me. I’m thinking, no biggie, but you’re there so let me take a macro of you. Oh my!! This guy (or gal) is way tooooo cool, I never knew! Check this out:

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He/she looks like an Eastern Daddy Long Legs (Leiobunum spp.). If you’re sitting there going, yup, no big deal, what’s she raving over, well, I’ve never really looked closely at a Daddy Long Legs before, have you?

Audubon says they’re not a spider. Check out the details of this guy/gal in your favorite insect guide if you want to know more of his cool features (I would type it all here for you, but the finger deal, you know).

And here’s the same photo not so close.

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Here it looks like he’s using his second pair of legs as antennas because I was so close.

Cats! and etc.

Dogs Have Masters. Cats Have Staff.
Quoted by Rush Limbaugh
on the Rush Limbaugh Show

My Mom read this to me over the phone out of the blue and I burst out laughing!! And now my role with respect to “The Cat” has been defined. I used to be the substitute part time staff when my Dad was alive. Now I’m the secondary part time staff, and substitute primary part time staff when my Mom is out of town.

My job is to massage and comb her when I visit my Mom:
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Have you ever tried to photograph and comb a wiggly cat all at the same time? It’s NOT easy!

While I’m massaging and combing her, she has to have a bite to eat in the middle of it all:

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I figured this was a good time to try to capture a close-up of her sweet, little face.

My job, however, does not include removing the little presents she leaves for her primary part time staff member!

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By the way, this mouse ended up being flung outside for the red tailed hawk that has been hanging around my Mom’s home!

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Even though I’m just the secondary part time staff, I still love this little kitty, even with her typical cattitude!

Here’s another cool wasp or hornet that I saw on a hosta:

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Here it is going into the hosta:

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It’s kind of making my skin crawl to think I’ve been getting close to these guys to capture these photos.

This following guy is in one of my Mom’s porch windows:

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I planted this cool blue-purple flower from seed in the spring, but I don’t remember the name of it.

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Any ids for the insects or flower will be greatly appreciated!!

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