Naming/not naming

Toad frog

By the toes, I’m guessing: tree frog. But I think of tree frogs as green—my ignorance, I’m sure (and the amphibian ID book is at our first home, not here). I can use that rural CYA naming strategy, and call it a toad-frog?


That’s lush for a lichen. If I form a band (ha!), I’m thinking Lush Lichen will be on the short list for a name. Along with Illusion of Symmetry.

Snorkel a shipwreck

Mountain ash berries

Yup. That was today’s expotition (intentional misspelling, in the style of KayakWoman). At the parking lot at the mouth of Hurricane River, we were cheered on by glorious clusters of mountain ash berries/fruit/redness.

Steps to beach

We zipped on foot along the coast path a bit over a mile, then down these steps to…

Superior beach

…head along this beach to our destination. The lake is so high the remains are almost totally underwater (to my left and slightly ahead of me). Warm today, so not bad for getting into the waters of Gitchee Gumee, despite what you may be thinking. I did snorkel a loop out around the wooden ship-carcass, so can officially check “snorkel in Lake Superior” off my bucket list. [Turns out, I’d rather not have waves breaking on me when I’m snorkeling.]

Sandhill pair

Welcoming us home: this pair of sandhills, which prefer fields to the north of us, but sometimes visit our property—pretty sure it’s the same pair.

Local lore(ish)

Waterbarrel reflection

Ever so slightly foggy this morning. Have no fear, we got full sun by mid-day and the solar gain has been lovely. Note the woodpile, far right (dark brown).

Woodpile denizen

And on the woodpile: this fur-bearer. John calls it a chipmunk apartment building.

Pickled eggs

On another note…local cuisine. I didn’t know about pickled eggs until I was of drinking age and archaeo-co-workers during some rural northern midwestern project took me to a local bar…and there were a pair of those big clear glass barrels on the bar, one of pickled eggs and one of pickled pigs feet. I stuck to beer.

Shades of beige

Dried riverbed

Here’s the desiccating “riverbed” that was running with water yesterday in the same stretch of road. I have seen so many desert places across the world on GooEarth that look like this on a gigantic scale. I find the braided paths and subtle shadings mesmerizing.


I had seen the hole and the dirt smear before, but today I spotted the perpetrator, ehem, builder. My grandparents called them Chippies. [I don’t know if it had a double meaning to them.]

Blond dinner

Somehow, when we inventoried menu possiblities, we ended up with a blond dinner. That’s cauliflower from the neighbor’s garden, plus scrambled eggs and quinoa. [It tasted good, perhaps better than it looks?] And a very colorful green lettuce salad with tomatoes (garden again) and wee rounds of chives.

Sun did come out


We haven’t stopped at Seney’s Boot Hill in years, so we did today. It was buffed up perhaps fifteen years ago, but nothing since, so it’s entering another genteel decline. Strange plastic items survive better than most of the wood.

Frilly shroom

We went on to the refuge, and it’s mushroom season…mushrooms and swans. And the usual marsh critters and plants.

Jr n parent swan

Parent trumpeter swan in front of perhaps three-quarter grown swan/cygnet—when do the youths become swans?

Perhaps giant aphids

I’m speculating: giant aphids?

Nibbled gill shroom

Not sure what nibbled this mushroom down to the gills—I know turtles like them….

Resting turtle

Speaking of turtles…painted turtle?

Oregano pollen

Bumble oregano

The August heat has created huge bloom spikes on our oregano, enjoyed this afternoon by a busy bumblebee.

Sounds (something) like a poem!

Watch “Chasing Coral”


“Chasing Coral” is the best documentary you will see in years. On Netflix now. Do it. I’ll wait.

Coral is a living animal creature. The whole thing is one creature. The small polyps and mouths are body parts of a living creature, not separate creatures.

This is Hanauma Bay. We went snorkeling there and saw lots of dead coral. When it’s only bleached, it is still alive—barely; it is white because the flesh that covers the white skeleton has died and broken away from the skeleton, but the inside portion is hanging on. If the coral becomes florescent, it is making one last chemical stand at staying alive. If it is covered in wispy algal strands it is dead dead. We saw plenty of the latter, one magnificent (in a bad way) bright purple coral, and many damaged corals, broken by careless tourists. I am trying to be upbeat….

Coral reefs are dying because the oceans are warming past their capacity to cope with the temperature change. Most of the warming of our atmosphere from burning fossil fuels…that heat “goes into” the ocean, and so elsewhere is being buffered by the temperature rises in the ocean waters.

Surfboard chips

Stab at upbeat. The shapes look like stone spear points to me, as well as surfboard outlines.

Early night

Pleasure to have the sun drop behind the ridge and the temperatures begin to drop.

Think about temperature change now. And check your calendar for a time window to watch “Chasing Coral.” Then watch it.

End of preaching. Thank you for your patience.

Searching for wildlife

Joe pye weed

We went on the wildlife walk, and, as I expected, we saw far more plants than critters. Joe-pye weed.

Jpw variant maybe

Did not look very hard in the wildflower ID book for this one…variant joe-pye weed.


Fragrant water lilies and yellow pond lily.

Mystery blooms

Didn’t ID this; didn’t browse for long.




Then we took the wildlife drive. We still saw many more plants, but they were farther away. And the bugs were so desperate to find us the were slamming into the windows. I was glad we were inside. Painted? turtle. We saw the usual complement of mid-summer loons, swans, Canada geese, seagulls, and a few ducks. No grebes; no coots. No mammals.

Gotta go apply anti-itch cream to the bug bites I got on the wildlife walk.


Sandhill cranes

Sandhill cranes.

I awakened about 4:30am and could hear a soft pitter-patter of rain mostly disguised by the fan. Still, I descended and closed what windows were open on the porch, or closed them enough that if the rain picked up a bit it wouldn’t come in.

By perhaps 8am, the sun was out and I thought geeze it’s going to be hot and humid! Then, shortly overcast set in until about 12:30pm, followed by the day’s full allotment of sun sun sun. The basil is happier with the rainfall.

Wisely, as it turns out, I took my walk during the overcast. I got over the hill and I was striding along and all of a sudden I could hear this bunch making a ruckus. It wasn’t until I got past the fencerow vegetation to the field access opening that I could see this bunch. There are two/three young ones to the left of the adults.

Skippers everywhere (exaggeration)

Milkweed skippers

I found a milkweed just beginning to bloom, a plant in the vanguard of the blooming, and covered up with skippers.

Vetch skippers

I found this vetch with plenty of skipper-attention.

Basil skipper

Something aka some critters/insects have been eating my basil. This skipper is the only visitor I’ve spotted; however, I don’t think of skippers as basil-eaters. Mystery….

Swamp watch

Tar-gravel fixing of holes in the perpetually patched blacktop through the swamp. It’s a bumpy ride.