Early Autumn Sunsets Are the Best

I realize that my last post was also a sunset photo. I apologize for redundancy, but these evening skies lately have been something else! This was the perfect ending to a long day of yard work. Now, I’m going to relax for a bit. I’m wore out!

Gorgeous Sunset 9.25.14

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Looking Forward to Autumn

I’m looking forward to seeing how the landscape changes around here. The chill in the air today was perfect for this first day of autumn. (I’m finding mixed messages online about the autumnal equinox. The Old Farmer’s Almanac says September 22nd at 10:29 pm EDT, and Google and others say September 23rd.) Unfortunately, I didn’t take a spectacular photo to commemorate the day because I was busy playing with a new toy, an acoustic guitar given to me by a friend over the weekend. Oh, JOY, I’m loving it! Truly, I am. I had one years ago, but never got around to learning to play it well. All I can really do is pluck out a tune, one string at a time. Luckily, there’s plenty of how-to videos and websites around to guide me through. I still say playing a piano is much easier, though. My fingertips are so sore!

I took these photos a week ago Sunday, 9.14.14. I’m pretty sure the insect is a Margined Blister Beetle, Epicauta funebris. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. It caught my eye as it was an insect I had never seen before. It was a pretty smoky grey and black and kind of fuzzy. I’m not finding a whole lot of information about this beetle. Given the word “funebris” in its taxonomy, I’m left wondering if it is part of nature’s clean-up crew, one of the insects that feeds on dead animals or something (?). Educate me if you know. :)

Margined Blister Beetle

And Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Green June Beetle Feeding on Blackberries

Until this summer I had no idea that green June beetles fed on blackberries or black raspberries? I’m not entirely sure which; all I know is that they are yummy for humans, too! The berries are plentiful around here; so the June Bugs, as we call them here in TN, had their pick. These insects were one of my favorites from childhood, probably because of the stories my mom told my sister and me about her and her siblings tying thread to June Bugs’ legs and letting them fly all around their heads. These stories made me laugh; but no, I never tried that. Now that I think about it, that sounds kind of mean.

Photo and short video clip from July 15th.

Pearl Crescent - Phyciodes tharos #2

I’m backtracking a bit to a couple of photos I captured of a Pearl Crescent butterfly, taken on July 17th.

Pearl Crescent - Phyciodes tharos #1

I’m a little disappointed in myself for not spending more time sketching over the summer. For the last few months, though, I’ve barely sat down at my computer, let alone taken the time to sit and draw. This July 17th sketch is one of the few sketches I did all summer. My routine is anything but since the move. Hopefully soon, I can get back into a “work” schedule that allows me the time to spend creating.Pearl Crescent - Phyciodes tharos Sketch

Unknown Coneflower #1Unknown Coneflower #1

I really enjoy taking walks along the fencerows on my way to the mailbox. I took my time on this afternoon’s walk to snap a few photos along the way. The skies here have been overcast all day with chilly temperatures that remind me autumn will soon arrive. I’m not convinced that these first two flowers are wildflowers. They may have been planted purposefully by previous renters as they are quite lovely. At first I thought Black-eyed Susans or Gray-headed Coneflowers, but I also found one called Purple-headed Sneezeweed (funny name) that looks similar. It could be a cross-breed of any number of flowers. Feel free to venture a guess.

Unknown Coneflower #2Unknown Coneflower #2

I’m pretty sure we have both Ladysthumb and pale smartweed growing out here, but I’m not certain enough on the ID to label this next photo with either. In researching the two, I did find out that “the two species can hybridize.” I’m not one to judge a weed harshly. These add a nice touch of color that I find attractive.

SmartweedSmartweed

There is plenty of Goldenrod growing along the fencerows. These are one of my favorite wildflowers for its bright yellow splash of color. The scent is light and fragrant and attracts a wide variety of insects. This Double-banded Scoliid was busily at work on this one.

Double-banded Scoliid on GoldenrodDouble-banded Scoliid on Goldenrod

I could probably do a post on nothing but morning glories growing around here. We have purple ones, orange ones, white ones — you get the picture. I’m trying to coax one into the latticework off the back steps of our place; but wouldn’t you know, it’s the only one I’ve seen that is not flowering! Maybe it’s just a late bloomer.

Morning GloryMorning Glory

I’ll leave you today with two more photos of a Black-and-Yellow Argiope. This is the smaller of the two that I spoke about in last Sunday’s post, Sunday Spider. For all I know, it could be a different one completely because if it is the smaller of the two, it grew a lot in the past week. The huge one is still there, but had its web built in a briar patch that I couldn’t comfortably reach.

Black-and-Yellow Argiope #3 Black-and-Yellow Argiope #4

Resting Bee

Image  —  Posted: September 9, 2014 in Insects, Photography
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Robber Fly - Genus Promachus

Image  —  Posted: September 8, 2014 in Insects, Nature, Photography
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Black-and-Yellow Argiope #1Species Argiope aurantia – Black-and-Yellow Argiope

I absolutely LOVE these spiders. I’ve looked for one to photograph for so many years to no avail. That is, until now. There are a wide variety of garden spiders or “writing” spiders on this piece of property. I took the photo above on August 31st. David swears its body size was that of a quarter. I’m going to say that it was at the very least the size of a nickel. It’s HUGE! And oh, so lovely!

I walked back out to visit it on September 4th. It and another smaller Black-and-Yellow Argiope are still there. The larger one rebuilt its web at a different angle and was on the underside of its web which gave me the opportunity to photograph the detail of its writing. I have to wonder what message these spiders are trying to get across in their intricate weaving practices. Why do they create their webs in such a way?

Black-and-Yellow Argiope #2I’ll continue to visit these spiders living in our fence-row periodically to see any changes in the webs and body size. I may have to carefully measure the larger one just for curiosity’s sake. So beautiful. I hope they hang out for a while.

Nighttime Toad

Image  —  Posted: September 6, 2014 in Photography
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