Burgess Falls, July 3rd, 2015

Burgess Falls 7.3.15

Heavy rainfall for the past few days, particularly from storms last night, has the Falling Water River flowing pretty heavy. The hike out to the main waterfall at Burgess Falls State Park in Sparta, TN, was totally worth getting completely drenched by rain. I’ve never seen a more majestic sight than this river flowing with such great force! Positively beautiful and awe-inspiring!

I was surprised and a little heartbroken when I reached the overlook at the Middle Falls. The overlook, as well as the tree that stood there, are gone, slid away. :/

Missing Overlook to the Middle Falls #1

Missing Overlook to the Middle Falls #2 Missing Overlook to the Middle Falls #3

The Middle Falls Stream Falls Falling Water RiverMore Stream Falls Inexplicable Shoes The CascadesCaution Self-evident

 

Update 11/21/15: I’ve been meaning to update this post about Burgess Falls State Natural Area with information I received from a park ranger I saw out there back in September. He told me that they had to close the overlook viewing the main waterfall due to structural damage taken during this flood. The area has since been fenced off due to an accident out there during August. I’ll update this post again when/if I hear anything new about repairs, etc.

Flood Damage 1

Flood Damage 2 Flood Damage 3

Flood Damage 4 Flood Damage 5

Flood Damage 6

Update 11/22/15: Yesterday, when I updated this post, I popped over to Friends of Burgess Falls State Natural Area on Facebook to ask the questions, “Is it the weather/season or funding needed for repairs to be made? Also, if people wanted to make donations to help out in the case of funding who should they contact?

Today, I had a reply which I thought I would share here for anyone interested in helping out. From Lee Hapner, president of Friends of Burgess Falls State Natural Area:

Mainly it is how government slowly works. However, any help in funding is appreciated and the Friends of Burgess Falls do that through donations and fund raisers. Donations can be given at the Park office, or you may contact me via phone 931-260-3152. My name is Lee Hapner and I am the precisdent [sic] of the Friends Group. Thank you for your interest.

Clymene Moth & Our Garden

Clymene Moth

This Clymene Moth, Haploa clymene, popped in while I was carrying in groceries this evening to wait out the storm. I guess it’ll be fine there on the wall till it quits raining. That is, provided the cats don’t find it first. These are lovely moths with a very distinctive wing pattern.

Before David left for work this afternoon he brought in the first of hopefully many pieces of produce from the garden. These Summer Squashes and Zucchini grow fast!

Summer Squash & Zucchini

The plants are a lot bigger than I expected, too. They take up about half of our garden space. Since this is our first garden here, David started small, about 10′ X 15′. That should be plenty just for us, though. He also planted a bit of lettuce, tomatoes, corn, green beans, and some peppers. Fresh produce really is the best! The photo below is from June 7th.

Summer Squash Plant

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio troilus) #1

I spotted this Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio troilus) today on the bird bath. More than likely it fell out of the close-by Sassafras tree. I’m guessing this one is pretty close to pupating; but in the final instar of the Spicebush Swallowtail, it turns a bright yellow. According to Wikipedia:

“The entire development process from egg to adult takes about a month. Once they have reached the adult stage, Papilio troilus can live anywhere from two days to two weeks dependent on resource availability and predator avoidance.”

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio troilus) #2

I’ll be searching the entire summer for an adult butterfly to photograph, now. I saw one the other day in the yard; however, to my disappointment, I didn’t have my camera outdoors with me at the time. Hopefully, the opportunity will arise again.


 

By the way, for anyone interested, I recently began exploring Instagram and posting a few shots over there. David is letting me use his old Android as a portable device to get a “feel” for these confounded smartphones. (I have to catch up to the rest of humanity at some point, right?) Fascinating device with a lot of perks, but I really hate typing on it. Give me a keyboard any day! The camera is “meh,” not as great as my Canon PowerShot; but at least it gives me the opportunity to experience Instagram.

Feel free to look me up at: https://instagram.com/pixygiggles/

Stag Beetle

Stag Beetle

Anyone know the exact species? Found in TN. I’m fairly certain that this one is female as she doesn’t have the huge mandibles. My cats happened across this one, curiously inspecting her as she made her way for cover. Unfortunately, she didn’t find cover in time. I think my neighbor’s puppy ate her. What’s with dogs eating beetles? Extra protein? They must be a delicacy for dogs because my neighbor’s dogs will eat any beetle they find. Such is the way of nature. ;P

Happy Tree Frog

Tree Frog #1

I found this little tree frog hiding underneath the umbrella of our patio table when I opened it up yesterday for a little shade. These are a common occurrence around our house, and I squeal in delight every time I see one. I’m not certain if this is a Gray Tree Frog or Cope’s Gray Tree Frog or even one of the other species here in Tennessee; but if I had to venture a guess, it would be Cope’s Gray Tree Frog due to its call. He was certainly a beautiful little creature and very friendly.

Tree Frog #2

Tree Frog #3

Look, A Baby Bunny!

I was sitting outside painting my toenails — the sunlight is far better for accuracy — when all of a sudden I heard the most awful screeching I’ve ever heard. Moses, my 14-year-old-masterful-hunter black cat, emerged from the neighbor’s sheep pasture through the mostly overgrown fence-row carrying something in his mouth. As he ran past me into the house — still carrying said critter, squalling, in his mouth — I jumped up to chase after him, fussing at him the entire way and not knowing what on earth the cat dragged in. As I reached the living room, right on his heels, he had already dropped his prize. As it scampered away for shelter behind one of the stereo speakers, I finally realized that what Moses brought into our house was a baby bunny!

Baby Bunny #1

It was about twice the size of a hamster. The poor little thing was so traumatized that I easily captured it, without touching it, in a small critter carrier after moving a few pieces of furniture around to get to it. I gave it a little while to calm down in the safety of that carrier until I herded all of our cats indoors. This also gave me the chance to look it over, making sure Moses didn’t injure it. Thankfully, it didn’t appear to have any physical injuries, not even any puncture wounds. It hopped around a bit in the carrier, so all bones seemed to be in their proper place.

Baby Bunny #2

After doing a quick search online, I realized the best course of action would be to release it close to where Moses brought it through the fence. From what I read online, mother rabbits will call to their babies for their nightly feeding should they wander off from the nest. By this time it was already getting dark; so I ended up creating a little nest out of cedar mulch in the shelter of the fence-row. I was careful not to touch the baby because I didn’t want to take the chance of its mother smelling my scent on her baby. I even placed some lettuce and carrots out there with the hope that this would entice an adult rabbit to come along and help. I sat outside with the baby for another 15 minutes before coming back inside.

Baby Bunny #3

After a little over an hour, I went back outside to check on the baby. As soon as I walked out on the back steps, I noticed an adult rabbit sitting in the yard. Flashlight in hand, I walked back over to the fence-row where I “nested” the baby. It was gone. I’m really, really hoping the baby made it back to its mother safely. It. Was. So. Adorable! Aside from the fact that this is probably the most precious gift my cat, Moses, has ever brought me, I have to say that I gave him the most stern scolding I could invoke for having snatched this beautiful baby bunny from its family.

Moses unfazed by his scolding is grounded indoors for the night.

Moses Loves Catnip

And I smeared every single one of my toenails in the process of all of this, lol.