Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Prairie Oaks Metropark

In search of sun, solitude and dragonflies we visit yet another of the Columbus area fine Metroparks - Prairie Oaks. There are a number of small lakes here (remnants of past quarrying activity) - perfect for finding great dragonflies such as this Male Eastern Amberwing:

At long last, some great paddling weather!:

On the shore we found this little plant that, interestingly, was common where we lived in SE New Mexico. It's in the Verbena family and is called Frogfruit. There it was frequented by nectar-seeking butterflies.

Jennifer identifying dragonflies:

Mid-day warmth means naptime!:

Other resting creatures included this Male Widow Skimmer:

Another day of fun at another great metropark!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summertime Garden

We heated up fast here in Central Ohio and look to remain warm into the foreseeable future.  We are enjoying the heat knowing soon it will be gone.  Summer is too fleeting for us so we savor as much as possible.  Our garden is happy with the heat too.  Here's a photo from our upstairs porch:

Wow, the yard looks huge in that picture and it is pretty big for us.  We are keeping up with it with the sickle mower and getting quite a workout in the process.  If you've been reading our blog for awhile, you know we like to greatly reduce the lawn when we own a place.  If you want to see check here and here.  Wherever we land permanently next, we want the lawn to be GONE!  Here's another picture of the garden closer up showing the tremendous growth:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lupine Seed Collecting

TNC Ohio hosted a volunteer lupine seed collecting day this past weekend at Kitty Todd Nature Preserve, a very neat place worth much more exploring.  We traveled up to the Toledo area for this event, Steve working and Jennifer volunteering, which for us proved a great way to help nature and celebrate the solstice.  Our primary goal was to help collect lupine seed.  Lupines are the food source for larval Karner Blue butterflies, an endangered species that was reintroduced into this area in 1998.  

 First, we gathered at the office and learned the proper way to collect lupine seeds, then we headed out into the field with our collecting buckets to look for lupines.


Once we found a plant we looked for dried seed pods and collected about 1/2 of the pods and put them in our collecting bucket. 

The dried pods twist open when fully dried and release the seeds into the surrounding landscape.  We looked for pods that weren't open yet with seeds still inside.  TNC will then use these seeds to establish new lupine communities on the Kitty Todd property.


Water often gets trapped in the lupine leaves making these little water lupine diamonds - so cool!

All kinds of other cool wildlife called the lupine dunes home too: 


A weevil and mating plant bugs...

Another type of plant bug...

Great Spangled Fritillary...

Prickly Pear Cactus...

Some kind of meadowhawk?

A diverse dune community...
Happy Summer!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve

Clifton Gorge is a spectacular place to visit!  Here's a description: "This 268-acre preserve protects one of the most spectacular dolomite and limestone gorges in the state. Registered as a National Natural Landmark in 1968, Clifton Gorge encompasses a 2-mile stretch of the Little Miami State and National Scenic River. Geologically, it is an outstanding example of interglacial and post-glacial canyon cutting. At one point, the river funnels through a deep, narrow channel, which was apparently formed by the enlarging and connecting of a series of potholes in the resistant Silurian dolomite bedrock. In other sections of the gorge, cliff overhangs have broken off forming massive slump blocks scattered along the valley floor. The shaded, north-facing slopes provide a cool, moist environment for northern species including hemlock, red baneberry, Canada yew, arbor-vitae and mountain maple. This is one of the most spectacular sites in the state for viewing spring wildflowers including the rare snow trillium."

We visited Yellow Springs, a fun little art town right by the gorge, the same day.  Cute little knitted items dressed up the signs and light posts, local artisans sold their wares at many, many, many local shops, vibrant paints colored the walls of most every building, native plants grew all about - it's quite a cool place to visit if you travel this way.  We are planning on the fiber fest there in September...can't wait!

Monday, June 14, 2010

What it takes to build reclaimed wood furniture...

A lot of hard work....finding the wood source, salvaging the wood, hauling it home, pounding out old nails, trimming off rotten pieces and finally beginning the "creating" part. Why bother (besides the environmental side)? Every load of wood has a unique story imparted by the lives and living of the original "owner" and the original story of the tree from which the wood came is carried on as well. You can't get that at a big box lumber yard!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Our Etsy Shop is finally open!

Check it out here!  We will continue to add more soap varieties and now that Steve's work table is finished he is ready to start making more furniture again - so expect more options soon....including more jelly cupboards!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


A yummy dinner...big bowl of just picked super ripe mulberries, fresh picked salad (mesclun, arugula, spinach, basil and pea pods), Maque Choux over rice from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health and Six-seed Soda bread from one of my favorite food blogs. mmmm

Monday, June 7, 2010

The garden is growing!

Hot days & frequent rains made our garden grow, grow, grow!

Tom Thumb peas...

Zinnias & Yellow Finn potatoes...

Lettuce mix still chugging along amongst the growing Seneca Red Stalker corn...

Agate soybeans (really excited about these!)...

A little pepper!
Marigolds, tomatoes and peppers experiment (to mulch or not to mulch?)...

Beans, peas, arugula, spinach, winter squash and sunflowers...

Slug action has slowed. We learned slugs don't do well with copper, so we placed pennies around the base of our beans and voila! The plants are growing healthy and strong. (Thanks Mary!)

The fence is keeping our rabbit friend out too. We think it's going to be a great harvest.