Every time I go outside, I look around to see what I can see–I enjoy looking at the wildflowers along the driveway, and try to see if I can spot any new ones in bloom. I also look and listen for birds, insects, or other critters. It’s sort of like my a living “Hidden Pictures” game. There’s always something beautiful or interesting to see.
Hannah also is watchful, although I think she’s actually looking for things to eat. Sunday morning when I took her outside, she lunged for something to the left of the porch step. I quickly pulled her away because I didn’t want her to eat something she shouldn’t. I looked for what she was interested in, and I saw a huge toad. I kept Hannah away from it and when I came back later, it was gone.
Hannah also spotted the dead baby snake in the driveway when we went for a walk yesterday. It was about as thick as a pencil and maybe twice as long. I took a photo of it and sent it to EJ at work. He wanted to see it, so I used a long thin wooden board from the garage to pick it up and put it in an empty kitty litter bucket. I was brave because it was dead. I looked it up on Google and I think it’s a milksnake. It is nonvenomous, as most Michigan snakes are. I read at the Live Science website that there are 24 different subspecies of milksnake. They are powerful constrictors that eat rodents and eggs, they sometimes pretend to be rattlesnakes to scare off predators, and they like to live in forests. The snake was quite beautiful. I do not mind snakes because I usually don’t see them, if I do encounter them they slither off, and in Michigan they are usually nonvenomous. EJ says that the only venomous snake we have in Michigan is the Massasauga, which is extremely venomous.
Yesterday afternoon I was looking out the window as I talked to my friend on the phone, and I saw an Indigo Bunting. I was ecstatic. Besides the fact that they are a very beautiful blue color, this is about only the third time I’ve ever seen one. It was difficult to capture it with my camera because it kept hopping around on the berry bushes, but I got a somewhat decent photo. They are so pretty!
When I walked Hannah down to the mailbox today, I saw that some of the “Johnny Go to Bed At Noon” flowers had gone to seed. I grabbed some of the seeds and scattered them along the driveway to help spread them. I often scatter the seeds of plants that I like.
I also noticed that the milkweed is beginning to bloom. I think they have very pretty flowers. Milkweed are the only plant that Monarch Butterflies lay their eggs on. I’m hoping to increase the number of plants on our property to attract more Monarchs. When the Milkweeds go to seed, I also scatter them around our property.
Halfway down the driveway, I noticed something large in the Leafy Spurge plants. I went over for a closer look, and found two unusual caterpillars that I had never seen before. They were very large–about four inches long–and beautifully colored. On the way back up the driveway after getting our mail from the mailbox, I spotted two more in another Leafy Spurge plant a few feet away. When I got back to the house, I googled them and learned that they are Leafy Spurge Hawk Moths.
I read in an on-line article that
Winter is spent in the pupal stage, which occurs in a below ground earthen cell a few inches below the soil surface. Adults emerge in late May or June and may sometimes be seen visiting flowers at dusk where they feed on nectar. The adults are “hawk moths” that hover when feeding, much in the manner of a hummingbird. Females lay between 70-150 eggs, in small batches on the leaves and flower bracts of their host plant.
I look forward to seeing them in their moth stage. They are pretty cool.
I love our Enchanted Forest because it is beautiful and I always discover something new, unusual, and interesting. It’s fun trying to see them. Life is interesting and full of wonder.