Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Finding the Hidden World in Our Front Yard

Hiro Hunts for Voles in the yard.
Hummers are draining the feeder
So, what do you do when you have a new found freedom of time at your disposal?   It has taken a while to find the "zen" in simple things without having to worry about a job.   Cheryl is still struggling with the lack of "Time Structure" a job provides. But before I go off on a rant against jobs ( again!)  I'll try to maintain focus on what I have been up to. 
Monarch in flight
Newly hatched Cicada
This guy hangs around here a lot!
Silver spotted Skipper
The new camera is different from the old Nikon.  Not better or worse, mind you;  just different.   It excels in taking close up and still shots.   This may prove invaluable over the up coming months as we retake all of those Christmas Stocking pictures for the Etsy Shop.  While helping out Cheryl with the "mechanics" of the camera,   I took it outside and tried to push it to the limits of its functions.  

Attempting to capture small things and detail is usually a challenge with the various cameras her have had before.   Many times, I favor taking rapid shots and selecting the ones that turn out the best.  This camera allows that a bit.  But, by taking time, I'm able to take some very interesting photos.  

One of the many  types of Tiger Moths
Another Moth larva... perhaps?
And that brings me to the world that exists right under our noses but we often fail to see. I noted a couple caterpillars munching about on our front yard cone flowers.   I have yet to ID the fuzzy one.  I'm thinking it is a member of the Tiger Moth family.  There are many look-a-likes out there.  

Not sure about the inch worm either.  Most likely a moth as well, since I'm familiar with most of the larvae of North American butterflies. 

Bumbles lands on Orange Ruffle
Bumble launches off to another flower.
I tried to capture a bumblebee in flight, but had mixed results.  

Ctenucha virginica. with Soldier beetle.
Check out hot the soldier beetle and the  Ctenucha virginica.  It's a moth!  I'm  not sure of the common name, but I'm guessing it looks like this to imitate either a wasp or a beetle of some sort...( perhaps the Solider Beetle after all!) 

New Camera Captures Aphids!
And last but not least...aphids with Strange ants.   I'm not sure if these are related to the honey pot ants, but they were hanging around the aphid stem ( although, I did not see any interaction between the two)  
Members of Honey Pot Ants?
The aphids are on one small plant, and the ants and soldier beetles were leaving them alone. Perhaps they were not aware of each other.   I was impressed I could capture the smallest of Aphids with the camera on zoom. 

Squirrel with Nut "Coolaid" Mustache
Of coarse the cat and squirrels are always there to practice my focus.  

Wisconsin Beer....Mmmmm! Good!
And finally,  BEER!  Having returned from Wisconsin with a trunk full of brews,  I thought I would show off the latest tasting the Beer State has to offer.  All of the beers from Wisconsin have been great!   It is difficult to nail down which one is the best because they all excel in their various niches.   However, Cheryl and I agree that the Inaugural Red is one of our favorites...( at this time) A rich malty flavor seems to hit the right notes at this time of year.   Maybe it is how Oktoberfest beers are meant to be. 
Hiro Stands guard on the Porch!

Other than that,  Cheryl and I have been taking steps to get the shop up and running.  I edidted a bunch of listings today, while Cheryl "retrained" on the SAT scoring at home for ETS.   ( Alphabet soup, I know....)   Let me just sign off with how we are trying to wind down after a very long summer project this year.  Plus, we will need the be fully rested for the upcoming Chicago Marathon and Stocking season.  

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