First: Big news! We got a trio of new chickens! They are young Buff Orpingtons, and we are going to slowly introduce them to our current ladies. I asked a vet I work with how one does this, and she said it was similar to introducing cats to each other, which was basically already our plan. Both flocks are in adjacent coops in view of each other. At some point we'll let them come into contact and then we'll integrate the two groups.
Alexis noticed this tulip sent its stem right through an insect-feeding hole in a dead oak leaf. Go, life, go!
The Virginia creeper is awake and ready to cause some trouble!
My dad stayed over on Saturday and Sunday morning said goodbye to the dogs. The bright sunlight and full growth of weeds and flowers everywhere inspired me to take pictures of the house and yard:( Read more... )
Most of these Brooklyn Nature post pics are going to from Prospect Park, a nearly 600 acre Olmsted landscape, of which I explored a few hundred square feet. Alexis and I first looked at very early on Sunday morning, before the wreckage of Saturday night festivities had been cleared away. Here's the base of a planter, delightfully overgrown with moss and weeds.
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Virginia creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia
People with tidy property will not tolerate Virginia creeper. It climbs up fences and walls and even spreads across insufficiently mowed lawns. But it's a good native New England plant that provides berries for birds to eat in the winter, and a dazzling fall display for humans in the fall. I've been carefully tolerating it in various locations of the yard in order to ensure its survival, while diligently removing oriental bittersweet and poison ivy. Virginia creeper appeared in the fall of 2006 as 365 urban species #264.
This vine is crawling up the fence between our little side yard and the front yard.
Here's a fellow zookeeper and I in traffic on 93 on the way back from the Gilmour Bike Ride. Thanks so much to those of you who donated! I was mopey at first, but got quite a few donations and I'm honored by your generosity. The money goes to a terrific scholarship program; most of the riders on my team are scholarship recipients.
Would you like to see the ride?( Read more... )
I began taking a workshop today, at the UMass Extension eastern field station, which also happens to be the grounds of the Waltham Fields Community Farm. During the break I walked around the grounds. There were several derelict greenhouses, and some new ones under construction. The old greenhouses had become habitat for weeds. This small one is full of evening primrose.( Read more... )
On this day in 365 Urban Species: Still in Austin, away from computers. But we did see a big beautiful blue wasp.
Photos by cottonmanifesto. Location: Riverway/Jamaicaway, Brookline/Boston line.
Urban species #264: Virginia creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Autumnal equinox has come and gone, and in Boston the green has begun to drain from the leaves. The sugar maples get all the credit for the beautiful colors of fall, but many other plants turn red and orange when the chlorophyll disappears. One the first and loveliest plants to turn is Virginia creeper, a woody perennial vine with distinctive leaves that have five leaflets. Like many vines, it vexes homeowners as it climbs over trees and shrubs, and fences and walls, creating an untidy appearance and spreading very quickly. Personally, I like it; it's native to our area, unlike oriental bittersweet, and it doesn't cause me the irritation that poison ivy does. Some authorities definitely consider it to be a noxious weed, and its berries and leaves contain toxic (to humans) amounts of oxalic acid.
Virginia creeper can grow in many different habitats, tolerating shady forests, but especially thriving along forest edges. It can grow near water, and can tolerate drought. An individual vine can grow to fifty feet long. In the best cases it climbs eyesores, adding lush and scruffy beauty to vacant lots and abandoned buildings. The berries are an important winter food source for songbirds, and, when they fall, feed skunks and other mammals.
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