Melissa Fischer. wild in Michigan. naturalist

hustling kids part deux

9:20 pm sunsets means the after-dinner playtime is prime swindlin’ time. Time to grab your wheels and get your hustle on…..

I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that one way I like to make money is to hustle kids, specifically placing bets with them about holding a fly that looks exactly like a bee.

Well, now we’re heavy into wheels season. The challenge is to grab any wheels of your choice to race down the steep hill and halfway up the driveway.

Kids get sucked into thinking their choice of weapon- bike, scooter,whatever is the key to a win. Our state isn’t big on a lot of science in our standardized testing, so I don’t blame the kids for overlooking the obvious physics of the situation stacked against them. The hill drops steeply early and I weigh four times what they do- launching me out ahead from the start. Love those suckers.

Meli$$a …. that one’s for you Tori.

Action in the yard this week.

The smallest of five newly born groundhogs.

This little groundhog is acting whack.
I’m pretty sure it’s smaller than its siblings and acting weird because it is infected with Baylisascaris procyonis parasite…. which basically means that there’s little parasitic critters eating its brain. The parasites usually come from raccoon feces.


House Wren

Two House Wrens… one is blurry.

Building a nest out of sticks


The wrens ambitiously stuffed the box so full of sticks it keeps popping open. I decided to intervene with my weapon of choice, duct tape.



I’m in the eye, in the sky.


Eastern Bluebird hatchlings. At this point the nest box is crowded and dirty. The hatchlings step on each other to look out the entrance hole.



House Wren

Golden Dragonfly


Fledging Robin

A Gray Catbird.

Baltimore Checkerspot on clover.

Female Baltimore Oriole.

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.



25 responses

  1. No wonder you don’t dust! I don’t think I have seen a groundhog before – they look like our wombats.

    June 5, 2012 at 6:34 am

  2. Didn’t realize the little guy was sick!
    Forgot to say how wonderful these photographs are –

    June 5, 2012 at 6:37 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Julie, they do look like wombats! I didn’t realize it was sick right away, but the mother kept grabbing the little one in its mouth to stuff it back into the hole of their burrow.

      June 5, 2012 at 6:51 am

  3. forgetmenotmvp

    Love the wrens. Ours are singing up a storm. They lost their house in the high wind last week but rescued if off the ground and the babes seem fine. Darling baby groundhog. Too bad he will gain 20 pounds. Your fondness of them must stem from your days working in the cemetery.

    June 5, 2012 at 6:43 am

    • melissakoski

      Glad your wrens are back Mom. They sure are loud aren’t they? I really did love almost all parts of working in a cemetery and hanging with those groundhogs. (:

      June 5, 2012 at 6:55 am

  4. David Ellis

    Recognize that horse amongst all those beautiful pictures.

    June 5, 2012 at 7:37 am

    • melissakoski

      It’s always beautiful on your street. (:

      June 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm

  5. wonderful pix, such great variety.
    you, however, should be turned in for hustling unsuspecting little kids. somebody should call cnn or the fbi or something.
    homeland security.

    June 5, 2012 at 10:54 am

    • melissakoski

      Dahling Rev. brother, our neighborhood olympics are packed to the brim with love. We’re not sensational enough for coverage or concern. xo

      June 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm

  6. Mike Reterstorf

    Love that your inner gangster is in full force…keep on hustling those kids!

    June 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    • melissakoski

      West side ’til you die Mike! (: Missed you this past weekend. Loves to your family.

      (ever notice slight west siders have a tendency to be runners and trash talkers?)

      June 5, 2012 at 10:33 pm

  7. louisva

    Lisa!!!! That is one great batch of pictures. You’ve outdone your already talented self. I’m not kidding (for a change) but I am really taken by these pics. EXCELLENT!!!!

    Then along comes Old Goat II and talkin’ all mean-like and stuff. I don’t think he really would report ya to the FEDS though – CNN maybe. Keep your guard up either way – I thought we wuz all friends!!!!!!!!

    June 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Louis. I know a gal who has been on CNN live in a toga and years later came back and said “lady garden” live on air. It can happen!

      June 5, 2012 at 10:36 pm

  8. Wasn’t he jesting about the FBI and Homeland Security?? I hope so because I laughed when I read it!

    I loved all the photos and my heart hurt when I read about the baby groundhog. I know it’s the way things are in nature, but it does still seem cruel that one animal is responsible for the slow death of another one…even a groundhog!

    Your photos are inspiring…I just got a new camera and am in the process of trying to figure out how to use it. Seeing your lovely photos is motivation for me to just take pictures! I’ll figure out how to take better ones with experience.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    • melissakoski

      He was just joking… they both were actually. I started the name calling because sometimes those two old goats get ornery in my comments section…… and because they are old. (:

      June 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      • louisva

        I resemble that remark! Ok, she’s right – the Rev. Paul & I are old goats that think they are charming when they are actually the laughing stock of “Melissa not dusting.” We are cute old goats though!

        June 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm

        • Yes, we eat the bark off the trees and tin cans for breakfast.
          Charming, huh? lol

          June 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm

          • melissakoski

            Easy Mr. Tropical, we know you’re fit and nice and chuck full o’ goodness. (: And your bickering entertains my Mom, who deserves lots of laughing moments.

            June 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm

          • louisva

            Paul ole buddy, as a former goat herder, goats will not eat tin cans. The label is gone in an instant but not the can. Man, you need some rural life to larn ya sumpin.

            June 7, 2012 at 9:38 am

        • melissakoski

          you ole buzzards are full of love (:

          June 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm

  9. I love the first shot and the shots with the birds and oranges… they are just fantastic :)

    June 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thank you! The male counterpart to the orange bird eating the orange has the most amazing glowing color.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm

  10. Ciao, really nice set of images, love the leaping robin and the bird with claws on the orange :-)

    June 6, 2012 at 4:36 am

    • melissakoski

      Hey thanks Lynn! There are a lot of young birds clumsily flying and hopping in the yard. The young ones are not smooth at anything yet. (:

      June 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm

  11. brettdownsconspiracy

    My son, Henry, at age four summed it up with “Anything with wheels is fun”. Oh, you have a great eye for photos and I enjoyed perusing your blog.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:17 am


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