Melissa Fischer. wild in Michigan. naturalist

How to be trashy

I’ve been having afternoon tea a few feet away from this teenage raccoon. It’s pretty tame. It either knows I come in peace (and knows my stink) or is half dead with some coon disease.

The garden is full of all different kinds of butterflies…. that I’m really crappy at identifying.

Perennials for my best friend’s gardens. It was a three-hour car ride with lots of spiders, crickets, moths and bees. It was the best smelling ride ever.

First I loaded the flowers into the car and then I watered them. The baskets of flowers would have been too heavy for me to lift if I watered them first. This falls into the category of intelligent jackassery. 

I made it to the farm!

Jodi’s house; a great place to camp for the weekend. I camped out next to the barn…close enough to the house in case my friend’s husband would have to come out and keep me safe with his guns and beef jerky from something scary…. like wind that sounds like footprints or something like that.

One of the many beautiful buildings on the farm.

This butterfly is on its last leg… or wing.

I woke up early one day and decided to see how close I could get to the turkeys I heard gobbling.

On the hike up to the orchards I saw this funky growth….

…past the smelly crow…..

dead crow (helpful hint to name decimated rotten birds is to check out the beak… not many critters like bird beak)

The turkeys were just past the dead crow and I only got within 50 yards of them before they took off. I continued through the woods……

….past my favorite tree….

….down the hill toward the bees….

…and past the shooting range and fire pit back towards the house and barns.

Sunset at Skeba Farm.

We even left the farm a few times over the weekend.

Soma Jones is a photographer with beautiful nature prints for sale in the most perfectly designed store EVER called Jack Of The Green. I found his artist bio hilarious.

Tracy, the shop owner, sung like a bird when my buddy Jodi started asking him questions about Soma Jones. Turns out Soma Jones is not Soma Jones, but a guy named Bruce who values privacy and would prefer a long distance relationship. Don’t tell anyone. I’ll leave out his age for privacy sake.

I wish I had taken more photos of the shop, but we were having a great time chatting. We didn’t have time to visit their amazing gardens, but next time I definitely won’t miss them.

There was even excitement at the local hardware store.

Cedar Hardware Store

They must have hatched that day or the day before.

The Robin nestlings.

Back at home I was shocked to find the Eastern Bluebird eggs haven’t hatched. They’ve been there for at least 19 days and normally they hatch in 10-14 days. I hope our heat wave didn’t cook the eggs.

hello?? anything in there?

I also saw a blue racer snake for the first time while on a run this afternoon. I was going to post the snake, but there are quite a few guts involved since it was squished into the road.
My run turned into a walk because I pulled a muscle grabbing something out of the trash…. so trashy.


29 responses

  1. Ciao Melissa, great post, really enjoyed all the shots and good of you to inc the man’s bio!

    July 17, 2012 at 7:55 am

    • melissakoski

      Ciao Lynne! His bio was a great part of my weekend. (:

      July 20, 2012 at 10:59 am

  2. What a great bunch of pictures, Lisa. The raccoon looks so peaceful, resting there in a cat-like pose, maybe I should stop worrying about you and the coons. Speaking of coons, my wife called me soon after leaving for work to tell me that 4 coons crossed our lane right in front of her.

    Very smart trick – watering the flowers AFTER loading. BTW, they are beautiful.

    What a beautiful place where Jodi lives. Michigan looks very picturesque.

    What is the circumference of your favorite tree? Looks like a beech – right?

    July 17, 2012 at 9:42 am

    • melissakoski

      I’m not sure what kind of tree that is Louie Lou… it’s only about 5″ around I’d guesstimate. Louis I shit you not I saw an article just yesterday about a rabid 65 lb. beaver attacking two girls in Virginia. You guys should move to scenic Michigan where the critters are loving. (:

      July 20, 2012 at 10:58 am

  3. I always tell my girls the best part of any bird are the beaks and feet. They just crinkle up their noses at me. Mmm, beaks.

    July 17, 2012 at 11:30 am

    • melissakoski

      That’s funny Kevin. I think my kiddos are finally adjusted to me jumping out of the car to photograph all sorts of animals, living or dead, knowing I don’t expect them to participate on any level. They’ll occassionally say things like, “Mom I saw a dead opossum on Third Street from the bus window” and I’ll think, “Gosh I’m raising these kids right!”. (: They tolerate me.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:51 am

      • Yes, toleration is about the most we can hope for as parents. :) At least until they’re older. Hopefully then they’ll be willing to participate once in a while. I’m lucky in that all my girls like fishing, though no one is crazy about mosquitos, ticks or briars. I can’t blame them there.

        July 20, 2012 at 10:58 am

  4. Awesome post, Melissa. Love all the photos. What a great way to show us a glimpse of your friend’s amazing place, so close to nature, and lots of photo opportunity. Thank you for sharing.

    July 17, 2012 at 11:35 am

    • melissakoski

      Gracie it is a beautiful place and its lovely to feel at home in the area. I miss my best friend terribly, but am thankful for a beautiful place to visit!

      July 20, 2012 at 10:47 am

  5. Good post, Melissa. I like the racoon image best, followed by the butterflies. :)

    July 17, 2012 at 11:57 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Mike, we always like the same photos the best. (we had actual rain yesterday for the first time in a month….hopefully that means you experienced some warm sun!)

      July 20, 2012 at 10:45 am

      • Yes, the forecast for the next 10 days is looking good.

        July 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm

  6. really, really purty.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    • melissakoski

      So wordy today Rev. Pee Pauw! (: Hope you’re settled in and loving your tropical paradise dear one!

      July 20, 2012 at 10:44 am

  7. keekeepod

    I think the orange-black butterfly is some kind of fritillary. I had a fritillary butterfly with wings just as torn as the one you think is on her “last wing.” That fritillary lasted several days, chasing after monarch and other butterflies whenever an opportunity arose.

    Raccoons are so cute. Too bad they can be so destructive and some carry brain worms.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    • melissakoski

      I think I have a past post in which I identified this butterfly, but was too lazy to backtrack and figure it out. The current field guide I have is sectioned by color, rather than species and I’ve decided it isn’t helping me grow my id skills. The raccoons tear out my solar lights and drag them into the woods, steal my suet feeders and smash my bird feeders regularly. I find it entertaining despite the nuisance. Sadly, I think the raccoons did pass on some brain worms to the groundhog family in the yard.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:43 am

      • keekeepod

        I only use field guides when I really want to know enough to spend the time looking through many entries. Fortunately, or unfortunately, there aren’t many variety of butterflies/wildlife in an old Chicago Metro suburb. No groundhogs here either.

        July 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm

  8. Your friend at the top is either the most introspective raccoon I’ve ever seen or wiped out from the heat. Soma Jones’ write-up is excellent, as are your photos, and… intelligent jackassery is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while! Love it.

    July 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    • melissakoski

      Sid I think it was wiped out by the heat…. that’s better than thinking it’s dying a slow death and spreading its disease to me over tea. I think Soma Jones is a real prize based on his bio alone. (: I think I usually do something that could be filed under jackassery at least once a day. Calling it creative thinking might be a stretch.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:42 am

  9. Beautiful photographic essay. You have some awesome shots. Particularly liked the butterflys on flowers. That’s cardworthy. And Soma Jones!!! LOL

    July 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thank you for the card worthy compliment! Glad you enjoyed Soma Jones’ sense of humor as much as I. I stopped b/c I thought his photo was cute and ended up being completely entertained. His modesty struck me as a refreshing rarity in the midst of people blathering every thought, feeling and fact in our media-saturated world.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:33 am

  10. Beautiful pictures and equally well written. Great post.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:58 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Arindam!

      July 20, 2012 at 10:31 am

  11. This post made me want to get a new camera and go outside! I think I work too much ha…great post!

    July 22, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    • melissakoski

      Aw Nate I wish I could buy everyone a camera and give them the green light to quit their jobs. Hope you get a chance to enjoy the outdoors soon!

      July 24, 2012 at 10:28 am

  12. Great photos, as always!

    July 23, 2012 at 9:53 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Cathy!

      July 24, 2012 at 10:28 am

  13. Meredith Barnes

    Hi Melissa! I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Check out your link here –
    I can’t even tell you how much I enjoy your blog! From the title down to every single post!! The set up you have to watch caterpillars turn into butterflies is so cool! I’d love to have the space to do that to watch cicadas Your photos are beautiful and your commentary is great! Thank you for sharing your world :)

    July 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm

  14. louisva

    I would like to second that nomination. Beautiful work from a very talented friend!

    July 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm


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