Melissa Fischer. wild in Michigan. naturalist

Posts tagged “gardening

And then it was spring and finally summer

Bard and I hiked yesterday and parts of the ground looked like they were moving as hundreds of these little toads hopped about.

Brad and I hiked yesterday and parts of the ground looked like they were moving as hundreds of these little toads hopped about.

Huge crayfish (by Michigan standards...maybe 7 inches.

Huge crayfish (by Michigan standards…maybe 7 inches)



Speckled May Apple? I've never seen this coloration before?

Speckled May Apple? I’ve never seen this coloration before?







Cute snail/ terrible garden pest

Cute snail/ terrible garden pest




Wild Geranium

Wild Geranium


Wild Violet

Wild Violet



Almost out

Almost out

Tent worms

Tent worms

Wild strawberry

Wild strawberry









I finally have a garden again and it's a wonderful feeling.

I finally have a garden again and it’s a wonderful feeling.


It’s raining leaves

A leaf temporarily caught in the sumac berries. It drifted off in the wind right after I took this photo.

My new maid is a non-lactating squirrel

Tyrant, the red squirrel that calls my yard and walnut trees home, has been busy bringing nuts into my shed a few hours a day.

Last winter I watched Tyrant spend hours and hours chasing larger squirrels away from the drift of walnut trees out back. I assumed Tyrant was male because this chasing behavior seemed aggressive and futile and I judged it as masculine. I also named the squirrel Tyrant at this time. This squirrel really seemed the jump-on-your- face-and-eat-it-off type of critter. When spring came I realized I was a judgmental idiot as soon as I spotted Tyrant’s six huge lactating boobs hanging out of her fur.

Last year Tyrant used the woodpile for winter shelter and food storage. The pile was a horrible choice for a shelter since the wind blows directly at the logs and its kind of a cramped space.

Now she’s back to stock piling winter treats and has moved from the drafty woodpile to my shed. I had “face the squirrel” on my to do list for a few weeks. A few friends mentioned, “You have got to kill it/get rid of it. Those things are trouble.” I didn’t have any intention of killing Tyrant, but knew I should check the well-being of my shed. I was shocked when I opened the shed to investigate and/or get my face eaten off by Tyrant, figuring I’d see a trashed mess of red squirrel destruction. Instead this is what I saw…..

Tyrant’s nuts stacked neatly in my empty flower pots. For the love she’s neater than me!

She also had a little nest in the most protected corner furthest away from where the winter wind blows. Now I know a lot of readers have an Aunt whose house was terrorized by a red squirrel eating through the screen and gorging themselves on appliance wires, or perhaps a cousin who had a red squirrel fill his attic to the rooftop with shit after biting their baby’s leg, but I’m letting Tyrant hang out in my shed this winter. She’s neater than I am so really, the way I see it, I should invite her to live inside and get her started on whipping this place into shape. I’m not too worried about Tyrant’s new shelter. She is just looking for food, water and shelter for the winter, which she now has secured neatly in my shed. I’m confident she is not going to branch out into gnawing weed whacker string because she saw it done on a reality show or that’ll she’ll try to create a larger home by destroying the shed windows because she read about it in a fancy glossy magazine.

A lovely sunrise I watched on a run through my best friend’s orchard.

Chickadee hanging out on the deck.

See the cool pattern on this grasshopper’s leg?

See how the cool leg pattern is missing on the other side of this grasshopper? I bet a million dollars a bird snatched its leg and the rest of the grasshopper got away.

bright color in the garden……


A Great Blue Heron downtown Grand Rapids in the Grand River. (lower middle)

giving my boobs a break

Last week we lost summer’s hour of dusk and the nights turned cool. The lack of daylight combined with cooler temperatures starts the leaves’ colorful death cycle.

I spent the weekend in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at my cousin’s wedding. I also picked up some art from the artist Dominic Fredianelli, who along with my cousin, is in the movie Where Soldiers Come From.

It’s REBAL with an A in a rebellious fashion. It was a tight squeeze in my vehicle since it’s 8ft. x 4ft.

It’s down to the last few weeks to enjoy the trails at Cannonsburg State Game Area. Luckily there are several other local trail systems closed to hunting. All spring and summer I stuff any trash I come across in the woods into my shirt. Most of the trash is shotgun slugs. It’s time to give my boobs a break.

A mushroom in Cannonsburg State Game Area

Spotted Cucumber Beetle

Tree Frog


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Tomatoes from the garden


Some seriously amazing sh*t!

seriously click to enlarge….way worth it.


Speaking of poop, an amazing number of people stumble onto my blog looking for information on turkey poop. (welcome to my blog) Michigan’s fall turkey hunt is almost here so if you successfully drew a license I can let you know where a large flock of turkeys hang out in the Cannonsburg State Game Area.

Sunlight through a hole eaten by a Monarch caterpillar in a milkweed leaf.
***Light and Joy and Peace Abide in Me***

A newly hatched Monarch caterpillar and the leaf of a burning bush. The last batch of monarchs will live longer than a few weeks and travel 1,000’s of miles to warm breeding grounds in Mexico. I found three little ones in the garden yesterday and so far only one is missing.

A Great Blue Heron peeking.

FLYING….Check out the talons and meaty thighs…probably tastes like pond muck though.



A mixed flock of Cedar Waxwings and House Finches fluttering and chattering.

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.

I’m grateful I WASN’T arrested and WAS published.

One way I stay a drama-free Mama is to write a quick daily list of the things I’m grateful for. The other is running in the woods.

I usually hit the woods after morning coffee, which means by the time I get to the spot I illegally park to jump on the trail I have to pee.
(I use a very discreet deer path away from the trail and check my ass for deer ticks as routinely as I brush my teeth.)

Last week a police officer pulled up to my illegal parking spot as I jumped out of my car… on my way to pee.

Police Officer: (rolls down his window)Is everything okay Miss?
Me: Not really.
Police Officer: What seems to be the problem?
Me: The problem is that I have to pee super bad and I don’t want a ticket for indecent exposure….and your car is blocking my regular pee spot.
Police Officer: (Laughs and gives me a high five) Ha that’s funny. Well then, sorry to disturb you. Enjoy your day.
Me: Good thing we high fived before I peed huh?
Police Officer: You’re crazy. Have a good one.

I put thankful for not being arrested, ticketed or made to follow parking rules on my grateful list.

I had an even funnier exchange a few minutes later on the trail, but will save that story for another day. It did involve another person saying, “You’re crazy.” while laughing.

This week I received a book containing one of my photos. I was published in a real live book… with a cover and pages and everything! This was a great raft to cling to amidst a crap week. I put being published on my grateful list.

The monarch chrysalis is almost clear.

When I woke up the next morning the chrysalis was completely clear.

It broke free just after I took the pictures of the clear chrysalis and grabbed some coffee. Busy morning! (:

At this point I took off for a few hours and completely forgot about the Monarch and its emergence. It’s been a loooooong week and I’m a bit distracted. Eventually I found the butterfly and brought it outside.

My daughter snapped this. I’m glad the ones she took of me running around the house trying to nab the butterfly were too blurry to incriminate my absent-mindedness.

Some one should get on weeding that garden path.

That solar light is one of the last of twenty the young raccoons haven’t wrestled out of the ground and into the woods. Teenagers are mischievous even in the animal world.

Mischievous and cute.

Six wren eggs. I’ve never seen wren eggs. The twigs of the nest usually block the view of the eggs.


Purple Coneflowers are a hit with a lot of critters. I love the light in this one.

THESE make a lot of……


If anyone would like some perennials give me a shout out. I have more than enough to share.

Milkweed Beetle

Tree Frog. By now usually one has jumped on my skin when I’m outside at night, but I don’t have a close encounter to report yet.

Not sure what this is, but it loved the milkweed blossoms.

And that wraps up the last few days ’round here.