Thursday, October 19, 2006

Temperance River State park Almost done with this year's batch of changes to my pond, and not a moment too soon -- seems there's a nasty mix of rain and snow moving in this weekend.
Dredging the last of the leaves out of the pond, I've netted a few sluggish frogs from the bottom. Looks like they're developing a shiny, slimy coating, and are preparing for winter dormancy.
Click image for more detail.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Just got back from our trip to Grand Marais.

While I'm still downloading and organizing the pictures, I've compiled a brief list of the wildlife we spotted on our trip:

Here are a few of the photos we've downloaded so far.

Click the thumbnail to view a larger image.

temperance river

Temperance River State Park

devil's kettle

Judge C.R. Magney State Park

garter snake

Garter Snake in Temperance River State Park

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Daisy Fleabane (Click to enlarge)
Pond Garden Flowers currently in bloom:

Trees Turning:

  • Sugar Maple (Peaking)
  • White Oak
  • Smooth Sumac

Fauna Spotted in the Pond Garden this week:

Friday, October 06, 2006

Maple trees look great next to a pond garden. They're hardy, they're native, they grow full and lush in the spring and summer, and a ripe, rich red in the Autumn. Then they dump their leaves into the pond, making for an pump-clogging breeding ground of algae and bacteria. Spending an hour each day with the net, ladling maple leaves and algae clumps out like some sort of chlorophyll soup, have led me to a new solution; a thin, mold-resistant net over the second basin with gaps wide enough to allow frogs and fish to pass through, but to catch the leaves as they fall.

(Click below for larger image)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A finalized picture of the new patio. While it took about 15 bags of sand to get a 1" deep layer in the 6X8 box, it only took two bags to fill in the gaps.

(click photo for larger image.)

Monday, October 02, 2006

boxelder bug explosion I just read a passage in Weird Minnesota (Mark Moran et all) about a plague of locusts averted when a strong frost wiped out the eggs. It got me wondering if the rising temperatures over the weekend were the spark in the boxelder bug powder keg that's left many Twin Cities houses and business fronts coated in a teeming skin of the small black and red-striped beetles. Fortunately, unlike locusts, these native insects are unlikely to wipe out our crops or cause blood poisoning in livestock. The only real damage involved is the nuisance of cleaning up the thousands of brittle insects carcasses.

patio bricksFinally polished off the patio blocks. Had to add a bit of color to the first set I poured out over three weeks ago, as the rain was already fading the red and turning the surface fo the brown stones to salt-and-pepper. Also added a coat of sealer to cure and weatherproof. Hope to get the sand packed in by Wednesday.

The other weekend big project, replacing the West pond basin, is at least half finished in that the pond has been drained, the plants, frogs and fish fry relocated to the East Basin, and holes punched in the bottom. Over the week I'm planning to take out some righteous IT-related rage ("you did WHAT to your work computer?") on the unsuspecting rigid liner with an axe and sledge hammer. But not tonight. Tonight's' my anniversary, which I PROBABLY would have remembered on my own, even if my beautiful Irish wife hadn't taken it upon herself to casually remind me for the last month and a half.

Her: Isn't it amazing we'll have been married for two years?
Me: It sure is.
Her: Two years as of five weeks and three days.
Me: Wow, I didn't know you had it down that far.
Her: Has it felt like two years?
Me: It sure has.
Me: Uh, I mean, NO, it hasn't.
Me: I mean --

At any rate, here's some fall color from our jaunt out to the Forest Lake/Wyoming side of the Carlos Avery WMA.

Click the thumbnails to see larger versions.

native grasscarlos avery wma carlos avery wma

goldenrod native plant minnesota native ferns in carlos avery wma redhead in carlos avery wma

maple leaves, fall color in Carlos Avery WMA