Step in to my Parlor…

The wasps and spiders have begun gathering on my porch, a sure sign that winter is well and truly over.

The numbers this year are somewhat unimpressive: last spring there were hundreds of wasps from three different species gathering under the eaves, while this year I’ve seen only a few, all of them Red Paper Wasps. Continue reading

Into the Woods.

Today the weather feels more like early summer than early spring. This afternoon I took a break from the computer to take a stroll down into the valley behind the house — with the camera, of course — to see what was going on down there.  This early in the season the poison ivy hasn’t taken over yet, so it’s possible to get off the beaten path a bit. Continue reading

World Enough, and Time.

The crane flies are out and about this evening.

These creatures are a familiar sight everywhere during their brief mating season each year — flimsy tangles of thready legs and cellophane wings smacking into window screens and lampshades, dangling from spider webs, drowning in teacups, the survivors finally disintegrating after a few days into a litter of disorganized limbs under the porch light. Continue reading

Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Although we call them mountains, the Ozarks are really just the eroded remains of primeval sea-bottom, lifted by the pressures of continental drift, then cut and carved and gouged by a couple of hundred million years of water and wind. Even in the greenest spots, the ancient rocks are never far away: the Ozark ecosystem is a thin skin of life stretched over a broken skeleton. Continue reading