Saturday, July 27, 2013


     The dogs and I hiked around the the north end of Shenandoah National Park yesterday.
      We met a park ranger pulling invasive Canada Thistle and Common Mullein on the Fox Hollow trail.

     We watched, what I think were, turkey vultures walk around the Snead farm barn. They eventually settled in the empty window frames.

     We (Bow mostly) stared at the Shenandoah valley near the six mile marker on the Dickey Ridge trail.

     Afterward we encountered a black bear and her cub (a distance away). Unfortunately I was not fast enough to get a picture.
     It was a perfect hiking day. It was sunny, but not hot. A slight breeze kept mosquitoes and other insects away. The forest smelled of warm wood and mineral dust. The fields smelled like milkweed and bergamot. The dogs kept urging us forward. They have been sleeping ever since.

Friday, July 12, 2013

"There's a huge bug on your head."

     The Japanese beetles are emerging!
  An invasive insect species native to Japan, the beetles aggresively eat plant foliage, damaging crops and gardens. When they emerge from the ground as adults, they seem to take over for about a month--mating, eating, laying eggs, and eventually dying. Their iridescent exoskeletons are kind of cool. They are terrible fliers and easy to catch. The good news for farmers and gardeners is they can be killed naturally and can be removed easily from plants by hand.
    Here are some pictures of a wad of Japanese beetles I found in my neighborhood.