Memories caught through my camera - the many faces and things I love.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Giant Ichneumon Wasp

Today was another first for me. I spotted several of these strange looking insects and wondered if they would sting me or not. I found that I was observing a Giant Ichneumon Wasp drilling a hole in a dead tree to lay eggs.

The Inchneumon Wasp can be found on dead trees and tree stumps. The female is actually looking for the pigeon horntail grubs
- so she can lay her eggs that will eventually hatch and eat the horntail - both of these are stingless wasps. Her long tail is longer than her body and is called an ovipositor.

The female uses the ovipositor to drill into the wood of a tree and then arches her back and her abdomen follows the ovipositor to the hole in the tree and deposits her eggs.

The male is not a colorful as the female and his abdomen is smaller and more slender. I hope to get pictures of a male now that I know where to find the females! These are very interesting insects - with the typical three body parts (head, thorax and abdomen), 6 segmented legs and pairs of wings. The big difference in these insects from other insects is the ovipositor.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Walking Through My World

Another wonderful day to walk around my neighborhood. Spring is almost over and the weather is warming up. We still have many cloudy days but great for taking photos.

Today I spotted several bugs and flowers that I always enjoy seeing.

The Common Whitetail dragonflies were very active today, I spotted numerous male and female CW. The Female Common Whitetail has a dark "tail" or abdomen and the mature males a white chalky bluish abdomen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain!


One of my favorite sayings is about dancing in the rain. This particular blog is about two very special babies that have survived the storm and now I am just hoping and praying that they can soon "dance in the rain" because they deserve to have the best life a cat can live.

Fashion is a sweet, loving, 3 year old dilute calico. She was found as a stray and came to New Leash on Life in hopes of finding a loving forever home....this was in October, 2010. She is still waiting on her forever home - but I know she will find it! She is a survivor - diagnosed with Toxoplasmosis recently - but she has recovered very nicely! She needs a home and lots and lots of love!

Cash is Fashion's son! Cash is about 8 months old, orange and white bundle of energy! Cash has never had the joy of living in a home. See, he came to New Leash on Life with his Mom when he was just a little kitten. Cash is a survivor also - he has had digestive issues and also exposed and probably positive for Toxoplasmosis. He is being treated and expects to fully recover from this parasite.

My hope and prayers are that Fashion and Cash find their forever homes soon so they can know and enjoy life as a cat should - in a home with lots of room to roam, play and DANCE!

If you happen to read this blog and are interested in learning more about Fashion and Cash - visit New Leash on Life's website and learn more about these two survivors.

For more information on Toxoplasmosis in cats check out these links:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring is in the air!

Spring is around the corner and I'm so excited. This is my favorite time of the year! Every thing starts blooming and the critters start building their nests and "claiming" their territory. We are so lucky to have such wonderful and beautiful wildlife just outside my back door.

The Great Blue Herons have started nesting. We have a rookery on an island
just as you enter our cove off on Old Hickory Lake, which is part of the Cum
berland River in middle Tennessee. Last count there were around 50 GBH.

Sharing the rookery with the GBHs are the Double-Crested Cormorants. They are back this year in large numbers - at least 50 so far, and nesting along side the GBH.

Wood ducks have also returned this year and hopefully we will see babies swimming around the cove in just a few months. I counted 7 pairs on the north side of the cove, along with some single males - probably looking for a mate.

The Canada Geese are also returning and looking for nesting places. We usually have a pair that will build a nest on our shoreline. If we don't have high water we are able to watch them care for the eggs and protect the nest, and maybe even see the eggs hatch. Unfortunately we usually have high water during nesting time and the nest is washed away. Sure wish they would nest a little further up on the shoreline.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Worms Crawl In.....Worms Crawl Out!

I've recently decided to raise meal worms to feed the birds and maybe even fish a little. Never thought in a thousand years I'd be a wormer, but it's actually easy and pretty cheap.

I started with some worms/beetles given to me by a resident where I work - he has been raising meal worms for years. I purchased some feed (bran oats mixture) from a local feed store. Cost about $7 for 5lbs which last me for probably 3 months.

You can feed them wheat bran, corn meal or uncooked oats purchased at a local grocery store, but I find the meal worm feed from Garr's is the best and probably the cheapest in the long run.

Originally, I kept them in a litterbox pan with a piece of poster board for a lid. I punched holes into the poster board for air circulation. I have since advanced to a plastic drawer system - which seems to be working well.

I feed them about a cup of feed once a week, place an apple or potato half in the drawers, along with a folded paper towel (for hiding and egg laying). Then I just wait and before long I have lot and lots of worms. Sometimes I have lots and lots of beetles - but that is good because they lay eggs and then I get worms.

Pictured below is an apple placed in the drawer - within approximately 10 minutes it was covered with worms.

Did you know that meal worms aren't really worms but the larva stage of a beetle, the Tenebrio Molitor or darkling beetle. There are four life stages of the darkling beetle - the egg, larva, pupa and adult (aka mealworm).

Chickadees, bluebirds, wrens and woodpeckers love meal worms. I really hope to get some great pictures of the birds enjoying these tasty treats!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Birthday

Today was my birthday and I spent it with friends who share my love for animals and rescue work. It was the best day ever!

I was honored to be able to go to Lorie's house and take picture of some of her kittens she is fostering for a local animal control. She has 9 kittens, ranging from 4 weeks to 5 weeks old. There is nothing more wonderful than playing with little kittens! All of these kittens are up for adoption and will be spayed or neutered before going to their forever homes!

This is Elsie Grace - a very beautiful white and grey tabby mix. She is a real pistol and loved posing for the camera. Here she is demonstrating her ability to do "kitty push ups".

This is Amelia - a beautiful tabbico (tabby calico mix). She is about 4 weeks old and is a real sweetheart.

Meet Daisy Mae - she is also a tabbico. She and her littermates are being foster by Lorie, a great friends and cat lover.

When Daisy Mae eats she still suck food but is learning how to "eat" food. Since she and her siblings were taken away from their mom so young they didn't get a chance to nurse very long, therefore, they are still sucking on food and blankets. They are so much fun to watch play and explore their surroundings.

Here is Elsie Mae (again) after some thing scared her. She bushed up her tail and arched her back (a little) but then went on playing and running around the porch.

Kittens need to be socialized when they are young so they learn to play and interact with people.

I hope everyone that reads my blog knows how important it is to spay and neuter your animals. There is such a major over-population of dogs and cats in the United States, especially in areas like the south where the laws are not enforced or in existence to help control this over population problem. Euthanasia is not the answer - spay and neuter is!

They will be healthier and happier because you love them enough to have them fixed!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Walk in the Woods

Today I decided to take a walk in the woods on Corp. property (US Corp of Engineers) located along the Cumberland River in Wilson County, Tennessee. This property was previously used as an girl scout camp but has recently been "returned" to its natural environment. It is a wonderful place to walk and converse with nature.

My adventure took me down many well taken paths and a few not so well taken. I ran across many interesting things - but what I had the most fun with was a Box Turtle (Terrapene Carolina), that I almost stepped on because he was camouflaged so well with the fallen leaves.

American Box Turtle are largely characterized by their dome shaped shell and hinge on the underside of the shell, which allows them to close their shell tightly to escape from predators. The average life span of a ABT is around 80 years in the wild, but some have been known to live for over 100 years. You can roughly tell the age of a ABT by counting the growth rings on the scutes (the bony external plate or scale.)

I think this guy is about 12 years old.

You can tell if its a male or female by looking at the underside of its shell. Females have flat or convex shells, where the male has a concave shell. The male turtles are usually longer and flatter and more colorful, with red eyes. The female has less vibrant color and usually have brown or yellowish eye.

After walking around on the trails a little longer, I returned to Mr. B - he was again hiding in the leaves hoping I would not notice him. But I had to get a few more picture of this young male and then left him to continue my stroll in the woods. I think he was very glad to say good-bye and think he might have waved at me as I headed down the path far far away from him.