Monday, July 26, 2010

Good Morning, Maple

I’m posting much later than usual today due to some minor technical difficulties. It seems that when I let my nephew use my digital camera for last week’s post, he went hog wild and used up all the battery power left in the camera.

I didn’t realize it until this morning when I tried to take this week’s photo of my tree. So the battery had to spend a few hours in the recharger—delaying my post.

The good news is that the wait was worth it. Taking a photo at 10:00 provided more light than usual, and I was able to see something I usually don’t: A leaf that looks like a luna moth. Well, sort of.

When I first looked up into the tree, I thought this leaf was a moth with its wings spread wide. But then I came to my senses. Luna moths are only active at night. During the day, they hide and rest.

A second look revealed the truth. Sunlight was illuminating this particular leaf beautifully—but the ones all around it and above it were considerably darker. How cool is that?

A closer view of the leaf showed that it’s had a hard life since it first unfurled in May.

It’s torn and it’s been damaged by all manner of creepy crawlies. But it has still managing to photosynthesize and provide plenty of food for the tree. What a little hero!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Good Morning, Maple!

This morning I have a special guest blogger here with me—my nephew who is visiting from Maine. He took the photos that we’ll be looking at.

The first is the typical view of my maple tree from the window—but this time we photographed it through the screen because my nephew thought it was a cool effect. I agree.

We decided to take a closer look at the tree to see if we could find any interesting creepy crawlies. It took a while, but we eventually spotted an ant that was low enough to photograph. Look at this great image my nephew took of the ant. He used the macro lens setting, which he likes to call the “bug setting."

While he was diligently snapping photo after photo of the ant on the tree, he felt a tickling on his leg. He looked down and then snapped a great image of another ant crawling up his leg.

Finally, he noticed a tiny little fruit fly flitting around on the tree. Patience paid off because he eventually caught this really nice photo of the fruit fly. Look at those bright red eyes!

I really liked having a partner to explore the tree with today. I can’t wait until his sisters come to visit us in a few weeks. Maybe they’ll help me out too.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Good Morning, Maple

We’ve been having a heat wave and drought here in New England, and the water reserves are down so low that my town announced a ban on outdoor watering. That’s bad news for my garden and even the lawn. We’ve never had to water the grass before, but this year’s it’s burned to a crisp in some spots.

Our front yard faces almost due south. and it gets the full force of the afternoon sun. Most of the time I’m happy about that, especially on cold winter days. But lately the sizzling sun has been brutal.

As you can see in this picture, the grass on the west end of our front yard (foreground) is brown and wilted. Very sad. But the grass on the east end of the yard looks fine. Why? Because it lies in the shade of my favorite tree. That’s just one more reason to love my lithe maple.