December 25, 2022

Martha O'Kennon

Here is the pond on December 23, right after my favorite electricians visited and found that both the only-one-year-old heater AND the GFI port on the deck were defective. They installed a new GFI and fortunately I had already got a new heater, which they also taped to the existing extension cord and voila! Defrosting had begun.. Picture 1 shows the pond right after they left. You may have heard that we have just emerged from a two-day snowstorm. Yesterday (December 23) the temperature got down to 11 degrees F and maybe colder - I quit looking. But that's why the melted part of Picture 2 is so much smaller.

Our beloved American Winter Ants did come out one day earlier this week, but that was it. On the 21st, I did see this little black creature that I always mistake for a bigger type of Ant, but then came to my senses and @megachile of iNat verified that it was a Gall Wasp, and in fact an Oak Gall Wasp. These little guys always appear as Winter is about to transition into Spring, so I'm always delighted to see them, and this was on the Solstice!

Remember that there is information in the name of the file for each image. You can see it by mousing over the image - look at the lower left of the screen. Or you can click on the image to get to the (usually) larger image. Then the info is displayed in the address line above. Sometimes the second click will actually display a different view of the original image.

But ONE little Eastern Boxelder Bug did what it's famous for - I found it in my bedroom the other day - a bit less brilliantly colored but eager to climb about indoors! I shooed it out of my room but not outdoors, so it is probably still indoors somewhere. This little Case Creature (actually the larva of a little Moth) was outside though.

I can't help wondering when the little Barklice are going to move underneath the Shop but for now I can show you one little set of eggs, which I think are from Graphopsocus cruciatuus, and one adult of that species. Picture 3 shows that that adult has a good set of WIPs (Wing Interference Patterns).

The Case Moths are few now, but here is one, taken before the snowstorm. Picture 2 is probably the wing of some tiny creature, and picture 3 shows a very tiny black thing.

This looks like some kind of Fly, but it was running so quickly up the wall that it was hard to capture the details. And I've no clue what number 3 is!

So we are already into the Spiders. This one is a Running Crab Spider. The long abdomen is a giveaway. Note on it a fuzzy replica of a face...

So you have now seen all the minute beings that I saw this week. Fortunately, the pond attracts a number of birds. The other day I saw a pair of Cardinals and a few other winter birds, like Juncos, enjoy showing up when I'm not armed with a camera. More successful was trying to capture a few Mammals, like this little black squirrel, actually a variation on the Eastern Grey Squirrel. It stays black all year, and is supposedly one of Albion's hallmarks since we have so many of them. Next of course is Tripper, shot by Chaim this week, and last is Spooky, caught with her big yellow eyes wide open last month.

Friends, I hope you are having some companionship today and enjoying watching the snow as it lies deep and crisp and anything but even. Here are a couple of such scenes from this week's snow blast. The last one makes me think of you and me sitting on those frozen chairs watching the Fishes and the Froggies play!

Love, Martha

Oh, Okay. There was some more time this afternoon and so I decided to make a couple of Variations on those pretty pictures.


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