August 3

A monarch at rest on my evergreen tree

It is said that the timing of winged migratory insects can give an observer a good idea of winter’s approach.  This year, the monarchs and even the dragonflies were moving about the state in early August, almost a month earlier than is often seen.

This monarch lit up my evergreen. I was outside putzing about the front yard and the bright orange of the butterfly against the green of the tree caught my eye.  It was  patient enough to let me capture a couple of images such as this.  I switched my camera over to “macro” to get the most up-close detail I could with a hand-held shot.

Dragonfly at rest on my pickup truck

The later as I was getting ready to drive somewhere, I saw that the open window on my pickup truck had provided a spot for a dragonfly to rest on my dash, perhaps gazing at its own reflection in the window?  Old timers say too that this abundance of dragonflies in early August is a sign of an early onset of deep winter cold.

Monarchs are migratory butterflies with short life-spans.  They head to Canada in the summer and Mexico in the winter through the mid-section of the U.S.  Do they pass through your area?  What kind of migratory butterflies do you see?

June 9

I do not understand why people are so destructive in their effort to improve their home space. Why do people cut down a perfectly good, healthy, mature tree that provides them with shade and adds to the city’s forest?I know in this case the young family turned their residential property in to a light commercial property and used up their back yard with construction equipment and a large shop.  So, where does the kid play?  They cut down this healthy tree to put up a swing set.Later this summer, I’ll show you the barren yard, or well as much of it as I can around the construction equipment.  Not a good conversion of residential property and not a good thing for the neighborhood, my neighborhood. These are my across-the-street neighbors.North Dakota lives up to its reputation as a treeless state.  At one time, the state had a flourishing natural forest along the Missouri River. Then, someone down stream decided to North Dakota should be the catch basin for all the water that flows downstream, and dams were built flooding much of North Dakota’s natural forest.

For 100 years conservationists and economists have encouraged planting of trees in North Dakota.  Nurseries have developed strains of trees that will grow here in this harsh winter climate.  Today, according to the Ag Extension service, nearly 95% of the state’s forest has been hand-planted.

So, why destroy what has taken so long to build?  I doubt if the hot sunny swing set play ground will be as inviting as was the cool shaded front lawn that is now gone.

June 2

Rabbits and dandelions.

Remember that rabbit who moved in to my backyard? I introduced her to you a few days back here on ND 365.   I noticed she’s got a bit of a wound on her face, it appears.  Life in the wild, especially for rabbits can be tough.

Did she run in to something?  Was it an offensive attack?  Does she have  mange and is losing her fur?  Rabbits can carry nasty bacteria and parasites.  I wonder if that’s the problem.  But she still looks healthy, anyway.

And not just rabbits have invaded my yard, but so has the annual crop of weeds including dandelions.  They’re actually kind of pretty, but they can sure take over a yard and turn it in to a mess.  So, every year, I’m cutting, pulling and spraying to keep them down.

I hate it when they turn to seed because each one of those seeds represents a new battle next spring.  Has anyone come up with a good way to control the springtime crop of dandelions?

May 30

Aw, isn’t she cute!  She took up living in my backyard. I watched her all day as she burrowed in to the soil and then carried grass to the burrow and covered it to hide it.  I attempted a few times to get a shot,  this one worked.

She had to get used to me, or at least figure out I was going to keep my distance — or that my telephoto was sufficient to get her portrait and still keep my distance.

I don’t know where is the back door to her hutch.  I don’t know if she’s using that and not this door. Or if she’s moved on, but I’ve not seen her for quite a while.  So, I just mow right over the hole in the ground, careful not to disturb it.

January 25

Snow filled back yard -- and grill

Once winter settled in, there was no way I was going to get my grill back in to the garage, or even up to the house.  So, it sat.  It may get used again before spring, who knows?  But at night, it provided an interesting centerpiece in the backyard glow of my home.  And oh, that drift? Yes, it kept me from using my back door to the garage…but I could still get in through the back door to my enclosed porch, with difficulty.