Friday, October 06, 2006

More postcards from where I live

This park is not in my neighborhood, but I drive by it each day on my way to and from work. Rather than taking one of the state highways, I drive this *country* road past horse farms and apple orchards. Did you know that we grow racehorses in the Garden State, in addition to produce? One day soon I'm going to stop and take pics of the horses that I ogle each morning as I pass in my mad rush to get to work. Buddy and I visited this park last Saturday; it was raining, but I had wanted to have a look at the wildflower meadow and see what bugs I could find there. A large part of the park is given to athletic fields, and part is even set aside for model airplane flying, but the edges are mostly wild. Fall is a nice time for sparrows and the more deserted farm fields often have deer and northern harriers. The sunflowers in the pic above had been catching my eye for a few days as I drove past; I wonder if anyone can identify what type they are. All of the flowers in that pic are growing on one stem of the plant, most of the plants were still pointing straight to the sky, but this one had fallen to ground level. If you enlarge the pic you can also see these funny little fruits that look like tomatoes - would love to know what they are!
Buddy and I found three or four black and yellow spiders in the wet grass, and I'm certain that we walked through a few webs without realizing they were there. This one has a juicy skipper in its clutches.
The meadow was full of common milkweed gone to seed and goldenrod covered in monarchs, as well as lots of those pretty moths that Susan identified for me earlier in the week. There were also some purple coneflowers still blooming, but the goldenrod was the place to be, as far as the bugs were concerned.

A few other bloggers have posted some pics of their neighborhoods or will soon. Check out this post from Body, Soul, and Spirit. Lene at Counting Petals has posted many pics from her home base in Vermont. Also, Egret's Nest is accepting requests here. Stop by and enjoy the tour.

14 comments:

Ruth said...

Thanks Laura for the link. I have just spent an enjoyable *length of time* reading your blog from beginning to end. Nice to visit your world and see how your ideas have developed. I like your mix of posts on nature, pets and people, even those at work!

Julie Zickefoose said...

The tomatooid fruits look like Deady Nightshade to me. Whatever it is, it's in the Solanaceae along with tomtoes, nighshades, tobacco, and the like.
Definitely want to leave these out of the salad.

Susan Gets Native said...

Looks like tropical soda apple to me.
(Solanum viarum Dunal)

A noxious weed...we have them trying to get a grip on our fence.
Monarchs are freakin' everywhere! It's like I never noticed them before.
I'm so glad you take the Long way to work. Makes all the difference sometimes, doesn't it?

Susan Gets Native said...

Oh, wait a minute...that is the same thing as nightshade.
Duh.

LauraHinNJ said...

Ruth: Wow - every so often I do that too - read through a month and laugh at the things I wrote and was fussing over.

I've enjoyed your posts about the Amish in your area.

Julie and Susan: Hi to you both! I think of nightshade as having tiny little fruits - I guess there's more than one? These almost looked like small cherry tomatoes, but the foliage wasn't typical of a tomato. Maybe what I've seen in my yard isn't nightshade after all.

There were lots of monarchs around for most of the week, but yesterday it turned cold and rainy. I'm trying to figure a way to get to Cape May this weekend while they're still tagging - maybe Sunday when the weather is supposed to improve!

John said...

That's a beautiful spider. Any idea what species it is?

Lynne said...

Those yellow flowers are so pretty- they remind me of floral garland from the craft store! Our nightshade fruit are tiny too. Your "tomato" fruit are totally unfamiliar to me. Your post reminded me of "This week at Hilton Pond". Check it out!

LauraHinNJ said...

Thanks for link, Lynne! I love their site and the great pictures - always forget to check in there. If I had a macro lens for my camera I'd be able to find even more bugs; like the link points out a goldenrod patch is full of neat finds at this time of year!

John: I'm not sure, but guess it's the common garden spider, argiope aurantia, like the one I found by my pond a weeks ago.

Michelle said...

I have really enjoyed this thread on your blog! Makes me want to visit New Jersey!

misti said...

I love the goldenrod and the butterflies! :)

lené said...

I have really enjoyed your photo tour, Laura. Your shot of the house and the yellow flowers makes me want to curl up in the grass and relax into a nap. I wonder if the monarchs are the same ones I keep seeing pass overhead here.

LauraHinNJ said...

Michelle: You should come visit - if you're ever in the neighborhood - you know who to call!

Misti: Thanks- I love them too - can't stop taking pics of them.

Lene: This has been a fun meme, hasn't it? I'd bet *your* monarchs pass by this way, too.

beth said...

This pics make me consider visting New Jersey; I thought there was nothing there but Trenton and seaside inspiration for Springsteen songs. I'll reconsider...

I really, REALLY like your photos. Have you ever visited http://www.visual-voice.net/? She's got some incredible shots of insects, butterflies and the like; I think you'd enjoy...

LauraHinNJ said...

beth: Thanks for visiting! I'll have to check out the link - sounds like fun!

Springsteen grew up in the area where I live - think he just chose to write about the *seedy* parts of Jersey life. It's out there, but I'd rather share the pretty stuff.