Today I took a stroll to the bank and came across some American nightshade (Solanum americanum

American Nightshade (Solanum americanum)

American Nightshade (Solanum americanum)


This is a poisonous plant related to the tomato & potato, and also to bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) which is more common, and about as poisonous. Actually tomato and potato are also poisonous if you eat the wrong parts.

After work Jonathan and I went to the church to install the new wireless microphones. We had a system, but on June 12 it became illegal for us to use it anymore as the FCC has reallocated some spectrum. Jonathan very much likes the new mic. I left him to do the installation and testing, and went down to the playground to talk to a couple of guys from the church. I wasn’t expecting to see them there. They were evaluating the grass which has gone to seed, trying to decide if the seed was far enough along that it would germinate if it were scattered in some areas where the grass is weak. We talked for a little while, and then I saw some ants on the pavement. They had a sow bug:

Bringing home the bacon

Bringing home the bacon


The sow bug is probably Porcellio spinicornis, but I find ants too hard to classify, so I won’t even try.

When I got home I saw some Heal-all:

Self-heal/Heal-all/Prunella vulgaris

Self-heal/Heal-all/Prunella vulgaris


It’s also called Self-heal. I assume it has some supposed medicinal properties with a name like that. Then I saw a bee, or maybe a bee-fly on some cinquefoil:
A Different Kind of Bacon

A Different Kind of Bacon


I flipped through my Field Guides, but nothing popped out. I might post this to Bugguide later. I just like the pattern on her back.

This morning I woke up to the sound of a diesel engine. The city was out working on our dirt road, smoothing the surface, and excavating the ditches. I figured they’d also clean some of the silt out of “my” catchment pond. I guess it’s really their pond, but it’s on our property. The purpose of this pond is to divert rainwater to slow it down. Once the pond is full, the overflow continues in the downstream ditch. The net result is that I have a semi-permanent body of water on my place. Frogs breed there as do mosquitoes. Anyhow, for this pond to do it’s official job, the city really needed to clean out some of the silt. Here’s what they did instead:

What were they thinking?

What were they thinking?

So… it looks like I’ll have two ponds now. One that can no longer fill with water, and another that won’t hold very much. Maybe this is just phase one and they’ll be back tomorrow, who knows. If this is it though, I am going to be one puzzled pond watcher.

When I got to work this morning I saw a pill bug belonging to probably the Armadillidium genus. Pill bugs are actually not bugs at all – that is, they are not insects. Rather, they are crustaceans. Same subphylum as crayfish, lobsters, and shrimp.

I captured it so I could get its picture. First I put him down on a sheet of paper on the window sill where there would be plenty of light. Then I took several bad photos. This guy was just too energetic and the light wasn’t strong enough for me to match the shutter speed to his leg speed. So I popped him in a clean coffee mug, put a cover over the mouth, and popped him in the fridge. Cold pill bugs are a lot less energetic than warm ones. I retrieved him after a half hour, put him down on the paper, and tried again. I should have left him in longer I guess. He was much slower, but still bent on escaping from the crazy human who detains him in a cold, dark cell. The next batch of photos did come out a lot better though. Here’s the best of them.

Pill bug/rolly poly/Armadillidium

Pill bug/rolly poly/Armadillidium


I never knew these things had butt horns before today.