July 17, 2008
A patch of prairie coneflowers has been greeting visitors as they come in the gate, and the rocky mountain beeplants are still attracting plenty of their insect namesake with flamboyant purple blooms. Scarlet gaura, yarrow, scurfpea, and white prairie clover are still attracting pollinators of their own. A big bull snake has been seen slithering around the barn for the last month, likely attracted by the mice that also hang around the area. A vole (or pocket mouse?) that managed to escape the snakes was eventually found by a few orange and black carrion beetles, who cleaned up the whole carcass within a day and a half of it being found by the kids at our summer bug camp. And the rain! Wednesday the sky filled with clouds and thunder, which provided fairly steady rain and even a few downpours for 6-8 hours in the evening and through the night. We missed the strongest part of the storm (hail near Shepherd), the ground did soak up about 1/10th of an inch.