The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘spiders’

Wildflower Wednesday 13

Last week, if you remember, we found a new type of clover. It was hard to see the details in the more artsy photo Elizabeth took, so I asked her if she would take one to help you identify the Rabbit-foot Clover if you were ever to run across it yourself. These are better:

Rabiit-foot Clover - Trifolium arvense. This is growing low to the ground and has narrower leaves than most of the other clovers we've found in our area.

Rabiit-foot Clover – Trifolium arvense. This is growing low to the ground and has narrower leaves than most of the other clovers we’ve found in our area.

The flowers are really different, too. They even feel like fur... very soft and fluffy, not unlike Yours Truly!

The flowers are really different, too. They even feel like fur… very soft and fluffy, not unlike Yours Truly!

We didn’t get flower photos of this tree for you this year, but the cherries are ripe now. Unfortunately, our trees are too tall and spindly for Elizabeth to gather the fruit. The birds will enjoy fattening up on them, though.

Chokecherry - Prunus virginiana fruit. This makes wonderful jam, jelly or wine but you never want to chew on a handful straight from the tree. They are called Chokecherries for a very good reason! They dry your mouth and throat out almost instantaneously.

Chokecherry – Prunus virginiana. This fruit makes wonderful jam, jelly or wine but you never want to chew on a handful straight from the tree. They are called Chokecherries for a very good reason: they dry your mouth and throat out almost instantaneously!

But back to flowers…

We found some lovely ones, and some interesting ones for you this week. Oh, yes, and one of those blasted composite flowers that look like dandelions but aren’t dandelions at all.

A lot of two-leggers around here call these Bluebells, but they aren't. They're Harebells. Bluebells are something entirely different! (Doing this series with Elizabeth is turning me into quite a wildflower snob, isn't it!)

A lot of two-leggers around here call these Bluebells, but they aren’t. They’re Harebells – Campanula rotundifolia. Bluebells are something entirely different! (Doing this series with Elizabeth is turning me into quite a wildflower snob, isn’t it!)

As you can see from the flowers, we went out early this morning for our wildflower safari. I wanted to run through the cool, wet plants, but Elizabeth had me on the silly red leash thing and kept telling me to wait while she took pictures. She was having trouble seeing to take the pictures because the lenses of her seeing enhancers kept fogging up. This meant she had to keep taking photos in case the focus wasn’t what it should be. BORING.

We found this yellow one down the road from the Harebells. It belongs to the Goldenrod family. We both like these flowers because they indicate that autumn is coming soon. Autumn is Elizabeth’s favourite season. It’s my second favourite. My favourite season is, of course, winter!

Gray Goldenrod - Solidago nemoralis. There are almost as many types of Goldenrod growing around here as yellow composite Dandelion imitators. This one is not called Gray because two-leggers have difficulty distinguishing between grey and yellow, but because it's leaves are a greyish-green colour. You can tell it from the others by this but even better by looking at the flowers. Although there are many little branches of them, they are really short and all come the flowers seem to be on the same side of the stem.

Gray Goldenrod – Solidago nemoralis. There are almost as many types of Goldenrod growing around here as yellow composite Dandelion imitators. This one is not called Gray because two-leggers have difficulty distinguishing between grey and yellow, but because it’s leaves are a greyish-green colour. You can tell it from the others by this but even better by looking at the flowers. Although there are many little branches of them, they are really short and all the flowers seem to be on the same side of the stem.

We headed off road shortly after taking that shot. At last I could feel the dew on my paw pads. Aaaaaah! That’s living!

~:o}=

On our way, we saw a number of other signs that autumn is coming soon. If you don’t want to let go of summer, then you’d better close your eyes for this part.

The lack of rain over the past couple of weeks has stressed the Paper Birches into thinking it's time to change colour.

The lack of rain over the past couple of weeks has stressed many Paper Birches – Betula papyrifera into thinking it’s time to change colour.

We found this Wild Sarsaparilla - Aralia nudicaulis putting on quite a show. I liked lying in the moss while Elizabeth photographed in this spot.

We found this Wild Sarsaparilla – Aralia nudicaulis putting on quite a show. I liked lying in the moss while Elizabeth photographed in this spot.

And here is some precocious Labrador Tea - Rhododendron groenlandicum.

And here is some precocious Labrador Tea – Rhododendron groenlandicum.

Okay. You summer two-leggers can open your eyes now.

Off we headed, into the sunrise (which was well under way by this point). Elizabeth was still having difficulty seeing for some reason, and she walked into several of these nasty things on our way to the next flower subject:

Is it possible to see an echo?

Is it possible to see an echo?

Now I’ve seen this next one many times, but I didn’t realise it was actually a flower!

These plants were as tall as Elizabeth, but she says that under ideal conditions, they can grow to be over 2 m tall!

These Narrow-leaved Cattail plants – Typha angustifolia – were as tall as Elizabeth, but she says that under ideal conditions, they can grow to be over 2 m tall!

I think they should be called the Narwhal Flower. Elizabeth says that there is usually a gap above the brown part of the flower, then a ragged looking dead-grass coloured flower part begins. You can see this on some of the flowers in the general photo if you look closely, but this one has lost the upper fluff part for some reason.

I think they should be called the Narwhal Flower.

There is usually a gap above the brown part of the flower, then a ragged looking dead-grass coloured flower part begins. You can see this on some of the flowers in the general photo if you look closely, but the close-up one has lost the upper fluff part for some reason.

It is a good time for these to be blooming here from a photographer’s perspective. The water in this marsh has all dried up! Elizabeth was able to walk in without getting her shoes soaked. I kind of missed the splash part of our safari, though.

On slightly higher ground, we found these Christmassy plants:

I don't know if Bears actually eat Bearberries - Arctostaphylos uva-ursi.... I think, judging from what they leave behind, that they prefer Blueberries, which are much tastier.

I don’t know if Bears actually eat Bearberries – Arctostaphylos uva-ursi…. I think, judging from what they leave behind, that they prefer Blueberries, which are much tastier.

Some plants look lovely in the early morning light. We found this lonely, faded Common Mullein – Verbascum Thapsus watching the sunrise, too.

Isn't it lovely? It's almost as tall as the Cattails.

Isn’t it lovely? It’s almost as tall as the Cattails.

From here we turned onto a deer path that led into the deep woods. We didn’t expect to see much there today; we were just taking a short-cut to the road, where it is easier for Elizabeth to walk me on the silly leash. To our surprise, we found something Elizabeth recognised, but hadn’t found on the ‘Estate’ before. Now, if you thought those Cattails made strange flowers, wait ’til you see this one!

The flowers of the Spurred Gentian - Halenia deflexa are very small and easy to miss. But aren't they just the coolest little flowers you ever sniffed out?

The flowers of the Spurred Gentian – Halenia deflexa are very small and easy to miss. But aren’t they just the coolest little flowers you ever sniffed out?

Next to it, we found one of those Dandelion wannabes, but Elizabeth needs to think about it a bit before we show you a photo. Maybe next week, she says.

We showed you a Jewelweed flower last week. This morning, however, we found one that was more intensely coloured. And there was no wind here, so I think Elizabeth was able to get a better photo for you to look at.

Jewelweed - Impatiens capensis

Jewelweed – Impatiens capensis

By this time, we were late for breakfast. It’s hard to hurry when you have a camera in your hands, Elizabeth says. I wouldn’t know. But we got home just in time to find Kay pulling out of the driveway in the Growly Beast. “Well,” she said, “no one was here for breakfast so, I thought I’d go get some groceries!”

Elizabeth has been busy atoning all morning in the kitchen which has, apparently, been renamed: THE DOGHOUSE!

 

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Comings & Goings

We have been inundated by visitors this past week. I’m hoarse from all the barking I’ve had to do.

Some two-leggers drive down the Little Gravel Path to our house and just ignore me. Usually, they are two-leggers who’ve met me before. I know who they are, too, and I just bark to let Kay and Elizabeth know that someone they need to see is here. This list includes Doyle the Dog Food Man, Rob the Snow Man, Al, the Mowing Girl, René and a number of other regular visitors.

Other visitors I bark at because they aren’t welcome: any of the Wily Wolf Gang, Sneaky Deer, The Cougar, the plum-loving Black Bear, and the various garden thieves like Groundhogs and Squirrels and Hares.

There’s another group of visitors that concern me… two-leggers I don’t know. I find them rather disturbing because I’m never sure whether they are here by invitation or not. I find barking at them, even mixing in the occasional rumbly growl – two-leggers find that very scary! – is a very important tactic to employ. Generally speaking, if this sort of visitor isn’t supposed to be here, they turn around and head straight back out before I have a chance to attack. BOL. Too easy! If they stay, Elizabeth or Kay always come out to see who they are. Once I know they are welcome, there’s no problem.

It is from this latter group that most of our visitors seem to have come this week. The Hydro Person came to read the meter. I made that two-legger so nervous that all my two-leggers saw was an arm with an appended gadget stick out the window a bit and point at the hydro meter. The growly beast was gone before Elizabeth could get out to talk to the two-legger inside.

Another growly beast was truly audacious. Look at this:

This growly beast's two-legger was here for a good reason. But he sure parked in a strange place.

This growly beast’s two-legger was here for a good reason. But he sure parked in a strange place.

It turned out to be a new friend, Jeff the Tree Man. He came to take down that big old Jack Pine that drowned with the flood. I asked Elizabeth to take a picture of him at work:

Funny how often you find yourself saying goodbye to an old friend only to immediately make a new one!

Funny how often you find yourself saying goodbye to an old friend only immediately to make a new one!

Our view looks much different now.

We see a lot more water in Our Bay now that the tree has been cut up.

We see a lot more water in Our Bay now that the tree has been cut up.

While Jeff the Tree Man worked at turning our Jack Pine into winter fuel, another visitor rolled in. This one came in a very BIG growly beast. This was a two-legger with serious attitude, Ron the Septic Tank Man. You can see from his truck that he is a very confident sort. I barked at him, but I was inside the house, staying out of the way of chainsaws and falling tree parts so, my barking didn’t scare him at all.

Ron the Septic Tank Man's truck says it all!

Ron the Septic Tank Man’s truck says it all!

We’ve had lots of other visitors, too, but most of them just made me curious. For example, there are several very long, skinny fellows snooping around the gardens these days. Elizabeth says hopefully, they are eating some of the slugs and grasshoppers. They certainly aren’t eating any of the garden produce, so I just follow them around and watch them. They’re fascinating, Slithery Snakes. They rustle the grasses and smell interesting and they always seem unerringly to find the tiniest holes to slip into yet that are long enough to hide their whole length! One day, maybe Elizabeth might get a photo for me to show you one.

Slithery Snakes are just one of several interesting regulars, though.

Every morning I find evidence of other benign intruders.

Every morning I find evidence of other benign intruders. This web was made by a Grass Spider, who hides in the hole of the funnel-like structure.

There are also some intruders that Elizabeth really dislikes. They aren’t all so benign, either.

TV Bug mini

This is a Wood Borer. When Elizabeth was a two-legger pup, a former London Bobby (that’s what they call a policeman, apparently, in a country much closer to my ancestral homeland than we are) had a cottage in our neighbourhood. He told Elizabeth that these were called TV Bugs. Back in those days, two-leggers used big antennae to snag television signals from the air instead of satellite dishes! She believed him because he was a policeman.

Elizabeth got very upset when one of these landed on her the other day. She really doesn’t like them! If they bite, it hurts. But I think it’s more the size of them that bugs her (like my pun?). So, when she saw this one trying to sneak in through an open window (We have screens on all our windows here. It was foiled before it even started thinking about eating our furniture.), she thought maybe an introduction would be in order…

Unfortunately for Elizabeth, Shelob had already had a Dragonfly over for breakfast and was feeling too satiated to even look at a Wood Borer.

Unfortunately for Elizabeth, Shelob had already had a Dragonfly over for breakfast and was feeling too satiated to even look at a Wood Borer.

Shelob is one of three Giant Lichen Orbweaver Spiders we have lurking around OUTSIDE the house. She is the darkest of the ‘Three Sisters’. The other two, Hecate and Kali, look more like the one I showed you in an earlier post in colouring, but the markings on the back are all similar. We think the front end of the bulbous abdomen looks like a skull. Looking straight down at the abdomen, and only faintly visible on this one, there is a lightning bolt on each side! Like me, they look scary but they’re harmless… unless you are an insect. By the way, Elizabeth doesn’t normally name spiders, but these three have hung around for so long and are so enormous that she feels obligated to acknowledge them somehow.

I’m hoping it is a little less busy around here for a while. It’s too hot to do anything but swim and lie in my shaded dugout. I’ll have to get Elizabeth out on a Wildflower Hunt for tomorrow, though! See you then!   ~:o)=

Heating Hazards of NWO

[Scribal Caution: This is not pleasant reading/viewing for insectiphobes.]

The temperatures have been high this week, into the high 20C range (low 80s for my American friends). I still have all my wool. I’m hot.

Feeling too hot isn’t my only problem, though. With the heat, and all the melted snow collected in forest pools, and with the rain, we have other problems starting. Pesky, whining, biting, bloodsucking mosquito problems. Elizabeth has rigged my doghouse opening so that it both brushes flies and skeeters off me as I go in, then flops back into place in such a way as to deter biting insects from entering later. But when we go for our walks in the morning and evening, the mozzies flock to my nose area and feast away.

Elizabeth has always been a mosquito magnet, too. She’s been trying a homeopathic remedy called Mozzi-Q. It works. The mosquitoes just buzz around her. She still gets the odd bite, but not very many. She won’t give me any. She says she doesn’t know if it’s safe for dogs. Some two-legger things aren’t…

So, I suffer. I am coming into the two-legger house more, but I can’t stay inside all the time. So, I suffer.

Mosquito bites make me itchy. When I'm itchy, I look more like a Shar Pei than a Great Newfenees.

Mosquito bites make me itchy. When I’m itchy, I look more like a Shar Pei than a Great Newfenees.

Mosquitoes are not the only problem that comes with Spring. Now that the weather is hot and with all the rain, the grass is growing. Elizabeth says the military have special devices called mine sweepers that detect dangerous explosives hiding in the ground. I am a tick sweeper, not just detecting ticks but gathering them up into my wool as I patrol the estate’s meadows. It’s a tough job. I have already contracted one tick-bourne disease, anaplasmosis. But the job is not without its perks:

Elizabeth checks me for ticks every time I come in from outside. The blue thing on the floor is a tick key, used to remove engorged ticks safely. Every once-in-a-while Elizabeth misses one and it gets big. I look pretty fierce here, don't I...

Elizabeth checks me for ticks every time I come in from outside. The blue thing on the floor is a tick key, used to remove engorged ticks safely. Every once-in-a-while Elizabeth misses one and it gets big. I look pretty fierce here, don’t I…

but really, I love getting deticked. It feels like a doggie spa treatment as Elizabeth goes through my wool and massages my skin with her fingertips.

but really, I love getting deticked. It feels like a doggie spa treatment as Elizabeth goes through my wool and massages my skin with her fingertips.

Oh! And look what she found. This one is small so not a great picture. Sorry, but you get the idea....

Oh! And look what she found. This one is small so not a great picture. Sorry, but you get the idea….

Fortunately, some other forest folk are taking up residence in the neighbourhood to give us a hand with insect control.

I might start hanging out in the garden with this little guy. He's a Gray Tree Frog puppy Hyla versicolor is his latin name. Hiya, Hyla!

I might start hanging out in the garden with this little guy. He’s a Gray Tree Frog puppy Hyla versicolor is his latin name. Versicolor indicates that he changes colour to blend in with his surroundings better. If you look closely, you can see his skin is just starting to turn green. It isn’t an instant process. Hiya, Hyla! How’s the Rhubarb?

Like the rest of us here, this spider enjoys a hearty breakfast. She was too busy eating to tell us her name. If any of you know her, please tell us who she is!

Like the rest of us here, this spider enjoys a hearty breakfast (I don’t think she’ll be dining on any mosquitoes for a while…). She was too busy eating to tell us her name. If any of you know her, please tell us who she is!

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