Monday, May 27, 2013

More Circle of LIfe, Backyard Edition

It's only right that Ben provides me with blog material in the next couple of weeks, he leaves for California in just over two weeks! We are busy cleaning out his room, packing stuff for storage and to take. It's very hard. When he's not packing he continues his backyard observations. It's a race against the clock to see if his mantids will hatch before he leaves. He maintains a vigil as rigorous as any found in a maternity ward.

This bunny met his maker just over our back fence where our neighbor grows a vegetable garden. I'm hoping there is no connection between the rabbit's love of fresh vegetables and his demise. We had been watching this bunny make his rounds through the neighborhood over the past few weeks. We would first catch sight of him emerging from a back yard across the street (a yard with a vegetable garden). He would hop across the street, cut across our lawn, spend some time in our raspberry bushes before crawling under the fence to the greater bounty of our neighbor's garden. RIP, little cottontail. At least I'll miss you.

And it looks like the backyard biologist is assured of another generation of box turtles. Doesn't she look just a bit perturbed by the camera's intrusion? This photo leaves me with some lingering questions about what goes where and how does it get there, but I'm sure the turtles have it all figured out.

*Photos courtesy  of Benjamin Maples

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


As Ben got dressed for graduation, I made sure all his accessories were neatly arrayed. The blue gizmo represents the National Honor Society, he also received summa cum laude honors. Valery came all the way from California to share the excitement with us and we had a happy busy week as Ben wrapped up his high school career. Now we begin the countdown until he departs for California. He spends most of his time observing nature close at hand and researching what he has observed.
A nest of robins in our back yard has provided hours of entertainment and education.
These three babies have survived thus far. One of the siblings didn't make it. It fell from the nest three times and Ben put it back twice. The third time, it perished in the fall and became a part of the circle of life as it provided a snack to a large black snake.

 After eating the bird, the snake tried to climb to the nest, but couldn't make it up the posts, so it relaxed for a while before slithering off.

Mama bird waits till the coast is clear so she can feed her babies. Ben also fed an earthworm to the nestlings. 

This fledgling is from a different nest and is just a bit older than the birds under our deck. It seems to have left the nest a bit too soon and isn't able to fly well or high. It jumps along the ground and flutters a bit, but doesn't seem to gain enough altitude to clear the fence. It will no doubt become prey before long.
And finally, a ground beetle Ben found at a local gas station and relocated to our back yard. Ground beetles are generally a good thing, tending to be carnivorous, eating other critters that eat plants.

Ben took all these photos in our back yard and is seriously in need of a better camera, one that is easy to use but is good for close up photos of small things.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Weeks That Were

Much has happened since my last post: Sister Valery visited for eight days, Ben graduated from high school, and the boys lost their great-grandfather, Arlan Maples. Here's the obit from the local paper:

Arlan C. Maples


Arlan C. Maples, 90 years, of Rogersville passed away May 9, 2013. He was born July 1, 1922 in Stone County. He served in the Army and was a veteran of WWII. He was preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Rebecca Maples, five brothers and two sisters, one grandson Steve Maples Jr. and his wife Robin. He is survived by his wife of 66 years Bernice, his son Steve, daughter-in-law Julia, grandson Timothy, granddaughters Casey, Krista and Amanda and many great-grandchildren. Arlan retired from Reyco and enjoyed farming and carpentry. He had a large garden every year and would share his bounty. He and Bernice enjoyed spending time with family, neighbors, and friends. He was a very kind and loving husband, father, and grandfather and will be missed by all who knew him. Funeral is set for 1:00 P.M. Monday, May 13, 2013 at Green Lawn North with visitation one hour prior to the service. Burial will be in Green Lawn Cemetery following the service with full military honors. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Springfield Missouri Veterans Cemetery Assistance League. Envelopes for donations will be provided at the funeral home.


Published in the News-Leader on May 12, 201

Arlan entered my life when my daughter Robin, married his grandson in 1995. In my experience he was a gentle, sweet, patient, loyal, and smart man with quiet reserve. His name has been perpetuated as Logan's middle name, and he will live on in the hearts of all who knew him.