A Daisy in the Leaves

Daisy in the Leaves By Melanie Reynolds

Daisy would like to remind you to leave the leaves unless they create a safety hazard on your walkway or driveway.

Our human desire to meet perceived expectations of what “a nice yard” looks like often contributes to more harm than good. Your shrubbery does not have to be perfectly coiffed, nor does it need to be wrapped around a perfectly trimmed and unblemished expanse of grass.

We must undo the pragmatism of “overdoing it” when it comes to rakes, leaf blowers, chainsaws, loppers and pruning shears. Save your gas and your oil. Let the decomposers do their job. Let the moths settle into the leaves.

One of my favorite computer file folders is entitled “Moths etc.” with the etcetera being dragonflies, butterflies and bees. Beetles and arachnids get their own file folders because there are so many of them. I’m not very good at identifying moths I know what the green ones are and what a Swallowtail looks like, the others are just described by defining features.

A few of my favorite visitors:

Hawkmoth Moth, Family Sphingidae

Pero occidentalis, Family Geometridae

Green Emerald Geometrid(?), Family Geometridae

Campaea perlata, Family Geometridae

Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus), Family Papilionidae

And finally, this rare sighing on July 23, 2015 at 2:35pm (according to my photo metadata.)

A wayward traveler? Closest match found Purple King Shoemaker (Archaeoprepona demphon) from Mexico or Central America. Thank you for the special visit! Interestingly enough, I’d dreamt about a blue butterfly months before this one appeared on my doorstep. If that isn’t the universe’s way of slapping you with a side of mysterious meaning, I don’t know what qualifies then!

All of these pictures were taking on my front porch which is a popular gathering place for moths and butterflies. The porch is covered with a southeast sun exposure and dappled light through a cluster of mixed trees that provide a rich soft slope of humus and decaying leaves left mostly undisturbed.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans and anyone else who celebrates the day!

While the origin story of the holiday is a myth, the fact remains that for many of us the day has always been about spending time with family and being grateful for what we have. Nature offers a bounty of wonder for those who know where to look. Protect what we have with strength and humility. No mashed potatoes for the nihilists! (<-humor)


November: Fungi/Mushrooms Due: November 30th.

December: Nature at rest Due: December 31st.

Photo Submissions

Email to: natureledlife@gmail.com

Subject line: Photo Submission for [month] (Multiple months of photos in one email is fine.)

Image: Attached as a .JPEG or .PNG file

Captions each picture: Subject in the photo (if known), State/Providence & Country, Date (optional). Your name as you want it to appear, Your blog link (if you have one)

Feel free to add any interesting notes about a picture. I love interesting stories behind things! Let me know if it’s just for ‘my eyes only’ or if I can share any part of it with the photo.

Thank you!

Spot the Moth

It didn’t flutter so much as it fell with graceful precision. At first, I thought it was a large piece of ashfall, but there is no fire. Maybe some lichen drifted down from an alder tree? No. Upon closer inspection it’s a perfectly camouflaged little friend. Thank you for your visit.

Western White Ribboned Carpet Moth

Western White-Ribboned Carpet (Mesoleuca gratulata)


the music of spiders.

Here’s a quick link to what I would call “Tim Burton-esque” spider music video. https://youtu.be/s4QtAQhdU2I

I didn't have my glasses on....

spider music

The humble spider has always been well represented in the musical world, from Ziggy Stardust to the Who and Wilco. For too long, though, we’ve refused to let them relate their experiences to us more directly. That’s now changed, thanks to the work of scientists who are turning spiders’ vibration-based perceptions into music.

Vice recently profiled the work of MIT engineering professor Markus Buehler, who leads a team that’s working to translate web vibrations into sounds we can actually hear. The project uses “the physics of spiderwebs to assign audible tones to a given string’s unique tension and vibration” through a process called data sonification.

The resulting models can be explored through virtual reality software or listened to via examples recorded by Buehler and his collaborator Tomas Saraceno. The music created by manipulating the models is incredible—an eerie approximation of how spiders understand their environments.

Buehler says that the project’s goal is…

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