A slug (Arion rufus)

Arion rufus

San Juan Island, June, 2017, A Slug

This is a photo taken this week on San Juan (Washington state) island. I think it is the invasive slug Arion rufus based upon the research information from this Tide Bites article. I was told it was the common and indigenous banana slug, but it lacks the dorsal ridge.

I have never seen one of these creatures in growing Zone 4. That’s fine.

There is evidently a small snake in the islands of the region, Sharp-tailed snake (Contia tenuis), that eats slugs. There is always more to learn from our world.

Yellow columbine in UT

Aquilegia chrysantha

In Zion National Park (approximately 32.2579° N lat 112.9689° W) the Aquilegia chrysantha A. Gray was blooming on the moist canyon walls this week. The flower is known by the common names of Golden columbine, Yellow columbine, and Southwestern yellow columbine. The intensity of the yellow hue is impressive. It has a common native distribution in AZ & UT.


Information referenced from:






Shed skin

Don’t let the tire distract you. This is a shed snake skin – that wasn’t run over. It seems to have used the tire to help slip off its skin. The skin was about three feet long and tightly wrapped around the tires of the lawn mower. Intriguing! I have not seen very many snakes this year, yet.

Shed Snake Skin

Shed Snake Skin


Sometime I think I’m weeding … when I’m really thinning.

According to Wikipedia, the Radish is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family that was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times. Radish, Raphanus sativus, is a cultigen (a plant that has been altered by humans through a process of selective breeding). Because it has been in cultivation for thousands of years, its exact origins are unknown. Radish is grown all over the world for its fleshy, edible taproot. A wide variety of cultivars are available, producing taproots that range from 2 cm up to 1 m long, and from red to pink, white, purple or black in colour.


Radish baby

Wisconsin Weeping Willow

This weeping willow tree (Wisconsin Weeping Willow, Salicaceae (Salix x blanda) ) has been growing on the property for over 20 years. It was green and growing. Birds love it. It was well over 50 feet tall. This morning, I heard it crash down. No particular reason was evident. No storms or high winds. There was some rot in the roots. I will miss it.

Fallen Willow Tree

Fallen Willow Tree


Woodchuck (Marmota monax) at the door

This little critter was scratching at the door this morning. I’m glad it was closed! I think it is a young (and foolish) woodchuck. The WI DNR says, “The woodchuck (Marmota monax), otherwise known as the groundhog or whistle pig, is a large rodent common in Wisconsin“. It chews at and eats wood and plants of all sorts. It digs, burrows and climbs trees (I didn’t know that). While some states allow hunting the woodchuck, WI seems to consider this hunt inappropriate. The woodchuck is listed as a nuisance in Indiana as well as in many other Midwestern U.S. states.

A woodchuck (Marmota monax)

A woodchuck (Marmota monax) at the door.

Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

I have never seen a Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) in our yard, until today. I did not get too close. S/he seemed a little tense when I approached as she drew in her head and tilted up on her haunches. I heard the squirrels chattering alarms toward her and noticed her head poking out of the grass. I think the tail epitomizes a dinosaur tail. There is a small snail on the back of the shell. The nearest pond is almost a mile away. Surely, a long trip for a turtle only about a foot long.

Snapping turtle

Snapping turtle