Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Around Home At Ketelsen East!

Since our multi-state trip ending last weekend, we've been hanging around the house here in St Charles. Officially we're working on some home-improvement projects, mostly in the kitchen reglazing the windows and tearing apart and repainting the sills. Today was a hot, sticky day, so we mostly relaxed - I took a walk in a local park, with Melinda reading and resting up for her "nurses night out" tonight.

With no astronomy to speak of here, I've converted to sort of a nature observer here in Illinois. Last year, the highlight of the summer was the discovery of the weirder than weird two-spot treehopper, shown at left here. Once seen, they appear quite common, though only on a few plants. Interestingly, I didn't see any this year our first 10 days here until just yesterday, with a few more today, so perhaps their life cycle just has them reaching adulthood now. But what I have seen is shown at right, and if anything, matches the treehopper for weirdness!  A little smaller than the treehoppers, these guys have what looks like cotton fuzz coming out of their rear ends!  I ended up sending some pictures to "Bug Man" Carl Olson back at the University of Arizona and he was similarly confused, forwarding it on to a friend.  The answer is that it is a nymph stage of Acanalonia conica, a planthopper.  I'm seeing changes over time, and will likely blog about it later, but wanted to let you know we're not just sitting watching TV!  And interestingly, once spotted here in St Charles, I also saw them on my friend Beth's spinach plant in Minneapolis!

Also, big news our resident groundhog Bruce has been spotted, first grazing across the yard, then today peeking our from beneath our storage shed.  We had seen the recent digging, but not seen him there until he was spotted looking out.  While it is unlikely this is the same groundhog over the years we call Bruce, it is nice to have the tradition continued with this version.  I've blogged many times about him, but the camp aggressively tried to trap him, and a body was spotted years ago, but this Bruce is still very much active!

And finally tonight, Melinda is out with a group of her former nursing buddies.  They meet, sometimes by the dozens, at a local restaurant to get together and relive memories and make new ones.  So since I'm home alone (I've been invited, but choose not to attend the typically 5-hour dinners) this morning while out getting my morning paper picked up a few ears of some good-looking sweet corn, and got a jalapeno bagel to act as a bun for my brat-burger.  Finished off with cheese, onions and fresh jalapenos, all I needed was an iced glass with an ale to make it a feast - it was great!

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