Living out here in the country, I feel a yearning to learn the names of things, the nature of things and understand the cycles of life around us. I want to be a naturalist! (Not a naturist.)

I suppose before there were Barnes & Nobles with nifty identifying books and prior to when Al Gore invented the Internet, we had to rely on our parents, grandparents and teachers to tell us the names of things. Now, Google can help us put names the creatures in the world around us.

That is, if you believe everything you read on the Internet.

Giving a name to an animal, a bug or a plant is the beginning of knowing the nature of that animal, bug or plant. When you can name it, you can refer to IT, add to your library of information about IT. It provides a pinpoint reference for what IT is. You can explain IT to others and feel on a first-name familiarity with IT. IT becomes a part of you.

At least, that’s what I think.

In the seven years we’ve lived here on this property (about 21 or so acres), I’ve made some on-again, off-again efforts at putting names to things. Now, with my nifty new camera by my side, I can photograph IT and then do research to identify IT that doesn’t have to rely on my aging memory.

And with this nifty new blog, I can check to make sure that I’m not off track about what IT is. I can ask people like Ruthie to help! Or maybe even Julie, the uber-naturalist, would drop by and straighten me out!

Out here in the country, the farmers give their own names to things. For example, Farmer Rudy, who tends our hay field, calls some of the vines in our trees monkey vines. Now, a quick Google search tells me that there are, indeed, some plants called monkey vines. But the vines he’s referring to have little or nothing to do with the monkey vines mentioned on Google.

So just what ARE those darned monkey vines?

Similarly, the locals call these beautiful, wild flowers that twine up high through the trees trumpet flowers, no doubt because of their trumpet-like shape.

trumpet%20flower.jpg

Mystery Flower Identified – Trumpet Vine (Thanks Carol and Ruthie for the ID!)

But IS this a trumpet flower? We have dozens of them, providing bright spots of color in the foliage in the hot months of August.

Now, I’ve already threatened to have my own little butterfly gallery. So here are two more candidates.

mystery%20butterfly1.jpg Mystery butterfly #1

I’m pretty sure this is a butterfly and not a moth because of the knobby ends on his antennae. He’s a small, light green fellow. There are many of his mates that hang out with him at our butterfly bush–an aptly named bush if I ever met one.

mystery%20butterfly2.jpg

Cabbage White Butterfly (Thanks Ruthie for the ID)

Similarly, this little white butterfly sporting the black spot is plentiful here at the Bumblebee Garden. I consider myself fortunate to have captured his image because they are usually flitting around rapidly, seldom landing for very long.

mystery%20butterfly2b.jpg

Cabbage White Butterfly

Not, I actually DO know the names of some things here at the Bumblebee Garden.

For example, I know that the box turtles around here are generally Eastern box turtles.

Eastern%20box%20turtle.jpg

Eastern Box Turtle

One of the things I love about living out here is how people have respect for turtles. After a rain, it is not unusual to see dozens of turtles slowly crossing the road. People invariably drive around them. And it is not a rare scene to see someone stop a car and gently move a turtle off to the side. In fact, I have NEVER seen a squished box turtle. And there is PLENTY of other road kill around here.

Finally, I definitely know about these wild creatures.

Papillons.jpg

Papillons

They may look like tender fluffs of fur, but these animals are FIERCE. I just have to say the word “deer” in a normal tone of voice and they are on TRIPLE HIGH ALERT, darting from window to window, ready to stalk and chase down the offending creature. When I open the door, they RACE out and chase down the deer–at least until they hit the edge of the woods. They do not do woods.

They also know “squirrel,” “bird” and anything that begins with “Is that a…”

So there you go.

Anyone who wants to help advance my naturalist education, chime right in and give me the name for IT!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

13 Comments

  • RuthieJ says:

    Hi Robin,
    21 acres? I’m so envious. How much of that is woods?

    I would say your vine is definitely a trumpet vine. I had one for many years but it never bloomed and I was so disappointed I dug it out.

    Butterfly #1 – my best guess is Cloudless Sulphur although they are usually more yellow, but you know there’s always variation in nature.

    Butterfly #2 – Cabbage White ("perhaps our most common butterfly" according to my Peterson Flash Guide to Butterflies). I sure don’t see many of them in my yard, so I’m not sure who it’s most common for.

    I just love your little dogs! Are they sisters? Those big fluffy ears are so cute and their expressive little faces are just adorable.

  • Carol says:

    Yep, that’s a trumpet vine, Campsis radicans.
    I can’t help you on the butterflies, though I did take two entomology classes in college, so I know they are butterflies!

    Your dogs look quite fierce. They probably don’t know how small they are!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

    (Monkey vines? Perhaps they are merely wild grape vines in the woods?)

  • Ruthie and Carol –

    Great! Trumpet vine it is. And cabbage white butterfly. Thanks so much! I am glad to know the names of these common things around our little farmlette.

    The photos of the cloudless sulphur I find seem more yellow than my green butterfly. These are a very definite green. Do you think there is that much variation?

    And, Carol, the dogs do not know how small they are (10 and 12 lbs.). Just because they are lap dog size doesn’t mean they aren’t rambunctious.

    They are loads of fun and great company. My husband read a magazine article about them a while back in which the author said, "Once you have a Papillon, you will never be alone again."

    How true! I don’t do anything (almost) without my little hairy escorts. When they were little, I couldn’t even take a shower without their wanting to come inside. THAT didn’t last long!

    No, they’re not sisters. Sophie (on the left) is about 1.5 yrs older than Sarah.

    –Robin (Bumblebee)

  • Ruthie – We have about 5 cleared acres and the rest are woods. About one acre is house, garden and yard. Four acres or so is a hay field. We live down a long, winding driveway that we all use for a running, walking track.

    I have always wanted to put a walking path in through the woods. So much to do!

    If you hack your way through the woods for about a 5 minute walk, you do reach a series of paths that take you down to the Chespeake Bay in about 5 minutes to a pristine, beautiful beach.

    –Robin (Bumblebee)

  • Layanee says:

    I am LOL at your little ones chasing deer! Tucker is five times the size and he just looks at them and considers…he knows he can’t catch them so he just doesn’t try too hard! He does know ‘squirrel’ and he does know by the sound of my shriek that there is a snake on the loose. He will try to catch them but I don’t think they smell very strongly as he has trouble finding them. Love the butterfly pictures and the trumpet vine is a great shot. I find I don’t have a trumpet vine. How could that be? Must remedy that situation.

  • Rachel says:

    I can’t see your pictures–either on your website or on bloglines. Any suggestions?

  • Rachel – Humm. The pictures are there and others see them. I also sized them so they aren’t too large to load.

    Try closing your browser and opening it again. Or try a different browser–Firefox instead of Explorer, for example. Or maybe just wait until later?

    Not sure…

    Robin (Bumblebee)

  • RuthieJ says:

    Hi Robin,
    I visited some friends this afternoon who are more butterfly expert than I am. I was describing your cloudless sulphur and Joyce pulled out her Butterflies through Binoculars (the East) field guide. The picture of the cloudless sulphur in that book was almost identical to the picture you have posted here–right down to the pose & color! It appears to me that when you see the underside of the wings, it’s a little more of a greenish-yellow color but when the wings are open and you’re seeing the top part, it’s more yellowish. Hope this helps.

  • Layanee – I looked for a photo of Tucker but couldn’t find one. I need to look further, but looking at the photos on your blog made me feel so inadequate I had to take a break.

    Ruthie – It think you’re right about that Cloudless Sulpher. I’m headed near a bookstore today and will finally invest in a proper guide. I don’t believe all the photos on the Internet are properly identified.

    (Imagine!)

    –Robin (Bumblebee)

  • Julia says:

    Hi there! I’m so excited to find another garden blogger from Maryland. There don’t seem to be too many of us. Your property sounds so nice. Take a short hike and you get to a sandy beach–how cool!

  • Hey Julia,

    Happy to meet another Zone 7-er! The photos on your blog are lovely. Thanks for visiting…

    Robin (Bumblebee)