I believe it is a chicken bone!

Nature

Build a Floating Blind for Waterfowl Photos

Waterfowl blind. Photo © Nathan Leinbach. One brisk morning at dawn, I drove toward the spot where I like to float my floating blind in the creek. I slipped on my waders and set my “ship” afloat.My “ship” is made of two pieces of 3”-thick foam board with a metal frame...

Camp & Cabin Cookin’, June 2022

Recipes: Krapsua, Sweet & Salty Trail Mix. Recipes: Caramel Strawberry Cream Roll Cake, Strawberry Pie.

Solarization and Tarping

Photo © Dogwood Ridge. Plastic sheeting is a valuable tool for managing garden beds without tillage. There are two different types that we can use depending on the need. One type is clear plastic that is used in a process called solarization. The other type is black...

Draco

Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543). Photo © Scott Rosen. Draco, the Dragon, is a sprawling circumpolar constellation that wraps around the Little Dipper. The Dragon’s head is a small group of four stars that lies a little northwest of the bright star Vega. The rest of the...

June 2022, End of the Trail: Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl scratchboard art. Artwork © Hezekiah Swihart.

Viewing Crystals with Polarized Light

Epsom salt crystals. Photo © Maria Carver. Viewing crystals with a microscope is lots of fun! Home grown crystals from sugar, salt, and other household items, are beautiful on their own, but some details are best seen when viewed with a light polarization filter. You...

My Birding Trail

Yellow Warbler. Photo © Darren Shank. A while ago, I went to Bluff Point State Park with my family. We were going for the exercise of a 4½-mile (7-km) walk down to the bluff on a beautiful wooded trail and for the enjoyment of it. I was going to keep an eye out for...

My Half-hour Hike…

Henslow's Sparrow. Photo © Dreamstime.com. I was in a hurry because I wanted to go on a hike before dinner, and I had only half an hour of free time. I could not expect to see much of anything in such a short period of time, but I would try.This happened several years...

A Glimpse at a Spider’s World

Jumping spider. Photo © Dreamstime.com. It was a pleasant late-summer day. I was helping my sister with the chores. We have a number of animals, so she appreciates help. Having finished my responsibility, I started walking toward the house, but a little something...

Turkey Encounter

Wild Turkey. Photo © iStock. Our family lives in the country with abundant wildlife. It is not unusual to see deer, turkeys, skunks, or pheasants in our yard. Most of the wildlife runs when we get too close. Lately we’ve had different results.It all started after the...

Wondernose: What animal lives in Africa, travels in a pack, and has fur so thin its skin shows through it?

African hunting dogs. Photo © Dreamstime.com. This mysterious animal stands about 3 feet (1 m) high and weighs about 35 to 50 pounds (16-23 kg). It has a great variation in color. Mostly it’s black, yellow, and white spotted or splotched. Often the face is rather...
Build a Floating Blind for Waterfowl Photos

Build a Floating Blind for Waterfowl Photos

Waterfowl blind. Photo © Nathan Leinbach. One brisk morning at dawn, I drove toward the spot where I like to float my floating blind in the creek. I slipped on my waders and set my “ship” afloat.My...

Build a Floating Blind for Waterfowl Photos

Waterfowl blind. Photo © Nathan Leinbach. One brisk morning at dawn, I drove toward the spot where I like to float my floating blind in the creek. I slipped on my waders and set my “ship” afloat.My “ship” is made of two pieces of 3”-thick foam board with a metal frame...

June 2022, End of the Trail: Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl scratchboard art. Artwork © Hezekiah Swihart.

My Birding Trail

Yellow Warbler. Photo © Darren Shank. A while ago, I went to Bluff Point State Park with my family. We were going for the exercise of a 4½-mile (7-km) walk down to the bluff on a beautiful wooded trail and for the enjoyment of it. I was going to keep an eye out for...

My Half-hour Hike…

Henslow's Sparrow. Photo © Dreamstime.com. I was in a hurry because I wanted to go on a hike before dinner, and I had only half an hour of free time. I could not expect to see much of anything in such a short period of time, but I would try.This happened several years...

Turkey Encounter

Wild Turkey. Photo © iStock. Our family lives in the country with abundant wildlife. It is not unusual to see deer, turkeys, skunks, or pheasants in our yard. Most of the wildlife runs when we get too close. Lately we’ve had different results.It all started after the...

In Search of Spring

Great Horned Owlets. Photo © Kevin Shank. My sister Malinda and I teach in a school in northern Indiana. One evening last spring, we visited one of the school families. We knew they often went back to the swamp beyond their neighbor’s woods to watch the woodcocks in...

Full-fledged Pest Controllers

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Photo © Kevin Shank. One sunny late spring morning Mr. Gray, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, hopped cheerfully about in the lush green bushes and trees on Oasis Ranch. His sunshiny world was as right as it could be, and his belly was full of juicy...

Covers, June 2022

Gulf fritillary. Photo © Rodney Peifer. Artwork © Nancy Wagler.

“Our Kingfisher?”

It was the beginning of warmer weather, when the changing day length tells birds to begin their migration back north.This is a time that my family looks forward to, not only because we enjoy the warmth, but because we like the birds.Yes, birds.We have a pond in our...

Exploring Nature, May 2022

Ruffed Grouse eggs hatch in Virginia in late May. You may see them cross a forest road, if you drive through their habitat.May is peak migration for shorebirds at Cape May, New Jersey.The spring caribou migration is underway.Largemouth bass spawn when the water...

You Win?

Eastern Bluebird and Tree Swallow. Photo © Dreamstime.com. “Chee! Chee! Chee!” The strident notes eddied through the open living room window and pricked my ears. I dropped The War for Mansoul, which I was reading this noon break, and strode to the window. What was...

Spots of Red

Common Redpoll. Photo © Dreamstime.com. My sister looked out the window and asked, “Is that a redpoll?”We all ran for the window. By then the birds had all flown away, so we had to go over to another window. Soon we saw the birds on a little snow pile.My sister said,...

Insects & Arachnids

Water Life

Plants & Fungi

In Search of Spring

In Search of Spring

Great Horned Owlets. Photo © Kevin Shank. My sister Malinda and I teach in a school in northern Indiana. One evening last spring, we visited one of the school families. We knew they often went back...

Reptiles & Amphibians

Marvels at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Marvels at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Photo © Julia Dutill. If you ever have the chance to visit Charleston, South Carolina, I would suggest you visit a lovely public gardens close by—Magnolia Plantation...

Draco

Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543). Photo © Scott Rosen. Draco, the Dragon, is a sprawling circumpolar constellation that wraps around the Little Dipper. The Dragon’s head is a small group of four stars that lies a little northwest of the bright star Vega. The rest of the...

Cool Night, Cozy Blankets, Hot Cocoa, &…

Once upon a cool August evening, our family happened to be camping in a dark, open area near Jasper, Alberta, Canada, where we had an amazing view of the sky.One evening, something caught our dad’s eye. He looked up to see a shooting star streak through the sky....

The Horsehead Nebula

Horsehead Nebula. Photo © Morris Yoder. If you’ve ever found the constellation Orion, there’s a good chance you looked right through this complex cloud of dust and gas without realizing it. The brightest star that you see in this photo is named Alnitak, and it’s the...

In Our Skies, May 2022: Lunar Eclipse

Meteor activity is divided quite unevenly between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with the Northern Hemisphere getting a better view of nearly every meteor shower of the year. The Eta Aquarid shower is the lone exception. This shower favors the south side of...

Canes Venatici

Canes Venatici is a small constellation, consisting of only two stars. However, it is quite easy to find due to its location just south of the Big Dipper. Like many of the surrounding constellations, Canes Venatici holds quite a few galaxies.M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy,...

Ursa Major

Ursa Major, the Great Bear, is a large constellation in the northern circumpolar region of the sky. Ursa Major is known best for the Big Dipper, which makes up the northeastern part of the constellation. Although it can be seen all year from mid-northern latitudes,...

Monoceros

Monoceros the Unicorn is one of the most overlooked winter constellations. This is probably because the constellation is sprawling and faint, without an eye-catching shape. Fortunately, Monoceros is surrounded by familiar constellations, which makes it easier to...

In Our Skies, March 2022: Planetary Conjunctions

Where I live in Virginia, March brings the signs of a new season. The days are slowly warming, and the evenings, which were quiet all winter, are now enlivened by the calls of spring peepers and woodcocks. The stars also indicate, more reliably than the weather, that...

The Big Dipper

Most people who can pick out at least two constellations in the night sky can point out the Big Dipper. As it turns out, the Big Dipper is not a constellation. It’s an asterism within the constellation Ursa Major (Big Bear). An asterism is only a part of a...

Our Lunar Adventure

Lunar eclipse. Photo © Kevin Shank. It was November 16, 2021, and excitement was high for us siblings. Tonight was a lunar eclipse!It was cloudy, and we were a bit worried. But, it was windy, and we hoped the clouds would blow away soon.We went to bed at 9:00 with...

Nature Night

Weasel. Photo © Dreamstime.com. “Don't stay out longer than eight o'clock,” Mom reminded us as we headed out the door.This was the night of the Geminid meteor shower, and my brother and I were going out to watch it. Once outside, we found Dad gazing up into space. “I...

Meteor Beauty

“Did you hear of the Geminid meteor shower tonight?” I asked my family at the supper table.“Yes,” came the answer.“Well, I want to go watch it tomorrow morning. Does anybody want to go with me?”A little silence, then…“I don't know. I'd like to catch up on some sleep,”...

Auriga

IC 405, the Flaming Star Nebula, is an emission/reflection nebula in Auriga. While beautiful in photographs, it is quite faint and difficult to visually observe. Photo © Shaphan Shank. Auriga is not quite as well-known as Orion or the Big Dipper, but it is quite easy...

A Fiery Ball

In August, Dad decided to take the family to Cherry Springs Park in Pennsylvania, which has the darkest night sky east of the Mississippi River. We ventured out with food, binoculars, tents, our telescope, and a borrowed one.When we got to our destination, we were...

Flying Stars

Here in upstate New York, autumn was long and beautiful. This is December already, and some days are warm enough that even the bees decide to fly. But the other night something else was flying which aroused my interest and required me to lose some sleep.After making...

A Night With Nature

Photo © Dreamstime.com. We poked our curious heads out the front door, breathing in the early morning air. It was a cool morning in December, thirty-five degrees. Shivering, we slipped into our sleeping bags and gazed up at the wide expanse of starry heavens. The moon...

An Introduction to Astrophotography—Part 3: Processing the Photos

So you’ve invested in the necessary equipment, learned how to use it, and gathered a night’s worth of photos of some deep-sky target. You’ve also shot the calibration frames that you will need. The subframes from your camera, with a washed-out sky and a dull,...

Wondernose

Exploring Nature

Exploring Nature, April 2022

Exploring Nature, April 2022

In April and May, wildebeest herds move northwest to central Serengeti. They follow the new grass growth.April and May are times to hunt morel mushrooms in the mid-South and Midwest.Check vernal...