Friday, 22 September 2017

Butterflies and Bees...

There have been many interesting butterflies, bees, and other insects around this late summer and early autumn. I've enjoyed photographing many different kinds of creatures outside our home. :) The butterfly at right is an old eastern tiger swallowtail - dark morph.

 Eastern tiger swallowtail - dark morph.
 Pipevine swallowtail.
 Painted ladies.
 Another painted lady enjoying the nectar of the stonecrop plant.
 Silver-spotted skipper.
 Another silver-spotted skipper with honey bees hard at work.
 Gray hairstreak.
 Tawny-edged skipper.
 Another worker bee gathering nectar and pollen for honey.
Bumble bee at work on the stonecrop.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Great American Solar Eclipse...

We were excited to be able to witness the Great American Solar Eclipse on Monday, 21st August 2017. Our area had about 96% coverage and so we stayed home and watched the eclipse from our back garden. I made a cardboard solar projector out of a cereal box for the event, and we also had some solar glasses that we were given to us at the Indiana State Fair. It didn't get too dark with 96% coverage, but we could definitely feel it getting cooler and the light took on an eerie murky brown tint. You can see a mirror image of the eclipse on the cloud in the picture here - below the real deal. It was quite something to watch!

 My cereal box viewer.
 The eclipse as seen through my phone. You can see the solar eclipse projected in the sky below the real sun.
 Riaan was more interested in going for a ride with his new friend Cooper!
The atmosphere took on a slightly eerie feeling.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Donating Blood...

After watching Candace donate blood a number of times here in the USA, I finally became eligible to donate in late-July. And so about a month ago I donated blood for the first time with the American Red Cross. :) I was very excited to do an act of service in this community! Donate blood and save lives!

 The Red Cross van outside our church - where the blood clinic was held.
Blood donation in progress!
 Sticker I got after donating blood. :)

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Indiana State Fair 2017...

Candace and I had been wanting to go to the Indiana State Fair, held in Indianapolis each August, for several years since I arrived in 2014. This year, we finally had our opportunity! We went up on one of the $2 Tuesdays (8th August), which makes it really affordable and accessible, and had a lovely time walking around the huge Indiana State Fair. There were all types of food stalls and different displays and interesting exhibits.

Riaan especially enjoyed the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) building, because they had lots of types of fish in small aquariums. (The DNR operate all the State Parks in Indiana.) They also had butterflies and other animal exhibits. We also visited the 4-H building with all of the amazing projects and creations submitted by school children from around the state. It was a great day visiting the excellent Indiana State Fair!

 Entering the State Fair.
 Lego exhibit.
 Awesome detail on the Lego farm!
 Riaan loved the Duplo. :)
 Meeting a camel...
 And a little zebra!
 Feeding some goats. :)
 Indiana Historical Society.
 DNR building.
 Saying hello to Smokey the Bear.
 Meeting a rat snake.
 Paddling on the river.
 Heading into the Butterfly Garden.
 Riaan loves owls these days.
 4-H Exhibit Hall and Auditorium.
 More intricate Lego designs.
 Many interesting creations here.
 Walking over the covered bridge.
 Tractors pulling wagons of people around the fair grounds.
 Mobile Storm Tracker vehicle.
 Right to Life stand.
A tired-out boy after an exciting day at the State Fair!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Cicada hatching...

Riaan and I were playing outside when we came across this adult cicada emerging out of its nymph skin. It was quite amazing to watch! I have noticed more live cicadas - as well as cicada skins hanging on trees - this year than in my previous years here in Indiana. It's probably because Riaan is so active and always wants to be outside. :) I last blogged about cicadas back in 2015.

 Adult cicada emerging out of its shell.
 The wings are starting to unfurl.
 Clambering over the dead shell.
 The fully-emerged cicada resting on the bark of the tree.
 Adult cicada.
The empty shell left on the tree. You can see hundreds of them in the trees!