I haven’t been able to blog for a while and during that time I’ve collected a bunch of interesting pictures and stories that I’ve been eager to share.  So, just now I went outside to the patio with plans to write.  The words were laying themselves out in my brain while I put down my laptop, a glass of ice water, my ubiquitous (and nearly obsolete) cellphone, and started to raise the umbrella.  I expected the scene to look like this:

Idyllic scene of my imagination

However, peaceful and poetic scenes are not my reality at Frog and Toad Farm.  For every bluebird that nests in its bird box, there is a deer tick crawling up my leg.  For every joy-filled scene of a doe with her  frolicking fawns (they really do leap, run back and forth, and play) …

Picture taken yesterday

there is a carefully planted garden urn ripped apart by the deer and chewed down to a stub.  So, to continue my tale from today, as I was about to crank up the folded umbrella I noticed a scattering (as my story goes on you may appreciate the double entendre) of dark droppings on the table.  Considering myself a seasoned naturalist, I grabbed a paper towel and wiped it off with only a small grimace of distaste.  Then I started cranking……..

Brown bat stunned by the rude awakening

There were two bats!  One immediately flew off.  (Seeing as I am not only a naturalist but also a docent at the Columbus Zoo, I have learned about the goodness of bats.  They do not fly into your hair or bite into your jugular vein. They eat pounds of undesirable insects and are rarely rabid. Therefore, my blood-curdling scream was purely from shock rather than terror.)  The other, pictured here, just sat on the underside of the umbrella for five minutes, gradually getting used to the light of day.  Eventually, he flew down and circled crazily around the patio while I cowered and pugs barked. Then he, too, went off.  I only hope it wasn’t into the attic. Here are a few more pictures of my newest friend:

Stretching bat

Stretching more

Ready for takeoff

(Fyi, scat is a fancy word that naturalists use for animal shit, within the context of hunting for wild animals in wild places.)

To end on a note of beauty, I found an amazing wildflower yesterday growing in a pile of old dirt and cast-offs.  It is called a Moth Mullein, because it’s fuzzy stamen were thought to resemble the antennae of a moth.  It is a biennial, which means that this plant won’t be here next year but with luck its seeds will be left behind to grow.  The following year those plants will flower.  I don’t think it will totally disappear because research on the plant has demonstrated that the seeds can remain viable for up to 100 years!  Here are some pictures:

It can grow up to 5 feet tall

Getting closer

Isn't she beautiful?

Final shot

Next time I will share my pictures of the sweet froglet sitting in my hand…..and who knows what else?!  (Fyi, my best friend keeps asking me to tell you that if you click on my pix they come up in full size.)

Ciao for now.