There are a lot of local artists in Union County (see Union Co. Arts Cooperative) but Pat and Bill Clapsaddle are two that I particularly admire. Some of you may already know Pat as an accomplished ceramic artist, but may not be familiar with Bill’s talents. These fish drawer pulls are all Bill’s creative genius. Bill, a retired historic home restorer / custom builder, crafted them in clay and painted them himself, using glazes. Pat helped by giving advice on how to cast and use her glazes to get the effects he wanted — Bill actually made all the casts and applied the glazes.
I don’t claim to be able to identify fish, other than, perhaps, blue gill. I would bet that these are accurate and could be easily identified by people who know fish. Pat and Bill are also accomplished fisher-people — I’ve seen photos of them holding their catches and you can tell they enjoy it immensely from the looks on their faces.
If you are interested in purchasing these, they will be available for sale at the Foothills Craft Show in November at the Jacobs Building in Pat’s booth. They are signed and dated by Bill.
But you’ll be able to see Pat earlier than that and purchase her ceramics this coming Saturday, where she will be giving an art demo at ”Art in the Park” in Maynardville on June 1st. Please stop by her booth and tell her that you saw these drawer pulls. Pat Clapsaddle Pottery has a Facebook page, also, so
please ”like” it to see new photos of her work and find out where she will be exhibiting next. She is quite active!
Carpenter Bees – How to Identify If You Have a Problem
Carpenter Bee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you have any wood on the exterior of your home, deck, or barn, you probably also have carpenter bees. And you don’t even have to be in the country or have a log cabin to experience this. I’ve seen carpenter bees drill their distinctive hole right in the middle of the wooden front door of our neighbor’s home when we lived in the suburbs. It looked like someone shot a bullet through the door – it was so perfectly round.
The photo above shows the distinctive round hole that they make. They then proceed to drill tunnels, often turning a sharp right angle from the entrance of the hole, that can weaken the wood deep within the log or board. In the tunnels, they lay eggs that hatch into larvae. The larvae turn into carpenter bees that eventually emerge through the same hole.
TIP: Do not plug up / repair carpenter bee holes until late fall so that all the larvae have hatched and the young bees have exited. Young bees exit by looking for the nearest light. If you plug up the hole and eliminate the light, they will just drill another hole to exit.
English: CARPENTER BEE IN BACKYARD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Carpenter bees like the warm side of a structure. Ours like to drill holes behind the gutter that is against the fascia board on the west side of the house. The gutter retains the warmth of the sun and protects them from the rain.They are active in the spring and nest in the tunnels the rest of the year. Right now, they out and about. They like to hover right in front of me and stare me down – like they are little remote control drones. You can’t help but think they are little aliens scrutinizing our intelligence.
Two Great Carpenter Bee Solutions
Jim and I were out-and-about and came upon a log home manufacturer that had model log homes to tour. We asked them their advice on log cabin maintenance, just to see if there were any new tips we need to incorporate. Boy, were we glad we asked.
They mentioned carpenter bees as being the only real problem and they had two solutions: a trap that does not use any pesticide and a product called Brian’s Bee Butter that does.
Carpenter Bee Trap
Watch this video to see an effective carpenter bee trap that is engineered to do the job right the first time. They explain all the reasons that carpenter bees are attracted to their trap to make it so effective – it is really quite interesting.
I called to ask them some additional questions and learned that when the first couple of bees find your trap and die, they release a pheromone that attracts other bees. If you don’t want to wait for the bees to find the trap, you can speed this up by killing a bee with a tennis racket and putting it into the bee trap.
The chemical solution to exterminate carpenter bees is a product called Brian’s Bee Butter that contains permethrin — the same product used to dip dogs & treat head lice in children. I’ve written about permethrin before as a good tick repellent / defense against ticks and I regularly spray it on my clothes before I go on a hike.
The video below shows you exactly how to use it. It comes with a syringe and you simply inject some into the individual carpenter bee holes. The permethrin is carried in a grease, according to the video, that not only protects the permethrin from breaking down prematurely (it normally only has a short life) but also keeps it from dripping so that it stays in the hole to continue to work as baby bees emerge throughout the year.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, I just learned that they are no longer able to sell the Bee Butter. They had been selling it for five years without any problem, but the EPA, in their ultimate wisdom, decided that they need to resubmit it for review since they were mixing already approved ingredients. It would cost $40,000 PER STATE! Another government intervention that is limiting small business.
English: Adult male brown recluse spider dorsal view. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Jim is a news junkie and relies on the internet more than I do to stay up on the latest news. He sent me an email today from work with a link to an article in the Knoxville News about a brown recluse spider bite that Anderson County Commission Chair Chuck Fritts had received. It put him in the hospital for 4 days. This made me realize that I have no idea what a brown recluse spider looks like. I better find out.
English: brown recluse as compared to a U.S.A. penny (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. These two photos show the distictive “violin” marking on the back of the brown recluse spider, as well as its size. (NOTE: I’ve learned that other spiders may also have a violin marking — the distinguishing feature for the brown recluse is its eye pattern of 6 eyes in pairs with a space separating the pairs (see photo). Most spiders have 8 eyes in two rows of four.)
2. Below is a video that talks a little about its habits.
3. Below is a very graphic video that shows the horrible damage that the brown recluse’s toxic venom can do to human tissue.
GOOD NEWS SO YOU DON’T PANIC
Even if you have a brown recluse, bites from them are extremely rare, despite all the stories. Many of the really graphic nasty wounds you see on the internet as recluse bites can also be other conditions like necrotizing bacteria and pyoderma gangrenosum. Ninety percent of brown recluse bites are not medically significant, heal very nicely often without medical. intervention and treatment for most brown recluse bites is simple first aid
The website I’ve used in the past for scat identification, let me down on this one, so I had to do a lot more searching for photos that matched, but I believe I was successful in identifying which animal produced this scat.
One thing I learned is that the white portion of a dropping comes from the nitrogen content in the feces.
Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians can all have white in their droppings.
Go to this website for more photos or scroll down for the answer…
Apparantly, ’tis the season for Red-Eyed Vireo bird nests. Jim found the first of three this weekend while on a hike on our land. I’ve never seen a bird nest like this and I was excited about researching it. They are sweet little nests, barely suspended from a fork in a tree branch or rose bush, but alas, no eggs. They must have already flown the coop.
The photos I’ve included here are of two separate nests (three + three). Both of these nests were fairly close to the ground — 4 feet or so. The third nest (not pictured) was high up in a tree at perhaps 15 feet.
At the time, we had no idea what kind of bird made them. In my research online, it looked like they might perhaps be Boston Orioles, but something wasn’t quite right — the Orioles’ nests were much longer and hung more like a sack, than ours did.
I came across The Birders Report website that helps with egg and nest identification. They gave this email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you needed help. “Larry” asks for the following information to facilitate the identification:
The city and state where the nest was discovered
The habitat and location of the nest (i.e. deciduous or pine forest, grassland, marsh, farm or city and nest was in a bush or tree, on the ground, in my potted plant or in the seat of the tractor)
A description of the nest, what the nest is made of and its dimensions
What the eggs look like, color, size, shape and how many eggs in the nest
If you can get a photo of the nest and eggs, with a coin in the photo for size comparison, it will facilitate the identification.
I immediately sent off an email with my photos and I had my answer later that evening. This is what he said:
I’m pretty sure this is a Red-eyed Vireo Nest.
Their nest is suspended in a horizontal fork of a shrub or low tree branch 5 to 10 feet up. It is constructed of vine-bark strips, thin grasses, rootlets and birch bark, bound with spider webs to twigs at the rim.
Yes, that definitely fit the description of our nest! It is amazing how education can open your eyes. I had not observed the spiders’ web nor the bark. Nor did I pay particular attention to the orientation on the branch. This is what thrills me about learning new things.