A Puffball is a type of mushroom that looks like a ball when it matures. Once mature, it splits open, or a perforation develops on surface of the ball, through which the spores escape. Some sort of disturbance is needed to cause the spores to eject, like raindrops landing on the Puffball, wind, or an animal brushing up against it.
These mushrooms differ widely in size and texture, from tiny species that grow in clusters on wood, to large, terrestrial species growing in fairy rings in meadows. Earthstar Puffballs have layer of fruit body tissue that splits open in a star-like manner.
Puffballs follow the same life cycle but look different than the typical mushroom with which you might be familiar. When sliced open, puffballs contain only flesh or, if they have matured, spore dust.
Some types of these mushrooms have tradtionally been used for medicine as well as food. Not to mention that they perform the important feat of breaking down once-living matter to release carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and other matter back into the soil and atmosphere.
Third Eye Herp
Even for someone who likes “creepy crawlies” this spider, also known as a Woodlouse Hunter, isn’t particularly attractive. This spider’s favorite meal is the sowbug, also known as pill bug, wood louse, or roly poly, depending on where you live. They are easy to identify as they typically have a red head and legs and ivory abdomen. Females are almost twice as large as males.
This spider is an active hunter, but it does have a lair. Inside its hideout, the remains of previous meals can often be found. The Sowbug Killer not form webs to catch its food. Instead, it finds a prey item and uses its giant jaws to stab it in an ambush attack. Though scary looking, spider is not aggressive, and its venom isn’t particularly potent.
I tend to find them under rocks, flower pots and logs – all places where sowbugs regularly occur. They are equally at home in urban, suburban and rural areas as are their favorite prey item (sow bugs). Sowbug Killers don’t mind living close to humans and are found mainly in urban gardens, fields and parks.
They take about 18 months to mature and then may survive an additional year or two. Aside from looking a freeakishly spooky, this creature goes about doing exactly what it’s name implies – killing sowbugs.
Third Eye Herp
This is a neat and distinctive plant that I sometimes come across in fields at this time of year. It is a slender, but erect wildflower that grows up to 5 feet tall.
Blue Vervain habitats include riverbottom prairies, moist meadows in floodplain woodlands, soggy thickets, borders of rivers and ponds, marshes, ditches, fence rows and pastures. It adapts readily to degraded wetlands and other disturbed areas.
It is a member of the mint family so it has a square stalk and opposite branches. The flowers of Blue Vervain attract many kinds of long-tongued and short-tongued bees.
This plant has a use for humans as well; it is an anti-spasmodic herb and muscle relaxer. Blue Vervain has been used to soothe and repair damaged nerves. There’s a lot of reasons to like this graceful plant once you get to know it.
Third Eye Herp
The crisp markings of this bird and its white tail tip are distinctive. This big-headed, broad-shouldered bird gets its name from its habit of harassing Crows, Red-tailed Hawks, Great Blue Herons and other birds that pass over its territory.
Eastern Kingbirds often perch on wires or on the topmost tips of plants in open areas, leaving their posts to fltter over the tops of grasses in searech of flying insects to eat. These birds are members of the Flycatcher Family.
They inhabit woodland edges, river groves, farms, orchards and roadsides. In the Summer, Eastern Kingbords require open space for hunting and trees for nesting; their habitat ranges from clearings within forest to open grassland with few scattered trees.
After migrating to South America in Autumn, in the Winter these birds take on a different personality, living in flocks in tropical forests and dining on berries.
Eastern kingbirds are important predators of insects during this time of the year. They are also fun to watch hunt food and chase other (in many cases larger) birds from their territories.
Third Eye Herp