Friday, November 28, 2008

Cookie Time!

This is one of my husband's favorites, but let's face it, who doesn't love Brittle! All kinds, Peanut, Almond, Macadamia Nut... and this recipe is so versitle that you can make any of those variations, in 10 minutes and in your Microwave!!!
Yes, in 10 minutes and in your microwave!!! No candy thermometer, and everyone loves it!!! No one believes me when I say it only takes 10 minutes!
{I make like 12 batches a year and give it all my neighbors!}
10-Minute Peanut Brittle
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Light corn syrup
1/8 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cups Peanuts (or Almonds, or whatever nut you choose)
1 TBS Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Baking Soda
Combine sugar, syrup, and salt in a 2 quart casserole dish (ceramic, like Pyrex)
Microwave on high for 5 minutes
Stir in nuts very quickly
Microwave 2 to 5 mnutes, stirring after 2 and 4 minutes until syrup and peanuts are lightly browned.
Stir in butter, vanilla, and baking soda until light and foamy.
Spread to 1/4" thickness on a well buttered or Pam'ed cookie sheet
Once cool, break into pieces and store in tin.
For a super special touch, once cool dip one end of the brittle into Chocolate and let cool again!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mind-Altering Parasite

Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled protozoan parasite of humans and other mammals (particularly cats) that infects 30-40 percent of the world’s human population, causing a condition called toxoplasmosis. According to a study conducted in Australia, this parasite can increase a woman’s attractiveness to the opposite sex but also make men more stupid.

Relevant excerpts from an article by Dr. Nicky Boulter, a researcher of infectious diseases at Sydney University of Technology, in Australasian Science:
Interestingly, the effect of infection is different between men and women.

Infected men have lower IQs, achieve a lower level of education and have shorter attention spans. They are also more likely to break rules and take risks, be more independent, more anti-social, suspicious, jealous and morose, and are deemed less attractive to women.

On the other hand, infected women tend to be more outgoing, friendly, more promiscuous, and are considered more attractive to men compared with non-infected controls.

In short, it can make men behave like alley cats and women behave like sex kittens.
Nearly one-quarter of adults and adolescents in the United States have been infected with T. gondii. So, if your neighbor’s wife suddenly starts looking more attractive to you, take heed. Don’t be stupid!

Giving Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Today is the day that we take a moment and give thanks for what we are grateful for, and if you haven't already, please take some time and reflect upon the things and people in your life that you are oh-so Thankful for!
I for one, and Thankful to all of you who read our blog and take part in my life. Thank You! Thank you for your loyalty, trust, faith, and all that you do for me! I am truly beyond blessed to have you!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I know this has been talked about on this blog before, and every bride thinks about how much her invitations will cost and how much will they cost to mail.

But you never know until those bad boys are actually in your hands. Don't assume that just becasue they measure properly for a .42 stamp that they actually will weigh properly for a 1 ounce stamp.

Wait until you have them and then bring them to the post office, have them weigh and measure them - then you will know the proper postage amount. You may even want to bring two, just in case.

{Really beautiful invitation picture from Unique Designs}

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blogging Brides!

Name:: Ashley

Location:: Now we're living in Colorado but we're getting married right outside our hometown back in Pennsylvania.

Blog:: Lost in the Moment

Wedding Date:: July 25th, 2009

What do you do in real life?

Currently I am a full time student at Colorado State, majoring in Computer Science. I also work part time as a customer service rep for Bare Escentuals (mineral make up company).

Favorite Part about Planning your Wedding?

All of the DIY stuff! I have had such a blast making some of these projects with my bridesmaids and even my FI! I feel like they show just a little more of who we are too, because they're designed to represent us, not some template that can be found on the internet.

Least Favorite Part about Planning your Wedding?

Planning an out of state wedding. We only go home once a year, at Christmas time, and last Christmas we hadn't even started planning. In March I then had to go back home by myself to find a venue for the ceremony and reception as well as the photographer/dj. I feel like I'm missing out on the experiance of planning my wedding with my FI.

What is the best piece of wedding advice you've ever received?

In the end no one is going to care as much about your wedding as YOU do. I read a post on theknot about this and its been the best stress reliever when trying to make decisions. You just need to relax and continue on because your the only one thats going to notice if the napkins are a shade darker then the programs, or the ribbon on your Save the Dates is a little crinkled :) Don't worry about the little things, just remember the meaning of the day!

{Look for some more great stories from our Blogging Brides!}

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sphagnum Mosses of Berrien County, Michigan

The sphagnum mosses are plants that belong to the Class Sphagnopsida, which consists of a single order (Sphagnales), a single Family (Sphagnaceae), and a single genus (Sphagnum). Some 285 species of sphagnum mosses are known worldwide, with 89 occurring in North America and 33 in Michigan. Sphagnum moss is sometimes called peat moss because the decayed and compacted remains of sphagnum moss form an organic product called peat. In contrast to the true mosses, the sphagnum mosses have the unique ability to absorb large quantities (up to 25 times their dry weight) of water in their cells. They are characteristic plants of bogs and other wetland habitats.

The following provisional list of the sphagnum mosses of Berrien County was derived from scanning the distribution maps in the online Flora of North America. Surprisingly (to me, at least), as many as 27 species of sphagnum mosses may occur in Berrien County, as all of the species listed below appear to have wide distributions that encompass Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Common names are taken from ITIS (where called Sphagnums) or British Liverworts and Mosses—a field guide (where called Bog-mosses). An asterisk (*) denotes a species treated in Henry T. Darlington’s (1964) The mosses of Michigan.

Family Sphagnaceae:
  • Sphagnum angustifolium (=recurvum), Fine Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum capillifolium, Acute-leaved/Red Bog-moss
  • Sphagnum centrale*
  • Sphagnum compactum, Low Sphagnum or Compact Bog-moss
  • Sphagnum contortum, Contorted Sphagnum or Twisted Bog-moss
  • Sphagnum cuspidatum, Toothed Sphagnum or Feathery Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum fallax, Flat-topped Bog-moss
  • Sphagnum fimbriatum, Fringed Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum flexuosum (=recurvum), Flexuous Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum fuscum, Rusty Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum girgensohnii, Girgensohn’s Sphagnum or Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum henryense, Henry’s Sphagnum
  • Sphagnum isoviitae
  • Sphagnum lescurii, Lescur’s Sphagnum
  • Sphagnum magellanicum, Magellen’s Sphagnum or Magellanic Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum palustre, Prairie Sphagnum or Blunt-leaved Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum papillosum, Papillose Sphagnum or Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum platyphylum, Flat-leaved Bog-moss
  • Sphagnum pulchrum*
  • Sphagnum rubellum
  • Sphagnum russowii, Russow’s Sphagnum or Bog-moss
  • Sphagnum squarrosum, Spiky Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum subsecundum, Slender Cow-horn Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum subtile
  • Sphagnum teres, Rigid Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum warnstorfii, Warnstorf's Sphagnum*
  • Sphagnum wulfianum*, Wulf’s Sphagnum
  • Style Me Pretty!!!

    In case you had not heard, Style me Pretty has started a new blog, The Little Black Book Blog - it features the best of the Little Black Book! Abby Larson of Style me Pretty always shows us magnificent wedding idea's and never fails to please!

    The Little Black Book features the best and brightest {and the coolest}! It's a boutique style book of wedding vendors, only featuring 3 vendors per category, so if you are looking for the best, look no further! And if you wanted to keep up with each of those folks are up to, there's a new blog for you!

    You can find MasterPiece Weddings in the Little Black Book all over Florida, North Florida, South Florida, and Central Florida - we've got the State covered!

    Remember, Anything on the Planet, we can Plan It!

    Friday, November 21, 2008

    Darkling Beetles of Berrien County, Michigan

    The darkling beetles (Family Tenebrionidae) are the fifth largest family of beetles (Order Coleoptera), with more than 1,300 species in the U.S. and Canada. They are a rather obscure family of relatively small beetles. Most of them are largely or entirely black or dark brown, and many spend a majority of their time hidden away in dark recesses, such as under the bark of dead and decaying trees, under fallen logs, or under rocks. A few are pests in stored food products, such as processed grains.

    Perhaps the best known of the darkling beetles is Tenebrio molitor, the larva of which (the common “mealworm”) is sold in pet stores to feed to tropical fish, lizards, and the like. They are also highly touted as food for wild birds; some people even raise their own mealworms for this purpose! Mealworms are also commonly used in classroom science projects.

    A provisional list of the darkling beetles of Berrien County was compiled using James C. Dunford et al.’s The darkling beetles of Florida and eastern United States. The list is restricted to species reported from both Michigan and Indiana. Based on the best distributional information currently available, this provisional list of the darkling beetles of Berrien County includes 57 species representing 9 subfamilies and 34 genera.

    The darkling beetle fauna of Berrien County represents something less than two-thirds of the more than 85 species known from Michigan, 44 percent of the 129 species known from the western Great Lakes, 25 percent percent of the 225 species known from eastern North America, 4.1 percent of the 1,400 species known from the U.S. and Canada, and 0.3 percent of the 19,000 species described worldwide.

    In the following list, States in the western Great Lakes with confirmed records for each species are identified in brackets by 2-letter postal codes (illustrations of most species are available in Dunford et al.):
    Subfamily Alleculinae# (comb-clawed bark beetles):
  • Hymenochara rufipes [IN, MI, OH]
  • Hymenorus melsheimeri [IN, MI]
  • Hymenorus niger, Black Comb-clawed Bark Beetle [IN, MI, WI]
  • Hymenorus obesus [IN, MI, WI]
  • Hymenorus pilosus [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Isomira oblongula [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Isomira pulla [IN, IL, MI, OH, WI]
  • Isomira quadristriata [IL,IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Isomira sericea [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Lobopoda nigrans [IL, IN, MI, OH]
  • Mycetochara bicolor [IN, MI, WI]
  • Mycetochara binotata [IN, MI, WI]
  • Mycetochara foveata [IN, MI, WI]
    # Formerly considered a distinct family, Alleculidae.

    Subfamily Bolitophaginae:
  • Bolitophagus corticola [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Bolitotherus cornutus, Horned Fungus Beetle [IN, MI, OH, WI]

    Subfamily Coelometopinae:
  • Alobates morio [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Alobates pennsylvanicus, False Mealworm Beetle [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Haplandrus fulvipes [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Iphthiminus opacus [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Merinus laevis [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Strongylium tenuicolle [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Strongylium terminatum [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Xylopinus aenescens [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Xylopinus saperdioides [IN, MI, OH, WI]

    Subfamily Diaperinae:
  • Cynaeus angustus [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Diaperis maculate [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Neomida bicornis [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Pentaphyllus pallidus [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Platydema ellipticum [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Platydema excavatum [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Platydema picilabrum [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Platydema ruficorne, Red-horned Flour/Grain Beetle [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Platydema subcostatum [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Platydema teleops [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Rhipidandrus paradoxus [IN, MI, OH, WI]

    Subfamily Hypophloeinae:
  • Corticeus parallelus [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]

    Subfamily Lagriinae# (long-jointed bark beetles):
  • Arthromacra aenea [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Paratenetus fuscus [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Paratenetus gibbipennis [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Paratenetus punctatus [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Statira gagatoma [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
    # Formerly considered a distinct family, the Lagriidae

    Subfamily Opatrinae:
  • Blapstinus metallicus [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Blapstinus moestus [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]

    Subfamily Phrenapatinae:
  • Dioedus punctatus [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]

    Subfamily Tenebrioninae:
  • Alphitobius diaperinus, Lesser Mealworm Beetle [IN, MI, OH, WI] {Introduced}
  • Centronopus calcaratus [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Idiobates castaneus [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Meracantha contracta [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Neatus tenebroides [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Palorus ratzeburgi, Small-eyed Flour Beetle [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Tenebrio molitor, Yellow Mealworm Beetle [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Tribolium castaneum, Red Flour Beetle [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Tribolium confusum, Confused Flour Beetle [IL, IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Uloma imberbis [IL, IN, MI, OH]
  • Uloma impressa [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Uloma mentalis [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • Uloma punctulata [IN, MI, OH, WI]
  • In Brinkley, They Still Believe

    They still believe in the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, that is, despite the lack of follow-up confirmation since 2004, as reported by Laura at O Arkansas.

    Cookie Time!

    Every Friday through the end of the year I am going to post a cookie recipe that I bake every Christmas for you to enjoy! You already know my passion for baking, but I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite recipes with you, and you can share them with your friends and families!

    There is always alot of cookie sharing parties this time of year, along with hosting open houses, and family dinners. These recipes are sure to impress, and are pretty simple to make!

    First, I have to start with a story. My husband's Grandmother {Mom-mom} always made these Italian Christmas Cookies called Dadals, and when she passed I was the only one with the recipe - she sent it to us while we were in college with a $20 bill. It was her way of helping us. I have held on to this recipe with my life! And every Christmas I am in charge of making these cookies.


    1/2 cup butter, softened

    1/2 cup white sugar

    3 eggs

    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    3 cups all-purpose flour

    3 teaspoons baking powder


    2 cups powered sugar

    1tsp Anise or Almond extract

    1TBS Milk


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Or use Parchment Paper

    2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the creamed mixture until blended. Divide dough into walnut sized portions. Roll each piece into a rope and then shape into a loop, or pretzel shape. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.

    3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm and golden at the edges

    4. Allow cookies to cool on rack

    5. Once cook dip tops of cookies into glaze and let dry

    {You can scoop the cookies onto the Parchment with a very small cookie scoop or shape them as explained}

    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    Fizzy Favors!

    Did you know that Jones Soda will personalize the pictures on their soda's for you! So if you wanted to have let's say and Orange and Blue Wedding, you can order the soda's with your pictures on them or a picture of your families... whatever you want! And then get the soda flavors or colors to match your theme!

    These would also be a fun addition to your Holiday Party Drink Menu! But order by December 9th to have them in time for the Holidays! {Geez, are we that close to the holidays! Where did this year go!}

    At $29.99 a 12-pack, for personalized favors, isn't a bad deal!

    How fun, and yummy right! Fizzy fun favors!

    Photo by: Caroline Johnson

    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Be a Guest!

    I am a guest on one of my favorite blogs of all time!!! Jen from Earth Friendly Weddings and I have been talking for years about me doing a post for her, but honestly, who am I to tell Jen anything about weddings and earth friendly affairs....

    But then she had a great idea! Blog about making your wedding cake, because obviously ....well obviously!

    And here I am!

    Gator Cake Topper!

    There are so many fantastically cheesey Gator Cake Toppers out there, so when I saw these - I thought they were too freakin' cute!

    Meet Gilbert and Gracie, the cutest Gator Cake Toppers, E.V.E.R!

    They can be shipped anywhere in the US! So go you, Go Gators, Go Cure Cancer, Go Get Married!!!

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Blogging Brides!

    More on Amy F. from with the pixie grin... {she had our most hysterical post about "the girls"}

    Cutting it out...

    Hi there! It's been awhile, I know. Things are, holidays..and other fun stuff...And of course with all that's going on, there is always a little wrench thrown in to keep it exciting..

    So, I'll just cut right to it...My future MIL booked THE perfect spot for our rehearsal dinner. It's a fab little place I used to work at back in my serving days..actually, it's probably my most favorite workplace...ever. Not only were the people amazing to work with and for, but the food would literally melt in your mouth..I remember specifically the beeftataki , the salmon served with coconut rice, the pecan pie with the homemade molasses ice cream. sigh. I miss it y'all. For real. So...they have this gorgeous covered patio that is going to be perfect for what we thought was going to be around 30 people...

    Ok, this is a problem. My future MIL says that we invite the bridal party, parents, and out of town guests. But..uh..that's over 60 people. I. am. not. kidding. So who gets the axe? And what if they are all catching up at the reception? I can just see it:

    "Oh wasn't that dinner just wonderful last night?" (says Maw-maw from Florida)

    "What dinner?" (Aunt So-and-so from somewhere across the Mississippi River)

    "The rehearsal dinner, of course...didn't you go?" (Maw-Maw again)

    "Oh. I wasn't invited." (poor Aunt So-and-so from across the Mississippi River)

    Sigh. What do you think? There isn't enough room, let alone enough money to pay for 60 dinners. How do we decide? What would you do?

    So ladies, what do you think, what would you do?

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Save the Date for Bob Winquist

              A Celebration of the Life of Robert A. Winquist

    Saturday, January 31 2009
    at CalArts

    more info to follow*

    *invitations will be sent via the CalArts Alumni office, but an invitation is not necessary; all are welcome and your presence at the guacamole bowl will be wonderful.

    I heart Snapdragons!

    I can't tell you how loved I feel! Today, Kathy from KB dropped off a gorgeous bunch of Snapdragons - just because she knew it'd brighten my day! I don't know if she knows this but they are my favorite flower, the sweet smell, the gorgeous stems...simply one of God's most beautiful donations to this Earth - we take for granted.

     They have been a bright shiney spot in my week!!!

    Thank you so much Kathy!!

    Gosh, my friends are the best, my clients are the best! I feel so grateful!!!

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    My Peculiar Reading Habits

    One of the nice things about retirement is that it leaves with you more spare time to pursue your interests. One of my interests, beyond birds, is reading. Though still not a prolific reader, by any means, I’ve found the time to read more books in the past year than in any other 12-month period of recent memory. So now, without further ado, brief synopses of the books I’ve read in 2008:
  • Arnett, Ross H., Jr. 1993. American insects: a handbook of the insects of America north of Mexico. 1st edition. The Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, Florida. 850 pp. (This isn’t the kind of book you sit down and read through from cover to cover, but I’ve found it to be an invaluable reference. If you decide to buy this book, make sure you purchase the 1st edition, not the 2nd edition linked to above, as the usefulness of the book has been severely compromised in the 2nd edition.)

  • Berendt, John. 2006. The city of falling angels. Penguin Books, New York, New York. 432 pp. (Mystery and intrigue in the historic city of canals, Venice.)

  • Delatte, Carolyn E. (with forward by Christoph Irmscher). 2008. Lucy Audubon: a biography. Revised edition. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 248 pp. (The little-known story of the woman who supported John James and his family through many trials and tribulations, and helped bring his dream to fruition.)

  • Kurlansky, Mark. 1998. Cod: a biography of the fish that changed the world. Penguin Books, New York, New York. 304 pp. (It turns out that the history of this fish is inextricably intertwined with that of salt.)

  • Kurlansky, Mark. 2003. Salt: a world history. Penguin Books, New York, New York. 498 pp. (An exhaustive, if somewhat repetitive, history of this mineral and its influence on world cultures.)

  • Larkin, Emma. 2004. Finding George Orwell in Burma. Penguin Books, New York, New York. 304 pp. (A unique and frightening insight into what it’s like to live in the world’s most repressive country, where “Orwell’s words . . . continue to resonate.”)

  • Myers, Robert C. 2003. Lost on the lakes: shipwrecks of Berrien County, Michigan. Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs, Michigan. 277 pp. (An excellent local history of a nautical nature.)

  • Schroeder, Lucinda Delaney. 2006. A hunt for justice: the true story of a woman undercover wildlife agent. The Lyons Press, Guilford, Connecticut. 270 pp. (Not great literature, but a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a wildlife sting operation in arctic Alaska.)

  • Steinberg, Michael K. 2008. Stalking the ghost bird: the elusive Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Louisiana. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 173 pp. (Steinberg—a self-proclaimed ‘true-believer’—summarizes the results of a series of interviews with individuals from various walks of life, all of whom claim to have had personal encounters with the IBWO or otherwise believe that it continues to exist in the swamps of Louisiana. Believers will love it, while skeptics will scoff at the lack of scholarship.)

  • Weidensaul, Scott. 2007. Of a feather: a brief history of American birding. Harcourt. Harcourt, New York, New York. 368 pp. (An engaging and wide-ranging survey of the growth of American birding, from John James Audubon to Roger Tory Peterson and on into the 21st century.)
  • Bear-ly Tolerable Situation

    Charlie Vandergaw, a 70-year-old retired teacher, has been befriending bears (both black and grizzly) on his remote homestead north of Anchorage, Alaska. Now, authorities with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game—who claim that Vandergaw has caused reckless endangerment of the public through a food-conditioning program that has attracted two dozen bears to his property—are considering bringing charges against him. Vandergraw prides himself on being smarter than Timothy Treadwell—who, along with his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, was famously devoured by one of the Grizzly Bears they had sought to ‘befriend’—and “in better control of his situation.” Only time will tell.

    Saturday, November 15, 2008

    Bald Eagle as a Backyard Bird

    Having lived in coastal Alaska for 17 years of my adult life, I was accustomed to seeing Bald Eagles, and lots of them. But I never really expected to see one in Berrien County, Michigan, and certainly not in my own yard, but that's exactly what happened this morning.

    Stepping out the front door this morning at 8:00 AM for my morning bird walk, I had an adult Bald Eagle fly directly over our house—on Crescent Lake in Buchanan Township—in flapping flight at fairly low elevation headed in a southerly direction. What a way to start the day!

    And later, at about 10:00 AM, as I was mulching leaves in the backyard, I spotted a large, dark bird perched in a tree on the north shore of the lake. Viewing it through binoculars, it proved to be an adult Bald Eagle, presumably the same bird. I judge it to be a 4th-year bird based on the amount of dark smudging on the side of the head, especially the traces of a dark eye-line. The bird remained perched there for about 45 minutes before it disappeared.

    Acknowledgment: The above photograph is used courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Digital Image Library.

    Friday, November 14, 2008

    That Hamster in Story

    Mark Walton at work © 2008 Marc Smith

    This is story artist Mark Walton's year, no question. He was tapped for some scratch a while back and it's worked out okay for him.

    In Sunday's (11/15) New York Times: "The Voice Behind the Disney Drawing Board". It's fun to see the Times apply their Grey Lady treatment to a description of Mark and his infamous cubicle(shown above in a photograph by fellow artist Marc Smith). I don't believe for a second that he was really "nervous", though--more like his regular-grade joie de vivre.

    And here's a brand-new, fun companion website for "Bolt", You Are Fully Awesome!, where the fanboy hamster becomes your biggest fan.

    Check him out!

    Christmas Bird Counts of Berrien County: 1961-2007

    With the Christmas Season looming on the horizon (yes, it’s true) I thought it would be fun, and hopefully instructional, to provide a quick overview of Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) in Berrien County. So here goes . . .

    Caption: European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), the most abundant species recorded on Berrien County CBCs. Image is from the Introduced Species Summary Project at Columbia University.
    The history of the CBC in Berrien County spans a 47-year period, 1961-2007. Over those 47 years, 157 counts were conducted at 4 locations: Berrien Springs (47 counts: 1961-2007), Coloma (36: 1972-2007), New Buffalo (29: 1969-1975 & 1986-2007), and Niles (45: 1961-1978 & 1981-2007). That effort resulted in 10,588 encounters (i.e., an encounter entails the detection of one species, regardless of the number of individuals, on one CBC) with 1,539,691 individuals of a nominal 183 species; on average, that equates to 9,807 inviduals of 67 species/count/year. One hundred fifty-nine species were recorded at Berrien Springs, 139 at New Buffalo, and 131 each at Coloma and Niles.

    Evenness of Distribution: One hundred and twelve species (61 percent) were recorded at all four CBC sites, 17 (9 percent) at three, 17 at two, and 36 (20 percent) at just one.

    Yearly Regularity: Thirty-three species (18 percent) were recorded in each of the 47 years, 27 (15 percent) in just one year; the median regularity was 22 years, or 47 percent.

    Frequency of Occurrence: Fourteen species (8 percent) were recorded on all 157 counts, 27 (15 percent) on just one count; the median frequency was 32 counts, or 20 percent.

    The Big Twelve: The following species are ranked in decreasing order of abundance based on a combination of three criteria: (a) total number recorded; (b) mean count when detected, and (c) median count when detected. The values for each of these criteria are presented as percentages relative to the highest-ranking species in each category (European Starling;i.e., the median count for Northern Cardinal was 9.2 percent that of the starling). Ranks (overall and for individual critera) are in curly brackets. Each of the species listed below ranked in the top 10 in at least one of the three abundance criteria:
  • European Starling {1} — (a) 100{1} [n=372,201] — (b) 100{1} [Mean=2,373.9] — (c) 100{1} [Median=1,213]
  • House Sparrow {2}: (a) 47.2{2} — (b) 47.2{2} — (c) 75.0{2}
  • Dark-eyed Junco {3}: (a) 32.2{3} — (b) 32.2{3} - (c) 53.5{3}
  • American Tree Sparrow {4}: (a) 16.5{6} — (b) 16.5{7} — (c) 28.2{4}
  • Canada Goose {6}: (a) 16.0{8} — (b) 20.4{5} — (c) 24.8{5}
  • Ring-billed Gull {7}: (a) 21.2{4} — (b) 23.4{4} — (c) 15.1{13}
  • Mallard {7.7}: (a) 16.3{7} — (b) 16.3{8} — (c) 24.0{8}
  • Herring Gull {8.7}: (a) 16.8{5} — (b) 17.2{6} — (c) 13.5{15}
  • Mourning Dove {8.7}: (a) 14.3{9} — (b) 14.4{10} — (c) 24.2{7}
  • House Finch {10.3}: (a) 8.5{13} — (b) 13.8{12} — (c) 24.4{6}
  • Rock Pigeon {10.3}: (a) 12.7{11} — (b) 15.6{9} — (c) 15.5{11}
  • American Crow {10}: (a) 13.8{10} — (b) 13.8{11} — (c) 20.1{9}
  • Northern Cardinal {11.7}: (a) 9.2{12} — (b) 9.2{13} — (c) 17.4{10}
  • Notable High Counts: Of the 94 species detected 30 or more times, 10 had high counts that exceeded the median by a factor of 50 or more. Information provided for each species includes the high count (the site and year of the high count); and the factor by which the high count exceeded the median:
  • Common Merganser 1,224 (Berrien Springs, 1972); 84x
  • Red-breasted Merganser: 1,524 (Berrien Springs, 2003); 254x
  • Ring-necked Pheasant: 429 (Berrien Springs, 1973); 54x
  • American Coot: 2,175 (Coloma, 1994); 272x
  • American Robin: 1,366 (Berrien Springs, 2004); 137x
  • Red-winged Blackbird: 235 (New Buffalo 2001); 59x
  • Common Grackle: 3,120 (Berrien Springs, 1984); 1,040x
  • Brown-headed Cowbird: 818 (Berrien Springs, 1982); 136x
  • Lapland Longspur: 4,141 (New Buffalo, 1973); 1,035x
  • Common Redpoll: 1,300 (Berrien Springs, 1969); 52x
  • Acknowledgment: This overview was compiled with the aid of the CBC database.

    Happy Shopping!

    My favorite store is having a 25% off special this weekend, and I want to share the love!

    Shop happy! Find that perfect little black dress for a Holiday Party, or a fab rehearsal dinner dress!


    I heart our clients!!

    I'd like to argue that we seriously have the best, cutest and sweetest clients - E.V.E.R!

    Meet Audrey and Nate, they are childhood sweethearts getting married in January, and I think they are just the bee's knees.

    This pictures is taken by Pure by Lindsey, isn't that puppy just too cute!!! So be looking for on on Audrey and Nate!!!

    {actually all of our clients are fantastical!}

    Thank you!!!!!

    So literally, the Sweetest Thing! Today, after lunch the girls and I were craving serious Chocolate! So much so, we almost went to the drug store to get some... then I talked myself out of it... I am training for a triathlon afterall!

    But then, this box showed up!

    Who read my mind? But better yet, who would send such an incredible gift?

    So as I torn open the box.. I found this.

    and this...

    For their close-up

    The card was from Matt and Krystal from K- Gallery!!! Thanking us for speaking at The School of Rad!

    Hey guys, anytime! You are so welcome!!! It was a blast! Thanks for the delicious gift, we ate them up as fast as we could... and I let the honorary SB have one too :) Thanks for the Sweet Treat!!!

    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    Additions to the ABA Checklist

    The 19th published report of the ABA (i.e., American Birding Association) Checklist Committee (Pranty et al. 2008) adds 10 species to the list of birds documented from the ABA Checklist Area. With these additions, the ABA Checklist now stands at 957 accepted species. Details follow:
  • Graylag Goose (Anser anser): drill-ship in Atlantic Ocean 167 nautical miles off Newfoundland and Labrador; April 24-May 2, 2005 (Maybank 2005)
  • White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis): 2 miles north of Rollover Pass, Galveston County, Texas; April 27, 1986
  • Townsend’s Shearwater (Puffinus auricularis): Del Mar, San Diego County, California; August 1, 2007 (Unitt et al. 2008)
  • Tristram’s Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma tristrami): Southeast Farallon Island, California; April 22, 2006
  • Brown Hawk-Owl (Ninox scutulata): St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands, Alaska; August 27-September 3, 2007 (Yerger and Mohlmann 2008)
  • Loggerhead Kingbird (Tyrannus caudifasciatus): Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, Key West, Florida; March 7-26, 2007
  • Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus): Gambell, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska; September 30, 2007 (Rosenburg and Lehman 2008)
  • Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos): Saint-Fulgence, Quebec; November 11-17, 2006 (Auchu et al. 2007)
  • Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis): south Florida, where this exotic species—first noted in 1982—is now deemed established (Pranty 2008)
  • Yellow-browed Bunting (Emberiza chrysophrys): Gambell, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska; September 15, 2007 (Lehman 2008)
  • The Committee also announced that the 7th edition of the ABA Checklist is anticipated to be published in late 2008. This will be a welcome revision, as the 6th edition (published in 2002) has been out of print for two years.

    Literature Cited:
  • Auchu, C., C. Girard, and G. Savard. 2007. First record of Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) in North America. North American Birds 61:10-12.
  • Maybank, B. 2005. Atlantic Provinces and St. Pierre et Miquelon [spring 2005 report]. North American Birds 59:396-399.
  • Pranty, B. 2008. Status and distribution of the Common Myna in Florida. North American Birds 61:658-665.
  • Pranty, B., J. L. Dunn, S. C. Heinl, A. W. Kratter, P. E. Lehman, M. W. Lockwood, B. Mactavish, and K. J. Zimmer. 2008. Annual report of the ABA Checklist Committee: 2007-2008. Birding 40:32-38.
  • Rosenberg, G. H., and P. E. Lehman. 2008. First North American record of Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) at Gambell, Alaska. North American Birds 62:178-181.
  • Unitt, P., M. A. Faulkner, and C. Swanson. 2008. First record of Newell’s Shearwater from the mainland of North America. Western Birds in press.
  • Yerger, J. C., and J. D. Mohimann. In press. First North American record of Brown Hawk-Owl (Ninox scutulata) on St. Paul Island, Alaska. North American Birds 62:4-8.
  • Radical School!

    Kristin and I had a blast a few weeks ago! We had a chance to speak to a great group of photographers {at the School of Rad} about Marketing to Wedding Consultants. This class was taught by K-Gallery Photographers, Matt and Krystal. It was so much fun! What a fun group!

    We got to meet and chat with photographers that we've had the opportunity to work with, and photographers that we've only had the opportunity to blog stalk! I seriously felt like I was meeting a group of celebrities! Yes, I am a dork! {but have you seen that picture of Krystal... }

    So, to start off the day, I made cupcake truffles for the class, you can see Krystal is on a total sugar rush!

    Then we set off to have a round table discussion about marketing and what as Wedding Consultants we look for from Photographers.

    Then I got to be in the class photo:

    All pictures taken by K-Gallery.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    Three Blind Cakes!

    So, I've mentioned before that at MasterPiece Weddings we set up Blind Cake Tastings for our clients! It's so fun to collect these ltitle white boxes and get them all set up for our clients!

    We have a tasting sheet that they can judge the cakes, and we explain exactly how to taste your cake(s)... so I thought I'd give you a step by step on how to set this up for your clients, or friends or yourself.

    We do this for several reasons. You go into the tasting without any misconceptions of the baker, if you've heard a rumor about their filling or cake, you won't know if it's Publix or 4-Star Baker that baked the cake. You truly pick the cake you like the best.

    We make sure that the bakers we choose for your blind tasting can create the Masterpiece that you desire, and that it fits into your budget.

    Now it's time for the rules.

    First you need a Third Party, some one to gather the cakes and label them by numbers, and keep a legend. (we do this for our clients and they come by and pick up the fun!)

    Have a cake tasting sheet, so that you can properly keep score of the cakes.
    First taste the filling. On it's own. How do you like it, how's the mouth feel. Does it taste like the flavor it should?
    Then taste the icing on it's own. How does it taste, does it leave an aftertaste? Do you like the flavor?
    Then taste the cake, on it's own, just the cake. Is it baked to perfection? How's the flavor? Mouthfeel? Do you love the flavor?
    Then all of the pieces together, taste them all. Do they work for you, do you love it! Is it the best thing you've ever put into your mouth? Is it heaven?
    Then the client calls me and says.... we like {fill in the blank}!
    So fun!
    What do you think?

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Blogging Brides!

    This week, more on Holly R. about planning a wedding in a small town. Some people who live in larger areas think it's hard becasue they have so many choices, think about it if the opposite were true!

    One of the first steps in planning a wedding is picking the wedding date. After my fiance and I got engaged, we put a lot of thought into choosing a date that is special to us. With so many guests from out of town, and after having to travel to a ton of weddings these past few years, we thought it was important to choose a date that would accomodate the majority of our guests. The date we decided on was Sept. 5, 2009, which falls on Labor Day weekend next year. Being a 3-day weekend, we thought that this date would be convenient for our guests because they would have an extra day after the wedding to relax before they had to travel back home. We always hate waking up the day after a fun wedding and having to drive the 5, 6, or 7 hour trip back home from Michigan. It makes for a long Sunday. Having our wedding on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend would allow people to stay an extra day and let them enjoy the gorgeous scenery that the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has to offer.

    As soon as we had chosen our date, we went to work on booking things. Getting married in a small town is difficult and easy at the same time, because there isn't much to choose from in terms of vendors. I knew I wanted to get married in the same church that I had grown up attending, so the first order of business was booking the church. Sounds simple, but Catholic churches (at least this one) won't guarantee your date until you complete the requirements for marriage. My mother called the church to get the process started, and they penciled in our date with the caveat that it would not be set in stone until we completed our compatibility test, met with the priest, etc.

    Next on the list was reception sites. Again, there were very few places to choose from. We set up an appointment at the ballroom a few towns away and the country club that my fiance's parents are members of. We would not be traveling to Michigan for a few more weeks, so they penciled in the date for us and told us if anyone else called regarding that date, they would call us.

    A few weeks later, I got a call from my mother saying that another girl who recently got engaged had put a deposit down at the country club that had penciled us in. And she happened to be reserving it for the same date as our wedding! And we had not received any sort of heads up from the country club! Of course, I was in a panic, because there are seriously only like two options for receptions in the town we're getting married in. And the country club was the only one that didn't require a lot of work in terms of decorations. Then my mom told me that she had seen the other bride's mom at a school event and the woman had asked her where we were having our ceremony. My mom told her we were getting married at our church and her mom said that the girl was converting to Catholic and they were going to get married in a Catholic church as well. The next day, I get a call from the priest of our church saying that someone else was looking to get married on the same day as us. I was in a panic again because as the church had made clear to me, our date was not set in stone yet. But to my surprise, the priest said he wanted to make sure I was positive about our wedding date, and if I was, he would tell the other person that the church was already booked. I was shocked that this girl's mother had called my church to see if they could get the church on that day, even after she knew we were getting married there. And I was grateful that our priest respected the fact that the church was our main priority, and we had made the call to him as soon as we had picked our date.

    For the rest of the day, I questioned whether or not we should switch the date. There is only one hair salon, one florist, one DJ, one of everything in our town. Did I really want to compete with another bride for every vendor? I am not a huge fan of competition. I wanted to spend time negotiating prices, etc. before I went and booked all of these vendors. If we kept the Sept. 5th date, I would have to book everything as soon as possible just so I would have them all covered. Plus, I felt guilty that this girl would not get the church she wanted to get married in if we kept the date. I went home and talked with my fiance, and he told me that we should stick with our original plan. Would this girl change the date for us? Definitely not, and we wouldn't expect her to. So why should we feel obligated to change our date? We put a lot of thought into the date we chose. In the end, we decided to stick with the original date, although I still felt bad that this girl wouldn't get the church she wanted.

    A few weeks ago we saw this girl at the wedding of a mutual friend. My fiance went up to her to say congratulations, and her mom came up to him and said "Why couldn't you just change the date?". Of course being the gentleman that he is, he just laughed and walked away. When he told me about it, I couldn't believe that this lady had the audacity to say something like that to him. How can you feel so entitled that you think everyone around you should change their plans for you? We are getting married too. It is our day too. And a long time coming. We have been together for seven years, it is about time we get married! The moral of the story, when it comes to weddings, do what you think is right for you, the person you love, and the loved ones that surround you. Don't worry about satisfying the rest of the world. Don't change your date just because someone else wants to get married on the same day as you. They would never do it for you. Another moral of the story, everyone getting married has priorities. Figure out what's most important to you, whether it be the church, the caterer, the music. Then book those vendors immediately so you don't have to worry about losing them. Once you have the things that matter to you in place, the rest of the wedding will come together easily!

    If you are interested in being a Blogging Bride, please email me at melissa {at} masterpieceweddings {dot} net

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Precipitation Summary for October 2008

    Daily precipitation was recorded on 24 of 31 days at our home on Crescent Lake, near Buchanan, Michigan, following CoCoRaHS (the Community Collatorative Rain, Hail, & Snow Network) protocols. Cumulative precipitation on the remaining 7 days (October 23-29) was determined from a multi-day report filed on October 29; days on which measurable moisture fell were inferred from precipitation maps.

    Precipitation Summary: Measurable amounts of precipitation (i.e., ≥0.01 inches) in the form of rain or snow fell on 17 (55 percent) of 31 days, with a total accumulation (water equivalency) of 3.48 inches (0.11 inches/day, 0.20 inches/day with measureable precipitation). Precipation in the form of snow was recorded on 1 day (October 28th), with a total accumulation of approximately 1.0 inches and a liquid equivalent of 0.30 inches (as determined by a core measurement that was taken 24-hours later).

    Comparisons: At CoCoRaHS stations elsewhere in Berrien and surrounding counties, measureable precipitation was recorded on 44.3 percent (360) of 813 reporting days, with values ranging from 34.7 percent (n=129) in St. Joseph County to 62.5 percent (n=40) in Cass County. Rainfall totals at 13 other CoCoRaHS stations in Berien and surrounding counties with 31 consecutive days (or equivalent) of measurements ranged from 3.11 to 3.99 (median 3.48).

    Temperature, Relative Humidity, and Dew Point (at 7:00 AM): These readings were recorded on 25 days (October 1-22 and 29-31).
  • Temperature: High 58 (on 14th), Median 46, Low 30 (on 30th)
  • Relative Humidity: High 88 (on 8th), Median 79, Low 48 (on 29th)
  • Dew Point Temperature: High 53 (on 8th), Median 39, Low 19 (on 29th)
  • The Sweetest Thing!

    You know when you meet somone and you just know that you'll be fast friends! It happens with clients sometimes, you sit down to chat with them and you immediately find things to chat about, and totally hit it off.
    When Lindsay came in to talk with Kristin and I - we loved her ideas - they may not have been traditional ideas, but who says they have to be, right? She wanted to wear a pink dress, and have a super fun cake topper, and leave on a tandum bicycle - and her colors were Hot Pink and Mango Orange... in November... who cares! That's what she wanted... and it was awesome!
    Then, I got the sweetest thank you card from Lindsay!
    Where to begin? Thank you for "getting us" and not trying to squeeze us into one of the stero-typical wedding couples. More importantly, thank you for actually being excited about our perhaps unusual ideas!! I had a great feeling as soon as I met you and I simply cannot imagine my wedding without all of you. The day was absolutely perfect and there isn't a doubt in my mind that much of that is becasue of your hard work, expertise and passion. I truly enjoyed sharing this experience with you and I am forever grateful for all that you did to make this day so special, so perfect!!!

    Can't wait to get the pictures back from the photographer to share iwth you, because they are going to rock! Check out this awesome picture from their engagement session!

    Thanks K-Gallery for a super fun day!!! You guys are fantastic to work with, always professional, timely, and just plan rock!

    Sunday, November 9, 2008

    Hooktip and False Owlet Moths of Berrien County, Michigan

    The hooktip and false owlet moths (Family Drepanidae) are represented in Berrien County, as documented in Sherman Moore’s (1955) Annotated List of the Moths of Michigan (.pdf), consist of just 2 species (representing 2 subfamilies and 2 genera).

    The hooktip and false owlet moths of Berrien County represent 9.5 percent of the 21 species known from the U.S. and Canada and 0.6 percent of the approximately 1,000 species known worldwide.

    Taxonomic classification and scientific names follow the All-Leps North American Checklist, while common names are from the BugGuide. An asterisk denotes a species documented from Berrien County by Moore:
    Subfamily Drepaninae (hooktip moths):
  • Drepana arcuata, Arched Hooktip*

    Subfamily Thyatirinae (false owlet moths):
  • Pseudothyatira cymatophoroides, Tufted Thyatirin*
  • Silkworm Moths of Berrien County, Michigan

    The known silkworm moths (Family Bombycidae) of Berrien County, as documented in Sherman Moore's (1955) Annotated List of the Moths of Michigan (.pdf), consist of just 2 species (representing 1 subfamily and 2 genera). These are medium-sized moths with a wingspread of about 2.0 inches.

    The silkworm moths of Berrien County represent 33.3 percent of the 6 species known from the U.S. and Canada and 2 percent of the approximately 100 species known worldwide.

    Taxonomic classification and scientific names follow the All-Leps North American Checklist, while common names are from the BugGuide. An asterisk denotes a species documented from Berrien County by Moore:
    Subfamily Apatelodinae:
  • Apatelodes torrefacta, Spotted Apatelodes*
  • Olceclostera (=Apatelodes) angelica, The Angel*
  • Underwing Moths of Berrien County, Michigan

    The underwing moths are the best known and most colorful of an assortment of otherwise rather drab and obscurely marked middle-sized moths assembled within the Family Erebidae. Often lumped with the owlet moths of an immense family known as the Noctuidae, the All-Leps North American Checklist has raised the underwing moths and their close relatives to the family level, a classification followed here.

    Sherman Moore’s (1955) Annotated List of the Moths of Michigan (.pdf) documents the occurrence of 64 species of underwing moths and their allies (representing 7 subfamilies and 28 genera) from Berrien County.

    Scientific names and higher-level classifications used in this list follows All-Leps. Common names are primarily from the BugGuide, supplemented with Charles V. Covel’s Eastern Moths in one or two instances. An asterisk (*) denotes a species documented from Berrien County by Moore, while a string of question marks (?????) denotes a species of questionable validity (i.e., I could not confirm Moore's original identity with a known species in All-Leps or the BugGuide).
    Subfamily Boletobiinae:
  • Melanomma auricinctaria, Gold-lined Melanomma Moth*
  • Oxycilla basipallida (=panatela]* ?????

    Subfamily Calpinae (fruit piercing moths):
  • Plusiodonta compressipalpis, Moonseed Moth*
  • Scoliopteryx libatrix, The Herald*

    Subfamily Catocalinae (underwing moths):
  • Allotria elonympha, False Underwing*
  • Caenurgina crassiuscula, Clover Looper*
  • Caenurgina erechtea, Forage Looper*
  • Catocala amatrix, The Sweetheart*
  • Catocala amica, Girlfriend Underwing*
  • Catocala cara, Darling Underwing*
  • Catocala cerogama, Yellow-banded Underwing*
  • Catocala concumbens, Pink Underwing*
  • Catocala ilia, Ilia Underwing*
  • Catocala insolabilis, Inconsolable Underwing*
  • Catocala junctura, Joined Underwing*
  • Catocala neogama, The Bride*
  • Catocala parta, Mother Underwing*
  • Catocala praeclara, Praeclara Underwing*
  • Catocala relicta, White Underwing*
  • Catocala ultronia, Ultronia Underwing*
  • Catocala unijuga, Once-married Underwing*
  • Drasteria [=Syneda] grandirena [=limbolaris]*
  • Panopoda rufimargo, Red-lined Panopoda*
  • Parallelia bistriaris, Maple Looper Moth*
  • Spiloloma (=Strenoloma) lunilinea, Moon-lined Moth*
  • Zale lunata, Lunate Zale*
  • Zale lunifera, Bold-based Zale*
  • Zale obliqua, Oblique Zale*
  • Zale undularis, Black Zale*

    Subfamily Eublemminae:
  • Ledaea (=Spargaloma) perditalis, Lost Owlet*
  • Metalectra discalis, Common Fungus Moth*
  • Metalectra quadrisignata, Four-spotted Fungus Moth*

    Subamily Euteliinae:
  • Marathyssa inficita, Dark Marathyssa*
  • Paectes oculatrix, Eyed Paectes*

    Subfamily Herminiinae (dried-leaf moths):
  • Chytolita morbidalis, Morbid Owlet*
  • Chytolita petrealis, Stone-winged Owlet*
  • Idia (=Epizeuxis) aemula, Common Idia*
  • Idia (=Epizeuxis) americalis, American Idia*
  • Idia (=Epizeuxis) denticulalis, Toothed Idia*
  • Idia (=Epizeuxis) forbesii*
  • Idia (=Epizeuxis) julia*
  • Idia (=Epizeuxis) lubricalis, Glossy Black Idia*
  • Idia (=Epizeuxis) rotundalis, Rotund Idia Moth*
  • Idia (=Epizeuxis) scobialis, Smoky Idia*
  • Lascoria ambigualis, Ambiguous Moth*
  • Macrochilo (=Hormisa) absorptalis, Slant-lined Owlet*
  • Macrochilo (=Hormisa) litophora, Brown-lined Owlet Moth*
  • Palthis angulalis, Dark-spotted Palthis*
  • Palthis asopialis, Faint-spotted Palthis*
  • Phalaenostola (=Philometra) eumelusalis, Dark Phalaenostola*
  • Phalaenostola larentioides, Black-banded Owlet*
  • Renia factiosalis, Sociable Renia*
  • Renia flavipunctalis, Yellow-spotted Renia*
  • Renia salusalis*
  • Renia sobrialis, Sober Renia*
  • Zanclognatha laevigata, Variable Zanclognatha*
  • Zanclognatha lituralis, Lettered Zanclognatha*
  • Zanclognatha ochreipennis, Wavy-lined Zanclognatha*

    Subfamily Hypeninae (owlet snout moths):
  • Hypena (=Bomolocha) abalienalis, White-lined Bomolocha*
  • Hypena (=Bomolocha) baltimoralis, Baltimore Bomolocha*
  • Hypena (=Bomolocha) deceptalis, Deceptive Bomolocha*
  • Hypena (=Bomolocha) manalis, Flowing-line Bomolocha*
  • Hypena (=Bomolocha) palparia, Mottled Bomolocha*
  • Hypena (=Plathypena) scabra, Green Cloverworm Moth*

    Subfamily Scolecocampinae:
  • Amolita fessa, Feeble Grass Moth*
  • Amolita (=Arzama) obliqua, Oblique Grass Moth*
  • Isogona tenuis, Thin-lined Owlet*
  • Scolecocampa liburna, Dead-wood Borer Moth*
  • Saturday, November 8, 2008

    Giant Silkworm and Royal Moths of Berrien County, Michigan, and Vicinity

    The giant silkworm and royal moths (Family Saturniidae) are among the largest and most brightly colored North American members of the Order Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). Adults of some North American species attain wingspans of up to 140 mm (5.5 in).

    Collectively, Sherman Moore’s (1955) Annotated List of the Moths of Michigan (.pdf) and Butterflies and Moths of North America (BaMoNA) list 10 species (representing 3 subfamilies and 9 genera) as having been confirmed in Berrien County plus the neighboring counties of Cass and Van Buren in Michigan and La Porte and St. Joseph in Indiana. Also, another 4 species (representing 2 additional genera) are likely to occur in the region based on their widespread distribution in Michigan and adjacent States (BoMaNA).

    In total, then, 14 species representing 3 families and 11 genera have been cofirmed (or are likely to be found) in Berrien County and vicinity. These 14 species represent 82.4 percent of the 17 species documented from Michigan, 18.2 percent of the 77 species found in the U.S. and Canada, and 1.27 percent of the approximately1,100 species known worldwide.

    In the following list, species documented from Berrien County are boldfaced, counties with confirmed records are listed in parentheses, and species whose presence is suspected based on their documented occurrence elsewhere in Michigan and surrounding States are in brackets (with indication of States where recorded). Species denoted with an asterisk (*) are from Sherman, those with a hat (^) are from BoMoNA. Scientific and common names follow All-Leps and the Bug Guide.
    Subfamily Ceratocampinae (royal moths):
  • [Anisota stigma, Spiny Oakworm Moth^ (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI)]
  • [Anisota senatoria, Orange-tipped Oakworm Moth^ (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI)]
  • Anisota virginiensis, Pink-striped Oakworm Moth*^ (Berrien, Cass)
  • [Citheronia regalis, Regal Moth^ (IL, IN, MI, OH)]
  • Dryocampa (=Anisota) rubicunda, Rosy Maple Moth^ (Berrien, Cass, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Eacles imperialis, Imperial Moth*^ (Berrien, Cass, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Syssphinx bicolor, Honey Locust Moth^ (Berrien)

    Subfamily Hemileucinae (buck and io moths):
  • Automeris io, Io Moth*^ (Berrien, Cass, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • [Hemileuca maia, Buckmoth^ (IN, MI, OH)]
  • [Hemileuca nevadensis, Nevada Buckmoth^ (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI)]

    Subfamily Saturniinae (silkmoths):
  • Actias luna, Luna Moth*^ (Berrien, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Antheraea polyphemus, Polyphemus Moth*^ (Berrien, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Callosamia angulifera, Tulip-tree Silkmoth*^ (Berrien, Cass, Van Buren)
  • Callosamia promethea, Promethea Moth*^ (Berrien, Cass, La Porte, St. Joseph, Van Buren)
  • Hyalophora cecropia, Cecropia Moth^ (Berrien, La Porte, St. Joseph, Van Buren)
  • Friday, November 7, 2008

    Hawk Moths and Sphinx Moths of Berrien County, Michigan, and Vicinity

    The hawk moths and sphinx moths (Family Sphingidae) are relatively large, colorful, and readily identified members of the Order Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). Adults of some species so very much resemble hummingbirds in flight (see, especially, the Hummigbird Clearwing) that they are often mistaken as such by lay persons. The moths of this group are recognized as important pollinators.

    Collectively, Sherman Moore’s (1955) Annotated List of the Moths of Michigan (.pdf) and Butterflies and Moths of North America (BaMoNA) indicate confirmed records of 18 species (representing 3 subfamilies, and 13 genera) in Berrien County. Plus, BaMoNA lists another 13 species (representing an additional 3 genera) from the neighboring counties of Cass (2) and Van Buren (9) in Michigan and La Porte (5) in Indiana, and another 3 species (representing an additional 2 genera) that are likely to occur in the region based on their widespread distribution in Michigan and other Great Lakes States (BaMoNA).

    In total, then, 34 species representing 3 subfamilies and 18 genera have been confirmed (or are likely to be found) in Berkeley County and vicinity. These 34 species represent 85 percent of the 40 species found in Michigan, 27.4 percent of the 124 species found in the U.S. and Canada, and 2.8 percent of the 1,200 species known worldwide.

    In the following list, counties with confirmed records are listed in parentheses; species documented from Berrien County are boldfaced; and species whose presence is suspected based on their documented occurrence elsewhere in Michigan and surrounding States are in brakets (with indication of States where recorded). Species denoted with an asterisk (*) are from Sherman, those with a hat (^) are from BaMoNA.
    Subfamily Macroglossinae:
  • Aellopos tantalus, Tantalus Sphinx*^ (Berren—the only record for MI of this tropical species)
  • Amphion floridensis, Nessus Sphinx^ (La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Darapsa choerilus (=pholus), Azalea Sphinx^ (Berrien, Van Buren)
  • Darapsa myron, Virginia Creeper Sphinx*^ (Berrien, Cass, La Porte)
  • Darapsa versicolor, Hydrangea Sphinx^ (Cass)
  • Deidamia inscriptum, Lettered Sphinx^ (Van Buren)
  • Eumorpha achemon, Achemon Sphinx^ (Van Buren)
  • Eumorpha pandorus, Pandorus Sphinx*^ (Berrien, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Hemaris diffinis, Snowberry Clearwing^ (La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Hemaris thysbe, Hummingbird Clearwing*^ (Berrien, Van Buren)
  • [Hyles gallii, Bedstraw Sphinx^ (IL, MI, WI)]
  • Hyles lineata, White-lined Sphinx*^ (Berrien, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • [Xylophanes tersa, Tersa Sphinx^ (IL, MI, WI)]

    Subfamily Smerinthinae:
  • Amorpha juglandis, Walnut Sphinx*^ (Berrien, Cass, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Smitherinsis cerisyi, One-eyed Sphinx^ (Van Buren)
  • Smitherinsis jamaicensis, Twin-spotted Sphinx^ (Van Buren)
  • Pachysphinx modesta, Modest Sphinx*^ (Berrien, Cass, Van Buren)
  • Paonias excaecata, Blinded Sphinx*^ (Berrien, Van Buren)
  • Paonias myops, Small-eyed Sphinx*^ (Berrien, La Porte, Van Buren)

    Subfamily Sphinginae:
  • [Agrius cingulata, Pink-spotted Hawkmoth^ (IL, MI)]
  • Ceratomia amyntor, Elm Sphinx^ (La Porte)
  • Ceratomia catalpae, Catalpa Sphinx^ (La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Ceratomia hageni, Hagen’s Sphinx^ (Laporte)
  • Ceratomia undulosa, Waved Sphinx^ (Berrien, Cass, Van Buren)
  • Dolba hyloeus, Pawpaw Sphinx*^ (Berrien, Cass, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Lapara bombycoides, Northern Pine Sphinx*^ (Berrien)
  • Manduca quinquemaculata, Five-spotted Hawkmoth*^ (Berrien, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Manduca sexta, Carolina Sphinx*^ (Berrien, Cass, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Sphinx canadensis, Canadian Sphinx^ (Cass)
  • Sphinx chersis, Great Ash Sphinx*^ (Berrien, Van Buren)
  • [Sphinx drupiferarum, Wild Cherry Sphinx^ (IL, MI, OH, WI)]
  • Sphinx eremitus, Hermit Sphinx* (Berrien, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Sphinx kalmiae, Laurel Sphinx*^ (Berrien, La Porte, Van Buren)
  • Sphinx luscitiosa, Clemen’s Sphinx^ (Van Buren)
  • Sphinx poecilia, Poecila Sphinx^ (Van Buren)
  • Have you met.... Kristin?

    (Kristin on the right)
    I know you met Kristin {my left and right hand} through our contest Boss vs. Bossy - and then again when we welcomed her aboard as our Associate.

    But did you know her story, I mean really what makes this amazing woman tick? Kristin recently wrote about herself on Be A Planner- please take a peek.

    Especially if you are new to the industry, Kristin's first hand Autobiography of her "day in a life" will make you feel like you aren't alone!

    Lower Image by K-Gallery

    Thursday, November 6, 2008

    This 'n' That

    Retta Scott at her animation desk at Disney's

    Where did October go?

    The fall months are busy ones, but this blog needs updating. Several things in the works but for today--please make sure you visit Michael Sporn, the better to enjoy his latest posts of artwork from "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom". What's old is new again, always; these images are fantastic and inspiring.