I put up my bird feeders in my garden shed to keep the night critters away. I had to put the feeders in a container to keep a mouse out but I knew he was still in there, probably to keep out of the cold. Much to my surprise, the mouse met his demise....
Black Rat Snake October 19, 2009
This snake is fairly small, not more than a foot but he was able to swallow the mouse--look at the big hump! At first, I wasn't sure of the ID. The field guide said that Black Rat Snakes have the coloration of gray rat snakes (not usually in this area) when they are young so that explains that he is not black.
Close-up of the Black Rat Snake
Shaggy Mane Mushroom October 13, 2009
Our driveway is full of these mushrooms, usually in September but they came up in October. This one, probably several days old, shows how it got its name.
I photographed this zinnia the day before a freeze which killed all my zinnias and cosmos last week. I planted these flowers from a few seed packets and got lots of flowers, enjoyed by bees and butterflies alike. They are a cheap way to help the bees!
Bee Update: I had to start feeding the bees since there is so little forage for them and I wasn't sure of their winter stores of honey (since I swiped a little from them). I did notice them bringing in pollen--there's till some asters. I even saw some bees on my pansies and mums.