Friday (14-August-2020) — New Jersey

Summertime Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

Afternoon walkabout with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens. I am getting to like this camera. It is a bit heavy, but feels robust. The focus is fast, and does a good job tracking moving subjects. All of these images are hand-held using the in-camera sensor based image stabilization.

I didn’t plant wildflower seeds in the back wildflower meadows this spring. Only a few Sunflowers, Zinnia, Plains Coreopsis, and Sweet William flowers returned (self-seeded from last year). I am still getting Strawberries in the Grow Towers. A few Monarch and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies are feeding on the remaining Thistle flowers. I also observed a Monarch butterfly laying eggs on a Milkweed plant. Kermit the Bullfrog was sunning itself on a log in the pond. I am still waiting on the township to remove the fallen oak tree.


Backyard Wildflowers. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Strawberry. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Strawberry. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)


Backyard Butterflies. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Kermit the Bullfrog on a Log. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Kermit the Bullfrog on a Log. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)


Northern Cardinal, Brown Thrasher, and American Goldfinch. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Downed Oak Tree post Tropical Storm Isaias. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Downed Oak Tree post Tropical Storm Isaias. Image taken with a Leica SL2 camera and 90-280 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)

Daily Electric Energy Used (60.4 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (56.7 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Clouds and rain. A deficit of 4.72 kWh.

Friday (22-May-2020) — New Jersey

Backyard Springtime Nature in New Jersey.

Birds of the Day — Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch, Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove, American Goldfinch, and Eastern Phoebe. It seems like there are a number of juvenile birds showing up. There continues to be lots of action at the Eastern Phoebe nest with both parents feed the new hatchlings.


Adult Birds of the Day. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.


Juvenile Birds of the Day. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Spring flowers of the day — Yellow and Orange California Poppy, Red, and Oriental Poppy, Rhododendron


Springtime Flowers of the Day. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

I spent the afternoon on the patio assembling the new Grow Towers and transplanting the indoor hydroponic strawberry plants to the outdoor Grow Towers. The activity was recorded by a Garmin VIRB-360 camera and used to create a time-lapse Little Planet video.

Daily Electric Energy Used (47.6 kWh) from meter readings the Sense Home Energy Monitor. The daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (39.9 kWh) from SolSystems and Locus Energy. Cloudy much of the day. A deficit 0f 7.7 kWh.


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Saturday (02-May-2020) — New Jersey

Backyard Springtime Nature in New Jersey.

More birds at the feeder today. In the morning: Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, and Chipping Sparrow. In the afternoon: Northern Cardinal, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Carolina Wren. The Carolina Wren actually was on the roof with a grub in its mouth. It was also calling out letting folks know it had a grub. I’m not sure if it was trying to attract a mate, or to get a young bird to fledge and get out of the nest. In the afternoon, I mowed the lawn for the first time this year. The grass was getting to be ankle high. I hadn’t mowed earlier because a tire on the lawn tractor was flat. While mowing, I noticed a number of small wildflowers already blooming. I haven’t planted andy wildflower seeds yet this spring, so these are either native, or have self-seeded from last year. Later in the afternoon, I went for a walkabout in the yard to document the early May flowers: Johnny-Jump-Up, Blue Forget me Not, Grape Hyacinth, Plum Tree, Siberian Wallflower, Five-Spots, Prunella Vulgaris (also known as Self-Heal, Heal-All, and Woundwort), Baby Blue Eyes, wild Violet (Viola), Jack in the Pulpit, Lilac, California Poppy, Allium bud, Star of Bethlehem, Strawberry, Yellow Tulip.


Birds in the Morning. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.


Birds in the Afternoon and Early Evening. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Carolina Wren with a slug. Image taken with a Fuji X-T3 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 320, 80 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)
Carolina Wren with a grub. Image taken with a Fuji X-T3 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 320, 80 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)


Early May Backyard Flowers. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.


Early May Backyard Flowers. Individual images in the slideshow are available in my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Daily Electric Energy Used (45.9 kWh) from meter readings the Sense Home Energy Monitor. The daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (69.5 kWh) from SolSystems and Locus Energy. Sunny, but the power was out for a couple of hours in the afternoon. A surplus of 23.6 kWh.


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Sunday (26-April-2020) — New Jersey

Indoor Springtime Hydroponic Farm.

Although many of the plants started in January (or last fall) in the AeroGarden Farms are nearing the end of their lifecycle, I am still harvesting tomatoes and strawberries. The strawberry plants will be transplanted outside into a Grow Tower system. This will be an experiment since some of these plants came from the outdoor Grow Towers last fall. I’m still waiting to see if the Hot Peppers and Ground Cherries will ripen indoors. They are being slow. I am not sure if this is a temperature or amount of light issue.

Strawberries grown in my indoor hydroponic farm. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 60 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 500, 60 mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)
Strawberries grown in my indoor hydroponic farm. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 60 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 500, 60 mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)
Yellow and Red Cherry Tomatoes grown in my indoor hydroponic farm. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 60 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 500, 60 mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)
Yellow and Red Cherry Tomatoes grown in my indoor hydroponic farm. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 60 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 500, 60 mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)

Daily Electric Energy Used (51.6 kWh) from Sense Home Energy Monitor and Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (8.1 kWh) from SolSystems and Locus Energy. Lots of rain and clouds. A deficit of 43.5 kWh.

Weekly Electric Energy Used (403 kWh) from Sense Home Energy Monitor and meter readings. Weekly Solar Electric Energy Produced (310 kWh) from SolSystems and Locus Energy. A deficit of 93 kWh. I hoped to go net positive this week, but too many cloudy and rainy days. Numbers corrected by meter readings for the time that the Sense monitor was offline.


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Monday (23-March-2020) — New Jersey

Indoor Springtime Nature in New Jersey.

I harvested about two quarts of Strawberries from my indoor AeroGarden hydroponic farm. I then made Strawberry jam using just the strawberries and Wild Girls Honey from my sister using an Instant Pot recipe I found on the internet. Later in the day I found a Stink Bug on a Pepper leaf. I know they say that the Stink Bugs are vegetarian, I still consider them a pest.

Indoor Hydroponic Strawberry Harvest. Image taken with a Leica TL-2 Camera and 23 mm f/2 lens (ISO 800, 23 mm, f/8, 1/60 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Indoor Hydroponic Strawberry Harvest. Image taken with a Leica TL-2 Camera and 23 mm f/2 lens (ISO 800, 23 mm, f/8, 1/60 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Stink Bug on a Pepper leaf. Image taken with a Fuji X-T3 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 1600, 80 mm, f/16, 1/60 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)
Stink Bug on a Pepper leaf. Image taken with a Fuji X-T3 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 1600, 80 mm, f/16, 1/60 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)
Stink Bug on a Pepper leaf. Image taken with a Fuji X-T3 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 1600, 80 mm, f/16, 1/60 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)
Stink Bug on a Pepper leaf. Image taken with a Fuji X-T3 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 1600, 80 mm, f/16, 1/60 sec) (DAVID J MATHRE)

Daily Electric Energy Used (67.9 kWh) from Sense Home Energy Monitor and Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (6.4 kWh) from SolSystems and Locus Energy. Lots of rain and colder outside. A deficit of 61.5 kWh.

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