The chert gravel deposits of the lower Mississippi River valley were formed by glacial and alluvial processes, which tumbled and smoothed stones from all over the drainage of that great basin, from Montana to Minnesota to Pennsylvania and every place in between.
The fossils found in the chert gravels of the the lower Mississippy valley make great finds because they are chert that has been tumbled over the eons.
Chert is a microcrystalline silica mineral that forms when organic material (or their anhydride castings) are replaced by the action of groundwater over the ages. Chert is fairly hard and polishes nicely. The semiprecious gemstones such as agates and jaspers are examples of chert.
A good fossil in crumbly sandstone or limestone is nice and all but not nearly as nice a good fossil made of a nice hard gemstone that was polished by glaciers over eons.
The front and back yards are tangles of heirloom vegetables and wildflowers of many different types, and that draws a lot of butterflies, especially the large yellow tiger swallowtails.
Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia rotundifolia) and various varieties of sunflowers dominate about half the area with full sunlight, with cosmos, coneflowers, and zinnias making up most of the rest, at least as far as annuals.
Note that all of those flowers are warm yellow, orange. and red colors, and so it’s a little dazzling on blue-sky days, especially with all the large butterflies flying around.
This is a young adult Green Frog. It is much smaller than the old blue-faced males in the ponds, but it is still an adult and reproductively active, capable of laying a clutch of several hundred eggs in a night:
At the bottom of this post are two videos of tadpoles of the Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) swimming in experiment tank #6. One video is from June 27, 2022, and the second is from June 30.
Juvenile Green Frogs have laid several clutches of eggs in all eight experiment tanks. Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) have also laid several clutches of eggs in every tank as far as I can tell.