Thursday, June 30, 2011

Toe-May-Toe, Toe-Ma-Toe

Little sweet tomatoes, getting ready to pop them in my mouth! Yum! Posted by Picasa

"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato." ~ Lewis Grizzard
Storms broke out dead tree tops and littered the yard with limbs and leaves. Pinecones pelted the metal sunroom roof, sounding more like giant hailstones and the wind caught up anything that was not tied down. The grow box with these tiny tomatoes bowed to the power of the wind and rolled to the edge of the deck, then toppled over and down the steps losing a bit of dirt, several large branches and scattering tiny green tomatoes all over the stone patio. I repaired the damage as best possible: replacing the dirt and the soil cover, tying up the vines and relocating the box to be sheltered from future winds.

These are the survivors -- of the storm and the marauding squirrel bandits -- and they are beginning to ripen. At first, it was slow... one a day for a week.. but now I get a handful a day. Some are red and others orange... but all are tasty and juicy and squirt yummy goodness all in your mouth. I get to eat these at least... Mom has become enamored with the cucumbers and we really need ten vines to keep up with her passion. So far, the birds have left them alone and the squirrels are not brave enough to come directly up to the boxes as they are so close to the door. Now we will simply have to see how long they will produce.

No matter how you say it... tomatoes are one of summer's great joys.
(end of post)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Annuals: To Plant or Not To Plant, That Is The Question

Lobelia erinus (Blue Cascade) & Calibrachoa hybrid (Yellow) Posted by Picasa

"To analyze the charms of flowers is like dissecting music; it is one of those things which it is far better to enjoy, than to attempt to fully understand." ~ Henry T. Tuckerman.
I have never been a real fan of annuals; those flowers that do not survive the cooler zones of winter. I've never loved the cycle that the yard guy does in the front beds... spring brings the impatiens or vincas and fall brings the pansies. For one thing, the impatiens don't really love the sun that much and they don't seem to spread well. In Mississippi, our house had quite a few trees which made growing a good lawn a problem (St. Augustine was almost the only grass to grow under those pines), but the impatiens grew and spread, sometimes to three feet tall and a few plants would fill an entire square bed, hiding the boxwoods. Not here. They don't really start filling out -- if they survive the heat and my antipathy towards them -- until September or October when it finally begins to cool off and at their height of blooming, the yard guy comes along and rudely pulls them up. He replaces them with pansies. Now, I love pansies much more than the impatiens; still, while pansies may bloom her in winter, they are wimpy. They really don't like the cold that comes with snow and spend much of the winter looking wilted or frost bit. It really is the spring... usually here this includes late February and March, perhaps into April... where they are at their best. I have managed to nurse a few along in a pot on the deck, but now in June, even these are on their last leg and wobbling. In the front beds, the pansies only start looking really good and trying to spread when March gets here. And again, at the height of their beauty, they are snatched up and replaced in May. The endless cycle. It seems wrong. And so this is why I seldom plant annuals... at least knowingly.

When Stephen was here, he found this hanging basket of bright yellow million bells (I think a petunia relative), blue lobelia and (not pictured) red flowers (the name escapes me.. this happens more and more with each passing year.. though I doubt I ever knew the name of the red flowers). They are all annuals and won't make it until next summer, but I have to admit they are beautiful. Downside... must be watered every day and I mean, everyday. You cannot be two hours late before they start to wilt. It must be something about the planter they are in because I have a homemade basket of million bells and petunias that is not this sensitive.

I love to see the plants and don't mind pruning back or deadheading (except tickweed which is tedious), but I really like to plant only once and then watch as the little shoots and stems poke through the ground in spring again. I tend to look like a giant mudball when planting, not my favorite thing to be. So I tend to plant perennials. However, this year the monarch and black swallowtail have been slower to show up and my fennel is six feet tall, just waiting for some caterpillars and the milkweed overfloweth and the bees of all types are having orgies in the bee balm and lavender and agastache. So where are they? On the annuals. On this plant.

Black Swallowtail with red... verbena?

Perhaps I SHOULD plant a few more annuals... sigh.

(end of post)
Mellow Yellow Monday
Ruby Tuesday

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Signs..Signs..Everywhere There's Signs

Clockwise from top left: Tokyo, Las Vegas, Brooklyn, and Grand Canary Islands.
(Click pictures to enlarge)

“One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain.” ~Thomas Sowell (American Writer and Economist, b.1930)
I have a photo of a group of Canada geese standing on the shore of a local lake next to a sign that reads... "NO SWIMMING". It is as if they wonder... "Does this mean me?" These signs are from around the world.. some three dimensional, some profound and some simply different. Since I don't travel much these days, those from overseas were taken by my brother. The first, from Tokyo shows businessmen and women waiting to cross the street, although I must admit that I wondered if they were male models posing... then again... no, no way.. waiting to cross the street. All of them in black suits or skirts, black jackets or dark gray coats and white shirts; uniform in nature... conforming....expected. But the huge red LOVE sign in the background POPS off the page and gives it a strange twist (which is why I wondered if there was a photo shoot going on for a magazine cover or something). The "LOVE" also feeds into the next sign... M&M's. I do so love M&M's, either plain or with almonds (peanuts are ok but almonds are heavenly). The crazy bright colors and the three dimensional look of the lovable and sweet (in more ways than one) characters make me want to walk right into the store and buy all the M&M's my suitcase can hold. This sign would stand out here at home, but in Las Vegas... everything is gaudy and everything is brightly colored and over-the-top. You can see the Coca-Cola store next door with its oversized bottle... anyway... I love M&M's.

The next sign is one of several on the outer walls of the Brooklyn Public Library, profound and true. Even in these days of instant downloads of Kindle books, I still like to walk through the stacked shelves of the library; to smell the pages of the books and see the worn page edges. If I can check it out from the library for free, I won't buy the book to download. In any form, electronic or hardcover... books are definitely the inheritance of generations.

I thought the final sign in this group was cute... it reads "pedestrian zone".. so someone painted pedestrians on the wall behind the sign. In doing so, the artist fulfilled the intent of the sign... now it IS a pedestrian zone!

My brother is the central figure in this opera sign. Posted by Picasa
Yes, my brother is the large central figure in this opera poster sign... he's the one with the gun pointed at his head. Operas always put these large signs to advertise the coming event or the opera currently playing. Here in the United States, opera isn't that popular and the opera companies are much smaller, as are the productions. In Japan, however, the people are wild about opera to an almost fanatic degree. Stephen has performed several times in Tokyo, in this case the only opera written by Mozart... Fidelio. It is one of those comedy/drama stories... he plays Florestan, a nobleman, who has been kidnapped and imprisoned by an evil governor who spreads the word that Florestan is dead. Leonore, Florestan's wife, suspects he is still alive and she pretends to be a man (Fidelio) and manages to obtain a job as the chief jailer's helper. She smuggles provisions to her husband in the dungeon.

However, the daughter of the chief jailer, falls in love with Fidelio (not knowing that he is really Leonore) and rebuffs another young assistant who is mad for her. The governor tries to get the chief jailor to kill Florestan when he discovers that a high minister in the government is on his way to inspect the prison. The minister, Florestans close friend, will surely find him and the governor will be in real trouble. The chief jailer refuses, so the governor goes to do the murderous deed himself... the minister is within sight on the road. Lenore as Fidelio is in the dungeon with her husband and flings herself between the governor and her bound husband. She reveals herself and the pistol she has smuggled in; but as she prepares to shoot the governor or die trying to save her husband, the trumpet sounds... the minister is here... Florestan is saved! Leonore releases her husband and all is well. Oh... the chief jailer's daughter is a bit rattled that Fidelio was actually Leonore, but she quickly gets over it when the young man who is mad for her again professes his love and she accepts. It's one of those "happily ever after" endings... well, except for the evil governor... one that is not often seen in opera. In fact, this is one of the few parts my brother plays that does NOT die in the end.

While Stephen was still singing as a house tenor in Linz, Austria, they did a production of "Peter Grimes". Opera is sung in the language it is written in and this was written in English. He plays a rustic fisherman and of course, dies in the end. For the pre-opera advertising, they shot photos of him in his costume... a thick sweater, jeans and old fisherman hat.. with thick nets. The ocean was in the background and he was kneeling on the sand. This was the opera poster shot and they made it into a large billboard as well. He told me it was always disconcerting to walk down that street and look up to see a multiple times life size picture of himself. Life-size, he is big and imposing. The billboard.....really scary.

Carmi is collecting "signs" this week... I know he is going to have a lot of great ones. Actually, when I read what he wants over there... it really isn't this. I probably SHOULD have posted the geese with the "no swimming" sign. Oh, well. I am this far into it so I am just going to go with it... just won't link it over there. This is why one should ALWAYS read the instructions AND any fine print. However, the Saturday Photo Hunt, which I missed of course is on "informative". I thought this meant an informative post.. and this is one, in a way. But signs also are very informative.. at least sometimes. So, better late than never... on to the Photo Hunt.

(end of post)
Saturday Photo Hunt ~ "Informative"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Family of Another Nature

A small family of Canada geese out for a swim. (Virginia Beach) Posted by Picasa

"Everywhere water is a thing of beauty, gleaming in the dewdrops; singing in the summer rain; shining in the ice-gems till the leaves all seem to turn to living jewels; spreading a golden veil over the setting sun; or a white gauze around the midnight moon." ~ John Ballantine Gough, A Glass of Water
We have a huge population of Canada geese, many of whom refuse to migrate south in the winter or north in the spring. It is often funny to see them in their migration "V" flying northwest in the fall. I often want to yell up at them, "Hey, guys, that is the WRONG WAY!"; but then they glide gracefully in a downward spiraling arch and land in the large pond behind the neighbor's house. Oh... just moving from one pond to another, I see.

I do believe that these (probably considered "native" by now) geese are the first to have families in the spring. Ours have developed a great community plan; the young goslings are shipped off to boarding school, at least for the daytime hours. Approximately ten to sixteen little fluff balls are shepherded by three or four adults and the day is full of lessons to be learned. They are taught to swim... in a long line with one adult at the head and one bringing up the rear and at least one to the side, to catch any strays. More importantly, they are taught to cross the road. I do believe that the first step is... start slowly but resolutely, the cars will stop; though the second must be...don't try this at night. More than once this spring, I had to come to a complete stop as the goose grade school practiced their crossing (as we all know, practice makes perfect). One adult stood on the destination golf course grass gathering the goslings around that had already navigated the street. One waited on the median to make sure everyone was in a line and on the march and a third was the traffic guard, standing right in the middle of the road. The babies hopped (fell) off the curb into the road and started their trek across. One was mesmerized by a rock in the road and stopped to investigate, causing a pile up behind. Adult guard quacked... baby ignored... adult walked over, bent his neck down and honked and nudged the little one along, flapping his wings as he chased the baby to the other side. This seemed to bring all the others back into order and the rest knew better than to cross this crossing guard again. The biggest obstacle is the curb on the far side as, yet unable to fly, they must jump their height to get back up to the grass. Many took several attempts before success. I have always wonder if these "teachers" send their pupils back to their parents at the end of the day.

This family was seen swimming in one of the inlets along the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach. It was late May and most of the other resident goslings had almost grown to the size of their parents. Perhaps, this family actually migrated from the south or maybe the later goslings don't get to go to kindergarten and are home schooled instead. I wonder.

(end of post)
Carmi's Theme ~ "family"
World Bird Wednesday

Watery Wednesday

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hot Lips

Salvia x microphylla 'Hot Lips'... a changeable diva!

"If one consults enough herbals...every sickness known to humanity will be listed as being cured by sage." ~ Varro Taylor, Ph.D. (herb expert)
We already had a large pot with a bush sage planted and growing and showing off the bright red blooms that are so irresistible to hummingbirds; but this little gem was too gorgeous to pass up. I nestled it between the milkweed and the coneflowers and it loves the area. When first planted, the little flowers were totally red; but as the days grew hot, the flowers changed color....

From a deep crimson red all over...... a fabulous stripe of red against a background of pure white... very 'Hot Lips' indeed. According to several sources, the flowers may also be all white -- pure as the winter snow-- if you want to believe such a saucy flower can do so. I am going to try and collect some of the tiny seed and see what I can do with it. For now, the flowers are going strong and the hummingbirds have been dining, as have the bees and a few butterflies.

This is a variety of sage, though not the typical herb used in cooking. Still, when you crush a couple of leaves together or break off a spent flower stem, the aroma of pungent sage is left on your fingers and in the air. Heavenly.

(end of post)
Ruby Tuesday

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Photo Hunt: The Lighthouse

Clockwise from top left: The construction of our "lighthouse" progression Posted by Picasa

"You, who wish to study great and wonderful things, who wonder about the movement of the stars, must read these theorems about triangles. Knowing these ideas will open the door to all of astronomy and to certain geometric problems." ~ Regiomontanus, Johann (German mathematician and astronomer. 1436-1476)
I found out that our neighbors have dubbed the sunroom addition as "The Lighthouse"; the shining light through the stained glass at night is probably the reason. My cousin from Illinois designed it and he and his brother did the interior beam and woodworking, as well as the construction of all the furniture inside. All throughout the construction phase I took pictures of the rough wooden beams and the triangles they formed. Inside and out, triangles. The cupola roof fashioned by triangles of copper, the crossbeam supporting the hanging fan and lights, the multicolored panes of stained glass, and even the small decorative touch at the apex of the interior is triangular (a maltese cross centered with a pyramid of four triangles). On a sunny day, rays flow through the windows and cast a rainbow of color on the ceiling and walls; at night the uplighting from the fan glows through to shine in the dark... the lighthouse.

It is, by far, my favorite room in the house.

(end of post)
Photo Hunt ~ "Triangle"

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I Spoke Too Soon!

Unruly Urchin.... makes me utterly upset!!! Posted by Picasa

"In such a strait the wisest may well be perplexed, and the boldest staggered." ~ Edmund Burke, Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents
I spoke too soon! This unruly urchin and his union of urban outlaws have gotten the upper hand again. The ultrasonic device I urged folks to use is utterly useless and unproductive in its appointed undertaking. OK. I really cannot think of many more "U" words and it makes my head ache.... my thesaurus is about to go up in smoke. I recommended an ultrasonic squirrel and animal repelling machine by a company called Bird-X. At first, it seemed to be unbelievably (I did it again) effective and thwarted the critters for over a week. But then, I re-filled the bird feeders and they simply came back. Occasionally, I see where they have knocked it over to a face down position and other times, they simply stand in front of it and laugh hysterically at me watching them from the window. But now it is WAR! I caught one on the deck munching on one of my small tomatoes.... I am afraid that my brother is right...these squirrels have to depart, scram, vamoose... one way or the other.

(end of post)
ABC Wednesday ~ "U"

Nature's Notes

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose

Mr. Lincoln... hybrid tea rose. Posted by Picasa

"O, my love is like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June.
O, my Love is like the melody,
That's sweetly played in tune."
~ Robert Burns (1759-1796)
We've had a spring -- a real spring -- with cool temperatures and moderate rain and then the yo-yo factor thrown in. As a reward punishment, we now have summer -- late summer, July and August summer -- with temperatures approaching triple digits, the air heavy with humidity, and no breeze to speak of. Plants are confused and befuddled, as are the butterflies. The black swallowtail have still not bombarded the fennel as last year and I have only six monarch caterpillars chomping away on the milkweed, safe in the sunroom. Each day, I expect the Japanese beetles to show up in the delicate roses (the black spot has already arrived); so I enjoy each small triumph of bloom on the rose as it happens. Mr. Lincoln was planted last year and gave one bloom, a glorious bloom to be sure, but only one. This year, two. Twice as many deep garnet soft petals, captured in digital image but now gone, whisked away by a fleeting gust of wind. Perhaps it will surprise me and produce more; yet, if not, I will be grateful for the rich ruby light it added to our day.

(end of post)
Ruby Tuesday

Saturday, June 04, 2011

A Dirty Dozing Dog and Smudged Soiled Shoe

A dirty dozing dog and a smudged soiled shoe. Posted by Picasa

"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity." ~ Lindley Karstens
I have a pair of old sneakers that are worn through and soil stained with compost and dirt, stiff with repetitive soakings, and ragged with open cracks; yet they are sure and supportive where I need them most and they feel good on my feet. Usually, I pair them with white long pants, white shirt with long sleeves, a garden hat to cover my face and neck, white socks with the ends cut out to cover the hands and wrists before topping off with gloves, and long white tube socks to pull over the bottoms of the pants.

Of course this brings several questions to mind that you might have.... WHY? Why white? Why long sleeves in hot weather? Or WHY on earth would you go out where someone might see you in a giddy-up like that? Or even more likely, WHY haven't you posted a picture of yourself in this outfit? This last question is the easiest to answer... "Because I wouldn't let ANYONE get a picture of me in this outfit, as I know how strange and ridiculous it looks. Only Daisy, my dog would be allowed to take a picture... and since she hasn't a clue about how to work the camera, I am safe.

As to the other questions, I have to go out in this outfit because I MUST dig in the dirt and I MUST garden.. for sanity. Hey! I'm not looking for a knight in shining armor to show up anytime soon, my hair frizzes in the humidity and heat and I get smudges all over my face as well as all over the clothes... so basically, I don't care if I look like a golfer from the 40's. Or you could say, I care more about the flowers for butterflies and caterpillars and the plants for the birds and bees than I care that my neighbors see me as ridiculous. Besides... my garden and beds are way better than theirs are... so ... na-na-na-na-na-na... there! The long sleeves and pants and coverage from head to foot are a bother in hot weather.. but necessary. Since we are at the edge of a wetland forest preserve, we have a major tick population; everything you can do to cover up any entrance point they have is prudent... and this year they seem to be even worse than usual. We have them all.. those with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme's disease and even a new one that carries something they call Tidewater Fever. It isn't as severe a disease but the tick that carries the bug is centered at the Great Dismal Swamp... just five miles or less from us... so.. there you have it. Oh, yes... why WHITE? For a similar reason... since it is a given fact that anytime you work near the preserve, i.e. in the yard or behind the fence, you WILL be exposed to ticks... the white shirts and pants and socks and such are much easier to examine for ticks. The tick shows up against the white background better than dark blue jeans... easier to remove and squash. Of course, with this get-up on, I usually dose my clothes with a thick spray of Deep Woods Off in an effort to limit the number of ticks that take the plunge and hitch a ride on my white shirt. At the end of the day, a close examination gets rid of most of them... then the really, really dirty clothes go in the sink and another search before hitting the washer. Even with all these precautions, you still have to check all the nooks and creases for any strays that might have gotten through the defenses.... they are the most sneaky of bugs. If only there were a bird that consumed them by the millions. (sigh!)

Daisy tries to help garden, she sometimes even digs (until scolded); but she prefers a place to snooze in the shade on the patio or even better, in the air conditioned sunroom. Yes, she gets dirty...her ears hang low and drag in the mulch... and she does rarely get a tick but her Frontline takes care of them. It would be nice if they could formulate a Frontline product for us... once a month application to kill and sterilize those critters; then we could shed those strange togs for more fashionable sleeveless chiffon tops and light weight shorts while gardening... but we would still get "dirty".

(end of post)
Carmi's theme ~ "well-aged" ~ both shoe and dog.
Saturday Photo Hunt ~ "Dirty"
Camera Critters

Thursday, June 02, 2011

June 2, 1951 ~ June 2, 2011

It started with a simple ring, many years ago,
And now you have a treasure chest that’s begun to overflow.
For 25 years of married bliss, much silver did you store,
And then you reached your 40th, with ruby stones galore!
You travelled through life to 50 years of happy wedded bliss
Your treasure grew with golden gifts, to toast your happiness
And now you’ve reached that special day, that’s only seen by few
60 years together, now its diamonds for both of you.
But the treasure that you value most isn’t jewels, silver or gold
But the love you have for each other, that has never grown old!
~ Unknown

June 2, 1951... the beginning.

"The bonds of matrimony are like any other bonds - they mature slowly." ~ Peter De Vries
Sixty years of marriage together... the Diamond Anniversary! Today my parents (Stephen's parents too, although I have been known to question this in the past.) have been married for sixty years. Ten years ago, we threw them a huge party and 225 of their friends attended to show their love and appreciation for their work and their lives through the years. This milestone is celebrated more quietly.

June 2, 2011... 60 years and going strong.

"Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years." ~ Simone Signoret
I was going to put their picture in the paper but six weeks ago, Mom fell on her face... literally. She was bruised from her hairline down her whole left face, chin and neck. Stitches on her chin and lip and the dense hematoma were bad enough, but she also broke her right jaw. Fortunately, no wiring was involved and the bruising is much, much, much better. Still, their picture in the paper might suggest something different than a long-time loving marriage. So I took these to have for their memories. Others remembered as well. The mailman was busy the past few days and bombarded us with cards, especially today. Phone calls have come from around the country and a fruit basket from the General Church of the Nazarene. (Dad was a pastor for many, many years.)

Diamond Anniversary... OK, where's the diamond?

"One of the good things that come of a true marriage is, that there is one face on which changes come without your seeing them; or rather there is one face which you can still see the same, through all the shadows which years have gathered upon it." ~ George MacDonald
Usually they go out alone together for their anniversary dinner, but this year Dad didn't feel up to driving and I went along to chauffeur. Mom ate all the seafood she isn't supposed to as well as bread, potatoes and she-crab soup; but it is such a special and rare anniversary that few people get to celebrate these days. Why not.

Still up for a kiss...after all these years. Posted by Picasa

"Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made: Our times are in his hands Who sayeth 'a whole I planned, Youth shows but half; Trust God; see all nor be afraid." ~ Robert Browning
These two show that while the hearing goes and often time neither knows who is saying what to whom, love goes on and just being two together forever is more than enough.... a well-aged marriage.

(end of post)
Carmi's Theme ~ "well aged", as in a well-aged marriage

Let's Play I Spy

It's daylily time.

"On the face of it, the easiest of all activities should be seeing what we see. In reality, it's the hardest." ~ Charles Movalli
Have you every played "I Spy" or maybe "Where's Waldo?" I thought we would enjoy a little game today; but first I must digress to another story that has nothing to do with either "I Spy" or "Where's Waldo?" (or maybe it does).

Most of you know I have cats and some of you probably believe I have an excessive number of cats for a "normal" person. However, I have never claimed to be "normal" and my number of cats is dwindling from the unavoidable attrition that comes with increasing age. (I am now only living with four cats.) Once upon a time (every good story begins with this) I lived with another group of cats, all Siamese. Shamroc was the eldest and a seal point, Cassiopeia (Cassi for short), another seal point, and Rami, a blue point. They traveled with us everywhere for many years and it was on one of those excursions to Wichita Falls, that this story takes place.

My ex-mother-in-law (she wasn't and "ex" at that time; but you figured that out didn't you) had just re-done her bedroom with paint and curtains and a new king sized bed and bed linens. She longed for a picture of her new room to show her friends. Some of you, perhaps most of you, no longer remember the days of the Polaroid instant cameras (except for those tiny funky shot things my daughter had as a teenager that made weird instant picture stickers), but this was what I had. This was a time before I could afford a film 35mm camera, so you must be able to imagine what the style was back then... in the late '70's and early 80's. OK, please try not to gag too loud.

Anyway, as a dutiful daughter-in-law I obliged and stood in the dormer window facing the bed and snapped away. As the pictures lay on the bed and the foggy images slowly started to take shape, there was a curious blob centered at the botom of the picture. Milky and murky at first, it began to take shape; something dark and mysterious and at the same time stately and royal. Finally, the bedspread came into focus, as did the headboard and curtains and night stand and the rug... and the blob. IT WAS SHAMROC! I didn't see him through the viewfinder; but he positioned himself at the foot of the bed right in the dead center bottom of the picture, almost as if he were sitting on the edge of the white picture margin frame. AND he was turned just slightly sidways to show off the sloping curve of his back; his paws were placed together and his tail curled around and tucked in just in front of his paws. His head was trained directly on the camera with blue eyes front and center. HE POSED! Shamroc posed for the camera and gave a perfect shot, though no one knew he was there. Then, he WAS a special cat.

So, what does the previous story have to do with a lovely garden scene and gorgeous daylilies and a birdbath that is definitely leaking? Can you not guess? I took this picture from our living room window. It has been sooooo hot and humid that stepping outside into the wet sauna is more than I can take. So I take pictures from my little bench next to the window; pictures of the birds, hummers, and the occasional pastoral scene that invites the feeling of coolness at least. My brother gave me a long lens and I use it for this purpose. So I am at least fifteen to 20 feet away from these shots. As I worked with the pictures on my computer, something caught my eye... similar to the way that black blob showed up in my picture. Now, can you guess... is there anything showing up to you?

Scroll on down and get a closer shot.

I've patched cracks in this birdbath but it still leaks, just not as fast.

"The question is not what you look at, but what you see." ~ Thoreau
Do you see it now? After the first batch appeared and vanished at the end of April, just as they did last year, I have been looking and watching for no avail. But here, it appears in my picture and I wasn't even looking.... have you figured it out yet? OK... a real cropped out close up is below.

A bit fuzzy but a monarch none the less.

"You can observe a lot by just watching." ~ Yogi Berra
Yes. A Monarch caterpillar of full size and it looks as if it has already entered into the wandering phase; as they rarely leave the milkweed until it is time. Of course I looked for him this morning, but alas, he has meandered away and hopefully has found a safe place to rest and form his chrysalis. I checked the milkweed again and still don't seen any eggs or small caterpillars. I guess it is time to break out the incubators and get them set up for the Monarchs and the Black Swallowtails.

So how did you do? Did you find him without my help? Did the story give some hints? Or did you have to scroll to the last picture.. come on.. tell the truth now!

(end of post)
Nature's Notes (a day late)