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Showing posts from 2011

Different Galls this Year?

This is the time of year, when the leaves of the oak trees, contain those curious, mysterious, gall formations.  (For those of you not familiar with "galls" you might want to click here to check out last year's posting.) 

Upon arriving home from work yesterday afternoon, I decided to take a walk in the Secret Garden before getting rerady for prayer meeting at the church.  I grabbed my camera and headed out.  The last rain storm had flattened most of the long grasses which had been hiding the creek from view.   The creek was now visible from the bank and full of tiny fish (perhaps tadpoles).  After spending sometime enjoying the new view, I headed over to the grove of Oak trees where last years' pink galls were found and to my surpirse, the leaves were covered with two entirely different types of galls from those found last year.  How fascinating!  Is this difference because a different type of insect is now present in the secret garden?  Or do the trees themselves, …

A Man and His Cat

Today was filled with what seemed like a thousand things and I was not able to work on my art projects.  However, we had a most wonderful day together.  At the end of the day, Michael was tormenting "Monkey" with a long piece of cording that I had discarded on the floor earlier in the week.    While I was checking emails, Michael crawled underneath my work table, grabbed Monkey and put him in (what we call) "lock- down".  That's where he wraps his arms around Monkey, and keeps him from moving.  They were both just 2 feet away, right under my feet; so, I took a few pictures.   What a blessed way to end a day.  What we thought were just a few fun shots, that had come out really blurry, we ended up with a series of black and white art pieces that look more like pencil sketches.  I simply used Microsoft Picture Editor to reduce the color saturation, increase the contrast and lighten the monotones.  

Another Visitor

As we were watering the wild flower garden and filling up the humming bird feeders, I glanced down and found that a little, tiny, baby "Praying Mantis" had stopped by to pay a visit.   He was joined by a bright black and red beetle.  The beetle scurried along too quickly for me to take his picture; but, the Praying Mantis, was a real ham.  He hung around for a lengthy photo session.

Everywhere you look (if you pause long enough) are little creatures to delight in.

Wild Flower Garden in Full Bloom!

More Wildflowers from our Garden

A Magical Morning in the Garden #2

A Magical Morning in the Garden #1

Every night, starting in April and running through the hot summer months, you can hear what must be a "one thousand frog symphony" began to play as soon as the sun starts to set in the Secret Garden.  Ever since we moved here, I have wanted to actually see one of those little critters.  I have gone quietly down to the creek bank just before sunset; and crouched down.  I could hear them; but, I have never spotted one.

This morning, right around 5:30 am, I went down stairs to water the wild flower garden before the heat of the day was upon us. (It's going to be in the triple digits all week.) As I started pouring out the water from the first watering can, I saw something jump--a something that was no larger than a cock roach.  Yikes!   Guess what?  It was a teeny, tiny frog!

The Attack!

As Michael was edging in for a closer shot, he had to quickly abandoned his mission.  In fact, he moved so quickly, that his sandals stayed put and he kept going--or so I was told upon arriving home for lunch today.  Now that would have been a picture.

Okay, enough suspense.   Michael was on the second story balcony when he spotted a large female turkey walking through the Secret Garden.  Following on her tail where a half dozen or more fur balls scurrying along.  He grabbed the camera and went downstairs to get a closer look and perhaps a picture or two.  That was when the mother turkey decided that he was too close.  Have you ever seen a turkey in attack mode?  They spread their wings, thrust them to the front and move with a stomping quick pace towards the enemy.  That's when Michael lost his shoes.

Needless to say, he was fine.  He didn't even step on any stickers or sharp rocks during his barefoot get away.  After lunch the momma turkey decided to bring her brood back thr…

The Wild Flower Bed - Week Ten

It's been almost ten weeks since we sowed the seeds.  Remember this at week nine?

It is now this...
 We finally have blooms!  There are three varieties of flowers that seem to comprise the garden.  This particular variety is the first to bloom.  On the same plant there are actually four different colored blooms.  We are hoping to see another variety bloom soon.  It is great fun anticipating what kind and color of flower that will be.  I am thinking it will be yellow or orange.  Below are the other blooms from the same plant above:

Talk about Organic Cooking!

When I arrived home on Thursday, I discovered a bowl full of little yellow, red and purple gumballs.  Well, that is actually what they looked like.  Perfect little round balls of shiny color.  Earlier in the day, Michael had taken off across the creek to gather wild plums and had washed them and left them for me to discover.

   Michael had taken the above pictures before I arrived home.  I must admit, I was somewhat disappointed.  Why disappointed?  Simply for having missed the adventure.  However, I was happy that he had gone exploring on his own and had brought home the plunder.

Wild plums are okay to eat right off the tree, however, we had some pork cutlets just waiting for a delicious plum sauce.  So, we decided to look up a recipe for wild plum sauce and guess what?  We found one on a vegetarian from South Carolina's website.  In fact, it was the first website that popped up after I "googled" Wild Plum Sauce".

This meant a trip to the store for me, as the recip…

While we are waiting on our Blooms...

While we are waiting on our wild flowers to bloom (eight weeks now and no blooms), the Secret Garden is blooming all over the place!   We do not recall these particular flowers last year, and it is a delight to see how the garden changes with each passing season.  With the crazy storms this winter, the winds and rains must have carried seeds into the Secret Garden from some far off place.  During our walk this morning, we decided to document some of the new flowers that have appeared this year.

Finally; a little, tiny bud!

We might actually see flowers!  It's been eight weeks since we sowed the wild flower seed in the little flower box that we constructed at the base of the stairs leading up to our second floor apartment.  Every morning, for eight weeks, we have watered them--sometimes in the late afternoon, as well.   That comes to approximately 82 trips up and down those stairs with a watering can in each hand. 

Here is what we discovered this morning:

Week Eight?????

Well, it's week eight for the wild flower garden that we planted from seed.  Upon arriving home, our neighbor, Elliot, commented, "It might help if you got rid of some of the weeds".  WHAT?????  There are no weeds.  Those are the dang wild flowers.  They just have not yet flowered!  I am laughing as I am recounting this.  What if they are weeds?  They are not weeds!  Okay, after 8 weeks and no flowers, even I am starting to wonder.

Celebrating One Year in The Garden

I have a truly wonderful husband!  I can't imagine another man putting up with me--and I mean that.  Last night, to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary, we decided to take an "anniversary" picture.  Well, that turned into a project.  I wanted to do something "artistic" which kept evolving as the evening progressed.   My sweet husband, not only put up with the many changes of settings and clothing, but he actually seemed to enjoy it!  Once we hit on capturing our wedding picture in the background of the photo, as the theme for the project, we had to do a great deal of kissing as we changed the tripod location.  I was the serious one-task oriented; setting up the tripod, checking the lighting, etc. and Michael was the one who made the entire experience delightful!  I truly cannot imagine another man actually going through this process, let alone, enjoying it!

It is hard to believe that a year has already passed since we were married.  I can honestly say, t…

Week Three in the Wild Flower Garden

It's been three weeks now since we sowed the seeds and we had started to see a great deal of growth and promise.  For the first time since we had sown the seeds, I really thought that we might get flowers.  They had survived turkeys scratching, squirrels digging, dogs trampling and maintenance men stomping and even high power blowing  (which Michael was able to stop before they blew all the top soil completely away) and then today it happened.  Something we could have not anticipated.


As we enjoyed the excitement of the storm, I suddenly realized that our wild flower garden was being pelted.  I glanced through the bug screen to see the garden covered with a blanket of white.  Just yesterday, I had noticed that the tiny little wild flower plants had just started to really grow.  Some where nearly two inches high and looking very strong.  Once the storm had blown past, I went downstairs to survey the damage.

As I descended the stairs, I could hardly believe how much hale…

More Cute Little Creatures?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Upon arriving home today, I spied another one of those little tiny caterpillars (like the one I used to produce the abstract art on a previous blog post). This one was on the front landing at the top of the stairs. It was half the size of the one I photographed on our balcony just a week ago. Just look at this cute little guy!

After taking dozens of shots, I stood up only to discover another one crawling on the siding to the left of the door. I decided to explore a bit further. These little caterpillars could be found almost everywhere I looked. The lamp post had one on the side and one crawling along the bottom of the light fixture. The downstairs apartment had three, as well; one on the wall, one on the front porch, and one near the gas meter.

I then discovered a few small cocoons in various places. It's now time to do a little research and find out exactly what might pop out of these cocoons. I will let you know what I discover.

So much to see, if we only …