Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Leapin' Lilies!

We've had two of our butterfly gardens for three years, now, and they are looking fuller than ever--even with the bunnies and deer snacking on their stalks--and buds! Oh, and with the moles sometimes chowing down roots, too! --Oy!!!
You know, my once thriving patch of stinging nettle began dwindling, which baffled me. So I camped out in front of that patch and caught those little moles red handed! Well, stinging nettle is high in vitamin C..., but those were meant for our Milbert's Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, and Question Mark butterfly caterpillars, as well as for soups and stews for us in the place of spinach! But, like I said before, the gardens are finally filling in, in spite of things. Because we've moved around enough and have started many perennial gardens at each place, we've had the opportunity to observe and prove this saying is true:
1st year, sleep
2nd year, creep
3rd year, leapOur gardens have indeed leapt, to my delight!!!
Having had such a loooooong winter..., they are a much more treasured sight! --LKR

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday's Song

I Surrender All

All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me Jesus, take me now.

I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

--Judson W. Van DeVenter, 1896

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's Alive!

I've found it quite difficult to spend much time in our gardens, this year. To remedy this, I resolved to eat lunch being entertained by flora and fauna in one of our butterfly and hummingbird gardens.

Sounds good, huh? The problem with this is I can't sit still long enough to just enjoy watching. I'll spot a weed, and just have to pull it (along with the others that suddenly come into view). Or I'll find an interesting insect and observe it. One of my butterflies will inevitably come into sight, flitting from flower to flower, and I'll grab my camera and start shooting! --Oy!!!

Here are some shots I got, today.

A Milkweed bug dining on the nectar of phlox. They look like Boxelder bugs, don't they?!
This is a Silver-Spotted Skipper butterfly nectaring at Purple Bee Balm. These skippers are larger than most in their family. They have a long proboscis (straw-like tongue) which enable them to draw nectar from deeper-throated flowers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cool Rain

Getting ready to watch our children's soccer game, we got a surprise sun shower. One of my friends excitedly told us to look up. The sun was hitting the raindrops as they were falling from the sky, making them look like dazzling crystals!

Pictures can't do justice to what we saw, but thanks to Daphne's prompting, I got this shot. You'll have to click on this image to better see the sparkling gems. --LKR

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday's Song

Knowing You
(All I Once Held Dear)

All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres and wars to own;

All I once thought gain I have counted loss,

Spent and worthless now compared to this.

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You
There is no greater thing.
You're my all, You're the best,
You're my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You Lord.

Now my heart's desire is to know You more,
To be found in You and know as Yours,
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All surpassing gift of righteousness

Oh to know the power of Your risen life,
And to know You in Your sufferings;
To become like You in Your death, my Lord,
So with You to live and never die.
--Graham Kendrick--1993

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Big Falls County Park

We don't have to drive eight hours, any more, to see beautiful waterfalls. Big Falls may not boast dramatic or majestic cascading falls like those found in Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL, but these are beautiful in their own right. And, they are close to home--a huge plus!!!

This 135 acre county park is located in the town of Seymour and borders Beaver Creek Reserve in Fall Creek. It is largely populated by fun-loving college students, but families who know of it's beauty also come to relax along the Eau Claire River's banks, as well as to wade in it's waters.
This is at the top of the largest of the falls.
The huge granite rocks found in this park are very picturesque!
The soothing sounds of melodious music provided by nature... .
There are sandy shores on which to sunbathe.
Bald Eagles reside along the banks of the Eau Claire River and are frequently seen soaring above.
This is a quieter part of the river where people wade in to cross to the other side. If you walk along the sandbar, you won't even get your waist wet!
I didn't even see this dainty damselfly until I viewed it on the computer's screen!

More images to view:

We can't wait to go back! --LKR

Friday, July 18, 2008

Julie's Lilies

Aren't these lovely? My friend Julie sent me seeds for these yellow lilies when we moved to Eau Claire almost four years ago. It was overcast, dark, and drizzling cold rain when I planted them, that September day. Since then, they have multiplied and really add their glowing beauty to the garden! --LKR

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A New Feline in the Family!

Hi! It's me, Mister Poochie!

I have some really exciting news, I do, I do! I have a new little brother! And he likes me, he does! He really does!

Isn't he cute? His name is Toby. My sibling Elizabeth named him, she did.

Toby was born on a friend's alpaca farm. He was used to having big friendly noses sniff sniff sniffing him in the face, Mom said. So my smaller muzzle doesn't scare him, yeay!

Toby shares a room with Elizabeth and keeps her up at night, just like any baby would, Mom says. Alpha says it's pay back time, he does, whatever that means.

My oldest sister Rocky Kitty Kitty doesn't mind this little white tornado. She doesn't mind, that is, until Toby gets too close too fast. Then she hiss hiss hisses for him to back off, she does. Then everything is fine in her purrfect little world.

My siblings William and Hannah love playing with and spoiling Toby, too. And everyone just loves it when he falls asleep in their arms. Alpha likes to have his time with Toby, as well, and calls him his cat. --Mister Poochie

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday's Song

I have decided to follow Jesus

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Feeding Baby Blue Bird

Dad! Dad! Over here!!!

Isn't this sweet? Daddy Bluebird is feeding junior a fuzzy, mouthwatering caterpillar! Nummy! Both parents share the task of feeding their three to six offspring.
Every 15 to 20 minutes, mom and dad feed each baby caterpillars, mealworms, spiders, grasshoppers, beetles, or even berries that are in season. Like most species of birds, they are dedicated parents with a demanding job!!!This baby might be as large as it's parent, but an easy way to tell it's a young one is by the white ring around each eye, and the spotted breast. This little dude will soon be foraging for himself.

Bluebirds are very clean animals, tossing bird turds, and the shells--after their darlings have hatched!--far away from the nesting site. As is the case in most species, the male is brightly colored, while the female dons duller, bluish-gray feathers. --LKR

Below is a cute little poem by Mariam Kirby:

In summer, juicy insects crawl
On leaves and through the grass.
I feast on bugs until late fall
Then catch them less and less.
Soon winter comes with snow and ice
And winds all in a flurry.
The bugs are gone, but in their place,
a berry February!