ordinary morning, I love you

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Exciting!

We have three black swallowtail chrysalises in our butterfly nursery and the first one emerged today and unfolded its wings.

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“I think this is how we’re supposed to be in the world
~present and in awe.”  Anne Lammott

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homemade rolls, warm from the oven

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There’s the pretty-pretty pinterest way (which I love)….and then there’s the “I took old bread down to the chickens and used the empty bag to gather the eggs” way.  (which I also love).

Happy Monday, friends.

You are loved. 🙂

It’s ordinary to love the beautiful,
but it’s beautiful to love the ordinary.

interesting things for an original girl

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“…use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows.  For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence:  

Love others as you love yourself.”  Galations 5

*****

I went and got my nails painted dark bright pink today.  They are soooooo pretty!

House is clean and Caleb should be home soon and then an hour later the little kids will be home and then. . . . .David has his very first soccer game!  So exciting.

I want to post the photos we took when we took Grace to college.  It’s been a few weeks now and yes it is strange to not have her presence in the home. . . .we miss her.  But those feelings of “missing” are balanced nicely with feelings of “so proud of you.”

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We drove the truck as she had lots of stuff.   She arrived before her roommate did and we were greeted by a nice group of people who promptly carried her things inside for us.

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This cozy communal living room is just outside her dorm room.  I imagine lots of fun will be had here all school year long.

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In no time at all, she had her things put just where she wanted them.

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So many times she has stood in the gap for us as big sister/babysitter when necessary, and they have a close bond.  They know she loves them.

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I say this all the time to the kids only I say it in modern English:

“You’re going to be fine.”

I feel that I must try the medieval way next time.

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I told her if she ever feels lonely to just go to the library and….. “all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.”  After all, her mother has been dragging her to libraries her entire life.

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Meet the roommate!

Bless them.

*****

The college is close to where Rich and I grew up, so we have some connections to some of the people.  When I was a little girl, my young parents spent a lot of time with an older couple from church.  Our families at that time became very close and they had an older, teenage son who was such fun, my brother and I adored him.

Well, all of these years later, through our FB connections, we found out that our kids would be attending college together.  Literally, as I was moving in Grace, I went on Facebook and “randomly” discovered that Mike was moving in his son Caleb at the same time.  So of course we had to meet up later!

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*******

Rich spent the entire next morning with Grace continuing to help her out with last minute things like what to do with her iPhone that she dropped and smashed right in the midst of moving in.

And then we had to say goodbye for a little while.  (Although we are always only a text away.)

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One last family photo in the parking lot of the school.  Makes me laugh out loud.  I am being motherly and “helping” Caleb get in the photo.

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“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.  That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse.  We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.  Each of us is an original.

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Grace, you’re an original!  And I love you.

raising monarch butterflies

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I invite you to gaze upon my caterpillar nursery!  I put it together for myself and the family and anyone who comes over to visit. . . . . . .

Year after year, indeed for the last 11 years we have lived on this property (four acres boarding state land), I have kept watch in the later summer days for monarch caterpillars.  (They are only ever on milkweed).  If I see a caterpillar, I collect it and bring it home to raise on the counter in a big jar or a fish tank.  (We used to have a different fish tank but it broke when someone tried putting rocks in it).

We were fortunate to find perhaps 4 caterpillars, and sometimes none at all.  This year, however, this epic summer of 2017, we have found over 20 of them.  If I were more scientific, I would do a precise count, but it is rather difficult and confusing to try to count caterpillars when they are all over the place and in various sizes.

I am a busy mom and wife, it’s a wonder that I have time to sit and watch a caterpillar nursery at all….or write a blog!  But these things give me much needed rest and enjoyment, they are interests that I have……and no matter what your interest and passion is….big or small….it should be pursued and nourished.

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I picked these five off their milkweed (which was almost gone) and put them on the floor of the tank so I could give them fresh food.  They looked so cute all in a row that I had to take a photo of them.

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Every couple of days I replace the leaves from the three small bud vases I have in the tank with fresh milkweed from the garden, which is conveniently right outside the kitchen door.  Caterpillars are naturally very hungry and grow quickly.  It’s fun to watch their little heads go up and down the edges of the milkweed like tiny machines.  I bet if it were quieter in my house I might even hear them chewing.

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Can you see the difference in this caterpillar?   Grace and I found two of them on Queen Anne’s lace down by the pond.  We are almost positive that they are the caterpillars of Black Swallowtail Butterflies.

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An urge that I have so far neglected this summer is to get out colored pencils and draw these beautiful patterns that I see. . . .(maybe today?)

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I clipped some cut-to-size screen (from an old window) to the top edge of the tank with clothespins.  When the they have eaten their full and are “ready”, the caterpillars go to the screen to “dangle” for a day or two, before bursting their caterpillar skin to reveal a most beautiful green and gold chrysalis beneath.

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This one’s small but they start out even smaller…..

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I have to laugh when I go out to collect fresh food for them because I inevitably end up bringing inside even MORE caterpillar babies.  David says, “Mom, how many do you NEED?”  He is probably the child who is most interested in them and I love to see his face peering into the tank.

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“Oh no this one looks different, what’s wrong with it?”  I watched it closely and realized it was molting.  It was gripped to the leaf with it’s “end” and wriggling the skin down, rather like when you or I take off stockings with our hands, and “stepping out” fresh and clean.

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Almost done!

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Ah, it feels so good.

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“fresh and clean”

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An empty chrysalis next to six green ones.

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This caterpillar is getting ready to “dangle” by finding the perfect spot on the screen and attaching itself to it with its homemade silk.  The children get nervous if I move the screen, they are afraid the chrysalises might fall off, but they are firmly attached and “just think, outside they would be safe even in the winds and rain”.  So I move the screen in confidence.

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This one had attached itself to a milkweed leaf, which wasn’t a good choice, because eventually the other caterpillars ate the leaf causing the chrysalis to drop down to the bottom of the cage.  I picked it up and dangled it over the edge of the tank.  When I hear the children say, “Mom, one of them is black!” I know that we will soon see a butterfly.

In fact, as I am writing this, a butterfly has newly hatched right in front of our eyes, and three more black ones are ready to come out any minute.

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Why just put milkweed in the tank when you can also add flowers?

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They make lovely strands of silk.  I took a picture right after this caterpillar molted.  You can see its bunched up rag of old skin up at the top of the photo.

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They eat so much I wondered what I would do if we ran out of leaves (it won’t happen this year) and then I noticed that where I picked the leaves off, new ones are growing!

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new leaves!!!

I know, this is a simple gardening concept, but I never thought to apply it to my milkweed!  The resilience of growing things is amazing.

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Milkweed grows outside the kitchen door, mingled in with our lilac bush.

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And more milkweed (tall stalks with long oval leaves) is in the side garden.

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I had to laugh when I saw a chrysalis outside in the lilac bush, I guess I missed bringing this one inside!!

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I can move the chest of drawers around to get a better view, or better lighting for photos.

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It stays like this most of the time.  Better than any TV show.

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It’s fascinating to watch them split, revealing a bright green underneath.

These changes are done so silently and quickly that we miss it most of the time.

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It wriggles in such a strange fashion and the bunch of skin drops to the bottom of the tank.

I did a short video while I was blogging this post.

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They first come out with their body much bigger than their wings.  I always think of origami when I see them emerge……it’s sort of like reverse origami.  Only God could package something up like this and have it come out as beautiful as a butterfly…

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The butterfly hangs and dries, once in a while a drip of fluid will fall.  Once I see them opening their wings for the first time I will take them carefully outside on a stick and put them up on the lilac bush.

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“I look upon a year lived as a year earned; and each year earned means a greater treasury of experience and power laid up against time of need.”  Anna Botsford Comstock

“God created the heavens and the earth to be experienced, not just read about or lectured upon.”  Bob Schultz

SaveSave

1, 2, 3

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And the third?  Coming soon.  😉

*****

I liked this quote:

“I never saw my mother sleep.  In fact, she only sat down during dinner and later for about three minutes in the tub of our one bathroom.  Although Mom was perennially pregnant, she was always on the move–a blurry blue Sears housedress topped by a wavy blond perm and supported by two sturdy speed-walking legs.  She had bulging varicose veins that grew with each child, and I was always worried they were going to pop, but they didn’t.
“On any given day, Mom could be found in one of two places:  the outside landing, where she hung the laundry, or the kitchen, where she jogged between the ironing board and the oven.  It seemed my mother could do a hundred things at once, all the while keeping at least one of her blue eyes on her ten children.
“‘Watch yourself, Eddie!’ she’d shout down from the landing to my oldest brother in the side yard.  ‘Remember, you’re a born leader and all the boys are watching you!’  Then she’d vroom down the fourteen wooden steps, hip the laundry basket through the banging screen door into the kitchen, and dump it onto the table.
“‘You’re the absolute best helper, Ellen,’ she’d say as my eager sister did the folding, ‘You’re going to make a wonderful mother!’
“Shortly after noon, Mom would begin preparations for dinner, served nightly at six o’clock sharp, ‘Barbara Ann!’ she’d yell down the basement stairs as she peeled potatoes.  ‘Come on up here and take Florence, Tommy, and Mary Jean.  They need some entertainment and if you’re going to be a star, you’ll need to practice.’
“And that was my mother’s genius.  She kept her house going by putting her finger on the special gift she saw in each of her children, and making each and every one of us believe that that gift was uniquely ours.  Whether it was true or not, we all believed it.”

~Barbara Corcoran, in her book Use What You’ve Got

 

 

 

madame butterfly

Oh what peace we often forfeit,
Oh what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

“I trust You.  Give me wisdom.  Give me love to spill over.  My life is Yours.”

*~*~*~*~*~*

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A simply DRENCHED bumble bee, waiting out the rain on a bee balm blossom.

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I don’t know…..but again, drenched.

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close up of a zinnia.. .. .gorgeous color pink.

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My nature studies have gone from birds to bees and other insects.  It’s such a pleasure to walk around the outskirts of our lawn, where the mowed grass meets the wilder grasses and flowers and look for insects.  There are always interesting things to see.

I still like to watch for birds, too.  In fact, I keep seeing a yellow warbler (wearing a black mask) peeping at me from the bushes, it must be distracting me from seeing a nest because it’s a typically shy bird.  I’ll try to photograph it today.

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breathtaking greens and yellow

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I showed Sarah the photos and when she realized what she was seeing, she said “Delete it!”

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This is my favorite photo of the bunch.  The wings!  Did you ever guess there would be wings like this on a tiny bug?  (it’s on a yarrow flower, a common wildflower in our area)

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It’s not a very clear photo because just as I was taking it I felt a cold thing go across my bare big toe………

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It was a big juicy worm.

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This gorgeous bug, if it senses an enemy near. . . . .

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….drops down and plays dead.  It literally plays dead!  It had me fooled for a moment.

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Yesterday I was on the porch and saw a Monarch fly by.  I walked around to follow it and discovered it busily laying eggs on the milkweed that I let grow in the garden.  See how it presses it’s tail to the leaf?

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It leaves an egg behind, a teeny white egg.  When it hatches, the caterpillar will be all set because it simply LOVES milkweed leaves.

By gently turning the leaves over on the plants I have found at least 5 eggs.  We plan on collecting them after they hatch and watching them grow.  It’s one of our favorite summertime nature studies.

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A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Proverbs 31:30