life in the sunshine

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Cardinal flower, a wildflower that grows on the edges of the stream.

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This sort of thing made lovely “flour” in my outdoor kitchens growing up.

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The buds of a Cardinal Flower.

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Arrowhead, an aquatic wildflower, according to the nature guide, “Beneath the muck, rhizomes produce edible, starchy tubers, utilized by ducks and muskrats and know as “duck potatoes.”  Native Americans are said to have opened muskrat houses to get at their cache of tubers.”

I find this sort of thing utterly fascinating, do you?

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I was walking through the stream in my flip flops and noticed reflections of cardinal flowers.

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Checking on my three little human fishes.

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Goldenrod, with lots of little bugs on it.  “As suggested by their showy flowers, goldenrod are insect-pollinated.”  You can always see some neat insects on a goldenrod.

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Common Thread Waisted Wasp; more info here.

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Queen Anne’s lace is everywhere.  “it’s long, first year tap root can be cooked and eaten.”

hmmm, I should try it.

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Daisy Fleabane, “the common name fleabane originated from a belief that the dried flower heads of these plants could rid a dwelling of fleas.”

Perhaps I should decorate my cats with them.

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Cardinal flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds and I caught a glimpse of two tiny birds becoming territorial over them…..so I sat on a large rock and waited for one to come back.

It’s a photo that I never did get to take….they won in the “patience game”.

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I thought the shadows on my legs were pretty cool.

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You don’t see the hummingbird moth everyday.  They are so neat!

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Swallowtail butterfly.

The thing is, if you just slowly walk near tall wild grasses, through fields, through any wild place, or even in the city…look carefully at the leaves and flowers of any plant you see…it will be such a interesting experience for anyone.  I took most of these pictures within one hour of time, and I saw many more insects and birds that I wasn’t able to get photographs of; grasshoppers, hummingbirds, the caroline wren (a sweet little bird), and others.  Then, there are caterpillars, so many different ones, and all so interesting.

Yesterday the children and I walked around with Sarah’s little bug container and we caught a ladybug which she named Red, a small butterfly which she named Orange (it was….orange), and a grasshopper she named Grass.  We put a head of goldenrod in it.  It had such tiny black bugs on it that they were able to escape through the mesh of her container.  She kept these little pets for a couple hours, and then released them again.

“Out here you can hear the rhythmic hum of silence.  Listen, there’s music in the grass.”

I think the music comes from all the little insects and butterflies, and our hearts as we enjoy making wondrous discoveries.

Nature-Love (my board on pinterest)

outside

Sarah’s been doing this bothersome thing for days now where she wakes up in the night and turns her light on to look at books.  If we hear her feet (her room is above ours) we get up and put her back to bed but mostly she gets away with it.  I know she does it because she sleeps in until about 9 the next morning.  Last night she came in my room at 3:30am and said, “My room is too noisy!”  I was so tired that I asked her to get into bed with me, which was a terrible decision because she had insomnia in my bed….after about half an hour she asked for a drink and I put her back to bed upstairs.  Her window was open so I shut it for her. (she didn’t like hearing the nighttime sounds).

This morning after the big kids went to school, Seth and I had an hour and a half to ourselves before I went upstairs to wake up sleepy head (night owl).   She woke up with her hair wild and a sleepy smile…what a way for her to greet the day, with a look at mama’s funny face peeking into her room and a smile appearing on her own.  My heart melted as I walked over to her bed, “Sarah!  Aren’t you hungry?”  She nodded “yes” and let me pick her up.

I forgot to mention that she fell asleep in my arms last night.  I was gone from 5 to 8:30 with little league games and Sarah stayed home with her big brothers, so I went in to check on her at 9 (after showering Seth) and she was still wide awake.  I got in bed with her (no covers, it was stuffy in her room after a warm day) and gathered her up…..I felt myself relax with contentment after the busy night, Sarah drifted to sleep and I tiptoed back out of her room.

Davy hit a triple last night.  🙂

Sarah had eggs for breakfast and Seth sat next to her for a snack of applesauce.  I brushed her hair back into a ponytail.

They currently have the dollhouse on the floor and are making up stories with all the My Little Ponies, the upstairs of the house is standing room only with them.

I cleaned the living room this morning, it feels so good to sit here in a clean room.

Rich didn’t do laundry while I was away so I got caught up yesterday with about 7 HUGE loads.  I hung two of them out to dry on the clothesline.  One of which is still there.

While I was down on my hands and knees vacuuming the edge of the room this morning, Seth asked me what was wrong with my feet.  They are wrinkled, and yesterday when I was barefoot, dirt became embedded in the cracks…he was concerned.  “Oh they’re just dirty, ” I explained.

“MAYBE YOU’RE TURNING INTO A GRANDMA,” he offered, innocently (still concerned.)

After my shower I got dressed and put socks and sneakers on, after rubbing thick lotion into my feet.

*******

On Saturday morning Grace went out for breakfast with her Uncle Dave, Uncle Isaac, and Cassandra.  While they were gone, Mom and I ate oatmeal outside and then walked around the lawn.

Here are the photos from that morning outside:

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Mom and Dad have several feeders hanging on the porch; the orioles enjoy the hummingbird feeder (goldfinch glowing in the bush behind.)

 

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Mom’s asparagus in the garden.  When we went to church the next day, someone tried giving Dad a couple pounds of it from his garden, and when Dad explained that they had their own, he gave it to me.

 

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Basket and Gourd (gourd grown by mom) hung up in the trees by the creek.

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a purple flower ground cover that I forgot the name of…..

 

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There were tender bunches of dandelion greens all over the place, I told Mom she could be eating it in her salads but she said no thanks.  I bent down to gather some as we walked around, and nibbled on it.   They are highly nutritious.   Nature’s spring restorative vitamins.

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Giant willow tree

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She’s already tidied up the iris garden.

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A lilac died so she had Dad move it out back and later on discovered some of Tasha Tudor’s foxgloves had transplanted with it.

 

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There were white violets all over the place.

 

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Bluets: a lovely delicate flower.

David and Isaac arrived back home with Grace, and Isaac’s fiancé Cassandra, and we walked with them in the blueberry patch and woods.

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Grace went barefoot in the blueberry patch, the ground was soaked with water……

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Dave has been making stacked rock sculptures all over the place and he names each one “Ruby”.

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It’s amazing how he gets them balanced just right.

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He lifted up a rock and found a community of ants underneath so he settled it back into place, not to disturb them.

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Grace re-injured her fractured finger by climbing this tree.  She couldn’t resist.

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Dave set up my camera with a timer so we could get a group picture.  I love it.  As you can see, Isaac also had his big camera and he took a great many pictures of his bride-to-be.  So sweet.

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Trout Lily:  “Recognized by it’s mottled leaves, this is one of our most common spring wildflowers; it is found in sizable colonies.  The name refers to the similarity between the leaf markings and those of Brown and Brook trout.”  National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers

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I was most excited to find Purple Trilliums because we don’t see them in our woods here in Connecticut.  I’m sure we have them, I just don’t know where they are.  We found these in the woods behind my parent’s house.  See the happy bug on top of this one?

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They sort of droop down, and it had rained the night before so they were wet.  Their poor heads were tired.

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We found close to 20 of them growing around in the woods.

“This common eastern trillium has foul smelling flowers, which attract carrion flies that act as pollinators.  As the genus name suggests, the flower parts and leaves of trilliums are arranged in multiples of 3, typical of the lily family.”  

Can you believe that?  FOUL SMELLING!!  I knew this from trying to pick one as a child.  I brought hit home and it stunk so bad!

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Grace, in Aunt Maria’s rubber boots now, lifted up the head of a Trillium for it’s portrait session.

“It would be well for the designer of tapestries to study the carpets of our forests for his patterns, for he would find there a new carpet every month, quite different in plan and design from the one spread there earlier or later.  One of the most beautiful designs from Nature’s looms is a trillium carpet……..It is a fine study of the artistic possibilities of the triangle when reduced to terms of leaves, petals, and sepals.”  Anna Comstock, in her highly recommended Handbook of Nature Study.

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Brother Dave was hoping to see an orange Newt, and he found two!

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These Eastern Newts begin their lives in the water, then grow air breathing lungs and leave water for land (they are orange at this point and called efts).  When they become fully mature they go back to the water to lay eggs and live.

After we put it down on a rotten log, it was fun to watch it push it’s way between tree and bark to get away from us big scary monsters.

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Grace looking sweet.

 

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One last picture of the lovebirds who are getting married in August.

*******

“This is my Father’s world
the birds their carols raise;
the morning light,
the lily white,
declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world!
He shines in all that’s fair,
in the rustling grass
I hear Him pass
He speaks to me everywhere.”

Maltbie D. Babcock, 1858-1901

 

Thanks for going for a walk with us!

You are loved, friends.