Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shooting Birds Wherever I Go

 Our vacations have become a kind of ritual in the past few years.  We seek out interesting places to visit, stake out the best restaurants, buy new walking shoes,  visit a few museums, take in a historic site or two and then we go hunting for birds and gardens!  
Great Blue Heron
  Take our recent jaunt to the Carolinas.  We went for a wedding and stayed for the sights.  A quick drive to Charleston yielded several days of interesting sights. First we satisfied  the Admiral's interest in things historical by touring Fort Sumter and taking a walking tour of the historic city.  The tour, which focused a great deal on the Revolutionary War, included a refreshing glass of lemonade in the guide's tiny courtyard right in the center of the old historic district.  

Great White Heron

 I love being outdoors and observing the flora and fauna when I visit places that are different in climate and terrain.

Anhinga drying its wings

  We look for state and federal parks, gardens and preserves.  On this recent trip, we visited the Magnolia Gardens, an old plantation, where the Audubon Society maintains a Swamp Garden and bird sanctuary.

White Ibis

  I enjoyed the flower gardens but I LOVED the Swamp Garden.

Black Crowned Night Heron
 The birds were plentiful and very willing to be observed and photographed.  We saw several species of birds that were new to us.  Thankfully, there were no mosquitoes in evidence the day we visited and I wandered around for several hours enjoying the birds. 

The Anhinga, a new bird for us, was stunningly beautiful and my photos do not do it justice.

Common Gallinule
 We saw many hawks and osprey, which I did not photograph. Nevertheless, I  am always awed by their majestic flight.


This little fellow, called an anole,  whom I caught creeping along on a fence, had a peculiar habit of blowing up his neck area, at which time it would turn bright orange, but only for a second.  Needless to say, he did not cooperate for the photo-op!

I have identified all of these birds using my old 'birds of North America' book so if any are identified incorrectly, I would love to know their proper names!

Thought for the Day :  Wherever I go, there are birds to see and hear and photograph (if I am lucky)

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Best Thing About June is.....


June has inspired musicians and poets for centuries and there is a good reason for that.  Spring is in full gear, the blooming has begun and the heat of summer, so draining on plants and people, hasn't arrived yet.  

The birds are singing and busy tending their young.  The sky seems close enough to touch and the breezes, though warm, can bring a welcome reminder that summer is still in the future!

My garden offers so many gifts in June.  I want to be in it every moment.  A recent early morning tour took me close to heaven.  I am quite sure, if God dwells among us here on earth, He finds refuge from humans in an earthly garden.

This attractive ground cover, Dead Nettle, is creeping across my shady garden, gradually eliminating the weeding wherever it goes.

Another favorite ground cover and useful herb is called Lady's Mantle.  It blooms now and gives my June bouquets a touch of yellow filler.

This feathery plant, called Goat's Beard, grows in shade and can get to be four feet by four feet.  

Oh, there's the Lavender, just beginning to shoot up its fragrant flowers.  I love to pick the flowers and make tiny dried bunches to put all over the house.  For an occasional headache, I crush the leaves and flowers and keep inhaling the lovely scent until the headache subsides.  It works!

The honeysuckle, grabbing a bit of early morning sunlight, acts as a lure to butterflies and hummingbirds.  It is a vine, which, if you place it on a pole, it will grow toward the sun and light up that corner with bright yellow or orange.

Although the peonies are almost finished with their show for this year, I found a late bloomer hidden among the greenery.  So delicate!

 This is a new arrival to my garden.  A mustardy yellow Daylily, which begins blooming in June and then performs, non-stop, until November.  My neighbor, ever generous, gave me a clump last fall and as you can see, it has made itself at home in my garden.
The roses are coming, the roses are coming!  This beauty, named Cinque de Mayo has fragrant hot red blooms covering the plant at the moment.  It will bloom off and on all summer. 

These beautiful wild flowers, called Spiderwort, brighten up any corner of the yard, sunny or shady!  

Thought for the Day:  June is a gift! Savor it, every moment! 


Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Wedding Celebration

Like a bad penny, I have returned.  
Recently, we celebrated the marriage of my niece Sara.  It was so nice to see the whole clan gathered together, something that doesn't happen too often. 

 While I was away, I worked on several poems and I was inspired by the young couple's evident happiness and sparkling joy, so apparent when they looked at each other.  I created this haiga  for them.

May they enjoy the sparkle for many, many years!

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