Friday, July 31, 2015

The Rare Landscape Photo

The photos I post are almost exclusively close-up shots, primarily because I tend to geek out over all the little critters and blooms in my garden. And really, how can anything here compare to the unreal beauty of the Scottish landscapes Lynn has shared?!

But one day last week when I was a passenger in the car (happens about twice a year) I looked out the window and was taken by the beautiful sky and the green field. I thought, well, it's not Scotland, but it has its own beauty. So I took a quick snapshot with my phone out the window at 55 mph (I never travel with my nice camera for fear it would instantly melt!). 

So here is a slice of summer in Missouri for those of you who haven't made it out of late winter yet!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wise Little Toadlet

I've been wanting to capture this little toadlet on "film" for a while now. It has gotten so big! Compared to that brick piece (or a full-grown toad), though, it's still pretty small. It helps me fill my watering bucket from the rain barrel every morning! I hope it brightens your day!


Monday, July 20, 2015


Another morning when I went out to water the plants (which is really the only time I go outdoors these days), I saw the tiniest frog and immediately ran back in the house to grab my camera (as one will do). By the time I came back out, though, the frog had disappeared. In its place was this beautiful insect I don't think I've ever seen before. 

I loved the shade of green on its back, especially with the black markings on top:

 I also enjoyed the complimentary orange on the front, and its funny little round shape:

But best of all was the surprise I got when I loaded my photos into the computer and looked at the first one:

That frog had been there at the start and I never saw it! Of course, look at that expertly-placed camouflage stick on its head; it might as well be invisible! >;-D

Saturday, July 18, 2015


I went outside to water the plants yesterday and almost passed out with excitement (or was it the humidity?). 

A butterfly had just emerged from its chrysalis!

And not just any butterfly, but one I'd never seen before: a Red-Spotted Purple!

Its iridescent blues were breathtaking, and I don't do it justice in my photos. I will be keeping an eye out for these beauties in the future! Just delighted that we were able to make a home for a new one to be created. <:-)


Monday, July 13, 2015

Catching Up

1.  I made several happy excursions (between rains) last week to gather bits of wild plants for medicine-making (here are some especially cheery mulleins growing along a stone wall at one of my favorite old churches).

2.  At the end of one evening walk, I paused in my garden and suddenly heard scuffling noises.  "Ah," I thought, "wouldn't it be the best ever if a hedgehog lived in my garden?"

Wish: granted!

3.  And then I spent a couple of days hunkered down at the computer, planning a wee getaway to the Isle of Skye for when my parents-in-law are here in August (beside myself with excitement!).

4.  On Saturday, I hiked my usual Coldstream-to-Lennel route and marveled at the variety of flora along the Nuns' Walk.  I saw, among other things, rosebay willowherb (fireweed to you North Americans)...

...butterfly bush...

...and the ubiquitous red valerian.

I also saw my favorite cows, who seemed a bit disappointed that I hadn't brought treats.

[Side note:  it's great to take photos, because you see things that you missed the first time around (especially if you weren't wearing your reading specs).  For example, a tiny snail on the hedge woundwort...

...and at least three heart-shaped rocks at the edge of the Tweed.]

5.  Last evening we drove to Paxton House, where I admired the herbaceous borders while others frolicked on the playground.

(I really think that red dianthus next to lady's mantle is the way to go, don't you?)

And confident that my companions were having a great time playing zip-line tag, I wandered through the woodland garden...

...and into the deep woods.

(Here's hoping that this sylvan picture brings a bit of cooling relief to those of you who are melting in those 100-degree temps.  Be careful out there!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Beauty and the Beast

In recent years we've come to expect a certain amount of destruction by the newly-introduced and seemingly invulnerable Japanese beetles. 

The fallout can be disheartening, but recently I've been appreciating the beauty of what's left behind. 

Today especially, against the backdrop of a milky sky, the work of the beetles resembles nature prints or lacework.

Fortunately, they have so far only fed on a few of our trees.

Also, we are lucky we don't rely on those trees, like our apple trees, for income.

And in the end, the trees will survive, and are already doing their best to overcome their dire situation.

So for now, we will just marvel at the work of these industrious little creatures, who, in addition to making beautiful leaves, are hard at work making babies who will undoubtedly be visiting us in the years to come….


Monday, July 6, 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Mistake

Proper thunder is so uncommon here that just now I thought someone was pushing his wheelie bin across the cobbles.

P.S.  Yay!  Thunder!!


Friday, July 3, 2015


I stepped outside this morning and found an astonishment of gifts.

A veritable cornucopia, right in my own back yard.  And just when I really, really needed it.

I hope it encourages you, too.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Celebratory Pancakes

It is the first breakfast after the last day of school, and the junior masterchef has everything under control.  Pancakes with vanilla-infused maple syrup and two different coulis (raspberry and strawberry).  Yum!