Thursday, July 28, 2011

barred owl and walking sticks

this will be a quickie...

in my last post i mentioned that we heard the owls!!
(...and on my way to locate them, i was side-tracked by the black racer snake)

we haven't  seen the Barred Owls  for about 6 months.
we assumed...or at least hoped...that they hang out in a certain area for a while
 and then move on....only to make their rounds back to where they started.

they have!  we spotted one yesterday around 7pm!!

just like the coyote we spotted last weekend...
again, i had to snap these pictures through the back door
since i didn't want to take any chances of scaring him away by sliding it open.

(all puffed up)

(spies something on the ground??)


one more unusual sighting yesterday afternoon...

on the roof of the front porch.
a pair of mating
Two-Striped Walking Sticks  (Anisomorpha Buprestoides)

the smaller one on top is the male.
they stayed like this for a looooong time. what stamina!

i tried to get pictures over and over...i  zoomed in, but all i got was blurry!
so i tried to get close-up...stretching my arms overhead and standing on my tip-toes.

as i read about these stick bugs later...i realized how lucky i was.
a few other names they're know as, are devil's riding horse, prairie alligator
devil's darning needle and musk mare!

if they had felt  threatened by my intrusion of their love-making...
they could have sprayed me (and they aim for the eyes!!)
with their strong-smelling defensive spray which is painfully irritating to the eyes
and mucous membranes!  
and they're marksmanship is precise! 
they can accurately aim their spray to up to 15 inches away!

next time...i'll be a bit more leery about getting too close! whew!

it's the day after hump day...almost the weekend! woo-hoo!
be safe out there...enjoy your journey!

:]  laura

Monday, July 25, 2011

an unexpected backyard visitor (and moon, snakes, fox!)

on a clear early morning last week...
the mystical magic moon.

i've been hoping to spot a snake!

it's been a while. the last one i saw was a young 'yellow rat'
in the roof of the front porch.

no, it's not christmas in july...
these  lights stay up year round...
i like the soft...relaxing...ambient feel...

over the weekend...i was wandering out back...and heard the owls.
 it sounded like they were in the front, so i started that way.
 but before i made it...i saw a long & slender 'black racer
heading for cover under the azaleas.

he slid along and then climbed into this old bucket/planter by the front steps.

and then he scooted out of there through the rusted hole...
continued his way to the next garden...and went under the house.
they usually dine on lizards, frogs, mice, rats and even small snakes.
they're FAST, agile and excellent swimmers & climbers!
by that time i forgot about the owls.  one track mind...


later that same day. saturday. 
sam was looking out the back sliding glass door.
"Laura! Hurry!! grab the camera!  Quick! Come see!!"

can you see it? between the trees. a COYOTE!!
we've seen one only once before...
but i couldn't get the camera fast enough.
THIS TIME...she stopped...stared...pee'd...
and then went back into the woods!
so these pic's were taken through the glass door...
in a hurry!

it's not unusual for them to be out during the day...
but it is a little unusual to spot one of these elusive animals!

hmmm...we wondered if that's why we haven't seen the foxes lately...
they used to come around fairly often.  we haven't seen one in months!


we're still getting rain.  not as much as a couple of weeks ago...
when it was raining every day, but enough is coming down
to keep the thirsty plants watered.

there are so many other states...other places in the world right now
...where people, crops, animals are suffering from drought
and extreme heat...dried up lakes and land.
i hope that some kind of relief comes your way soon.
my thoughts go out to you...
sending wishes for rain...lots of rain...and for a break in the heat wave!

starting off with the mystical magic morning moon...
it's only fitting to end with the sun going down.
looking west through the trees in the front yard...
toward the road and the field across the street where i find bones
and other treasures...

Life's a journey, not a destination.  
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

have a safe journey & enjoy the ride!

((thanks very each of you who stopped by my previous post...
especially to those who took the time to leave 
such healing, compassionate & supportive words...
you really have no idea how you uplifted me! 
thank you for understanding...relating...for being there!))

i have oodles of pictures i've been taking...
grasshoppers, butterflies, spider, MORE mushrooms...some thing to look forward to.
only 5 more days 'til the weekend...
4 more days if you live on the other side of the world...
have a happy week!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

...for my sister...

sometimes our blogs are our therapy.

most of the time i like to have fun with nature...
NOT MUCH is more exciting to me than wandering around...
in the the woods...and finding interesting things to take pictures of.

well...although i always have a vast number of pic's to go through
and decide which ones to post...
today is more of a deep thought day.

the first thing i did this morning...before i even got my coffee...
was to light a memorial candle for my sister.
sally was 3 years younger than me. 
she passed away after losing a long battle to breast cancer
she had a mastectomy, went through all the usual treatments...
chemo & radiation...only to find out five years later 
that her cancer was not only back, but had metastasized.

she passed away in march of  '07.

today she would have been 54.

she had ONE bumper sticker on her read 
"No Wimps"

her favorite quote was
"Gratitude is the best attitude"

and so...i always seem to get a little 'down' when birthdays or days of death
roll around.  and for me...that's fairly often...having lost both parents 
and my only sister & brother.  
of course there have been many other deaths of relatives and friends...
over the years...but it's really only my sister, brother & dad 
that get to me the most.
it's only for them that i light a candle.
it's only for them, that i get a little down.
when i'm in the store...buying a birthday card for someone...
and notice the cards for brothers and sisters...
i stand there...trying to keep from crying...tears welling up in my eyes...
heart-ache to the max.
anyway...enough of all that. 
i wasn't planning on doing a post until tomorrow morning,
but decided to do a quick one today...for sally.  
to help me.  to make me feel better. 
i needed to talk.
for the most part...
people don't want to hear me go on about 'missing them'.  
i should be over it by now,  you know.
so, here i am. 
knowing you don't have to read if you don't want.
you don't have to listen.
but it makes ME feel better to write.
sally loved flowers.
so these are for her!
and you.

~rain lily~


~butterfly weed~

What sets sisters apart from brothers
and also from friends
is a very intimate meshing of
heart, soul and the mystical cords of memory.

~mimosa ground cover~

 ~tropical  sage~


Chance made us Sisters,
hearts made us friends.

~beauty berry~

~standing cypress~

~black eyed susan~

Sisters are blossoms
in the garden of life.


~dogwood tree~ 

~redbud tree~

~persian silk/mimosa tree~

 thanks for staying...

I give you this one thought to keep -

I am with you still - I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not think of me as gone -
I am with you still - in each new dawn.


have a safe journey!

:]  laura

Sunday, July 17, 2011

mushroom maniac...

"maniacal frenzy"
that's what i'm suffering from these days.
(well, not really suffering...i'm a merry maniac)

with the everyday rain we've been having lately
(which is highly unusual this time of year)...

every time i step outside...i see MORE mushrooms...
NEW mushrooms...
growing to enormous size in just ONE night!

and so...i can be seen...crazily running in hand...
trying to battle the mosquitoes and dodge the gnats...
snapping pictures, sometimes from an ant's point of view.
if you're anything like me...
you'll enjoy all the different shapes, sizes, textures and colors!

(i wonder...if you had one of those time-lapse camera set-ups...
how cool would that be to record a mushroom  popping up out of the ground.
are they full grown when they break through?  it's hard to know for sure...
because it seems like overnight they appear...and grow to full size!)

now keep in mind...THESE ARE ALL ON OUR PROPERTY...scattered about...
i should probably break this up into two posts...but there are so many...
and these pic's are only a fraction of what i've taken.

either way...there will be more coming...
so don't get too much mushroom overload...not yet...

(you could slip and fall on your butt on this mushroom)

(chocolate chip  anyone?)

(uh...trying to produce a hybrid?) 

(ummm...a mushroom...bra?!)

(...chocolate pudding...with that skin on top...)

(deep red sunset....) 

(mushroom star...a slimy star...) 

above & below - on dead wood...

(groan...push...shove...groan...aaaaah, i'm above ground!) 

(kind of reminds me of textile...tie-dye...)

little fuzzies growing inside an old stump...two days later...
the family has come to visit...and they're waiting upstairs...



(uh...ummmm...a nipple)

(yep! a PURPLE mushroom...
pushing it's way through the peat moss & leaves!)

(two smurf-perfect houses...
well, the red one below might need a new paint job on the roof...)

( doesn't smell like pumpkin pie...)

and finally...whew...
(a mushy mushroom...covered with mold...isn't!)

well, hope you enjoyed this muckle of mushrooms!  :)
have a fine day!
keep on...keepin' on...
:] laura

"Life's too short to stuff a mushroom."
~Sirley Conran