Fellow blogger Michael Lai recently posted a lovely butterfly photo, just one of many extraordinary images he creates! I am a big butterfly fan especially this time of the year and his photo reminded me of one that my daughter took several years ago. There are three butterflies but their placement and the timing of the photo give the illusion of one butterfly in motion. It’s one of my favorites so I thought I would share it with you…
May your summer be filled with sunshine, colorful flowers and of course…butterflies.
My father-in-law gifted me this beautiful little hibiscus tree on Mother’s Day. It now stands in the corner of my deck filled with more buds than I can count and these stunning tropical blooms. I smile every time I see it.
Mother nature is really the most incredible artist ever.
Yeah, with the exception of lady bugs and butterflies, it’s not my favorite subject either but with the warmer weather approaching (or at least trying to), the bugs can’t be far behind. I am already doing battle with a tribe of mini ants that have invaded my kitchen counters. As a hyper neat person who wipes my counter tops obsessively, I find their presence very insulting. Where did they get the idea that crumbs would be readily available in my kitchen? Who told them that?
They showed up last year too and since I don’t like to use any strong chemicals around the cats, I ended up putting little bottle caps filled with a Borax and sugar solution I found on Pinterest, all over the counters. I had them tucked behind the coffee maker and the napkin holders with the idea that the little suckers would crawl through it and then track it back to the nest, knocking out the whole group. In reality, though, they mostly ignored it. Eventually they went away but it probably had more to do with my screaming at them and carrying on like a lunatic than the concoction in the bottle caps.
The ants aren’t the worst of the bugs though. They might annoy me but they don’t freak me out the way those centipede looking things with the thousand legs do! I’m sure there is a scientific name for this insect but I’m not looking it up, because there are bound to be photos too! Basically, they have long skinny bodies with long skinny legs running up both sides and they move really, really fast.
I’m not the only member of the family who hates these critters. Last summer, one showed up in the tub while Mr D was taking a shower. For five minutes he jumped around screaming like a girl and beating it with a shampoo bottle. I thought he was having some kind of fit! It’s actually lucky he didn’t fall and smack his head. He’s pretty diligent about checking between the shower curtain and liner before he gets in the shower, these days.
If I do encounter a bug, I’m not squeamish about killing it, in fact I get really extra freaked when they get away. I want to know where that sucker’s at! I don’t want him sneaking up on me again. Miss Dee has always been our bug humanitarian. Ever since she was little, she would trap any bugs we found in the house under a cup and carry them outside to set them free. We still call her to take care of them if she is around. Mr D screamed for her when he was doing battle with the bug in the shower but she told him,
“There is NO WAY I coming in the shower to get that bug for you so just MAN UP ALREADY!”
Anyway, I only kill the bugs that invade my house. I figure the outdoors is their domain so I usually leave them alone. The only exception to this rule is the mosquito. Here in Jersey, we refer to them as the “State Bird” thanks to their size and hardy constitution. Now we have the added worry of all the illnesses associated with mosquito bites so we will have to be extra diligent this season.
Research has said that mosquitos tend to be more attracted to certain people. Maybe it has to do with skin types or a certain scent. I don’t really know what it is but they don’t tend bother me too much. My Hubby, on the other hand, can’t even walk the six feet to the trash cans without them zeroing in on him. The poor guy is a mess after he mows the lawn unless he slathers himself with repellent from head to toe.
I’ve tried various tactics for keeping the deck free of them so that he can at least sit outside in the evenings without getting attacked. Last year I planted lemon thyme and mums in pots around the perimeter because I read that they help repell our tiny fanged friends. Didn’t seem to make a difference. We have tiki torches that we put out for BBQs but they aren’t practical for everyday use and since he and I are both sensitive to strong chemical smells, I try not to spray too many products about. Of course when I was a little girl I rode my bike behind the mosquito fog truck but that’s a whole other story!
So what’s a girl to do? How do I make the great outdoors inviting to the humans in the house but uninviting to the insects? Any ideas?
Such a busy day ahead of me…birthday party this afternoon, company for dinner. I should be marinating chicken, vacuuming up cat hair, ironing clothes. Instead here I sit on the deck with a cup of coffee enjoying this incredibly perfect morning!
Instead of all the things I should be doing, I am watching the antics of the chipmunk that is living in the garden and wondering what those two beautiful hawks over head are hunting. I’m listening to the squirrels chattering to each other and the dog next-door barking at them. I’m enjoying the feel of the sun on my legs and the cool breeze across my face. Ahhh!
Back in the spring I wrote a post about the family of rabbits that has been living in our yard.for some time. My Hubby, who takes his lawn very seriously, fights the battle of the bunnies each year. They try to dig holes in the yard and he chases them off but I know he’s an old softie because the bunnies win every year!!
Yesterday we discovered this behind our big oak tree…
Aren’t they the cutest!? Now hubby will stomp around and complain for a few weeks till they are grown but he will also put cones around the area and mow carefully as not to disturb the little guys. I love that man! 😊
Friday morning started with the sound of, not one, but two power saws 30 feet from my back door. My neighbors had decided that the two huge, possibly hundred year old trees at the end of their drive needed to go. Why they need to go at 8am, I’m not sure. My son is on break from college and values sleep more than oxygen, therefore he was not happy that all this was taking place right outside his bedroom window.
I headed off to work leaving men dangling in the trees, cherishing the comparative quite of the classroom. Of course by the time I was done lunch duty with a roomful of “can’t wait for summer” grade schoolers, I was missing the noise of the power saws! Home for lunch. The trees are half as short as they were that morning and lucky me, the workers were having their lunch too. Silence.
I wasn’t as lucky when I came home from work at three. The men were no longer dangling from the trees but were now using lifts to saw through the trunks one section at a time. The largest trunk was about 5 foot across. By the time they called it a day each tree had been reduced to a six foot stump.
Looking across my yard that evening, I was glad for the peace and quiet but I was sad for the trees. They were beautiful living creatures that were probably just saplings when the house was built 90 some years ago. They stood there guarding it all that time. Now they’re gone just so that the driveway of the house can be widened. Seem like a pretty high price to pay just to make it easier to back out your car.
I love my house too but this time of year the yard is my most happy place. It’s not that it is an especially large or fancy yard. There is grass and flowers and trees, like you would expect, but it’s more than that. It’s our little piece of land. It’s green and alive.
I think this “yard love” must be something that came from my dad. He was the only one of his siblings to leave Philadelphia and haul his family across the Delaware River to New Jersey because he wanted a house in the suburbs. Mostly, I think, he wanted a yard. Growing up in a tiny row home with no outdoor space except the front stoop and the alley between the house and its neighbor may have fueled this desire.
My parents bought their piece of suburbia in 1956. It was a brand new 3 bedroom rancher, costing four thousand dollars secured with a loan from the VA. The lot was a pretty good size but it was bare except for the new sod so dad planted some trees and put in some shrubs under the front windows. We also had blackberry bushes that grew wild along the back. That summer he bought a lawn mower and a grill and invited all his brothers and sisters to come down for a BBQ.
The next year they put up a fence and a shed and a few years later, an above ground pool. My dad worked as a truck driver in the city. This was sweaty, hot work in the summer so every night he would come home, put on his swim suit and dive in that pool before we even sat down to dinner. I like to imagine him floating around, looking up at the blue sky and thinking “Ahh! This is the life.”
I’m channeling that same sentiment when I sit looking out at our yard. I admire how lush and green the grass is and how big the nectarine tree that my husband bought me a few years ago forMother’s Day is getting. I remember all the birthday parties our kids have had out there and how many holiday BBQs we’ve celebrated. It’s my little paradise. My Dad would have loved it too.
Hallelujah! The windows are open! Let’s just take a moment to breathe in the fresh air. I realize that the air here in the suburbs may me a little fresher than it is for those of you who live in the more urban areas but to be fair I live in New Jersey and the air quality in the “Garden State” is sometimes less than perfect. Still, I love being able to turn off the heat and fully enjoy the indoor/out door lifestyle.
Hubby is a winter guy. He melts in the heat so each year we have a running argument about opening windows. Usually, as soon as I get up, all the sashes go up. He tells me I’m “letting in the heat. I tell him I’m “letting out the stuffiness.” Depending on how high the temperature goes that day, I usually get my way.
Seriously, though, there is something truly rejuvenating about a spring breeze, the sound of birds and the smell of the hyacinths. Ahh! Rejoice! The cold dark claustrophobic winter has finally ended! Breathe deeply, my friends!