Thursday, June 30, 2016

Oh deer, oh no!

The Prickly Pear Cacti are doing much better this year, thankyouverymuch. Last year, I almost lost the whole patch. Don't really know what happened, but almost all of them died off. I rescued a few pads and now they are increasing in number. Two years ago the patch was huge with a record number of flowers and fruits. Is this a natural cycle? Anyway, today there was a heart shaped cladode! (modified stem that takes the place of leaves) Gotta love it!

And the other thing that is on my mind is my one and only Sunflower plant (Helianthus annuus) which yesterday looked gorgeous and just about to bloom and today... looks like a coat rack! I didn't plant it. It was a gift from a bird and it was stolen by a deer. 

So sad, couldn't wait to sketch it. Well, I sketched it, but this is not what I had in mind. Maybe I should buy a pack of seeds and put them in the ground. They would bloom late summer/early fall.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 29th: Thinking about Froads and Togs

There was a hoppy toad in the barn. I put him out in the garden because I thought that maybe the barn cats would pester him too much. That action might not have been necessary, apparently (not from personal experience) toads taste really yucky. The cats may have learned to leave toads alone (from personal experience). And just perhaps, the toad may have loved the taste of the grain beetles that in found there!

On my mind: Do adult toads swim?
It must be true
that they do 
I saw it on youtube.

While on the subject of amphibians... I wondered if my lily pads were too small or if my frogs were too fat. Perhaps the frog in the pond just liked being half submerged in the water...cooler that way?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Floral Calendar: When the Yucca blooms start to fall...

June 28th. Making fun journal pages. Watercolor background. Sketch of a Yucca plant and some whimsical lettering. Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Journal.

The white buds on the backyard Yucca have started to open. My Floral Calendar says that when the Yucca blooms start to fall, it's the first week of July. There'll be fireworks and picnics, an ox roasting at the Kutztown Folk Festival, and the dancers will be entering the circle at the Berks Pow Wow.

June 27th Oh but my darling, What if you fly?

What's on my mind?

Beautiful candelabra of Lilies blooming in the yard.

Rachel said that the baby catbirds in her yard have fledged.

That reminded me of a poem by Erin Hanson:

There's freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?

Monday, June 27, 2016

June 26th Let there be Bioluminescence!

Bedtime - Tom goes to the window to adjust the shade. "Lightning Bug!" he says. I spring from the bed to watch.

Watercolor, some with iridescence, Zig Writer, Prismacolor Pencils, and Glow in the Dark Paint in Strathmore Mixed Media 500 Series Journal.

In the dark. 

In their abdomen, Fireflies mix a chemical called Luciferin with Oxygen, Calcium, and Adenosine Triphosphate and then Mother Natures says "Let there be Bioluminescence!"

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Heavenly Blue Chicory and the Heavenly Scent of Milkweed

June 25th and the Milkweed blossoms in the garden smell so wonderful! I didn't sketch in all of the florets, so just image about twice as many as you see here.

Driving down the highway, I couldn't help but notice that the Chicory plants were painting the side of the road with their heavenly blue flowers. Each bloom fades in only a day, but there's another one waiting to open the next morning. I have a lax immigration policy when it comes to most, but not all, non-native plants. I love this one! Does anyone know how to mix up paint to get a vivid Chicory blue?

The rain gauge is screaming that we are 2 inches short of where we should be at this point in June. The grass is crispy and the Bee Balm is as limp as a dish rag. There was a thunder storm in the area last night. Stinky's ear starting twitching. She heard the thunder before I did. Noise but no rain.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Let what you do today be enough....

Today, June 24th, I will let whatever I do be enough.

I will let go of the judgement about what I should be or could be doing. Comparing myself to others, comparing my journey to where others are on theirs will get me nowhere. I will not fixate on where everyone else is and give myself permission to be exactly where I am.

I do not need to be more
or do more 
 because who I am,
 where I am,
 and what I am doing
is enough.

Taken from a quote by Daniell Koepke.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Blue Gossamer Confusion

Today my mind is in a state of blue gossamer confusion because I saw a beautiful blue Azure butterfly in the front yard the other day. It's too late in the season for the Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon). It looked larger and darker than the Springs I usually see. Could it be an Appalachian Azure (Celastrina neglectamajor)? I only thought that because I just learned there was such a thing. I asked Carl and he didn't think so, perhaps too late in the season? Is it a Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta)? Too early? Carl said they were a bit rare right now. I looked up Azures on the webber-net. There's actually a Holly Azure (Celastrina idella) which has a range just to the east of here on the Atlantic coastal plains. I did see the butterfly next to the Holly bush! Egads! I'm sure this mystery will never be solved.

Azures are gossamer-winged butterflies - a very large family called "Lycaenidae". Watercolors, Tombow marker, Zig Writer Pen, and blue gossamer in Strathmore Series 500 Mixed Media Journal.

Grocery Store Botany on My Mind

The Strawberry Full Moon means that it is prime strawberry picking time! But if a berry is a fleshy fruit formed from a single ovary that has multiple seeds then the strawberry is NOT a berry at all! The tasty part of the strawberry is not formed from the ovary. It is formed from the receptacle which is the thickened part of the stem from which the flower organs grow.  That makes a strawberry an accessory fruit. And what's with the strawberry wearing its seeds on the outside? Well, those "seeds" are actually small dry, hard-walled fruits called achenes. So because the strawberry is formed from one flower with multiple ovaries it is also an aggregate fruit. But wait! There's more! A watermelon IS a berry!

Summer is also the time for another favorite fruit - watermelon! Watermelon is a special type of berry called a pepo. Pepos have with a hard thick rinds. 

So, to recap: 
Strawberry - not a berry. 
Strawberry "seeds" - fruits.
Watermelon - berry.

And now you know!

Did I forget to mention that the moon is made of green cheese?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June 21st: What's on my mind? Cherries and Berries and a cat named Stinky

I tried another "train of thought" journal page because Facebook did ask me "What's on your mind?".

While working in the garden, the thought that struck me was "Who planted this lovely cherry tree here?". The garden was made in the spot where the old swimming pool used to be. The plan was to make it a bird garden so I planted crab apple trees and blueberries and raspberries and even native dogwoods. I guess the birds weren't satisfied with all of that, so they planted a cherry tree. I noticed the tree growing but I didn't know what it was until last year when it first bore fruit. The cherries are so luscious looking! Big bright red shiny globes. 

I did plant the blueberries. And I may start eating them very soon if the birds ignore them.

And then I thought that I should do more animal sketches for the practice. I do have two models that lie around the house all day. Well, one cat that sleeps most of the day and one "Cat of Mass Destruction" that takes a break from causing havoc every so often. This is Stinky. Guess which cat she is!