Category Archives: Nature

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A New Beginning

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Monarch Note Cards

In a short time, our Monarch raising season 2018 will be over and we’ll miss seeing the beauties in the gardens. I’ll miss grabbing my camera to capture them!

Here is a sampling of the Monarch note cards I’ve made by matting my photos and attaching them to 5 x 7 inch note cards. The colors are spectacular!

Inside I stamp a sentiment such as “Happy Birthday!”, “Thinking of you”, “Praying for you”, and “Celebrate Life!”

Each is unique and each honors a special butterfly that we raised this Summer.

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Danaus Plexippus — The Monarch

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The Monarch may be the most recognized butterfly in North America, and maybe in the world!

Three years ago we began to plant milkweed, the host plant for the adult female Monarch to lay eggs and for the caterpillar to feed on the leaves.

This year our nationally registered Monarch Waystation 17014 was the home to many eggs, caterpillars and nectaring Monarchs.

The slideshow presents a few of the Monarchs we released with a “Godspeed” as we watched them catch a high wind on their migratory journey to Mexico.

We enjoyed involving our gardening friends, a teen neighbor girl, and classrooms of third graders, helping them to learn more about Monarchs and establishing their own habitats to protect them.

Did you know only about 2% of all Monarch caterpillars survive in the “wild” to become a butterfly? The entire process takes only about one month. Predators are wasps, lizards, praying mantises, birds, and more.

Monarchs matter! To learn more, please visit http://www.monarchwatch.org

Lantana Camara

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Lantana Camara is one of the varieties in the Lantana family, a flowering plant that attracts both butterflies and pollinators. 

Here it’s blooming amid the lavender hosta blooms. My favorite time to capture blooms is right after a morning rain shower and before I melt with the high heat and humidity!

 

Hello, Black Swallowtails!

Our butterfly garden has been abuzz lately with the hot temperatures and high humidity this Spring. These Black Swallowtails spent some time nectaring on the Butterfly Weed before they flew to their next snack stop. These are common in the Midwest and the Swallowtail caterpillars are usually found on plants in the parsley family (fennel and parsley are favorite host plants). The butterflies look for nectar-providing flowers.

Soon to be a Family of Five

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“Giving birth and being born brings us into the essence of creation, where the human spirit is courageous and bold and the body, a miracle of wisdom.”

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“You are pregnant and you are powerful. You are bold and you are beautiful. Go forward in your boldness, in your beauty and in your contentedness. Trust your body to birth and know that the collective power of women worldwide will be with you.”

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DSCF3105 (2JLP) “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new…and so in you the child, your mother lives on, and through your family continues to live… so at this time look after yourself and your family as you would your mother for through you all she will truly never die.”

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“To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman, and distressingly inhabited. Soul and spirit are stretched – along with body – making pregnancy a time of transition, growth, and profound beginnings.”

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“Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of Mother’s Love.” – Maureen Hawkins

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“In giving birth to our babies, we may find that we give birth to new possibilities within ourselves.”  –Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn

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“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for.”

I’m grateful to have captured these fun and precious moments in the park for this family who will soon meet their child #3!

 

 

Getting Ready for the Monarchs

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Roxie and I are excited to begin our 2018 butterfly gardens!

Our new book “The Monarch” by Kylee Baumle is just packed with information about the Monarch eggs, caterpillars, chrysalis stage, and the eclosing of the beautiful Monarch! (This book is available on Amazon.com   I’m recommending the book as a personal user and do not receive any compensation for my recommendation.) 

Help save the pollinators and butterflies! Create your own special garden either in containers or in the ground by using a variety of milkweed plants and native host and nectar plants in your growing area!

Find more information at http://www.monarchwatch.org

Visit your nearest botanical garden(s) for information on butterfly and pollinator gardening.

Orchid Mania 2018

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The 2018 Orchid Mania display of hundreds of species of orchids is spectacular each year at the Missouri Botanical Garden. I always enjoy leisurely browsing and finding new surprises as I visit and take photos of unusual orchids! The display ends March 25 this year, so go soon if you can! The colors and the natural light are good medicine for the soul and body on a dark winter day!

 

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Amaryllis in Full Bloom

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The Candy Floss amaryllis bloomed its heart out with multiple flowers on two different stems, and amazingly these lasted for our enjoyment for 10 days! They were spectacular!

My Candy Floss Amaryllis Series

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The Extended B Family

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It was a gorgeous afternoon in the park when I was privileged to capture the extended B family’s photos! We had fun talking about their holiday traditions and between posings, they laughed and tickled each other and made this session so much fun! Great Grandma, grandparents, siblings, and cousins got to be included in photos — something they had not had for quite a few years. God’s blessings to the B Family for wonderful holidays ahead!

Catching the Sun

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“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder, Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder: On Wisdom and Virtues

Walk in a favorite place. Soak in the sunshine. Bask in God’s goodness and love. Pray in adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. Delight in all His blessings to you and yours. Breathe deeply and feel grateful. Go and serve others. Catch the sun. Share the Son.

The B Kids in Autumn Colors

Autumn is a favorite time of year to capture children’s photos amid the gorgeous Fall glowing leaf and sky colors!

Being able to document these children and their sweet personalities is pure joy. Each one is so different, so caring and kind, so special! They have great parents and are so blessed in many ways! I feel blessed to know them and see them often!

Golden Wedding Anniversary

Golden sunshine blessed us with great light on the afternoon of this dear couple’s anniversary photo session! These are just a handful of the captures for their anniversary book. I can’t wait to see which one they chose for their canvas wall art! I couldn’t have asked for more natural subjects! They are a great example of love and commitment for all who know them and witness their kindness and service to others.

Fritillaries

Fritillaries visited our butterfly garden en masse this summer, perhaps due to the southerly winds from Hurricane Harvey.

My Butterfly Garden

The bumblebees have found my purple coneflowers! I’m still waiting patiently for the Monarchs to arrive. I’ve spotted one Tiger Swallowtail so far.

The “blanket flowers” and butterfly weed and many more plants that attract butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and yellow finches are just waiting for visitors! I think our cool, wet Spring has affected the pollinators and butterflies so far. So I’ll keep watching!

 

Sunset at Taneycomo

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The worst day of fishing is better than the best day at work.

Sunset fishing at Lake Taneycomo in southern Missouri. He got his line wet, the fish weren’t biting, but he went to sleep relaxed.

It’s all about the bait. And being patient.

Ornamental Cabbage

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Looking forward to digging in the garden and planting beautiful veggies and blooms — dreaming through these next few months!

Love the colors in a variety of ornamental cabbage plants that range from dark to light shades. It’s fun to browse the seed catalogs and plan …

Coming or Going?

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The lightest snowfall provides a background for such interesting bird prints!

A Winter Walk

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It’s easier to tolerate winter when the sun shines and when you have a dog to walk!

Fishing vs Catching

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“A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work!”

These two with their O’Pa at a favorite pond are simply happy to be casting and reeling and catching little biters.

Alstromerias

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Flowers make me happy, especially in the bleak winter days when the sun doesn’t shine for weeks on end!

Alstromerias can be found in a variety of colors in our local florists’ shops and gardening stores. These are a bright spot on a January day!

Lined Up

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Where did Summer go?

The watering cans, well-used, gave drinks to so many flowers and veggies

planted on our deck.

Now we’ve picked our last cherry tomatoes,

watered the impatiens and petunias for the last times,

and prepare to winterize soon.

But not too soon.

Please.

Give us more beautiful Autumn days to sprinkle thirsty flowers,

though spindly and fading,

just to enjoy the task.

Rest in Peace – Auf Weidersehen

Today is All Saints’ Day on the Christian church calendar. It’s a day to celebrate those sinner-saints who have gone before us to their heavenly rest.

During this beautiful Autumn season I’ve spent some time walking and photographing in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO, not far from where we live.

When my parents moved from Ohio to the St Louis area in early 2015, they changed their plans so that this national cemetery would be their final resting place.

Our dad is now at perfect peace and has been committed to JBNC since his recent passing from this earth. It’s a sad/happy time for us. Sad because we miss him so much–almost daily visiting, laughing, eating ice cream together, singing and listening to polka music, hearing his great stories about family and World War II and travel experiences and more.

We’re happy and comforted to know that we’ll see him in heaven someday, because we believe Jesus’ promise that’s written in John 11:25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

God blessed Dad with almost 95 years of life on this earth, with a beautiful and loving bride of 70 years plus, and with a caring family and many friends. For all this, we’re so thankful.

See you later, Dad.

“In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song.”

“For every sin on Him was laid; here in the death of Christ I live!”

 

Monarchs Have Migrated to Mexico

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This is the last Monarch to visit our butterfly garden in 2016. We enjoyed each and every one that we saw, and thank God for His creation and their beauty! The monarchs enjoyed our butterfly weed, milkweed plants, and butterfly bushes (this one is named “Ruby”) as well as the zinnias and impatiens blooming here.

Read more about Monarchs and their migration here and on other sites that you find when searching Google for “monarchs” and “migration.”

Remember to save your flower seeds and plant in the early spring to help make your environment more butterfly friendly!

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/03/160314-monarchs-mexico-endangered-rare-butterflies-animals/

A Very Hungry Caterpillar

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Little sister brought her baby brother her favorite bookThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle–and he was completely mesmerized by it, as you can see!

The cocoon and hat were crocheted by Lake Effect Creations. You can find her Etsy shop online at etsy.com

Isn’t he adorable in it? A beautiful creation in God’s world!

Zzzz.

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Siblings in Summer

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She Flew

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The sun began to set.

And then she flew.

Tiny dancer!

A Walk along the Woods on a Winter Day

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Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

 

Paloma at Seven Months

We made a wish, and you came true.
Muuwah!

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Once you’re parents, your marriage matters more, not less, because someone special is counting on you.

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“Babies are such a nice way to start people.”
― Don Herold

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I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May. Well, I guess you’ll say what can make me feel this way? My girl!

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First we had each other. Then we had you. Now we have everything!

 

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