Thursday, September 5, 2013


     If you're thinking about taking your hummingbird feeder down please don't. If you are worried that by leaving it up too long you are preventing the birds from flying south, please don't be because my research tells me that hummingbirds migrate according to hormonal changes and leaving the feeder up won't make them stay longer than they normally would. The changes are set off by the length of light during the day and other factors.

(male) Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
     By leaving your feeder up you are helping the birds increase their weight that they are going to need for their migration. I have found out the migration should be finished by Thanksgiving. I've learned you can do this or wait a week or two after you don't see your regulars anymore before taking the feeders down.

     Hummingbirds usually live up to 3 or 4 years. There was one recorded that lived up to 12 years of age.  According to, the summer habitat of the ruby-throated hummingbird is eastern North America and Canadian prairies. Their winter habitat is southern Mexico, Central America and as far south as Costa Rica and the West Indies.

     As you can see I only use natural sugar and water. The mixture can be made by adding 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water and boiling for one minute only. Let mixture cool completely before refilling feeder. Mixture should be kept fresh once a week.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Grapevine with No Grapes

     John 15:1-8 states, "I am the True Vine, and my Father is the Gardener. He cuts off any branches that are not producing fruit, and He prunes the branches which are producing fruit so they will produce even more fruit. You are already pruned because of the message I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. A branch cannot produce fruit if it is cut off from the Vine, and you cannot be fruitful if you are apart from Me."
     "I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me, and I remain in you then you will produce much fruit. But apart from Me you can do nothing. Anyone who parts from Me is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into a pile and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you can ask any request you wish, and it will be given. This is to my Father's glory..."

    I have been asked many times, "What is that vine over there?" And many times I have said I don't really know I think it is kudzu but I really hope not. Since I have started this blog I have begun researching and learning about all things living on the wildlife habitat. I don't understand why it has taken me so long to appreciate all that is here. I wonder now, so many times why I have been so blind to all that was around me. Also in studying the scriptures of the bible, I find that there are many references to nature. Plant and animals share a special relationship in helping mankind realize God is real and He is with us.

These are pictures of the grapevine that has never been pruned back so it is not producing any fruit. It has not been taken care of as it should have been. Another kind of plant is intermixing with it and causing sunlight not to be able to reach it's branches. My research also tells me that the vine needs to be placed horizontally to produce fruit. Right now the vine has attached itself to a tree located next to it and is growing right along with the tree vertically. This grapevine needs a gardener and someone to take care of it. Then it will be able to produce fruit as it should. Without a gardener and on its own, you can see what is happening.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Hackberry Tree and Butterfly

     I stopped this tree from growing many times because I did not want it in the kid's play yard but since my children have grown and the play yard is no longer suitable for them, I have allowed the tree to grow and boy does it. I have learned to appreciate it with its limbs that reach out for birds to sit on. They can get a little shade after enjoying a bath in the birdbath that is now the main use for the "used to be" play yard. Since the play yard has "gone to the birds" I am happy that I can watch and take pictures of the birds enjoying themselves.

      I have a sprinkler connected to a hose and will turn it on to refill and refresh the birdbath. Sometimes birds will hear the running water and all types will come to drink or bathe. The Hackberry tree located near in the corner near the birdbath provides fruit for the birds in the wintertime. It also provides the Hackberry butterfly or Hackberry Emperor as it is sometimes known, with food with its young leaves.
Hackberry Emperor


Hackberry Tree
This Hackberry tree is about five years old. I have learned to appreciate this tree as our ancestors did so many years ago. Native Americans prepared the fruit with fat and corn for food and would also prepare a paste cooked over fire. The tree can grow up to 80 ft. tall and can live up to 200 years. It is the oldest known foraged tree. It was used as a main source of calories.

Do you have a Hackberry tree in your yard?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's Raining Mushrooms

      I've never seen so many mushrooms. Well, I guess I've never seen it rain this much in one summer either. Usually the rains come in April. It rains the whole month and then the rest of the summer is really hot. Not this year. Mushrooms were constantly popping up everywhere. I enjoyed photographing them. They came in all shapes, sizes and colors. Some were clean and many were dirty.

      I don't know all the names of the mushrooms I photographed. I have tried to look up a few of them, mainly to see if they were common in this area and whether they were poisonous or not. Some people eat mushrooms but they are experts and know which ones are edible and which ones are not. There are poisonous mushrooms that look like nonpoisonous ones. I'm not taking any chances. I'm no expert and anyway I don't think I would like to eat a mushroom because of its texture.

     There are mushrooms clubs or societies whose members enjoy going out and searching for different mushrooms.
Days after I took pictures of the mushrooms I decided to see how many I could gather.

     I was quite surprised that I found as many as I did. I put on my gloves and pulled them out of the ground like you are supposed to. In doing my research I found that there are some mushrooms with anti-cancer properties. I think I will just stick to taking pictures of them and knowing that they are here on earth for some reason. Everything has a purpose whether is it small, tall, clean, dirty, ugly, or pretty. Even fungi have a purpose!


Pictured below are my mushroom finds. I think it would be fun to join a mycological society to learn all about mushrooms. Maybe one day...

Do you like mushrooms? Do you have a favorite one? Have you ever eaten a wild one and if not, would you consider eating one if you knew it was safe? 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cousin To The Butterfly

       To acknowledge National Moth Week - July 21-27, I have decided to try my hand at writing a Haiku and to show some photos of moths I have taken throughout the years.

Moths fly to a glow
For an ambiance of joy.
They alight to rest.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cute Camouflaged Katydid providing a little of the Tropics to the South

     There are around 6,400 species of this insect. 

I caught this particular one moving from one leaf to another. He seems to camouflage very well in this picture. I guess if I were a bird flying overhead, I wouldn't really be able to distinguish him from the leaf. Katydids eat primarily leaves, flowers, bark and seeds, but many of the species do feed on other insects, snails, lizards and small snakes.
They rub their wings together to make the familiar katy-did sound.

There are only around 255 species found in North America. The majority live in the tropical regions of the world!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Silly Songbird

      I was listening to some music by a band that I really liked while sitting outside on the screened-in deck. A little songbird showed up and stayed for awhile. Most birds won't sit that long or even come that close in the first place. After the song was over, I was still looking at her, and she suddenly did something unexpected. There was a wind chime located directly below her and she fluttered down to it and kicked the chimes with her little feet, like she knew exactly what she was doing. Maybe she did. Maybe she had done it before. She went over onto another part of the deck and snatched up a moth, and then she must have decided she didn't like it because I saw it fall from her beak. Lastly, she flew onto the limb of a nearby tree. I have learned that there's a chance songbirds not only like to sing songs, they like to listen to them too. I have also learned that a certain little songbird has learned how a wind chime works.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Throughout the World - Known for their Songs

     Some people might say that they are known for their disturbing sounds. I have gotten used to their songs and they really don't bother me at all. Cicadas are commonplace during the summer months, especially in the country. They remind me of camping, which I like.
     As usual I was outside searching for an animal, any animal. I saw a cicada hanging on the side of some wooden steps and noticed it was covered with dirt. I usually just see the shells with no dirt so I figured this one had just come out of the ground.

     I remember hearing on the news that the people of the east coast of the United States were awaiting the arrival of a lot of them. I guess the news was trying to warn the people to be ready for the noise. I, along with others in the south, are so used to the sound that it wouldn't be that big of news here. I suddenly notice another cicada located on a step right below this one. It had another animal beside it which was green. I didn't know what it was. I thought it looked somewhat like a praying mantis.
     I went inside to do my research and discovered the green animal was actually the cicada emerging from its shell. I read that this cicada was in its final stage of its life cycle. Cicadas live underground anywhere from four years to seventeen years. I had never seen one coming out of its shell. I had seen other cicadas that were brown sitting on trees. There are over 2,500 species and they appear in brown, black or green.                     
    I was pretty excited in finding an animal I had never seen before because they are often heard and rarely seen. While googling about this particular animal, came across a similar photo taken by in the Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia. It is so amazing to know that from across the world the same animal can appear.
     The cicada is waiting for its beautiful and translucent wings to dry and harden before coming unattached to its shell. I am so glad I didn't disturb this process. The cicada spends the majority of its life waiting on this moment. After spending up to 17 years in the ground, it will only live a short 5 weeks of its adulthood.
      Only the males do the singing. Each species looks different from one another and have their own songs. There are three distinctive songs. One sounds like the word - "pharaoh," one like a sizzling skillet, and one like a rotary lawn mower.                                           

The different species sing at different times of day; one favors the early part of the day, another prefers midday and the third takes the later afternoon shift. Cicadas are not locusts, so it is not the end of the world when they emerge. The two insects come from different orders in the scientific classification system. Locusts are the only ones mentioned in the book of Revelation in the bible. They aren't poisonous, they don't bite, and largely keep to the trees. They won't hurt or attack you because they don't move around that much. In China, male cicadas are kept in cages in peoples homes so that the homeowner can enjoy their songs.
The cicada is an ancient symbol representing resurrection, immortality, and spiritual realization. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Surprising Connections

Do you believe in them? What I'm talking about are those surprisingly uncanny occurrences between two people. You just know they were God sent. I smile every time I have one. The other day one happened and I wanted to share it with you because it is nature related. I had taken a photo and decided that I wasn't going to do anything with it. I loaded it up on my computer with the rest of my photos for the day and was planning to forget about it. I must have thought the little plant on the stump was interesting, otherwise I wouldn't have taken a photo of it. A few days later, a dear ole friend shared a drawing on facebook and I happened to see it. I couldn't believe my eyes. I immediately contacted her. I believe God sends us connections for different reasons: one might be to reconnect with an ole friend or to remind us that he is with us or just to show us that we are loved. I love connections.
I love God.

From the Facebook Page: Star Gazing

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Glorious Morning on a Summer's First Day

    As usual, I was searching for anything to take a picture of. Just as I thought I couldn't find anything new, out of the corner of my eye, appeared a couple of white flowers on a vine. I immediately walked over to where they were. I had seen these flowers years before but didn't pay to much attention to them. I took a few pictures and went in to do my research.

    Their scientific name is Ipomoea purpurea. I wish I knew how to pronounce it. Morning Glories are blooming vines that twine around fences. And that is exactly what they were doing. My research tells me their blooms are there to announce the warmer weather of the summer months. It is the celebration of the dawning of a new day. How amazing since it was the first day of summer.

     Their blossoms unfurl in the morning hours to greet the sun and close later in the day as the sun gets hot. I touched the flower to feel its texture and found out it is paper thin and touching it is not advised. Sadly, it breaks easily and each bloom lasts one day.

    It's reaction to the sun is amazing to me. It shows me the sensitivity of the relationship. No other flower does this that I know of. I went out at mid-afternoon and took another picture and sure enough it was beginning to curl. My research also uncovered that the flowers attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds, which allows them to be pollinated.


    In the evening, I captured one almost closed and realized no sun, no morning glory. Its fragile beauty can only be displayed by the giant star in the sky. I have now learned to appreciate this amazing plant. Although it does not need me to take care of it because it has the butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, soil, rain and sun. It is just a reminder that God provides.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Nature's Rarest Color

    While weedeating, I saw the prettiest little flower. It's one of those flowers one might possibly step on. It was growing very low to the ground among the weeds. I accidentally ran the weedeater over another flower that I had wanted to take a picture of, so I told myself that after I finished I would get my camera and take a photo of this two-petalled summer surprise. At first, I thought some petals were missing, but a closer look at all the others nearby revealed that was not true.

    I remembered my son had showed me an unusual mushroom the day before. I had done some research on it and discovered that its underneath part was more vibrant than the top. It was so close to the ground that I couldn't see its opposite side so after taking the flower picture, I grabbed a plastic knife and went to where I thought it was located. Luckily it was still there and I started cutting it from its base. I pushed it over and saw what I was hoping for. Immediately after the cut some blue ink-like substance slowly dripped around its base and I snapped a few shots. Funny, I felt a little remorse concerning this fungus.
    In the evening, before I was to join others for a walk around the park, I looked out to see a bird that had become a familiar sight. I grabbed my camera and got a shot as close as I could without scaring it away.
I received a wonderful blessing. Blue is one of my favorite colors!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

One Dad, A Few Doggies, Many Lessons Learned

    Sitting there holding your doggie tightly with one arm, I can see you loved him very much. I imagine you two played and did most things a little country boy and a doggie could do together. You probably threw a stick and he ran and got it and he might have brought it back and he might not. I can picture you setting out his food and filling up his water bowl from the garden hose. Eventually I realize you two had to part. I know how heart-breaking that was...

    You grew up, got married, and then God chose you to become my daddy. You let me choose my first doggie when I was two years old. I experienced many great years and joy with that precious companion. She grew older, so did I and so did you. Throughout my life I had the opportunity to love more doggies and you were nice enough to help me take care of one of them when I was in a difficult situation. I appreciate your helpfulness during this time. There are many lessons I have learned over the years by having a dog, such as: giving is better than receiving, choices are a part of life, love and responsibility go hand-in-hand, and parting is a given.
Happy Father's Day Dad. Miss you.