Can You Spot It? A Quick Summer Nature Puzzle

My husband loves those online find the image puzzles. And many kids enjoy the I Spy books.

This morning I sat on the front porch soaking in some sunlight after watering my garden. I noticed a bit of movement near my hanging basket of petunias.

Do you see it?
Hint: It’s not purple. Those are my purple petunias!

Look closer at the green stems near the spent flowers. Do you see it now?  Maybe just a little as it’s behind the stem pictured above. How about a closer look at the greenery of the flowers?  Can you see the green Walking stick hiding in the photo? He’s on the bottom of the greenery. Doesn’t he blend in well?  Here’s the first angle again. Easier to see him now that you know he’s there.  Here’s a bit of information about our Walking Stick. I believe this one is a juvenile.

Do you like hidden picture puzzles?

 

Summer Garden Dreaming

Every summer I plan out my ideal garden. The small flower garden I have now is a mishmash of flowers and weeds.

Still, I love to sit on the front porch and take it all in on hospitable afternoons and evenings. Walk about the yard and practice close up flower photos. Sometimes I can even manage to capture a bee at work!

My small ramshackle garden area is to the side of the front porch.  Each summer, I also spend time on the front porch and walking about the yard dreaming of the ideal gardens for each space.

The butterfly garden I’ll plant at the end of the driveway with milkweed, purple cone-flowers, and maybe some cornflowers or Lewis flax.

Sunflowers, my yard must have sunflowers! I’ve planted them before with mixed results. Sometimes, I think I’ll line the whole south side of the house with them. This year, I’ve toyed with the idea of pots of them around the front porch.

The south side of the house gets bulbs instead. The spring garden filled with irises and tulips.

We have our vegetable garden, this year: 3 tomatoes and a cucumber start in addition to the handful of green beans harvested earlier. Carrots still grow. Okra, no blooms yet, grows as well.

The backyard presents so many challenges.  Lovely tall oak and maple trees mean not as much sun. I change my mind about what I want constantly. A sun room and a patio. A pool (not likely), a fire pit perhaps. All surrounded by big beautiful pots of flowers. Shade loving flowers. And of course, paths and benches.

Isn’t it fun to dream about ideal summer garden spaces? Especially, when the in reality, I’m not much of a gardener.

Happy Homemaker Monday, Yet Another Sunday Night Edition

Two more full work days and then, three full days for me (and the boys)! It seems I’ve been working quite a bit this summer. Maybe it’s just my imagination since I worked a full-time week last week.

One thing I know is real: how much these Happy Homemaker Monday posts help with the weekly planning! Don’t forget to hop over and visit our host of this link up, Sandra from Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom.

The Weather

Summer returned! It’s hot again. No hot tea tonight, chugging the ice water. High of 97 today and another day in the 90’s scheduled for tomorrow. High 80’s with slight chances of thunderstorms a couple of days forecast for the rest of the week.

Right Now I Am

Getting a start on this post as I attempt to cool off from mowing the lawn. Drinking ice water and in need of a shower (soon) as it looked like the dust bowl while I mowed. Flashbacks to attempting to read The Grapes of Wrath while mowing the lawn, not a good time.  We’re not in as serious a drought as other areas of the Midwest but we do need more rain.

Thinking

Not exactly deep thoughts. Simply wondering what we’re going to have for dinner or if anyone is even hungry. I’m not. We had a late lunch of take out pizza. Also debating how far I can get into this week without a grocery store visit.

On My Reading Pile

Finished The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking this morning. And breezed through the short little “book,” Your Own True Colors: Timeless Wisdom From America’s Grandmother by Barbara Bush. Enjoyed both of the books.

Now I’ve started on Carpe Diem: Seizing The Day In A Distracted World by Roman Krznaric. Only 8 pages in so not sure what I think so far. It’s interesting but I’m worried it might be a bit of a dry read.

On My TV

Friday evening, I watched The Princess Bride. Didn’t want anyone to revoke my 80’s card since I’d never seen it. Goofy movie but I did enjoy it and can see why it gets quoted so much. Would like to read the book now.

Also been watching a few episodes of Dual Survival, The Art of Self Reliance on regular TV and Chuck on Amazon Prime.  And of course, Reverie is my summer TV show. I think the season finale might be this week. Curious to see what they do with it.

On The Menu This Week

Another attempt at a menu of Quick and ON HAND. We’ll see how we do. We didn’t do awful last week although my meals were a bit different from the ones planned. G did get his chili on Monday evening but you’ll see a few carry over meals listed.

MONDAY: Pork Chops, baked potatoes, watermelon *I work 8-4:30*

TUESDAY: Breakfast for dinner, Pancakes or French Toast Sticks, sausage, fruit *I work 8-4:30* *Schedule pick up/residency verification for J*

WEDNESDAY: Ribs in the crock pot, corn on the cob *I have a 9:30 hair appointment* *MNO*

THURSDAY:  Tacos/maybe OUT *G has band practice 6-8:30*

FRIDAY:  Tacos/OUT *Whatever I’ve bought at the store as I’m sure I’ll go eventually*

On My To Do List

  1. Gather all papers for schedule pick up at middle school
  2. Figure out a time to have a friend stay over for J
  3. Have fun with kids last 3 days this week, maybe go swimming or the zoo
  4. Write posts for 30 Days of Summer Series
  5. Back to school shopping/haircuts for boys

In The Craft Basket

Lots of crafts I’d like to try but no time right now! Intrigued by the Danish paper woven hearts mentioned in The Little Book of Hygge. Maybe we’ll all try to learn how to make them one day this week.

Looking Forward To

Being at home and spending some time with my boys later this week.

Looking Around The House

I’m also looking forward to school starting and my schedule maybe slowing down enough to give the house a much-needed serious cleaning.

From The Camera

A lily by any other name would smell as sweet…

The yards around here are filled with Naked Ladies AKA Surprise Lilies
Whatever you want to call them, they smell fabulous!  And look beautiful at sunset 

Quote For The Week

This quote caught my eye as I read Your Own True Colors: Timeless Wisdom From America’s Grandmother:

You success as a family…our success as a society…depends not on what happens at the White House, but on what happens inside your house. (Barbara Bush)

********

What’s on your agenda this week?

Bird Watching On The Prairie

Last Saturday, I took a day trip and drove down to visit fellow blogger, Rebecca from Rebecca’s Hearth and Home.  She’s a ranger at Prairie State Park.

You can read all about my rock star tour in this post.  Birding on the prairie is a bit more listening than watching.  You can hear the birds but spotting them is a bit more difficult.

Of course, we spotted the hawks easily but not easy to photograph.  Rebecca did help me spot and introduce me to a new (to me) bird: The Dickcissel.

We heard these birds before we could spot them.  The zoom lens and a bit of cropping happened in all my photos of them. 

I took the first set of photos while hiking on one of the prairie trails with Rebecca. As we returned to the nature center, I took the quarter-mile loop behind the building in hopes of simply capturing the vast expansive feeling of the open prairie.

I failed at that. However, I did spot more Dickcissel birds. So attempted a few more photos of them. They were mostly sitting in short shrubs blending in a bit with the small branches. One little bird did cooperate a tiny bit. 

The camera not so much. 

Have you spotted any new birds lately?

Linking this post up with the Bird Depot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’

My Rock Star Tour Of The Prairie

Last Saturday, I visited my friend and fellow blogger, Rebecca from Rebecca’s Hearth And Home. She’s co-hosting the 30 Days of Summer blogging series.

We both live in Missouri.  Saturday I took a solo road trip to visit her down at Prairie State Park. It’s about a 2 hour drive from here.  Meant I didn’t need to leave here at the crack of dawn. Slept in a bit, filled the car with gas, ran by McDonald’s for breakfast, and hit the road.

Have you ever gone on a solo road trip?

Rebecca gave me a rock star tour of the park! Did I mention she’s just as lovely in person as in blogland? And of course, I didn’t get a single picture of us together. Thankfully, she thought to have us take a selfie on the prairie with her device. You can see that picture on her post here.

Prairie State Park is quite large. Large enough for a buffalo herd to roam!  We toured the park in a truck first.  I learned so much about the buffalo and prairie from her.

Our first stop was to observe the buffalo:

Eventually, we made our way back to the nature center and she (hopefully) managed to get a bit of work done while I wandered around the displays and watched a very interesting movie about the prairie.  Hard to imagine my beloved trees were once so sparse.

Next, she graciously agreed to go on a hike with me out on the prairie.  

The prairie’s not flat and soon we could no longer see the nature center building from the trail. The prairie is large and expansive and full of wildflowers!  And insects! Loud buzzing cicadas. One flew by and I may have jumped a few feet! Bees. Butterflies. Grasshoppers.

She pointed out some special birds (more about those in Saturday’s bird watching post): 

Did I mention the prairie is massive? In the short time I spent there, they had to search for 3 lost hikers! All safely found.

A quick hike behind the building to try to capture the wide open feeling of the prairie:

Photos just can’t quite capture it. Like they can’t quite capture the wonderful time I had meeting a new friend who felt like an old friend.

Extra time to spend with friends, new and old alike. One of the best parts of summer!

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