Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Empty Nest Syndrome....(Kind of...)

Ahhh, Empty Nest Syndrome indeed...

My chicks have once again flown...

Jon has returned to college, and Katie (here all last week from Atlanta)

has gone back as well.

And I am back to painting!

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More on Alice in a minute...

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In my last post the Turtle Dove family had weathered the storm...

Here's the last pic I got of Mama and her Babies #1 and #2...

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The very next day, Baby #1 had flown!

I read that Doves can leave the nest in as few as 11 days...

If one is hanging behind...refusing to make that "leap of faith"...

The parents won't come around to feed it; they'll stay away...

though watching...

for the baby to make the decision to leave the nest!

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"You lookin' at me? 

You lookin' at ME?"

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By that afternoon, Baby #2 had also flown...

(I've seen them around the yard and garden still, though.)

I didn't have my camera to get a picture of the actual 

"Empty Nest", however, to end my post...

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By the time I did, a couple of days later...

I found this...

Mama was nesting again!

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Yep, two little eggs... Again!

I recently heard something about Doves in mythology,

which prompted me to look it up...

One of the first constellations my Daddy (who navigated a B-17 "by the stars"

in World War II) taught me to locate in the night sky was "the Pleiades"...

this is what I found, and you can read more about it here.


"In Greek mythology, the Pleiades were seven sisters:
Maia, Electra, Alcyone,Taygete, Asterope, Celaeno and Merope.
Their parents were Atlas, a Titan who held up the sky,
and the oceanid Pleione, the protectress of sailing.

After a chance meeting with the hunter Orion, the Pleiades and their mother
became the objects of his pursuit. Enamored with the young women, he pursued
them over the face of the Earth. In pity for their plight, Zeus changed them into
a flock of doves, which he set in the heavens.

Thus the Olympian added the penalty of the absence of his wife and family to
the Titan's original punishment of eternally supporting the heavens from the Earth."


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Here are a few "works-in-progress" pics...

I'm still enchanted with all things "Alice"!

Off to daughter Mandy's to kitty-sit for a few days...

(See, when my "chicks" leave, I go to them...;)

Taking all my gourds and clay and paints with me!

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Have a wonderful rest-of-the-week, all!

Love,

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Here There Be Dragons"...& Turtle Doves...

Yes, "Here there be Dragons"...

 Dragonflies, that is...

 Hundreds of them...maybe thousands!

 Okay, hundreds.

 Oodles, for sure! 

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They have been flying head-high over the garden,

Zooming this way and that,

A regular air-show, diving and climbing...

Catching mosquitoes, hopefully!

You know that Faeries ride on their backs!

(Here, on one of my big peach-y Cactus Flower Zinnias.)

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Up close and personal...

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 Nature's beautiful mosaic... isn't that blue a heavenly hue??

The Butterfly Bush blossoms are showing through the Dragonfly's wings...

I didn't notice at the time, but when looking closely at the photos afterward,

it looked exactly like a mosaic to me...all the little shapes like colorful tiles ~

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They are Green Darners...

(Here on an Envy Zinnia!)


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Whoever named them ~ long ago ~

Thought they looked like a darning needle!

I can't imagine what someone would come up with today, if they had to name them...

"Green Stylus", maybe? Not "Darner", that's for sure!

I prefer just "Dragonfly"!


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They were interesting, and lots of fun to photograph...

I read that they are (somewhat) migratory,

and may be on their way to southern Texas or Mexico... by way of Sikeston.

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And last but not least, the Doves...

I think I'm going to start saying "Turtle Doves"...

We had a really strong storm blow in yesterday afternoon,

right after the big Dragonfly show...

Strong winds and hail...I was so worried about the Doves' nest,

but all I could do was watch from the kitchen window, expecting

 to see the nest and babies go blowing off the top of the trellis any minute...

Then, nearly as suddenly as it had blown up, the wind and rain stopped and the

sun came out, shining brightly...even though thunder was still rumbling...

(Of course there was a rainbow!)

I climbed up the ladder and there were both Turtle Dove parents,

side-by-side, huddled over the babies...very wet...

rain-water was beaded up all over their heads and backs,

but all were safe.

The saving grace was the Moonflower Vine...

the aggravating, disappointing, wet-Kleenex-smelling Moonflower vine...

it had served well, providing shelter for the little Doves.

"Exquisitely fragranced" or not!

Have a great Thursday, everyone!


Love,

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Monday, August 18, 2014

"There Are Faeries at the Bottom of My Garden"...Still!

First of all, I fibbed. 

I said you all had seen the last of the Tuberoses for this year.

And then I took these photos of the last ones...the truly last ones

with some of my transferware... and I had to share them.

Two of my favorite things together.

To paraphrase Lord Byron...

"And after all, what is a fib?

'Tis but the truth in masquerade"

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Thank you for indulging me!

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And now, the Faerie/Fairy House...

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This one has been my favorite of all, so far...

and it is going to live with a sweet friend in Tennessee...

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But first, I had to play with it just a little bit more...

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My little "setting" for the houses, in the antique iron kettle

had become quite lush and wild and a little overgrown!

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...But the "landscaping" was easily tamed for a few quick shots of the house

before I carefully boxed it up...and took it to be shipped...

I always wish I could just hand-deliver them!

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(A pair of matching shoes on the steps, for my new friend...

hopefully she'll find time in her busy schedule to "play" a little bit, too...:) 

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Just one "buggy" pic!
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One more thing...

The baby doves have hatched!

This was Saturday...

(Look at the little egg-tooth on the one on the left!)

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One of the parents stays with them constantly,

unlike the robin parents who were always out foraging for food for their babies...

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Well, constantly until my trying to move some of the Moonflower vines overhead

~ to help shade the babies ~

got to be just too much of an intrusion!

The mama flew off (not far) with all that flurry and bluster that doves do...

(It's a wonder I didn't fall off the ladder, but I was kind of prepared for it.)

I didn't mean to scare her, but was glad for a chance to get a better shot of the babies!

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I found an article on Mourning Doves at Birds and Blooms, here.

They are also called Turtle Doves... (I had forgotten about that) and

feed their babies something called "crop milk"... really interesting...take a look!

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This was yesterday ~ Sunday ~ barely room for Mama!

That's all for now...

More updates on the little Doves to come ~ (I need a Dove-Cam!) ~

But no more Tuberoses, promise!

Have a great week, all!

Love,

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

High Summer ~ Tuberoses! ~ And More Little Critters...

Hi, Everyone!

Good Tuesday to you!

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The Tuberoses are in full bloom... 

Get ready for a few too many photos!

(I can't help myself, I am so enamoured with them...)

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I know I've written about it before, but my Grandma Launius grew Tuberoses,

and my favorite summer memory is spending the night with her and Grandpa

(a real treat on a hot, sticky summer night; they had air conditioning, and we didn't)

and breathing in the heady fragrance of the vase of Tuberoses Grandma placed

in front of the window air-conditioner...they perfumed the whole house!

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I grow them in memory of Grandma now.

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This year they were especially beautiful;

I started using Miracle Gro on them as soon as I "watered-in" the bulbs...

it really made them strong-stemmed and spectacular!

What do they smell like? 

A little like Jasmine...with maybe some Gardenia thrown in...

a touch of Easter Lily...

a "White Flower Fragrance", very heady, very cool...

(Which works best on a hot August night...)

The texture is waxy, not unlike Hyacinth blossoms.

Lovely.

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A little visitor...

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After the rain...

Okay, no more Tuberose pictures...

(not until next year, anyway!)

Thank you for your indulgence! ;)

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Moonflowers..."Opening Night"

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This was the first Moonflower bud...

I was SO excited!

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(Now there are hundreds of buds covering the new growth...)

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Oops, a Tuberose accidentally photo-bombed the Moonflowers!

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Beginning to open...

(I thought it had to be DARK...but they actually start opening

about six o'clock (CST)...when the sun is still pretty high!)

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Unfolding...

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Almost...

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Open!

They are HUGE...about 6" across..."saucer sized"!

So, okay...the Moonflowers are blooming...

More every evening (each bloom stays open for only one evening)...

Literally hundreds, by the looks of it, to come...

BUT...

They are supposed to be exquisitely, Heavenly-fragranced...

and mine have no scent at all. None.

Nada.

Zip.

Zilch.

Disappointing, actually, although they are pretty. I'm a scent-person.

Son Jon said they smelled "kind of fresh"....very diplomatic.

If anything, they smell sort of like a damp Kleenex.

How are they going to attract their moonlight-pollinators with no fragrance?

Is it that they are some sort of hybrid seed??

I'm going to give them one more shot next year, getting seeds from a few different

heirloom seed companies, instead of the garden-seed rack at Walmart.

All these folks who say they are divinely fragrant can't be wrong!

It should be interesting.

So much of gardening is "next year", isn't it?

Have any of you had experience with Moonflowers? Tell me!


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The Cypress Vines have been beautiful, as well...

Red, pink and white...

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This huge hybrid Hibiscus is called "Cherry Cheesecake"

(Again, I am such a push-over for names of things...)

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A "day's picking" from the garden...

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Did I mention that the garden has been really muddy the last couple of days??

(Thank goodness for rain, though...we've needed it!)

This is "breading and frying" okra, not Vulture-Okra ~ ;)

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A baby Jack-O-Lantern!

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I was so excited to get this pretty hummingbird feeder,

as I had seen several little Hummers darting around the Cypress Vines...

But have I had a single one come around for lunch at Chez Anne?

Nope! Not that I have seen, anyway...

However, my friend Zandria told me about how important it is to keep the

nectar fresh (especially in high temperatures)...I didn't know!

I found this article at How to Enjoy Hummingbirds,

 and it's really informative... click here to check it out.

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We just keep having robins nesting by the back door...

There are a total of THREE nests now on the beam above the wind chimes...

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The first one was re-used by a second set of robin-parents;

then another was built slightly out from the first...

and the last was built on TOP of the second nest...a total of four nestings this year.

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We had a storm a few days ago and this little fellow was on the patio...

at first I thought that maybe he was fledging, then I looked at his

under-developed wing-feathers and thought "Maybe not..."

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"Are you my Mother??"

We got him back in the nest...where he stayed for another couple of days

before he actually did fledge...


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Look at this sweet little mama Mourning Dove...

Doves are such notoriously awful nest-builders, I often wonder how the species has endured!

This one's nest is at the top of the trellis, in the middle of the Moonflowers...

At first she would startle and fly when I climbed up to check on her...

now she just watches me..."the silly human with the clicky-thing means no harm",

I guess she has decided.

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I finally got another photo of one of the Bumblebee/Hummingbird moths...

this is a smaller one...they are incredibly fast!

(My lens was a little foggy here.)

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A June Bug!

I have been looking for one all year...there used to be so many when I was small!

Son Jon found this one...

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And then this one...in the same day.

They are so beautifully GREEN!

(Although the bottom fellow is slightly more golden...)

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Cicada!

I love hearing them...

However, in a couple of weeks their droning will reach a fever-pitch,

starting early in the day instead of in the evening...

When she was small, my daughter Katie called them the "Hot Bugs",

as it's usually so hot when they at their loudest!

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A male Hercules (or "Rhino") Beetle...

also found by Jon.

(A photo of a female is in my post of July 19th; "In the Garden".)

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I KNOW this is a destructive,"bad bug"...

a Japanese Beetle...they can lay waste to plants, and have no natural predators.

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But they are even more"jewel-like" than the June Bugs...

So, I just took pictures.

"Make Lemonade", you know?

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"Lunch Date"

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Look at this cool fellow!!

This is "Front Porch Toad".

He lives in a flower pot on my front porch...

Every night he goes out to hunt...down the steps...

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 And every morning he returns...and climbs back up into the pot,

snuggling under a blanket of Spanish Moss...

(I actually saw him returning very early a few mornings ago, getting back into the pot.)

Front Porch Toad is being immortalized in a friend's calendar art...

More on that later!

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Oh! A last-minute addition...

Look what I found in the Lotus Vine!

(A "Very-Fairyish"~ looking annual, BTW...don't you love it?

I think this little fellow did!)



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One more furry little critter!!

Mr. Cyrus had just had a shampoo and blow-dry when I took these... :)

That's all for right now...have a wonderful rest-of-the-week!

I'm off to paint Alice in Wonderland gourds!

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Love,

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