If I could have only one backyard accessory, decoration, whatever name you want to give it, hands down, it would have to be a pond! Add little boys into the mix, and there is nothing more fun, delightful and entertaining as a pond. Why? Frogs, of course!
One Mother’s Day weekend we were wandering around Lowes, and when I spotted a small pond I requested it be my Mother’s Day gift. I had an idea of the fun it would be for the boys, but just howmuch fun I really could never have imagined!
It was definitely the gift that kept on giving for many years, and hopefully is now delighting the new owners of our home and their small children as well.
I still remember the time I was applying make-up in my bathroom years ago when my oldest son, the main frog-lover of the house, appeared with a monster-size bullfrog in his hands…
My sons named that particular bullfrog “Bowser.” There was also “Lazy Leo,” a leopard frog my son got permission to take from a farm we visited to deposit into our own pond. Leo earned his name because he would put his front little feet onto a small stick and allow the kids to give him “rides” around the pond.
Even though my little boys are all grown up, I still enjoy the many noises, and there are many, that frogs fill the air with. Some sound like the banjo we are used to hearing, then there are the burps, squawks, and that other weird noise that can’t even be described.
Living in a mostly wooded area, sticks/branches are always in abundance for an evening fire pit. This spring while enjoying such an evening relaxing by the fire next to our pond, I was treated to the first “croak” of spring!
I had heard the first of the spring peepers heralding the beginning of spring the previous week, but with the addition of full-fledged frog croaking, spring in my mind was officially here!
I probably have almost as many frog pictures as I do birds and flowers. They are quite the entertainers and posers, allowing you to get right into their personal space for just the right shot.
Some may even accuse them of being outright exhibitionists, and I would have to agree!
I can’t imagine a world without frogs and would not have many of the fun memories my sons and I share of their childhood years without these cute little creatures!
I hope this spring, if you have frogs in your area, you too are entertained by their fun antics and enjoy their original tunes, which are sure to put a smile on your face!
And, if you are looking for a fun, unique Mother’s Day gift, look no further than a small pond. It is well worth the effort and is sure to provide much entertainment and joy for generations to come!
Well, I certainly never thought I would do a part two on a blog post having to do with weeds, but here goes! This post has to do with my statement about my intense dislike of Round-Up, and I have been asked to explain why I hold that opinion by fellow blogger Michelle at one of my favorite blogs, https://rabbitpatchdiary.com. I’ll add some pretty pictures to hopefully charm it up a bit!
The material out there is vast, but I will do my best to sum it up in as brief a post as possible. I will post links at the end of this post so you can do your own follow-up studies and draw your own conclusions. Hopefully for the sake of the environment and ultimately your health and those you love, you will reach the same conculusion as I have come to, and look for alternative methods to control weeds. When I am not pulling, this recipe is a simple one to use and it works!
One of my main sources for health news is Dr. Mercola, and I have read many articles relating to the dangers of Round-Up on his website alone. I will use other sources for this post, however, to give a broader analysis of the topic. According to the Dr. Mercola article, Monsanto is Inside Everything. this so called crop-saver is showing up in urine samples, breast-milk, blood samples, water supplies, and in the very air we breathe.
A study reported by The Detox Project reported that glyphosate, the active main ingredient in Round-Up, was found in women’s breast milk at 760-1600 times higher than the level allowed by the EU in drinking water. So the purest form of food for the tiniest among us is now contaminated by man-made killer chemicals! Further studies showed glyphosate crosses the placental barrier with 15% reaching the fetal compartment.
To quote Angelika Hilbeck, Ph.D., senior scientist at the Institute of Integrative Biology in Zurich:
This is reckless and irresponsible conduct in a democratic society, which still has a living memory of previous reckless chemical contaminations, such as DDT.”
Blood samples and urine samples in Canadian and US women respectively were found to be at maximum levels for urine and levels similar to the concentration found to have endocrine-disrupting effects in vitro in the blood samples.
While on the topic of embryonic health, the inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA, in Round-Up was actually found to be more deadly than the active ingredient, glyphosate, according to the article in the Scientific American Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells. In this article, evidence is shown that just because an ingredient is listed as inert-Federal law classifies all pesticide ingredients that don’t harm pests as “inert,”-doesn’t mean they aren’t necessarily biologically or toxicologically harmless. “This clearly confirms that the [inert ingredients] in Roundup formulations are not inert,” wrote the study authors from France’s University of Caen.“Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death [at the] residual levels” found on Roundup-treated crops, such as soybeans, alfalfa and corn, or lawns and gardens.
So what if you don’t use Round-Up… why should you care…doesn’t it simply disappear after it kills the weeds, isn’t it “biodegradable” like we are told in most places that sell it.
In 2009, a French court found Monsanto guilty of lying; falsely advertising its Roundup herbicide as “biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly” and claiming it “left the soil clean.”
So what exactly is Round-up ready and GMO crops? Simply put, they are crops from seeds altered to withstand the effects of Round-up while the weeds around them die. It is argued that GMO crops increase food supply thereby helping to curb world hunger. There is no evidence to prove that this is the case according to the New Soil Association in 2008. In fact not only does it not increase yield, it leads to terminator seeds-seeds that are grown for a second generation that are sterile…leading to just the opposite of increased yield. In addition to less yield, GMO corn is shown to have 18 times the safe level of glyphosate set by the EPA…I would argue there is no safe level, period. About 75 percent of the food available at the grocery store contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs), grown from Roundup Ready crops, in particular alfalfa, corn and soy. (https://draxe.com/monsanto-roundup/)
To help yourself and your family, look for organics and foods labeled non-GM0 whenever possible; shop at local organic farm markets if available and if you eat meat buy only organic, 100% grass-fed or non-gmo food fed animals, ideally from a local farmer you can get to know; on-line sites such as Vita-cost sells organic non-perishables, and they offer great sales from time to time. Shop around, your health is worth it! A list of the top pesticide ridden foods and ones you can get by with not being organic can be found here: http://borntogrow.net/dangerous-pesticide-ridden-foods/ Also, soaking veggies and fruit in baking soda for 15 minutes can remove some of the pesticides, depending on the food, but even that labeled organic should be soaked.
So what are some of the other affects on our health from this ignorantly loved chemical…autism, breast cancer, Parkinson’s, depression, anxiety disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and diseases, inflammatory bowel conditions, obesity, cardiovascular disease, infertility, ALS, multiple sclerosis, infertility, allergies, cancer and much more…
A very interesting chart, one that would be very hard to argue with, shows the instances of autism rates with the rise of glyphosate usage, please use the following link to see the astonishing chart as well as watch a very informative interview with Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), revealing how glyphosate wrecks havoc on human health.
I am going to stop here, but trust me, this only scratches the surface! There is so much more that can be said and explained, but this post is very long as is!! And please note, though this post is about Round-Up, pesticide use in general should be thoroughly looked into. Please see the links below, and especially read ways to avoid consuming this chemical, and many others, even if you are against using as I am. I may add a third post for nutritional ways to combat toxins and another on the beauty and nutrition of certain weeds, inspired by Barry.
I will say in closing, it is a shame that those of us who try to protect the earth we have been entrusted to take care of are sometimes dismissed as hippies, crazies or over-zealous earth-worshippers. I don’t worship the earth, though my “About” picture certainly portrays me as a tree-hugger 😉 I do, however, worship the God who gave me this beautiful place to live and I believe as a Christian I am responsible even more to show gratitude for what He made and gave as a gift…this incredible creation, including ourselves, that we are to treasure and take care of.
Until next time, please let’s all do our part…the adorable subjects in the pictures, and those in the future will be glad you did!
Well, Thanksgiving is behind us, and though it is not officially the end of fall, winter doesn’t seem too far off. I love living in a place where I can enjoy each of the four seasons, and quiet mornings, sipping coffee, seem a wonderful way to savor them.
Once again, I have gathered those pictures from my morning photo shoots to relive the moments. With fall being very hectic I missed October’s post so am combining the two months…I hope you enjoy.
Woodpeckers like these are the reason I ask my husband to leave the smaller dead trees on our property standing.
The net was put on the pond in October, and the frogs put on quite the show as they bounced on it like a trampoline. There is a large opening allowing them access into and out of the pond, and one was actually observed bouncing, then doing a backflip into this exposed area…Nadia Comăneci would have been impressed.
Taking a break from gymnastics….
The squirrels enjoyed raiding the peanuts and sunflower seeds from the bird-feeders…
Downy woodpecker is a frequent visitor to the bird feeder area, especially enjoying the suet…
Another favorite at the feeder is the tufted titmouse, such a friendly little guy…he flys off to nearby branches to bang open the sunflower seeds.
Sparrows and chickadees were also in abundance, however, the chickadee was not very photogenic;) Though I think the below sparrow is a white-throated one, I am not confident of that-feel free to educate me!
Of all the birds I enjoyed watching in the last two months, I was more than thrilled when the typically seen cardinal reappeared after more than a months absence. His presence one morning in the tree below made my day!
I tried to convince myself the cardinals were not around the feeders because of the abundance of fall seeds, but after seeing red feathers on the ground, and the character below on at least three occasions near the feeders, I was beginning to worry.
I’ll be the first to admit, though I admire nature more than most, I am not at all a fan of hawks!!! If I saw them flying with a snake dangling from their mouth I may feel differently, however, I have only ever seen them zooming by with poor, helpless songbirds in their clutches.
Lastly on my trip down photo memory-lane… I was able to photograph the raccoon below as he neared the creek at low tide, then nimbly walked across a newly-fallen tree to the peninsula on the other side. I wish I could have gotten his front, but he is still a beaut from behind.
It was an adventurous two months of coffee-time scenery, and I enjoyed many other nature moments and firsts not captured on film. Though it’s hard, sometimes I resist the dash for the camera and force myself to simply sit still and treasure the moment.
Until next time, may you have many memorable nature moments as well.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17
Well, today is that glorious day we set aside here in the states to give thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us from our gracious Heavenly Father.
It’s usually a day spent with family, enjoying one another’s company, grateful for each one gathered, while recounting another year of the many things to be thankful for. Our family is fortunate this year that we will all be present and accounted for…with a family of five siblings, that is no small feat!
Usually, I would be scurrying around preparing the corn pudding, baking pumpkin pies and the usual things I contribute to the feast. Today I will be doing those things and a few more at a leisurely pace, as our family will gather tomorrow so that all can be present.
I am reminded this year, as in many past Thanksgivings, of the importance of counting our blessings and truly being grateful for what we have, even in the hard, and sometimes lonely times which we all go through in life.
In doing so, I usually look back to a trip I took with members of my church to Haiti as a young adult. I vividly remember my first sight of the poverty-stricken country… I wanted to run back to the airport and catch the first flight back. I had never seen such conditions up close and personal, and it left an impact on me I will never forget.
What impacted me more, though, was the absolute joy and gratitude, and what could only be described as graciousness, from the Christian people we had the opportunity to meet with while there. I recall going to a church out in the country-dirt floor, rough lumber for pews, no electricity-and the absolute spirit of thanks these people had as they showed off their prize possession. We were also invited into their homes, where they shared enthusiastically from their very meager supplies, meals served with the greatest of hospitality.
After experiencing such phenomenal gratefulness in the face of such abject poverty, I remember getting back to the states where hearing complaints for the smallest of things felt like being slapped in the face with an ice-cold cloth. And, after determining I would never grumble or complain again, sadly, I too, soon fell into my old ways of not always being thankful for even the littlest of blessings in life.
Oh,there are many times I thank God just for hot running water, as there we experienced just a trickle in the shower, while some of the locals were bathing in mud puddles in the street. And when I take my first sip of steaming coffee in the morning, I am usually very grateful.
But, there are those times, when I simply forget and grumble about the smallest of things when I have so, so much to be thankful for….a loving family, friends, a warm home, food, clean water, books to read and the ability to read them, the love and care of my Heavenly Father… the list could go on all day.
My prayer continues to be that I will always be grateful for even the smallest of blessings and be mindful of those less fortunate than myself.
Wherever you are, whether celebrating Thanksgiving here in the States or elsewhere in this big, wonderful world, may you celebrate all the things to be thankful for in your life, this day and each day forward.
Until next time
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:1
I came upon this poem while reading some fall poems earlier. It reminded me of a recent picture I took of a frog by our pond surrounded by fallen leaves and acorns. I can only imagine his thoughts may be something close to what the poet penned.
Lo! a ripe sheaf of many golden days
Gleaned by the year in autumn’s harvest ways,
With here and there, blood-tinted as an ember,
Some crimson poppy of a late delight
Atoning in its splendor for the flight
Of summer blooms and joys
This is September.
Ah, beautiful September…how did you pass so quickly?
October is my favorite fall month, but September begins the beauty of it all. Now that it is behind us I feel like I somehow missed it…like I blinked and it was over. I have spent many hours inside with my nose buried in math and Spanish curriculum, but on the bright side, I’m sure it’s a wonderful Alzheimer’s preventative.
I have given myself permission to take the day off from curriculum and enjoyed a walk with my dog Princess earlier this morning. I have missed writing so much I decided I would also take the time to enjoy doing just that when I returned from the walk.
Already six days into October, it was past time to pull up my September morning-time pictures.
Like other bloggers I enjoy the creativity having a blog allows and the connections formed with other bloggers along the way. The latter was something I was told would happen by a friend of mine, whose blog I have admired for years, but I really had no idea what she meant until I started blogging myself.
I find myself thinking of the people whose writing I have connected with….the elderly widow who writes of her granddaughter and grown sons and her transition to a smaller home, leaving the place where memories were made as she raised them; the writer who has written her first book and has found a purpose to enjoy in her newfound retirement as she plans another book; the man who so artfully writes of the beauty of childhood memories and an almost forgotten time of past societal innocence; the teacher who brings nature into the lives of his young students, reminding me of my own former joy of teaching little ones; the many gifted artists in photography and drawing, who bring beauty to my world and others by sharing their talents…all these people and many more have enriched my life in many ways.
Though I will most likely never meet any of them, I am grateful for their presence…
They have enlightened me, inspired me, entertained me, and like the nature I am surrounded by, have added beauty to my life.
For that, I am grateful.
Until next time,
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8
August has passed, and yet summer continues by force to grow days. They sprout secretly between the chapters of the year, covertly included between its pages.
Jonathan Safran Foer
August seems very much to me like March in that it “comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.” The hot, humid days slowly turn to cooler mornings and evenings, and time to linger outside is welcoming once again. I have collected some of my morning time pictures to share from this last month of summer, sad to see the blooms prepare to leave but excited for the glorious season of fall that will soon be upon us.
As soon as the humidity that slapped me like a wet blanket disappeared, I once again ventured out for mornings on the porch and saw some old friends…
I enjoyed the flowering hostas, liriope, and marigolds as they put on their final show…
I also noticed this little guy come out of the shadows when he lunged for some creeping insect passing by-picture was taken while he was enjoying his meal…
My feathered friends were more visible after I refilled the bird feeders. I leave them empty for June and July so they can help control the insects and teach the young how to feed from nature, but… I hate doing it. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and was ever so glad to give in and fill them. Also, the migrating birds will need to have food stations along their travels, at least that’s what I tell myself.
The first to arrive were the chickadees and tufted titmice, with the cardinals and finches following soon after, the latter two still donning their bright courting colors…someone needs to break the news to them.
I also cleaned and refilled the hummingbird feeders one last time before they take off on their long migratory flight south, some travelling as far as 900 miles. One morning I was treated to observe this juvenile male sitting on a hydrangea branch preening himself outside my bedroom window. The red dot visible on his neck in the picture on the left is the indicator that it is a male juvenile ruby-throated hummer.
red dot on neck indicates juvenile male
This summer’s group has been a rather feisty and mischievous bunch….I actually noticed one chase a peacefully munching titmouse off of the bird feeder and into a nearby tree! Of course, they are constantly giving each other chase through the yard, and their aeronautical feats never cease to amaze me.
The squirrels have yet to notice the feeders have been filled or they are simply off hiding their store of winter nuts. I’m convinced the nut-hiding is just for show as they eat their fill of bird food each winter (and spring, summer, fall) instead. Either way, they are still entertaining me during my coffee time.
The bird pictured above in the grass is, I believe, a summer tanager. I just happened to notice his head pop up but was not able to get any good pictures of it when it flew off to a nearby tree.
I also noticed the head pop up of a chickadee having a good splash in the bird bath on the same morning…
With the cooler days, I have once again enjoyed my daily walks…crepe myrtles, wild daisies, and even tasseled grass make the walk that much more beautiful…
I even happened upon some “silver dollars” on one of my morning strolls…
My son shared the below picture he took one morning…a picture of days and morning memories long gone by…
Opening the blinds on another morning gave view to this unexpected and delightful sight….
These Beautyberry are my favorite fall bushes and I look so forward to them blooming each year. Besides being gorgeous, they are a wonderful feast for some species of birds.
I will end with the first glimpses of fall color I observed peeking through a sunlit tree by the creek…
and a tiny damselfly on a favorite hanging plant, the fiery orange begonia…
It’s been a summer filled with many kinds of beauty-now, onto my much longed for season…fall!
Until next time!
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8
“No price is set on the lavish summer;
June may be had by the poorest comer.”
– James Russell Lowell, The Vision of Sir Launfal
Dust from the fireworks has settled, Princess survived yet another year of booms and bangs, sure “they” were after her, and once again, like every year, I wonder how it’s possible that so much of summer has already gone by.
As I enjoyed looking back on my morning pictures from May once June arrived, I have done the same for my morning times in June. I love looking back at photos taken and relive some of the moments and memories of my early, quiet times on the porch and beyond.
The turtles were out in full force this month. I like them a little more when they stay in the creek, if they happen to be snapping turtles that is. I have not seen our pond visitor again up close as I did in May, but I spotted it’s relative sunning on this log with a friend….
and another duo with the same idea further out…
I always love the way the early morning sun highlights the ferns and glistens on the waterfall…and the moss on the rocks, well, that’s just the icing on the cake.
The American bullfrog in our pond that we have dubbed “cave-frog” still occupies his cave and was seen peeking out beyond the water grass one morning between croaks.
He is loud, but I had no idea just how loud till my neighbor across the street told me she could hear him! She is a nature enthusiast herself, so it was an appreciation not a complaint:)
As for flying creatures, our little hummingbirds have been enjoying their new feeders……..
And “Harold” was observed on several breakfast hunts…
Upon arising one morning I was greeted with our first hydrangea bloom of the summer, and by evening the same bush boasted several more blooms.
Replenishing my morning cup of coffee on another morning, I heard scratching on our porch, screen door. I looked to see a real cutie, who upon seeing me quickly ran off. I captured him resting his very visibly pounding heart before ascending the tree. The poor guy was beyond shaken.
I have no idea why he was intent on entering the house….I would say he was drawn by the aroma of coffee, but it was more likely that he was running from our cat, “Gladiator Gabby.”
The large trees in our back yard are a wonderful habitat for birds, especially the woodpeckers, but it was the sunlight streaming through the hole in the above tree that caught my eye on this particular morning.
Leaving a hotel one morning after a weekend trip, my son pointed out some adorable ducklings enjoying a morning swim. It was the mother with one of the ducklings near a blooming lily, that, of course, captured my attention the most…
And lastly, I have Princess to thank for the following picture taken at the end of June. Her morning vigil by the front door resulted in a sight I am ever so glad to have seen…
and kudos to the deer for allowing me to photograph her in front of such a lovely, blooming backdrop. She seemed to enjoy her morning stroll through the neighborhood, so I may see her again in the future.
Until next time!
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8