Friday, July 23, 2010

Favorite Photo Friday ~ Butterflies

The gardens are busy places this time of year.
Full of critters (wanted and unwanted), birds and all sorts of flying insects.
Here are a few shots of butterflies on the buddleia bush.
This swallowtail has a damaged wing. Butterflies have many predators including ants, spiders, wasps, parasitic wasps, parasitic flies, birds, rats, toads, lizards, praying mantis, snakes and monkeys.  Their damaged wings do not seem to impede their mobility as I see them fluttering about just as though the wings were perfect.

Butterfly Wishes

Yesterday a butterfly

Came floating gently through the sky.
He soared up through the atmosphere
Then drifted close enough to hear.

I said, "I'd love to fly with you

And sail around the way you do.
It looks like it would be such fun
To fly up toward the summer sun.

But I have not your graceful charm.

I haven't wings, just these two arms.
I've been designed to walk around.
My human feet must touch the ground.

Then magically he spoke to me

and told me what his wish would be.

He said, "What I'd love most to do

Is walk upon God's Earth with you,
To squish it's mud between my toes
Or touch my finger to my nose.

I'd love just once to walk around

With human feet to touch the ground,
But I have not two legs that swing,
I haven't arms, just these two wings."

And so we went our separate ways

In wonder and surprise.
For we'd both seen God's precious gifts
Through someone else's eyes.
Author Unknown 
This frontal view shows clearly the feeding mechanism which is a long double barreled tube called a proboscis. Because butterflies feed through what is essentially a double barreled straw, their diets are exclusively liquids.

The same butterfly from a different angle. 
Here are the stats on the first shot (the other photos are similar) 
Camera Canon EOS Digital Rebel
Exp: 1/320
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO: 400
Flash: not used
Editing:  Slight cropping,  bumped up contrast a bit and slight sharpening of image.
Joining Valerie @ Favorite Photo Friday!
Linking with Claudia's Finding Beauty @Dipity Road! 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Show and Tell Friday ~ Home Sweet Home

a sentiment near to our hearts...
This little cross stitch was made when we first moved into our new home.
Remember back in the 80's and 90's when counted cross stitch was popular?
I made many and still have a few framed and hanging on my walls.

The Little Home
Edgar A. Guest

The little house is not too small
To shelter friends who come to call.
Though low the roof and small its space
It holds the Lord's abounding grace,
And every simple room may be
Endowed with happy memory.

The little house, severly plain,
A wealth of beauty may contain.
Within it those who dwell may find
High faith which makes for peace of mind,
And that sweet understanding which
Can make the poorest cottage rich.

The little house can hold all things
From which the soul's contentment springs.
'Tis not too small for love to grow,
For all the joys that mortals know,
For mirth and song and that delight
Which make the humblest dwelling bright.

Joining Cindy @My Romantic Home for Show & Tell Friday

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Hummingbirds Have Returned

They were scarce last month but they are all back now.
Ever see those amazing photos of swarms of hummingbirds around a single feeder?
Not here.  I have rarely seen two birds at a time on our feeders.  They fight in mid-air and are very territorial.
Some are wary and zip away at the slightest movement.
Some are friendly and inquisitive and zoom right up to the window and peer at me curiously. 
Some at have thin little bodies and some are rather plump. 
All give me a thrill no matter how many zillions of times I see them
The past couple of nights I was able to get a few shots of my favorite visitors

 All Things Bright And Beautiful

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one;

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows for our play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day;

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
Text: Cecil Frances Alexander
Music: 17th cent. English melody; arr. by Martin Shaw

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Another Rainy Outdoor Wednesday

Blazing daytime heat ~ harsh evening storms ~ the bow of promise in the cloud

I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
Gen 9:12-17
Thanking Susan @A Southern Daydreamer for hosting Outdoor Wednesday!

Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake ~ a TWD Recipe

Looking for a banana recipe that is flexible in both its ingredient list and serving options?
Dorie gives many suggestions for substituting or eliminating many items such as coconut, brown/white sugar, milk, sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk.
You can serve this cake as a single layer or double, frosted or simply dusted with confectioner's sugar.
I have a pan that I don't often use and thought it would be a good choice for topping with fruit. After halving the recipe, baking and cooling, I spread a thin layer of blueberry jam in the well.
I arranged sliced bananas along the edge and then mounded blueberries in the center.
A brushing of apricot glaze finished the top.
A nice, moist cake full of banana flavor!
Visit Kimberly of
for the recipe
Lots of Ways Banana Cake
Baking From my Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another Blueberry Treat ~ Scones

One of my all-time favorite recipes from Tyler Florence are these really delicious scones!  Something about the sweet and tart of the lemon glaze sets them apart and excites the taste buds.
Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze
Tyler Florence Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Blueberry Scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
1 cup fresh blueberries
Lemon Glaze:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.

Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze. (instructions below)
Technically you should make this simple lemon glaze in a double boiler (i.e. over a pot of simmering water with a heatproof bowl set on top) but it's even simpler to zap it in the microwave. Mix the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter. Nuke it for 30 seconds on high. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.
A little messy but easy to make.  Be sure to handle the dough lightly and you will have a very tender scone. With just 2 Tablespoons of sugar in the dough, most of the sweetness comes from the glaze that is applied after cooling slightly.
Our local blueberries are currently being harvested. I bagged and froze lots to be sure we will be enjoying them all through the winter.

Linking to Foodie Friday @Designs by Gollum!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

On one of the few evenings in the past several weeks that was cool enough to enjoy the outdoors, John and I headed to a nearby park/playground  for a picnic dinner. Abbey was working but we brought Raider so he could also enjoy walking around the pond after we had finished eating.
It was really nice to just relax and so good to spend some down time with my best friend.

That quiet mutual gaze of a trusting husband and wife is like the first moment of rest or refuge from a great weariness or a great danger--not to be interfered with by speech or action which would distract the sensations from the fresh enjoyment of repose.
-- George Eliot
Joining Mary @Little Red House for Mosaic Monday!


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