Monthly Archives: August 2018

Flights of Fancy

I have been enjoying all the butterflies and moths in our garden. They are constant visitors right now.

The most common one I am seeing is this yellow tiger swallowtail. There are often several at one time.

This is the pattern on the bottom as one feeds while hanging upside down. We also have a few monarchs but they are much more skittish. Every time I am almost close enough to snap a photo, said subject takes flight.

I also captured a photo of this little guy. I believe that he is a moth that is active during the daylight hours. I see a few of these each day. It’s wings stand up when it is at rest so I think that makes it a moth.

If you look closely, you can see a hummingbird moth in this photo. Their movement is fast and jerky like a hummingbird but they are actually a moth.

One of the things that all of these have in common is that they are drawn to our house by our butterfly bushes. We purchased the original bushes from our County Extension Office. They reseed and come up prolifically. Gladiolus and petunias are also a big draw.

These flying gems are an added bonus to our garden. They bring much enjoyment along with them.

Kind Acts

I have a day planner/journal that I use to try to keep a record of at least one kind act that I have performed for someone else each day. The idea being that it helps to keep me mindful. If I know I need to record something then I keep an eye out and look for opportunities. The journal helps me to be a little less self centered and to think about others. Now lest you think that I will have a book of 365 kind acts at the end of the year, I must admit that I miss many days. But truly, it is better to have done something, than nothing.

For today’s kind act, I was going to record that I took a day off from work to watch one of my nieces, who is 16 months old. Above is my face upon returning home so you know that it was a thoroughly enjoyable and fun day.

Upon contemplation, I realized it is a cop out to record this as a kind act that I have done for someone else. We played, we napped, we ate lunch, we went for a walk. Then we played some more. I was blessed with the opportunity for a bonding experience with my youngest niece. This was a kind act for myself!

I even got to take two of the dogs, Shelby and Nikki with me, so I was able to spend my day off with them as well. The only thing that would have made it better would have been spending the day with both of my nieces. But the older of the two is in kindergarten this year. (I did not give her permission for this growing up but I guess I will not hold it against her.) It did result in a special day that was just for me and Younger Niece.

So I will need to find something else to record in my journal of kind acts. Perhaps I will log the fact that I did not curse or yell at people who cut me off in traffic. The little acts are sometimes the hardest!

Restoration

Gardens can have such a peaceful, tranquil effect on the soul. If you can stop yourself from jumping up to grab the shears and dead head a few roses or pulling out “just a few weeds”, that is.

I do pretty well at relaxing and reading a good book or magazine though. It is a good way to pass an hour before going back to the rest of life and responsibilities.

I find that sitting still and watching butterflies, bees, hummingbird moths, and hummingbirds fluttering from flower to flower collecting pollen, has much the same affect on me as watching fish in an aquarium.

I am removed from my own world for a while and enter into an alternate one. That of various animals. It is definitely also a restorative way to pass some time. I encourage you to give it a try.

Random Gifts

It’s that time of year. This was yesterday’s harvest from our vegetable garden. We get this much every second or third day. There are zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and turnips. We also have basil plants that are the size of shrubs.

We are fortunate to have such gifts from the garden. I have already made two batches of zucchini bread. One year we had so many yellow squash that I used them to make scads of muffins for grandma’s 90th birthday party. No one realized they weren’t zucchini muffins.

My coworkers will soon be gifted with vegetables. In fact, if you see me coming, you may want to keep your car windows up, lest you return to find produce on your seat!

A Day at the Beach

On Thursday we had our annual trip to Lake Erie with the grandkids. Each year I am amazed that we have such a gem only a little over an hour from our house. We usually go to the beach at Geneva State Park but the beach at Mentor Headlands is a fine one too. This time, it was to Geneva.

It is always a great day. The waves and sand are relaxing. Even the cloudy days there are great because then it’s not crowded. As you can see, our weather this year was perfect.

We spend the whole day there. That is a long time for me to go without a dog fix. Luckily, other people brought dogs. This one was named Cody and built like a Labrador but had slightly longer brindle fur. It’s a good thing he was there with his family because I loved him! He wanted to go in the water but every time a wave came near, he jumped back.

There are impromptu works of art that people leave as monuments to their beach trips. I saw a couple young boys make this one. They set the sand with water and kept exclaiming to their mother “It’s so sturdy!” They were very proud. Future engineers?

My granddaughter Maddie spent some time swimming with her Papaw, while grandson Tyler hung out with Aunt Livvi and me on the beach. Later we switched and Maddie and I strolled down the beach looking for beach glass. I realized I was too late to add to my beach glass collection this year as we passed a woman with a sieve, panning for the glass.

No trip to the beach is complete for us without a trip to the ice cream stand at the end of the day. The stand has a soft serve flavor of the week which this time was banana. The banana and chocolate twist was a hit. My granddaughter and I got the Lake Erie Salt Mine ice cream. Lots of chocolate in various forms with whole cashews. No salt in evidence. (The actual salt mines are under Lake Erie, hence the name.)

After such a perfect day, I can hardly wait until we go back next year!

Share the Joy

There are numerous benefits to having well trained dogs. One of these benefits is that you get to go places and do things together. Here are Nikki and Shelby (The Girls) after our walk at Bear Town Lakes Park over the weekend. They are sitting and laying down (on command) for their post-walk photo while my niece played on the tunnels and slide. The Girls also did some socializing with some other children at the park who wanted to pet them.

My older niece got to walk Nikki. If the leash is dropped Nikki will just sit down and wait. My niece did a great job of walking Nikki though and had so much fun that she wanted to go around the lake a second time. So we did.

After we got back to the house and ate lunch, we all played with hats. Shelby and Nikki are trustworthy and able to play with and be petted by my nieces who are 5 and 1 years old. (Never leave dogs unattended with small children, even reliable ones. Accidents happen.)

The dogs and I also stopped at my workplace on our way home. It had been such a wonderful day that I wanted to share the joy. Everyone feels better after a little dog therapy.

If Shelby and Nikki were unruly and disobedient, we would not have been able to have all these fun experiences together. Training your dog/s pays off.