Category Archives: Nature

Halloween haunts on the lake trail….mwahahaha!

Back in 2015 I posted Lake photos in winter from the small lake in my community. I intended to go back and take pictures again sometime, perhaps in a different season, but so far I haven’t. However, there’s something in particular I want to show from there now (and I’ll throw in a few photos of the lake too).

This small community lake has a wide unpaved trail that encircles it, about 1.25 miles. Alongside one shore is a street with some of the nicer houses in town, higher priced ones that overlook the trail and lake. One of these houses is known for having A LOT of various decorations in its yard, many of which are seasonal. In fact, there are things lots of things going on in this yard year-round. I believe some of the neighbors aren’t that keen for these displays but they’ve been there for years – and only increase – so I doubt they’re going anywhere. I’m not always so crazy about what I see in this yard throughout the year either but I have to admit that if I was a kid, I’d likely be fascinated.

Recently I walked the trail and saw the Halloween set-up, which I don’t think I’ve had occasion to see for many years (I remember once seeing Halloween AND Christmas decorations at the same time and that was a bit odd, so I didn’t typically make a point to check it out). Now there are things in the yard I’ve never seen and many were right up on next to the public trail (the whole thing is definitely intended for the view of the many users of the trail). The novelty is the unexpectedness of this display in someone’s yard. This past Sunday I went back to get photos.

C’mon, let’s take a little tour of the highlights.

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I could see a few people looking at the displays and taking pictures as I approached.

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There to welcome me…

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Ground creatures

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This VERY tall fellow growled and moved. His eyes lit up too. He definitely gave passerby a start. I think if I went by at night he’d unnerve me for sure.

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This creepy one moved too.

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The sign suggests you help yourself to a treat from the bowl….would you? Mwahaha.

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SHE is the reason I went back to take pictures. I was totally smitten with her. What a likeness! Spot-on Margaret Hamilton, Wicked Witch of the West. She plays her “theme” music and says a couple classic lines.

 

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Isn’t she fabulous?! She had a few leaves & small debris stuck in her hair so I picked them out. (I stopped short of taking out a comb or otherwise trying to fix her up.)

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Different people had stopped to look after I was done. Very popular display! People seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Me too.

Since I was at the lake I took nature photos too just so you could see. Signs of fall are just starting. I DO appreciate this lake but taking photos renews my appreciation; it makes me focus.

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The tree on the right has a cage to keep beavers from chewing it down. This is an ongoing project around the lake.

 

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Look carefully and you’ll see a heron in the middle of this picture.

 

NOTE: I love my commenters; please forgive any delay in responding.

 

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Does this look “normal” to you?!

I occasionally walk past the local armory. I’ll be honest, I’m not too clear on what they do there; it’s an old building that doesn’t seem to have much activity around it (or perhaps I’m just passing by at the wrong times). In July I was walking by and noticed this unsettling sign so I took a picture thinking I’d share it on the blog sometime. (I half expected, in these touchy/sensitive times, an armed guard to pop out of somewhere and challenge me but none did.)

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The date was Jul 6. I’ll have to take their word on this high risk business.

As I say the sign was hardly cheering. What’s odd is the peppy font for AMERICA, considering the scary point the sign is meant to convey, although I’ll grant you that eagle looks scary enough. I didn’t feel under any particular threat. (I just now googled “why was July 6, 2017 a high risk day for terrorist attacks” and got nothing.)

I got to wondering if the sign ever changed, given the general look of disuse about the property so yesterday I had another look. Golly! It had changed. Apparently we all should have felt much better about the state of things yesterday.

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If I might make a small suggestion to them, I think they should have varying eagle pictures too so that yesterday the eagle could have been smiling or at least not looking quite so severe. He could be eating fries or something, just to demonstrate that we could all go about our business for the day in a relatively relaxed state. Finally, given the seeming importance of the sign, you’d think it might be in more than one language. After all, who is the sign for? Surely not only those entering the building. If it was why post it outside? So it must be for the public’s benefit. Apparently if you are a non-English speaker you’ll just have to wing it.

So anyway, while I was standing there taking the photo I noticed a dark wasp fly by and didn’t think too much of it as the weather has been oddly warm and flying insects are still roaming about. I can’t tell you what made me look up but when I did I was in for a surprise. Check out that structure below the window!

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Holy moly! Look at THAT!

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GAH!

I’ve never seen a wasp nest like that just sitting out in the open. Maybe that’s because people usually put a stop to it in public spaces, such as on a building. I don’t know but in my personal experience I’ve only seen a nest of this magnitude a few times in wooded areas. Had I thought anybody – well other than the hapless me – would be potentially endangered by the nest, I would have reported it or left a note or some such. But it’s clear by the collection of last years leaves by the door that this entrance doesn’t exactly see a lot of foot traffic. Well, I guess the guy or gal who flips the terrorist risk sign would be about the only person getting close. (Um, how did THAT person or persons miss this thing?!) In the end, I figure those wasps worked awfully hard on constructing their palatial dream home and it would seem a shame, no matter how disgusting/unnerving it might look to me, to knock it down or spray it now. Besides, it’s October. Their happy days are numbered.

 

NOTE: I may not be able to see/respond to comments right away but I always appreciate them!

So now that it’s fall…let’s still talk about summer!

Now that it’s Officially Fall you might think I’d write a fall-inspired type post. You’d be wrong. I still have a few pieces of summer show-and-tell that I hadn’t got to. And I really want to!

Earlier in the summer I bought my first solar string lights from Amazon for a few dollars. I put them on my seasonal screen tent and have loved them ever since. The photo doesn’t do them justice but here they are. They are so fun! Very colorful at night. They turn on as if someone flipped a switch (I try to “catch” them going on sometimes).

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A few flowers have continued beautifully into September.

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Thunbergia vine (an annual) took all summer to get “going” but it’s so sweet now

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Today. Morning Glory vine I grew from Dollar Tree seeds. How great is that?

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Morning Glory flower

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Best view is from above

 

Moving on… A few photos from when the “fair” came to town Labor Day weekend.

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I have never had deep-fried food like this. I thought I might try something – a deep fried Oreo perhaps – just once for the novelty but they were $5! And I said hell no.

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This did not look like a seat on which you would be doing either.

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I love merry-go-rounds/carousels. Yep I paid my $3 and rode it but it was too slow and kind of boring.

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I saw a squirrel run up this tall tree stump to get away from the fair commotion. Top left.

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He looked down at me while I talked to him and took his picture. Sorry, no “zoom” on my tablet! But I like his ears silhouette and the little paw hanging.

 

Finally, despite the fact summer is supposed to be about eating fresh vegetables, I found I wasn’t getting a lot of variety and was eating rather odd meals at times. Determined to straighten up, in late August I finally fixed an old favorite, “salad plate”, which is a mix of cold vegetables, whatever you want. I made a white bean dip to go with it.

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I needed to be *tempted* and this beautiful array did the trick. Geez, it tempts me now looking at the photo! But I’d have to actually get the stuff again and make it, sigh.

 

July rains bring…August mushrooms

August is usually a brown month. The plants are spent and dried out, the ground parched. Not this year. An unusual amount of rain has kept everything nice and green as well as brought up an array of mushrooms around my town that I might not typically see.  I’ve got mushrooms on my mind lately because of the recent release of the remake of “The Beguiled,” a Clint Eastwood movie I saw on TV when I was a child that did for my feelings about mushrooms pretty much what “Jaws” did for my feelings about shallow water at the beach. (I’ve yet to see the Sofia Coppola-directed remake but I absolutely will – eventually.)

I’m too lazy to look up their names so here’s some interesting and nameless mushrooms that caught my eye.

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Follow the leader?

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What a color!

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I liked how they formed a mysterious circle. “Crop circle mushrooms?”

 

p.s. I am still having internet issues so forgive me in advance for not replying promptly to any comments. I do still like ’em!

Come on in!

In my last post I wrote about the importance of passions to happiness or contentment. One of mine which is incredibly satisfying is gardening; that is, making nature beautiful (or more beautiful if you will). I love both the working part and the enjoying part. Creating a gorgeous garden is like creating art and in the end there’s something to look at, just as with a painting or sculpture. It has a calming effect and delights me. Even a small yard can have many charms.

In the fall a large nearby tree came down (it was pretty much dead) and its absence gave me more sun which means brighter flowers and even a crack at vegetable growing (veggies need a lot of sunlight). I think the 2017 yard is the most beautiful it’s been. When I look out I am sometimes taken aback by it. I took these photos on the last day of July.

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MUST have a screen against mosquitoes

 

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On the right, a fabric shower curtain to block a not great view

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Lydia, the one-armed watering girl

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BASIL!! My favorite

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The coloring on this moth is fantastic

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This is a prize. It’s a dipladenia (an annual flower that’s supposed to die) I bought in summer 2016, wintered inside and brought back out and BAM! Gorgeous again.

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Silver Arrow grass plant, a garden star

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The grass plant kept getting bigger so I dug/wrestled a piece out and potted it

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The Bathing Station (for the birds not me) 2017

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Trying some different basil types, Purple, Thai

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More basil types, Lemon, lime

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Tomato attempts

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This guy kept a beady eye on me

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Dollar Tree yard decor (plus one fix-it-up project)

Yard decorations can be expensive and since they take a pounding outdoors from the elements they don’t always last. So over recent years – with most this year – I’ve picked up several cute seasonal decorations from Dollar Tree. Please don’t think they will have these particular items if you go to a Dollar Tree – their stock varies and things they have one year they might never have again. I got lucky I expect.

The earliest pieces I got faded in the sun so I’ve hit upon a way to make them last longer. I touched up the paint myself on two and followed that up with a coat of clear gloss spray paint. It seemed worth a try and this year when I bought a few new pieces I sprayed the clear gloss immediately.

I touched up the paint on these two after it faded.

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Here they are in context today.

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ASIDE: This isn’t a Dollar Tree thing but since I showed you the shed picture, I want to share a recent project, the little shelves on the door. They were on the curb, headed for the landfill. I didn’t need metal bathroom shelves but they were solidly built and I thought maybe I could do something with them.

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Hum-drum right?

A little paint later…

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All I did was get a few clay pots I wasn’t using and voilà! Art!

Back to our Dollar Tree program. Also in the shed door photo was this wonderful sun image (in the pot on the ground in the lower right corner). I moved it there because it got “lost” in other locations; but with the white background it shows up.

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Isn’t this great? That’s real glass. I sprayed all of the bird with clear gloss

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Out of the corner of my eye – and from a little distance – sometimes I think I’m seeing a real bird – especially when I hung it by the bird feeder

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I always like spinners in OTHER people’s yards – it was high time I had one.

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I was so smitten I went back for another. (Maybe I can paint them when they invariably fade…)

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I got two of the flower chime thingees but they were only painted on one side which looked stupid when they spun in the breeze…

…So I painted the “plain” sides myself using random colors I had. I didn’t worry about a “perfect” job for these. Nobody will see them closeup.

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Can you tell I like sun imagery?!

think* that’s everything.

(p.s. I’m having internet issues so if I don’t respond in a timely way, that is why. Not because I don’t love you.)

Gliding into summer…

I love being outside. I am a summer girl. I like decorating the outside too making it a comfortable, beautiful place to be, on the cheap.

I recently posted about several lovely things that have come my way of late, including a free bench style glider. Now, I’m the sort who likes to rearrange items till they’re “right.” This season I started with a red bench in my seasonal screen tent. I had finally needed to knock apart and throw out my preferred bench because it passed the point repairs could keep it going. While the red bench looked cute it really isn’t too comfortable because of the shallowness of the seat. I don’t want to sit rigidly upright like I’m in a church; I want to shift positions and sprawl at whim.

I moved another bench in, a legless one that is intended to be a porch swing (which I sit atop cinder blocks instead) but out it came once the glider arrived. Space-wise it made the most sense to put the glider in the tent, space being not “spacious.” I wanted to share with you my inaugural glider ride and popcorn snack.

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With shredded cheese and Nutritional yeast, yum (seriously)

But of course I must show you the view from inside which is really what it’s all about.

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Panoramic view (sorry, it’s not the clearest)

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Calibrachoa

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Lydia, the One-armed Watering Girl