Thursday, March 12, 2015

Because it's the little things . . .

. . . and because it's Thursday!

"Little things seem nothing,
but they give peace,
like those meadow flowers which
individually seem odorless
but all together perfume the air."

- Georges Bernanos

Little things like this add up to Spring,

Spring means there is a break from school,

and when both your kids get the same Spring break

it's a little miracle of sorts. 

Especially when one is in college and one is in high school.

So, next week I will be celebrating this alignment with them.

The little things, maybe some big things, maybe we'll even

take some things to new heights.

Games, laughter, maybe we'll try something new.

Being together as a family of four again will be just fine too!

I hope you have a great rest of the week, plus one more.

And I hope that Spring will be a little closer to being sprung

for those of you still waiting!

Love, Kim

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Preparing for take off . . .

Activity is reaching fever pitch . . . Elizabeth Howard

"getting ready to go"

Once or twice a week now I get an email in my inbox from Journey North with updates about the monarch activity in the mountain tops of Mexico, their overwintering site.

On February 26 there was a flurry of activity as the thirsty monarchs started breaking out their clusters on the trees looking for water, and within the month they will leave their winter home and begin their journey north to recolonize North America.

Which means, especially for those of us in Texas as the main migration corridor between Mexico and the States, please, please start planting nectar plants for their arrival, and milkweed for laying eggs. 

"The monarchs would come out of the trees each time that cumulus clouds
covered the sun. They reached almost unbelievably dense numbers, flying
out over the llanos. The trees were nearly emptied at such times. Literally
every cubic foot of air held at least one monarch."  El Rosario Sanctuary, Feb 21, 2015

Can you even imagine what a sight that is . . . sigh . . . I feel a lump in my throat thinking about it!! 

As they break out of their clusters, looking for water they will also be mating and the females will be looking for a place to lay their eggs when they get here. When they arrived in Mexico in the fall the typical monarch weighed 140 mg and per Journey North those energy reserves are about 70% depleted by now. They will be very hungry when they get here.

For those of you unaware there was a petition filed last year to put the monarch on the endangered species list and within the stipulations of that status they had said that citizens would only be able to raise 10 wild caught caterpillars. Let's just say that didn't go over very well in the monarch community and they have since revised it to read 100 caterpillars. It is only a suggestion though, and will be at the discretion of the service if it's listed as threatened. That is still 500 less than what I raised last summer alone.

I simply don't agree with listing the monarch as endangered. Their migration is what is in danger because we have lost nearly all (90% or more) of the native milkweed in the Midwest that used to grow in our row crops, now being sprayed with Monsanto herbicides. (That's a whole other post by itself)

I spent some time today pulling weeds, starting to prep the garden and thinking about what I want to plant. Purple trailing lantana ( with a heavenly scent) and a red-orange-yellow variety that I think is called Luscious Citrus Blend, were both really big hits with all the butterflies {and the hummers loved the red one}. I also plant different varieties of salvia, coneflower, zinnia, penta {both butterfly and graffiti varieties}, hyssop (didn't come back last year, and couldn't find it last summer), and black-eyed susan. I'm sure there is something I'm missing and I hope to add to the list this summer, including some different host plants for more butterflies.

Here's to diggin' in the dirt!

Love, Kim

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"Shake it Off", song-ography edition . . .

. . . "can't stop, won't stop moving"

- Shake it Off, Taylor Swift

There was a little mayhem and chaos on my front porch this weekend as I tried to photograph
tulips and poppies. The wind, it just wouldn't stop moving. . .

[KK taped edge]

. . . and the flowers and I couldn't keep up with all the grooving.
(Okay, so I'm really stretching this weeks song)

It probably started out in the thirties early Saturday morning, but because I had a bloom
on the poppy I went to the front porch in search of some light, and all I got was wind.

Now, I'm a pretty patient person, so I stuck it out for a little while, and then since I
just couldn't "shake it" I packed it in and came inside...with the plant.

That's when something magical happened, or at least for me. There were two buds that
were already split open, just enough to see the color and suddenly the pods popped off
and the flowers started to open like I was watching time lapse photography!

Literally, right before my eyes these flowers opened up, and it was magical! 
I've never seen a flower open up that fast before, have you?

I would love for you to pop over here, to Focusing on Life, where I'm sharing
some thoughts on our new monthly theme (link won't be live til 3 am PST). And then why not
consider adding photos of the theme to our flickr group. You just may be 
featured one Saturday morning on the blog!

Happy Tuesday,
love, Kim

Thursday, February 26, 2015

So, funny thing . . .

. . . I took a walk several weeks ago on one of our coastal birding trails.


as I was walking along, up ahead on the trail I spied this....
a very exotic species of coastal bird,

CHICKENS! (who knew)

Before I could get much closer, they retreated back into the brush.

But then ahead, just slightly around the corner I could hear them so I positioned myself in a spot that I could see them if they decided to come back out. I could hear them, and had been waiting for about 15-20 minutes?  Of course, right when they walk out and start feeding on some bird seed a couple with a stroller walk by and stop and start taking quite loudly and then ask me...."Are you a photographer".....yep, I am. And off run my subjects back into the wooded area.

(Now, I know they're just chickens, but they were beautiful and it's not a usual sight for me to see them here on the trail, so yeah I was kinda bent on getting some photos.)

It was a tad warm that day and I was carrying around my 70-200 lens which is pretty heavy and so I decided I would just climb up this little hill and sit down on the bench and rest for a moment. I hadn't sat down, literally for 30 seconds, when I hear a loud rustling from behind me, and this beautiful rooster comes barreling right over to me as if we're long lost friends. 

And wouldn't ya know, someone else walking in the opposite direction takes notice of this rooster about the exact same time and stops and starts asking me if this is my pet? Ummm, I didn't really know what to say, because, who takes their chicken for a walk? lol

Of course he high-tailed it right back where he came from, and I moved on.

I did however, see some real coastal birds on the trail....

This is an Osprey. a type of hawk, a large raptor (with a wingspan of 59-71 inches) whose diet mainly consists of live fish. They have unique barbed soles on the bottom of their feet to help them grip slippery fish. And are quite fun to watch dive for food.

I don't know all my hawks, but I think this one is a Red Shouldered Hawk (anyone?) There were quite a few that morning soaring the skies.

Then a nice woman told me there were whistling ducks (Black-bellied Whistling-Duck) ahead on the right. She wasn't kidding, there were several groups just like this one and you couldn't miss them for all the noise they were making. And yes, their call sounds just like a whistle. They have the most beautiful bright pink bills.

Finally, I got some in flight....

And then on my way back to the car, I spotted this White Egret. They aren't as keen on getting their pictures taken, but this guy was concentrating pretty hard on brunch to care that much.

It was a sun up to sun down kinda day....and on my way home, I had to make one more pit stop when I spied these guys on the side of the road in a field. I need a bumper sticker - don't follow too close, I make quick stops.

I should note that right across from the street is Galveston Bay....the best of both worlds. At least this time I didn't run into any wild boar...I'm not that fast a runner anymore!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, looks like the sun may appear here for a bit and then back to a week more of clouds and rain.

Love, Kim

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