FOTD – September 8, and Macros

Cee Flower of the Day challenge to day looked to be a macro so I thought I would share some of mine from today’s play in the front yard. September is marching on by and this beauty we now have won’t be around much longer.

First off we have the FOTD star of the day, my last giant sunflower with the rich blue fall sky behind it. And of course the gourd trying to make sure he is in the picture as well.

Lemon Yellow 1en footer

The birds due to their messy eating habits planted 5 sunflowers this year but only two are currently blooming. These are smaller guys at 3-4 feet high.

I have enjoyed watching the different phases of growth on the sun flowers. Due to their size, you can get a good look at each stage of development. The bees are really enjoying these as well so I played a bit with my macro lens. You can see the hair on the bees legs as he gather the pollen to feed his crew.

The breeze was playing havoc in me not getting a good clear shot but his legs are amazing as he walks on top of stamens

The beauty of macro is that you see things you just don’t see with the regular lens.

Check out the stripe of sunlight as it slipped between the petals, the curl of the pollen covered “thingys” and then the star topped “thingys” toward the center of the flower. Can you tell I know very little about flower definition. I know stamens but not which which is which. Regardless, nature is amazingly beautiful.

I am also showing other flowers currently blooming. My baby mums are lovely. And my double dianthus is trying to sneak out from under the gourd plant that has taken over the yard,

Both blooms are small, about 2 inches across but they shine with all their worth. The “bug guy” as we call him jokingly, came by the church today to do the monthly spray for insects and check for mice. He did not have good news for us about the coming season. He was telling us that the wasps, insects and mice are not behaving normal per this time of year. They are all ahead of schedule for their seasonal behaviors. He told us that last time he saw this behavior was the year we here in Iowa had the polar vortex. UGH!!. Even farmers Almanac is prediction a colder that average and longer than average winter. This was a really hot summer this year so it may be followed with a really cold winter. So enjoy the beauty of fall while we can and remember to always be kind.

Share Your World, 9-6

Normally with my blogging I am sharing my world but I thought this would be a fun challenge as I have never done it before. I had a birthday over the weekend and maybe it time to start new challenges. Melanie B Cee does a fun looking challenge called Share Your World where you answer a set of questions and since it is a holiday and I am home, lets play.

QUESTIONS

Do you believe in soul-mates?  (my definition of ‘soul mate’ is the IDEAL partner romantically).

No. I do believe that there are things that attract us to people but if we rely souly on that for a marriage, then the marriage will fail. Marriage is a partnership of respect, work and love.

What are three scents you like?

A summer shower, especially after a hot day. Flowers while still in the garden, lilies are a favorite but roses come close. Christmas trees or evergreen boughs at Christmas time.

What are some things you might be considered too old to do, but that you enjoy?

Going on long hikes through nature. While physically I am sort of able to do that, but due to the stupidity of youth, my knees are shot.

Blowing Rock, NC

What is one food you absolutely refuse to share?

I don’t think I have one. If I find something truly delicious I want to share it so we can all experience it deliciousness. If it is something I myself am making, I make sure I have plenty to go around.

YUM!!! A truly southern delight – pork chop with gravy, turnip greens, black eyes and FRESH stewed tomatoes over buttered bread.

GRATITUDE SECTION (as always, optional)

I am grateful for my health. I told my kids on this birthday that I am not old…yet. When I turn 80, then I may be old. I see may friends who are younger than me who are having health issues usually associated with old age and I am grateful I am not experiencing them.

And in closing any of my posts, I always close with a reminder of being kind.

Always Be Kind

FOTD – August 28, The Workers

What would we have if we didn’t have the little workers who pollinate our flowers? We would miss out on all the photographs plus the unimaginable benefits we get from the work they do. Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge reminds us of the beauty we see all around us throughout the year. So today while I am showing various picture of my sunflowers(before they fell) the true subject is the bees that so loved these huge flowers.

When a bee lands on a flower, the pollen sticks to the tiny hairs on it legs. Then the bee takes this pollen, which is high in protein, to other flowers and finally to feed its developing offspring.

When water is added to the flower’s sugar, it creates nectar. The nectar is a food source for the bees that gives them energy to fly from flower to flowers, pollinating as it goes. If we didn’t have bees pollinating our plants, we would not have the vegetables and fruit we enjoy eating. It is all a part of the many intersecting rings of life.

So enjoy the many circles of life and understand how very much we need each other to survive. And in doing so, remember the extra advantage of being kind within all the circles. Kindness can be sweeter than any nectar from any flower.

Always Be Kind

FOTD – Aug 13, Sad Day

Today we say goodbye to the beauty of my sunflowers. The tallest of the spiers was well over 12 feet high with over 15 huge blooms on one stalk. Some blooms were over 9 inches wide.

Then Wednesday a storm came through and all but one of my sunflowers hit the ground. The picture below was taken less than one minute before she snapped. The weight of even more blooms that the earlier picture proved she was no match for the wind.

The storm took out power as well as limbs and some trees. One year plus one day ago we had a derecho come through that caused massive damage to trees, crops and power. I am afraid that as our oceans warm due to human carelessness, that the collapse of that important system for the entire globe will only make our weather more erratic.

The weight of each of these blooms was almost too much to carry indoors but the are making my table beautiful for now. I had to use a heavy cut-glass vase to make sure the weight of the flowers did not pull the vase over.

But I enjoyed them so much that yes, I will plant them again next year. If you love flowers as a lot of us do, join in on Cee’s wonderful challenge of Flower of the Day. And as always I remind you of the beauty of kindness. It complements any flower of any garden.

Faith Hope & Love, Encouragement & FOTD

Faith, Hope and Love are to me the top attributes to the Christian faith. Today I want to tie that in with flowers and Cee’s Flower of the Day as I show off my sunflowers, again.

When my sunflowers started growing, because I am on the quirky side, I gave them names. Some got a name change due to how they bloomed and some remained true to their name. First we have the King and Queen. The King was the first on the scene, planted by the local bird population. King kept his name due to his flower being the largest of all at 9.5 inches (214.3mm) across. While his height was less impressive, King still stands 4.5 feet (1372mm) high. He looks to be on his way out but he actually is just about fully ripe. If you look at the top you can see the seeds starting to show their heads. Soon he will be a feast for the birds.

The King

Queen is much more flamboyant and beautiful as any queen should be. While her blooms are much smaller at 6 in (152mm) she does showoff with14 blooms and she stands at 8.5 feet (2591mm).

The Queen

As beautiful as these two are, the three that guard my gate as I go in and out have been named Faith, Hope & Love. Faith is closest to the gate to refresh me as I go in and out. Hope is furthest from the gate but like his namesake, he is strong, protective and holds the three together. Love is in the middle radiating his name by reflecting his beauty with leaves larger than my hands together.

Faith, Hope & Love

These three have yet to show their flowers but their stature is quite impressive. Hope, on the far left, is 9.5 feet (2896 mm) tall showing 10 buds to share his smiles with those who see them. Faith, on the right, is a little taller at 10 feet (3048 mm) and seems to have only 1 colossal bud, which is fitting for our faith should be large and strong to carry us through any crisis we face. Love takes over the center position which is fitting as love should be centered in who we are and how we are. Love is also the tallest and the largest at 12.5 feet (3810mm) tall. Its stalk is so large that I can barely wrap my fingers around it. Love has more than 12 buds thus far and I still see buds forming because it is still growing. This is how our love should be – strong, with multiple buds and height to be seen from afar.

I am a firm believer that God shows His beauty of faith, hope and love in all things that he creates for us to enjoy and learn of His caring nature. So look at nature with a different eye and let the fullness of Christ fill you with its various forms of beauty.

And in closing, I always like to remind us all of the power of kindness. Kindness can calm, soothe, encourage and give hope for almost any situation. So remember to always be kind.

A Time for Laughter

There are many things that happen in our life that make us smile, bring us joy, make us chuckle and sometime make us laugh out loud. I think the current techno symbol is LOL – regardless I bring you some laughter. But to fully understand you must first understand the subject at hand.

In life, there is the purity of a child’s laughter that can make even the hardest old goof at least grin and for some of us, we laugh along with the child – even if we don’t know the child. A smile or chuckle will come from us at this simple form of purity.

Laughter is a medicine we all need from time to time which can sometimes get us out of our dulldromes. But some of us have 4-legged children that really make us laugh due to their antics. Last night my daughter was able to have her phone in hand when this happened and we both laughed about it. For those who don’t know much about basset hounds, they have a high energy spurt that lasts for about 5 minutes and then it is abruptly gone…sometimes for several hours. This is Max…

That is King Max to my underlings…

If you didn’t know better, his bark would sound like he was going to eat you alive. When I was growing up, my mother had one and her bark scared off a German shepherd that made the mistake of coming in our yard. But some will have to get up first, as many wont even bother as they lay there ferociously barking.

Last night Max was playing with his ball, bring it back to his mom for her to throw it again. We are not talking about a long distance throw but still…

I’m playing,,,I’m playing…I’m done

Even though he was done, he was not giving up the ball…plus there is no one that would want it’s wet slobbery thing anyway. I know that many of you have pets that make you laugh in much the same way, so share your pets with us as well. We all need as much laughter as possible. And as always I remind you to be kind, this too can make someone smile.

Always Be Kind

Some Morning Encouragement

Good morning friends. I hope you are all doing well. In reading my devotions this morning I remember my early teachings of what I need to do as a Christian and not understanding the rules at all. Now that I am much stronger in my faith I think back on those teachings and still somewhat disagree with how it was represented but totally understand what they were trying to say. 

Being caught in an act or lifestyle of evil is a sin and makes you a slave to it. So change it and be a slave to Christ.  

The word slave has such a negative feel about it that I think it turns away those who are seeking because they don’t want to be a slave again to something else, they want freedom.

If one rules another by saying, “You must do this,” and, “You will do that,” he breaks the human spirit, making it unfit for God. Oswald Chambers

But when we recognize the true attributes of Christianity – love joy peace kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness self control – then being a “slave” to such things is really a freedom, a freedom from evil. When our slavery comes from obedience in recognizing who Jesus really is, then it is not slavery at all. Slavery is something you don’t want to do but loving our risen Lord is something we relish doing.

 Let your soul find the fulfillment of its deepest longings in fellowship with God. Billy Graham

My hopes are that you find the beauty of joy of following Christ. He shows his love in the simplest ways and makes it easy to follow. For me, I find His presence in nature where he shows his beauty of creation. I decided to grow a few sunflowers this year and some are well over 12 feet tall.  They make me laugh, especially when neighbors walk by and stop to stare. Share the love of Christ from your heart and it will always be right. Have a great week and remember to always be kind.

FOTD, July 18, Jacks Beanstalk

Spring and summer are such fun times for those of us who love playing in the dirt. Cee’s fun challenge of Flower of the Day, allows us to share this fun. I also love my birds and sometimes they help me by planting flowers with me. This year I wanted to plant a couple of sunflowers so then the birds can eat from those as we share in flowers together. So today we have “The Sunflower Collection” including one that reminds me of the story of Jack and his beanstalk. A few of these are easily 10-12 feet high but it has been so much fun watching them grow. People walking down the sidewalk always stop and enjoy them. The taller ones have not even budded out so I guess they are still growing. When fall comes and they die, I will measure them and let you know their full height.

Here is the group by my gate. My fence is 5 feet tall.

These are the ones the birds planted. Not quite as tall but lots of flowers, some not even open yet.

This one has a flower down low while it still reaches for the sky. It has a huge bud at the top.

This next one is the one I call Jack’s beanstalk. Look at the size of the stalk.

Getting under it, I was able to shoot for the sky. It gives us an idea of what Jack was seeing…sort of.

This one is easily 12 feet high

So much summer fun. I hope you enjoyed my sunflowers. I will drop off pictures as the giant ones bloom. In closing I remind us always the share the value of kindness. It does not have to be as large as a bean stalk but to the one receiving it, it may very well feel that big.

FOTD – July 5, Verbena

When watering my yard today, it was hard to pick a favorite. So many were showing their happy faces to the morning sun. But I settled on the verbena because of its varied color and multiple blooms. Some blooms even went through the fence to be seen inside the yard.

The happy face of the Verbena

Remember to share the happiness of kindness wherever you go, it adds to the sunshine smiles of the day.

always be kind

FOTD- July 1 and Last Pic for June

Good afternoon friends. I am combining two wonderful bloggers fun challenges into one since in fact a Hollyhock was the last picture on my card and its a flower. Which was not a far stretch would probably be a flower or my dog. Its a quiet life.

i

Cee’s Flower of the Day is always a favorite during spring and summer. But since I was cleaning off my card, it was a great time for Busyboy’s World Last on the Card for June.

Hollyhocks

I loved these when I was a kid so when I saw them at the store this spring, it was a must. The bugs really love them too but we are working on that.

Remember to share kindness wherever you go. It can create a lasting effect.