Monday Portrait, Daisy

Bushboy gave us a fun challenge to post a favorite picture. Those of us who take lots of pictures for fun find it hard to choose a favorite so I give you today’s favorite.

Hello? Anybody there?

Daisy did not learn from Mimi, my other dog who recently passed, how to knock or scratch on the door when she was ready to come inside. So instead, she has learned that the window works both ways. She jumps up at the window to let me know she is ready to come in. That is a sad looking face of being left out alone in the cruel world. LOL

Our pets become a favorite source of photos as they have part ownership of our heartstrings. They remind us of the value of kindness, compassion and love. So I remind you tonight to always be kind. It will bring you as much joy in giving as receiving a like response.

Always Be Kind

FOTD -“The Penthouse” Doth Fall

Cee Neuner has created a wonderful challenge called Flower of the Day where we can share beauty, amazement…and laughter. Today we are sharing amazement with a hint of laughter. Last week I posted a FOTD called “The Penthouse” where I highlighted my last sunflower that had been taken over by my Birdnest gourd with a gourd hanging from the drying flower. So we are going to give a little history of this summer’s fun time so you can get a better idea of “summer’s last effort” to hang on.

The sunflower itself grew 13.5 feet tall before it created the largest bloom of any of the other sunflowers planted. I thought it interesting that although all the seeds came from the same package…they indeed did not have the same parents. Or maybe its the magic the bees create as they move from flower to flower. Some plants created many smaller blooms and some created one massive bloom.

The picture to the left was one plant with 16 blooms while the picture to the right is one huge 9.5 inch bloom. The plant that created the penthouse was featured in a separate post due to the massiveness of the stalk – 4 inch wide and 13.5 feet high.

Picture taken early summer , now much thicker

“The summer’s last effort was a thunderstorm to mark the end of 90 temps of summer. While I love summer, this was a hot one and I am glad to see the season begin to change. Although if Farmer Almanac and my exterminator are correct – its gonna be a cold rough winter here in the upper midwest.

When you have a huge sunflower, weighing in at 3.5 pounds, two Birdnest gourds, one weighing 2.5 pounds and mix in 35 MPH winds, that is no match for that 13.5′ high, 4 inch stalk, and down she came. The sunflower measured in at 14 inches and while one the gourds is still attached to the the mass of vines, one broke lose and I brought it inside to hopefully finish curing.

The glare on the tape of the first picture did not show its numbers so I added a second photo. You get a visual of just how large these flowers can get and then the gourd is no small fry. This is not even one of the bigger ones, so we will see how they all do.

Now I wait for the cold air to come in and dry out the vines. It will make an interesting Halloween decoration. Not a big fan of Halloween but it is what it is.

In closing I remind you the beauty and power of being kind. It creates a brightness like nothing else.

Always Be Kind

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.

FOTD – Sept 4, More of the Same

Cee’s FOTD shows us again the beauty of gardens even as fall approaches with her post for Flower of the Day. I am adding more photos of my accidental growing hobby, a plant that I did not realize would give Kudzu a run for its money, Birdnest gourds. I trimmed them back some yesterday to cull the attempt for full takeover of the yard, 2 garbage bags worth of cutback. I will not plant them again here out front but in reality I have enjoyed watching them grow. They bloom twice a day. One bloom in early morning and one in early evening, so that has been interesting. Each bloom does not create a gourd.

Here we have the baby gourd
And here is how we look today, the one on the far right.

These average 8-10 inches in diameter but when you take in at the circumference, they are huge, 27-29 inches…and they are still growing. You don’t pick them until their stems dry out on the vine, then you store them in cool, dry and dark place until fully dry and hard. I will be curious to see how much they shrink when they dry.

Three more gourds, We currently have 15

But we do have 1 ten foot tall sunflower still growing, not counting the 3 four foot ones the birds planted by the feeder this year that should bloom in the next week.

Sunflower refusing to be over taken by the gourd.

So I give you fruit and flowers for today’s FOTD. Enjoy them and have a great weekend. And as always, remember to be kind.

Always Be Kind

FOTD, August 26 – Jungle

Cee gives us great challenges for us to be creative and have fun and today I am going off the beaten path a bit with Flower of the Day and show you my jungle. Those who have read my post in the past know I had the jack-in-the-beanstalk sunflowers (12 footers) going there for a while until a storm came through and knocked them down – all except two. And the reason those are still standing is because of – my jungle. Every year I get a crazy flower in my bonnet and try to grow something I think would be fun only to have it take over my yard. This year was not exception.

My Jungle

You can see this crazy vine has even taken over the sunflower with wisps of the vine protruding outward at several places goin up the stalk. So what is this crazy vine that I thought would be fun to grow…

Birdnest Gourds…

Currently I have about 8 -10 if they all make it and I don’t kill them first. My thought would be -“wouldn’t it be a fun project for the kids at church to paint the dried gourds”. Well we will see if I can complete the process. I will post pictures if we get that far.

In the mean time, remember to be kind. It is something you can always do even when not deserved.

Hello Again, Its me!

Life. It can get so out of control sometimes that you just need to stop, get your bearings and say hello. That’s what life was for me last week. I don’t think I even saw my computer much less wrote anything so this week I will unload with flowers, birds and activities. For now lets talk about birds. I put in a new feeder at work and am now enjoying hummers at the office. The pictures aren’t great but they are from a phone and they are fast little critters.

I also added a new cloth thistle bag at home and the goldfinches seem to like it better than the large thistle feeders.

The blue jays, the woodpeckers and the nuthatch enjoy the peanuts I put in the ring.

And of course the rest of the birds enjoy the house feeder. I have even had some mourning doves stop by.

about I do enjoy the birds and the flowers during the warmer months. They help me settle and bring enjoyment while I see the birds scamper and sometimes become territorial over whose feeder it really is. I hope they enjoy the sunflowers now that they are beginning to seed out. I already have ideas for next year. Enjoy nature in your back yard and remember to always be kind.

A Night of Fun

Sunday nights during the summer, the City of Davenport Riverfront Improvement Commission has evening concerts for all to share with a different band each week. There is laughter, dancing and of course food. The First Baptist Church provides sweets and hotdogs for a fun outdoor evening.

There is a really nice bandshell down by the river where the bands can share their talents for anyone wanting to sit and listen or get up and dance to their sheer delight.

This week’s band was Orion Community Band, from a neighboring county. Their music was exceptional.

The night started out with the national Anthem and ended with Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, but in between was music from many different Broadway musicals along with fun numbers like YMCA. It was a night that made me feel my mom’s presence close by. She would have relished this night with her love of music and band music.

All ages, and some dogs, fully enjoyed themselves sitting in the chairs or sprawled on the grass lawn.

As we are slowly coming out of hiding from Covid, this has been a great way to say hey to each other, enjoy the warm sunshine and music and spread kindness to everyone. As we continue to move forward let us always remember to share kindness wherever we go. It can light up some of our darker moments.

Always Be Kind

CFFC: Ground

Cee’s CFFC challenge is ground. Since it is garden time, I give you raised ground – for those of us who don’t bend as well as we use to.

Here we have the garden after the corn started coming up and before the squash took over.

This was taken last week…now it is even higher. I broke rule #1 – don’t plant too much in a small space! Ah well, its been fun.

If you plant a garden, remember to plant kindness. It will grow into a garden of love.

Raindrops of the Heart

Raindrops of the heart can be a sad place to start

As life of those loved around us do inevitably depart

But Raindrops of the heart can also come from joy

As we remember the funs things we both did enjoy

Raindrops of the heart do not always come from grief

As laughter of the heart can show raindrops of relief

Raindrops of the heart are moments to be shared

As raindrops from the heart show moments that we cared.