FOTD – September 21 – Violets

While I have tried to have different colors of violets, these are the ones that seem to thrive.

My front window gets about 3 hours of direct sun early in the morning but the brightness of the day still comes through the windows making it a perfect place for house plants.

This macro shows the fuzziness under the leaves and along the leaf edges while the light seems to shimmer off the purple color.

There are many ways to be beautiful like a flower but the best reflection comes from the kindness we show to everything we come in contact with. Kindness shows an inner beauty we should always have.

FOTD – September 20, Different

We, who play with Cee’s challenges of FOTD, understand that all things growing are allowed for this fun challenge. So today I give you a really pretty flower, looking similar to a morning glory but is a larger and thicker tube shaped flower.

This is the flower of a sweet potato. Due to the crazy spring we had in the midwest, these were later getting in the ground and they are still blooming like crazy. Today was the last hold out for summer – it was 96 today – so with cooler temps coming, we are hoping these vines will slow down their growth and begin to turn yellow. The notes I read said wait until the vines start to turn on the ends. Well, these vines are in four foot high planters in our community garden and the vines cascade down all four sides to the ground. They are quite beautiful but I cant wait to see it we really have potatoes. Its our first time planting those.

Can you see the sparkles of color on the tuber?

Fun stuff. While we are having fun, I remind you of the easiness and powerfulness of kindness. It can make any situation sparkle brighter.

ALWAYS be kind

Animals Have Trials too.

We all know this is a fact that the animal kingdom is always in self preservation mode from predators or from “friends of like kind” who want what they have. Greed knows no limits of creature types. Today we are talking about a few creatures that came across my path this week. I am choosing to highlight their paths of possible doom to highlight that kindness can stretch across all specie types. While I don’t have a picture of doomed fate of this butterfly, I did manage to save it from drowning in the birdbath.

His wings stuck together due to be so saturated

After a couple of hours in the sun, he was able to completely dry and fly off to his next error of judgement for his very short life.

I work part time at my church answering the phone so of course I set up bird feeders outside my window. I have share many photos of the antics the birds, squirrels and rabbits do there. They do keep us entertained. But yesterday…well, I am not sure what to say or be able explain how this happened, However, my gut tells me somehow there was a squirrel involved.

He was quite terrified as I approached to release him from his trap but finally I was able to turn the feeder upside down and he scrambled under a bush. Twenty minutes later, with a full feeder, they were all back eating. I am sure he was part of the group.

Now this next creature was not so fortunate in getting rescued as this stairwell of the church is seldom used but alas somehow he managed to get inside of it and find no way out.

Bats really are quite interesting creatures and watching the Zoo shows on TV, it reminds us they are vital to our environment. They eat lots of skeeters. We hope we don’t have bats again in the bellfry of the church. Not a fun thing to deal with.

The last creature, the tiniest of the creatures, is the winner of the fight. After an extended fight over who owned the feeder, there was a clear winner.

See the mark on his chest?

Maybe that is just under plumage but it looked to be missing feathers. Seems the same bird is clearly marking this as his for the better part of the week.

There are so many wonderful things going on around us in nature. You just need to open you eyes to see them. Embrace the beauty you see, help when help is needed and always be kind.

Week’s End Encouragement

The week is almost over and the weekend is coming – a time of rest, a time for ourselves.

Our weeks are sometimes so busy that the weekend is too short to fully rest, so Matthew reminds us of Jesus’ words to come to Him to find complete restoration regardless of our business. He is gentle and humble in heart and never forces us to come to Him but he patiently waits for us to choose to come. Once we choose to come and rely on His fatherly comfort, that’s when the battle has been won.

It is only after we have begun to experience what salvation really means, that we surrender our will to Jesus for the rest He has ready for us. And it is a voluntary surrender. Surrender in today’s mindset is a negative concept that we fight against, but Jesus reminds us of the power we gain in His surrender and the rewards he has for us.

“For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory, with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” Oswald Chambers

Once we surrender to His will, His grace, His love and His peace, then the remainder of our life will exhibit nothing but the evidence of this surrender. And we will never need to be concerned again with what the future may hold for us, for Jesus is totally sufficient. Even though at times we may be shaking in our boots.

You are never alone

Even though you may feel you are alone in a snowstorm or vast desert, your tiny self is being watched over, and you will be given the strength to grow taller in His care.

And always remember to show the power of kindness. It shows your inner beauty.

FOTD, 9/13, The Giant Falls

Well, we enjoyed him throughout the summer, but the sunflower giants have finished their life. Their goal, beside being beautiful, is to create seeds…that create more flowers…that create more seeds…that …well you know.

The giant at his most beautiful – over 11 feet tall

I find the evolution of the bloom itself amazing. It never stops growing. It can’t, for it has to get big enough to sustain the growth of the seeds. The bloom at the stage above is approximately 9 inches, not counting the beautiful yellow petals. But once the petals die and fall off, the flower center continues to gain in size as it produces the hundreds of seeds.

The inner bloom now is over 14 inches

The much needed rain we had this past weekend did the giant in, as the stem could no longer support the bloom’s weight of over 4 pounds. The stalk had bent over from its weight over the last few weeks to nearly 180 degrees but the hardiness of the stalk refused to let the bloom fall. It fell over from the root ball and soft ground. I could not get my fingers completely around the stalk.

Stalk was almost 3 inches in diameter.

I had to take a machete to take it to get it to the trash pile but I put the bloom out for the birds to enjoy the seeds. Yes, I will pull some seeds for next years project…a sunflower circle, a fun thing we saw on FB. I still have 1 giant left and 1 multi-bloom that are still surviving. I was also amazed by the size of the leaves. They looked like elephant ears – over 18 inches across.

But the seeds were the most amazing how they are packed tighter than seeds in a grape.

Look at the little flowerets for the ends of the seeds.

A macro to show how tightly packed they are.

For now is the time for season change. The sugar maples are beginning to change to show their red beauty with a sprinkling of yellow scattered through the leaves. As the season changes to a cooler climate, remember to keep your kindness warm.

Always Be Kind

Hummer…Not a Hummer

Today was a day of much needed rain, a good slow soaker. So not much activity at the feeder. But yesterday…

Hello. I am Harry Hummer. I am resting on the peanut feeder keeping guard over “My” feeder

But there was another visitor to the sugar water feeder…

Crafty little creature, Little George.

I could not figure out why he chose to be there, so I did a little research on what mantis eat. This must be the season they are really coming out or maybe they are just extra hungry. Below is a big one that visited the church.

Big George

My research tells me they eat all kinds of insects, grubs and even the occasional small bird. Small bird…a hummer is a small bird. Well maybe Big George, but surely not Littler George. Still I am not taking chances.

Little George getting more into attack position

Research said they eat things bigger than themselves….okay, not having that. So I went outside and shooed him off. I didn’t hurt him, just made him leave that spot. I enjoy my hummers way more than any bug.

I close with a reminder to always being kind. Even a smile can take the hardness out of someone’s day.

FOTD, September 11, Lily

Cee welcomes us all to join in on her challenge to share the beauty of the flowers around us. I am sharing 1 flower, a lily that is in a vase of flowers I was given. The lily shows its stages as one of the buds opened throughout the day. Hope you enjoy.

New life

The first shot was about 10am this morning. The tight bud of last night now is showing cracks of opening.

Taking a big breath

By lunch, the flower was showing progress as it began to roll out its petals.

Hello world

By the end of the football game I was watching, one side was completely open.

By early evening it was fully open taking taking a good 10 hours from bud to flower. An amazing beauty to be enjoyed.

Always remember the beauty of kindness. It really can change the momentum of the day.

CMMC September Close Up or Macro

For Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge, I am combining close ups and macros. I took two photos of each flower, a close up and a macro, then decided which I liked best. Some I liked both. For starters, I can finally reach the bloom of one of my sunflowers because the weight of the massive bloom filled with seeds is causing the stalk to bend over. This is actually a close and a closer. The closer one you can seed the seeds.

Some of my flowers have gotten real leggy but their blooms are still beautiful.

Two variations of marigolds. You can see that the inner part has tiny blooms that open as well.

The center of these also have those tiny buds that open like flowers

Some of the mums are hitting a second wave of blooming.

Dianthus are always a favorite
Petunias
Rich Purple

In closing we have the light pink center of a dark pink geranium.

A reminder that we don’t have to be in the center to be beautiful. Beauty, like kindness, comes from within. So, be beautifully kind.

25…again

The first of September is always a busy time. First and foremost…football starts. For those of us who loved American football, it generally breaks down into two separate categories – College and Professional – and there are fanatic fans in both categories. Usually people follow either college or pro – seldom do they follow both. For me, its college and this year we are defending the National Title.

Go Dawgs

It’s true, those of us from Georgia spell ‘dog’ as dawg…its meaner that way, Junk Yard Dawgs. And unless you are familiar with the meanness of a dog that guards a junk yard, you won’t understand the term. Our first game of this season looked real good but we will see how the entire season goes.

The second reason for it being busy is the first Monday of September is Labor Day. Labor day is a government holiday for all people who work – labor. I also find it an amusing day as my mother was in labor on labor day. Yes, it was my birthday.

Yes, I am 25…again

My dear friends at church gave me my own birthday cake with a sunflower on it in celebration of the day and the gi-normous sunflowers I planted in the community garden of the church.

Now we can get ready for fall for two months then its my favorite season to prepare for…Christmas. It take me two weeks just to get the village up, there are 5 trees to get up and this year we are playing outside…so who know what all that will be. I will post lots of pictures.

In the mean time, enjoy fall. The colors will be changing soon and hopefully this year we will actually get a fall. Last year it was 2 weeks, then it snowed. Oh well, life in the midwest.

I encourage you all the be kind. All created beings thrive on kindness, so allow all to thrive.