Sunday, August 31, 2014

i Heart Macro

I have another caterpillar to share this week.  It will turn into the Monarch Butterfly.


This caterpillar is partial to the milkweed plant.  Milkweed contains a bitter chemical known as an alkaloid that keeps most insects from eating it, but which Monarch caterpillars just love.  Consequently, Monarch caterpillars and adult butterflies contain the same alkaloid, and this is great for them because other predictors, most of them anyway, will find them too bitter to eat.  This explains why Monarch caterpillars, instead of being camouflaged, are boldly marked.  Even with their brightly colored 'coat', it announces to all would-be diners you can't eat me, I'm dangerous and I taste horrible.



I am linking up with Laura's I Heart Macro here

Shine the Divine

Thank you for hosting this great meme Laura.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

TODAY'S FLOWERS #312


My photos today are of Black-eyed Susans and Coneflowers.











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Today's Flowers was created by our good friend Luiz Santilli, Jr.




You can find beautiful flowers from around the world if you click here.

TF teamPupo - Sandy Carlson - Denise

If anyone would like to be a guest and share photos on our home page, details can be found at the top of Today's Flowers web site, which you will find here.

Friday, August 29, 2014

CAMERA CRITTERS AND SATURDAY'S CRITTERS

I have often mentioned Meadowlark Gardens and if you would like to see any of those posts, click on the label below this one.  There is a lake stocked with large Koi and we will often see turtles swimming alongside them.  I have shared photos of them before.  They always fascinate me.  The Koi and turtles hang out near the gazebo as it is a popular place for people to feed them.  


We can buy fish food at the visitor center but I haven't done this myself.  They seem to have a lot of natural food in the lake, plus lots of parents with small children who love nothing better than to throw food at all those open mouths below, which the turtles seem to enjoy as well, presumably.  I think that's why the Koi and turtles are constant companions.  Of course assumptions can be incorrect.


I have always admired the rooster weather vane on top of the gazebo, and thought as he is a critter of sorts, he would fit right in with today's post.


























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I am joining Misty's Camera Critters and Eileen's Saturday's Critters.  You can find their buttons on my side-bar.  Thank you for hosting ladies.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

SKYWATCH FRIDAY

I took these photos from my archives of our road trip out west in September 2013.  Hard to believe it is just about a year ago.  You can click on this link to see more of the Arches National Park in Utah.

The park is located in a high desert with elevations ranging from 4,085 to 5,653 feet above sea level.  This map will show you where it is located.  



I read that it contains the greatest density of natural sandstone arches in the world.  According to the above link the park covers 73,000 acres, and has over 2,000 arches.



These photos don't show those famous arches but the rock formations, in their own way, are equally as amazing.  



We lucked out that day, the skies made a beautiful back drop.  

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My thanks to the SkyWatch Team, YogiSandy and Sylvia,  for hosting this wonderful meme.


Please click here to visit other sky watchers.



Happy SkyWatch Friday! 


GOOD FENCES

The light bulb went off thanks to one of my nieces.  I remembered her taking a group photo of our family using her panoramic feature on her iPhone last October.  I have no idea why I decided to use it for the first time when we were on one of our local walks recently.  I spotted the pano feature again and actually wondered what it was. After several unsuccessful tries I managed one good shot of these old colonial split rail fences, so I knew I was going to share it on Good Fences today.


This is called a split-rail fence.  We have them all over our area.  I first started noticing them at the Manassas Civil War Battlefield years ago, but mine today were found near the visitor center, which is up the road from Walney Pond.  According to Wikipedia:

"A split-rail fence or log fence (also known as a zigzag fence, worm fence or snake fence, historically due to its meandering layout) is a type of fence constructed out of timber logs, usually split lengthwise into rails and typically used for agricultural or decorative fencing.  

Such fences require much more timber than other types of fences, and so are generally only common in areas where wood is abundant.  However, they are very simple in their construction, and can be assembled with few tools, even on hard or rocky ground.  They also can be built without using any nails or other hardware.  

Such hardware was often scarce in frontier areas.  They are particularly popular in very rocky areas where post hold digging is almost impossible.  They can even be partially or wholly disassembled if the fence needs to be moved or the wood becomes more useful for other purposes.  

During the American Civil War these split rail fences were a major source of firewood for both the Union and Confederate armies."  

If you are curious and want to know more you can click on the link above.

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Thank you Theresa at The Run*A*Round Ranch Report for continuing another great meme.  Click on the blog link to see other participants, and the button below to find out more information.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Random Photo


This is one of eight lion statues.  You can find them at the Renaissance Court and Garden, near the reflecting pool and fountain in The Norfolk Botanical Garden.  I have several photos that I will be sharing from there.  Every time we go down south to visit family we try to visit the garden.  It is one of our favorite places.  The lions are modeled after the classic ones of the Italian Renaissance of the 16th century.

NATURE NOTES

Another caterpillar found at The Norfolk Botanical Garden in the southern part of Virginia.


This is a White Woolly Caterpillar.  It will eventually turn into a Virginian Tiger Moth.  


Spilosoma virginica


To see various stages you can visit this link.


Or here to show you what he looks like as a moth.  He is quite an extraordinary looking thing.


I have a lady to thank for spotting this one.  While sitting on a bench along a walking path, looking out over the water, she and her husband came by and she immediately spotted it in the undergrowth.  I wandered over to see what she had found and we had a chat.  She had no idea what it was and neither did I but like me, she said she would do a search in her bug guide when she got home.

Added note: I wouldn't be surprised that as fluffy as this pretty little caterpillar looks, it makes up for its lack of camouflage by having a prickly and irritating 'coat' to ward of preditors.

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I am always happy when I find something I can share at  Michelle's Nature Notes Thanks for hosting such a fun meme Michelle.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Food Post - A Very Easy Cheese Danish


A while ago mid week we had a nice surprise, our son called to say he was heading over.  I asked him to come for breakfast but as I hadn't done my grocery shopping yet, I was a little low on supplies.  It didn't take me long to remember I had three Bacon, Cheddar and Scallion Scones in the freezer and I had a feeling he would enjoy those.  As the Danish recipe was one of those fast and easy to prepare ones, I was happy that I at least had those ingredients handy. 

Easy Cheese Danish found here

2 cans ready-to-use refrigerated crescent rolls
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg white

Glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

Lay a pack of crescent rolls in the pan and pinch the openings together.  

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg together until smooth.  Spread the mixture over the crescent rolls evenly and then lay the second pack of crescent rolls on top of the cheese mixture and brush with egg white. 

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown.  

You can mix the glaze ingredients after taking the Cheese Danish out of the oven.  Cool the danish for 20 minutes and then pour the glaze over the top.  


What did we think of this recipe?   Extremely and over the top yummy!  It was a big hit and so was the rest of breakfast.  Particular pleasing as I was wondering what on earth I had in the fridge and the pantry to serve for a spur of the moment breakfast.  

The pastry I placed over the top tore a little bit and I had to do some patchwork, but it didn't detract from the look after cooking and the icing was finally drizzled on the top.  

It cooked faster than I expected and the top was real brown.  No big deal as it didn't detract from that incredible taste.  

Normally I would add some fruit but the strawberries and blueberries were gone and I had eaten my last banana the day before.  Fruit would be a wonderful addition on the side.

This is a very easy and delicious breakfast/dessert.  Definitely something I will be serving up for the next time we have company.

It had more carbohydrates than I would normally serve in one meal, with the addition of the scones, and I would serve a more rounded breakfast, with a side dish of a variety of fruit for instance.  But, it wasn't bad for a spur of the moment breakfast.  Smiles all round and nothing was left on their plates.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

An old photo.....

I thought you would enjoy this picture.  Gregg just found it online. One of our favorite places we enjoy is Big Meadows along Skyline Drive.  He learned that it used to have a school there.  This photo was during a visit by First Lady Mrs. Herbert Hoover (Lou Henry Hoover).  Not sure of the date, late 1920's/early 30's perhaps?  I want to direct your attention to the little boy whose expression just cracked me up.  He is sitting on the right, first row.   Does he look like he wants to be there?  However his life turned out, I hope it was a good one, for all of them in fact as the other expressions on those kids faces are classic.  Overall, what a great picture!



You can learn more about Mrs. Hoover on this page.

A short video by Ken Burns with a slideshow on the Shenandoah National Park can be found here.  It makes me want to get in the car and go back up there again.  We stayed at the Lodge for a weekend a few years ago and have often said we should do it again.  It's not that far from our home and we are overdue for a visit.

i HEART MACRO

This caterpillar will eventually turn into the Zebra Swallowtail.  I found him in the Butterfly exhibit at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.  I will be showing more photos eventually but wanted to join in Laura's meme today.  



I am linking up with Laura's I Heart Macro here

Shine the Divine

Thank you for hosting Laura.

Friday, August 22, 2014

TODAY'S FLOWERS #311


A white lotus flower refers to purity of the mind and the spirit.  A red lotus flower refers to compassion and love.  The blue lotus flower refers to the common sense, it uses wisdom and logic to create enlightenment.  The pink lotus flower, as in this photo, represents the history of Buddha and the historical legends of the Buddha.  The purple lotus flower speaks of spirituality and mysticism.  The Gold lotus flower represents all achievement of all enlightenment, especially in the Buddha.  



The lotus has the ability to lie dormant in times of drought and blossom when ideal conditions return to give it life.  Recent research found 1200 year old seeds in China that have germinated when conditions were favorable and they magically appeared and bloomed.  


These are a few things I learned from a little research online. 


I found my lotus at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in the Japanese Garden section.



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Today's Flowers was created by our good friend Luiz Santilli, Jr.




You can find beautiful flowers from around the world if you click here.

TF teamPupo - Sandy Carlson - Denise

If anyone would like to be a guest and share photos on our home page, details can be found at the top of Today's Flowers web site, which you will find here.

CAMERA CRITTERS, SATURDAY'S CRITTERS AND BIRD D'POT



I am not sure if this is a female Downy or a Hairy Woodpecker.  I know the beak is longer on a Hairy but don't know enough to choose between the two.  Anyhow, I hope you more knowledgeable experts out there will be able to identify her for me.  Thank you in advance.



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I am joining Misty's Camera Critters,  Eileen's Saturday's Critters.  and Anni's Bird D'Pot.  You can find their buttons on my side-bar.  Thank you for hosting ladies.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

SKYWATCH FRIDAY



Norfolk Botanical Garden, Virginia, photos taken in the first week of July this year.  The blooming trees are Crepe Myrtle.









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My thanks to the SkyWatch Team, YogiSandy and Sylvia,  for hosting this wonderful meme.


Please click here to visit other sky watchers.



Happy SkyWatch Friday!