Our guest next to Zippy’s hand for scale.
I spent the afternoon working in the yard in preparation for the winter storm and below-freezing temperatures on the way. I cut back perennials and chopped up greens to add to our two compost tumblers and standing bin. Zippy joined me after his bike ride and made the plants from his vegetable garden compost-ready. As he stood over the bin and chopped up tomato plants, he discovered a guest he’d been dreading all summer: a tomato hornworm.
He showed me and said his friend had told him that hornworms turned into swallowtail butterflies. That didn’t sound right so I checked. In fact, tomato hornworms turn into the five-spotted hawkmoth. Either way, that’s quite the transformation. (I do think it’s kinda too bad the horn gets lost along the way.)
Last year’s invasion
Painted Ladies everywhere
wish they’d come again
Chamaebatiaria millefolium (also known as Desert Sweet or Fernbush)
Tell me I’m not the only one who sees fluffy kernels.
Fungal tiki hut
sprouting from the landscape rocks
shelter for insects
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
~ William Blake
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
~ Frank Lloyd Wright
Yesterday as I ran on the open space trails and flax tickled my legs, I wished Zippy was with me. Blue flax flowers are his favorite and they’re at the peak of their bloom right now. Good news for him, our flax is also blooming at home in one of our beds.
Here’s a domesticated memento of yesterday’s trail run.
You: How sick of the snow are you, Tracy?
Me: Sick enough to use a photo from February rather than go out in it today.
Yesterday I went for a run on the trails. While stopping to stretch at the top of what Zippy and I refer to as “the slog,” I spotted a splash of bright pink off to the side of the trail. At first I thought it was a candy wrapper and as I moved closer, decided it was a painted rock. It was neither. Sitting there all by itself was a perfectly round, perfectly lovely little cactus. **
Later, as I continued running, I noticed something sticking out of my shoe. I figured it was grass that’d gotten stuck in some mud in my tread, and promptly forgot about it. However, when I was home and taking off my shoes, I nearly impaled myself. Not on a wad of grass, but on the spiny cactus that had hitched a ride on my shoe.
Now I remember why it’s much more fun to run on the trails than the streets.
(** I didn’t have a camera with me, but when Zippy went out to do an errand, he drove to the nearest trailhead and photographed the beauteous cactus for me.)
Today is one of those days I’d prefer to interact with plants and animals rather than contemplate the mind-boggling awfulness of some human beings. I can’t think of one instance in which a clematis bloom caused me a moment’s pain or anxiety.
Until they flower again, I’m basking in the memory of their quiet beauty.
If I look closely,
world’s filled with tiny details
Striking a blow against November with an image from October:
– scarlet, pillar-box red, crimson or cherry –
are very cheerful and youthful.
There is certainly a red for everyone.
~ Christian Dior
Today we woke to a gray blanket of fog which has mostly dissipated,
revealing an iron- gray sky.
The sun is nowhere to be seen. The mood is pure gloom.
Except out my kitchen window.
I’m grateful for those tenacious maple leaves.
Because you love all things flora and fauna,
I’m sending you a bee-bejeweled bouquet.
Lots of love and lavender to you on your special day…
Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day, sunny and in the low 60s. Zippy and I spent the afternoon working in the yard, trying to catch up on our much-neglected gardens that have run amok. The sun shone through the leaves and I paused in my work to capture this vibrant image:
I made a conscious effort to fully experience the colors and balmy temperatures, because there was a huge weather shift on the way. This morning we woke to about 4 inches of snow on the deck railing (currently 8 inches or so).
Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny with a high of 51 degrees. Welcome to Colorado.
Today Zippy and I went to Berry Patch Farms in Brighton, Colorado.
Michelle’s mother and sisters arranged to have a bench and stone placed there in her memory, seeing as it was one of Michelle’s favorite places to visit with her young daughter.
At the top of the stone is a quote from Michelle: “Now this is what a strawberry should taste like.”
Note: the rooster windchime on the tree was there before Michelle’s bench. Can you say SERENDIPITY?
On their frequent visits to the farm with the old red barn, Michelle and her daughter would watch the chickens and roosters.
They’d pick berries together and take home bouquets of cut flowers.
Today, Michelle’s mother, sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends gathered in her memory. For the past two weeks or so, the weather has been uncharacteristically cold and rainy, but today the sun was shining in a blue, blue sky. The morning was lovely, and I suspect Michelle pulled some strings to make it so.
It was bittersweet being at the farm without Michelle, but here I am warming her cheery red bench along with three of the Writing Roosters, the critique group she lobbied to include me in its membership. Michelle’s generosity lives on.
Jenn Bertman, Tracy Abell, Jen Simms, Laura Perdew (Vanessa Appleby & Claudia Mills were unable to attend)
There’s no palette as rich as a garden.
And the intensity of it – I make this statement all the time:
You can’t plan nature; you court her.
~ Robert Irwin
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
~ Albert Camus
I stopped during my run this morning to stretch my calves and as I leaned against a post situated at the edge of the open space, looked down to see that glorious display. Those leaves aren’t messing around. They are seriously red.
As I revise my middle-grade novel, plugging holes and solving plot problems, I’m keeping this sentiment in mind:
Luck is not chance, it’s toil;
fortune’s expensive smile is earned.
~ Emily Dickinson
Honey bees don’t need a pithy quote; they made the connection between luck and toil a looong time ago.
Yesterday, as Zippy and I walked Emma around our neighborhood, we noted a larger-than-typical number of butterflies. We wondered if we were in a migration path. Sure enough, when we got home and looked in the backyard, we discovered this:
Rather than orange and black like the monarch butterfly, the Painted Lady is orange and brown. Migrations are also happening elsewhere. It was awe-inspiring to be in their lovely company as they soaked up the sun and flowery nutrition from the rabbit brush.Another generous gift from Mother Earth.