The last day of August has approached; and so, has the end of the meteorological Summer.
Common ravens have coexisted with humans for thousands of years and have been so numerous in some areas that people have regarded them as pests. Part of their success as a species is due to their omnivorous diet: they are extremely versatile and opportunistic in finding sources of nutrition, feeding on carrion, insects, cereal grains, berries, fruit, small animals, nesting birds, and food waste. Some notable feats of problem-solving provide evidence that the common raven is unusually intelligent. Over the centuries, it has been the subject of mythology, folklore, art, and literature. In many cultures, including the indigenous cultures of Scandinavia, ancient Ireland, and Wales, Bhutan, the northwest coast of North America, and Siberia and northeast Asia, the common raven has been revered as a spiritual figure or godlike creature.
After breakfast at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, we made our way over to Disney’s Magic Kingdom for a couple of hours. Sara seemed much happier with a full tummy. And so, it didn’t take long, until she fell asleep on Kevin’s shoulder. While the rest of the family waited in line for a ride, I let Sara nap in the stroller. Meanwhile, I watched Mickey and Minnie taking photos with other families. By the time, everyone came back Sara awoke from her nap. This was perfect timing for taking a photo with Mickey and Minnie before we went back to change into change clothes and rest for a little bit in Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Because the afternoon and evening were busy.
… to be continued …
August is almost over; Sara is ready to go back to school. Summer is coming to an end, and it is time to get prepared for Autumn. The garden needs to be prepared for the Autumn/Winter season. A lot of crops love the cooler days, like cabbages and carrots. That’s also a good time for weeding the garden, since the mornings are not so warm anymore. Soon, the migrating birds and insects will visit the yard. It will be good for them to have a welcoming place where they can rest, before they have to move on to travel south. In the meantime, I’m sitting outside with a cool drink in my hand and enjoying the last days of Summer.
I love going outside when nature is covered in heavy morning dew. While Kevin did his morning walk, I captured some photos in our yard. So many beautiful dew droplets were hanging off these berries and leaves. When Kevin came home, he said he saw a doe with her fawns, and several rabbits out there. The dew will hydrate them. Maybe they will leave our neighbor’s tomatoes alone. Well, there is hope. The squirrels and chipmunks are quite sneaky. 🍅🐿
In Texas, I used to do a lot of stargazing in the Dallas suburbs. The best time was always when the Moon was new or crescent. Believe it or not, I still could make out the major constellations in the urban sky. When we moved to Connecticut, I lost this interest a little bit. Mainly, it has to do with making myself familiar with the angle of the stars & constellations. Another problem is the tall trees on our property. I might have to ask my neighbor if I can sit on a camping chair on the big rock in her front yard or go up to Mt. Fair to get a better view of the sky. It would be sad if I completely lost interest in the night sky.
The Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden has August Dollar Days during the whole month of August. Back in 2013, we had a day that was not too hot. And I decided to take Katelynn and Sara to the Arboretum. It was a fun day. We have seen so many different flowers, water features, butterflies, dragonflies, and little mammals. Since I have so many flower photos, I have to break the visit down into several blogs. These are images from the All-America Selections Trial Garden.
… to be continued in August 2023 …
At up to 3.1 inches (80 millimeters) from snout to vent, the plateau fence lizard is a grayish, brownish, or greenish lizard. The upper side of its body has keeled scales and there is a series of narrow dark brown cross-bands on both sides of the midline. An elongated metallic blue patch can be found on each side of the belly and each side of the throat. Males are typically smaller than females with males and females in Montezuma County measuring 2.5 inches (63 millimeters) and 2.6 inches (67 millimeters), respectively.
The plateau fence lizard is found in central Arizona, southwestern Utah, western Colorado, and the San Luis Valley. It can also be found in parts of New Mexico and Wyoming. It generally dwells in rocky and wooded areas, making use of canyon walls, boulder-strewn hillsides, fallen tree trunks, and other debris and vantage points.
This afternoon, we finally got the welcome rain we needed so desperately. And we still could use more rain in New England. We had a nice thunderstorm. Once the sun came back out, I could see the rainbow in the distance. The drought took a toll on the trees. There is a chance, we might get an early Autumn display this year. Some of the trees and vines have changed their colors significantly over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, not all leaves will turn in September. It would be nice to have an Indian Summer throughout October.
The following morning, we took the bus to Disney’s Contemporary Resort near Disney’s Magic Kingdom. There we went to Chef Mickey’s to have breakfast. First Sous Chef Goofy came to our table. He told us there was a little accident in the kitchen. And he might have had a part in it. Head Chef Mickey came over and asked if we enjoy our breakfast. Minnie makes sure all the guests have food and drinks at their tables. Donald baked breakfast rolls since 3 am. And Sara had to watch Pluto closely, not eating her breakfast from the plate. “No Pluto, those fruits will give you a tummy ache. And you will stay outside all day.”
… to be continued …
Last week, I fertilized my greenhouse garden with fish emulsion. And the garden shows, it gets some TLC. The banana peppers, bush beans, squashes, and zucchini grow fruits. Our Foxtail grass and “Red Fox” coleus plants grew big and bloom nicely. We had several blossoms on our eggplant. But they fell off too early to form a fruit. Now that it is cooling down, I hope I have more luck with the plant. I also made another friend. Harvey, the Harvestman spider, moved into our greenhouse. However, since Harvey moved in, Button is MIA. Hmmm?! 🤔🤨
This morning was different than yesterday. Instead of a fiery sunrise, we had a foggy morning.
The Lindau Lighthouse (Lindauer Leuchtturm) is the southernmost lighthouse in Lindau, Germany, on Lake Constance (Bodensee). It is 108 feet (33 meters) tall and has a circumference of 79 feet (24 meters) at its base. Notably, it has a clock on its facade.
This year, we have a severe drought in Connecticut. Not enough rain has fallen this Summer. And it shows. Our birch tree, the sumac bushes, and the Virginia creeper vines change colors. Birds have picked most of the pokeweed berries. Only very few jewelweed blossoms are in nice bloom. Hopefully, we will get more rain in September. The flora and fauna need it.
Letting the dogs out, I saw this beautiful sunrise this morning. It became fierier with the sun rising. There were also four bats flying overhead. But they are so fast, my camera couldn’t pick them up. I probably have to film them instead when I get the next chance. Once a hawk was after the bats, they quickly disappeared into their hideouts.
Our cats got so spoiled last Christmas. Not only have they gotten toys and catnip. They’ve also got a new cat tree. After tossing the old tree out in Texas, this was long overdue. Benny and Ozzy climbed and played in the tree as well. However today, the older cats enjoyed the cat tree for themselves. Joshua and Chewbacca loved to groom each other and looked out of the living room window together. While it was cool and windy outside, they did bird watching in a warm and cozy house. “MEOW!”
On National Black Cat Appreciation Day, black cats could use a good spin doctor. They’re so sleek and seductive with their all-knowing yellow and green eyes, but black cats seldom get positive press even though they’re just as adorable as other cats. Let’s look at facts about this national day that honors our beautiful, sleek cats, and the reason why it was created in the first place.
Painted Lady butterflies inhabit every continent except Australia and Antarctica You can find painted ladies everywhere from meadows to vacant lots. Although they live only in warmer climates, painted ladies often migrate to colder regions in spring and fall, making them the butterflies with the widest distribution of any species.
The painted lady is an irruptive migrant, meaning that it migrates independently of any seasonal or geographic patterns. Some evidence suggests that painted lady migrations may be linked to the El Niño climate pattern. In Mexico and some other regions, it appears that migration is sometimes related to overpopulation. The migrating populations that move from North Africa to Europe may include millions of butterflies. In spring, painted ladies fly low when migrating, usually only 6 to 12 feet above the ground. This makes them highly visible to butterfly watchers but also makes them susceptible to colliding with cars. At other times, painted ladies migrate at such high altitudes that they are not observed at all, appearing unexpectedly in a new region.
Thistle, which can be an invasive weed, is one of the painted lady caterpillar’s favorite food plants. The painted lady probably owes its global abundance to the fact that its larvae feed on such common plants. The painted lady also goes by the name thistle butterfly, and its scientific name— Vanessa cardui —means “butterfly of thistle.”
After meeting with our family and having breakfast in Ocala, we drove toward Orlando to get to Walt Disney World in Buena Vista. We had rooms next to each other in the Pop Century Resort. Once settled in, we spent the afternoon in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to meet several Disney characters, take photos with them, and get their autographs, before we watched “Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade”. We went on the Kali River Rapids ride, where I got completely soaked. Therefore, I had to get some clothes to change. It was March. And the evenings were cool. I didn’t want to catch a cold while we were on vacation. In the evening, we’ve noticed the ibises getting a spot on the trees to spend the night there. That was the sign that it was time to leave the park.
… to be continued …
Sara is a Lefthander herself. We found out early, when she was still a baby and tried to reach everything with her left hand. We haven’t seen a lot of disadvantages. However, it was not easy for me to guide her hand writing a letter or word sometimes. I had to take her hand as a fist and guide it. Eventually, we figured it out together.
Two years ago, Ozzy came out to join Chewbacca in the backyard in Texas. Once he was tired of pouncing to catch bugs, he enjoyed a stroll through the raised bed garden. He had a lot of fun playing “Hide and Seek” with Chewbacca. Ozzy played garden inspector next. The pumpkin leaves make nice umbrellas for shade; the potatoes and tomatoes show another set of nice leaves to hide behind them. And the bird feeder is refilled for the delicious “food” to show up in the garden. Everything is perfect for a young cat to explore the yard. When Ozzy decided to sneak over into the neighbor’s yard, the exploration was over. He had to go back inside. Exploration makes a cat very hungry. It was dinner and then nap time for our little “Meatball”. Ozzy loves meatballs and he looked like one.
Kevin had Lady Gaga on his bucket list for some time. Earlier in the year, I found out that she will be on Tour. Boston was already sold out. So, I tried my luck with New York. And we’ve got tickets for the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where the New York Giants and New York Jets call their home. This was about six months ago.
Last night was the show. We also had Sara with us. And she was excited as soon as Lady Gaga came on stage. The whole stadium was vibrating from dancing and jumping fans. Lady Gaga performed several songs from each album. We all had a great time yesterday.
The Juniper Hairstreak in the southwestern United States is bright green below with a single white line on the forewing, hindwing, and tails. The butterfly is dark above but usually overscaled with rusty red. Bright green fades to gray-brown over time. Juniper Hairstreaks live throughout much of temperate North America.
Kevin and I planned a trip to Walt Disney World for Spring 2011. While we were traveling from Texas, the girl’s aunt, uncle, and cousins came from North Carolina to join us. Getting from Texas to Florida was quite an adventure. Two hours into the drive, Sara didn’t feel well and barfed all over her cute dress and new car seat. Once, she had it out of her system and we cleaned everything up as good as we could (the car seat smelled like barf on the whole round trip), we made it into Louisiana, where we spent the night.
The next morning, Sara looked much better. After a light breakfast, we moved on. In Louisiana, we’ve looked at swamps, crossed the Horace Wilkinson Bridge in Baton Rouge, and drove on Interstate 12 to avoid New Orleans on the way to Florida. In Mobile, Alabama it was busy due to people trying to get to the Cruise ship at the Mobile River. Therefore, it took us a while to get through the George Wallace Tunnel, which is located under the river. Once we got off the tunnel, we had a good view of the USS Alabama, which is now a retired battleship and U.S. National Historic Landmark and is located in the waters of Mobile Bay next to the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, south of Interstate 10.
Pensacola, Florida is the home of the Navy Blue Angels. We’ve stopped in a rest area nearby to stretch out for a little bit. Katelynn ran up and down the hill to get the energy flowing before we ended up in Ocala for the night. The following morning, we met up with family to drive the rest of the stretch to Buena Vista.
… to be continued …
This afternoon we had a nice thunderstorm coming through the Naugatuck River Valley. It cooled the air for a little bit. Therefore, it was comfortable sitting inside the greenhouse and listening to the raindrops hitting the roof. Button, my little greenhouse spider, seemed to like the break from the heat as well. She was hanging in there 😁. Now that the sun is back, it seems like nothing ever happened. And it is muggy, again.
Today was humid all day. It was uncomfortable. When the wind and the clouds came in this evening, it was still warm. But at least, we’ve got some raindrops before sunset. And a small rainbow appeared from behind our maple tree. Hopefully, there is more rain on the way tonight.
Who would have thought that Joshua was such a sneaky little butthead? Back in Texas, when Joshua was still a young cat, he couldn’t keep his eyes on the rotisserie chicken we got from the store. No matter how often we shooed him off the kitchen counter, he still found his way up there. So, what smart people do, we’ve covered the chicken up with the lit. But Josh was smart enough to open the lid and found his way into the container. Nothing is safe from that cat, especially chicken. Now, nine years later, he still finds a way to the covered chicken.
Our dragonfly light turns on as soon as the Sun sets;
Beautiful green to blue colors from one and the same dragonfly light.
While photographing a few plants in my yard, a black animal crossed my path. Is this Bruno, the Black Bear everyone is talking about in our neighborhood? Okay, when I looked again, I noticed, we have a black cat in our yard. This was not my first encounter with this cat. My neighbor tried to get that cat out of his yard to dig holes and take a crap in his garden. At first, I thought it was Trixie, he tried to shoo her out of his yard. The second time I saw that cat, I knew it wasn’t Trixie. Chewbacca and him/her got into a fight. And this was the third time he chased a hummingbird across the yard. Naughty cat! Maybe I need to put a spell on him/her. I went back to capture photos of the yard, once the cat was out of sight.
So many memories come back when I look at these photos. When Kevin, Katelynn, Sara, and I lived in Texas, we loved walking on the town’s local trails. One of them was by Lewisville Lake, hence the name “The Colony Shoreline Trail”. The beginning of August has usually the hottest days of Summer. So, it was not uncommon that we walked when it was still 100℉+ in the evenings. We were used to it. And we saw people joking and biking along the trail. Sunscreen, bug spray, and water are the secrets to keeping going outdoors.
In this drought weather, a lot of plants strive in Texas. Firewheel, Ground Cherries, Horsenettle, Love-in-a-puff, Partridge Peas, Ragweed, Snow-on-the-prairie, Sunflowers, and many other plants love this hot weather, while others survive better in May and June. They will be wilted by the time July and August come around. That’s why we could enjoy wildflowers in Texas about ten out of twelve months of the year.