June Poem 2023
Far up in the deep blue sky,
Great white clouds are floating by;
All the world is dressed in green;
Many happy birds are seen,
Roses bright and sunshine clear
Show that lovely June is here.
F. G. Sanders
The Waxing Crescent Moon & Venus In Late May 2023
Luna & Venus dance in the night sky
Our Garden/Greenhouse In Late May 2023
Spring Gardening in Connecticut
Our Rhododendron Blooms
Beautiful Spring blossoms from our Rhododendron bushes
World Meditation Day 2023 🕉
We celebrate World Meditation Day on May 21 every year. The holiday seeks to create awareness about meditation and its benefits, especially in our busy world of constant movement. Meditation itself is a practice that has been traced to ancient times, as far back as 3000 B.C., when it was referenced in ancient Indian texts. It also has roots in third-century China. The practice includes using techniques such as mindfulness or focusing on an object, thought, or activity to achieve an emotionally calm and stable state. Today, meditation has transcended past stereotypes and entered mainstream culture in the West.
Wood Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica)
Our Garden/Yard In Mid-May 2023 (3)
1) Privet; 2) Wild Raspberry Blossom; 3) Buttercup; 4) Dame’s Violet;
Our Garden/Yard In Mid-May 2023 (2)
1) Japanese Honeysuckle; 2) Eastern Red Columbine; 3) Wild Strawberry Blossom; 4) Japanese Honeysuckle; 5) Dandelion; 6) Buttercup; 7) Greater Celandine; 8) Fleabane Daisy; 9) Tulip; 10) Pink Honeysuckle;
11) Maple Leaves; 12) White-tailed Deer
Our Garden/Yard In Mid-May 2023 (1)
1) Winterberry Holly Blossoms; 2) Fleabane Daisy; 3) Lily-of-the-Valley;
4) Grass Lilies
Our Yard In Early May 2023 (3)
1) Grass Lilies; 2) Garlic Mustard; 3) Darwin Hybrid Tulip; 4) Dandelion
Our Yard In Early May 2023 (2)
1) Wild Blackberry; 2) Bridal Wreath; 3) Lily-of-the-Valley; 4) Darwin Hybrid Tulip; 5) Juvenile American Robin; 6) Eastern Redbud; 7) Greater Celandine; 8) Morning in the Naugatuck River Valley; 9) Our Forest
Our Yard In Early May 2023 (1)
Common Green Bottle Fly (Lucilia sericata)
The common green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) is a blowfly found in most areas of the world and is the most well-known of the numerous green bottle fly species. Its body is 10–14 mm (0.39–0.55 in) in length – slightly larger than a house fly – and has brilliant, metallic, blue-green, or golden coloration with black markings. It has short, sparse, black bristles (setae) and three cross grooves on the thorax. The wings are transparent with light brown veins, and the legs and antennae are black. The fly’s larvae may be used for maggot therapy, are commonly used in forensic entomology, and can cause myiasis in livestock and pets. The common green bottle fly emerges in the spring for mating.
Lucilia sericata is common all over the temperate and tropical regions of the planet, including Europe, Africa, and Australia. It prefers warm and moist climates, so it is especially common in coastal regions, but can also be found in arid areas.[The female lays her eggs in carrion of all kinds, sometimes in the skin or hair of live animals, causing myiasis. The larvae feed on decaying organic tissue. The fly favors host species of the genus Ovis, domestic sheep in particular, and sometimes lays eggs in the wet wool of living sheep. This can lead to a blowfly strike, causing problems for sheep farmers. L. sericata has been known to prefer lower elevations relative to other Calliphoridae species, such as Calliphora vomitoria.
A Rainy Day In Connecticut (10) 🌧
It rains, again. Joshua decided, he stays in and relaxes on my fluffy blanket on our bed.
Fog In The Naugatuck River Valley (6)
Our property is encased in a fog this morning.
National Arbor Day 2023
“I love trees! They make me feel safe from other predators. And they provide a lot of shade in the warm Summers. Plant a tree, today. And my friends and I can enjoy it in the future. Happy National Arbor Day!”
Happy National Arbor Day 2023!
National Historic Marker Day 2023
Historic markers all across the nation provide a glimpse into the past and preserve history for future generations. On the last Friday in April each year, National Historic Marker Day invites volunteers and communities to come together to maintain their markers. Unfortunately, weather and time take their toll on these small monuments to history. By working together, we not only ensure these markers tell the stories to future generations, but we also take the opportunity to celebrate the history and culture they preserve.
Our Garden/Neighborhood In Late April 2023
Spring Colors in our neighborhood
Spring Colors in our yard
Our Garden/Yard In Late April 2023 (1)
1) Wild Violet; 2) Bugleweed; 3) Wild Violet; 4) Eastern Red Bud;
5) Song Sparrow; 6&7) Contrail; 8) Lilac; 9) Bluets; 10) Garlic Mustard;
11) Dandelion; 12) Wild Violet
Our Garden/Yard In Mid-April 2023
1) Garlic Mustard; 2) Norway Maple Blossoms; 3) Dandelion; 4) Cupped Daffodil; 5) Wild Violet; 6) Ground Ivy; 7) Bridal Wreath; 8) Chewbacca;
9 & 10) Forsythia; 11) Joshua; 12) Common Periwinkle;
13) Eastern Redbud Blossoms
A Rainy Day In Connecticut (9)
After a warm Spring Break, the rain is very welcome in New England. Kevin and Katelynn drive to Queen, New York, where he drops her off at LaGuardia Airport. It rains, but it shouldn’t interfere with the time of her departure. This evening, Katelynn will be back in Dallas, Texas again.
Echo Lake Park In Early April 2023
Coming from the Jericho & Mattatuck Trail, I wanted to go take a quick look, at if the skunk cabbage is blooming in Echo Lake Park Katelynn and I decided to hike along the trail, while Kevin went home to feed the dogs and boil some potatoes for dinner. We saw some mallard ducks and a couple of geese.
Jericho & Mattatuck Trail In April 2023
Kevin, Katelynn and I hiked on the Jericho & Muttatuck Trail for a little bit. We entered the trail on Echo Lake Road and made our way to the powerlines before we walked back. Not very many plants are green yet. But Spring is coming. Katelynn enjoyed walking in the woods and listening to the woodpeckers drumming on those trees. Hopefully, the small hike will help Katelynn to get rid of her jet lag.
The Waning Gibbous Moon In April 2023
Our Garden/Yard In Early April 2023
It gets warmer. The daffodils begin to bloom right in time for Easter. By mid-next-week, there might be a chance, we get temperatures in the low 80s (22℃). That will also be when I can finally plant my peas in the greenhouse.
Our Indoor Garden In Early April 2023
It is still a little bit too cold for all the seeds to germinate. So far, dill, snap peas, tomatillos, and yellow pear tomatoes have sprouted. Tonight the temperatures are supposed to be 25℉/-3℃. So, we still won’t turn on the water for the garden hose. But the peas are big enough to be planted in the greenhouse beds. The rest has to wait until May.
Goodbye March 2023!
Another month is gone! It will be one year, and I started the UNDER THE WHITE OAK LEAVES page. Now, 700 blogs later I will begin a new blog year. Btw, tomorrow is also Ozzy’s (our cat) birthday. If you want, send some birthday wishes. I will read them to him tomorrow.
National Weed Appreciation Day 2023
National Weed Appreciation Day on March 28th each year reminds us that some weeds are beneficial to us and our ecosystem. Humans have used weeds for food and herbs for much of recorded history. Some are edible and nutritious, while other weeds have medicinal value.
Happy National Weed Appreciation Day!
Our Indoor Garden In Late March 2023
A few weeks ago, I began to sow herbs and vegetables for this Spring/Summer garden season. So far, we have dill, snap peas, snow peas, and tomatoes. The peppers seem to take a little bit longer. Yesterday, I have sown more vegetables: beef steak tomatoes, borage, fennel, spinach, etc. When it becomes warmer, and the plants are stable enough, I can plant them in the greenhouse.
A Rainy Day In Connecticut (8)
“March is a month of considerable frustration it
is so near spring and yet across a great deal of
the country, the weather is still so violent and
changeable that outdoor activity in our yards
seems light-years away.”
~ Thalassa Cruso ~
The Pileated Woodpeckers
This morning when I let Our pups outside, Zoey focused on something in our oak tree near our property border. When I looked up, I saw a Pileated Woodpecker in the tree. I ran inside, picked up my camera, and captured photos of the bird. Then a second Pileated Woodpecker joined the first one. They both pecked on the same branch. That branch is hanging on its last splinters, there must be a lot of goodies for the woodpeckers in there. They might stay around and peck a hole to build a nest and raise their offspring. That would be so much fun.
Our Yard In Late March 2023
1) American Robin; 2) Daffodils; 3) Ozzy; 4) Glory-of-the-Snow
Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)
Downy Woodpeckers give a checkered black-and-white impression. The black upper parts are checked with white on the wings, the head is boldly striped, and the back has a broad white stripe down the center. Males have a small red patch on the back of the head. The outer tail feathers are typically white with a few black spots. Downy Woodpeckers hitch around tree limbs and trunks or drop into tall weeds to feed on galls, moving more acrobatically than larger woodpeckers. Their rising-and-falling flight style is distinctive of many woodpeckers. They make lots of noise in spring and summer, with their shrill whinnying call and drumming on trees. The woodpecker in open woodlands, particularly among deciduous trees, and brushy or weedy edges. They’re also at home in orchards, city parks, backyards, and vacant lots.
The Last Day of Winter 2023
❄ Happy Last Day of Winter! Tomorrow is Spring! 🌷
Spring’s Coming Soon To Your Neighborhood
It was so nice today: warm temperatures and lots of sunshine. The Harbinger-of-Winter, Crocus, and Periwinkle are blooming. The snowdrops should be done blooming, soon. Birds chase each other and sing the songs of reproduction. That sounds better and more kid-appropriate than calling it the “Screams of Sex”. Soon, we will have birds building nests and tenting for their offspring. The bears come out of their Winter dens after a long Winter of hibernation. Nature begins to wake up. I’m still waiting for my little chipmunks to appear in our yard. I haven’t seen them, yet. They might snooze for another couple of weeks.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers live in both hardwood and conifer forests up to about 6,500 feet in elevation. They often nest in groves of small trees such as aspens and spend winters in open woodlands. Occasionally, sapsuckers visit bird feeders for suet. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers perch upright on trees, leaning on their tails like other woodpeckers. They feed at sap wells —neat rows of shallow holes they drill in tree bark. They lap up the sugary sap along with any insects that may get caught there. Sapsuckers drum on trees and metal objects in a distinctive stuttering pattern. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are mostly black and white with boldly patterned faces. Both sexes have red foreheads, and males also have red throats. Look for a long white stripe along the folded wing. Bold black-and-white stripes curve from the face toward a black chest shield and white or yellowish underparts.
First Nor’easter of The Season 2022/2023
While we got some slushy snow in southern Litchfield County, It looked different several miles up north closer to the Connecticut/Massachusetts border. By the Appalachian Trail was a lot more snow.
Our Indoor Garden In Mid-March 2023
Since I’m used to Spring starting in late February/early March in Texas, it seems to be forever until the warmer weather arrives in New England. And we still expect more snow to come in the next few days. I began to get some Spring flowers for indoors. I did the same last year. This seems to help tremendously to overcome the Winter depression. Kevin and I discussed the insolation of the sunroom. That way, we could have a green room year around. And Sara has a party room. But this won’t be happening very soon. It needs some planning and time to get it done. In the meantime, I keep my flowers near the living room window during Winter.
The Full Worm Moon In March 2023
The Full Moon in March is the Worm Moon. It is also called Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Chaste Moon, and Sap Moon. It’s the last Full Moon before the vernal equinox.
The Waxing Gibbous Worm Moon 2023 🪱
Fog In The Naugatuck River Valley (5)
This morning’s weather was very interesting. First, we had some sleet, then the fog rolled in and out. And another patch of fog rolled in and out. It repeated three times before Kevin even left for work. Around noon time, the Sun finally poked its head through the clouds. And the snow began to melt along the hills. Now, we have a muddy mess in the yard.
Hello March 2023!
March Racing clouds and whistling winds,
Coats flapping in the breeze,
Bright kites circling in the skies,
The dance of swaying trees,
The cheerful sight of crocuses,
The first sweet breath of spring –
Just part of all the many moods
The month of March can bring.
Winter Storm “Anthony” ~ 2023
It began to snow at around 8 o’clock last night. When I looked out of the window at midnight, I could see the accumulation of snow for the last four hours. And it kept coming down heavily. This morning, Kevin used the snow blower for the first time this Winter season. He was so excited.
When I came out of the house, the snow fell off the trees and shrubs this afternoon. It was mild enough for the snow to melt from our house roof and off the greenhouse roof as well. The dogs and Joshua were the only pets going outside. Chewbacca and Ozzy wanted nothing to do with it. When Joshua’s paws were wet enough, he came the dogs back into the house. It’s no fun having snowy paws being a cat.
It’s Still Winter …
Since this Winter was very mild, we didn’t get much snow this season. Kevin was giving up on snow for this Winter. But, I warned him: “It might all come down in March and April until Easter. And we have snow. Well, it’s still February and Winter after all. However, soon this will get old. We need warm weather for gardening.
The Celestial Ball Dance In February 2023
February 2023 is a fantastic time to easily view two unique planets in our solar system. The gas giant Jupiter and our scorching sister planet, Venus, are brilliant in the night sky this month. These planetary diamonds shine bright even in regions with terrible light pollution, like New York City.
Venus is a rocky planet that’s about the same size as Earth. It’s also the closest planet to us. But on the ground, its environs are hotter than a pizza oven, at some 900 degrees Fahrenheit(Opens in a new tab). The planet’s thick layers of greenhouse gases, like the potent carbon dioxide, trap copious amounts of heat. Its upper atmosphere, however, hosts more moderate, reasonable climes.
Jupiter is a giant gas planet, containing over twice the mass of all other planets in our solar system combined. Thick clouds and storms (mainly of hydrogen and helium) swirl around the surface, including the Great Red Spot, which NASA notes has “raged for over a century.” (Opens in a new tab) Jupiter contains 92 known moons(Opens in a new tab), including the fascinating world Europa, which harbors an icy ocean beneath its cracked shell.
Icy Morning In The Valley (1)
Last night it got frosty. And we had some ice rain this morning.
White Memorial Conservation Center ~ Herron Pond Loop In February 2023
Kevin and I did an almost 2-mile hike on the Herron Pond Loop at White Memorial Conservation Center. It was a good up & down hike this afternoon. Close to the Fawn Pond we missed our trail and walked the outer path. Since we made a “mistake”, we had the chance to see the engraved boulder, a rock in memory of the White siblings, Alain & May. Back on the track, we were at the overlook of Fawn Pond. The pond looks so pretty with the tree stomps and a water lily forest beneath the surface of the water.
Once, Kevin and I made it to Herron Pond, we took the outer track again. This time, we did it on purpose. The east side of the pond was too muddy, so we decided, we take the trail on the west side. There I found an interesting plant, I’d never seen before, the flat-branched tree clubmoss. At first, I thought, it was rooted due to the pine trees above. But it is a ground cover plant. We learn something new every day.
February Sunset In The Valley (1)
Naugatuck River Valley Backyard Wildlife In February (1)
1) Black-capped Chickadee; 2 & 3) Dark-eyed Junco; 4) Northern Cardinal;
5) Black-capped Chickadee; 6) Northern Cardinal; 7) Song Sparrow;
8) Red-bellied Woodpecker; 9) White-breasted Nuthatch;
10) Red-bellied Woodpecker Couple
The Full Snow Moon 2023
Almost Full Snow Moon 2023
New England Feels Like Antarctica 🥶
New England Winter Poem
It’s Winter in New England
And the gentle breezes blow
Seventy miles an hour
At twenty-five below.
Oh, how I love New England
When the snow’s up to my butt
I take a breath of Winter
And my nose gets frozen shut.
Yes, the weather here is wonderful
So, I guess I’ll hang around
I could never leave New England
‘Cause I’m frozen to the ground!
Imbolc ~ The Coming of Spring
Imbolc, also called Oimealg, by the Druits, is the festival of the lactating sheep. It is derived from the Gaelic word “Oimelc”, which means “ewes milk”. Herd animals have either given birth to the first offspring of the year or their wombs are swollen and the milk of life is flowing into their teats and udders. It is the time of the Blessing of the seeds and consecration of agricultural tools. It marks the center point of the dark half of the year. It is the festival of the Maiden, for from this day to March 21st, it is her season to prepare for growth and renewal. Brighid’s snake emerges from the womb of the Earth Mother to test the weather, (the origin of Groundhog Day), and in many places, the first crocus flowers began to Spring forth from the frozen earth.
The Maiden is honored, as the Bride, on Sabbat. Straw Brideo’gas (corn dollies) are created from oat or wheat straw and placed in baskets with white flower bedding. Young girls then carry the Brideo’gas door to door, and gifts are bestowed upon the image from each household. Afterward the traditional feast, the older women make special acorn wands for the dollies to hold, and in the morning the ashes in the hearth are examined to see if the magic wands left marks as a good omen. Brighid’s Crosses are fashioned from wheat stalks and exchanged as symbols of protection and prosperity in the coming year. Home hearth fires are put out and re-lit, and a besom is placed by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new. Candles are lit and placed in each room of the house to honor the re-birth of the Sun.
Hello February 2023!
February Winter walks and starlit nights,
Good books and cozy hours,
Time for friends, heartfelt sharing,
Dreams of springtime flowers…
Although it may be short on days,
Each February brings
The simple little gifts we count
Among life’s precious things.
January Sunrise In The Valley (3)
January Sunrise In The Valley (2)
The Winter sunrises are just the best in New England.
January Hike At The Trolley Bed Trail In Woodbury, Connecticut (1)
Originally Kevin and I planned to hike the Orenaug Park Trail in Woodbury. But we couldn’t find the entrance to the park. So, we went down to the Trolley Bed Trail. There we followed Stone Brook to the Woodbury Reservoir. Even with temperatures in the mid-30s and snow in the forecast, it was a comfortable hike.
Squirrel Appreciation Day 2023
Originally a creation by Christy Hargrove, National Squirrel Appreciation Day on January 21 is a day to learn about and celebrate the world’s cutest rodents. Here’s the thing about squirrels: some people hate them and say that they’re an “invasive species.” But can those people leap across a space ten times the length of their body? Didn’t think so.
Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!
January Sunrise In The Valley (1)
This morning, we had such a beautiful sunrise. This was a nice treat from Mother Nature before it began to rain.
Naugatuck River Valley Backyard Wildlife In January (1)
1) Blue Jay; 2) White-breasted Nuthatch; 3) Tufted Titmouse; 4) Dark-eyed Junco; 5 & 6) Northern Cardinal; 7) Northern Cardinal & Tufted Titmouse; 8) Tufted Titmouse; 9) Connecticut Winter Sunset; 10) Tufted Titmouse
Hiking In Camp Columbia State Park, Morris, Connecticut On New Year’s Day
Change has been constant throughout the 100-year history of this piece of countryside. Where once a shared landscape of farmland and woodland dominated, a campus of higher education overtook them and ruled the property for nine decades. But it too, like the farms and fields before it, lapsed into disuse allowing the woodland to reassert itself and provide us with the landscape we enjoy today.
Since it was a beautiful day, Kevin, Sara, and I went hiking in Camp Columbia State Park for New Year’s Day. It was chilly a little bit. But we bundled up. We took the Camp Columbia Tower Trail, which is a short (0.6 miles/1 km roundtrip) trail. When Kevin, Sara, and I climbed the stairs of the tower, we had a nice view of the Camp Colombia State Forest. I can only imagine, how beautiful the view will be in Autumn again. While Kevin went down the steps and looked up some history about the Instrument House, which is now a ruin, and the tower, I had to get Sara down again. The outer staircase gave her some anxiety. Once she was on the ground and away from the tower, she did fine again.
New Year’s Eve 2022
Happy New Dreams
Happy New Days
Happy New Desires
Happy New Ways
Happy New Year
Happy New YOU!
Foggy & Rainy Weather On New Year’s Eve 2022
This morning was extremely foggy. And the fog stuck around when it began to rain around noon. It was wet. But it wasn’t cold. Our neighbor made sure all the critters were fed in his yard. As soon as he poured some bird seeds, the Black-capped Chickadees and White-breasted Nuthatches arrived in his yards. We had a lot of fun watching them. I guess, it is time to get more seeds for the small critters and apples for the ‘possum and deer.
Our Yard In Late December 2022
The year 2022 comes to an end. And the weather became a lot milder over the week. We went from 3℉/-16℃ to 59℉/15℃ within less than a week. But the rain is supposed to be coming in, tomorrow. So, Chewbacca and I enjoy every minute of sunshine this afternoon.
National Candy Cane Day 2022
Candy cane, candy cane
Red and white
Minty as Christmas
Red as the light
White as the
Blanket of snow
That comes down
Candy cane candy
What a beautiful sight.
Eloise Pauline Gleichenhaus
The Christmas Morning of 2022
The few days before Christmas, I was very homesick. No day went by without me wanting to return to Texas. When Katelynn arrived in Denver, Colorado she called Sara on Christmas Eve. Her box arrived on time. And in that box was a Texas Waffle Maker. Awww, that made my day.
The following day, on Christmas morning, Sara wanted waffles before opening the presents. Our pets had to wait a little bit longer for their new toys. Joshua, Chewbacca, Luis, and Benny were patient. On the other hand, Zoey and Ozzy were going crazy. They wanted to play with the wrapping paper so bad.
December Sunrise In The Valley (2)
The Waning Gibbous Moon at dawn (12-20-2022)
December Sunrise In The Valley (1)
This morning, we had a “Dinosaur” Parade. A “T-Rex” led it at sunrise.
The Fourth Advent Sunday 2022
Blessed 4th Advent!
Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)
Eastern chipmunks are found in forests, but also in suburban gardens and city parks, as long as there are rocks, stumps, or fallen logs to provide perching sites and cover for burrow entrances They dig complex burrows with many entrances and chambers as well as short escape tunnels, and each chipmunk defends a small area around its burrow, threatening, chasing, and even fighting with a neighbor who invades the space The chipmunks spend the winter underground, but venture to the surface occasionally on mild, sunny days They enter torpor for a few days at a time, and then arouse to feed on stored nuts and seeds Life expectancy in the wild is slightly more than a year.
A Cozy December Evening With Joshua
Tonight, Joshua jumped up on the cat tree. It’s much warmer up there than on the cold den floor. He loves to look at the lights on the tree and play with those bells, I hung on the top post. When Joshua has enough, he lies down and takes a cat nap. ~ “MEOW!”
December Winter Weather In New England (1)
Yesterday around noon, it started to snow. The snow covered the trees and grounds. But it didn’t stick to the asphalt yet. So, the streets stayed pretty clear until dusk.
This morning looked completely different. We have a Winter Wonderland in December. And it looks so beautiful. All night, the snow plow trucks kept cleaning up the streets. Kevin was up and cleaned the driveway at 5 o’clock. Sara couldn’t sleep and she took over for Kevin. He needed to get ready for work. Sara had a 2-hour school delay. so, she kept pushing snow off the driveway until it was clean.
It Snows In The Valley
It is perfect timing for the Christmas/Yule season. The snow started at noon. And it hasn’t stopped to snow. The forecast says it is supposed to accumulate 4 to 6 inches (10 – 15 cm) overnight. We will see, how true this is at sunrise tomorrow morning.
The Third Advent Sunday 2022
Blessed 3rd Advent!
Christmas Ornaments 2022 (2)