Photo Journal: Bugs & Botany

The creepy crawlers have been plentiful this year. Everyday that I work outside, I find a new critter to marvel at. I have seen quite a few cicadas and cicada killers. The butterflies have been fluttering about and I have even seen a group of hummingbird moths this year. There has been an abundance of spiders as well!

With all this rain we have been getting, the gardens are full and vibrant. I can’t help but take a photo everytime I’m outside. I have compiled a few of my favorite bug and botany photos from the season. What a beautiful year!

 

Snow on the Mountain (Euphorbia Marginata)
Cicada, latin for “tree cricket”
Salsa Red Cone Flower (Echinacea)
Cicada Killer (Sphecius Speciosus)
Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta)
Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Lophocampa Caryae) Be careful around these guys and don’t touch them! Their hairs will get stuck in your skin and irritate you the same way poison ivy will! Itchy!!
Purple Vein Ray Petunia
Striped Petunias – Petunias originated in South America and there 35 different species.
Bumblebee enjoying Purple Loosestrife
A Bumblebee enjoying Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

 

Black Swallowtail, female
Black Swallowtail, female (Papilio polyxenes) also known as American Swallowtail or Parsnip Swallowtail.
Knock Out Roses
Knock Out Roses, a hybrid from the Rosa genus.
Unidentified Moth
Unidentified Moth, possibly a White-streaked Prominent – (Oligocentria lignicolor)

Thanks for stopping by this week! I hope you enjoyed my collection. If anyone can identify that last moth, please feel free to leave a comment below! Or if you have any stories about creepy crawlies you have seen this summer, please share!

Until next time,

“Ladies and gentlebugs! Larvae of all stages! Rub your legs together for the world’s greatest bug circus!”

Bloom where you are planted.

 

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Photo Journal: Kayaking at Round Lake

I tried out my new kayak the other weekend at Round Lake, NY. It was a beautiful area, especially following down Anthony Kill (Tenandaho Creek). There was an abundance of water lilies and dragonflies as well as other marshland critters. The air was cool and the sun was shining. We kayaked all the way around the lake, down the creek and back. It was a total of about 5-6 miles and we sure felt it afterwards! It was worth it though and still very relaxing.

It’s definitely a place I would visit again. Thanks for stopping by this week! Do you have any favorite spots for kayaking? Share a comment below. I would love to check out some new places!

Until next,

“The rainstorm and the river are my brothers.”
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Photo Journal: Father’s Day Kayaking


Happy Father’s Day!  I hope everyone had a great one. My family and I went kayaking at Nassau Lake on Sunday. My husband and son tried out their new kayaks. It was a hot and humid day but on the lake it was cool and breezy. We had a blast. My husband said his favorite gift was teaching our son how to kayak. ♡♡♡
It was very relaxing to listen to the water flowing and the birds chirping. Now that we have kayaks we will be taking many adventures down streams, rivers and across lakes everywhere! I need to get a waterproof camera soon! I recently got a Canon Powershot ELPH 190 to hold me over until I get my big rig! It’s treating me pretty good so far. Take a look!

It was a great day and I can’t wait until we do it again! What is your favorite outdoor activity? Share your story in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time,

“Today’s special moments are tomorrow’s memories.”

Travel to: Put in Bay, Ohio

Did someone say party?

My best friend did so we traveled to Put in Bay, Ohio for a combined bachelor/bachelorette party! A group of us met at Miller Ferry and rode the ferry to the island. It was about a twenty minute ride and the weather was beautiful!

Once we arrived, we took a taxi to the Island Club where we all pitched in to get a cabin for the weekend. The cabin was spacious and had two decks with picnic tables. Even though it was Memorial Day weekend and many of the cabins were occupied, we were nicely tucked into the woods and still felt a sense of privacy.

As with most bachelor/ette parties, we hit the bars! There were many to choose from of course. Mojito Bay had a great atmosphere. It featured an outdoor tiki hut for a bar and sand as the floor to give it a beach setting. To top it off, they served drinks in coconuts! They were tasty! Another great spot was The  Beer Barrel Saloon featuring the longest bar in the world. It truly was the longest bar I had ever seen. They also had a stage with a live band and an outdoor area with umbrella tables.

One needs more than just alcohol to survive. Luckily, there were plenty of restaurants to choose from as well. We stopped at Frosty’s for breakfast. I ordered some of the best french toast I have ever had with a side of sausage links. The coffee was great too!

There was so much more that I didn’t have a chance to check out such as a nature preserve, a cave, and a butterfly house. So much to see, so little time!

It was a great time and I am overjoyed for my BFF and her fiance! Next time I see them, they will be Mr. and Mrs. It’s about time! Love ya guys!

Have you ever partied down in Put in Bay? If you remember it, share your story in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by this week.

Until next time,

“Never cry over spilt milk. It could have been whiskey.”

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2017-06-04 13.43.27

Tangles in the Shadows

Last weekend my son and I were at the playground. It was a beautiful sunny day yet the wind was a tad too cold to be without a coat. While my son ran around playing, I took out my phone and started taking pictures. When I looked on the ground underneath the rope ladder, I was surprised and possibly a little too excited to see a zentangle pattern in the shadows! So, of course, I snapped a picture to share.

Playground Tangle

It’s truly amazing to see patterns everywhere! My mind starts to twirl and all these ideas rush through. I need to get pen to paper and get to drawing! These past few months have been a whirlwind…no…more like a hurricane! I need to get back to drawing everyday! Create art everyday!! That’s all there is to it! When I see “tangles” out in the real world, it reminds me of that. 

Joy of Zentangle, Suzanne McNeill, Sandy Steen Bartholomew, & Marie Browning

Have you ever seen a zentangle pattern in the real world? Share a comment or picture below! Thanks for stopping by this week! 
Until next time,

“Never stop looking for what is not there.”

DeSoto: A Heart of Gold

RIP DeSoto

It’s hard to say goodbye when someone has been at your side for ten years. On March 10th, I had to say goodbye to my greatest friend, DeSoto. He had been with me nearly his entire life. I received him from a friend of a friend when he was no more than a few months old. He was so tiny at the time with big dopey ears that stood straight up. He came everywhere with me; he was my shadow.

DeSoto has been all across the country with me. He was with me when I had my first place in Ohio. Then we moved to Tennessee, back to Ohio, then to New York where we have been for the past seven years. He would sleep by my side every night and even after I got married, my husband had to compete for his place next to me. DeSoto was always there. His love was truly unconditional and he expressed it often. He would squeal with joy every single time I got home like he hadn’t seen me in years; even if I had just ran down the street and back. Usually the knuckle head would be so excited, he would headbutt me in the face. It hurt like hell but I couldn’t be mad. He could not contain his excitement!

He was a mutt. We guessed something between a rottweiler and a black lab. Don’t ask me where those pointy ears came from though. That will always remain a mystery. Regardless of his pedigree, he was a very handsome dog. He had a shiny black coat and was always toned. He loved to run, although, his beloved Sasha could always outrun him. He was an incredible jumper as well. He could easily clear any backyard fence he came to. No matter though. He would never run away. He would just come to the front door and paw at it, as if he was knocking to come in.

He was very obedient. He wanted to please anyone and everyone he met. He was your typical happy hound and he loved being a dog! He was good at it. He would be so hard on himself if he did something wrong, I could barely scold him. Half the time, I didnt even know he did something wrong until he would rat himself out with his guilty manuerisms.
He was a good boy. He had an affect on everyone that met him. His genuine happiness rubbed off on all. I miss him dearly. I believe we were meant to be together. He wanted nothing more than to just be with me. I am a huge animal lover and have always had a strong connection with every creature I meet but DeSoto was so much more. It’s hard to explain. I literally feel like I’ve lost a peice of myself. Everytime I open the door, I’m sad he’s no longer there to greet me. I often feel the need to let him outside so we can chill in the sun together but then I remember he’s gone. He would always be there when I was sad to comfort me and let me hug him as long as I needed. Now when I cry, it’s for him and I want nothing more than to squeeze him tight.

I guess it just takes time. Time heals all wounds, right? I just need to keep thinking of the great life we had together. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have had such an incredible friend at my side. DeSoto taught me to enjoy every second we have. There is no need to dwell on the past. Everyday is a new day and our attitude is what makes everything brighter. DeSoto was a friend to all and had no prejudice. We could all learn a thing or two from such a loyal and loving heart.
This is for you buddy. I miss you tremendously but I will always stay positive and embrace everyday, just like you did.

Until next time,

“Our bodies are prisons for our souls. Our skin and blood, the iron bars of confinement. But fear not. All flesh decays. Death turns all to ash. And thus, death frees every soul.”

 

It Burns…Burns…Burns.

It is hard to truly imagine the damage a house fire can bring if you haven’t experienced it yourself. I was outside with my dog, Desoto, my husband and my father-in-law. We had no idea what was happening until the fire alarm started to holler. The kids ran out of the house in their pajamas and slippers. The adults ran in and out trying to get everyone to safety, including my mother-in-law who was sleeping upstairs. Within minutes the smoke became too thick to see anything inside. Everyone was trying to get to her as we called out her name until finally she came out of the cloud.

The walls are crying.

Our kitten, Exmoor, and other two dogs, Dali and Mila, were still trapped inside. My brother-in-law managed to get the dogs, running in blindly and carrying them out. Despite trying over and over again, we could not get close to the basement which was where our kitten was trapped. That is also where the fire started and the thick smoke billowed out the stairwell. There was just no way to get to him. I fear he was already gone before we even knew the fire started, yet we still tried.

We looked like coal miners; our faces covered in black. The soot was everywhere and the smell is one that will haunt us for a long while. Trucks and firefighters poured in from our town and surrounding areas. The firefighters tore holes in the roof so the smoke could escape and they could fight the fire properly. It felt like an eternity before the fire was finally out.

This was the Xbox.

My sister-in-law took the kids to her house so they didnt have to witness the chaos. My family and I didn’t know what to do. We wandered around, mostly, staring at the house in disbelief.

Everytime a firefighter came out, I hoped they had Exmoor in their arms. They never did. I felt like a little kid. My “voice of reason” said there was no way he could have made it but the child inside held out for hope. Unfortunately, the moment he was found was the same moment he was lost. He was only four months old and had survived so much in his short life but this was just too much. It is a tragedy what happened to you, Ex. I am truly sorry.

Of course the hydra is intact!

We recieved an immediate and tremendous amount of support from neighbors, friends, family, organizations, and so many more. Our heads were spinning but the community jumped right in to help us. I can never truly express how grateful I am to everyone.

The fire even melted Iron Man!

Eventually we were able to go inside to see what was lost. What wasn’t incinerated was covered with soot and suffered smoke and water damage.

This was my wallet; my handbag it was in is nonexistent.

Much of our things were left unrecognizable. Electronics melted into goop while wood and cloth became char and ash.

This use to be a snowglobe.

The entire ordeal was surreal. I watched it all before my eyes yet I could not believe it was happening. Going through something like this has completely changed my perspective on a lot of things.

Though everything lay in ashes, the smoke has cleared and I can see the light down a new path. It will still take time for certain wounds to heal but the fire brought a violent and radical cleanse. This is the beginning of my next chapter.

Until next time,

“I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down; gonna stand my ground.”

My camera bag and all its contents.
…..one lens melted a bit.
She looks beautiful! Safe inside the bag! Too bad the water got her.
I had over 20 different kinds of cameras, time to start over!

Sasha: Queen Shepherd

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Our heavy hearts invited the rain to stay for the entire day. Our beloved Sasha passed away yesturday afternoon. She lived a long life of fourteen years, celebrating her birthday in December. Our beautiful white shepherd was often confused with a wolf. She is much smaller than one but her beauty and grace tricked many people into thinking she was one. My husband and I could start howling and she would join in, elegantly arching her head back and closing her eyes.

sasha-and-her-boy

I loved rubbing my face in her big bushy mane. Her mane consisted of the long white hair that was eventually shed all over the house. Although, her regal fur coat was the perfect attire for her persona of being the queen. She got along with all dogs, as soon as they realized she was the boss. She never submitted while every other dog would. I always felt like she needed a crown.

Sasha Drawing WM

Though she was a royal, it did not go to her head. She was smart, compassionate, and polite. She loved children. I have never met a more caring dog then she was. When my son was an infant, she would also watch over him. Even though she had a tongue the size of Texas, she always gave him a delicate kiss on his cheek. If the other dogs around were wrestling, she would bark at them, grab them by the scruff and demand they settle down! There was no rough-housing allowed indoors, especially near the baby!

She was the greatest judge of character. There were few people she disliked but the ones she did always had a way of proving her judgement right. After the first couple times of getting “burned”, we completely avoided people that Sasha didn’t approve of.

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She loved to go swimming and was great at it. Tennis balls were her favorite toy and she would eagerly retrieve them when thrown in the middle of the creek. She had a strong paddle, swimming to the deep and back in no time. She was also one of the fastest dogs I had ever known!

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Sasha certainly was fit to be a queen. She had looks, intellect and charisma. All who knew her, loved her. Aside from being a huge sweetheart, she was a peace keeper. She will be deeply missed. The tears are rolling in like the rain so I am saying goodnight.

Good night sweet Sasha. I know you are at peace now. I know in your next life you will forever touch the hearts of your new family, just like you have ours.

Until next time,

“A heart of gold stopped beating, two willing hands at rest, God broke our hearts to prove to us he only takes the best.”

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Our kitten comforted her in her last days.

The Cyclops Kitten

ex1About two months ago, my husband came home from work a little later than usual. I was not worried; I knew what kept him. My son did not. He was thrilled to see dad walk in with an itty-bitty kitty, our first family cat! We were all so excited. The kitten was so tiny, small enough to hold in the palm of your hand. He was a mess covered in burrs, ticks, and desperately needing a bath. His eyes were goopy, possibly an upper respiratory infection. He and his family were found by a friend of ours, abandoned in a box. They all needed care, so we decided to help and adopted one.

He was frightened the first couple days. We cut the burrs out, bathedex4 him and brushed him. He has long black fur with a regal mane. I love his unique white markings on his tail and face. He also has a white belly and paws. We decided to call him Exmoor. This was inspired by the cryptid, The Black Beast of Exmoor. It did not take him long to warm up to the idea of being an indoor cat. He warmed up to us quickly and took any chance he could to sleep in our laps. He already earned the nickname Purr Monster for reasons you can guess. His eyes seemed to be getting better as well.

ex2I was surprised by how lethargic he was, though. He hardly played like a kitten should. He slept all the time, a great deal even for a cat. He always wanted to stay in the bathroom and lay on wet towels. My husband suspected he was trying to stay cool. He was very calm for a kitten.

Then one day, his eye started to swell. I immediately scheduled an appointment with the vet and took him in a couple days later. I was informed he had a virus, a kind of “cat herpes”. The swollen eye was beyond treatment and I was shocked when they told me it had to be ex3removed. He also had a fever which would explain the seclusion in the bathroom. Over the next couple weeks we gave him antibiotics and eye ointment until his fever broke so they could start the surgery. I was worried for our new kitten but was assured that after the procedure, he would bounce right back. And so he did.

They kept him for two days after the surgery. When we brought him home, he was instantly ecstatic! He was purring as loud as I ever heard. He seemed so thankful to be home with us. He really did miss his new home. Once he showed his love, he began running around like a basket case. He was literally bouncing off the walls. Though he was only a few pounds, it sounded like an elephant ex8running back and forth across the floor. He used the couch like a jungle gym, leaping from cushion to cushion. He even ran up to both of our dogs and greeted them happily. Exmoor was a brand new kitten!

Now, he sleeps all day and plays all night. He’s acting as kittens should, CRAZY! And the lack of an eye doesn’t seem to be bothering him at all. Well, except for his depth perception. There were those few times he jumped for the table and missed completely falling to the floor. It’s hard not to laugh, especially when he takes off like a bat outta’ hell afterwards. Only to come back later and try again.

Exmoor is a great joy to have around and I feel great knowing that ex7he really does appreciate what we have done for him. He has a lot of personality and is very intelligent. We lucked out with this one and he lucked out with us!

ex5Next week he will be getting his stitches out and his transformation to Cyclops Kitten will be complete. There have also been a lot more pirate jokes going around the house lately. ARRRRRR!

We couldn’t have saved our kitten without the help of family and friends pitching in for the surgery. I am forever grateful to them. Sorry for the late blog post, as this has been one hell of a week for me! Thanks for checking in! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Until next time,

“We passed a miserable night and then watched the Cyclops make breakfast of two more of our companions.” (The Odyssey, Book 9)

ex6

100 Things to be Thankful for

It’s that time of year again. Huge dinners, family celebrations, and after-turkey naps. In honor of Thanksgiving,  I’ve compiled a list of 100 things that I am thankful for:

  1. My Family (DUH!)The family
  2. My Friends….yes, I have friends.
  3. My Familiars ~DeSoto, Sasha, & Exmoor & a goldfish too!~
  4. My talents = ART, photography, writing, so on and so forth….
  5. My blog: keeps me focused
  6. My memories with my HORSES!
  7. Hugs from my son.
  8. Kisses from my hubby.
  9. Pumpkin pie…OH MY GOSH…Pumpkin pie!
  10. And Cool Whip to go on top!!!!
  11. Running Water, so overlooked!
  12. Electricity, although without it I would probably draw more!
  13. My hair, it’s ridiculously looooooooong!
  14. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.l_abd01bfeced36c416c7b87ca40aee890
  15. Nature….literally cannot live without it
  16. ROAD TRIPS!
  17. Get-2-gethers, especially with bonfires!
  18. My external hard drive [a home for ALL my pictures]
  19. Good health….again, literally cannot live without it
  20. Fleece blankets
  21. Blue Jeans
  22. Boots….All Boots….All the time.
  23. The /roof\ over my headThanksgiving mini
  24. Honesty
  25. BOOKS!
  26. Sleep….ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz
  27. Quiet Neighbors
  28. Music
  29. Chocolate, chocolate anything.
  30. And cereal, any cereal.
  31. Games….board, card, video, all the above!
  32. The scenery where I live.
  33. Being myself!2016 Kelley's Island
  34. All you need is LOVE
  35. Wildlife…nature’s teachers.
  36. Security
  37. Heated buildings
  38. Beaches….
  39. ….and the Sunshine!
  40. Movies
  41. the means to discover my ancestry (another hobby of mine, I recommend it!)
  42. Nail clippers, I cannot stand long nails!
  43. Freedom
  44. A cool breeze on a hot day.
  45. Water excursions
  46. Mountain hikes
  47. Forest frolickingCoffee Swirls
  48. Journals
  49. Cameras…best invention ever!
  50. Photographs….preserving the past, documenting the present.
  51. Strong role models
  52. Randomness, like this list
  53. Internet…talk about making life easier!
  54. My Followers! (that’s you)
  55. Comments and Likes…wink, wink
  56. (((((((FRESH AIR))))))))
  57. Thunderstorms
  58. Essential Oils…..they’re essentialSketchbooks & Journals
  59. My bed
  60. Confidence
  61. Herbs/Plants
  62. Curiosity
  63. Rainy days
  64. **The moon….
  65. …..& stars.**
  66. My senses
  67. My body
  68. My mind
  69. Art Museums
  70. Sketchbooks
  71. Hats
  72. Patience
  73. Diversity
  74. Growing old….it’s better than the alternative!
  75. Instagram, I’m totally obsessedthc10
  76. A white Christmas
  77. Fireplaces, so cozy!
  78. Laughter {makes for a great life}
  79. The X-files (seriously, was there ever truly a better show)
  80. New beginnings
  81. Happy endings
  82. Kittens & Puppies
  83. Clean Laundry
  84. Halloween Costumes
  85. New Year’s drinks
  86. Summer dips
  87. Dishwashers, everyone hates washing dishes.
  88. Songbirds img_2914
  89. Cryptozoology…because what really left that footprint?
  90. Hoodies…with great big hoods!
  91. Smiling
  92. Athleticism
  93. Free-time; Me-time
  94. Modern dentistry, that stuff was scary back in the day!
  95. the smell of Lilac
  96. Peace & Quiet
  97. Adventure
  98. Stuffing, best thanksgiving food ever!
  99. Open-mindedness
  100. Compassion

So there it is. If your having trouble thinking of things to be thankful for, I hope this list helped jog your memory. What did I miss that you are thankful for? Leave a comment below! Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

“I can’t cook a Thanksgiving dinner.All I can make is cold cereal and maybe toast.”