This blog is about my garden and the outdoors. I am new to photography but I am trying to show some of the pretty things that grow here in Michigan. I love the wild things who visit me and I dont mind if they eat a bit here and there. I like it more if they let me take their picture. As time goes on I think I will try to show you around the beautiful area that I live in as well as my garden. I try to use my own pictures as much as possible but will also use pictures from the web. If I inadvertently use your photo or work without permission please email me and I will remove it or give credit if you prefer. I will give credit when I know who the owner is. I would ask that anyone using my pictures do the same.
... I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.......Psalm23:6

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Butterfly House..........

Today was a gloomy day again, somewhat wet. Not bad though, so we went to find the Butterfly house before it closes tomorrow. End of summer. How sad. Well not really, its just that it has been rather a fun summer. We seemed to have found lots to do this year. Next year lots more things to do that we had no time for this time around.
So first the Butterfly House. It's new and I wanted to see what it was like. Tristen's teacher is new to the area and I wanted to show her a few places for the school field trips.
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so the guy who's job it was to introduce us, showed us in and I got my camera going.
Reina was enthralled.
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Tristen loved holding one of the butterfly, it had been laying on its side on one of the dishes. I think it had over consumed haha and was maybe a bit tipsy.
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There were some lovely species there. Colourful and fluttery haha.
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I know next year they will have many more to display, but we were impressed with these few that they have now.
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I was able to get a few close ups, and I love that, looking at the fine details. This guy has been having a snack
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This guy sitting on my tummy, well he flew over on my blind side so I dare not move. I could not tell where he was and then......yes there he is on my tummy
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Look at this detail. Isn't it beautiful?
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I am not sure how many I have shown here.
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Anyway, there is also a bug exhibit next to the butterfly part. I am not keen on bugs or spiders but there were two (shudder) pretty spiders.
One has pink boots and the other one has pink fuzz.
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I was not keen on the rest of the bugs. Probably they will have more by next year. It will be interesting to find out anyway. Roll on Spring.
So next we went to lunch and then on to the Boardman Nature center to see if anything had changed and to get a card and brochure for Tristen's teacher.
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They always feel sorry for the stuffed animals, and that's a good thing as far as I am concerned. A lot of folks around here are hunters and I do not want Tristen to get into that if I can help it. He is fascinated by guns as a five year old, but we do not own any and never will. I hope he kindles a love for animals and wild things so that he does not want to kill them.
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The lovely little Pine Martin I have yet to see. I have seen Mink though, long ago now.
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The Lynx and Bobcat live here too
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Poor baby deer
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See more than a few of these around though. Leave them alone and in my experience they will do the same.
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We stopped by the Sand Lakes Quiet Area but were almost out of gas so we went back. There are a lot of trails out there so will add to my list for next year.
We stopped and got some Honey Crisp and a cherry pie at the farm market. I did not need the pie but figured Gerry was due for a treat.




Thursday, October 16, 2014

HoneyCrisp...............

My favourite apple is now the Honeycrisp. Its delightfully sweet/sour just the right combination for me. It is a cultivated apple. What isn't these days. It was created at the University of Minnesota. It has much larger cells than most apples, which rupture when bitten to fill the mouth with juice. The skin is tough I think but they say the skin is good for you so I eat it anyway. It probably has a lot to do with it's juiciness. It is quite expensive relatively to other apples. There are reasons for this.
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From the time an apple tree is planted, it takes at least five to six years for it to produce fruit in commercial quantities. As demand has peaked in recent years, supply has lagged behind, sending prices up.
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there are added costs of growing this particular variety. Honeycrisp trees are somewhat needier than other types, requiring extra levels of care and maintenance that drive up the total cost of growing them.They need to grow in cooler climates and so Michigan is ideal as are other northern, cooler states.
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The apple is patented by the University of Minnesota, which this time around is attempting to maintain quality control by licensing the trees only to those growers located in ideal climates. Other apples have been ruined by growing in less than ideal places. I think that Granny Smith have declined a great deal since it was my favourite apple at one time. I then went on to Gala but that is only good when it is first picked in season. Honey Crisp is supposed to last well if kept cool.
We had a program on the local news that was telling about these apples. They said that unlike other apples they have to be harvested at least 3 times during the season rather than just once with all others. Makes it higher maintenence. I found that interesting. I am willing to pay the extra cost to have something I like and buy just 3 or 4 at a time. I have found myself eating apples again.
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I have to say that this litte extra makes it even better and I can even get Tristen enthused Mr won't eat anything

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fungi....................

We took Tristen to the park the other day, and then for a walk in the woods. We saw so many mushrooms (fungi) that I am thinking we need to learn what is edible and what is not.
Anyway, Laura came over, cant remember why but we ended up going to the store. It was such a lovely day that as we were going past the park, and Tristen had been so good.........well we stopped.
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HE soon found someone to play with. That went well until they thought about some judo or whatever it was they were just starting...........I dont think so. So we thought that would be the best time for a walk. Tristen was enjoying finding some pretty mushrooms/toadstalls/fungi.........I will call them mushrooms for this post.
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He was enjoying the praise. Because of the rain there were mushrooms all over the place.
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Some of them are truly beautiful. Meanwhile Tristen was having fun running down hills and sliding around. I should try to remember to change his clothes after school. Sigh........whats the point, he grows out of them so quick it hardly matters
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Apart from finding mushrooms he managed to find two Garter snakes. Had to get their pictures, cute little things. Very keen to get away......
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One of them was quite big for a Garter snake. I am not sure how big they get but this one was very nice and healthy looking. This guy looks like he is frowning
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The woods were lovely, it was cool that day (Tuesday) but for me I was comfy without a coat. The sun was warm. That will change very soon.
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There is just so much life in the woods. When we were watching the snake, some people were out hiking, so Tristen runs up the trail yelling "People people come and see I found a snake"........he has no inhibitions, He loves people, he loves talking to people. I don't know what to make of that just yet.
More fungi
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I was totally amazed at the variety. I really only posted a small part of what we saw. I never have the time to show everything, besides it would become tedious. There was so much fruit in the woods.
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Apples, grapes and berries. A good year for all of that. The ground was thick with apples under the trees. Long ago orchards gone wild and now in the middle of woodlands. Maybe Johnny Appleseed went by all those years ago.
Meanwhile I told Tristen that all the fruit and seeds that we were seeing were GOD'S promice for next year. That as long as there are seeds and fruit with pits inside, things will continue to grow and we will have food.
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At leat this year the bear and the animals that hibernate will fill their tummies before they sleep.
Apparently there have been quite a few bear sightings this past week or so. Well I want to see one, I want pictures. With Tristen in the woods, not a lot of chance of that LOL.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Things we find in the woods.............

One of the things I love to do when we go for walks........there are so many things, but I like to look for unusual things. Not unusual in the normal sense but well...........like this for example.
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Such beauty in the small things around us that most do not see, I should not generalize, I mean things we often pass by without seeing. The shape of seed pods or dried up things like this Queen Anne's lace
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Fungi, always worth a second look
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Some other small things we had to be careful not to step on, but they moved quickly so not too much danger there.
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This guy was surprised, so were we because Reina saw him first.........sssssssssssnake she yelled. Just a garter snake Reina, you scared him witless.
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Such a little beauty, I was sort of surprised he was not holed up somewhere by now. I wonder when they hibernate and where.
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The next little guy was making a racket until he saw that we had seen him.....
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Probably storing food for winter, We are always happy to see wildlife because the kids make so much noise we imagine everyone for miles fleeing the scene. So we pay attention to detail. Even the trees are beautiful in more ways than we could imagine
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This one had his eye on us..........can you see it?
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The seed pods give us assurance that Spring will come again and that God will provide for us another year. In that is great beauty
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We left the woodlands and were fortunate to see these guys having and evening snack in a field. We got one picture and they went silently into the trees.
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