Photograph – Last Photo on SD Card

I took this photograph as we drove out of Fortescue on Saturday. I don’t know when I last posted twice in a day but Bushboy’s Challenge of Last Photo on SD Card intrigued me, so here I am again.

I thought at first glance the photo would be a great lead-in for one of my favorite songs, Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds,‘ but on closer inspection saw that one of the pilings in the salt marsh held two ospreys. The osprey population in the bay town of Fortescue seems to be thriving. Anyway, although the birds are four, there’s always time to post and listen to this sweet song…one of Bob Marley’s best.

I’ve always thought the song a good lead in for these words of Jesus…

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” ~Matthew 6:25-27

Pheathers & Phlutters – On the Wing

I was able to photograph a few favorites this past weekend. The butterfly with the beautiful orange wings is an Eastern Comma Butterfly. I don’t see many of these and was pleased to find it posing prettily in my front yard.

Cabbage White butterflies are plentiful, but not easy to photograph with wings outstretched.

I saw the first Monarch Butterfly of the season at Fortescue Beach. I didn’t know I had captured it in flight until I downloaded the files. This photo is part of Skywatch.

I love the seagulls in Fortescue. They haven’t learned the bad habits of raiding picnic hampers and snack bags. In neighboring beach towns the gulls are formidable. Never walk across the boardwalk with uncovered French Fries. You will be dive-bombed and might lose them.

The funnel on top of the piling is there to keep the gulls off. The pilings without funnels are usually occupied by a gull.

I watched this Osprey fly over the bay, descend, and come up with a fish in its talons. They are excellent at fishing.

I enjoyed my weekend full of flyers of all types…except maybe the Greenhead Fly who bit my ankle. That flyer is now lying beneath the sand I kicked over it after I swatted it. Happily, the Greenhead was a solo flyer, and no others visited me while I fished off the beach.

Phlowers & Problem-Solving – Calendula and Whitefly Deterrents

I love this shade of yellow and am pleased that many of the Calendula seeds I sowed in the Spring are growing in my garden. Calendula are easy to grow. You can sow them indoors for early bloom, they also do well direct-sown into the ground, and are often part of wildflower seed packets. There are many medicinal uses for Calendula, making them a powerhouse plant when you consider the beauty they add to the garden. I’ve planted Calendula in hanging baskets, in pots, and in the ground. Calendula also bloom in a lovely cantaloupe shade of orange.

Unfortunately, that lovely yellow color and bright green foliage makes the Calendula a prime target of whiteflies and aphids. Aphids are easy to control with a dousing of the hose or handpicking. Whiteflies are not as easy, and need a bit of baiting to be trapped. I used the same beautiful yellow color to lure them to their demise.

I gathered a few items together, a yellow plastic cup, clear packing tape, string, scissors, and a paper clip.

I punched a hole in the bottom of the cup with the scissors, and strung the string into it with the paperclip opened up to keep it in place. I wound the tape around the cup, sticky side out, covering all the sides.

I hung this near the area of whitefly infestation.

Success! The whiteflies, attracted by the yellow, landed on the sticky tape and met their fate. It has rained, and the tape is a little less sticky now, but it’s easy to replace. This is a low-cost fix for pests with the plus of using no harsh chemicals. Brushing the plants near the trap several times a day causes the flies to swarm off the plants and helps the trap capture more of the pests.

This post is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

If you don’t want to make your own traps, whitefly sticky traps are also available in hardware stores and garden centers.

Quote – Job 12:7-10

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” ~Job 12:7-10

Phlowers – Flower of the Day/Fan Flower

I love Fan Flowers (Scaevola aemula) for many reasons. The fan-shaped bloom comes to mind first. The ease in growing them and the way the blossoms cascade over the edge of a hanging basket is also a plus.

They combine well in their pot with yellow and black pansies, purple heliotrope and diamond frost euphorbia.

My plants are often visited by goldfinches. They pluck the ripening seeds from the lower branches of the plant, giving me many moments to admire their beauty as they feed. Fan flowers are one of many plants that attract and shelter backyard birds.

I have a pinkish fan flower, but it is not as vibrant as the purple. I like having more choices though, and this color combines nicely with other shades of pink and purple.

Fan flowers are one of my favorites for flower pressing. If picked just after they unfurl they retain their color perfectly. They combine well with other pressed flowers.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday and Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Perspective – Thursday Doors/The Garage Door

As I write this a pleasant young guy is installing a new garage door for our home. The old door is a relic…an original…near sixty years old. When we purchased the house in the mid-80’s it wore a peeling coat of the deep gold paint so popular in the 70’s. On top of being decrepit, the old wooden door is heavy, I’ve developed some muscle over the years lifting it up and down.

When my youngest son graduated high school, twenty years ago, (how can that be true?) a despicable chipmunk chewed through one of the panels to reach the birdseed stored inside. He left a gaping three inch hole. My husband said it couldn’t be fixed. I wasn’t happy about a hole in my garage door right before a graduation party.

I fixed that hole with a piece of cardboard and liquid nails and gave the door another coat of paint. My husband said the patch would never hold. It has held for twenty years. Every time I gloat about my handyman ability I realize I am also paying for my repair prowess…we have kept that peeling monstrosity twenty years longer than we should have; we would have replaced the door two decades ago if the hole had remained.

The new garage door…Hurrah! Once the woodwork around it is capped the whole front of the house will have had quite a facelift.

This post is part of Norm’s Thursday Doors.

Pressed Flowers – Blessings Amid Failure

I’m having an off year for vegetable gardening, well, perhaps I should qualify that…my early plantings, lettuce and other cold weather crops, have utterly failed this year. I didn’t use my tried and true method for starting lettuce by winter sowing in milk cartons. By far though, the biggest problem, was our cold and wet Spring weather. It’s June now, getting warm, and the lettuce is only three inches tall, while most of the other cold weather plants have gone to seed.

I had a bit of luck with radishes sown in a container, but they never grew large, and are rather rock-like when I try to cut them for salads. They are also going to seed.

I found a blessing amid the failure of my crops, the blossoms from the gone-to-seed veggies are terrific pressed flowers. The radish blossoms are especially intriguing. They are softly pastel and I can’t wait to see if they retain their delicate colors through the pressing process. So my failure in cold weather vegetable gardening has been a boost to my flower pressing. I could plant another crop of hot weather plants now, but I’m going to wait and see how many delicate blossoms for pressing these plants will yield. If they keep their beautiful colors I might just plant more radish seeds for the flowers alone.

Quote – Hudson Taylor

“It doesn’t matter, really, how great the pressure is;

it only matters where the pressure lies…

See that it never comes between you and the Lord—

Then, the greater the pressure…

The more it presses you to His breast.”
                                           

                                   ~ Hudson Taylor

These gorgeous roses, Rosa rugosa, are shown growing on the sand dunes of the Delaware Bay. They endure the ‘pressure’ of the sandy soil and salt water and bloom abundantly in the late Spring. The rose hips they form are huge, and almost as pretty as the flowers that preceded them when they turn golden-orange in the Autumn.

Hudson Taylor was a missionary to China. Although he was born in 1832 and died in 1905, his quote seems timely for those of us living now in the unrelenting pressures of this present age.

Peculiarities & Phlutters – Strange Beginnings

A few days ago my husband called to me, “There’s a butterfly in the chipmunk trap.” When I looked inside the empty trap there sat a butterfly on the bottom grate. We’ve trapped several of the destructive chipmunks in the past few weeks, but a butterfly inside was quite a surprise. I opened the trap, offered my index finger, and the butterfly climbed aboard. I thought it would fly away, but instead it dropped to the ground. The butterfly seemed newly hatched. I let it climb onto my finger again and placed it on a bush, leaving it there to dry its wings.

I went back and checked the trap, turning it upside down. Attached to the roof was the remains of the chrysalis. I have no idea how it survived the chipmunks as they attempted to escape the trap.

I am assuming the lucky butterfly survived. A day later, I saw a black swallowtail flitting about the yard. Amazing! I think, last Autumn, when I was saving late season caterpillars, this one traveled from my porch into the garage. The chrysalis was there all winter inside the trap. A strange beginning for sure!

Quote & Praise – It is Glory

Naturalized morning glories on the sand dunes of Fortescue, NJ, the Delaware Bay.

The morning glories made me think of the song, “It is Glory Just to Walk with Him.” I love this old hymn. I can remember singing it, as a child, in my grandparents church in Hampton, Virginia. The church was small, but the singing was big, and the church was filled with Glory!

It is glory just to walk with Him whose blood has ransomed me;
It is rapture for my soul each day.
It is joy divine to feel Him near where’er my path may be.
Bless the Lord, it’s glory all the way!
It is glory just to walk with Him.
It is glory just to walk with Him.
He will guide my steps aright,
Thro’ the vale and o’er the height.
It is glory just to walk with Him.

~Avis Marguerite Burgeson Christiansen

Phlowers – Salvia Flowers and Hummingbirds

Salvias, sometimes referred to as Sage, are one of my favorite garden plants. I grow both types, perennial and annual, and find the flowers and plants rarely disappoint.

Salvias grow best in full sun, and draw hummingbirds, butterflies and many types of pollinating insects to my gardens. I have planted several in hanging baskets this year to keep them high and in full view of my kitchen window. Dinner preparations often become prime time for watching hummingbirds as they visit these plants.

A great article on various kinds of salvias can be found on the Spruce. Common types of Salvia Flowers.

This post is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Perspective – Rainbows and Darkness

This morning, at 6:00, I looked out my window and saw this beautiful rainbow in the sky. Even better, I saw it after a time of prayer.

I had my breakfast next, still soothed in spirit by the beauty and promise of God’s rainbow, and listened as the newscaster described people taking a knee in honor of UNITY. I instantly felt extreme warning over this…and what came to mind is taking a ‘MARK’ in an attempt for ‘PEACE’ and unity…a bowing down to peace, or do I say it, a COUNTERFEIT man of peace. Please consider the consequences of ever kneeling to anything other than the Lord God Most High. Evil seems to be accelerating…everyone wants peace…but be aware, worshipping anything other than God, even a concept such as peace, is idolatry.

Perspective – Choices

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” ~ John 1:12

At some point being socially correct, pleasant, uplifting, a crowd-pleaser, etc., will become a personal choice totally against the Word of the Lord. What will be my choice? What will be yours? Will I flee to people and places that better suit my understanding of God’s will, or will I recognize that I am seeing wrong attitudes and choices but decide to stay and fight the Good Fight, to spread the Good News, to become a Prayer Warrior for Restoration and the Message of Salvation.

Following the road you’ve always walked can become confusing when edges begin to blur, when those in Christian leadership all over the world make choices for Community rather than Christ. My decision, I will turn my eyes upon Jesus. I will read my Bible even more, and trust that the worldly view will grow dim, and His Glory and Grace will light my way.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Helen Howarth Lemmel

People & Quote – D.L. Moody


“Few people have done more than Dwight L. Moody to evangelize lost souls and mentor and train the next generation to fulfill the Great Commission.” Profile in Faith: D.L. Moody by Lyle Dorsett

I’m sharing a song today that I’ve shared before, but I think it is timely in these troubled times.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” ~Mark 16:15

Perspective – What’s Important?

This song never fails to inspire me. I have posted it in the past, but with the worldwide conditions and changes we’re facing now, it reminds me once again of what is important, the relationship of men and women to their Creator…all over the world.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3 (KJV)

Plants – Coleus & Betty Grable

Betty Grable 20th Century Fox.jpg
By Frank Powolny – 20th Century Fox studio promo portrait [1], Public Domain, Link

What do Betty Grable, famous pin-up for World War II enlisted men, and coleus, famous rainbow-hued plants, have in common?

Legs! Well, not really legs where the coleus are concerned, but definitely a bit of legginess can develop as my young coleus sprouts grow.

Coleus, left side, before pinching, right side, after pinching out growing stem. 

When my coleus sprouts begin to shoot up and become leggy I know it’s time to pinch out the middle top leaves. Before I do this, I make sure the plant has at least six true leaves. Using my hand as a garden tool, I carefully grasp the last set of leaves between thumb and forefinger, and pinch the topmost leaves away. This will allow the top to branch out into two separate stems. I continue pinching throughout the summer months, helping the coleus to become bushy rather than tall and leggy. On August 1st, I stop pinching and let the flowers develop. Another plus to growing coleus is helping out the pollinators who make use of their flowers; at this point bees happily cross-pollinate the plants for me.

The coleus in the foreground has already been pinched. At this stage I can judge which sprouts are going to be tall and large-leafed, and which will be small with interesting swirled, fringed leaves.

Here’s a look at a sample of my sprouts. I have between 150 and 200 growing in the house. Our weather has been very cool and I want these babies to have the best start possible. Coleus cannot tolerate cold weather.

I’m thrilled with these babies since I know they will only improve, deepen in color, begin to swirl and turn, develop scalloped edges or stay straight, as they begin to grow outdoors under the pine.