Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #4

The quote above is from C.H. Spurgeon. I added his words to a macro photograph of one of God’s most delicate works, the colorful scales on a yellow swallowtail’s wing.

When I’m face to face with God’s creatures or admiring the beauty of His earth, I am reminded that He came to earth in the Person of his Son to bring us SALVATION full and free. I learn so much from the quotes of Spurgeon and other men of God. You can read more of Spurgeon’s words from the excerpt it came from on Truth to Freedom’s Blog.

The Color Your World Challenge from Tourmaline for this week is Blue.

Unplanned decorating in shades of blue was a recent surprise for me. I placed a case of small water bottles in a kitchen crock to have them handy for chilling in the refrigerator. I was so pleased with their appealing blue glow I decided I must always keep the crock filled through the warmer months.

A grouping of objects relational to each other through color, function or design can be a fun focal point.

The author of Priorhouse Blog once gave me a tip on using Dr. Bronner’s Mint Soap as a scrub. I haven’t bought the soap as of yet, but I did find a lotion by the same company. It’s fabulous…not heavy or too fragrant, nicely minty and rubs in without leaving a greasy feel.

I haven’t taken part in Norm’s Thursday Doors for quite awhile, and this week’s color challenge afforded me the perfect opportunity. This is the back yard view of my neighbors blue garage door. There once was a six foot fence between us, but it has been taken down; I love the expanded view of nature I have now. The bougainvillea on the border of our yards reminds me of Jamaica. In most parts of Jamaica the plant grows wild along the roadways and is also cultivated as hedges. Originally bought in a hanging basket it was impossible to keep watered. It’s doing much better in a large earthenware pot. My bougainvillea is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

I wanted to include a bit of the local wildlife/birds in my post. My days aren’t complete unless I take notice of the creatures, trees, flowers and foliage the Lord God has created. I thought these three starlings on a bare branch were worthy of a photo for Skywatch.

I put together a trio of angels for my porch this week. A very easy project using oyster and clam shells along with amazing GOOP glue. You could use any type of shell for this project. I was inspired by the many types of shell angels on Pinterest.

A simple wire hook on the back makes the angels easy to hang.

Lastly, a bit of old-fashioned whimsy. In times past stilts were a popular sight at fairs and carnivals. Nowadays, it’s rare to see someone on stilts walking with such ease in the middle of town on Friday night. This photograph, part of Kammie’s Oddball Challenge, was taken in Pitman, New Jersey, on Fourth Friday.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #3

We’ve been having some major storms, tree limbs down, streets turned into rivers, power outages, but whatever the circumstances around me, inside, I want to be rejoicing and praising God.

I’m hoping to take part through the coming year in Tourmaline’s Color Your World Challenge, this week the theme color is black.

Each day, before the heat becomes too great and my resolve to have healthy habits melts, I take a morning walk. One of my daily jaunts found me walking the path beside Glen Lake. Beautiful dragonflies shimmer as they rest upon the bushes and reeds surrounding the water.

My coffee reflects the sky and the trees above me and becomes part of this week’s Skywatch Friday Challenge. Drinking coffee black has health benefits. I switched over from adding sugar and milk to drinking it black over a decade ago. I never have stomach upset as I sometimes did when adding milk and sugar. Black coffee is amazing!

The dark water around the lilypads seems colorless, but I see reflections and swirls and I begin to feel a little of Monet’s spirit prompting a bit of creative watercolor daydreaming.

I’ve been harvesting herbs and flowers to use in cooking and crafts. After drying in the dehydrator I give them added air time on a sweater hanger in a closet.

I am still sowing seeds. It’s too hot for tender greens outdoors so I am growing them in a sunny window. Arugula, Mesclun and Black-Seeded Simpson Lettuce are sprouting well. I’ll grow and thin them indoors and eat them as microgreens.

My winter sown pansies are still growing and blooming in the intense heat of July. They are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day. The deep purple of this pansy mimics the color black.

I’m reading two books at this time and listening to a third. Erik Larsons book, In the Garden of Beasts, tells the historical facts surrounding the beginning of Germany’s rise to power and the people involved. The story is told through the experiences of William Edward Dodd, Ambassador to Germany prior to the start of WWII, and his daughter, Martha.

I just started reading a book on techniques for saving seeds, Starting and Saving Seeds, by Julie Thompson-Adolf. My third book is an audio choice, read beautifully by LeVar Burton; the biography of Fred Rogers is creating in me an even greater admiration for the man and the path he forged for educational television.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

 

 

 

Put in a Nutshell – A Month of Sundays #2

I love the resiliency of Queen Anne’s Lace. It is considered an invasive weed by some, but I find its lacy petals and ferny foliage beautiful.

Although it looks delicate, it’s one tough plant. It can grow just about anywhere. This blossom is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

The Queen Anne’s lace is growing near the docks on the Fortescue Creek. This photo is part of Skywatch.

Saturday morning we went fishing at the Delaware Bay. Rose hips, growing on the sand dunes near the water, are another plant with great resiliency. I find the fruit of the wild roses beautiful against the rustic slats of the dune fences.

The air was filled with beautiful dragonflies finding resting spots on tall stems and trees. Unfortunately, another not so nice insect was also buzzing around…the Greenheads have arrived. If you don’t know what I mean by a Greenhead Fly, and have never been bitten by one, consider yourself very lucky! We have found that Avon Skin So Soft mixed half and half with water works great in keeping all kinds of biting insects off of us when we are outdoors. If you want to know more about Greenhead Flies, Yankee Magazine has a great article: Greenhead Flies.

A bit of a drama played out in front of me while I searched for photo opportunities. A very old gull seemed to study me. I know the wiliness of gulls when food is involved. My husband has had a hoagie and french fires snatched out of his hands by gulls flying past.  I think the gull realized I was lacking any type of food and he sauntered away.

The next time I saw him he was helping himself to a fisherman’s bait board.

The fisherman, realizing he was an old bird, was so kind, and gently shooed him away. I was touched to see him cut away a piece of his bait and throw it out to gull as he swam in the water. I think this gull deserves to be part of Bird of the Day.

Later we thought we saw the fisherman pull in a fish. I sure hope it was a big one; he deserved it for his kindness.

I don’t have any projects going on right now, I’m too tied up with gardening and outdoor activities, but a few ideas are percolating around in my head. I can feel the itch to start something new beginning to take hold. Maybe I’ll paint a portrait of this Cabbage White Butterfly. I love the detail of his eyes and antennae as he sips nectar from my lavender blooms. The creativity of God in even the simplest of creatures always brings me a sense of awe and praise. This photo is part of Sunday Stills – Creatures and Critters with Wings.

If you have Haagen-Dazs ice cream in your area sample their Sea Salt Caramel Truffle flavor. The lid says it’s a limited edition. I think I’m going to have to write a letter and beg them to keep making it. It’s AMAZING! I think the only thing that could make it better is to scoop it out with Pepperidge Farm’s Chessmen cookies.

I’m a big believer in going barefoot outdoors even into old age if you are able. Barefoot is Best – this is a fact you can easily prove for yourself. Feeling blue? Take your shoes off and walk in sand, water, grass, or even on bare ground. This process is called ‘earthing’ or ‘grounding.’ I’m a believer! This week I felt especially buoyant when I walked barefoot on a rainy day. More information can be found here: Benefits of Going Barefoot. Try it, the only drawback is dirty feet!

That’s pretty much my week. I wonder what the new one will bring? I’m happy to have my computer back from the shop. The problem was the power cord, worn out after years of use. It was a reasonably priced repair, and I’m very grateful for that too. It’s much easier to blog on a larger keyboard. I love my tablet but using it to write posts is difficult. Until next time…

Pheathers – Lion or Lamb

DSCF7328 (2)

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens

Beneath the blue skies of midweek it appeared March might come in cold, but beautiful and clear. I admired the migratory flock of birds dotting my neighbor’s tree. Host to an iridescent mix of grackles, red-wing blackbirds, cowbirds and starlings, the tree was the stage for a twittering cacophony of bird talk.

Unfortunately, winter has not reached its turning point, and March arrived wrapped in a mantle of snowfall. Regardless of its chilly start, I know warmer, radiant weather will eventually ensue and appease my winter-weary mood. March days will soon find me in my garden turning over the soil to once again welcome spring.

Pleasures – Warm Day Walkabout/Emerging Spring

We’ve had an up and down week, snow one day, gorgeous sunshine and a taste of springtime the next. A midday walkabout was just what I needed.

A glance upward revealed a blush of Venetian red maple buds against the blue sky.

In my yard I noticed the wisteria pods have been scavenged for food. Spring can’t come quick enough for the hungry animals.

The daffodils are pushing upward. I love the smooth texture of the spring green in contrast to the brown leaves, mosses, and dried grass textures of winter.

I checked on my winter sown containers. Nothing is sprouting as of yet. It’s time for me to take my permanent marker outdoors again and reinforce the labeling of the contents. I don’t want to try and guess what’s growing inside when it’s time to plant.

As always, the first bloom in my garden is this tiny yellow crocus. Every year, it’s a reliable forerunner of all the glorious flowers to come. Am I excited about this taste of spring? Oh Yes!

Praise – Gratitude

“Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.”     ~ A. W. Tozer


In the winter, I’m grateful for the barrenness of the tree branches, for they give me wonderful views of the neighborhood birds. Even a humble grackle is a glorious representative of feathered beauty as he suns himself in the sunshine of a January morning.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” —Robert Brault


A nuthatch having breakfast on a pine cone thrills me, and my heart is filled with gratitude as I witness God’s providence for the birds of the air. God bless you on this Sabbath Day

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” —Robert Brault

This post is part of this week’s Skywatch.

Praise – Looking Up

“To bear witness to God the Father, to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and to be guided by the Holy Spirit.”
~ Parish of St. Michael the Archangel

I love the mission statement, quoted above, of the Parish of St Michael the Archangel. What an amazing goal and purpose for a church in this modern age.

We were on a drive and spotted this beautiful bird on the steeple of St. Catherine of Sienna. (Merged in 2010 with Parish of St. Michael the Archangel.)

““As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“There are joys which long to be ours. God sends ten thousands truths, which come about us like birds seeking inlet; but we are shut up to them, and so they bring us nothing, but sit and sing awhile upon the roof, and then fly away.”
~Henry Ward Beecher

The modern world chooses not to honor God’s truths or hear his voice. In many churches world views contrary to God’s word are condoned in the name of love. I plan to keep looking up, my eyes and spirit focused on God’s truths, instead of being in agreement with what the world considers politically correct.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday.

Phriday Pheathers – Over-wintering

White Egret in Salt Marsh – Fortescue, New Jersey

I read a post today written by Be Creative Mary that spoke of the salty smell of East Coast seashores. My state’s coast, including the Delaware Bay, also has a distinctive fragrance of salt marsh. Even though we are in the throes of cold wintry weather, the first day of the year was filled with amazing birds over-wintering in the salt marshes of the Bay near Fortescue.

The swans were busy grooming, but one lifted its head long enough for me to capture their graceful beauty.

The sparrows, sheltering in bushes near the beach houses, were a cheerful sight to begin the year of 2019. The scrubby brush provided wintry hospitality for the small birds. I felt a sense of gratitude to see and hear the sweet chirping of this small flock.

I am hoping, that although most of the birds seem to be common house sparrows, perhaps there are a few that are a member of the endangered Salt Marsh Sparrow and the species will experience a recovery of numbers in the coming years.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday and Friday Foto Friends.

Photo Challenges – Copper Snow & Candelabra Trees

We had a small snowstorm this week. It took me by surprise; I hadn’t heard the forecast and didn’t know snow was on the way.

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.”

                                  ~ Henry David Thoreau

Can a snowstorm be perfect? This one was near perfection, quick, never accumulating on roads or sidewalks, in and out of the area in a hurry, leaving behind a beautiful dusting of white to reflect the waning sunlight.

The winter sun gleamed so brightly in the sky it almost seemed as if it had become a supernova for a moment, illuminating the frozen landscape with a burst of copper.

I looked up the street towards my friend‘s house; she would soon be one of the drivers heading home from work. Maybe she had already made plans to open the curtains, heat up a hot drink, and enjoy the beauty outside her window. The tree in her backyard blazed so bright in the sun it resembled a lit candelabra.

In my backyard, the sun continued to set, leaving behind a pure lavender and gold sky…utterly breathtaking! Winter does have its delights after all.

“Silently, like thoughts that come and go, the snowflakes fall each one a gem

                                          ~William Hamilton Gibson

Places & Pheathers – Town, Country & The Pied Pipers of Raptor

Small Business Saturday has arrived, and we supported the cause by window-shopping in one of the small towns near us, Pitman, New Jersey. I like the reflection of the Broadway Theater in the door.

It’s fun to check out how the small businesses decorate their windows to draw shoppers inside.

We went from town to a small woods and field behind our home. As we walked, a large bird swooped in front of us, almost as if it was showing off a bit, and flew to a tree on the edge of the field. What excitement filled us to see not just one very large hawk, but two. I zoomed in with my camera and after downloading was able to make out their markings. I believe they are a pair of red-tailed hawks, although one appears to be much older than the other. Not only did we see them, they were very aware of us and split up, one flying into the horizon beyond the woods and one towards the homes nearby.

I followed the hawk that flew to the trees near our neighborhood as if it was the Pied Piper of Hamelin, or as my imagination deemed it while I played catch up with it on foot: The Pied Piper of Raptor. I never did get close enough to get a photograph without using the zoom on my lens. Smart birds! What a perfect Saturday we’ve had, a little bit of town, a little bit of country.

This post is part of Skywatch.

Phriday Phads, Pheathers & A Photo Challenge – Pull Up a Seat

I was pulling the trash cans to the curb when my neighbor across the street called out to me, “Look up.” I did, immediately ditched the trash can, and ran for my camera. I was lucky and the bronze and brown hawk wasn’t disrupted by my motion beneath him. He sat prettily for his portrait against the overcast sky. He’s a beauty, and I believe he is the same hawk I’ve written of in past posts.

For some reason he brought to mind pole-sitters. I’m assuming that in the generations born after me, most people have no idea what constitutes a pole-sitter. Pole-sitting didn’t take a lot of skill, just a bit of bravado and endurance.

Wikipedia says: “Pole sitting is the practice of sitting on top of a pole (such as a flagpole) for extended lengths of time, generally used as a test of endurance. A small platform is typically placed at the top of the pole for the sitter. Led by the stunt actor and former sailor Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly, flagpole sitting was a fad in the mid-to-late 1920s, but mostly died out after the start of the Great Depression.”

If you have never heard of pole-sitting, take a look at this quick Youtube video:

This post is part of Pull Up A Seat Challenge.

Pheathers – Russets

Autumn walks are glorious. I enjoy looking up and finding sunlit leaves to photograph.

Yesterday, I noticed an especially tall tree with brilliant color in the distance. In a patch of barren branches glowed one shining leaf. When I zoomed in with my camera lens, I found my single leaf was a robin basking in the sun, his feathers perfectly matching the russet of the leaves. Robins, like geese, don’t seem to fly south anymore, but winter over in many northern areas.

Journey North has an excellent article on why robins winter-over in the north. One reason I might see so many in my area is the abundance of natural food source trees and bushes in our area.

Here’s a few of the Autumn trees in my area of New Jersey this week. I can’t wait until the leaves lay ankle-deep on the sidewalks like a gigantic potpourri of color. What fun it is to kick through the piles, enjoying the inimitable fragrance and crunch of the dry leaves beneath my feet. This post is part of Skywatch Friday.

Photo Challenge – Fore #2/Pitman Golf Club

Today’s Weather Vane Wednesday post is once again a golf theme. The weather vane is quite large in comparison to the first golf vane post. You can find this nattily-dressed golfer atop the Pitman Golf Club in Pitman, New Jersey.

A little closer…

The photo is a bit blurry since I zoomed in from afar, but you can see by the weathered surface the weather vane has been there quite awhile. I like his jaunty cap.

Thanks so much to the 59 Club for two weeks of #weathervaneweds posts.

The 59 Club/Faith During Calm and Turbulent Times
…and…
The 59 Club/Dock Duty

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!

This post is part of Skywatch Friday/September 11th Edition.

Psalm & Peculiarities – Sky Surprises

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” ~ Psalm 19:1

The sky was full of God’s glory this morning; the moon visible against the brilliant blue of the heavens.

The geese noisily serenaded the morning as they flew toward the local lake.

The birds perched on the pines and added their songs.

An odd sound whooshed into the morning chorus. A hot air balloon moved across the sky, probably on its way to programs at Rowan University, only a mile or two from my home.

The balloon flew close enough to zoom in on the people in the basket.

God bless you on this Sabbath Day.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday.

Phriday Pheathers – Woody Woodpecker

I loved the cartoon Woody Woodpecker when I was a child. I haven’t seen Woody on television for years; he’s been replaced by cartoons full of gadgets and superheroes. I miss his ornery laugh and pecking. Here are a few woodpeckers and what I think might be a Northern Flicker. I have found a camera with a powerful zoom helps me get an up-close glimpse of the birds I see on bare branches.

These photographs are part of Skywatch Friday.
The post is also linked to: Dear Kitty, Some Blog – Great Spotted Woodpecker

Phriday Pheathers – Epic Photograph

I often see hummingbirds in my yard, usually sipping nectar from flowers, but by the time I get my camera they disappear. Yesterday, I was lucky and had camera in hand when I spotted a hummingbird land on a bare branch in the pine tree.

Being able to photograph this beautiful and very fast little bird, was, for me, epic. That brings me in a roundabout way to a new blog challenge I’m taking part in on the Pix to Words blog. Why is it the perfect day to take part? Well, the photo I took might be ordinary to you, but it is EPIC for me, and that is the challenge word for the week. A big thank you to everyone who takes time to offer challenges for bloggers to take part in. Maybe something epic is happening in your week too.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday.