Monday, August 15, 2011

Newsletter - 8/15/11

Hello Dear Friends,

Squirrel Eating Green Holly Berry
Our squirrels have been hogging down on green holly berries.  I've seen them doing this in previous years, but it's like they're on a feeding frenzy the past few weeks and I'm actually not happy about all that they've removed from our trees.  Especially the ones closest to our windows where I can watch the winter birds enjoying them.

We have plenty of hollies so the birds will still have their share when they ripen this fall, but what does bother me is that these guys chew a branch of holly berries off and let it drop to the ground to shrivel up and die with the berries being of no benefit to anybody.  Unless our little deer mice enjoy dried green holly berries.  Who knows?

There seems to be a lot of different behaviors being observed in wildlife this year.  I do wonder what they're trying to tell us?

Randal With Biggest Ever Slice of Bread He Made
Randal had an exciting day the last time he made bread with his bread machine. He looked in the window before it was done and the bread was already at the top of the machine. By the time it finished it was squished into the window.

After tediously removing it from the baking pan, he sliced a piece off and I snapped this photo. As you can see, it looks like a hoagie roll or something, but it's only one end slice of a very tall loaf of whole grain bread.

Guess who got to eat that piece of bread? Yep! It was me. I love end pieces of freshly made bread. My great grandfather baked bread in his home and I went with him to deliver it to a few folks in the small town we lived in. He put the loaves in a basket lined with a towel and covered with another. The price was a nickel a loaf. Same price as a Hershey bar back in those days.

Herbs, Spice and Baking Drawer
Since we finished the painting and the carpet and in the process reorganized all the closets and drawers getting rid of anything we have not been using, I thought it would be a great time to take another digital inventory of the home, so I have begun that project. This photo is my bulk herb and spices drawer.

It would seem not a big deal to go through and take quick snapshots of what you own, but when you get into drawers and cabinets, you need to be sure that all items are visible and that does take some time. It's a good thing to do if you make sure you store the CD you make of photo files somewhere outside of your own home. In the case of theft, they probably wouldn't take it away, but there's always a chance of damage by storms or fire. Not a good thought, but it's wise to be prepared.

Our friends, Carolyn and Chuck, took a month-long trip out West, traveling 7500 miles in that amount of time, visiting many places they'd dreamed of seeing "one day."  We all have to make sure we schedule those "one day / some day" events into our lives.  We have to take time to make our dreams come true.

© Donna L. Watkins - BIson at Yellowstone NP
One of the places they visited was Yellowstone National Park.  After listening to her tell of their visit there, I had to go view my own Yellowstone National Park photo album and enjoy some sweet memories time in the West myself.

That trip was special since we flew in our son to join us on the trip after a convention we had earned through our business.  The entire trip was one of those great "making memories" events.

We visited Idaho for the first time and all of us were surprised at its beauty.  Our favorite spot in Idaho was Upper Mesa Falls in Ashton.  We also had a great time in Utah visiting a Great Salt Lake Preserve, Logan Canyon and Bear Lake, and a really nice Nature Center in Ogden.

© Donna L. Watkins - Thanksgiving Point - Utah
Before Ben arrived, we had a wonderful time in Salt Lake City at the Nature's Sunshine convention.  We had earned an amazing hotel suite that made me not want to leave the room(s).  What a treat.  Queen for a Week.

They also took us to an amazing place called Thanksgiving Point that was gorgeous!

In my last issue of the newsletter, I had mentioned the lack of Japanese Beetles this year on our Rose of Sharon bushes. Doing a bit of questioning with friends locally and looking online, it appears that there's few Japanese Beetles anywhere this year. Very interesting! It's certainly a blessing for many.

© Donna L. Watkins - Marmorated Stink Bug
It seems the big deal here, and in some other areas also, is the Marmonated Stink Bug. The FDA even ruled to allow use of a non-approved pesticide due to the damage they have caused.

We do have some of these on our Rose of Sharon bushes this year but not an abundance like others saying there's hundreds.

What I'm really puzzled about is whether or not the stink bugs are the reason for a trouble-free Japanese Beetle problem?  The stink bugs sure do minimal damage compared to the JB's as far as visual appearance of the bushes.  I'm sure some of our birds are consuming some but I don't know which ones.  I've only read that European Starlings enjoy them and we don't have those other than a few drop-ins during migration.

© Donna L. Watkins - Crab Spider on Rose of Sharon
While I was outside one day I noticed a Rose of Sharon bud that had stink bug eggs on it and also nymphs that had come out of them. There were a bunch of stink bug eggs, but only a few stink bugs. However I found lurking nearby a crab spider and wondered if he was dining on the provision of nearby food (you can see some of the eggs in the lower left corner).

I did read online that some people have observed spider webs nearby their stink bug populations with spiders consuming them.

This week I took a picture of what I thought was a fly.  After many years and many flies, I realize that my lack of knowledge in bugs always gives me surprises when I crop my photos and get an ID on the bug.  This one had me wondering if it was a fly with the shape of it's body and then the pretty design on the wings made me think of dragonflies, although I knew it wasn't one.

I was excited to find out it was a fly from the Dolichopodidae family, aka Long-legged Fly .  Yeah, those scientific names blow me away too, but it does break things down for identification.  There are actually 7000 species within this family.  The number of insect and bug species always astounds me and leaves me feeling smaller than a bug in comparison of people populations versus insects.

© Donna L. Watkins - Long-legged Fly - Beneficial for Garden
The long-legged fly eats soft-bodied invertebrates.  Adult flies are predaceous on small mites, aphids and flea hoppers, booklice,  thrips, flies, silverfish, small caterpillars and other insects.  You really want to have this little guy in your yard and in your garden.  He is very beneficial.  He also eats nectar from flowers for carboyhydrates.  He was on a Black & Blue Salvia leaf.

Life is never dull when you've got God's Creation outside your door.  Of course, it makes it very hard to stay inside to work and get your household chores done ... but it seems all that needs to be accomplished gets done ... maybe from the peace and joy attained in a short outdoor stroll with Jesus.  Those walks sure do help you to determine what the real priorities are in life.  Take a walk through our garden at the Bluebird Cove Online Gallery.  Bluebird Cove is what we fondly call our one acre wildlife habitat.

If you enjoy this newsletter ... share it with somebody else.  Thanks!

Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now • Online Catalog • Women • Men • Children • Essential Oils

The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website: © 2011 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

No comments:

Share This Post