Thursday, September 15, 2011

Newsletter - 9/15/11

Hello Dear Friends,

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins
Mushroom Looks Like an Orange with Bits of Icing
In enlarged view it looks like the peel of an orange.
We've had a lot of rain and with each day of it we pray that Texas would be rained on and all water sources refilled.  It certainly makes us grateful for it and hard to complain about rainy days.

With the moist soil we've had oodles of mushroom varieties.  I took a 20-minute walk in our backyard one day and got lots of photographs.

You can view the mushrooms in the Bluebird Cove Garden Gallery.  You can search for the word "mushroom" with the search box at the top to see all mushrooms from this year.

I had such a grand birthday last year to celebrate my 60th, that this year I seemed to have no interest in making any plans.  Our son came last year to celebrate with me and the mere fact that he wouldn't be here this year made looking back at last year's birthday much more appealing than planning for this one.

Donna Opening Gift #1 From Son Who Was On The Phone
Randal kept asking me what I wanted to do and I honestly could come up with absolutely nothing ... which for all who know me well as the great planner ... that was really odd.

By the end of the day, though, we realized that God had plans and that's why my spirit kept saying, "no plans, thank you."  Our family tradition is for our son to call so I can open his gifts while he's on the phone and Randal is snapping away with the camera.

As you can see from the photo, the phone is on the fireplace hearth, I've opened my first gift of a card game, Uno National Parks Version, and Randal is snapping away.  We talked for three hours and ten minutes to our wonderful son with a focus on quite a broad range of topics.  What a treat!  There were other calls, emails and cards that were lined up on the fireplace mantel so it turned out to be a really peaceful and joyful birthday focused around relationships rather than experiences.  Life is a balance of both.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Caryopteris in Bloom
Being a Saturday, we spent much of the day on the screened porch watching the wildlife entertain us.  We have our chaise chairs facing the back woods and right in front of the them is a bed of Caryopteris bushes.  I love the color of them.  They are now blooming.  They were given to us by our neighbor friends, Ken & Yvonne Bushell, years ago.  I've mentioned Ken, the artist, wildlife gardener, engineer,  photographer, etc. who has now moved to Tennessee with all of his talents.  We really miss them.  We still share photos by email - see a few of Ken's photos on my gallery.

We do have other delightful neighbors next door who are lovers of wildlife (and have rescued three beautiful black labs).  She and I email about wildlife in the woods behind us.  Yesterday I received a beautiful short email from her that I considered pure poetry.  I asked her permission to share it with my Creation-loving friends, so here it is:
I'm so excited. Did you hear the Owls last night? They were (I think) two of them outside our bedroom window between our other neighbor's house and ours. I stayed awake listening to them until 1:00 a.m. They were wonderful and the most vocal of any I've ever heard. When we were in NC, we had them all around but they never continually hooted like these two. With the [harvest] moon above and these wonderful sounds, I just couldn't go to sleep and let the beauty of the sky and sounds go to waste. Ahhh.. God's creatures and the lovely sky with all its inhabitants He has created.  God Bless!  D
© Donna L. Watkins
Red-spotted Purple Admiral Butterfly on Sedum
Speaking of wildlife and God's creatures ... I am always amazed at the different personalities of various critters.  The selfishness of hummingbirds is evident as they expend so much energy chasing away others from "their" feeder.  Learning to share would save them all those unnecessary tank-draining flight minutes.

Life is lived better with open hands and fingers, being willing to let some of what God gives us slip through to other hands that are more needy than our own.

Regarding the hummingbirds, I saw something new on the deck where they enjoy the flowering plants that I put in pots because the deer eat them up in the ground.  The sedum has just begun to bloom and the hummingbirds have loved it.  It's also a big butterfly attractor so we've had a variety of butterflies and currently lots of Red-spotted Purple Admirals.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Molting Female Cardinal
It seems the butterfly and the hummingbird both liked the same flower, so the bird would literally chase the butterfly away from that flower every time it landed on it. 

Considering I have three big pots of these blooming sedums on the deck. I simply call that naughty, but then my grandmother used to call me that a lot, and I cannot claim innocence.

Have you been seeing a lot of birds with strange feathers and almost bare spots? They are molting. It's a process of changing coats, much like our kitty does. By the end of August and early September many of birds are looking a bit shabby. There’s nothing wrong with them. After a busy summer of nesting and raising the babies, a bird’s feathers get tattered and worn, so they need replacing.

Our wildlife sure were fast in eating up the two 5-gallon buckets of apples we picked up from the ground of a local orchard for them.  We will be going back in a couple of weeks after we finish the bushel of apples we got from the trees for people eating.  The squirrels were fun to watch as they attempted to carry an apple up a tree to consume it.  Some of them dropped to the ground, but most were successful.  Watch a video of Squirrel Eating Apple on Tree Limb.

Take a virtual visit to our backyard wildlife habitat.  Have you visited the Critter Gallery lately or the Garden Gallery?  You can begin to create your own with information at NWF's Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program website.

Winter will arrive much too soon, so be sure to schedule plenty of playtime in God's Creation this Autumn.  Take pictures and revisit the experience one cold Sunday in winter.  Don't let life be eaten up with all to-do tasks.  We need to relax and play too.

If you enjoy this newsletter ... share the website with somebody else.  There's a "Share This" option on the right side.  Thanks!

Love and Hugs,

View Posts By Topic
Posts Since Last Newsletter

The Harvest Moon This Week

Response to Movie, Contagion

Fluoride Spill at Water Facility Burns Hole in Cement

Faith - Knowing the Unknown

Sept. 11 Memorials Include a Wooded Trail

How God Gives You a Life of Faith

Feline Diminished Thirst Reflex

Getting Your Birds to Stay for The Winter

Portrait of the Bottled Water Industry

God's Looking At His Crop

Turning Golf Courses Into Parks

Don't Cut Back Those Flowers!

Conversion at The Chocolate Factory

Is God Crying Over Grass?

Eco-friendly Gardening Increases Property Values

Bats. Sea Turtles and King Crabs in Danger

Newsletter - 9/1/11

What Happens to Birds in Hurricanes 

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Toxin-Free Pesticides Get Rid of Pests

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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:

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