Saturday, June 15, 2013

Newsletter - 6/15/13

The Nature In Us Newsletter

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"Until you make peace with who you are
you'll never be content with what you have." -- Doris Mortman

Hello Sweet Friends!

Donna at Brookgreen Gardens
Murrells Inlet, SC
Quite awhile back I was contacted by a professor who was doing a book on beetles. He had seen one of my photos on a particular beetle and asked if it could be included. No payment, but a free copy of the book when published. Since I never intended to sell my photos, that works for me!  I have people telling me all the time that I need to sell my photos, but taking photographs is a hobby, something fun to do, not something that I want to consider work. I have enough "work" areas of my life, this one is a simple pleasure.

When somebody contacted me for use of the photo for the book, "Beetles of Eastern North America," it was a simple yes in response. All I had to do was send him the full-size image and it was done. Allowing use of the photo would render me a free book, so I was very excited. A couple weeks ago I received the "Permission Request For Images" form to sign, so it's moving right along. Expected publication date is 2014. The book will be about 550 pages and will sell for $30-35. It makes me smile! Especially since this is the year that I've been delivered from the fear of June Bugs, which was based on a trauma I had in my early 20's in Mexico. Now I can pick them up if I need to "relocate" them.

Consider this: Before the age of 42 I had been totally terrified of bugs and could do no more than stand on a chair and scream or run. Isn't God amazing and faithful! Twenty years ago I was delivered from my extreme fear of bugs.  When we trust Him to take away our fears, He will do it when we begin to change what we think about those fears. 

It was when we moved to the woods and I fell in love with so many new things in His Creation that I realized a fear of bugs was not going to fit, so I determined to change my mind on the topic and look at bugs differently. My mind was rewired on that fear and it's been a wonderful experience. I am now totally in love with bugs. Roaches? Yeah, they kinda freak me out, but I can capture it in a cup and put it out. Notice I say "it" because we have wood roaches, not the German kind that arrive in swarms.

© Donna L. Watkins - Squirrel With Watermelon
View Enlarged Image
If you're into gardening, I read a couple of great ideas for containers. Since the deer eat a lot of plants I love, we've got a deck full of pots to hold plants we can't keep in the ground here. Fortunately the deer don't come on the deck, although they have at other people's homes. We put our fruit and veggie scraps out for the wildlife and they enjoy some of them, especially melons of all kinds. I cut off the rind on cantaloupes and honeydews when cutting them up and there's enough flavor and food value in them for the deer. When I finish eating watermelon, I cut up the rind since they really like that. Even the squirrels enjoy the watermelon.

Well ... back to the container ideas. Have you seen those huge tubs with rope handles? Somebody suggested removing the rope handles and drilling holes in the bottom for drainage. They cost about $7 compared to a huge pot that might be $65-70. The person mentioning it painted them with colorful flowers also. The other one I liked was to fill an old wheelbarrow full of dirt and plants. Then you could move it about for a point of interest spot in your garden. Again, you could spray paint it and paint flowers on the outside also.

I mentioned in the last newsletter that I was concerned about not seeing any baby birds. Since then they have been popping up all over. We have wee little ones from the chipping sparrow family, house finch, downy woodpecker, cardinal, and brown thrasher. This cutie seemed to be delighted with one of the stepping stones. Although it flew away when it saw me with the camera the first time, it returned to continue its antics on the stepping stone and I got a shot between the plants it thought was hiding it. I love these birds after having an up-close-and-personal experience with one.

© Donna L. Watkins - Brown Thrasher
View Enlarged Image
In 2007 I was working at the dining room table and a male (assuming by its behavior) came to the front porch table that was pressed against the window. It was early morning and the sun was shining in on the porch so he must've seen his reflection and thought of it as another male. 

He entertained me for over 20 minutes, although he didn't seem to even know I was there, much less that I had taken 50 pictures of which I ended up with 33 to keep. It is a sweet memory I have treasured since then. View photo album:  Romanced By a Brown Thrasher

The cicada chorus has stopped in our back woods. It had been slowing down as we entered into the month of June and I was seeing a lot of them dead on the ground. Sad ... such a short life and now the offspring have 17 years in the ground before they can emerge and follow the same pattern. We had rain all day on the 5th and until afternoon on the 6th and when it stopped raining I realized there were no more cicada songs from the forest. Definitely a bit of sadness.

I had taken a video of a crow that was right outside our front door on a tree branch and although I was inside the house shooting through a window you could hear the cicada songs loudly competing with the crow.
View Video:  Crow & Cicada Chorus.

© Donna L. Watkins - Female Whitetail Dragonfly
View Enlarged Image
I've been seeing a lot of dragonflies and damselflies lately. Seems to be the time of the year for it here in Central Virginia. My friend, Robin, and I really enjoy them. They look like such cute things with those big eyes and many times brilliant colors. View Male Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly. There's a link on the description for you to see the more colorful male.

Our small frog pond in the backyard provides the habitat they need to mate and for the female to lay her eggs on a plant in the pond or she will sometimes simply drop them into the water. There's also a method called "pond dipping" where the female continually "beats" the water as she is laying eggs. I was able to get a half-minute video of this last June.  
View Video:  Dragonfly Pond Dipping.

Eight years ago today our cat, Skipper, went on to my cottage in Heaven. Of course, Randal would argue that he will be at his place, but we don't argue, so we will just wait and see. Maybe our places will be next to each other and Skipper will belong to both cottages. Skipper was the first of my eight cats to steal Randal's heart. 

 The cats of the household were always considered mine. Not that Randal didn't enjoy them, but he had never had a cat growing up (only dogs), so he wasn't trained in kitty language.That didn't stop Skipper at all. 

I think he decided early on that he was going to win this man's heart. And he did! I suppose one of the reasons was that he humbled himself and became like a dog. He would come when called and would jump up on Randal's lap when requested. 

Our Precious Kitty, Skipper aka Kitty Boy
View Enlarged Image
What dedication Skipper had to his goal of being Top Kitty to the Top Man of the house. He loved to sleep and snuggle and would lie in the most unusual positions, as you can see from the photograph.

I thought I'd share a girl tip, but most likely everybody out there knows about this even though I only found out a few years back. Did you know when your mascara brush gets really dry and seems to be out of mascara, there's still a lot more in there? It just dries out from the air that goes in when we stick and pull that wand in and out. I recently added water to mine for the second time and it's fresh and dark again. Amazes me every time so that's why I had to share.

Yes, I am aware that they tell you to throw old cosmetics away due to concern about bacteria, but I'm thinking the "they" are the cosmetic companies. If I was going to worry over bacteria, I wouldn't have time in any day to do anything else. I've always used my makeup until it's gone and have never had any skin problems or eye infections.

When you consider the chemicals in many of the makeup brands, that would be a more major concern if you want to worry. I've used many cruelty-free (not animal tested) brands in the past 20 years, but found a brand online that's really exciting since it uses fruits and botanical as ingredients. When I went to get the link for 100%, I noticed the mascara I have has been featured on the Today show. Nice! I'm sure this is the brand that Eve used in the Garden. :-)

I have an aunt in Pennsylvania that is a kindred spirit.  She lives in the woods and greatly enjoys all the wildlife around her and provides a "cabin" for a number of stray cats that she has had spayed and neutered.  Heart of gold when it comes to loving animals.  

She sent me a book years ago which I used last year when I was going through my heart battle.  It has amazing photographs of God's Creation, and lyrics to a hymn, and a Scripture.  The rest of the space is for journaling.  I wrote in all the Scriptures that people sent me and all that I found in God's Word about healing and hearts.  This made it an instant source of strength when I would be jolted awake from not being able to breathe.  It kept my mind in the Word and in faith since it was so easy to stay focused on God's Truth with all of that before me.  I wanted to share one of his comments from the book:

For as we rejoice in God's creation and extol Him for the works of His hands and the words of His mouth, we act as a mirror that reflects the glory of those creations back to their Creator. -- Ric Ergenbright from Reflections, Devotional From The Art of God.  

Isn't that awesome!?  We reflect glory back to God, our Abba Daddy.  We honor Him by rejoicing in the works of His hands.  If you look at this book, be sure to check out Ric's other books in this series ... amazing!

Here's a tidbit of information to close with.  Don't cut yourself short on sleep hours.
Sleeping only 4-5 hours a night induces mental impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level above the legal driving limit. (Reference:

Until next issue ....

Receive An Abundance of Blessings!

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Posts Since Last Newsletter

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