Monday, September 7, 2020

 Today I had a great day watching a female Monarch butterfly sipping nectar off of my Zinnia's and then flitting around my milkweed dropping eggs everywhere she went.  I got this on camera ya'll!!!  It was fascinating to watch and to know in about 5-7 days I will have these little caterpillars wandering around.  I did take a few in to watch the process unfold.  

I have decided to scrapbook a few of these and hang in a frame inside of my Butterfly Shopette.  Yes, a new name that my husband and I came up with recently.  I was casually calling it my shop when I said I was headed there.  My husband's building is his shop.  In the Air Force, we had these little convenient stores on base called shoppettes.  So now you know where we got the name.  His "shop" and my "shopette".

I'm going to attach a couple of pictures from this weekend.  I finally caught a ruby-throated hummingbird in action.  Those little things are hard to get a picture of.  They are sure filling up on nectar and I know it won't be long before they are migrating.  I will miss these little guys but will look forward to their return in the Spring.  The other pictures are of the female monarch in various stages.  She is actually dropping an egg on the milkweed.  I'm hoping these could be migrators.  

I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.  Blessings to all until next time.



Saturday, July 11, 2020

Better late than never

Hello everyone.  I hope you are all safe and enjoying the beautiful sunshine we have been blessed with.  It is pretty hot today so I decided to catch you all up on the garden progress.  I'm going to attach pictures as I go. 

This spring and summer have been a crazy time due to the pandemic.  I have been working from home since March 17th.  We just returned to our offices last week full time.  The weekends have been packed full of time in the garden.  I have had the best time with my butterfly caterpillars.  I have raised about 25 this year.  A mix of Monarchs and Eastern Black Swallowtails. 

This period has also given me time to reflect and appreciate all that God has given me and to do more with what I have.  I have always loved beautiful gardens but haven't had the time or energy to really make it a priority until this year.  I am no garden expert for sure but learning new things and watching what happens when you put your best efforts towards a goal is so satisfying. 

I did plant several things by seed.  I have learned patience with seed planting for sure.  I got frustrated and had failures but I learned so much.  One packet of zinnia seeds did not germinate at all.  I decided to replant something in its place and it turned out perfectly.  In the past, I might have dwelled on the failure but this year I decided to keep on trying and kept on moving forward. 

Enough talk, let's get to the pretty pictures! 

This first picture is a side by side photo of my butterfly garden just outside my big window.  June vs July difference.  Now when I first started planting back in March / April, I thought the July picture would be what things should look like in May.  Wow, I was wrong.  Patience - remember patience. 
Things in this garden include Zinnia's, Phlox, Purple coneflower, Purple pincushion, Coreopsis, Penta, Lantana, Aster, Cosmos, Shasta Daisy, two kinds of Lavendar and Gomphrena.  The zinnia, purple coneflower, and phlox were all from seed.  I just planted the cosmos a few weeks ago and they are starting to get tall but no blooms yet. 

In that very far back corner of the yard is my milkweed corner.  I have been overridden with aphids but today I saw light at the end of the tunnel with some lacewings and ladybug larva.  Here is a picture of the ladybug larva.  Can't believe this will be a ladybug!  

Here is a pink zinnia with the blue bachelor's button.  These two were from seed together in the same area.  I am impressed by how long the bachelor's button has lasted in this heat.  They are starting to fade but still, some are blooming.  

Next is my dahlia that I started from seed in January in the house.  Also, my lemon spice jalapenos.  They are just now starting to turn yellow.  

This next one is the latest planting.  I wanted to use my grandfather's wheelbarrow somewhere.  It has a few holes in the bottom so I thought it would make a great planter.  I had a bare spot in my Dad's rose garden so here it sits with purslane planted inside.

Mexican petunia's that I received from a co-worker.  They just started blooming!  I have a butterfly bush beside it, milkweed in a pot, and a mum behind it.
Here is my lemon bee balm that I started from seed.  I split these up around the yard and love them.  I've got to get the correct name from the seed pack.  I may be saying it wrong.  I use common names most of the time.  Some call this wedding cake plant.
Magnolia tree bloom, and my Pride of Barbados plant.

This is one of three Hawaiian Plumeria.  They are in their second year so I'm hoping for blooms next year.  

Pink Seminole Hibiscus.  One of my very favorites!
These last two are showing a hummingbird on my red zinnias and an Eastern Black Swallowtail egg.  I have 6 caterpillars currently and 2 eggs left to hatch.  I do have one chrysalis ready to eclose any day. 

I hope this puts a smile on your face and love in your heart today.  There are so many things to be thankful for.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I'll visit you soon.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Caterpillars galore

Good Morning,

I hope you are all healthy and safe.  The new Covid-19 virus is nothing to mess with.  Please stay safe.  I have been doing a lot of mail orders instead of getting out and about.   I'm glad the shed is finished.  I had envisioned a slow start, getting things all in order, arranging things and getting my milkweed plants planted ready for Monarchs.  Well, mother nature had a different idea for me.  The day I moved into the shed, I looked out at my last year's milkweed in the garden and noticed a butterfly.  I thought surely not on March 19, 2020, did I already get Monarch eggs???  Yes, I did!  I got 10 eggs deposited on the smallest milkweed leaves of my newly emerged Butterfly Weed.  I brought them in and started the process of the watch.  They started to emerge on Tuesday, March 24th.  The tiniest caterpillars I have ever seen.  I've been carefully cleaning their containers all week and they are growing like crazy.  I have had 3 casualties.  2 caterpillars just didn't make it - got caught up in the lid and paper towel.  The other one just didn't hatch.  It is expected but I'm still a little disheartened. 

I did gain 7 new caterpillars from the two butterfly weed plants I ordered.  I had planted them and left them in my shed to grow to feed my new baby caterpillars.  Little did I know and being such a "newb" at this there were eggs on these two new plants.  Today, Kevin and I went out to check on things and he said,  "There is something eating your plants."  I'm like - What?  As I get closer I said, "Oh My Goodness there are caterpillars everywhere.  Hitchhikers."  I have safely added them to their own butterfly cage to separate them from my other group.  I've heard it is always a good idea in case they may have OE  (OE – Ophryocystis elektroscirrha).  If I would have known or inspected closer, I could have bleached the eggs before they hatched but I didn't.  So now they will stay in their own place and hope for the best. 

It's been a fast and furious few weeks for sure.  I got the majority of my planting done yesterday.  Setting out my seed starts with Dahlia, Lemon Jalapeno, Yarrow, and Coneflowers.    They were about 6"-8" and ready to be in the ground.  I planted Lantana, Pincushion, and Lavendar from a nursery curbside pick-up.   I really wanted a few others but want to pick them out myself and did not want to go inside.  They will wait.  I've got plenty to do for now.  I'm starting my direct sow seeds today of 3 different types of Zinnia, Batchelor's Button, and Phlox.  I sure hope they are successful.

I'm going to leave you with a few pictures showing the progress of the caterpillars, hummingbird moth, and a tree.  I'll try and get a garden pictures soon.  I'm including a picture of a tree that is a host to overnight roost of Monarchs in my backyard.  How lucky can I be!!!  The hummingbird moth was a delight.  I was just sitting out in my backyard and kept feeling something bump my knee.  I was focused on my phone and thought it was Peyton, my ball loving Boston Terrier.  After about the 3rd bump, I noticed the hummingbird moth.  I hit the camera on my phone so fast and got them a quick shot.  After that, he flew away and I haven't seen him since.  It was a great surprise.  Enjoy!


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Lillie Ellen Callaham Hendrix, my Grandmother.  The person I respect and admire most in my life. 

January 16, 2014 – October 8, 2009 (95)
She is the “Ellen” in Minnie Ellen’s Buddy Garden.  She taught me to cook, crochet, to be hospitable and showed me the love of family.  She tried her best to teach me to sew but I was never as good as she was.  She was a very strong and loyal person who many loved and cherished.  I was very lucky to have been chosen as her Grand-Daughter.  I wanted to share this with you in honor of her and to remember her on her birthday today.  I will share more with you later, on the other two names of this garden and my plan to expand other areas as a remembrance of those in my life who have passed.

God Bless and Love to all!  Remember:  If you see a butterfly, think of me.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

01/12/2020 Shiplap

Sunday, 1/12/2020

Shiplap is going up!  We got a full wall done yesterday.  I’m very grateful for our boys who came and helped start the top row during the Christmas break.  They got everything level so the rest of the job goes up so much easier.  Thank you Shayne & Shawn!!!
We have done so much research on shiplap and the various opinions on how to do it, reason’s not to do it, and issues that you can run into.  We remind ourselves each time we read something, this is our project and it’s a shed.  I’m not saying this to diminish this project, it’s just a different perspective.  The joy of working together to accomplish this project is first and foremost for me personally.  I like rustic and I like pretty.  The end result will be just right. 
Here are a few pictures of day 1 Shiplap.

Trim will be placed around this AC/Heating unit.

Day 1 complete

Small floor sample we are going to use.  Lifeproof Vinyl Flooring from The Home Depot.
Color: Seasoned Wood  Link below:

Sink Area

View from outside the large window.  (My Favorite spot is going to be this window)

I’m looking forward to getting some of my Grandmother’s furniture in here. 😊

If you see a butterfly, think of me.


Friday, January 10, 2020

Working on Shiplap this weekend for the inside of the garden shed.  I hope to have pictures for you soon.  It's storming today and tomorrow we are expected to have cold weather - highs about 45 degrees.  Brrrrr  My Sweety and I will be working hard to finish this garden shed.  I'll be starting a few of my seeds this month so I'll keep you up to date on what I've done and how things are going.  Thank you for following and I look forward to sharing with you everything SPRING.   Please note this is my first year to really start gardening so I'm expecting failures for sure.  I'll keep you posted on my experiences.  LOL

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Garden Shed Pictures

Compost Bin location
 Inside looking out the large window and showing the skylights.
 Outside looking in.  There is a storage building that we have had forever in the background.