Winging It

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Last weekend we went to my aunt’s house for her 90th birthday. She is in fine health and has so many stories that she wants to reminisce about. We had a great time with her and I would erge anyone who has a friend or loved one who would love a chat or a visit from you to do so; today. Why put something off for tomorrow that you can accomplish today?  On the way home we stopped by New Clairvaux Winery in Vina, CA.

As we were leaving, a butterfly caught my eye. It’s upper wings were working, what seemed like, excessively hard and fast. I thought it was a hummingbird at first but it was a swallowtail butterfly. I never knew that the butterflies wings could work independently of one another. It was beautiful to see but very difficult to catch in a photo. As we pulled away from the winery, we saw the water iris and another swallowtail butterfly whose wings did not seem to be moving at such a rapid pace. As I drew closer I could see that the wings were quite tattered. I think this is why the movement was slower. What amazing creatures those butterflies are. They fly about the world seeking out the colorful flowers and continuing to fly, even when their wings are breaking down. This is what I think we can take away from the flight of the butterfly; stay true to your course and keep going even when the going gets tough.

Clever Critters

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I am constantly amazed at the critters that grace my yard. They work very hard for their tiny bits of food. I am also inspired nearly every day at the beauty of the flowers and the lift that their colors give my spirit. This begonia reminds me of Santa Cruz and the begonia gardens that were once there. I’m surprised that we are successful at growing them here. It’s hot during the summer but when we find them a little shade they come up and look as if they are hoping they can live in that exact spot forever.

This swallowtail spent nearly all of its time hanging upside down via those spindly legs. It looked perfect but was quite challenging to get a proper photo of. I think a photo of the butterfly hanging this way is appropriate because that was how it was moving about the garden. I always enjoy finding preying mantis in the garden. They look so fierce and annoyed when you find them. I often wonder if they realize how small they are. I suppose they are quite large compared to an aphid. Fall will be here shortly; I can feel it in the air. I suppose those clever critters can feel the season changing too. I’m so blessed they are here and still attracted to this yard.

 

 

Flying Objects

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Last weekend we went in search of wildflowers at Gold Lake Lodge in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  I thought there wouldn’t be many left but I was pleasantly surprised.

 

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Hydaspe Fritillary

I had just been lucky enough to get a good photo of a Fritillary butterfly when another orange flying object caught my eye.  It didn’t look at all friendly and I didn’t want to get too close to it as a few of my former close encounters have not proved to be kind to me.

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Could it be a Cow Killer?

I took my photos to the ranger station and was sure they would know what it was.  They had no idea, nor did the owners of Gold Lake Lodge.  I bought a field guide to the Sierra Nevada and have spent a lot of time on the internet trying to figure out what this beast is.

 

 

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Perhaps in the Bee Family as it was Rather Hairy

I can tell you more about what it is not than what it is.  Can anyone help?  If you have the answer, please let me know.

 

Petals In The Wind

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Out in my backyard today

Is a swirling raucous wind

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Flowering Salmon Quince

So those petals, young and blossoming

Become suddenly strewn in the spin

 

 

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Magnolia Soulangeana Blossoms

I’m so glad I caught images yesterday

For today, they are gone from sight

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Resting Mourning Cloak Butterfly

As the storm will soon come thundering

Unleashing with all it’s might 

 

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Yellow Acacia In Bloom

Each West Winter is bound to repeat this pattern

Yet the flowers return here anew

Brightening up my landscape

Coloring my every view

 

Bonnie L DiMichele 2/2016

Parading

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After years of wondering what it would be like, we finally found ourselves at the Rose Parade.  It was a better experience then I had ever dreamed it would be.  We did get up at 5:30 to get to the parade on time.  Wouldn’t do it that way again, but we weren’t sleeping on the street to see it either, like so many people do.  This float caught my eye.  It could have been that the sun was starting to warm my back.  Everything about it just seemed friendly.

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City of Los Angeles “Discover Los Angeles”

 

This dragon was fire breathing and a spectacular sight.

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Singpoli Group “Marco Polo East Meets West”

The longest float, by far, was the Disney float.  It seemed like it went on for miles.  The magnitude of the hours of volunteer work,  practice, planning, and plant growing that goes into this parade is frankly, unimaginable while you are sitting, watching it travel by.

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Disneyland Resort “Diamond Celebration”

My favorite band was from Japan.  They had smiles on their faces as they danced and jumped about, backwards at times.  Their enthusiasm was contageous.

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Toho High School Green Band Nagoya, Japan

My favorite float had zip-liners floating from one end to the other.  They would reach one side and the tree would grow and off they would zip again.  Very nicely done.

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Dole “Soaring Over Paradise”

I would have included my favorite horse, which looked as though it’s spots had been painted on, but it is quite true that I ran out of battery power on my camera and had to cease taking photos.  I loved just about everything about that weekend.  From the opening B-2 flyby to the sky writing at the tail end of the parade, I know that all those colors will remain with me for a very long time.  Happy 2016 Everyone!

Stepping Outside

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I’ve been noticing lately that there is a stillness about this season that I haven’t noticed before.  It’s very hard to capture that feeling in a photo.

Fall Stillness

Fall Stillness

There’s been no swirling winds that knock the leaves off the branches.  It’s just been incredibly still.  I’m a little worried that we won’t get rain again this winter.

Turning Leaves in Bidwell Park

Turning Leaves in Bidwell Park

I went to Bidwell Park in Chico, California when I was visiting the other day, with the hope that the leaves would be colorful and falling from the trees.  The leaves were just starting to turn and there were so many acorns that it seemed as if they were raining from the sky.  The chatter in the trees was amazing to listen to as the acorns fell from above. 

Illusive Butterfly

Illusive Butterfly

Little did I realize that all I needed to do was step outside into my own backyard to find a sight that I don’t usually see.  We often have Swallowtail butterflies in the yard but seldom do you see a Monarch.

Resting in the Magnolia

Resting in the Magnolia

So when I saw this, I grabbed my camera and waited……and chased……..and waited……and chased……and waited.  This was a very shy butterfly.

Drinking from the Dahlia

Drinking from the Dahlia

My patience paid off and I can return to the calm that continues to surround this season.

Leopards and Swallowtails

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Even though it was hot over the July 4th holiday in the Sierra’s, we managed to hike and find some places of beauty.  We came across an area of Leopard Lilies that were attracting Swallowtail Butterflies.

Leopard Lily

Leopard Lily

They knew that I was close to them but they were so interested in the flowers that they let me move in on them so I could take a closer shot.  There were two of them for a bit but I think this photo is clearer than the other.

Swallowtail Butterfly Enjoying the Leopards

Swallowtail Butterfly Enjoying the Leopards

The conditions are pretty dry in the mountains but there have been several thunder storms and the wildflowers are everywhere.  It’s delightful to see them when you are expecting to see only a few because of the drought.

Wild Flowers of the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Wild Flowers of the Sierra Nevada Mountains

If you read my blog, then you know that I just can’t let a good sunset go to waste.  The last evening there, it was especially nice to view the sunset over The Old Mill Pond.  

Sunset Over The Mill Pond

Sunset Over The Mill Pond

You really should take a road trip to Graeagle, California some time.  It’s a magical place.