Finding Flanders’ Fields

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I’ve missed a couple of weeks of posting and I’ve got a good reason why that happened. I’ve been in the south of France, staying in small villages and fully enjoying the sights. I had wanted to go to Provence, France to see the lavender in bloom but the timing was a bit off so I had to settle for the red poppies as they were still blooming about everywhere we went.

I am happy to be home, but have had an incredible vacation with family and friends. It is a wonderful way to travel and a great way to get to know each other better while in a relaxed environment. These poppies were planted in remembrance of the lives that were lost to war. It seems like we are always at war some place in the world. Sad really. The poppies are beautiful but what they symbolize is war and it’s casualties. It makes you stop and think about the sacrifices people have made to keep us from harms way.

As we traveled about, it was hard to miss the metal doors with peep-holes, the stone buildings with metal shutters, and the lack of children playing in the streets. When I was a child we had many freedoms, so many that we didn’t realize how very wonderful freedom was. Today is different from then. There are often days when I miss those yesterdays.  

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

Little Piece of Paradise

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I often find my mind drifting after I’ve been to Hawaii.  It conjures up images from my most recent trip.  This last visit has proved to do the same.  Once we left the Big Island and arrived in Maui, we had an enchanting experience and I will share more of that in some blogs to follow.  

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Lacey Green Leaves

Look at the leaf here.  There was obviously an insect that thought this plant was quite delicious.  I think it looks a bit like lace.  The leaves caught my eye and then what was behind it caught my imagination.  Wouldn’t you love to live here?  I would!  I wouldn’t mind just visiting here either.

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Looking Like Paradise Awaits

It’s nearly across the street from this little old stone church.  This island has so much to offer and so many long-lasting memories from the pleasant times that I’ve spent here.

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Chapel By The Sea

We went to areas that we didn’t know existed and it leaves (no pun intended) me thinking that I need to return to other islands to see everything they have to offer that I might have missed in the past too.  Always love to return home but then I can’t wait to explore some more…..  

Into The Light

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Illuminated Flower

Illuminated Flower

About a week ago, we went for a walk through the Sacramento Capitol Park.  There was a large vine with many flowers on it and some giant black bumblebees.  It was an amazing sight.  The flowers appeared to be lit from behind and the bees were so large that they would fly behind the flowers to get to the pollen.  Their approach was ingenious, really.  It made me wonder if the light we all finally move towards is as inviting as these illuminated flowers.  Now, read no further if you don’t want to read something very personal, just simply enjoy the photo.

The reason that I have been pondering questions about the light is that my mother is elderly and ill.  I have been spending every day with her and I have had a lot of time to think.  I have come to appreciate the color of her eyes and I so wanted to write a poem for her to help her through this time of her life.  I was so stuck and frustrated.  I had one stanza written and nothing else would come.  I wanted to share it with her and follow it up with the song I had written for her several months prior.  I’ve always thought that it is better to do something for someone and share it with them, then to write something and never be able to touch a person with the very thing, about that person, that stirred feelings in myself.  It was while the caregiver was massaging her legs that I started again, from scratch, and the words just flowed.  I shared it with her yesterday……

Oceans Blue

Fall season settles in on us
Brightening colors turn from green
You are resting so intently
The fullest rest, I’ve ever seen

Never one to take the time
To make yourself feel good
Your selflessness is something
I never fully understood

My mind has many images
That flow with thoughts of you
Remembering eyes that sparkled
With the oceans deepest blue

Always, you were looking
For ways to help another
Taking on the world a bit
Embracing, as a mother

All you were will fill me
My mind will sing, your Irish songs
And I will feel your presence
As your memory carries on

Now I can let you go away,
To that place you’ve longed to be
For in my heart I surely know
Heaven will fill your soul, with glee

For my mother, Nancy Lewis
10/22/2014
Written by: Bonnie DiMichele

Mom loved the poem and piano piece, Autumn Hues, that I had video of on my iPhone.  When I have more time, I will share that with you also.  It wasn’t until recently that I thought about seeing my mother’s eyes, but they are the deep blue of the Monterey Bay.  I am so happy to see them each day.  She asked for blue flowers and I thought flowers didn’t come in blue, but these flowers I had photographed are called…..

Blue Dawn Flower Morning Glory

Blue Dawn Flower Morning Glory

It is quite simple for me, not this time of life, but the tiny thought that, I think that care and concern for others is so very important.  The caregivers for my mother are angels and I can only hope that they will have angels of their own someday.  My mother and I are thankful for them all.  Even when times are tough, remember to be caring.

It’s Busy In The Garden

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I recently traveled up to Canada and spent six hours in The Butchart Gardens.  It was divine!  I’ve been slow on my posts because of this trip, and I hope to share some special moments with you, now that I have returned.  The garden is a very busy place.  It is not only busy with tourists but insects too.  It was easier to catch a flower with a bug on it than not.  I think the insects should be included in photos with the flowers; if we did not have them working so hard, we would be in sorry shape here on Earth.

Getting nectar from the flowers.

Getting nectar from the flowers.

The Sunken Garden was one of my favorite places at Butchart Gardens.  It is filled with flowers and this is surely the place that I would want to be, if I were a bee.  This area was filled with people, but if you are patient, you can catch a photo without people and have a bee included, as they are happily flying about everywhere.

Life in The Sunken Garden.

Life in The Sunken Garden.

Look at the legs on this bee.  Busy, productive day.

Legs heavy with pollen.

Legs heavy with pollen.

The Dahlia’s were in full bloom and absolutely beautiful.  We had gone to The Dahlia Barn outside of North Bend, WA and are eagerly awaiting our April shipment, 2015.

Blending In

Blending In

Working Together

Working Together

I’m off to organize the trip with my photos.  I’m going to try to be back on my Tuesday blog schedule by next week.  Until then, go out and smell the roses, clip the dahlias for a bouquet, and fully enjoy your weekend.

Whistful Water Waifs

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This will be a very short post, but I promise to fill my pages with wonderful photos from my Pacific Northwest trip.  I am simply overwhelmed right now.  I did want to share this with you though.  We went to Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, OR while on our trip.  The busyness of the bees was so much fun to watch.  I captured this photo and you can almost see the wings of the incoming bee.

Busy Bees on Lilies

Busy Bees on Lilies

I somehow missed ever seeing a water lotus before.  All the gardens that I have been in, have never boasted with the complex beauty that I found in these flowers.  I am only up to the 4th day of our trip, while sorting out the photos.  I try to put the photos in a book within 3 days of my return.  That will be tough this time.  So much has happened since we’ve been gone.  Hang in there with me……there is so much more to follow……..I hope you like these garden shots as much as I do.  

Beautiful Water Lotus

Beautiful Water Lotus