Friday, April 29, 2011

Foto Friday - A little of this and a little of that

How does one resist going back again,

where your heart sings

and your spirit soars.

Where nature enjoys her own patience

and angels disguised as dragonflies

escort you along the way.

Yes, I went back. How could I not? The weather yesterday was fabulous - a  very nice 71 degrees as I started on my walk, with a bit of a crisp breeze.  Because we are in a drought most days lately are without humidity and I intend to fully enjoy it while I can. Because as soon as we get some rain, they will come . . .  the mosquitoes!! And they make a walk in a place like this nearly impossible.

You would never know from this picture that Galveston Bay is only a few hundred feet away! And at the end of this trail on the edge where the land meets the water something interesting is happening. The shoreline is receding, and no that's not the interesting part, but what it's leaving behind or should I say exposing, is! Yes, I'm leaving you in suspense but I will give you something to ponder. It's a piece of history that dates back about 1,400 to 1,900 years ago and I promise I will let you know in a future post.

As I get closer to the bay and out into the open spaces I have to cross a very small foot bridge that goes over a small inlet of water and when the tide is in so is the marine life. On this day the water was pretty clear and I watched some blue crabs hurry to hide while these little fish gracefully danced through the water as if they were performing a ballet.


As I mentioned earlier, dragonflies, lots of them escorted me along most of my walk. Some flying eye level right along side of me. Red ones, orange ones, blue and green ones, and all camera shy. Then I was able to get only 3 shots of this one before he flew off. With over 200 different odonata (dragonfly and damselfly) species, I believe Texas gets to claim title of dragonfly capitol of the United States.

And then as I was almost finished with my walk I came around the corner to find this squirrel very busy in this grass and all I could see was his tail darting about. But all of a sudden he realized I was there,
stood up, gave me a quick stare and off he went.

I got a shot of this agapanthus at a small park on our main street in town. They only bloom in the
spring and have the nicest true blue flower heads. 

In this same park is this small waterfall feature which was perfect to practice my speed settings.

This one if from Bay Area Design, the view through the door from inside - Love it!!

Have you ever seen a black and white bee - me neither. Have you ever noticed almost perfect circles
cut from some of the leaves of your plants - yes, I have ( especially my roses). Well, this is she, the
female leaf cutter bee and your culprit. And unlike the honey bee she is not a social bee, but solitary
using the cut leaf pieces to construct her nest cells.

I have started planting in my garden and I noticed an immediate increase in butterflies and bees the
moment I brought them home from the nursery.

My daughter needed some more driving practice on the highway so she drove us to Galveston and
 they threw me a bone and let me get out and snap some pics. This is the door handle to the
Ashton Villa, circa 1859. If only this door handle could talk!

The last three times we have gotten up early and I mean early, to watch the sunrise, they have been
very unexciting. All three of them have been almost completely overcast. On this morning, we got just a glimpse of the sun, God's way of saying it's still here. Giving me hope and anticipation to try again. 

I hope you all have a weekend filled with a little of this and a little of that!!

Love, Kim

Friday, April 22, 2011

Foto Friday - A walk, some reflection and a vine called Passion Flower

As tired and exhausted as I have been lately, I needed to take a walk. To walk somewhere that was peaceful, quiet, and where I could reflect on my thoughts.

As I walked I thought about the journey that Jesus took to the cross. What did he see? What did he think about? I thought about how he freely offered his life for ours. How he died in our place on the cross taking our past, present and future sins upon himself. He paid the ultimate price for you and me and he could have saved himself, but endured this suffering because of His love for us.

For this, I am very thankful.

My walk began on a coastal birding trail leading to Pine Gully Park diverse in marsh areas, estuaries and restored wetland. In most areas there are trails on both sides of the marshes where you can cross from one side to the other by an iron bridge. This is the view from one side of the bridge:

Since this area is only about a mile from Galveston Bay the water levels will vary according to the tides. There is an American alligator that lives here, but I have yet to have seen it. And as diverse in nature that it is, I could only hear that which was around me. Everything seemed to be quite elusive on this morning.

That is until I came across this gorgeous dragonfly! He seemed quite happy to have his picture taken, appearing at times to be posing. I could swear that he's smiling in this one!

This dragonfly is a skimmer called Halloween Pennant.

I love the way the light reflected off this grass.

After my walk and a quick lunch with my man I headed over to Bay Area Design in search of some flowers for my garden and to specifically take some pictures of the Passion Flower Vine. The smell alone will capture your heart much less its beauty! But even more interesting is how it got its name.

Spanish Christian missionaries in the 15th and16th centuries named it the passion flower because they believed it symbolized the suffering or "passion" of Christ and his death.

The five petals and 5 sepals which on the passion flower look almost the same, represent the disciples who remained faithful, leaving out Judas the betrayer and Peter the denier. The double row of filaments or Corona was thought of as the crown of thorns Jesus wore. The three stigmas at the very top represent the three nails and the five stamen underneath those, his wounds.

They also noted that the flowers are spent after a single day, the time Jesus was on the cross. And the petals do not drop from the flower but re-close symbolizing Jesus enclosed in the tomb.

Anything that wants to delight in this flowers nectar must work extra hard to get it.

I couldn't resist this beautiful pink zinnia...

One of the things I love about Bay Area Design aside from the flowers and the wonderful people
 who work there is all of their fountains! Not only are they beautiful, but the sound of trickling water is just, well, mesmerizing and very relaxing.

I love how the background in this one turned out - like a watercolor.

I could just spend all day here, flowers, fountains, wildlife - who could ask for more?
(Hmmm, one in my yard would be nice) : )

I hope your weekend includes a walk, some reflection and a little passion flower.

Have a blessed weekend!

Love, Kim

Saturday, April 16, 2011

7000 Bracelets of Hope

the feeling that what you want can be had,
that something you look forward to with great desire.
You place trust in it,
and it is connected to faith and love.
And when hope does spring eternal
it brings with it the anticipation of new beginnings.

7000 diseases are classified as rare, affecting 250 million people, most of which are children. So one community of millions was started in hope there would be more value in one large group. In January 2010 they started a grass roots organization called The Global Genes Project to unify, support, and build awareness.

So The Global Genes Project volunteer team is collecting bracelets with a denim/blue jean theme for their campaign, "7000 Bracelets of hope." These bracelets will be collected and distributed as a show of support to families with children of rare disease or disorder.

I chose to do this project for many reasons, but mostly because I too am a face of a rare disorder. Earlier this year I was diagnosed with a localized scleroderma and have also battled with Restless Legs Syndrome for years. RLS is a sleep disorder and at times extremely difficult to live with. I am very fortunate to have it mostly under control right now, except for the occasional flare-ups.

I knew I wanted to put just a touch of color in my bracelet, but stay very much in keeping with the blue jean theme. So just on Wednesday of this week at my metals class, I made a torch-enameled flower that I sawed out of 20 Ga copper sheet. I chose a flower shape because flowers remind me of Spring and Spring brings with it the hope of renewal.

I also wanted to do something asymmetrical as there are always two sides of disease.
The ebb and flow.
I had just the right length of viking knit that was left from another project - bonus!

And added some flower dangles and blue daggers as leaves.

If you look closely on the left, after the blue daggers you'll see three floating silver twisted rings.
They represent Hope, Love, and Faith,
and the Holy Trinity.

This is also a blog hop and there are many other artists/jewelry designers and crafters participating.
You can go here to see what everyone else has made - see ya there!

I wish you a weekend of hope fulfilled!

Love, Kim

Friday, April 15, 2011

Foto Friday - The Secret Life of Bees

The honey bee,
a gatherer of pollen and sweet nectar,
and maker and hoarder of honey.
Where the queen, drone and worker
live in a social community,
and the honeycomb is the hub of the hive.
We marvel at perfectly shaped hexagon cells
made of beeswax
that this engineering genius can make.
They have learned to communicate
through a dance language,
that relays the location of their floral findings.
Where the worker bee gathers
and brushes the pollen,
into baskets on the fringe of their hind legs. 
Back to the hive
building and protecting,
and busy turning nectar to honey.
The honey bee,
a fascinating insect and pollinator,
plays a vital role in our natural world,
and fills me with wonder.

 Morning is the best of all times in the garden.
The sun is not yet hot. Sweet vapors rise from the earth.
Night dew clings to the soil and makes plants glisten.
Birds call to one another. Bees are already at work.

- William Longgood

Most people when they think of the honey bee probably just think of bee stings and honey. But they're so much more than that. They are the most important pollinating insect and responsible for all the wonderful fruits and vegetables we enjoy along with the beautiful flowers. Within their social community they each have their own purpose and can only survive as a member of the colony each dependant on the other for survival. The colony consists of the queen, the drone, and the worker bee. The queen for reproduction, the drone for mating with the queen, and the worker for building and maintaining the nest and for caring for the brood. A healthy colony can average between 40,000 and 80,000 bees.

The careful insect 'midst his works I view,
Now from the flowers exhaust the fragrant dew,
With golden treasures load his little thighs,
And steer his distant journey through the skies.

- John Gay

Give and Take

For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
and to the flower the bee is a messenger of love.
And to both, bee and flower,
the giving and receiving is both a need
and an ecstasy.

- Kahlil Gibran

Bees work for man, and yet they never bruise their master's flower,
but leave it having done,
as fair as ever and fit to use;
So both the flower doth stay and honey run.

- George Herbert

Have you ever watched closely a bee gather pollen - it's quite fascinating,
and they really don't mind!

Bees inside the hive will fan their wings in order to maintain a perfect 95 degrees and to increase the evaporation of water from the nectar. For an insect whose lifespan is only 4-6 weeks (in the spring and summer months) the worker bee, all female by the way, are busy little bees who are highly organized and extremely efficient.

For so work the honey bees,
creatures that by a rule in nature teach
the act of order to a peopled kingdom.

- William Shakespeare

(Do you think anyone is listening?)

My Haiku:
The honey bee a hoarder
Works to gather pollen and sweet nectar
Share your honey with me

I love the honey bee, find insects fascinating, and perhaps should have been an Entomologist
or a science teacher! Nature is a wonderful instructor if only we would pay attention.

I see the hand print of God in the honey bee,
in the miraculous systems they possess,
and the artistry in which they create!!

I wish you all the sweetest of weekends and may it be filled with bisquits and honey!!

Love, Kim

Friday, April 8, 2011

Foto Friday and Some Randomness in Galveston....

 I say randomness because the only theme here is that I took all of these pictures in Galveston this week.

I love going to Galveston not only because of the water and the beach, but there is just so much to see and do. And although my pictures don't quite reflect it this week, there is just so much history and architecture.

This first picture was taken in Willie G's a restaurant off Pier 21 and Harborside. These glass globes hang down the center of the entire restaurant.


And when you take a girl with a camera to a restaurant you never know what she'll take a picture of!

I found it quite fun and a bit inviting that these ice cubes had holes in them and yes before I knew it my kids did too!!

So there ya have it, ice  Kabob's. I'm really just a simple girl at heart who is easily entertained and refuses to the let the child in me wither and die.

Before we ate at Willie G's we went on on dolphin cruise and although we didn't see many dolphins I was able to capture one of my favorite coastal birds, the Brown Pelican.
He was coasting right along side of our boat.

And then there was this one, stretching or ? 

Then we walked along the Strand. The Strand is in Galveston's historic downtown district and
has a variety of restaurants, galleries, museums, and shops in beautiful historic buildings.

There is even a life size chess set that is almost always in use.

And at just about every corner you can grab a horse drawn carriage ride.

A random door. . .

I couldn't decide on the full door or the closeup of the wreath.

And you can't go to The Strand without going to La King's Confectionery! It dates back to the 1920's and they still have a 1920's soda fountain where they serve malts, shakes, ice cream sodas, and all the favorite fountain drinks. It was very crowded when we there, well more like wall to wall people, which made it very difficult to get any other pictures. I don't know about you but there is just something about a candy store that brings back fond childhood memories, like penny candy.

The past revealed . . .

And then there was this sign at the stairs going into a restaurant!!

Which brings me to this picture!! I liked her glasses and asked her if I could take her picture.....

But it's really not what it looks like, haha. She did say yes, it's just that she put
up the peace sign right when I took the picture and well, I only got one finger!

Have a fabulous weekend everyone, and remember to behave
or just don't get caught misbehavin'!!

Love, Kim

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Witness to Spring's Renewal

Spring brings with it a unique energy reflecting the magnificent beauty of nature
and its vibrant release from the constraints of winter.
As nature reawakens there is an animated period of growth
and we are privileged to bear witness to this orchestra of transformation.
Where renewal is an intrinsic part of nature and hope springs forth with the anticipation of new beginnings.
And so for me, Spring is not only my favorite time of year, but also a time of personal spiritual growth
and when all five of my senses become completely intoxicated.

And so it goes, I was witness to one of Spring's renewals a weekend ago. We were
weeding and doing all of those things you do in your yard when spring arrives. I was doing a final raking
of leaves and weeds when out of the corner of my eye I saw something move (gasp).

And this is what I saw:

A pupa that had started its eclosion. Excited I was!

  This is what it looked like in it's larval stage, as a caterpillar:

In the fall, I had found these caterpillars feasting on my penta plants, until all that was left were stems! But they quickly grew back and flowered again! So now that I know what these caterpillars become, I will be buying more pentas for the garden this year!

So I took it inside and layed it on a paper towel on the bar top while I went upstairs
to research how long it may take for it to emerge. I think I had been upstairs for about
twenty minutes when my daughter said, "Mom, what happened to this thing it's in two pieces. It looks
like it was cut in half?" In a panic I ran downstairs to find this:

Oh my, an empty pupa casing! I was quite sad that I had missed the whole thing, but I would have
been even more sad if I hadn't been able to find it.

But there it was, hanging on a ribbon that layed across a stack of books only inches
away from where it had emerged. Now just look at that cute face!!!!

It was going to be cold that night, so I kept it inside and decided to let it go in the morning.
His wings were still drying.

In the morning I took it outside to my front porch and put it down on the coffee table. It sure wasn't in any hurry to get anywhere.

 It turns out that this is a Tersa Sphinx Moth also know as a hawk moth because of the slender
shape of their wings and of the wings resemblance to a hawk. Their wings span is about 3 inches.

I couldn't help myself, I just had to pick it up! 


After it had been in my hands for a little while, I started feeling a slight vibration
and quickly realized that he was vibrating his wings.


The vibrations and wing movements got progressively bigger and bigger. Ya know,  it's a bit difficult
to hold a camera in one hand and try to change your settings. So these pictures aren't ideal but I'm thrilled to have captured it. They can fly at speeds up to 25 mph and their wings beat at 25-30 beats per second!
These guys are incredible fliers and have the unique ability to hover causing them to be
mistaken for hummers. And just like hummingbirds they also drink nectar from deep-throated flowers.

Before I knew it he had taken off......

Bon voyage my little friend!!

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