Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Daze

We are finally getting some summer weather and the last several days were actually HOT!!! I even have a little bit of a sunburn! But today is a cloudy and drizzly day, so I can take a break from watering. I garden mostly in pots and barrels, and raised beds, as the ground here is heavy clay and full of rocks, not to mention the voracious slugs, rabbits, squirrels, and deer. It is a wonder I am able to grow anything at all! But my secret is........ta dah!.......native plants! We have a treasure trove of native flowering bushes, trees, and of course wildflowers, and I take advantage of every bit of it. I have been known to make Hubby stop the car on our way somewhere, just to collect a few seeds.

But back to my story.... I was out watering some of my hanging baskets and this beautiful butterfly stopped by for a visit. According to my 'Insects of the Pacific Northwest' guide, he is a Western Tiger Swallowtail. They live on Alder trees, of which I have an abundance, and thrive in cool, coastal areas. He was a study in motion and it took about 25 shots for me to get this one clear picture. One of his 'Swallowtails' was missing.

This is where he was visiting; the hanging baskets in my little picnic/potting area. As you can see the landscape is lush with greenery and I can barely keep up with trying to keep it orderly. Once it gets really hot, the cover goes on the canopy frame so we can have a cool area to sit during the day.

I had a very busy week with the 4th of July Holiday and Hubby being home for several days on a little vacation from work. I also had my daughter J's two mini dachshunds over the holiday, pet sitting. They are very active and with my two dogs, 3 cats, and one bird, I was exhausted from keeping them all happy and calm with a mini war going on all around us. We live on a large hill with several other families, all separated by trees and acreage, but on the 4th of July, everyone loves to celebrate with fireworks. This is a state that allows freedom of explosions, shall we say, although some cities and towns are now trying to regulate things. But out here in the county, with no laws to enforce things, it is a giant free for all. I swear someone was setting off dynamite at one point. All of this led to very unhappy animals, not only my pets, but the poor wild things. I can just imagine what it did to very sensitive ears. As it was, Hubby had to spend the whole evening in the kennel with poor Little Bear, soothing her shattered nerves, and I spent the night inside with terrified cats and dogs.

The next day, we all slept in. The cats and the bird never even made a peep, the dogs kept flopping down anywhere I stopped (they follow me all day), and even the wild birds were fairly quiet. We had one little brown bat disoriented and trying to find his roost, end up on the ground in front of the house and so I covered him with a basket until he gained the strength to fly into a large cedar tree nearby. (We are an equal opportunity family)

Speaking of winged creatures....

This large moth visited our porch light last night. Hubby and I were just settling in to bed, I with my latest book, he watching the late night talk show, when we were startled by the shadow of flapping wings right outside the bedroom sliding doors. At first I thought it was a bat. This was a large creature. I ran and grabbed my camera and it finally came to a rest on the eaves by the light and I snapped this photo. It was dark and it is a little blurry, but I think you can see it's incredible beauty. According to the guide, it is a Polyphemus Moth, one of the most widely distributed giant silkworm moths in North America and one of the largest moths in the region, having a wingspan of 140mm. That would be approx. 6 inches, I think. Anyway, it was that large and an amazing sight.

Here is a clearer picture of him. I didn't dare open the glass door for fear he would fly inside. I wouldn't want to have to try and capture it and destroy it's beautiful wings. They feed on woody
 broad-leaf trees and shrubs, such as Maple and Oak. We don't have Oak here, but plenty of Large Leaf Maple and the smaller Vine Maple. It is the males that are attracted to the lights.

On a more domestic note, Daughter J stopped by yesterday to pick up her precious pup dogs, but spent the day with me, as she has the week off work. We ate blueberry corn muffins and drank coffee on the deck and chatted about decorating. (Blueberry corn muffins- add one egg and 1/2 cup light sour cream to one box Jiffy corn muffin mix. Throw in a handful of fresh or frozen blueberries and bake according to directions- 15-20 minutes. Yum!)

We decided to do a little shopping in the town nearby. So we left the dogs home and headed downtown. We found some sweet little treasures.

I found a miniature painting of the French countryside, and this darling little table. I have been searching for a small table for my new settee and this one is perfect! Only $30!

Look how nicely they go together!

Our next stop was a small antique mall filled with individual booths and way in the back I found this beautiful little chest of drawers. It is made of maple with tongue and groove joinery. And to my surprise, it was filled with art supplies!

When I saw the price, I practically ran to the cash register. It was only $7 !!! I had a little bidding war with the ladies at the register who offered me more money for it and commented on what a steal it was. I have been dabbling in sketching, something I have done all of my life periodically, and this will give me added inspiration. As soon as I have something to show you, I will post it. My little sketching table is up here in my office, right under the window to give me natural light. I enjoy coming up here and relaxing once in a while, and have been working on a sketch book of native birds.

Daughter J saw a few things she really liked, but wasn't willing to part with her hard earned money quite yet, although she gave me some insight on what she liked for future gift giving.

She did treat me to lunch at a cute little diner where we had BLT sandwiches on thick sliced home baked bread and a delicious salad.

It was lovely spending the day with my sweet daughter, and catching up on her life. Everyone is so busy these days and to have this one perfect day to spend with her was wonderful.

Well, I must leave you, as I am coming out of my 'Summer Daze' and the laundry is calling my name.

 I will be having a little 'give away' this week to encourage everyone to post comments on the blog page. Anyone who posts a comment gets their name put in a hat. The more comments, the more your name gets entered. I will be showing the prize this week. Hubby will do the honors of pulling the name out of the hat. It will be fun!!!


  1. I love reading your blog, Karen, you have such great posts, amazing pictures and delicious looking recipes!!! I am going to try your pork chop one tonight! :)

  2. Thank you Kellie, I hope you enjoy your Pork Chops tonight!

  3. Wow you have an exciting life, between all your beautiful winged creatures, fireworks and amazing vintage finds! Your art set looks so inviting, and how stylish your settee is! I laughed when I read that everyone including the animals slept in on the 5th. And - you are very wise about the native species, and collecting seed, I think. Don't lupins grow wild in the mountains in Oregon? I really enjoy your blog, thank you.

  4. Thank you Christine! We have lupines here, too, but I have yet to get any. I know where some are growing, so I need to collect some seed as soon as they are ripe. Thanks for the reminder! xx


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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