Sunday Dinner: Generosity

Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly on Lantana ‘Chapel Hill Gold’

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“We need to spread more seeds
and fill this Planet with love
to be surrounded by flowers just everywhere!
It starts by simply opening up
our hearts and hands to one another.
It’s in simple things
where true Happiness may flourish.”
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Ana Claudia Antunes
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“Generosity is the most natural outward expression
of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.”
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Dalai Lama XIV
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Pearl Crescent butterfly on Zinnia

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“You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
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Kahlil Gibran
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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on butterfly bush

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“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures.
The more he gives to others,
the more he has for his own.”
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Lao Tzu
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“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying
to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives.
In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender
before the miraculous scope of human generosity
and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely,
for as long as we have voices.”
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Elizabeth Gilbert
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Photos by Woodland Gnome
at The Williamsburg Botanical Garden

Enjoy the 4th Annual Butterfly Festival and Plant Sale 

August 4 & 5  free admission
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“Silence the angry man with love.
Silence the ill-natured man with kindness.
Silence the miser with generosity.
Silence the liar with truth.”
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Gautama Buddha
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Zebra Swallowtail butterfly on Lantana

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Garden Gold

Fennel flowers allow for easy access to their nectar.

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The hotter it gets, the more gold in the garden glitters and shines.  As the mercury goes up, yellow and gold feel almost cooling.

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An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly feeds on Lantana ‘Chapel Hill Yellow,’ a fairly new perennial Lantana introduction. WBG

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I don’t understand the alchemy of that, but I do understand the clear attraction of gold for all of our nectar seeking pollinators.

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Gold flowers may just taste sweeter.  They certainly draw in the bees, wasps and butterflies who draw sustenance from their sugary depths.

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Lantana ‘Chapel Hill Gold’ is also a perennial in Zone 7. WBG

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All the while, these prolific flowers are also ripening seeds to delight goldfinches and other small birds who will feast on their ripe seeds well into the barren months of winter.

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Flocks of goldfinches took wing from the wildflowers where they were feeding, as I walked through the Williamburg Botanical Garden yesterday afternoon.

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Golden and yellow flowers often prove among the easiest for a gardener to grow.  Turn to dill, fennel and parsley for their distinctive round umbel inflorescence, all flat and easy to access;  Rudbeckias and Helianthus for their many petaled sunburst flowers.

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The first black eyed Susans, our native Rudbecki hirta, have begun to open in our garden.

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Coreopsis, Lantana, marigolds and Zinnias all bloom in shades of yellow, orange and gold.

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The season ends on a wild and native note as Solidagos burst into bloom in September and October, towering over the black eyed Susans in our garden like great feathery plumes of living gold.

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Solidago blooms alongside Rudbeckia in our garden, October 2017.

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If the entire garden were nothing but green and gold, animated with swallowtail butterflies and goldfinches, what a beautiful display we would still enjoy.

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Woodland Gnome 2018

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“Any patch of sunlight in a wood

will show you something about the sun

which you could never get

from reading books on astronomy.

These pure and spontaneous pleasures

are ‘patches of Godlight’

in the woods of our experience.”


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C.S. Lewis

July 2018: What Is This Freedom We Celebrate?

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In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
     

The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

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The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.

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The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

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The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

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  ” That is no vision of a distant millennium.    It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.
     

That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt,

excerpted from the State of the Union Address to the Congress,
January 6, 1941

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Much like this butterfly with a damaged wing, each of tries our best to keep moving through each day, gathering what we need, caring for those we love and enjoying the time at hand.  With faith and determination we persist, finding sustenance and meaning where we can.

Let’s pause this week to consider again the wisdom given to us in past years by our country’s greatest leaders.  Their words echo across the years, as fresh and true as the day they were uttered.  Those who understand and remember our nation’s history are best equipped to resist all attempts to corrupt our nation’s purpose. 

It is by keeping our American ideals in heart and mind that we find the energy to persevere, and to prevail in preserving human freedoms and individual dignity for generations to come.

Persist, Resist, Prevail!

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Woodland Gnome 2018

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Structure

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“Life on earth is a whole,
yet it expresses itself in unique time-bound bodies,
microscopic or visible,
plant or animal, extinct or living.
So there can be no one place to be.
There can be no one way to be,
no one way to practice, no one way to learn,
no one way to love, no one way to grow or to heal,
no one way to live, no one way to feel,
no one thing to know or be known.
The particulars count.”
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Jon Kabat-Zinn
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“Nothing is less real than realism.
Details are confusing.
It is only by selection, by elimination,
by emphasis,
that we get at the real meaning of things.”
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Georgia O’Keeffe
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“The basic structure of the universe
is balanced on a razor’s edge
for life to exist”
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Sunday Adelaja
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
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For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Structure

Sunday Dinner: Gratitude

Eastern Swallowtail on Verbena 'Lollipop' at the Heath family's garden in Gloucester.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Verbena ‘Lollipop’ at the Heath family’s garden in Gloucester.

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“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy;

they are the charming gardeners

who make our souls blossom.”

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Marcel Proust

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June 18, 2016 Gloucester 019

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“Beauty is not who you are on the outside,

it is the wisdom and time you gave away

to save another struggling soul, like you.”

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Shannon L. Alder

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Alliums with Iris, Gloucester, VA

Alliums with Iris, Gloucester, VA

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“I believe that what we become

depends on what our fathers teach us

at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us.

We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”

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Umberto Eco

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Allium in our Forest Garden

Allium in our Forest Garden

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“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up

trying to pay back the people in this world

who sustain our lives.

In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender

before the miraculous scope of human generosity

and to just keep saying thank you,

forever and sincerely,

for as long as we have voices.”

.

Elizabeth Gilbert

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June 17, 2016 Hibiscus 012


The rare daylily left ungrazed to bloom in our garden; for which we are most grateful!

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

With love and appreciation to all of those Fathers
who give of themselves so generously
to make this a more beautiful and more loving world for all.

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June 17, 2016 Hibiscus 017


Zantedeschia aethiopica in our Forest Garden

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“You pray in your distress and in your need;

would that you might pray also

in the fullness of your joy

and in your days of abundance.”

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Kahlil Gibran

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June 17, 2016 Hibiscus 039

 

WPC: Half-Light

March 25, 2016 Daffodils 014

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Morning has broken like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing,
Praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the world.

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March 25, 2016 Daffodils 025

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Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass.

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March 25, 2016 Daffodils 033 ~

Mine is the sunlight,
Mine is the morning,
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise ev’ry morning,
God’s recreation of the new day.

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March 25, 2016 Daffodils 043

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Morning has broken…

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lyrics by Chris Hazell and  Eleanor Farjeon

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March 25, 2016 Daffodils 066

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This beautiful song, performed by Cat Stevens, has been a life-long favorite.  It speaks not only to morning, but also to the morning of the year:  spring.  It is the perfect lyric to accompany these photos taken in our garden today.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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Sunset

Sunset

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: Half-Light

“Share a photograph inspired by a favorite poem, verse, story, or song lyric.  See if you can capture the beauty of morning or evening half-light in your corner of the globe.”

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March 25, 2016 Daffodils 016

 

Dark Butterfly

August 29, 2015 turtle 016

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“Light always trumps darkness. It always has, and it always will.

Therefore… if you believe that your world is darkening…

if you believe that the culture of your nation

is growing dimmer by the year…

don’t blame it on the dark!

Darkness is only doing what darkness does.

“If darkness is winning the battles, my friend,

it is because light is not doing it’s job.

You are light.

So wake up. Wake up.”

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Andy Andrews

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August 29, 2015 turtle 018

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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August 29, 2015 turtle 014

Moving On

August 20, 2015 butterflies 006

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Summer is moving on towards its climax in our garden.  I found the garden filled with butterflies this morning when I came out to water.

The butterflies we’ve watched for since April are in residence now, and flutter constantly from flower to flower, shrub to shrub; as they drink their fill of warm, sweet nectar.

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August 20, 2015 butterflies 003

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I counted five individuals on a single Lantana this morning.  When I turned around, more fluttered behind me in another flower bed.  They surrounded me as I moved around the garden, watering.

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August 20, 2015 butterflies 011~

No longer timid, they continued feeding as I approached.  They no longer fly away when my camera beeps.

I can watch them from the window above my kitchen sink.  In fact, I would say that every window opens out onto views of butterflies moving on from one flower to another.  One may get lost in simply watching them; a voyeur of sorts, hypnotized by butterfly wings.

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August 20, 2015 butterflies 005~

Perhaps they are the ones entranced.  There is a rich buffet of flowers beckoning them to feed:  Lantana and Butterfly Bush, Rose of Sharon, mints and Sage, Echinacea, Zinnia, Monarda, Rudbeckia, Hibiscus.

The litany of sweet flowers goes on and on in the August garden.  Butterflies float from flower to flower almost like devotees fingering prayer beads.

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Lycoris radiata

Lycoris radiata

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Two new flowers have come into bloom this week, which signal our shift towards autumn. The Lycoris radiata never appear before mid-August; timed with the onset of our hurricane season.

The ginger lilies also begin their bloom towards the end of August, just as Labor Day draws close each year.

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White Butterfly Ginger Lily coming into bloom

White Butterfly Ginger Lily coming into bloom

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We have a crescendo of growth now, in this third week of August.  Cannas and ginger lily tower over our heads.  Colocasia leaves reach gigantic proportions in the shade.  Ferns grow tall and Begonia flowers emerge thick and vivid from their canes.

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August 18, 2015 vase 002~

This is the season where wishes materialize, beautifully fulfilled.  The garden crawls with life, never silent and never still.

Newborn blue tailed lizards skitter up the wall above the hose.  Cicadas whir and bump in the border.  Birds call to one another as wind rustles through the tall stems of lily and Canna.

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August 15, 2015 Gardens 011

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And butterflies float by silently, above it all, moving on in search of the next nectar filled flower in their never ending quest for summer’s sweetness.

Woodland Gnome 2015

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Morning Glory

Morning Glory

Sunday Dinner

August 15, 2015 Gardens 025

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“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing.

Knowing is not enough; we must apply.

Being willing is not enough; we must do.”


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Leonardo da Vinci

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August 15, 2015 Gardens 029

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“I am the wisest man alive,

for I know one thing,

and that is that I know nothing.”


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Plato

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August 15, 2015 Gardens 024

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on Lantana

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on Lantana

Just Hanging On

August 5, 2015 butterflies 034~

The lower garden buzzed with activity this morning as I stood there, camera in hand, taking photos as quickly as the camera would record and refocus.  There were butterflies behind me, all manner of strange looking pollinators moving methodically from flower to flower in front of me, and bees buzzing all around.  I could feel the wind off the wings of a large bumble bee who flew up and around my shoulders inspecting the camera, and me, probably.

Totally aware, the pollinators watch me watch them.  How often has one flown away in the split second between focus and photo?  They can sense when I’m ready to snap the picture.

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August 5, 2015 butterflies 040~

Some mind, others don’t mind at all.  Hummingbird moths prove especially patient with my photo shoot, keeping on about their hungry business of visiting each flower.

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August 2, 2015 garden 077~

In the sun’s mid-day glare it is often impossible to tell where the focus falls, and I snap by instinct.  Only later, working at the computer can I mine the riches and discard the misses!

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August 2, 2015 garden 086~

But the bees were especially comical today.  They’ve grown fat and heavy by this point in the summer’s feasting; and as they landed on tall, narrow stalks of sage the whole stalk would fall over, with the bee still holding on madly, to sip its fill.

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August 5, 2015 butterflies 033~

I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  Many of the photos I snapped had a blur where the bee should be.  Happily, a few are clear enough to share.

I sometimes feel like the bees on these hot, muggy mornings of early August.

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August 5, 2015 butterflies 050

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We are just hanging on, waiting now for the cooler wave of autumn weather  to find us.  We are hanging on through the numbing heat, sustained by the sweet nectar of fresh peaches, ripe melons, fat blueberries and crisp cucumbers.

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August 5, 2015 butterflies 052

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We are hanging on to the long summer evenings where daylight doesn’t quite fade away until nearly nine, and creatures chirp and sing until past midnight.  We are hanging on to the pleasure of flowers blooming, and the fun of baby lizards flashing their blue tails across the deck in the afternoons.

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August 5, 2015 butterflies 006

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We know to hold on tightly to suck every last drop of pleasure from these last few weeks of summer.

The shelves at Walmart brim with packs of pencils and stacks of clean notebooks.  Back to school supplies now fill the shelves where picnic ware and sunscreen sat just a few weeks ago.

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Change is in the air; but only the first hints of it.  For today, there is still time to stand still in the midst of the butterfly gardens admiring the fine growth of Salvias and mints, Basil and Rudbeckia and all the activity they attract.

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August 5, 2015 butterflies 036

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We’re  just hanging on to the pleasure of watching butterflies cruise around from shrub to shrub as a hummingbird dives down into the midst of the bees, hovering just above them for a while and planning his attack.  My partner watched with me this morning, resting in the shade between bouts with the lawnmower.

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August 5, 2015 butterflies 026

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He pointed out the hummingbird, and dispatched me after the butterflies he sighted.  The photos then are teamwork today.

They allow us to hang on to the magic of summer mornings in the garden, keeping company with one another, and with the magical and wise creatures who join us there.

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August 5, 2015 butterflies 053

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Woodland Gnome 2015

 

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