Wednesday, August 31, 2011


A scene from early July….

July 2nd (8) The windmill is an ornamental one which sits in the flower garden. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Aug 27 (2)

Its Goldenrod season.  Their blossoms are very tiny and difficult to photograph close-up with the lens I have.  Lately, I’ve snapped many photos of them while on my daily walks, then ended up deleting the majority.  Another problem with Goldenrod is that they quickly become brown-tinged and thus less attractive, especially close-up.  This one had just begun to bloom.       

Monday, August 29, 2011


Wild sunflowers are in bloom right now.  I spied this mostly unblemished one and immediately snapped its photo!

Aug 27 (4) cropped

Saturday, August 27, 2011


July 25th (4) sandstone texture This Coneflower scene was cropped out of a larger photo.  I applied a sandstone texture to add some hopefully artistic interest. 

The summer wildflower-blooming season is mostly over with now, though I’m watching for some asters to possibly make an appearance.   

Friday, August 26, 2011

Black-eyed Susans

July 31 (14) Black Eyed Susan

Awhile back, I found this patch of Black-eyed Susans blossoming happily in the road ditch.  (Thank goodness for the roadside ditches…..they provide a home for many different wildflowers!)  Several years ago, I planted Black-eyed Susans in a couple spots around our farmyard and they have spread all over the place.  They start blooming in late July and provide color until the first frost.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Roadside Coneflowers

July 31 (4)

This photo was taken a few weeks ago.  (Don’t tell anyone, but I’m running short of up-to-date flower photos.)  These yellow coneflowers are no more.  Dusty doldrums have overtaken the roadsides in our area.  All vegetation in the roadsides and fields begins to dry up at this point in late summer, filling the outdoors with a gentle rustling sound that follows you wherever you go.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hint of Autumn

Here’s how the Wild Carrot aka Queen Anne’s Lace looks right now, a hint of autumn color in their midst.

Aug 22 (19) What a fun wildflower to have around!  They playfully sway in the breeze, unabashedly displaying their various stages of style.  Starting out as lacy white flowers, they eventually fold gracefully into artsy, basket-like shapes.      

Aug 22 (7)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Duskywing Butterfly

Here’s a tiny butterfly I’d never seen before. 

Aug 16 (2) Wild Indigo Duskywing canvas

A search of a butterfly identification website leads me to believe that this butterfly goes by the name of Wild Indigo Duskywing.  If I’m wrong, please let me know.  The wildflower is a type of Vervain. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Milkweed and Sulphurs

For the fun of it, I applied the Photoshop paint daubs effect to this scene.

Aug 10 (4) paint daubs

These Whorled Milkweed flowers somehow manage to grow right along the edges of gravel roads.  The butterflies are Sulphurs….not exactly my favorites, but found in abundance around here in late summer. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Can’t think of a title….

This picture has nothing to do with moving a daughter back to college, but that’s what occupied me yesterday.  And, now I’m worn out, but happy to be relaxing in front of the computer, blogging.

Aug 10 (16) What a workout!  My daughter and I lugged a plethora of paraphernalia---clothing, books, shoes, bedding, kitchen utensils---into her new dorm digs.  As a senior, she is looking forward to living in a suite-style dorm where several students have their own rooms and share a common kitchen and living room area.

As for the picture…..the hay bales will provide winter nourishment for our cows.  They share a common living area called…..THE BARN!  (The cows do, that is….not the bales.)  

Friday, August 19, 2011


Around these parts, big bushy elderberry plants grow wild and are generally considered weeds.  Right now, the berries are ripe.  I’ve never picked any for eating---I leave that up to the birds.  Follow this post to the end to view the various stages of an elderberry’s life, shown in reverse chronological order.

Aug 15 (4)

July 30 (21) fixed

 Elderberry July 1

July 1st (8)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Also found on the wildflower journey mentioned in yesterday’s post was this Sneezeweed.  It did not make me sneeze, however.

Aug 16 Sneezeweed

A few weeks ago, it was Coneflowers who were providing yellow splashes in the roadside ditches.  Now that bright task has been taken over by Sow Thistles…..

Aug 16 Sow Thistle …..and, an array of blossoms of the sunflower-type.

Aug 16 (6) Prairie Sunflower

You may have noticed the bee in the second photo.  The road ditches are abuzz now in late summer and I avoid wading too far into the underbrush.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Purple Wildflowers

Yesterday, I went for a short drive down a nearby country road and found a couple wildflowers I’d never seen before…..both of the purplish persuasion.

Western Ironweed:

Aug 16 (4) croppedHoary Vervain:

Aug 16 Hoary Vervain

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Small-fry Butterflies

Late summer is upon us and butterflies of all sizes abound in the fields and along the roadsides.  Last week I blogged photos of Monarchs and Swallowtails which are virtual giants compared to the three shown in this post. 

Not lastly, and not leastly, here is a Least Skipper, owning a wing breadth of barely one-half inch….and an attached drinking straw!

Aug 15 Least Skipper cropped Next, we have the actually quite pretty mini-butterfly named Eastern Tailed Blue:

Aug 3 (1) Eastern Tailed Blue (female) Lastly, meet Gray Hairstreak, who appears to be decorated with orange and black threads.  (Notice, too, the striped antennae in all three of these photos.)  

Aug 15 Gray Hairstreak Who gave butterflies their names?  Does anyone know? 

Monday, August 15, 2011


The other day I snapped this photo of a Monarch butterfly poised in open-winged splendor on a Swamp Milkweed and ended up with a few stowaways in the scene.  (Another Monarch, a Lightning Bug, a Pearl Crescent butterfly, and a Skipper butterfly.)  Can you find them?

Aug 10 (3)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bugged Photo

FINALLY, I somehow managed to get a clear close-up shot of a butterfly and wouldn’t you know it, the photo was bugged!

Aug 10 (10) The butterfly is a Painted Lady.  To make the next photo more presentable for blog duty, I used the Photoshop band-aid button to banish that bothersome beetle bug.  Ugh!  Maybe you can tell where it was lurking, right there on the pinkish red clover blossom.

Aug 10 (11)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cluttered Sky

One hundred percent chance of cloud-cluttered skies!

Aug 10 (13) Yesterday morning, the sky overhead was loaded with these fluffy cumulus clouds.  Not an unusual cloud type, to be sure, but rarely in the summer do we see so many of them together all at once.  Generally, during the warmest part of summer the sky is tidy clear blue with a few aloof clouds floating high aloft.  Maybe the crowd of cumuli up there are connected with the refreshingly cooler weather we’re enjoying down here.

Aug 10 (6)  

Life is rough… daily walks take place on this idyllic, bucolic road.  Hmm….perhaps I should reword that thought so it sounds less like a stomach ailment and more like a pleasant activity….which walking truly is, by the way, and healthful, too.  How fortunate I am to have this peaceful country road readily available for my daily walking pleasure!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Blazes On

I haven’t been to visit them lately, but most likely the Prairie Blazing Stars are finished with their purple “blazing” by now.  These photos were taken a couple weeks ago.  The butterfly in this first one is a Sulphur. 

July 31 (9) cropped 

July 24 (1)

Here on our dairy farm, crickets chirp and cicadas serenade as the summer season plods ever onward towards fall.  Rows of tall, tassel-topped cornstalks stretch in all directions and soybeans have reached their zenith of waist-high.  Our oat field has been transformed into a “new crop” hayfield for next year.  (Every spring, alfalfa and grass seed are sown along with the oats.)  The oats were mature by mid-July and were harvested then.  That was accomplished with a combine (named as such because it can multi-task, “combining” the cutting of the oats with the hulling of the grain), which roars back and forth across the field, dustily churning out oats to be stored in the bin for cattle feed and leaving windrows of straw for us to bale.  Baling takes place immediately after the combining is done, meaning that oat harvesting day is a VERY busy one! 

We just finished gathering in another hay crop, too.  For the muscle-building job of bale-slinging, it is very advantageous to have a college son and daughter home for the summer and a teenage nephew on call.  What do I do at such times, you may or may not ask….well, I drive the tractor that pulls the baler and hay basket, and make sure there is enough food and drink available.  (It isn’t very hard work, really, so don’t think that it is.  One must simply make brownies and sandwiches in advance, and then drive a tractor for several hours.) 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kitty in the Straw

Aug 9 (1)

Found a tiny kitty in the calf building this morning.  It appears adorably fluffy and cute, but hisses and spits when approached by giant humans like me.

“Kitty in the Straw” led me to think of “Turkey in the Straw”, the song I plunked out on the piano for my first recital, circa mid-1960’s.  The momentous event took place in the hushed sanctuary of a white clapboard Baptist church in a small town a few miles from my family’s farm.  We grade-school-age students sat in a row in the first pew, nervously awaiting our turn to perform at the piano up front.  Most likely I was spiffed up in church clothes, which in those days meant a dress, knee socks, and patent leather shoes. 

Our piano teacher was a very short lady, barely taller than us kids.  She wore a hairnet and had a moustache thing going on.  She gave piano lessons in her home, a big, old white house which was filled with Victorian-style antique furniture and the rhythmic ticking of clocks and metronome.  Often, while waiting for my lesson to begin, I would sit on a red velvet settee, paging through the several Jack & Jill magazines which were always there.  Sometimes, I would tiptoe to the ornately-woodworked doorways of other rooms to take a peek at the contents.  (I’ve always been intrigued by how houses and rooms are designed and furnished….a fancy way of saying, “I’m a SNOOP!”)  Sometimes, I got caught---the piano teacher, who was giving a lesson in an adjoining room, would notice me wandering about.  She would cease her counting out of beats to the measure and would tell me to please go back and sit down. 

Sadly, my old piano teacher’s house is no longer in existence, having been torn down a few years ago to make way for the construction of a rest home.  I often wonder what ever became of that velvet settee and all the other interesting antiques.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Toy Kitchen

I had almost forgotten how fast babies grow.  Over the weekend, I found out that my 14 and 15-month-old granddaughters are already enjoying cooking and baking.  Recently, while on an archeological dig in the upstairs storeroom I had unearthed this 20-year-old toy kitchen ensemble.  Warms my heart to remember how excited my toddler daughter was as she ripped the Christmas wrap from it all those years ago.  This kitchen was so modern… even had a cordless phone!     

DSC_0003   I can recall spying this kitchen set in the store and thinking, “Wow, a whole kitchen in one compact piece.  It won’t take up much space in the already cluttered playroom (which usually was the living room).”  Yes, this toy received much use back then, but hardly appears worse for the wear…although, the oven no longer has a back due to children crawling into it to sit….and bake, apparently.  And, no, my children’s names are not Hansel and Gretel.

Though not shown in the photo, there exists a tote full of toy dishes, silverware, pans, and food.  Yes, food….hilarious fake food of the plastic variety.  Cracks me up just to look at it!

toy food

     Permanently on the menu are four pizza slices and a grilled hamburger, complete with lettuce, tomato, and sesame seed bun!   

toy food (1) C’mon over for lunch!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Busy-ness blew in over the weekend, leaving me in a state similar to these breeze-blown coneflowers.  (And, here I thought I lived in Iowa.)

July 23 (18) I hosted a bridal shower (for my niece) here at the farm, plus had overnight guests (including my grandbabies)---certainly pleasant occurrences, but naturally involving a host of preparations.  Make sure the house is straightened up, laundry all done, lawn mowed, gifts wrapped, goodies baked, meal plans thought out, crib set up, and baby toys unearthed from storage.  Whew…..almost too much for this farmwife who owns VERY LITTLE AMBITION!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Odd Mullein

The other day I walked down the road a little further than usual and found this unusual plant.  It is Common Mullein, an odd-looking plant in the first place, but this one was REALLY bizarre-looking:

Aug 4 (5) The whole plant was about eight feet tall.  I’ve seen many Common Mulleins, but never one with these multiple flower stalks at the mid-section, and never one as tall:  

Aug 4 (3) Maybe a showering of farm chemicals was to blame for the berserk growth pattern.  Usually, the Common Mullein has only one flowering stalk above its leaves.


Aug 4 (2)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sundial Time

Can you tell time?  Sundial time, that is…..

July 29 (7) cropped sandstone texture The shadow points to XI, eleven o’clock in the morning by sun time.  That’s twelve o’clock noon by Central Standard Daylight Savings Time.  Hey, what am I doing taking a picture!?  Its time to fix lunch!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

White Coneflower

Several years ago I purchased this white coneflower.  Not that I like white flowers that well---fly spots and dirt show up readily on the color white and heaven knows there is plenty of both on a dairy farm.

 July 21 (4)

To get a picture of a clean white coneflower, you have to catch it early in its blooming career, as shown in the photo below (which is a bit dark because it was taken in the evening).

July 16th (2) cropped

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I really shouldn’t be blogging photos of winged fliers of the butter and dragon variety since my blog’s title announces that I blog wildflowers, but what the heck.  Yesterday, I walked out of the house to pick a green pepper to add to cucumber relish and nearly collided with this Black Swallowtail butterfly.  After fetching my camera, I waited, still and quiet, for a few minutes and was eventually rewarded with a full wingspan view.  (Looks like this Swallowtail has a partially swallowed tail!)

Aug 1 cropped

For good measure, here’s two dragonfly photos taken recently.  This first one shows a Twelve-Spotted Skimmer.  Notice the blue color near the end of the tail.

July 30 Lastly, here’s a Widow Skimmer displaying its glittery, copper-tinged wingspan:

July 13 Widow Skimmer

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gold Strike

Move over, bird dogs and coon hounds……meet Buster, avid hunter of shady resting spots! 

July 30 (15)

His enthusiasm for a walk never wanes.  Recently, we got lucky and struck gold…..coneflower gold, that is.  Reached almost as far as our eyes could see.  Fort Knox, here we come!

July 25th (10) cropped (My plan is to eventually chop and crop this next photo into hopefully artistic renderings.  Maybe Buster will help me.)

July 25th (4) tiles

Monday, August 1, 2011

Its Butterfly Time

I’m writing these words yesterday.  Think about that for a moment---it truly makes no sense.  Anyway, I just returned from a wildflower hunt on a sweltering Sunday afternoon in which instead I happened upon butterflies.  Its that time of year.

July 31 (11)

Above is a Pearl Crescent butterfly posing atop a Black-eyed Susan.  Below is a Black Swallowtail which was fluttering like crazy through a patch of Queen Anne’s Lace.

July 31 (22) croppedAt that point, wilting in the heat, my camera and I turned to leave and almost missed this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail busily extracting nectar from a cluster of Swamp Milkweed.

July 31 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail