Today #WordlessWednesday #Photo

Nothing special, just some almost past their prime petals.

These hydrangea flowers are supposed to be blue but I didn’t feed it with the right fertilizer. I don’t really care because I like this color, too.

A variety of lighting and locations and even a silvery tone, taken with iPhone and Canon.

OMG What Just Happened

T found this caterpillar (pretty sure it’s a Monarch) on a plant, got a box and made a home for it with leaves and flowers to eat.

For an entire day, he referred to it as his pet and was constantly checking on its welfare.

“I love him so much, he’s beautiful.”

Late afternoon, he chose to release it under a shady plant because he thought it would have access to a fresher food source.

With me by his side, we picked a plant we both agreed would be tasty.

No sooner than he put it down and we watched it crawl away than a lizard ran over, grabbed it in his mouth and swallowed it.

We both gasped in horror as the realization of what occurred fully blossomed in our minds. It happened so fast and took us a moment to actually process what we saw.

T, sitting cross-legged on the ground, lowered his head and began to sob in genuine lament, tears staining his face and dripping down his chin.

“WHY, Grandma, why?” He said, “I loved my pet, why did the lizard eat him, why?”

Hearing T cry, Dad came out, I told him what happened, and he gathered T in his arms to comfort him as we gently tried to explain how nature works. His sadness broke our hearts, but I’m so proud of the compassionate way his dad helped him work through these huge emotions.

“I hate lizards. I’m going to hurt them.” Although retaliation was his first solution; it’s obviously not one he would be allowed to do!

After a while, and after a mango/black cherry ice cream cone (thank goodness I had made a double batch), he started to calm down and recover his normally cheery disposition.

He’s an extremely sensitive child and this was his first experience with the raw and gritty side of how animals live and survive.

I found two more caterpillars for him (whew) and this time we didn’t release them and they’re still here in his Spiderman bucket, gnawing their way through leaf after leaf.

He doesn’t know they’re only tomato hornworms and that’s going to be our little secret, right?

When Doves Cry: Life and Death

**This is so strange. I only published this post today, June 26, but it shows that it was published on the 24th, so I am RE-writing and posting again. Very odd WordPress, very odd.

We had a bit of rain, just a few drops, definitely not the kind of rain we need here in the Southwest, but I think my veggie garden was grateful for it.

When I went outside to check on the status of baby lettuce seedlings, I noticed a Monarch butterfly entangled in the netting surrounding the garden. I’ve been forced to use the barrier to keep out squirrels and rats and bunnies. There are plenty of other things in the garden those guys can eat, so I don’t feel too bad about restricting them from my yummy greens.

Carefully, I removed the netting from those delicate wings.

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After flying off, s/he returned with a mate and they circled my head a few times as if to thank me. “You’re welcome, guys! I was glad to help.”

Later that afternoon, right before dusk, I went for a walk. There were still beautiful clouds in the sky and I was thinking happy thoughts about the butterflies.

Suddenly, before I could even react, several things happened at once. A white van was driving down the street faster than the twenty-five mile an hour speed limit. A dove flew low across the street, left to right. (Yup, you can see where this is going.) The driver MUST have seen the bird, I’m sure of it.

Without slowing down or trying to avoid the imminent impact, the van ran into the bird, and to make it even more horrific, the back tires finished the slaughter. There were no other cars on the road; simply slowing down would have avoided it completely.

It doesn’t matter to me that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this tragedy. I ran out into the street to see if I needed to take the bird to a vet, but it was too late. Too late. I crouched down on my knees over the little dove almost in shock at the massive destruction the van did to his body. I took a photo because I wanted to remember the poor dear and honor his/her life, but it’s too gruesome to post and I feel it would be disrespectful to the innocent creature.

The bird was probably on his way home, and there might have been nesting babies that won’t be fed and won’t survive all because of the actions of one unaware or uncaring human. What if it was one of the doves I just wrote about that often visit me in the garden? How incredibly sad.

Well, that stripped me of the joy of saving a butterfly, that’s for sure. I’m a fixer and a helper. It’s a tough lesson for me to comprehend that sometimes things can be so terribly damaged that they can’t be mended or put back together, like this poor little bird who was beyond repair.

This made me think of Prince. When doves cry, so do I.



Dove Love

In my garden, this Mourning Dove family and I peacefully co-exist.

According to All About Birds, this is a graceful, slender-tailed, small-headed dove that’s common across the continent. Mourning Doves perch on telephone wires and forage for seeds on the ground; their flight is fast and bullet straight. Their soft, drawn-out calls sound like laments. When taking off, their wings make a sharp whistling or whinnying.

However, this fact is really upsetting to me: Mourning Doves are the most frequently hunted species in North America. Who could possibly want to murder these gentle creatures? Once again, humans suck.

Midnight Lily

This Odessa Calla Lily (Zantedeschia rehmannii violacea) is dark as a moonless night. In shade, the deep purple bloom is nearly black. Today, sunshine illuminates the royal purple curve of the petals. It’s one of my favorite flowers, especially since it thrives in the hot summer sun of rain-deprived SoCal.

Tree Bones

I walked by the location of that big fire a few months ago (https://enchantedseashells.com/2021/01/20/fire-in-carlsbad/)

It no longer smells like charred wood, but the twisted and tangled bones of this burned tree is an ever constant reminder.

Mother Nature’s Green Screen

This elusive Scott’s Oriole has been taunting me for years, sitting in one spot for great lengths of time ONLY when I don’t have a camera near me, and when I do, he flits around like a hummingbird.

This time I was able to capture his beauty for a single brief moment, his yellow vibrant against the green screen of a Giant Bird of Paradise.

What a beautiful profile of a beautiful boy!

May be an image of bird and nature

Black and Blue

Sunday afternoon in SoCal was warm, sunny, and windy. I was intent on my project, hanging outdoor lights from the deck all the way to the grape arbor.

Picture me standing on the highest rung of a medium-sized step ladder. As I reached my arm as far as possible to secure a line of bright lights, I felt one of the ladder feet sink deeper into the soil than the others, creating an uneven support system.

In a split second that seemed to last an eon in slow motion, I knew before it happened that I was going to fall, that there would be no way to recover, nothing to hold to break the inevitable tumble.

And so I fell.

Arm still outstretched, I became airborne as I crashed to the ground, step ladder tangled in my legs.

I thought for sure I broke something (I’m no stranger to broken bones) but I suffered only bruising, no more damage than black and blue discoloration to remind me to be MORE careful in the future. My luck might not hold out if I tempted fate again.

If anyone had been filming me, I’m sure it would become a viral vid on YouTube or TikTok with the hashtag #stupidity, but alas, I was alone with my bunnies and butterflies and the lizards that got scared and ran off to hide under a rock.

There are more planets than Mercury in retrograde; maybe this was a message from one of them? I dunno, but I can verify that the lights look festive and perfect for late nights in the garden, just the effect I was looking for, well worth the pain.

The Ultimate Avocado

Feast your eyes on this beauty!

It’s a Reed avocado, a gigantic variety grown by a very generous friend. I’ve tried to grow avos but don’t seem to have the green thumb it takes to be successful.

It’s more than twice the size of a regular Fuerte avocado; about six inches long and weighs approximately two pounds.

I LOVE avocado in its purest form; split open and scooped out of the shell; beautifully green, rich, smooth, and creamy. Guacamole is my second favorite way to eat avos–what I don’t really care for is the trendy avocado toast, it tastes weird to me.

Did you know that the seed is edible too?

Practically everyone knows how good avocados are for health, but the nutrient contents of the seed itself might just surprise you. The seed contains about 70 percent of the total nutrients in the whole avocado. For its antioxidants and soluble fiber count alone, the avocado seed single-handedly beats any other fruit and vegetable available on the market. To include the seed in your diet also means to benefit from more potassium, copper and vitamins B, C, E and K than if you simply relied on the pulp.

The Avocado Pharmacy

From an even greater health standpoint, the seed is antimicrobial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. Simply because of its profoundly high antioxidant count, it helps to reduce free radical damage inside and out. This has the benefit of reducing cholesterol levels, boosting immunity and protecting the skin from wrinkles or even sun damage.

Preparing The Seed From Scratch

To enjoy the wonderful benefits of the avocado seed, simply crush or grate the seed and blend it into a smoothie. It can also be juiced or turned into tea by steeping it in hot water. If you’re not going to use it right away, it can be dried and stored for later. The avocado seed has a bitterness quite unlike the pulp, but it is nonetheless enjoyable once you get accustomed to it.

Imagine how many people simply trash the seeds after they eat the “good” part of the avocado. This often neglected part of this super food is just one more bonus that adds to the legendary status of the avocado. Learn more at: https://www.avoseedo.com/

Have you ever tried to eat an avocado seed?