Frozen

What was once a liquid is now a solid

Ice on evergreen

It wraps itself around all it touches

Ine encrusted honeysuckle berries

Ine encrusted honeysuckle bushes

Freezing as it follows paths dictated by gravity

Ice encrusted apple leaves

Ice encrusted apple leafAlmost invisible to human sight small imperfections glisten like encrusted crystals

Ine encrusted pear bud

As warmth creeps back into the valleys what is first an almost imperceptible sound becomes louder as the melting ice releases itself from branches and berries and crashes to the forest floor

Ice on forest trees

Ice on berries

 

Under a New Fallen Snow

There is a peace that permeates one’s being while walking through a garden after a new fallen snow.

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But along  with that peace comes a feeling of sadness as the realization of knowing another season comes to an end.

Blood Red Maple leaf on Praying Hands hosta

Endings may be not be what they appear

Purple Alyssum

Look into hidden corners of the garden and see what emerges from the snow cover ground

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Allow your eyes to be drawn to vibrant colors in an otherwise neutral landscape

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Rejoice in knowing this is not an end, only life passing through celestial cycles

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The Beauty of Butterflies

As the sun sinks lower on the southern horizon his rays do not provide the same intensity of heat as on summer days.

These fragile creatures search for the last of summer flowers to rest and feast upon.

To watch them glide on invisible currents  my heart aches for what is to come.

 

Common checkered-skipper Pygus communis
Common checkered-skipper Pygus communis

“This species is separated from the White-checkered skipper with confidence only by dissection and examination of the male genitalia.” from butterfliesandmoths.org

 

Female Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice
Female Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice

Halloween Surprise – Milbert’s Tortoise Shell Butterfly

Temperature fluctuations have encouraged creatures not normally seen in the gardens of Valley View to stop and  share the garden’s mid-autumn bounty.

One such creature  new to the gardens is the Milbert’s Tortoise Shell butterfly, (Nymphalis nilberti)

Milbert's Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis nilberti
Milbert’s Tortoise Shell butterfly, (Nymphalis nilberti)

This butterfly lives in wet meadows and swampy edges of deciduous forests.  It can be found coast to coast in Canada and the northern United States, in mountains south to West Virginia.  It can be spotted on warm winter days, spring and summer. *

Milbert's Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis nilberti

October 31st was a relatively warm day.  We’ve had a few killing frosts so the only flowers still in bloom are mums and Alyssum. Nectar feeding insects frequent these flowers. Also the gardens are at the edge of an Eastern Broadleaf forest, with a spring seep directly across from the gardens. A perfect day and perfect habitat for this butterfly to appear!

Green Fly and Spotted Cucumber Beetle
Green Fly and Spotted Cucumber Beetle on yellow daisy mum

*from National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders

 

Feed the Birds

Allowing native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants to  proliferate not only strengthens the web of life it is partnering with Gaia.

Blue Jay bird on sumac

Adding additional food sources to the gardens helps to feed the creatures who share our space.

Chipmunk on sunflower

In eastern Pennsylvania October is the time to help gardens ready for the coming winter.

The potting shed in autumn

It is also a time to help the wildlife around us get ready for darker, colder days.

Downy Woodpecker on sunflower (bird)

Due to their high metabolic rate birds in particular need high-energy foods, those high in calorie and fat content.

Eastern Towhee (bird)

Juniper berries provide this important source of energy, containing 46% carbohydrate and 16% fat.

American robin bird on Eastern Red Cedar

Sunflower seeds contain almost 30 percent fat as well as fiber, protein, calcium, B vitamins, iron potassium and vitamin E.

Tuffed Titmouse on sunflower (bird)

Sharing a space means becoming a caretaker. We are an important part of the web of life. At this moment in time we are the only ones who can completely destroy it or strengthen each strand.

Black-capped Chickadee on sunflower (bird)

 

 

Wedding Day – A Rustic Barn Wedding

The date was October 1st. We woke to a misty morning but all moisture receded until the evening.  I did not venture to the lower gardens where the ceremony took place as I had to remain in  the home to quiet a barking dog.. The following is a series of photographs from the wedding day.

The barn is ready...
The barn is ready…
The wine station is set
The wine station is set
The cake table is ready
The cake table is ready
The cake
The cake
Walking to the lower gardens
Walking to the lower gardens
The happy brides
The happy brides
Joy! Looking down at the labyrinth from the deck of the home
Joy! Looking down at the labyrinth from the deck of the home
Random photo of the band
Random photo of the band

 

The last dance
The last dance