Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Caterpillar - Spilosoma Virginica

Oh what a day. I drove to the John Heinz Nature Preserve near the Philadelphia Airport. I was just going to take my macro lens, but Ken suggested I take the big telephoto lens as well, just in case. When I got out of the car, the butterflies were fluttering all around. A dragon fly buzzed by and the grasshoppers were hopping. I knew I would have a good day. I found this little caterpillar on a leaf and took a few photos of him, then turned around and looked in the marshes and saw at least a dozen Great White Egret just wading in the water. It was heaven. If you go to the home page at you can see a large sampling of the photos I took. Get there early, because a new photo will be posted there tomorrow.

Have fun.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quakertown Highschool Class of 1970 40th Class Reunion - Click Photo to Expand

Yesterday, August 21, 2010 about 65 of us from the 1970 class of Quakertown High School got together for a wonderful 40th class reunion at the Meadows outside of Quakertown. We gathered for a group photograph. See if you can recognize anybody in the pictures above. If you click a photo, it will expand.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Today's Catch

This is why I love bugs. Just take a look at the beauty of the three little guys I found today at the pond. Just beautiful creatures of nature. (Click on each bug for a good close look.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Please Don't Tell Ken

Yesterday while kneeling in almost waist high grass in the middle of a field at Valley Forge aiming my macro lens at a katydid on a milkweed, a large man standing far off in the distance on the sidewalk was waving his hands, jumping up and down and shouting at me, "Lady, get out of that field, there are ticks in there." I shouted back in a kind voice, "Thank you sir, I know."

I was out there in the sweltering heat and humidity wearing long pants, tucked into long socks, and hiking boots. I had on a long sleeve light blue shirt buttoned up to my neck and a wide brimmed hat that covers all my hair. Quite a site to behold on a day where the temperature hit above 95 degrees.

Anyway, I emerged from the field, feeling chastened and came on home. Ken would like me to take all my clothes off and burn them before coming into the house, but I just ran upstairs into the bathroom, took off all my clothes, jumped into the shower and scrubbed away. Then I took the clothes downstairs to the basement, threw them into the washing machine and drowned any poor little ticks that may have been clinging to my socks.

Well this morning, guess what I found climbing up the side of the bath tub? Please don't tell Ken.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


It was a rainy day today, but I went to Valley Forge anyway. I found a small herd of deer and chased them around a field for a while. On my way back to the car I saw a beautiful twisted tree at the edge of the road. Looking a little closer I saw a line of cicada shells like little mountain climbers scaling a sheer cliff face. Looking a little closer I found a brand new little nymph cicada who had just recently emerged from his shell. Oh the thrills of nature.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Basement Saga

I woke up this morning determined to finally finish the basement. Way back in April while we were away on vacation, we had some tremendous rain storms. We came home to a flooded basement which ruined our carpet and just about everything sitting on the floor, making an awful mess. The mess required us to finally put in a total French Drain so we wouldn't have this mess ever again.

Putting in a French Drain meant we had to take out a whole set of built in bookcases and cabinets that had been built around the perimeter of our basement. It also meant taking down hundreds of books and way too many knick knacks we had collected over all these years. But it had to be done. Our handyman Tim, who only works on weekends painstakingly took out all of the bookcases and cabinets one by one and piled them up in the middle of the basement. He ripped out the carpet and we piled book after book in box after box and stored all of those in the basement as well. We hired a French Drain company that was obviously way too busy fixing other basements. Finally late in May or early June, the French Drain people came, jack hammered away putting a thick layer of dust over everything, but the French Drain was done.

And then weekend after weekend, Tim came back and replaced much of the damaged floor, then put in new drywall, fixed the plumbing, rebuilt the base for the cabinets, replaced the cabinet counter tops and then finally put back the bookshelves and cabinets.

Today was my day to clean up all the mess. I examined book after book dividing them into donation pile and keep pile. And knick knack after knick knack with most going into the donation pile. I painstakingly dusted off each item. Slogged all the donation boxes up the stairs and out to the garage to wait for The Purple Heart. Then I swept the floor twice, vacuumed the floor, got down on my hands and knees and hand washed the floor. I did the same with each of the cabinets and bookcases, scrubbed from top to bottom, inside and out. All that took me from 7:30 until about one o'clock with a one hour break to mow the lawn.

In the afternoon, I put the remaining books and knick knacks back on the shelves. Scrubbed down the exercise equipment (tread mill, stationary bike, hand weights, exercise bench and returned each to its original landing place, scrubbed clean of all the dust and dirt. Finally, I was finished. To me, it looked FABULOUS. Smelled like Pine-Sol. Oh, such a sense of accomplishment.

Then I asked my darling, wonderful, way too organized Ken to come down and inspect the new basement. He came downstairs, took a good long quiet look and then suggested I rearrange the books so that his books took up the first three sets of shelves and then put my books on the second set of shelves. I smiled and grit my teeth and said maybe I'll just have a gin and tonic.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Portrait of a Praying Mantis

Shy Grasshoppers

The grasshoppers are out in full force in the fields of Valley Forge Park. As I walk through the tall grass they spring from one grass stalk to another. It is so much fun to track one down and take his picture. Here are three different grasshoppers each hiding from the camera. Look at the tiny toes on the one behind the stalk of grass. And the horsey face on the one peaking over the top of a leaf. And the little white dot in the middle of the forehead of the third one peeking between the green leaves. Each one has his own personality - some more curious than others. Such wonderfully funny faces.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Huge Yellow Garden Spider

I was walking through the tall grass in the woods today and I came across a HUGE yellow garden spider. She was straddled in the middle of a big messy spider web. As I got closer she sprung out her claws. I kept my distance just in case she wanted to take my leg off. Take a close look at this spider. If you click on her you can see how big she is compared to the fly buzzing her upper right leg.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Grasshopper Chompers

I had the BEST morning in Valley Forge today. Just check out these grasshoppers and you will know why. Click on the teeth for the FULL effect.