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Let the wild things flourish

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Unpredictable, lush, and abundant. That is how my garden grows. When I look out at our barn these days I sometimes catch my breath at the wild, vibrant sprays of color from the many of wild flowers growing there underneath our quilt block. This accidental farming business is a pretty good deal that gets better and better as summer evolves. The other day I was out picking a few more raspberries when I noticed a huge thistle shrub growing out beside of an old garage foundation behind the house. Purple top hats nestled on the tops of hundreds of thistle blossoms were being nibbled by a wide variety of bees. I grabbed the camera and shot some photos of the thistles as well as the flowers by the barn. While I was shooting the flowers in front of the barn, I noticed what I thought was a hummingbird darting around, so aimed my camera toward her in an effort to capture a clear image. This was a fast little creature that never stayed still long enough for me to get a good look at it with my eyes. It did give me the distinct impression of a hummingbird, but a very small hummingbird only a little over an inch tall. I shot as many photos as quickly as I could in hopes there might be a jewel of a shot. Alas, my lens was not quick enough that day; I did get some fairly good shots though. They were clear enough to confirm that it did resemble a hummingbird but there were some other things I was certain a standard issue hummingbird would not have. For instance, notice the long antenna ... not very bird-like, I'd say. And check out the furry looking "coat" on this critter ... also not very bird-like IMHO. I also noticed the creature had some sort of arm looking things it would use to balance itself with as it drank the nectar of the pretty wild flowers. Well, I have never seen a bird with arms before, have you? So, I sent several of my photos off to my husband at work for his help in identifying the strange creature. He told me it was a hummingbird moth. Wow, that is something I did not know existed. It was wild how similar this little guy was to a hummingbird. He moved so quickly that it was hard to figure out that he wasn't a hummingbird. I had quite a bit of fun with the little mothman. He either didn't notice me standing there shooting photos from three feet away or he just didn't care. Perhaps he is accustomed to the paparazzi, being such a rare and beautiful creature as he is. I could hardly wait to share these photos with you today. Last week my husband and I set out for Partyka Farms again, but to pick blueberries rather than strawberries. My friend Lora was kind enough to let us pick our own berries even though they don't offer "You-Pick" on their blueberries. It was a beautiful summer day, not too awfully hot. We were way off in the blueberry bushes chatting and enjoying both sunshine and shade as we picked four quarts of gorgeous blue berries. We gave one quart to Dave's widow down the road and I made several jars of blueberry preserves with most of the rest of them. We had some berries left and last Saturday we enjoyed a late lunch of scrambled eggs and corncakes (like pancakes but made with cornbread batter instead of pancake batter) which I mixed a bunch of fresh blueberries into. That proved to be a delicious combination and a nice surprise. The blueberry corncakes were so good, I decided to use up more of the berries in some homemade biscuits the next morning. If you haven't used my Blue Ribbon Biscuit Recipe yet (or even if you have) you should go out and get some fresh blueberries and make yourself some Blueberry Biscuits. Just add a handful or so of washed blueberries into the biscuit dough after you have cut in the butter but before you add in the buttermilk. Now those were some good biscuits, topped with some of the blueberry preserves I had just made. Tomorrow, Saturday August 2nd, I will be displaying some of my art at The Cobblestone Society Museum in Childs, NY as a part of their annual Old Tyme Day event. Should you happen to be one of my western New York readers, perhaps you would like to come by. The event runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday only. I will displaying a few examples of my portraits in watercolor and will have a few of my small oil paintings, prints, and notecards there as well. The Cobblestone Society Museum is 100% volunteer run and operated and is a good group to support if you can in some way. For my knitting readers, I wanted to let you know I have been getting myself set up at Ravelry.com as a designer and now have a store there where most of my patterns are available for download. Of course, the full range of my available patterns can be found in my Etsy shop, but in case you are a part of the Ravelry crowd, I wanted you to know you can find me there either as firefly8868 or as the designer J. L. Fleckenstein. If you have knitted any items from my offering of free or retail patterns and would like to post your finished or in progress items there and link them to my patterns ... feel free. It would be fun to connect up over there as well as there on my blog. I have to run now, because there are things to do in order to get ready for that show tomorrow. Have a beautiful day and a lovely weekend! ~firefly


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