Devil’s Cigar is Not Edible

I feel compelled to insert a short post about the rare Devil’s Cigar. A number of search engine users continue asking if this mushroom is edible.I have researched high and low and I have not found any information written that this mushroom is edible.

My answer is no, it is not edible. Never ever harvest any kind of mushroom. Purchase your mushrooms from a grocery store. They are not unduly expensive. Several individuals die each year from eating poisonous mushrooms. Don’t become a statistic!

A wild thing should be left untouched in the wild and left to grow and complete its life cycle. That plant or fungi is growing there because it is symbiotic with the other things growing there and serves the purpose of completing that particular habitat. Species rely on each other to maintain health, vigor and, productivity.

Many plants and other forms of natives have been lost to people making money from selling rare or endangered species. Is this unfair to the rest of us who would like to see things growing in the wild? But more importantly once any species of flora or fauna is lost it can not be replicated in any form or fashion. And how are we to know that these things might have been used to cure a disease or help mankind in ways one would never have believed?

Scientists from around the world are actively searching rain forests, tundra, desert, mountains, and the ocean seeking specimens to bring back for laboratory studies. Currently humans are already benefiting from medications that were made from native plants.

There is one exception to the rule. ONLY IF YOU KNOW for certain that an area is going to be destroyed and lost to a construction site- then remove with advice, from someone involved in conservation who can advise you on how to competently dig a specimen.

One last thought. I appreciate all the folks that are viewing my blog. Thank you so much.

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A Homeless Recovering Addict And a Cat He Befriended

Of note: I’ve had more than a headache while trying to get the comment section to work. It has a mind of its own. I think that it is finally working. It has been quite a while since I last “put out a post” but now that I am have a tad more energy I hope to publish a number of posts that are still in draft form.

James Bowen was a recovering addict for about 10 years.I happened to read about the Englishman some time last year and I have wanted to present his story here. I found it fascinating. He now has written two books about his experience with a homeless cat that adopted Bowen before Bowen adopted him. It almost seems like fate and destiny to suddenly be adopted by a stray tom cat that Bowen could not shake from his life.The cat who he named Bob helped turn Bowen’s life around and has helped make them both celebrities and popular with tourists.

I really hope that this incredible true tale will be made into a movie. I think it would be extremely popular and an even better movie than “Marley and Me.”

Watch the short video. If you are a cat lover or not, I think you’ll enjoy the video.

PS: I bought the first book (not the first book that was published) and liked it very much.

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In Memory of Boastswain, A Dog by Lord Byron (No comments please)

NO COMMENTS PLEASE.
This is merely another pet loss poem that I have added. Numerous views on my blog are from individuals looking for poems about pet loss. I have several more in draft that I intend to include in the Pet Loss Category so I will be adding more “here and there” or “now and then.”

Live Oak still beautiful after its demise. "All things are born to live and then live to die."

Live Oak still beautiful after its demise. “All things are born to live and then live to die.”

The poem “Epitaph To a Dog” was written by Lord Byron and a close friend. The dog was a Newfoundland and much cherished by the poet.

Epitaph To a Dog

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
Boatswain, a Dog
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,
Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one — and here he lies.

By Lord Byron

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Abandonded Dog in Compton. Calif. Severe Neglect. A Happy Ending

This is another Eldad Hagar rescue video. I am no longer astonished to see or read about the cruelty and abandonment of dogs and cats. This rescue grabbed my heart- not sure why. All of Hagar’s rescues are heart wrenching and heart grabbing. This is just one of the many truly inspiring and unforgettable rescues. This poor little dog was living with fur so matted it probably weighed almost as much as he did at the time of his rescue.

He was named Theo by Annie Hart of Bill’s Foundation and I think the name fits this little dog. He became a totally different dog in just 2 weeks time. I hope you’ll take the time to view this video.

I have material of my own, that I’m working on. In the meantime I hope my followers/ viewers are not getting tired of seeing work done by other folks. :-)

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The Homeless and Their Dogs: Comments Are On

Comments: ON Note: I’m feeling some better now with new med and up to addressing comments and reading the blogs that I previously followed. :-)

Please turn off the sound on your computer. The music contains some vulgar words. If I knew how to get rid of the music I would.

An individual named KittiesBandit on (You Tube) wrote more or less, the following:
“I do not own the photos or the music. This is something that I put together…”

I do not know the name or names of the photographer/s who took the photographs of the homeless and their pets.If anyone knows the name I will provide credit or remove this video if the owner/s object to this post.

Indeed a dog is man’s best friend and if ever one should have doubts, merely watch this video for 30 seconds, or longer if you choose.

I happened to see this video and it struck me in a profound way. Homelessness exists the world over and I feel it is a dilemma of society. In the US the homeless are hardly given a second thought, although some cities are making the effort to place the homeless in their own apartments and various agencies are attempting to reintegrate these men and women back into society.

Causes of homelessness are loss of job, inability to find gainful employment, lack of education, medical conditions with the inability to find treatment, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of affordable housing, and mental illness. Many of the mentally ill were discharged from hospitals years ago with no support system or guidance to help these individuals learn how to seek resources for treatment and how to cope with life in a very cruel society.

The homeless have virtually lost contact with what is considered the norm. They have NO contact with another meaningful human that cares about their welfare. The one constant in the homeless person’s life is often a forgiving being-their pet which does not judge or begrudge their station in life.

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Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Read below photos for information concerning Lick Granuloma.

Lick granuloma  on right foot of chocolate labrador retriever, Muddy

Lick granuloma on right foot of chocolate labrador retriever, Muddy

Muddy being serious

Muddy being serious

Muddy being a clown and feeling good. Muddy being a clown and feeling good.

Properly called Acral Lick Granuloma this is a skin condition that is fairly common in certain dog breeds but can occur in any dog.

About a year ago my lab, Muddy, began licking his right leg just above the paw. I didn’t pay much attention to his constant licking when he was in his crate at night. I had begun feeling really crummy in March, 2013 and so I was more than casual about Muddy and his paw. It seems it became an obsession with him. I think he began licking his paw due to boredom and frustration from being crated more than he had been in the past. He’s too big to let wander willy nilly through the house since he will get in the cat’s food. I also was crating him more because I did not want him picking up ticks from all the vegation in the yard. I use FrontLine for fleas and ticks but the topical applications only lasts for about 2 weeks and if you are lucky , maybe 3 weeks. The lit says it is a once per month application but I have yet to see it work that long. It is very expensive too.

Finally, after he had made a nasty looking sore, I had my vet take a look. I was afraid that maybe it had become cancerous. Dr B. said, “oh no problem. Put a few drops of this med on 2-3 times a day and watch him for about 5 minutes to make sure he doesn’t lick off the medicine.” So I applied 2-3 drops to saturate the area properly and remained sitting by Muddy for the suggested 5 minutes which gave the med time to absorb deep into the tissue. After about 5 weeks or sooner the area healed to the point where Muddy no longer licked the spot. The huge callous and raw like area had all but disappeared. That was last year.

This year Muddy began licking the very same spot about a month ago- about the time the grass was getting tall (before mowing). I believe that an allergy to grass might have influenced the licking to begin anew. This time I still had the medication which is called Synotic Otic Solution. It is actually an ear drop medication for pets. It contains a steriod which explains the rapid healing effect.

I took some hasty shots of his foot but these shots are of the same spot but less in severity of the sore place of last year. This one is on the road to healing and should be ok in another few weeks.

If you have a problem with this condition do not hesitate to have a vet diagnose and begin treatment. The area might not be a lick granuloma and could be something very serious. Do not ignore any sore, bump, mole, or anything that is bleeding or does not look normal.

This post is not meant as a diagnositc tool. See your vet to insure you pet’s health and well being. Various vets have their own treatment modalities for any given ailment. Some methods are simple but some granulomas might require treatments that are more involved.

Oh yes- for anyone concerned about Muddy and the crate. He is out of the crate during the day and is running free with the other dogs in a fenced acre. Thus far the ticks have not been bad but if they return in vast numbers again- I’ll have to crate my dogs and only allow them to run in the graveled back yard.

Below is a list of dog breeds that are MORE PRONE to lick granuloma. Any dog breed can develop this condition.

American Staffordshire Terrier
Border Collie
Boxer
Dalmatian
Doberman
English Setter
English Springer Spaniel
German Shepherd
Golden Retriever
Gordon Setter
Great Dane
Irish Red and White Setter
Irish Setter
Labrador Retriever
Newfoundland
Pit Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Weimaraner

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Wild Animals That Trust Their Human Friends

I saw this video on You Tube and I was fascinated while viewing. I am not posting this as a promotion for people to go out and obtain a wild animal to keep as a pet. The animals in the video are in very special circumstances either in a zoo or running free in a wildlife preserve.

It remains a sad state of affairs where people are still getting their hands on exotic reptiles and other animals right here in the US. Why this is happening, I don’t know but it needs to stop.

Here in the US, there are strict laws in almost every state that protect our native birds and wildlife from being kept in captivity. The wily coyote even though it has become a bane can only be kept as a pet in maybe 2-3 states. No species of bird/wildlife is allowed in captivity except in a certified zoo or under the care of rehabber or rehab rescue/center.

Hunting preserves in Texas and other states are another matter as far as I am concerned and canned hunts using exotic deer, etc goes against my grain. But that is for another discussion or post. There are many pros and cons and I am not up to climbing on my soap box. :-)

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Critical: Show Your Humaneness At Easter (Original-April 16,2011)

Comments are closed. Thank you for taking the time to view or read. :-)

Here is a re-posting before easter. This is about the 3rd or 4th time that I have reposted. Yes, this is a boring topic and I do not have any pics to go along with this post. I should have gone to the feed store and taken a few photos there. The last time I went to one of the 4 feed stores that I patronize, there were baby chicks, ducklings, and some rabbits. These, however, were not ordered from the hatchery just for an easter sale but for individuals to add to their flock or for first timers wanting to keep a few backyard chickens or other poultry. These new chicks will produce lovely eggs before the year has ended. Please continue reading.

Easter is April 20th this year. Do you have little ones chirping- quacking- hopping or hoping for a wee baby chick, duckling, or bunny? If so, don’t leave this page without reading a post. I hope that after reading this entry, you can say NO to your child or children if they have been bugging you for a live Easter gift.

Easter will be here in about 3 days. What do you give your child/children as an Easter gift? A live bunny, a baby chick or, a duckling? Think long and hard about your choice. Baby chicks and ducklings are very small and their little bodies simply can not hold up to being passed around between children or even just one child. Chicks and ducklings grow and become larger. How would you keep that chick or duckling safe from the family cat or dog? How would you care and house that chick or duckling? Even if the chick managed to grow to adult hood you will have a mess to deal with. Children can catch several diseases from that baby chick. Serious diseases. What will you do when that baby chick/duckling expels very malodorous excrement on your child or in your child’s hands while holding the chick/duckling. The small bird in all probability will die for it does require special care. A cage, chick/duck food, a watering bowl, and a small feeder designed just for baby chickens or ducklings. Cages must be changed  daily. Clean black and white newspaper( not colored parts or adds of the newspaper.)  should be used. Are you prepared to deal with that? Or are you one of those people who figure “oh well. It’s just one of millions of chickens/ducks and the life of one baby chick/duck doesn’t matter that much.”

What about that cute bunny that you saw in the pet store? As it turns out that bunny also needs special care. A cage, (made just for rabbits) water (preferably a water bottle) that the rabbit can sip from- keeps the water clean, a dish for rabbit pellets, hay for the bunny to eat,  and small amounts of  raw fruit and vegetables to keep its digestive tract healthy. But it does not end there.  The cage should be cleaned daily to keep the bunny healthy. Rabbits should also be vaccinated for 2-3 diseases. The rabbit should be spayed or neutered before 6 months of age.  A rabbit should be held a certain way because the delicate back  is easily broken just from twisting and turning or letting it fall to the floor.  They really do not like to be picked up and handled. If you just turn it loose in the back yard it can easily meet its demise in the jaws of a dog or cat or a hawk can swoop down and make a meal of the bunny  and lets not forget that Great Horned Owl that will snatch it up at night or early in the morning. How will you keep it safe from over zealous children that want to carry it around or simply pet the bunny many times a day. Bunnies grow up and become large rabbits. Are you going to just turn it loose in your backyard or take it to the local shelter to give it up because it is just too messy and difficult to keep in the house. Bunnies are also capable of biting and then you will worry about a possible infection from the bite. Now if you still want a rabbit for your child there a a few more things to consider such as disease transmission to you or your children. A plethora of diseases also are on the list of why a rabbit is not a good choice for your child. Pasturella, coccidiosis, giardi, E-coli, toxoplasmosis, and the list goes on. If you keep the rabbit outdoors they are also susceptible to heat stroke and also need warmth in the winter. Remember: these are domestic rabbits which are much more delicate that a native wild rabbit.

So let your conscience by your guide. Just don’t give a chick or bunny as an Easter gift unless you want a lot of work and the real possibility that the animal will die. If it doesn’t succumb to disease or neglet your children will grow tired of that chick or bunny and then you are faced with what to do with that Easter gift.

Be smart and humane; omit anything live for your young child. There are many things to give your child. A stuffed rabbit or a toy chick or duck  are great and you will not have all of the work and worry. 

Of course there is always the Easter candy but beware of the chocolate that the family dog can and will eat. Chocolate is deadly for dogs. If your dog ingests chocolate take your pet to the animal emergency where it can get the proper care to keep the chocolate from being absorbed. Special care is required for after care. PRECAUTIONS ARE THE KEY WORDS.

The care and consideration that you show toward a “lesser” bird or animal will have an impact on your child’s emotional development. How your child will treat you later in life and how much empathy your child has for other human beings and animals is learned at a young age. This is something that can be taught but not at the expense of a small helpless animal. Your child can learn how to treat others and animals by following your example- good or bad.

After Easter the animal shelters become filled with bunnies and chicks. Don’t be guilty of adding to the shelter’s  already over flowing facilities.

For St. Patrick’s Day: An Irish Prayer

The Irish prayer is below these two photos.

Lots of wildlife on this ranch that includes deer, wild hogs, turkey, racoon,possum, fox, rabbit, squirrel, several species of snakes. There are many species of birds and too many to name here. My son hunts on this property and the ranch lady gave me a tour of her spread. I don't advocate hunting but my husband was a dyed in the wool waterfowl hunter. Hunting was instilled in our son at a young age. I'm trying to convert him to hunt with a camera.This past year he went to the ranch to sit and think and to watch the wildlife.

Lots of wildlife on this ranch that includes deer, wild hogs, turkey, racoon, possum, fox, rabbit, squirrel, coyote and, bobcat. There are many species of birds and too many to name here. My son hunts on this property and the ranch lady gave me a tour of her spread. I don’t advocate hunting but my husband was a dyed in the wool waterfowl hunter. Hunting was instilled in our son at a young age. I’m, trying to convert him to hunt with a camera. This past year he went to the ranch to sit and to think and to watch the wildlife.

Mexican plum that I transplanted as a sapling from the woods beside my property before 25 acres or so were "planted" with apartments. "They" removed every cotton picking tree . It was a sad time for me and I cried as the bulldozers wrecked havoc. But now I have several large plum trees and many saplings.The trees provide a nectar source for bees and early butterflies if the weather is warm. Mexican plum that I transplanted as a sapling from the woods beside my property before 25 acres or so were “planted” with apartments. “They” removed every cotton picking tree . It was a sad time for me and I cried as the bulldozers wrecked havoc. But now I have several large plum trees and many saplings.The trees provide a nectar source for bees and early butterflies if the weather is warm.

A change of pace. In honor or St Patrick’s Day this is a poem that I found. I could not find an author to credit for these very wise words of advice.

My husband was of Irish and English decent. I reckon Daniel is after all a pretty good Irish name.

For “greenery” I’m putting forth a “very green” photo of a McLennan county ranch creek. This photo is from late summer of 2012.

An Irish Prayer (author unknown)

Take time to work,

It is the price of success,

Take time to think,

It is the source of power.

Take time to play,

It is the secret of perpetual youth.

Take time to read,

It is the foundation of wisdom.

Take time to be friendly,

It is the road to happiness.

Take time to love and be loved,

It is the privilege of the gods.

Take time to share,

Life is too short to be selfish.

Take time to laugh,

Laughter is the music of the soul.

Author unknown

Rare Mushroom In My Yard: Devil’s Cigar, Texas Star (Chorioactis geaster)

Chorioactis geaster AKA Devil's cigar, orTexas star. Photographed 12/25/2013

Chorioactis geaster AKA Devil’s cigar, orTexas star. Photographed 12/25/2013

Last night I began editing 170 photos, plus. I came across several pics of the mushroom and then I looked in Google to find the name. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that “my mushroom” is a rarity. Literature says it springs forth near the base of a stump or dead roots of the Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifoli). I don’t remember when that tree was felled. There are other Cedar Elms that are alive and thriving in my yard.

Chorioactis geaster is called Devil’s cigar and also Texas star. It emerges from the soil in the shape of a dark cigar and then bursts open to reveal a rather unusual and pretty mushroom. It is found in one other country. In Japan the mushrooms appear on exposed trunks or branches of a dead oak. Deforestation in Japan has caused this mushroom to be considered a rarity and has been placed on the endangered species list.

This mushroom is referred to as saprotrophic which means it absorbs and metabolizes on a molecular scale for its nutrition. According to literature it’s found in very moist areas. The one in my yard is near the goat’s pen. His water bucket often overflows because I am a lame brain and have my eyes scanning the bushes and trees for birds and in the warm months looking toward the butterfly garden. I’ve left the hose running for hours and a few times over night. I tend to become absorbed in other attractions and then forget to turn off the hydrant.

Texas stars appear only during fall and winter but sometimes as late as April. I found this one on Christmas Day after walking back to the house after I had fed Billy Bob, my goat. The mushroom had emerged from the moist soil near a very intact old stump. At the time I had no idea this one species is rare and found only in several counties of central and northeastern Texas. McLennan county, where I live, is not listed as one of the counties where it has been seen. So maybe this is a first recorded sighting. I have no idea if my photo record would be accepted by the science community. Experts are very particular in what they consider as an accepted record.

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Fall Butterflies: 2013 (Tilt your screen back a bit for improved viewing).

Yes, here it is February 6th, 2014. Fall butterflies are long gone. I last saw butters in the garden around December 5th or when ever that first norther arrived. My last day to photograph any in the yard was December 4th, 2013.

I’ve had lots of spare time interspersed with busy time but I had not much energy or desire to put forth the effort to work on this blog. It seems I follow the old adage. “Hour late and a dollar short.” Stress the late and short part. :-)

To view these photos tilt your screen back a bit and the saturation/exposure/viewing will improve.

Pipevine Swallowtail (Wingspan 4.5-4.5") Nectaring in Skyflower Host plant: Pipevines. This was my first sighting of this species.  Remarkable display with the constant beating of its wings as it moved all around the Skyfower. I had to put lots of effort in order to get some pics. It was quite hot the day that I happened to go out and check the flowers for any butterflies. The light was very bright with the sun still high in the sky, I could not get the exposures that I would have preferred. It's like photographing birds. You take what you can for the opportunity will probably not be present again.

Pipevine Swallowtail
(Wingspan 4.5-4.5″) Nectaring on Skyflower
Host plant: Pipevines. This was my first sighting of this species. Remarkable display with the constant beating of its wings as it moved all around the Skyfower. I had to put lots of effort in order to get some pics. It was quite hot the day that I happened to go out and check the flowers for any butterflies. The light was very bright and with the sun still high in the sky, I could not get the exposures that I would have preferred. It’s like photographing birds. You take what you can for the opportunity will probably not be present again.

Gulf Fritillary nectaring on Skyflower (Duranta).I love the backgrpound color of this photo. I don't use Photoshop and I have no idea how this color was achieved. I just know that it was a pleasant surprise. Photographed November, 2013.

Gulf Fritillary nectaring on Skyflower (Duranta).I love the backgrpound color of this photo. I don’t use Photoshop and I have no idea how this color was achieved. I just know that it was a pleasant surprise. Photographed November, 2013.

Gulf Fritillary on skyflower.Host plant is native Passionvine. EXOTIC PASSIONVINE WILL KILL THE CATERPILLARS. More about that in some other post. One or two exotics are safe but you must do the research before planting to ensure you have the safe species of passionvine.       Photo. Oct. 2013

Gulf Fritillary on skyflower.Host plant is native Passionvine. EXOTIC PASSIONVINE WILL KILL THE CATERPILLARS. More about that in some other post. One or two exotics are safe but you must do the research before planting to ensure you have the safe species of passionvine. Photo. Oct. 2013

Pipevine Swallowtail nectaring on Skyflower (duranta). Photographed Sept. 24, 2013

Pipevine Swallowtail nectaring on Skyflower (duranta). Photographed Sept. 24, 2013

Hackberry Emperor nectaring on rotting banana that I had placed on a large rock. Some butterflies nectar on rotting fruit and dearly love fruit that has been spiked with wine or even beer. I've not tried the "spirits" to entice the butters yet but I'm planning to buy some cheap wine this spring to lace up some bananas for the butters to enjoy.

Hackberry Emperor nectaring on rotting banana that I had placed on a large rock. Some butterflies nectar on rotting fruit and dearly love fruit that has been spiked with wine or even beer. I’ve not tried the “spirits” to entice the butters yet but I’m planning to buy some cheap wine this spring to lace up some bananas for the butters to enjoy.

Little

Little Yellow nectaring on Skyflower. It is difficult to catch a sulfur with unfolded wings. I’ve looked in Google at the butterflies so many times I feel as though I’m now “Googled eyed.” :-)

Gulf fritillary nectaring on Lantana

Gulf fritillary nectaring on Lantana

Northern Cloudywing? Posssibly Horace's Duskywing? One of the two. :-) I'm sorry but these little ones are extremely difficult to ID without good field marks. nectaring on Maximillian sunflower. Sept. 2013

Northern Cloudywing or Horace’s Duskywing nectaring on Maximillian sunflower. Sept. 2013

Pipevine Swallowtail nectaring on Skyflower (duranta). Photographed Sept. 24, 2013

Pipevine Swallowtail nectaring on Skyflower (duranta). Photographed Sept. 24, 2013

Monarch nectaring on Mexican butterfly weed. Photographed early Nov. 2013

Monarch nectaring on Mexican butterfly weed. Photographed early Nov. 2013

Three Queens  nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed

Three Queens nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed

Common Mestra (wingspan 1.5- 1.7") nectaring on African Blue Sage

Common Mestra (wingspan 1.5- 1.7″) nectaring on African Blue Sage

Painted Lady- wingspan: 2-2.5"  Nectaring on African Blue Sage. Note the tattered wings. This lady had seen some rough times. :-)

Painted Lady- wingspan: 2-2.5″ Nectaring on African Blue Sage. Note the tattered wings. This lady had seen some rough times. :-)

Common Mestra. Wingspan: 1.5"-1.7."   My first glimpse of this dainty little flitter. I like the odd pattern of the underwing.

Common Mestra. Wingspan: 1.5″-1.7.” My first glimpse of this dainty little flitter. I like the odd pattern of the underwing.

Gulf Fritillary- winspan: 2.5"-3". Nectaring on African Blue Sage

Gulf Fritillary- winspan: 2.5″-3″. Nectaring on African Blue Sage

American Snout showing underwing pattern. Wingspan: 1.6-1.8" This butter was nectaring on African Blue Basil.

American Snout showing underwing pattern. Wingspan: 1.6-1.8″
This butter was nectaring on African Blue Basil.

White Checkered-skipper: (Wingspan- .8-1.2")  on Scabiosa. Look for the very slender dark colored proboscis  in the middle of the bloom. A very pretty dainty skipper. Host plants- Mallow, Sidas.  Photographed 12/3/2013

White Checkered-skipper: (Wingspan- .8-1.2″) on Scabiosa. Look for the very slender dark colored proboscis in the middle of the bloom. A very pretty dainty skipper. Host plants- Mallow, Sidas. Photographed 12/3/2013

Variegated Fritillary. Wingspan- 1.8-2.5". Nectaring on Copper Camyon Daisy. Note part of the upper right wing is missing. Host plants- Flax, Passionvine

Variegated Fritillary. Wingspan- 1.8-2.5″. Nectaring on Copper Camyon Daisy. Note part of the upper right wing is missing. Host plants- Flax, Passionvine

Sachem Skipper?  Not positive of ID. Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy November, 2013

Sachem Skipper? Not positive of ID. Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy November, 2013

Orange Sulphur? Wingspan: 1.5-2.5"   Not sure of ID but I think this is correct - looks like the photos in the ID guides. :-) Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy.  Host plants- Clover, Vetch, Bluebonnets. Photo : 12/3/2013

Orange Sulphur? Wingspan: 1.5-2.5″ Not sure of ID but I think this is correct – looks like the photos in the ID guides. Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy. Host plants- Clover, Vetch, Bluebonnets. Photo : 12/3/2013

Southern Dogface on native Aster. Dec. 3.2013 When the wings are "unfolded" an illusion of a dog's face in profile can be seen- with a bit of imagination. :-) The wings are folded here so don't try using your imagination.  :-)  Host plants: Clover,Dalea, False Indigo

Southern Dogface on native Aster. Dec. 3.2013
When the wings are “unfolded” an illusion of a dog’s face in profile can be seen- with a bit of imagination. :-)
The wings are folded here so don’t try using your imagination. :-) Host plants: Clover,Dalea, False Indigo

White Checkered-Skipper on Scabiosa  Wingspan:   .8-1.2" Photographed 12/3/2013

White Checkered-Skipper on Scabiosa Wingspan: .8-1.2″
Photographed 12/3/2013

Skipper, ID unknown. Possibly a Schem skipper?  Nectaring on African Blue Sage  Nov. 18,2013  Host plant is Bermuda grass and other grasses. That is easy. Lots of Bermuda grass. I have Bermuda in my yard where its allowed to grow tall in one area. :-)

Skipper, ID unknown. Possibly a Schem skipper? Nectaring on African Blue Sage Nov. 18,2013 Host plant is Bermuda grass and other grasses. That is easy. Lots of Bermuda grass. I even have that in my yard where its allowed to grow tall in one area. :-)

Monarch female in a last ditch effort to lay an egg . Note the abdomen stretched away from her body as she attempts to deposit an egg on the underside of a milweed pod. It was windy that day and a huge gust of wind blew her off the pod or maybe she just let go. She fell toward the Copper Canyon Daisy and when I turned around to see where she had landed I could not find her. She has part of the left upper wing missing. The injured wing is apparent if you look closely. It made me sad to think that she had probably flown many miles when she happened upon my butterfly garden. I wish I knew if that was her last hurrah. I think it was. Host plants: any plant in the Milkweed family. It used some of the 5 plants of my Mexican Milkweed this fall. Any naitve Milkweed will do plus this Mexican one. Some scientists believe the Monarch evolved and moved north as it used the Milkweed in Mexico as a nectar and host plant. Native Milkweed here in the states is being grown for its seeds. It is a finicky plant and does not readily germinate.  The nursery trade sells Mexican Milkweed and it transplants and grows easily.

Monarch female in a last ditch effort to lay an egg . Note the abdomen stretched away from her body as she attempts to deposit an egg on the underside of a milkweed pod. It was windy that day and a huge gust of wind blew her off the pod or maybe she just let go. She fell toward the Copper Canyon Daisy and when I turned around to see where she had landed I could not find her. She has part of the left upper wing missing. The injured wing is apparent if you look closely. It made me sad to think that she had probably flown many miles when she happened upon my butterfly garden. I wish I knew if that was her last hurrah. I think it was. Host plants for the Monarch: any plant in the Milkweed family. The Monarch used some of my 5 plants of the Mexican Milkweed this fall. Any naitve Milkweed will do plus this Mexican one. Some scientists believe the Monarch evolved and moved north as it used the Milkweed in Mexico as a nectar and host plant. Native Milkweed here in the states is being grown for its seeds. It is a finicky plant and does not readily germinate. The nursery trade sells Mexican Milkweed and it transplants and grows easily.

Queen , male Wingspan: 3-3.5"  Nectaring on Mexican Milkweed. Host plants- Milkweeds   Photo: 11/17/2013

Queen , male Wingspan: 3-3.5″ Nectaring on Mexican Milkweed. Host plants- Milkweeds Photo: 11/17/2013

Orange Sulphur? Wingspan: 1.5-2.5"   Not sure of ID but  I think this is correct - looks like the photos in the ID guides.  Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy.  Host plants- Clover, Vetch, Bluebonnets. Photo : 12/3/2013

Orange Sulphur? Wingspan: 1.5-2.5″ Not sure of ID but I think this is correct – looks like the photos in the ID guides. Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy. Host plants- Clover, Vetch, Bluebonnets. Photo : 12/3/2013

Pained Lady    Wingspan- 2-2.5"  Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy   11/22/2013 This butter hosts on  plants in the Mallow, Legumes, and  Thistles families.

Pained Lady Wingspan- 2-2.5″ Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy 11/22/2013 This butter hosts on plants in the Mallow, Legumes, and Thistles families.

Red Admiral- wingspan 1.8-2.5."  Nectaring in this pic on African Blue sage 11/18/2013.  Yes, I know. Where is the red on this butter? Well in this case it happens to have an orange coloration. Host plants include Nettle, False Nettle, and (pellotory? what in the world is a pellitory plant. I need to read about that one).

Red Admiral- wingspan 1.8-2.5.” Nectaring in this pic on African Blue sage 11/18/2013. Yes, I know. Where is the red on this butter? Well in this case it happens to have an orange coloration. Host plants include Nettle, False Nettle, and (pellotory? what in the world is a pellitory plant. I need to read about that one).

American Snout. Wingspan: 1.6-1.8"  Host plant- Hackberry tree

American Snout. Wingspan: 1.6-1.8″ Host plant- Hackberry tree

Monarch nectaring on Mexican Milkweed  11/17/2013

Monarch nectaring on Mexican Milkweed 11/17/2013

American Snout Wingspan: 11.6-1.8″ nectaring on Mexican Milkweed Photo 11/17/2013

Queen, male (wingspan 3-3.5")   This butter was on a dried seed head of Blue Mist which happens to be a favorite nectar plant of the Queen. There were only a few blooms left  and I have no idea if there is any nectar left in a dried seed head. But I've seen other Queens do this in the summer as well. Host plant: Milkweed. Photo 11/17/2013

Queen, male (wingspan 3-3.5″) This butter was on a dried seed head of Blue Mist which happens to be a favorite nectar plant of the Queen. There were only a few blooms left and I have no idea if there is any nectar left in a dried seed head. But I’ve seen other Queens do this in the summer as well. Host plant: Milkweed. Photo 11/17/2013

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” Dog Named Beau” By James Stewart, 1989

Gerard Oosterman of “Oosterman Treats” http://oosterman.wordpress.com/ sent this poem in a comment on one of my posts. I remember reading this poem in Google sometime ago. Stewart read the poem on “The Johnny Carson Show” in 1989. Most of you probably remember Stewart as a fine actor and if not, you have most likely heard his name. He was a classy gentleman with excellent moral fiber, unlike anything we see in the entertainment business now.

Beau was a Golden Retriever. This poem probably will resonate with two bloggers that I follow. Mary and Tim Livingston have bred, trained and, had more than a few Goldens during their marriage. If you want to see some dog beauties and fantastic art, I encourage you to take a look at Tim’s blog http://theforesterartist.com/ and Mary’s blog at http://thebackdoorartist.com/

A Dog Named Beau by James Stewart (from Jimmy Stewart and His Poems) Crown Publishers, 1989

He never came to me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn’t come at all.

When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.

Discipline was not his bag
But when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.
He’d dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
And when I’d grab him, he’d turn and bite me.

He bit lots of folks from day to day,
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn’t read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.

He set the house on fire
But the story’s long to tell.
Suffice to say that he survived
And the house survived as well.

On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The old one and I brought up the rear
Because our bones were sore.

He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks
And with a frown on his face look around.
It was just to make sure that the old one was there
And would follow him where he was bound.

We are early-to-bedders at our house–
I guess I’m the first to retire.
And as I’d leave the room he’d look at me
And get up from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,
And I’d give him one for a while.
He would push it under the bed with his nose
And I’d fish it out with a smile.

And before very long
He’d tire of the ball
And be asleep in his corner
In no time at all.

And there were nights when I’d feel him
Climb upon our bed
And lie between us,
And I’d pat his head.

And there were nights when I’d feel his stare
And I’d wake up and he’d be sitting there
And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.
And sometimes I’d feel him sigh
And I think I know the reason why.

He would wake up at night
And he would have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,
And he’d be glad to have me near.

And Now he’s dead.
And there are nights when I think I feel him
Climb upon our bed and lie between us,
And I pat his head.

And there are nights when I think
I feel that stare
And I reach out my hand to stoke his hair,
But he’s not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so,
I’ll always love a dog named Beau.

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