Featured post

Late September in Spy Garden

Beautiful early fall

Beautiful early fall

Frothy masses in the garden. You say weeds, I say prairie!

Frothy masses in the garden. You say weeds, I say prairie!

Dinnerplate Dalia about to bloom

Dinnerplate Dalia about to bloom

Cooling off (we've still had a few hot days)

Cooling off (we’ve still had a few hot days)

Scoring a touchdown (one of three!) in the first official game of the season!

Scoring a touchdown (one of three!) in the first official game of the season!

I see you...

I see you…

Tussock moth caterpillar

Tussock moth caterpillar

Thanks to Eliza for the ID on these!

Thanks to Eliza for the ID on these!

I heart our bunnies!!

I heart our bunnies!!

A perfect trap

A perfect trap

Mushroom

Mushroom

White dragons egg cucumber from the garden

White dragons egg cucumber from the garden

Very vibrant caterpillar

Very vibrant caterpillar

Check out all the paw paws! Collected on a run.

Check out all the paw paws! They taste kind of like banana and are quite seedy like persimmons.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Fall colors

Fall colors

Splatter painting in Sunday school (it was a lesson about forgiveness)

Splatter painting in Sunday school (it was a lesson about forgiveness)

The rule was "Don't get any paint on the black!" (obviously impossible)

The rule was “Don’t get any paint on the black!” (obviously impossible)

Then after the kids were done, I re-painted over all the black parts real quick while they went inside (the lesson related to how God takes sin away)…and…

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Painting, on a different day

Painting, on a different day

Celosia

Celosia

Hope you all are having a nice week!

Featured post

Flowers, Bunnies, etc.

This little patch of celosia (volunteers from last year's plants) is so vibrant

This little patch of celosia (volunteers from last year’s plants) is so vibrant

Praying for at least a few winter squash! Though I am not backing up any of these prayers with any care or actual attention to the garden!

Praying for at least a few winter squash! Though I am not backing up any of these prayers with any care or actual attention to the garden!

"Dinnerplate" Dahlia. So pretty!

“Dinnerplate” Dahlia. So pretty!

Playing with filters; looks like a flower x-ray!

Playing with filters; looks like a flower x-ray!

Vibrant cucumber

Bright cucumber

I think these might be volunteers from last year; they look like a cross between Dragon’s Egg and Sikkim cucumbers (both of which I grew last year). In any case, they are delish (taste like a regular cucumber) and don’t get bitter with size/heat.

Weeds Prairie

Weeds Prairie

Seriously considering getting a bunch of these signs for my garden plots; Ha!

Seriously considering getting a bunch of these signs for my garden plots; Ha!

Even without a whole lot (barely any) veggies, it is still fun to have the garden to explore

Even without a whole lot of veggies, it is still fun to have the garden to explore

These are my favorite type of zinnia currently growing in the garden

These are my favorite type of zinnia currently growing in the garden

Misty sunset light

Misty sunset light beyond the garden

Hahah

Hahah

Buck

Buck

Football!

Football!

Feels like fall!

Feels like fall!

Shy squirrel (though I would think it would be scarier in that tree; home of the snakes!)

Shy squirrel (though I would think it would be scarier in that tree; home of the snakes!)

Forest

Forest

Paw paw!

Paw paw!

For like the past five years around early fall I think “man, I have got to try a paw paw this year!” But then never come across one (deer probably eat most of the ones within a human’s reach!). The other day I was running along the trail and there it was! They are delish; tastes like a banana with a tropical twist; very creamy and smooth. Interesting to find such a tropical-tasting treat growing in the forests of Missouri!

Who needs a productive garden when you can forage for food! haha

Who needs a productive garden when you can forage for food! haha (shown; deer-munched sunflowers)

The surviving sunflowers are so cheery

The surviving sunflowers are so cheery

DSC_8081

DSC_8089

We are having a great time with the bunnies…

Bunny hug

Bunny hug

The two baby black ones (Bun Bun and Puff Puff) are a type of rabbit called Rex. The Rex breed originated in France and they were bred for their very soft fur. So they’re quite fancy.

Aller se faire cuire un œuf.

Aller se faire cuire un œuf.

From whence did these chic creatures come you ask? Some guy on craigslist selling them “mostly for meat, but sometimes for pets”. Hahah

I found this description of Rex rabbits and have found it to be accurate…

Rex rabbits tend to enjoy human company, and are often described as being more catlike than anything in their personality, happily laying around in their favorite spots before suddenly dashing up and binkying around with joy. (source)

Binkying you say? That’s not a real word!

OH YES IT IS!!!

A binky is a rabbits’ expression of pure joy. If you imagine being so happy that you literally jump for joy, then that is what your rabbit is doing when they binky.

Your rabbit can do a binky at any time; whilst running at high speeds, whilst slowly hopping around or from a complete stand still.

They jump into the air flicking their back feet and shaking their heads, possibly combined with a twisting landing. (source is from a blog called…Binky About). 

As for Butkus…

IMG_2684

He is a Holland Lop (or some mixed type of Lop). He is not as fancy. In fact, he’s a bit mangy.

Butkus after bathtime

Butkus after bathtime

Despite giving him a bath, he still is shedding and just generally looks disheveled.

Butkus checking out his namesake's card

Butkus checking out his namesake’s card

IMG_2715

The above is called “Bunny TV”. Open the door and just observe. Hahhaah Their hutch is quite large but right now they are just using the middle section (we are storing hay for their bedding in one side and alfalfa hay for eating on the other side). Once they get a little bigger we will open up another one of the sections.

IMG_3107-001

Dexie has been present a few times while they hopped around her in the house and she hasn’t bothered them (mostly her face just gets REALLY serious), but for the most part we keep them separate (she has eaten her fair share of wild bunnies so we’re not taking any chances!)

Bun Bun playing "Africa"

Bun Bun playing “Africa”

One great thing about the bunnies is they are enjoying lots of things from the garden that we aren’t really going to eat plus other scraps that I would’ve otherwise thrown away. Half eaten apple? Cauliflower stalks? Perfect bunny treats! I realize a compost bin could serve this purpose, but bunnies are SO much cuter!

Kohlrabi and skinny little carrots for the bunnies

Kohlrabi and skinny little carrots for the bunnies

We have TONS of little white carrots this size and the bunnies are loving them.

Heading into the feed store to pick up a bag of bunny food

Heading into the feed store to pick up a bag of bunny food (she looks SO BIG! AGgghh!)

Hope you all have a great holiday weekend!!

IMG_2730-001

 

Featured post

Huzzah River 8.28.16

Hello Huzzah!

Hello Huzzah!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

So refreshing!

So refreshing!

Very pristine and quiet today; we barely saw any people!

Very pristine and quiet today; we barely saw any people!

We opted to rent canoes for the convenience factor; maybe next time we'll bring ours

We opted to rent canoes for the convenience factor; maybe next time we’ll bring ours

Checking out the tadpoles

Checking out the tadpoles

And looking for cool rocks

And looking for cool rocks

A fertility goddess rock! haha

A fertility goddess rock! haha

Nice and clear

Nice and clear

Pooch Paradise

Pooch Paradise

Good Stick

Good Stick

Five humans, two dogs, two canoes!

Five humans, two dogs, two canoes!

Very silly

Very silly

Dexie rode along most of the way but also swam a lot!

Dexie rode along most of the way but also swam a lot!

Dexie and Maggie

Dexie and Maggie

Many different wildflowers along the banks.

Many different wildflowers along the banks.

And what do we have here?

And what do we have here?

Weeeeeee!

Weeeeeee!

Yahooooo!

Yahooooo!

So fun!

So fun!

Maggie and Aunt Spy BFFs

Maggie and Aunt Spy BFFs

Almost a frog!

Almost a frog!

Serious about rocks

Serious about rocks

DSC_7879

Fishes

Fishes

Refreshed and rejuvinated: on to Monday!!! We love rivers and will most definitely return to the Huzzah!

Featured post

I Spy Cahokia Mounds

Mounds of dirt? Count us in!

Mounds of dirt? Count us in!

The remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico are preserved at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Within the 2,200-acre tract, located a few miles west of Collinsville, Illinois, lie the archaeological remnants of the central section of the ancient settlement that is today known as Cahokia. (from the Cahokia Mounds website)

The museum was very nice and not busy at all today.

The museum was very nice and not busy at all today.

There was a short movie and various exhibits that surmised the lifestyles of the “Mississippians” (couldn’t they have thought of a more exotic name?!) who inhabited this area/built these mounds. The “Golden Age” of Cahokia was apparently AD 1100-1200.

IMG_2967

So my critique (ever the skeptic) of the above picture is..I doubt they mowed the lawn on those mounds.

Makes me want to go digging for arrowheads/trinkets!

Makes me want to go digging for arrowheads/trinkets!

IMG_2959-001

The above picture isn’t the greatest, but I was shocked at the scale of Monks Mound (the biggest mound at Cahokia; the green model in the center) in comparison to the Great Pyramid of Cheops (top right). Monks Mound is 14 acres at the base and 100 feet high; the pyramid is taller (481 feet) but 13 acres at the base. Most people can picture an Aztec pyramid (e.g. Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico far left) but I would say the Illinois dirt mounds definitely get a lot less fame, right? I guess rocks are more impressive than dirt (to some!). Exhibit B:

A model of "Wood Henge" (like a giant sundial calendar thing)

A model of “Wood Henge” (like a giant sundial calendar thing)

Have you ever heard of wood henge? Didn’t think so! But I bet you’ve heard of the stone version!

Bunny rabbit!

Bunny rabbit!

Better behave Butkus!! hahaha

Better behave Butkus!! hahaha

Acorn squash! That's (hopefully) going to be me in a few weeks...

Winter squash! That’s (hopefully) going to be me in a few weeks…

Right here!

Right here! (though I may wear a shirt while I harvest)

Really cool doors at the visitor center

Really cool doors at the visitor center

And finally, on to the mounds…

IMG_2969

There's one!

There’s one!

And another

And another

You can't really tell from this photo but this was a huge turkey

You can’t really tell from this photo but this was a huge turkey

See all the turkey heads in the distance?

See all the turkey heads in the distance?

Moth

Moth

Two tiered mound

Two tiered mound

Turkey silhouette

Turkey silhouette

Haybales view

Haybales view

The property kind of reminded me of Shaw Nature Preserve

The property kind of reminded me of Shaw Nature Preserve

I was also reminded of that terrifying movie Apocalypto. So we tried to get in touch with the vibes of these ancient grounds…

DSC_7555-002

Come on kids, let’s pretend you’re being marched up that pyramid to be sacrificed!

DSC_7615

Fun, right?!

DSC_7611

The kids headed up the first round of steps

The kids headed up the first round of steps

This is at the top of Monk's Mound; you can see it is quite vast!

This is at the top of Monk’s Mound; you can see it is quite large.

The view was really great…

DSC_7703

DSC_7670

DSC_7696

And there you have it…The Great Pyramids of Giza, The temples of the Aztec Empire, Stonehenge…no need to go so far if you’re wanting to see some ancient digs; just check out Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, Illinois!

Featured post

Five!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

Carrot Cake Birthday Cake

Carrot Cake Birthday Cake

Presents!

Presents!

Thanks Nana and Pop for all the books and great presents and for being here!!

Thanks Nana and Pop for all the books and great presents and for being here!!

Best shirt!

Best shirt!

Birthday Bouquet

Birthday Bouquet

And a big birthday surprise….

What's this?!!

What’s this?!!

Bunnies!!

Bunnies!!

Bunny condo

Bunny condo

The best presents! Thanks Aunt Crissy for all the Hello Kitty gear!!

The best presents! Thanks Aunt Crissy for all the Hello Kitty gear!!

And thanks Aunt Alison for this very cool doll!

And thanks Aunt Alison for this very cool doll (and other goodies;)!

She was nice enough to let him have the big guy; which he named...

She was nice enough to let him have the big guy; which he named…

Butkus (as in Dick Butkus the football player)

Butkus (as in Dick Butkus the football player)

And meet Bun Bun and Fluff Fluff

And meet Bun Bun and Fluff Fluff

Gaaahhhhh!!! So adorable! I’m sure your in for A LOT more bunny pictures if you follow Spy Garden! So exciting for Babyzilla as she LOVES animals.

Birthday Crown at Forest School

Birthday Crown at Forest School

Little...

Little…

Forest sprite; always one with nature!

Forest sprite; always one with nature!

Happy Birthday!

Featured post

Fall Fashion Preview 2016

The girls are taking over the tree house!

The girls are taking over the tree house!

Totally appropriate footwear for a tree house!

Totally appropriate footwear for a tree house!

DSC_6951-001

DSC_6990-001

DSC_7021

DSC_6941

DSC_6953-001

DSC_7022

DSC_7041

DSC_6963

Olympic Vibes

Olympic Vibes

Be art-sy!

“Be art-sy!”

“Uhhh..this looks more like The Babysitter’s Club than a fashion photo shoot.”

DSC_7045

DSC_6957DSC_6916

DSC_6915

DSC_7088-001

DSC_7128

DSC_7105

DSC_7181

DSC_7311

DSC_7129

DSC_7175

 

DSC_7140

DSC_7143

DSC_7186

DSC_7296

 

DSC_7228

DSC_7172

DSC_7173

DSC_7275

DSC_7340

DSC_7281

IMG_2149

Professional Models at Work

Professional Models at Work hahahahahah

Hope you were taking notes, because I’m pretty sure we are setting the trends for ALL the fall fashion that’s going to be happening in the next few months. hahahaha

Featured post

Late Summer Miscellany

Nice find! (Aren't we like the snake-whisperers!?)

Nice find! (Aren’t we like the snake-whisperers!?) She found this in our backyard.

Always fun to have an abstract painting sesh with Baby

Always fun to have an abstract painting sesh with Baby

Echinacea (a volunteer!)

Echinacea (a volunteer!)

Just a weed but a cool looking one.

Just a weed but a cool looking one.

I am counting all the positive things about the rampant weeds in the garden. Its good for soil to be fallow for a season (or two? :), I get to see the huge variety of what grows naturally around here…wildflowers…There are many euphamisms for “neglected” or “overgrown”…and many benefits of an unkempt garden…

Wild, free

Wild, free

Prairie

Prairie grasses

And since the grass is mowed, we have our very own private paths through the prairie!

And since the grass is mowed, we have our very own private paths through the prairie!

Wildflower

Wildflower

Lots of pollinators in the garden

Lots of pollinators in the garden

And from this angle you'd never even really know its mostly weeds!

And from this angle you’d never even really know its mostly weeds!

Celosia (a volunteer)

Celosia (a volunteer)

Chopped! Cut off A LOT of my hair; though it is still pretty long (past my shoulders); but I got bangs too; so nice to have a change! I'll eventually post a picture.

Chopped! Cut off A LOT of my hair; though it is still pretty long (past my shoulders); but I got bangs too; so nice to have a major change! I’ll eventually post a picture). I will probably donate it when I get around to it.

And check out the upgrades to the tree house!

And check out the upgrades to the tree house!

You know you want to climb up there, right?!

You know you want to climb up there, right?! So fun!

Dexie down below

Dexie down below

View facing west

View facing west

I love this part of our yard

I love this part of our yard; that little grassy berm is the perfect shady spot!

There is tons of sumac in the neighbors' yard; I really want to start using this more in cooking

There is tons of sumac in the neighbors’ yard; I really want to start using this more in cooking

Tastes lemony and a little like turmeric

Tastes lemony and a little like turmeric

In other yummy things…

Heirloom eggplant pizza

Heirloom eggplant pizza

Also, not pictured but made the easiest, tastiest thing recently; pumpkin chickpea curry; basically a can of pureed pumpkin, a rinsed can of chickpeas, a pile of leftover roasted veggies (eggplant, onions, peppers, carrots), a glug of tomato sauce and a big pile of spices (turmeric, curry powder, ginger, salt, paprika, chili power, red chili flakes). Zest of a lime and the juice plus some lime basil from the garden. SO good, it was a big hit. (and seriously so easy!)

Cool blue lichen (or something) in the woods

Cool blue lichen (or something) in the woods

Hope you all have a nice weekend and are enjoying the last of summer!

Featured post

Early August 2016

Landscaping Sample

Landscaping Sample

Zebra Swallowtail

Zebra Swallowtail

Wood ear mushrooms

Wood ear mushrooms

I was so tempted to cook these up; I read up on them and they are very nutritious; fiber, protein, help lower cholesterol yadda yadda the list goes on. But still kinda freaked out by the prospect of eating wild mushrooms. If I did though, I think these would be the first kind I would eat because it seems there are no poisonous lookalikes (that I know of anyway!).

Another time.

Another time.

Like this sort of mushroom; way scary because SOOooo many varieties look like this.

This sort of mushroom; way scary; because SOOooo many varieties look like this.

This zinnea looks like candy!

This zinnea looks like candy!

Braid

Braid

Turtle

Turtle; love the polka dots on his legs!

There are tons (like 15 at any given time of day) of black zebra swallowtails. But haven't seen any monarchs yet this year.

There are tons (like 15 at any given time of day) of black zebra swallowtails on the milkweed. But haven’t seen any monarchs yet this year.

This photo reminds me of a fabric print

This photo reminds me of a fabric print

Mimosa Tree; I just love those little hot pink puffs!

Mimosa Tree; I just love those little hot pink puffs!

Wasps

Wasps

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Eno hammocks are seriously the best things ever!

Eno hammocks are seriously the best things ever!

Hanging upside down

Hanging upside down

She does lots of tricks with the Eno! (sometimes in her underwear- ha!)

She does lots of tricks with the Eno! (sometimes in her underwear- ha!)

A few echinacea continue to bloom (and some are already spent)

A few echinacea continue to bloom (and some are already spent)

Making a necklace for Nana's birthday! She is really into beading lately.

Making a necklace for Nana’s birthday! She is really into beading lately.

Celosia

Celosia

Love staring up at the trees (from the Eno hammock!)

Love staring up at the trees (from the Eno hammock!)

More butterflies

More butterflies

Geese

Geese

Spiky

Spiky

Aaaaaannd…

Football!

Football!

I can finally understand what all the excitement is about. I pretty much know zero about it, but Smoochie played (and is coaching his team now!) and I went to one of the practices and it was all very exciting. I can really understand wanting to slam into someone; it seems quite satisfying. HAhaha

The junior lancers practice and play at the highschool (which adds to the excitement!)

The junior lancers practice and play at the highschool (which adds to the excitement!)

Very hot, so only pads for part of the practice today!

Very hot, so only pads for part of the practice today!

Baby sneaking off with a pad-thingy (I believe that's the official term) haha

Baby sneaking off with a pad-thingy (I believe that’s the official term) haha

I'm sure this thingy also has a name

I’m sure this thingy also has a name

Looking good

Looking good…

#7

#7

Featured post

Mid-July in Spy Garden

It's the little things about gardening that I love

It’s the little things about gardening that I love

We see this groundhog often in our backyard

We see this groundhog often in our backyard

Yellow echinacea

Yellow echinacea

A beautiful cabbage; yanked...too many bugs! Most brassicas are quite susceptible in my experience. Kale and kohlrabi seem the least so.

A beautiful cabbage; yanked…too many bugs! Most brassicas are quite susceptible in my experience. Kale and kohlrabi seem the least so.

Deer in the backyard (and out of the garden, for the most part)

Deer in the backyard (and out of the garden, for the most part)

This picture is a good representation of whats going on in the garden; lots of weeds (hopefully!) winter squash, marigolds and weeds

This picture is a good representation of what’s going on in the garden; lots of weeds, (hopefully!) winter squash, marigolds; and the tan blurry stuff in the right corner is garlic that needs harvesting!

Demonstrating how to check the leaves for squash bug eggs

Demonstrating how to check the leaves for squash bug eggs

Very yellow fungus/mushrooms on a log in the woods

Very yellow fungus/mushrooms on a log in the woods

So yellow!

So yellow!

A great gardening outfit haha

A great gardening outfit haha

Super saturated daisy

Super saturated daisy

A snake skin

A snake skin

Brought to Forest School to show off!

Brought to Forest School to show off!

Purple echinacea

Purple echinacea

"Fancy" haha; she fashioned a bandana thing into a pencil skirt; fancy indeed haha

“Fancy” haha; she fashioned a bandana thing into a pencil skirt; fancy indeed haha

Baseball season officially just ended! Here comes football! Aggghhh! (he is ready but I don't think I am!)

Baseball season officially just ended! Here comes football! Aggghhh! (he is ready but I don’t think I am!)

July in the garden

July in the garden

Aren't these little onion seedheads so photogenic!?

Aren’t these little onion seedheads so photogenic!?

Little fireworks

Little fireworks

One more!

One more!

In our canoe!

In our canoe!

My brown chacos match the water! haha

My brown chacos match the water! haha

That's how far we made it (you can see the dam toward the top which is where we started)

That’s how far we made it (you can see the dam toward the top which is where we started)

Though we were paddling up river there is very little current on the branch. As you can see it would be possible to canoe around this island (which would mean canoeing out in the Missouri River; WOAH! Scary! (Maybe not yet with the kids).

These guys were headed to go around the whole island. (and note the long walk from the parking lot to the levy/dam)

These guys were headed to go around the whole island. (and note the long walk, complete with hill, from the parking lot to the levy/dam)

Here you can see where we put in (we went left!!!) I was nervous about avoid getting sucked over that thing, but it is easily avoidable if you are careful)

Here you can see where we put in (we went left!!!) I was nervous about avoid getting sucked over that thing (AGGGHHHH!), but it is easily avoidable if you are careful)

On the dam looking down river

On the dam looking down river

This silt is like the glueiest, stickiest slimest thickest mud ever found!

This silt is like the glueiest, stickiest slimest thickest mud ever found!

Muddy, yet pretty

Muddy, yet pretty

Not pictured: a beaver! haha

Not pictured: a beaver we saw! haha

A heron

A heron

This was a fun little adventure though we are still eager to take the canoe to a nice clear river on which we would not be horrified/terrified/traumatized to swim in HAHhaha!

Hope you all are having a nice week!

Featured post

Best in Show

I was thinking today of doing a post, another set of plant close-ups and maybe a few shots of the kids looking cute. Redundant…repetitive, I know. I haven’t been posting too often and in that vein I was going to write a post called “Bare-Minimum Gardening” because that is pretty much the theme of the garden this year. The other themes of the garden are “Only the Strong Survive” and “Hopefully We Get Some Pumpkins” and “Herbs, Weeds and a Few Other Things”. You get the idea. Anyways, those taglines pretty much sum up the “Bare-Minimum Gardening” post I guess. Not exactly groundbreaking (though it was meant to be encouraging to would-be gardeners); so the topic may resurface…stay tuned (but don’t hold your breath- ha!)

Anyway today we decided to go to Purina Farms (mostly to pet the bunnies) and I almost didn’t bring the camera.  We’ve done the cow milking there, seen the cute dog show (and pet the bunnies/pigs/chickens) and I’ve posted the pictures. It’s a nice easy place to walk around (and we live close to it) but again…redundant. I love a good re-run but I didn’t plan to take pictures…I mean, we don’t have to go do something new just because I want new fresh content, right?!

And then we stumbled upon this…

This ppodle loooovvvves gardening!

This poodle loooovvvves gardening!

IMG_1497

The elusive...

The elusive…

Unicorn

Unicorn

HAHAHAHAhahhahahah

HAHAHAHAhahhahahah

Some more traditionally groomed dogs

Some more traditionally groomed dogs

This whole scene was just like being in that hilarious movie Best in Show

This whole scene was just like being in that hilarious movie Best in Show

Look at the hat and the handcuffs!!! Dyyyying

Look at the hat and the handcuffs!!! Dyyyying

But I mean seriously; this is unreal!

I mean seriously; this is unreal!

We have marigolds like this in Spy Garden! (see? EVERYTHING goes back to gardening hahaha)

We have marigolds like this in Spy Garden! (see? EVERYTHING goes back to gardening hahaha)

Serious business

Serious business

Waiting in the wings

Waiting in the wings

#Attitude

#Attitude

This one was my favorite

This one was my favorite

!!!

!!!

No words

No words

I really wish I could've taken pictures of these guys frolicking around a field like this hahahah

I really wish I could’ve taken pictures of these guys frolicking around a field like this hahahah

DSC_6097

Hahahhahaah

Hahahhahaah

Ok so I know I’m yukking it up but these groomers were obviously really hard working and talented people; so more power to all involved with these dog-centric arts!

We had never been in this facility before; it is very nice and huge!

We had never been in this facility before; it is very nice and huge!

A cool chandelier

A cool, Purina-red chandelier

Labrador Topiary

Labrador Topiary

Featured post

Early July in Spy Garden

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

Boom!

Boom!

Sparklers are my favorite

Sparklers are my favorite

Pre-fireworks entertainment

Pre-fireworks entertainment (me and my dad juggling)

Waiting for dark to start the fireworks!

Waiting for dark to start the fireworks!

We had a great visit; Nana & Pop! See you soon!!!

We had a great visit; Nana & Pop! See you soon!!!

Onion seed pod

Onion seed pod

So many scapes!

So many scapes!

Two peas in a pod these two

Two peas in a pod these two

Echinacea

Echinacea

What's this?!

What’s this?!

A...

A…

Mushroom!

Mushroom!

Bunny

Bunny

Trying to sneak up on a bunny

Trying to sneak up on a bunny

Zinnea

Zinnea

In the garden looking up towards the house

In the garden looking up towards the house

Echinacea

Echinacea

Cardinal

Cardinal

One of the smaller snakes

One of the smaller snakes

They seem pretty used to us; we got quite close to this one!

They seem pretty used to us; we got quite close to this one!

This wildflower reminds me of dogwood

This wildflower reminds me of dogwood

Ahhhhh I love the forest

Ahhhhh I love the forest

Weeeeee

Weeeeee

Flowers to go into the flower press

Flowers to go into the flower press

A pressed flower (pressed into some paint!)

A pressed flower (pressed into some paint!)

Painting

Painting

Mixed media

Mixed media

Wildflower

Wildflower

Beading

Beading

Demonstrating how tall the dill is (and how to mix prints)

Demonstrating how tall the dill is (and how to mix prints)

So many details on this little pansy

So many details on this little pansy

Running

Running

Happy Fourth of July! Hope you all are having a great summer!

 

Featured post

Early Summer in Spy Garden

Yay summer!

Yay summer!

Butterfly enjoying a marigold among the garlic scapes

Butterfly enjoying a marigold among the garlic scapes

And some flower portraits…

Bachelor's Button

Bachelor’s Button

Love-in-a-mist (Nigella)

Love-in-a-mist (Nigella)

Calendula (I think?)

Calendula (I think?)

Raindrops on roses

Raindrops on roses

"Bowles Black" Pansy

“Bowles Black” Pansy

A perfect portait!

A perfect portait!

Into the flower press they go!

Into the flower press they go!

Love-in-a-mist; these are very easy to grow; they reseed every year and the patch keeps getting bigger

Love-in-a-mist; these are very easy to grow; they reseed every year and the patch keeps getting bigger

We have been enjoying many bouquets of cut flowers from the garden, and:

A huge display of garlic scapes

A huge display of garlic scapes

We have SOOOoooo many garlic scapes. They are good for eating (use anywhere you would garlic; they just have a milder flavor) and I love the whirly twirly spirals; perfect for a very cool arrangement!

Ready for a game

Ready for a game

The Spy has been sketching a lot of sports logos lately; this is the Duke University logo; drawn freehand!

The Spy has been sketching a lot of sports logos lately; this is the Duke University logo; drawn freehand!

Ssssss

Ssssss

I compared these pictures to last year's snakes and this one is somewhat smaller

I compared these pictures to last year’s snakes and this one is quite a bit smaller

The kids have named him (or her) Tonguey III

The kids have named him (or her) Tonguey III

Onion seed pod

Onion seed pod

Enjoying a dip in the creek after a run

Enjoying a dip in the creek after a run

Making a wake haha

Making a wake

Hiking

Hiking

Very red mushrooms on the forest floor

Very red mushrooms on the forest floor

Not sure what type of mushrooms these are

Not sure what type of mushrooms these are

Part of a lunar moth wing (I think)

Part of a lunar moth wing (I think)

Hardy hibiscus

Hardy hibiscus

Some of the garlic (I didn't even plant any last fall and there is SOOOooo much of it!) Garlic is so easy to grow.

Some of the garlic (I didn’t even plant any last fall and there is SOOOooo much of it!) Garlic is so easy to grow.

Early June in the garden

Early June in the garden

Hope you all are having a nice start to your summer!

Featured post

May in Spy Garden

Bright white moth

Bright white moth

A big fat skink

A big fat skink

Love in a mist about to bloom

Love in a mist about to bloom

Neon weaving (by the Spy)

Neon weaving (by the Spy)

Yellow wonder wild strawberries (these are smaller than regular strawberries but much more flavorful)

Yellow wonder wild strawberries (these are smaller than regular strawberries but much more flavorful)

Me and Baby (the resemblance is uncanny!)

Me and Baby (the resemblance is uncanny!)

Red polka dots (some type of fungus or bug eggs?)

Red polka dots (some type of fungus or bug eggs?)

I added two big lilac plants to the garden; the smell is heavenly!

I added two big lilac plants to the garden; the smell is heavenly!

I heart ladybugs!

I heart ladybugs!

Pitching

Pitching

Wind up

Wind up

Wind up

And another

Like a pro!

Like a pro!

Baby's class had a presentation on their "Animal Project"

Baby’s class had a presentation on their “Animal Project”

Part of her homemade camo gear (used to hide in the forest to spot animals!)

Part of her homemade camo gear (used to hide in the forest to spot animals!)

Art in the classroom

Art in the classroom (the Forest)

Baby and her bestie on the playground

Baby and her bestie on the playground

Loads of strawberries in the school garden

Loads of strawberries in the school garden

And check out this cool composting set-up; complete with instructions!

And check out this cool composting set-up; complete with instructions!

All the new editions in the garden made possible by Gateway Greening!

Kid-made wind chimes/bird deterrents

Kid-made wind chimes/bird deterrents

Lots of native wildflowers on the playground

Lots of native wildflowers on the playground

Turtle-saving (from the road)

Turtle-saving (from the road)

Very red lettuce

Very red lettuce

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is much easier (in my experience) to grow than cabbage and you can eat the leaves just like cabbage or kale

Kohlrabi is much easier (in my experience) to grow than cabbage and you can eat the leaves just like cabbage or kale

We did a good job of checking the asparagus patch regularly and getting a good harvest this year. Now just a few spears here and there still popping up

We did a good job of checking the asparagus patch regularly and getting a good harvest this year. Now just a few spears here and there still popping up

Dexie chased this guy up a tree

Dexie chased this guy up a tree

Groundhog, far from the ground!

Groundhog, far from the ground!

And look who's back! Tonguey II (I believe this is the male; haven't seen the female yet; she is even bigger!)

And look who’s back! Tonguey II (I believe this is the male; haven’t seen the female yet; she is even bigger!)

Good climber (and good camouflage)

Good climber (and good camouflage)

The garden in some golden light

The garden in some golden light

Happy weekend all!

Featured post

Springing Deux…And a Maiden Voyage!

I heart dogwood blooms

I heart dogwood blooms

Pretty purple blooms; and  a lovely tilled patch of dirt (kind of a rarity in Spy Garden at the moment!)

Pretty purple blooms; and a lovely tilled patch of dirt (kind of a rarity in Spy Garden at the moment!)

Remains to be seen if these two (one of two pictured) banana plants will come back

Remains to be seen if these two (one of two pictured) banana plants will come back

Purple and green

Purple and green

Hanging out in the yard with Spy Sister

Hanging out in the yard with Spy Sister (note Babt literally hanging upside down in the Eno hammock!)

Unicycle practice! (It is hard!)

Unicycle practice! (It is hard!)

Baby does all sorts of tricks with this Eno hammock

Baby does all sorts of tricks with this Eno hammock

Face off haha

Face off haha

A gooseberry already! (seedlings were started indoors)

A gooseberry already! (seedlings were started indoors)

Leaping

Leaping

Hardy kiwi vines coming in strong (still need to make a trellis for these and the grape vines)

Hardy kiwi vines coming in strong (still need to make a trellis for these and the grape vines)

Hawk

Hawk

I spy a skink! (but no snakes spotted yet; we are wondering if they spent the winter in this tree again)

I spy a skink! (but no snakes spotted yet; we are wondering if they spent the winter in this tree again)

Dogwood

Dogwood

Unidentified woodland bloom

Unidentified woodland bloom

More blooms in the woods

More blooms in the woods

A mossy perch

A mossy perch

In her element

In her element

Hanging at the playground at baseball practice

Hanging at the playground at baseball practice

Enjoying the clover (rather than weeding it, ha!)

Enjoying the clover (rather than weeding it, ha!)

There’s a full spring load of weeding, planting, tilling and building of support structures to do yet! But enough about the garden…We took our canoe on it’s maiden voyage!!!

Smoochie and I taught Baby's school's kindergarten class about water safety.

Smoochie and I taught Baby’s school’s kindergarten class about water safety.

It was so fun to pull out all our old raft guide gear and show it off!

Raft guide gear bag from Unicorn Expeditions (where Smoochie and I met as raft guides!)

Raft guide gear bag from Unicorn Expeditions (where Smoochie and I met as raft guides!)

All the kids got to take several canoe rides around this lake (in Cuivre River State Park)

All the kids got to take several canoe rides around this lake (in Cuivre River State Park)

Dexie entertained the kids while they waited their turn!

Dexie entertained the kids while they waited their turn!

Dexie also enjoyed swimming of course

Dexie also enjoyed swimming of course

Catching tadpoles

Catching tadpoles

Happy camper

Happy camper

Who doesn't love a canoe ride?!

Who doesn’t love a canoe ride?!

Drizzly but serene

Drizzly but serene

We are going to call this canoe the SS Unicorn (after the rafting company we worked for)

We are going to call this canoe the SS Unicorn (after the rafting company we worked for)

After all the kids/parents left we all piled in for our own ride…

Aaaand we're off!

Aaaand we’re off!

Being on the water is always so rejuvenating (even on a cloudy day!)

Being on the water is always so rejuvenating (even on a cloudy day!)

And check out our new high tech canoe rack! lol

And check out our new high tech canoe rack! lol (a foam roller cut into pieces, $14! and it worked like a charm! We had straps on there too obviously!)

Little girl, big paddle!

Little girl, big paddle!

We are excited to explore other waterways in our area (the Black River and Current River are on the top of my list)! Hope you all are enjoying spring in your neck of the woods!

Featured post

Springing

A beautiful wild violet

A beautiful wild violet

Violets

Violets

Blurry Violet

Blurry Violet

Asparagus!

Asparagus! (from Spy Garden!)

Wildflower

Wildflower

Yellow tulips

Yellow tulips

Camofroge

Camofroge

Moss

Moss

Spring perfection!

Spring perfection!

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

Picking lemon balm

Picking lemon balm

Redbuds blooming

Redbuds blooming

Tiptoeing...

Tiptoeing…

through the tulips!

through the tulips!

Grassy path

Grassy path

Filling up a pot with dirt; really putting her back into it! haha

Filling up a pot with dirt; really putting her back into it! haha

‘Zilla (that’s slang for Babyzilla) is really coming into her own with gardening; she is planning, planting; taking on real leadership role in Spy Garden this season! Very exciting! Hope you all had a blessed Easter and are enjoying spring as it arrives!

Featured post

Spring Break 2016

Scroll down to see the rest of the fish!

You’ll have to scroll down to see the rest of the fish (too big to fit in this photo hahaha)

Spring break! Woooo!!! The week was a whirlwind tour of some of my favorite spots and things to do in southwest Florida (where I grew up).

Slow zone

Slow zone

Here you can see the water is amber colored (this is in the Caloosahatchee river)

Here you can see the water is amber colored (this is in the Caloosahatchee river which flows out of Lake Okeechobee) oh, and some dolphins!

Conveniently located bait shop

Conveniently located bait shop haha

'Tween Waters

‘Tween Waters

Osprey with a fish

Osprey with a fish

Toes in the sand

Toes in the sand

Lots of shells

Lots of shells

Beautiful beach!

Beautiful beach!

Little fiddler crabs

Little fiddler crabs

On Captiva

On Captiva

Another osprey

Another osprey

We spotted lots of dolphins in the river, estuary and Gulf

We spotted lots of dolphins in the river, estuary and Gulf

Out in the gulf they are even easier to spot!

Out in the gulf they are easy to spot!

Fish huts

Fish huts

Those structures are called fish huts, or fish shacks or fish cabins…The Department of Natural Resources, as the Florida state environmental agency was called in the mid 1980s, believed the structures were navigational hazards and destructive to sea grasses.  And they also believed that since they had no plumbing, the people using them as bunk houses were likely creating sanitation problems.  So the state started burning them down.  Locals who wanted to preserve the fish huts were able to debunk these concern, according to Gladys Schneider of Bokeelia.  She was hired as a consultant to compile the documentation needed to have the shanties declared historic.  So our fish huts are still with us and a number are listed on National Register of Historic Places. (source)

Fish hut

Fish hut

Pelican

Pelican

Pulling up to North Captiva

Pulling up to North Captiva (Gulf of Mexico)

North Captiva; a long but very thin island; only a hundred yards or so wide

North Captiva; a long but very thin island; only a hundred yards or so wide in places (that’s Pop walking to the estuary side of the island)

Chasing birds

Chasing birds

Royal Terns, Black Skimmers and other birds

Royal Terns, Black Skimmers and other birds

King's Crown shell

King’s Crown shell

The water isn't as clear in the estuary as on the Gulf side but it is one of my favorite types of habitats to explore

The water isn’t as clear in the estuary as on the Gulf side but it is one of my favorite types of habitats to explore

There are many live shells in the estuary

There are many live shells in the estuary

Live shells on the gulf side too! This is a large horse conch

Live shells on the gulf side too! This is a large horse conch

Mmm looks yummy (haha; we threw it back)

Mmm looks yummy (haha; we threw it back)

This ground cover plant was very cool

This ground cover plant was very cool

The shallow grassy flats (the areas darker in color) are great places to spot lots of little creatures like sea horses, pipe fish, live shells, crabs and fish

The shallow grassy flats (the areas darker in color) are great places to spot lots of little creatures like sea horses, pipe fish, live shells, crabs and fish

Sandbar

Sandbar

The water on the estuary side of the island is brackish (a mix of fresh and salty water that changes depending on things like tide, rainfall and how much water is released from Lake Okeechobee (80 miles up the Caloosahatchee River from here).

Around the docks there are sea stars, sea slugs, fish, shells, crabs and other little creatures

Around the docks there are sea stars, sea slugs, fish, shells, crabs and other little creatures

Bow and arrow for fishing

Bow and arrow for fishing

Hunting for bait…While we were in this spot we saw a small bonnethead shark (illegal to shoot; quite unsportsman-like to catch with a bow and arrow (it would be like shooting fish in a barrell) (couldn’t resist haha). We were searching for rays (the fishing guide called them skates but really they are Southern Stingrays).

Got one (actually 3!) ; and the fishing guide we went with shot a few more and then we were off...

Got one (actually 3!) ; and then we were off…

Fish oN!

Fish oN!

It's a big one!!

It’s a big one!!

Woah!

Woah!

Checking it out: it is a Goliath Grouper (and that guy is a fishing guide)

Checking it out: it is a Goliath Grouper (and that guy is a fishing guide)

Goliath Grouper

Goliath Grouper

300lbs!!

300lbs!!

Catch and release, of course. These are endangered; due to being extremely easy to catch and being heavily over-harvested until 1990! Case in point…10 minutes later…

Then Pop caught this guy! A 200+ pounder!

Pop caught this guy! Another huge one!

The best St. Patty's Day photo!! (this was on the 17th!)

The best St. Patty’s Day photo!! (this was on the 17th!)

Not the greatest shot; but see the iguana on the beach? (Gasparilla Island)

Not the greatest shot; but see the iguana on the log on the beach? (Gasparilla Island)

Again, not the greatest shot; but that is a sea turtle coming up for air (Boca Grande Pass)

Again, not the greatest shot; but that is a sea turtle coming up for air (Boca Grande Pass)

While in Florida we also got to drive up to Sarasota and visit some cousins!

Cousins (they grew up in the same neighborhood in Long Island, NY!)

Cousins (they grew up in the same neighborhood in Long Island, NY!)

She and her husband are both vets and have some great animals!!

She and her husband are both vets; the kids loved meeting their cousins and their pets!

This pony's name is Trouble. ahahha

This pony’s name is Trouble. ahahha

A bearded dragon

A bearded dragon

Cool reptile

Cool reptile

Spanish moss

Spanish moss

We had such a nice visit!

We had such a nice visit!

Back out on the water…

Enjoying the boat ride

Enjoying the boat ride

Dolphin

Dolphin

Little footprint

Little footprint

So many shells!

So many shells!

The many faces...haha

The many faces…haha

(dead) Horseshoe crabs

(dead) Horseshoe crabs

Cormorant on a channel marker

Cormorant on a channel marker

A nice collection of (dead) horseshoe crabs

A nice collection of (dead) horseshoe crabs; we brought several home (and they survived the flight home!)

Playing in the surf

Playing in the surf

Catch of the day!

Catch of the day!

A shiny piece of a sea pen (a type of shell)

A shiny piece of a sea pen (a type of shell)

Delicious lunch here! (on North Captiva)

Delicious lunch here! (on North Captiva)

Exploring the mangroves

Exploring the mangroves

And playing games, while waiting for lunch

And playing games, while waiting for lunch

We also caught a spring training game...

We also caught a spring training game…

Where the Yankees beat the Red Sox! Wooo!

Where the Yankees beat the Red Sox! Wooo!

Really great seats

Really great seats

Spanish moss and lichen

Spanish moss and lichen

My old Strawberry Shortcake; who Baby says looks like Chuckie. Hahaha

My old Strawberry Shortcake; who Baby says looks like Chuckie. Hahaha

My mom's paintings

My mom’s paintings

Great Grandma (my grandmother who I am named after)

Great Grandma (my grandmother who I am named after)

Cayo Costa

Cayo Costa

A mermaid!

A mermaid!

Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico

Cayo Costa

Cayo Costa

Nana & Pop; thanks for the best spring break ever!!!

Nana & Pop; thanks for the best spring break ever!!!

Featured post

Moss, etc.

Moss

Moss

I heart moss

I heart moss

Orange you glad I posted this mushroom picture?

Orange you glad I posted this mushroom picture?

Kind of like an orange scallop

Kind of like an orange scallop

Baby and Aunt Spy taking in some flag football

Baby and Aunt Spy taking in some flag football

Checking out his jersey

Checking out his jersey

Tree Pose

Tree Pose

A creature in the garden!

A creature in the garden!

Tasting the red celery leaves

Tasting the red celery leaves

Ready for Easter

Ready for Easter

Springy

Springy

Tulips (my favorite)

Tulips (my favorite)

A white carrot (overwintered)

A white carrot (overwintered)

Buds and a blue sky

Buds and a blue sky

Turning green

Turning green

Bloody dock

Bloody dock

Dexie in the garden

Dexie in the garden

Dusk

Dusk

Baby ready to head down into the forest on a chilly spring morning

Baby ready to head down into the forest at school on a chilly spring morning

Daffodil...and note the Cindarella coach in the background. Unplugged (and all the other Christmas lights are down) but still in the yard. Its just so sparkling and festive we haven't put it away yet. Hahaha

Daffodil…and note the Cindarella coach in the background. Unplugged (and all the other Christmas lights are down) but it is still in the yard. Its just so sparkling and festive we haven’t put it away yet. Hahaha

One with the garden

One with the garden

Featured post

Pictureless Post

Disclaimer: this post isn’t actually picture-less. Ha! But it does involve more words (and less pictures) than usual.

Today (March 3, 2016) I saw a bunch of blooming white snowdrops and small yellow crocus and thought that was a good enough reason to write a blog post. Alas, I don’t have pictures of any of the cheery spring flowers from today; but the bulbs in our yard are growing fast and soon spring will be in full swing and photos like these:

The other day

The other day

Shall be replaced with photos like this:

The other day

The other day

Our weather is indeed capricious. All of the pictures here are from roughly the last 10 days. Snow, sun, hot, cold; winter is Missouri is the best! No wonder it’s my favorite season; you get all four seasons in one; talk about variety! Who could ever be bored?!

We’ve seen lots of wildlife lately; Smoochie saw a coyote. I’ve seen a fox, a great blue heron and several Barred owls. Also, Dexie chased a groundhog right in front of me when we were running in the forest. It was a big fluffy groundhog that looked like a teddy bear; a desperate and angry teddy bear. Lumbering clumsily down the hillside, stopping at times to stand its ground to a barking Dexie. It must’ve known she wasn’t brave enough to eat it (she eventually left it alone). Dexie’s daily routine involves cornering possums and chasing deer around our house after the sun sets. On another recent jaunt in the forest she cornered a possum against a tree and I watched as it fainted (very convincingly).

Dawn and dusk are good times for animal-watching. Even if I just go out on my front deck and stand there for a minute I will likely see a bat if it is close to dusk (at least on one of our warmer days!). We’ve been wondering about the snakes. Did they spend the winter in the tree? Did their eggs ever hatch? I wonder if that big skink will appear again this spring (at least I think it’s been the same one!)? And I also wonder if that copperhead on our front steps last year was just a loner or part of some copperhead community den living under our front deck; is that paranoid?!

Animal-ing (I think I’ll trademark that) is a fun hobby. It is sort of a mindless and enjoyable to just think about the animals you’ve seen lately, take pictures of animals, read about animals…

I snapped this today near our home. 18 deer/turkeys in this photo!!! It almost looks fake!

I snapped this today near our home. 18 deer/turkeys in this photo!!! It almost looks fake!

Baby’s class (called the (kid-named of course): “Cantaloupe Camels”) was brainstorming ideas for the spring semester project. The kids are supposed to pick the subject matter for the project (part of Reggio philosophy). The Cantaloupe Camels picked “Fire”. And got vetoed. I was all for the fire project. I mean, it’s not like the kids had to set fires, they could’ve learned about famous fires, or learned about what is flammable or fire retardant. Famous paintings featuring fires? Candle-making? I mean, pyromania is just one aspect in the wide umbrella of the topic Fire, right?

IMG_8516

And 2016 is the Red Fire Monkey Year according to Chinese calendar.

So basically Baby’s class is in touch with the universe. But I get it, they’re 3 (turning 4)…maybe it was a little too extreme. And so, Fire Project is postponed till Pre-K (win!) and the runner’s up project topic is: Animals!

Baby’s teacher sent out an email asking parents for help with direction on the Animal project. Here’s an excerpt:

So far the Cantaloupe Camels have successfully spotted fish, several birds, a dead snake, a crayfish claw and lots of animal evidence (scat, fur, feathers, prints). But where are all the animals? The children tried feeding the animals bread, hiding behind trees, fox walking very sneaky and sitting very still. Still, no new animals seen in weeks. The plan must be reconsidered.

We want to know what animals prefer to eat in order to better be able to serve them. If you have information or experience in this topic, please get back to us with how you can help.

Questions to consider:

Are there native plants that attract animals for a food source or other reasons? What plants are getting nibbled by your house? Have you planted anything specific to attract animals or insects? What type of feeders, if any, do you use? How can we feed the animals without disrupting the ecosystem?

Thank you for taking the time to make this project awesome! The Cantaloupe Camels are determined individuals and continue their search relentlessly.

So I can’t really think of any good tips for this animal project. Like I said, Animal-ing™ is a lovely mindless pursuit for me and might involve an hour in the woods with no animal sightings at all. How will this project develop? Je ne sais pas. I just hope it doesn’t involve a trip to the zoo (far too pedestrian an idea for Forest School). Haahaha

The thing about real animal-watching is that it is an ephemeral thing: fleeting moments, that you really can’t plan for or predict. I spend loads of time in the woods which is why I’ve seen so many animals in the past few weeks. But, a field trip to the woods doesn’t guarantee an animal-sighting, much less an entertaining display of action (e.g. happening upon, say, a snake mating). But what about the searching; isn’t that where the meaning lies?

Orange lichen

Orange lichen

Forest floor

Forest floor

Reflection

Reflection

Mindfulness, patience, a quiet meditation on the existence of animals; aren’t those good Animal-related project topics for three year olds?! Hahahahahahah

How about paintings of animals? If I had to plan the thing I would probably go the art-show route. An art show of animal paintings. Performance art? Animal topiaries? Something like that. When Spy boy was just a little spy he also did an animal project at Forest school (back when the school didn’t have a forest!) that culminated with an animal parade in which the kids created their own type of animal and designed their own costumes for an Animal Parade.

Baby Spy as part giraffe/part hawk

Baby Spy as part giraffe/part hawk

If you have any good tips for Baby’s class about the direction of the Animal Project/responses to their teacher’s questions, please leave them in the comments!

 

Featured post

Winter Days

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk

75 degrees in February!?!

78 degrees in February!?!

So much sunshine!

So much sunshine!

And in the same week as this weather!!

And in the same week as this weather!!

Snow Boy

Snow Boy

Not entirely sure what was going on here

Not entirely sure what was going on here

Hanging out on the roof of my garden "office"

Hanging out on the roof of my garden “office”

Cardinal

Cardinal

Woolly caterpillar

Woolly caterpillar

Presidents

Presidents

Coneflower remnants with snow

Coneflower remnants with snow

And without!

And without!

I spy jets

I spy jets

And buds on the trees

And buds on the trees

Buds from the trees

Buds from the trees

Buds

Buds

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk

Banana Plant; this should've been cut to the ground before winter but I'm thinking it will still grow back.

Banana Plant; this should’ve been cut to the ground before winter but I’m thinking it will still grow back.

Garlic

Garlic; needs to be separated; each of the stalks will grow a whole head of garlic if they have the space.

Rake-throwing

Rake-throwing

Sunset in the woods

Sunset in the woods

Panorama

Panorama

Moon

Moon

Moon

Moon

Valentines

Some valentines I made (and semi-heart shaped rocks collected)

Puzzle

Puzzle

Indoor gardening

Indoor gardening. Note the rose in the terra cotta pot…

Within 24 hours of being planted outside, new growth!

Within 24 hours of being planted outside, new growth!

Kohlrabi and cabbage

Kohlrabi and cabbage

Kohlrabi, cabbage, pansies, calendula, garlic and a bunch of other flowers planted here.

Kohlrabi, cabbage, pansies, calendula, garlic and a bunch of other flowers planted here.

I ordered a ton of flower seeds from Baker Creek, along with some varieties of winter squash; more on all the different varieties soon!

Two plots down (as in raked/weeded/tilled) and nine to go!

Two plots down (raked/weeded/tilled) and nine to go!

Moss

Moss

Tulips

Tulips

Front porch looking west toward the garden

Front porch looking west toward the garden

Sunset

Sunset

And a few more hawk pictures that are blurry, but still kind of cool:

Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

Through the trees

Through the trees

A different kind of hawk

A different kind of hawk

There were five hawks flying and screeching overhead when I took these pictures.

Hope you all are soaking up these winter days, no matter the weather!

 

 

Featured post

Happy Valentine’s Day

February sunrise

February sunrise

A perfect February cover of Missouri Conservationist

A perfect February cover of Missouri Conservationist

The Spy's valentines for his classmates

The Spy’s valentines for his classmates

You Rock!

You Rock!

Microgreen (grown indoors!)

Microgreen (grown indoors!)

Perfect February colors!

Perfect February colors!

Baby's first time ice skating

Baby’s first time ice skating

Second time ice skating (his first time was about 5 years ago!)

Second time ice skating (his first time was about 5 years ago!)

Dexie says happy Valentines day!

Dexie says happy Valentines day!

Last year's valentine hahaha

Last year’s valentine hahaha

New swimwear! (trying it on over her clothes cause it's cold out!)

New swimwear! (trying it on over her clothes cause it’s cold out!)

Another old valentine (2013?)

Another old valentine (2013?)

Moss

Moss

Horse track

Horse track

Pink clouds

Pink clouds

Visiting the llamas (and alpacas)

Visiting the llamas (and alpacas)

Alpaca

Alpaca

I like the fur on this one

I like the color of fur on this one

Easter Bunny Llama haha

Easter Bunny Llama haha

This one looks like a camel

This one looks like a camel

Llamas

Llamas

Alpacas

Alpacas

This one's name is Buddy

This one’s name is Buddy

Alpaca

Alpaca

Snowflakes on a log

Snowflakes on a log

Moss dusted with snow

Moss dusted with snow

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Featured post

Hello February!

Pink clouds for February!

Pink clouds for February!

February is a great month. No spring in sight (I love winter haha!) so plenty of time yet for seed and plant (and dirt! I’m wanting a dirt delivery this year!) buying. And maybe some more snow for us?! We’ve had some nice warm days (in the 60’s!) which is great but I wouldn’t mind another few rounds of the white stuff. I think Valentine’s Day might be the world’s easiest holiday. Squares of cardstock with a pun and some candy…and call it good! The Spy has come up with his pun for the year and it’s one of my favorites! You’ll have to wait and see the final valentines. And maybe Baby will come up with her own valentines this year too!

Blackberries of yore (yore being 2015!)

Blackberries of yore (yore being 2015!)

We are going to let the blackberries go wild next year and have plans to add more trellising to support them. I’m imagining a tunnel-arbor of sorts with the blackberries on the outer part of the trellis so you can walk through and pick berries from inside.

Even after days of freezing temps (0 degrees Farenheit) the strawberry leaves are still green!

Even after days of freezing temps (0 degrees Farenheit) the strawberry leaves are still green!

I am also thinking of building (rather, having Smoochie build!) some sort of vertical growing thing for strawberry plants.

Celery; a purple variety;also quite hardy

Celery; a purple variety;also quite hardy when it comes to cold. But not deer-proof!

Deer have been hanging around in the garden (some large areas of fencing are down) so we also have plans to move (enlarge, obviously hahaha) the deer fence.

Pretty moss

Pretty moss

Yet another picture of the living room, I know! But note the plant set-up now has legs! And the little square of succulents is on the wall (above the taller lamp)!

Yet another picture of the living room, I know! But note the plant set-up now has legs! And the little square of succulents is on the wall (above the taller lamp)! And note the garlic hanging outside; needing to be planted ASAP!

Isn't this apron gorgeous?! It is Seminole Indian (from FL); so many tiny shapes of fabric (all hand-sewn together)

Isn’t this apron gorgeous?! It is Seminole Indian (from FL); so many tiny shapes of fabric (all hand-sewn together)

 

A painterly sky

A painterly sky

A Rothko painting (source)

A Rothko painting (source)

And in other neon-orange art; haha! The Spy made this last year for a school project about things you like. Yay for baseball and Led Zeppelin! haha

And in other neon-orange art; haha! The Spy made this last year for a school project about things you like. Yay for baseball and Led Zeppelin!

Seedlings

Seedlings

Watching the boys play catch

Watching the boys play catch

I like snapping shots of the Spy's desk; the composition is always changing!

I like snapping shots of the Spy’s desk; the composition is always changing!

Here's Baby at her first gymnastics class! (free at our fitness club! And no commitment, just show up the days/times it is offered: that is my kind of "organized" sport for a 4 year old!!

Here’s Baby at her first gymnastics class! (free at our fitness club! And no commitment, just show up the days/times it is offered: that is my kind of “organized” sport for a 4 year old!!)

Beautiful winter sky (sunrise)

Beautiful winter sky (sunrise)

Happy February to you all!

Featured post

January in Spy Garden

Turkey tails

Turkey tails

Wood ear mushrooms on a log...that reminds me of the head of an alligator

Wood ear mushrooms on a log that reminds me of the head of an alligator; see the eye?

Golden hour, golden retriever

Golden hour, golden retriever

Golden woods

Golden woods

Dexie, nearly abducted! haha

Dexie, nearly abducted! haha

Taking in the view

Taking in the view

Dexie loves the woods

Dexie loves the woods

 

Sunset

Sunset

Happy to sled! Even if on barely an inch of snow!

Happy to sled! Even if on barely an inch of snow!

Weeeee!

Weeeee!

Weeee!

Weeee!

Walking back up the hill

Walking back up the hill

Dexie helping them to stop at the bottom haha

Dexie helping them to stop at the bottom haha

Setting off on a winter hike

Setting off on a winter hike

A two hour hike! Baby is a hiking pro!

A two hour hike! Baby is a hiking pro!

Baby's hat matches these! haha

Baby’s hat matches these! haha

Note the golden boots, hat and walking stick; coordinated accessories! hahaha

Note the golden boots, hat and walking stick; coordinated accessories! hahaha

Lovely pale gold

Lovely pale gold

Tracks

Tracks

Bunny tracks

Bunny tracks

Checking out some ice on a rock

Checking out some ice on a rock

Turkey tail mushrooms...though if I named them I would call them seashell mushrooms

Turkey tail mushrooms…though if I named them I would call them seashell mushrooms

Stopping for a snack break!

Stopping for a snack break!

One with the woods

One with the forest

A large old tree

A large old tree

Dexie getting a leaf and snow bath (naturally she rolled in some rancid thing)

Dexie enjoying a leaf and snow bath (naturally she rolled in some rancid thing)

Lightning damage is always so interesting to see!

Lightning damage is always so interesting to see! This whole tree was snapped and twisted.

Frozen ice like this is a rare sight around here; I am guessing this happened because we got all that rain a few weeks ago

Frozen ice like this is a rare sight around here; I am guessing this happened because we got all that rain a few weeks ago

Checking out the seed stash

Checking out the seed stash

Baby picking some seeds to start growing

Baby picking some seeds to start growing

Moving the garden start set-up into place

Moving the garden start set-up into place

Garden futures!

Garden futures!

This spot is not ideal for seedlings because it is right next to the heat vents so they could dry out quickly. But Babyzilla is on top of it. She planted all the seedlings and has been doing all the watering! We’ve only planted seeds we already have. I still need to place a seed order (probably will order from Baker Creek but might try another place if anyone has any good seed/plant source suggestions!)

Sketch by the Spy

Sketch by the Spy

Looks like a Gnome condo. Hahah

Looks like a Gnome condo. Hahah

This is from Baby's project at her school. It has a laminated picture of her "boat" that she made as part of a creek project. The paper is a copy of a Shel Silverstein poem

This is from Baby’s project at her school. It has a laminated picture of her “boat” that she made as part of a project her class did floating things down the Forest school creek. The paper tied to it is a copy of a Shel Silverstein poem (about a homemade boat!)

Detail of her "boat" haha

Detail of her “boat” haha

Orchid

Orchid

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!

 

Featured post

Happy New Year 2016

Woooo 2016!

Woooo 2016! (Note the unicorn sculpture; made by Babyzilla)

WOooo!!! 2016!!! Happy New Year!!!

Since this is the first post of the year, I figure I had better enthusiastically set the tone! haha

January mushrooms

January mushrooms

January colors

January colors

Lion's tail

Lion’s tail

Pumpkin (from the grocery stote; going to see if pumpkin plants will grow from this)

Pumpkin (from the grocery stote; going to see if pumpkin plants will grow from this)

Woooo first snow of winter/2016

Woooo first snow of winter/2016

Dexie struggling to keep her eyes open on New Year's Eve

Dexie struggling to keep her eyes open on New Year’s Eve

'Zilla also struggled to keep her eyes open till midnight (but awoke after this photo was taken to celebrate east coast New Year's at 11PM; gotta love central time!)

‘Zilla also struggled to keep her eyes open till midnight (but awoke after this photo was taken to celebrate east coast New Year’s at 11PM ahha)

Disco Nap haha

Disco Nap haha

New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve

Sitting outside by the fire on New Year's Eve

Sitting outside by the fire on New Year’s Eve

Embers

Embers

Making a torch

Making a torch

Fire

Fire

Making a torch seems like a good new year's tradition, doesn't it?!

Making a torch seems like a good new year’s tradition, doesn’t it?!

When it comes to gardening goals for 2016…

I’ve always been really focused on edibles. Radishes were the first thing I ever grew. As I dug in each tiny seedling into dry, clay soil I remember thinking, “This is a lot of work for a bunch of radishes!” Hahaha but there was obviously some allure; and I was hooked! I think I took about 20 pictures of those radishes I grew Hhahaa.

But this past year edibles just didn’t seem like my forte (aside from a prolific garlic harvest); and so in 2016 I am going to focus on flowers (edible flowers mostly!) and probably will try pumpkins (since they are my absolute favorite!). Also, houseplants. I was so inspired by a post Eliza Waters wrote entitled “Breathe Easy” citing a NASA study about how important plants are for cleaning indoor air.

Very Wizard of Oz. It is good to open all the windows in your home and let the fresh outdoor air circulate through at least 5 minutes per day.

Very Wizard of Oz. It is good to open all the windows in your home and let the fresh outdoor air circulate throughout at least 5 minutes per day.

Inside/Outside

Inside/Outside

Train painting

Train painting

Outside/Inside

Outside/Inside

Gluing

Gluing

Living room looking into dining room

Living room looking into dining room

Playing with filters

Playing with filters

We still have the Gingerbread Empire State Building. It is such a nice smelling decoration and I bet more graham crackers and ginger snaps (etc.) have sat for months in dingy storage warehouses…so when you think about it a few weeks (going on 3) for a fresh-baked good isn’t that old! If you’ll notice, some pieces are missing and tasted quite fresh; crispy and spicy, not stale at all! Though I didn’t eat the icing. Eventually we have to take it down. I have a friend who is setting firecrackers off in her tall gingerbread house to say goodbye to it!

IMG_5565

 

Hahahah.

But setting fire to the Empire State Building would seem really terrorist-y so we’ll not do that. For now I will just keep eating it; maybe let Babyzilla go to town on it.

Rrrraaaghhhh

Rrrraaaghhhh hahah

She’s really not all that destructive, I jest. Check out how clean her kitchen is!

Two kitchens

Two kitchens

I spy a white-tailed deer

I spy a white-tailed deer

Doe a deer ('Zilla loves the movie The Sound of Music)

Doe a deer (we loves the movie The Sound of Music)

Little roses

Little roses

Living Room

Living Room

Headless Dexie

Headless Dexie

Haha

Haha

Orchid

Orchid

So I’m [insert branching out pun] from growing tomatoes/vegetables and want to explore other healthful uses of plants in 2016. Definitely want to make it to the MOBOT herb show and Shaw Wildflower market in 2016!

Love-in-a-mist seedlings popping up everywhere; they are quite hardy.

Love-in-a-mist seedlings popping up everywhere; they are quite hardy.

January sky over Forest school

January sky over Forest school

Violets

Violets

Mushroom

Mushroom

Vertical garden panel (needs to root for 2-3 weeks)

Vertical garden panel (needs to root for 2-3 weeks)

See the dog picture on the rock?

See the dog picture on the rock?

Snowy white kalanchoe blooms

Snowy white kalanchoe blooms

I’ve been prodding the kids for things they would like to do and accomplish in the coming year and mostly I have gotten some pretty mundane answers.

“Go to City Party!” (She means Party City, a party supply store like 7 miles from our house that we went to around Halloween just to browse for random spooky decorations). She also wants to visit the children’s garden at MOBOT again, which of course I am all for!

The Spy wants more baseball cards (“10 thousand more”) hahah and he is continually working on a list of players he wants to get cards for.

He has baseball cards on the brain 24/7. Hahha

He has baseball cards on the brain 24/7. Hahha

Mushroom

Mushroom

Mushroom

Mushroom

Stump...kinda looks like a bear face

Stump…kinda looks like a bear face

Mushrooms/Fungus/Lichen

Mushrooms/Fungus/Lichen

Winter is my favorite season!

Winter is my favorite season!

Winter greens; kohlrabi

Winter greens; kohlrabi

Painting in progress

Painting in progress

Playing with filters

Playing with filters

January garden

January garden

Snow!

Snow!

At Forest School

At Forest School

Living room

Living room

Driveway

Driveway

A blessed and healthy 2016 to you all! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

I started a new goal of writing in a journal. The journal is one I got for Christmas and only has a short space to write, with a Bible verse (365 of them). So it’s no pressure; just jot a few notes down. I haven’t kept a journal ever (maybe sporadically in 5th grade?), so it is fun to try a new hobby. In response to,

“He fills my life with good things, so that I stay young and strong like an eagle.” Psalm 103:5

I wrote,

Honey, tea, water, lemon, legumes, rest, stretching, hiking, running, juggling, gardening, dancing, wash face 2x day, swimming, eat tons of vegetables, grains, oils, protein, facials, good posture, taking deep breaths, painting/sculpture/art, walking. Prayer. Paint nails/toes, clean bathroom, organize closets, vacuum, dust, slackline, arabesque;

Plus I wrote a list of places/parks in my area I would like to visit and included some other things; 10 glasses of water each day, tons of vegetables, lots of hot tea, write in journal daily, “Sophomore Year” of DNP Program, watch more TV, learn to unicycle, play outside often. And try out the canoe, of course!

Starting off the new year very under the weather I interpreted as a reminder to rest more (hence the “lots of hot tea” goal haha). Snuggling on the couch watching the X-files (sooo 90s it is great), movies (Jurassic World, The Sound of Music, etc.), is something I’m doing more often; no matter how much writing or reading time I need to put in for school. In order to be productive, creative and spiritual one needs to be well-rested!

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

Happy 2016!!!

Featured post

Best of Spy Garden 2015

I am officially one year into getting my doctorate in nursing, woo!! Likely because I started the program I have little recollection of what actually occurred in 2015, Haha! I read hundreds of articles and wrote pages and pages (and pages) of APA formatted research papers. Thank goodness for the Spy Garden blog to jog my memory. I enjoyed scrolling through all the posts of the year; realizing I did more than work and school. It all actually looked quite fun and relaxing! Haha!

2015 certainly wasn’t the best year for vegetables in Spy Garden. Sikkim cucumbers are the only thing that really stand out in my mind as prolific when it comes to produce.

Sikkim Cucumbers

Sikkim Cucumbers

The ground cherries also did well. The flowers in the garden were pretty great this year.

Celosia/Cockscomb (also called wool flowers)

Celosia/Cockscomb (also called wool flowers)

Celosia amazed with vibrant colors and unusual shapes and I saw more monarch butterflies than ever in the garden this year.

Celosia

Celosia

Orach was another favorite

Orach was another favorite

We went on lots of outings; several trips to the St. Louis Art Museum, Forest Park, Grant’s Farm,

Meramec Caverns

Meramec Caverns,

the AB brewery, and got to see the beautiful…

Chinese lanterns at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT)

Chinese lanterns at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT)

and the kids explored the awesome children’s garden at MOBOT.

ROA (a world-famous artist) coming to Forest School was very exciting:

ROA painting a mural at Forest School

ROA painting a mural at Forest School

Baby watching ROA paint another mural

Baby watching ROA paint another mural at Forest School

Baby and the Spy got to ride horses a couple of times this year.

Babyzilla on horseback

Babyzilla on horseback

We painted a lot; and doing a collaborative painting (still in progress) with a friend was a highlight.

Painting in the garden

Painting in the garden

IMG_1919

I started some new hobbies; running on trails and ballet. Well, when I say “ballet” I use that term loosely. What I mean is that Baby and I put on classical music and dance around; inspired by the ballerina project. We continue to work on our arabesques and grand jetes daily. Haha

Another huge highlight was the Spy attending summer camp (the same one I went to!)

The Greatest Place!

The Greatest Place!

Fencing at camp

Fencing at camp

Kayaking at camp

Kayaking at camp

We spotted numerous varieties of mushrooms this year.

Beautiful Mushrooms

Beautiful Mushroom

Sulfur-colored Chicken of the Woods

Sulfur-colored Chicken of the Woods

Smoochie cut down some big dead trees in the yard…

dsc_6875-700x446

and built an awesome new shed.

The Spy started pitching in little league and their team won their league championship.

Winners!

Winners!

Nana and Pop were in St. Louis the whole month of July which was really great.

The kids with Nana and Pop

The kids with Nana and Pop

We went all out with the Christmas decorations; our best yet!

IMG_0447

A big standout of the year were the snakes living in a tree just feet from our front door. Getting to watch them (quite frequently!) this summer was a treat and I think this is the best photo I’ve ever taken:

DSC_8263 (700x611)

And a close second

And a close second

And though scary (I almost stepped on it); seeing a copperhead was quite exciting and dramatic!

RRrrraaaaaghhhh!!!

RRrrraaaaaghhhh!!!

It seems the snakes may still be calling the tree home, so maybe we will catch them in 2016…

Snake excrement icicles?! Ewww! (Picture taken 12.31.15)

Snake excrement icicles?! Ewww! (Picture taken 12.31.15)

Eucalyptus in Spy Garden February 2015

Eucalyptus in Spy Garden February 2015

Happy New Year to all and thank you so much for visiting Spy Garden; see you in 2016!

Featured post

Spy Garden Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is still in full swing around here as we abide by the rule of:

Thou shalt keep thine Christmas decorations up through New Year’s Day

hahahahaha

This kohlrabi looks like the grinch's head!

Doesn’t this kohlrabi looks like the grinch’s head!?

We've been doing lots of painting, gluing, collaging, crocheting, etc., etc. around here: Christmas always makes me want to create!

We’ve been doing lots of painting, gluing, collaging, crocheting, etc., etc. around here: Christmas always makes me want to create!

Here is Babyzilla protesting the very un-wintery (nearly 70 degree) weather in the days prior to Christmas

Here is Babyzilla protesting the very un-wintery (nearly 70 degree) weather in the days prior to Christmas

Chalk tree

Chalk tree

December weather

December weather

See the paper airplane hanging

See the paper airplane hanging

Paper airplane (made by the Spy)

Paper airplane (made by the Spy)

Smoochie painting

Smoochie painting

Decorating...

Decorating…

Tree of toys!

Tree of toys!

I will miss these lights and may need to pick up a few lamps once we take them down!

I will miss these lights and may need to pick up a few lamps once we take them down!

In the front yard

In the front yard

Dexie's chair haha

Dexie’s chair haha

Getting a hair cut (to even out her handiwork)

Getting a hair cut (to even out her handiwork)

Star light

Star light

Gingerbread time!

Gingerbread time!

First I made the base and allowed it to dry completely before adding the tall pieces

First I made the base and allowed it to dry completely before adding the tall pieces

Click here to see last year’s gingerbread (Eiffel Tower) and here for my basic recipe. This year’s version included garam masala and ground flax in the dough and fresh Meyer lemon juice in the icing; mmm!

Leftover building materials! Spicy and delicious!

Leftover building materials! Spicy and delicious!

Here it is drying (hence the chair holding it up). It is hollow and has spots to put in little battery operated lights

Here it is drying (hence the chair holding it up). It is hollow and has spots to put in little battery operated lights

It still dried a bit crooked like the leaning tower of Pisa; it is leaning back so its not too noticeable from the front

It still dried a bit crooked like the leaning tower of Pisa; it is leaning back so its not too noticeable from the front

Fini!

Fini!

This is me after finishing the gingerbread hahaha

This is me after finishing the gingerbread hahaha

Yawning, pre-service (7PM Christmas Eve service)

Yawning, pre-service (7PM Christmas Eve service)

The kids all did a great job!

The kids all did a great job!

After the service

After the service

And then it was…

Christmas

Christmas!

How did Santa get this 16' canoe in here?!

How did Santa get this 16′ canoe in here?!

Woo hoo! Canoe!

Woo hoo! Canoe!

Dexie enjoying her present

Dexie enjoying her present

Babyzilla

Babyzilla

Juggling scarves

Juggling scarves

Choo Choo!

Choo Choo!

The most Christmas-y train station!

The most Christmas-y train station! (Lionel train from 1953!)

Christmas Dexie

Christmas Dexie

Driving the train

Driving the train

Christmas Day

Christmas Day

Trying out the unicycle!

Trying out the unicycle!

Watching A Christmas Story

Watching A Christmas Story

Cozy

Cozy

Choo choo

Choo choo

Christmas kids

Christmas kids

Christmas dogs

Christmas dogs

Christmas in the garden

Christmas in the garden

Smoochie set right to building a canoe rack on Christmas

Smoochie set right to building a canoe rack on Christmas

Christmas Canoe!

Christmas Canoe!

New clothes

New clothes

Leopard is a neutral

Baby says leopard is a neutral haha

Sunset

Sunset

Playing...

Playing…

Jenga!

Jenga!

Christmas boy

Christmas boy

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

 

Featured post

Curating Christmas

St. Louis Art Museum

St. Louis Art Museum

It was so nice to visit the St. Louis Art Museum at this time of year; pretty much had the whole place to myself! No hustling or bustling here; but plenty of red, green and sparkly things to share!

Shoe (Andy Warhol)

Shoe (Andy Warhol)

Magnolia

Magnolia

For Spy Sister; whose dog is named Magnolia (and we're from Florida!)

For Spy Sister; whose dog is named Magnolia (and we’re from Florida!)

Steven and William Ladd (two brothers from St. Louis!) Cardinal Nation, 2015 Shredded paper, glue, wheat starch, metal beads, metal trinkets, glass beads, crystal beads, pins, screws, dye, mesh, staples, wood

Steven and William Ladd (two brothers from St. Louis!) Cardinal Nation, 2015
Shredded paper, glue, wheat starch, metal beads, metal trinkets, glass beads, crystal beads, pins, screws, dye, mesh, staples, wood

Steven and William Ladd. Tower Tee, 2015 Shredded paper, glue, wheat starch, metal beads, metal trinkets, glass beads, crystal beads, pins, screws, dye, mesh, staples, wood

Steven and William Ladd. Tower Tee, 2015
Shredded paper, glue, wheat starch, metal beads, metal trinkets, glass beads, crystal beads, pins, screws, dye, mesh, staples, wood

Enforcer. Larry Poons. 1962

Enforcer. Larry Poons. 1962

IMG_2112

Detail

Detail

Like Christmas lights! Sort of!

Like Christmas lights! Sort of!

Staircase

Staircase

Gold and sparkly (if more evocative of an episode of Dexter than Christmas)

Gold and sparkly (if more evocative of an episode of Dexter than Christmas)

Man's Leggings (probably Nimíipuu (Nez Percé)

Man’s Leggings (probably Nimíipuu (Nez Percé)

Such detailed beadwork on this cradleboard!

Such detailed beadwork on this cradleboard!

I’ve shared pictures of some of these Native American pieces before; they are some of my favorites!

Red and green

Red and green

E. Oscar Thalinger. River Landscape with House. 1928

E. Oscar Thalinger. River Landscape with House. 1928

This bucolic scene of the Missouri countryside features high hills, full trees, and rocky banks. These features are executed in blocky prismatic forms influenced by the work of early European modernists such as Paul Cézanne. E. Oscar Thalinger belonged to the major professional associations for artists in St. Louis, including the modern artists’ group New Hats. In addition to his position as a prominent local artist, Thalinger served as the registrar of the City Art Museum (now the Saint Louis Art Museum) from 1913–1952. (Source: St. Louis Museum of Art) 

John Rogers Cox. Cloud Trails. 1944

John Rogers Cox. Cloud Trails. 1944

A large Norman Rockwell painting. (Thanksgiving, 1943)

A large Norman Rockwell painting. (Thanksgiving, 1943)

Outside the museum

Outside the museum

Donald Judd. Untitled (Progression). 1965.

Donald Judd. Untitled (Progression). 1965.

IMG_2145

A Christmas-y sheen

A Christmas-y sheen

Window

Window

Small and ancient gold shiny things!

Small, ancient, gold and shiny things!

Dome

Dome

A striking portrait...

A striking portrait…

IMG_2207

Wintery...

Wintery…

IMG_2192

Pretty galleries

Pretty galleries

Lorenzo di Niccolò (di Martino) Madonna and Child Enthroned with Sts. Christopher, Blaise, Sebastian, and Francis. 1410-12

Lorenzo di Niccolò (di Martino)
Madonna and Child Enthroned with Sts. Christopher, Blaise, Sebastian, and Francis. 1410-12

Still Life...

Still Life…

IMG_1942

Marble hair

Marble hair

Curves

Curves

Red and gold vessel

Red and gold vessel

And now for a tour around Spy Garden…

Here's a festive little mushroom

Here’s a festive little mushroom

Little dome

Little dome

Dexie

Dexie climbing a tree arch

New tool shed made by Smoochie!

New tool shed made by Smoochie!

In the shed

In the shed

Project in process (going to stain the wood and then mount this painting to it with these fabric tacks)

Project in process (going to stain the wood and then mount this painting to it with these fabric tacks)

In our backyard

In our backyard

Ornament made by the Spy at his classroom's Christmas party

Ornament made by the Spy at his classroom’s Christmas party

Hanging out under the Christmas tree

Hanging out under the Christmas tree

Hope you all have a wonderful week; and a very Merry Christmas!

Featured post

12.13.15

Winter is sort of like having your own private collection of Rothko paintings, don’t you think?

IMG_1299

 

Too much of a stretch?

IMG_1371

I just like the simple color palattes (even if a lot of grays and browns)…But, assuming you do not want to see a series of swaths of grey trees and blue skies, I aimed for as much festive green as possible…

Christmas-green moss

Christmas-green moss

Fern; quite hardy

Fern; quite hardy

More moss

More moss

Buried treasure!

Buried treasure!

An old jar

An old jar

Dexie in her element

Dexie in her element

Acorn top on moss

Acorn top on moss

Arch

Arch

Leaping

Leaping

Rock

Rock

Leaping

Leaping

Mossy log

Mossy log

Mushroom

Mushroom

On the trail

On the trail

Snack time at Forest School

Snack time outside at Forest School

Woohoo! Great seed catalogue (and free!) Go to www.rareseeds.com to get on their mailing list

Woohoo! Great seed catalogue (and free!) Go to http://www.rareseeds.com to get on their mailing list

Sunrise

Sunrise

Looking out at the garden; the only thing growing out there now is kohlrabi

Looking out at the garden; the only thing growing out there now is kohlrabi

Practicing reading for the service

Practicing reading for Christmas Eve service at our church

Babyzilla and her friend sitting nicely in the pew

Babyzilla and her friend sitting nicely in the pew

Practicing bells

Practicing bells

At home, Smoochie and Baby playing with the train under the tree in the man cave Christmas Cove

At home, Smoochie and Baby playing with the train under the tree in the man cave Christmas Cove

Tracing

Tracing

Working on Christmas cards

Working on Christmas cards

Alphabet

Alphabet

Removing a large part of this tree stump

Removing a large part of this tree stump

Much better

Much better

And maybe we can make something cool out of the huge 3-part piece of wood

And maybe we can make something cool out of the huge 3-part piece of wood

Safety first! haha

Safety first! haha

Dexie met this really beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog; over 100 lbs!

Dexie met this really beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog; over 100 lbs!

We've enjoyed driving around looking at lights; this house has a great display

We’ve enjoyed driving around looking at lights; this house has a great display

Dining room snowflake chandelier

Dining room snowflake chandelier

Ornament

Ornament

Ornament

Ornament

And the best shot for last…

Dexie leaping

Dexie leaping; she’s like a metaphor for Christmas coming at us; only 11 days till Christmas!

Click here for a most Christmas-y, beautiful song! (King’s College Sussex Carol “On Christmas Night All Christians Sing”)

Hope you all are enjoying this most wonderful time of the year!

 

Featured post

Christmas Lights

Garden lights

Garden lights

Lights in the garden

Lights in the garden

Making snowflakes

Making snowflakes

All made by the Spy!!

All made by the Spy!!

Christmas in every corner!

Christmas in every corner!

Abstract lights looking very 80s

Abstract lights looking very 80s

House and garden lights

House and garden lights

Hahaha

Hahaha

Christmas kids

Christmas kids

 

Living Room

Living Room

Entrance to the man cave Christmas Cove

Entrance to the man cave Christmas Cove

Setting up the lights

Setting up the lights

Lights

Lights

Rain drops and lights

Rain drops and lights

Christmas header

Christmas header

After school. With red fleece pants; forest school uniform shirts are so Christmas-y

After school. With red fleece pants; forest school uniform shirts are so Christmas-y

Little sprightly elf ahahah

Little sprightly elf ahahah

DIY Haircut (brought to you by safety scissors) hahaha

DIY Haircut (brought to you by safety scissors) hahaha

Ornament

Ornament

She actually did a really great job on the haircut. When I told her to please ask the next time she wants a haircut she said "Well I already know how to cut my hair." haha

She actually did a really great job on the haircut. When I told her to please ask the next time she wants a haircut she said “Well I already know how to cut my hair.” haha

Gluing Christmas cheer

Gluing Christmas cheer

Ornament

Ornament

 

Ornament

Ornament

Another view

Another view

Lights

Lights

Cinderella's coach (from Home Depot!) in the pumpkin patch

Cinderella’s coach (from Home Depot!) in the pumpkin patch

Featured post

Thanksgiving 2015

In the woods

In the woods

Dexie

Dexie

Red leaf

Red leaf

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Fall arrangement; lion's tail and blackberry branches from the garden

Fall arrangement; lion’s tail and blackberry branches from the garden

Very tall thanksgiving arrangement

Very tall thanksgiving arrangement

Garlic seed head and winter squash (Baby and I were trying to take some artistic pictures at night; she's holding the flashlight)

Garlic seed head and winter squash (Baby and I were trying to take some artistic pictures at night; she’s holding the flashlight)

Squash skin detail

Squash skin detail

Playing cards after thanksgiving dinner

Playing cards after thanksgiving dinner

Playing cards

Playing cards

Side table

Side table

Droopy loofah vine gourd after a hard frost

Droopy loofah vine gourd after a hard frost

Little mushrooms

Little mushrooms

Knockout rose

Knockout rose

Wood Ear (Tree Ear)

Wood Ear (Tree Ear)

Considered an edible and medicinal mushroom. A closely related species is cultivated in Asia and can be found in the United States in Asian markets. In Chinese, its name is “Hei mu-er.” You may have eaten it in Chinese hot and sour soup. The wood ear has been reported to positively affect blood coagulation and decrease blood cholesterol levels. Since it is a popular edible mushroom in China, it may contribute to the low incidence of heart disease there. (source: Missouri Department of Conservation)

Different lighting

Different lighting

 

DIY juggling balls: rice into plastic sandwich bags, into a balloon with the neck of the balloon cut off, then another balloon over that (to cover the opening)

DIY juggling balls: rice into plastic sandwich bags, into a balloon with the neck of the balloon cut off, then another balloon over that (to cover the opening) Click here for more detailed instructions.

Backyard

Backyard

A lot of fur still on this deer skull (found by Dexie well over a year ago)

A lot of fur still on this deer skull (found by Dexie well over a year ago)

Turkey tails

Turkey tails

After we celebrated thanksgiving we spent the weekend decorating…

Garden lights!

Garden lights!

Smoochie pausing to contemplate our lighting scheme haha

Pausing to contemplate our lighting scheme haha

Spy Garden looking quite magical!

Spy Garden looking quite magical!

Festive buck! haha

Festive buck! haha

And on to Christmas it is!

The Spy takes Christmas very seriously ahhaha

The Spy takes Christmas very seriously ahhaha

 

Featured post

November 2015

Firepit

Firepit

November Sky

November Sky

Searching for treasure in the yard

Searching for treasure in the yard

They mostly just found old nails haha

They mostly just found old nails haha

Metal Detector

Metal Detector

Seed pod

Seed pod

Babyzilla

Babyzilla

Sticks

Sticks

Leaf

Leaf

Wood piles

Wood piles

A large acorn top

A large acorn top

Turkeys at sunrise

Turkeys at sunrise

Knockout roses at sunrise

Knockout roses at sunrise

These little yellow strawberries continue to produce!

These little yellow strawberries continue to produce!

Swinging in the Eno hammock

Swinging in the Eno hammock

Egg sack (not sure what kind of bug)

Egg sack (not sure what kind of bug)

Dexie stretching and enjoying a nice stick

Dexie stretching and enjoying a nice stick

Match box

Match box

A pretty matchstick holder

A pretty, old box of matches; we’ve had this box forever (maybe got it at a thrift store in Connecticut?) but I was just admiring it the other day and thought I would snap a few pics of it)

The garden

The garden

Maggie in the garden

Maggie in the garden

Blackberries

Blackberries

At school

At school

After school

After school

Siam basil

Siam basil

IMG_9716

Painting in progress

IMG_9747

Paintings in progress

IMG_9759

Jewelry made with stones, leather and a shell (beads and leather cord from Michael’s craft store)

Collaborative painting in progress

Collaborative painting in progress

Collaging

Collaging

The sun going down earlier means less time outdoors, but a lot more art indoors!

Cooking

Cooking

Fire

Fire

We finally got our first real cold weather today (even some snow, though it didn’t stick) so of course I am already thinking about next year’s garden. One plant I really want to grow is Lunaria (Silver Dollar Plant). Thanks to Eliza for the inspiration for that one! I missed having Eucalyptus (another Silver Dollar, haha!) this year, so would like to grow that again in 2016. And so the “to-grow” list begins.

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!

Featured post

Early November in Spy Garden

Large mushroom (some type of hen of the woods?)

Large mushroom (white hen of the woods?)

Vertebra

Deer vertebra

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

Bulletin Board

Bulletin Board

Mum

Mum

Roselle (the ingredient in

Roselle (the ingredient in “zinger” tea); has a zesty cranberry flavor

Celosia

Celosia; left out in the rain and sun and turning brown…(if kept in a cool, dark place they will keep their color)

The other side (whoops, didn't mean to leave it out in the rain but oh well we can still save the seeds)

The other side (whoops, didn’t mean to leave it out in the rain but oh well we can still save the seeds)

Lion's Tail/Wild Dagga

Lion’s Tail/Wild Dagga

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi leaf

Celosia

Celosia

In the loofah vine gourd flowers

In the loofah vine gourd flowers

Banana trees

Banana trees

Dexie checking out the big mushroom: it's the size of a bird bath!

Dexie checking out the big mushroom: it’s the size of a bird bath!

Close-up

Close-up

Mushroom in the woods

Mushroom in the woods

So cool!

So cool!

Sunset

Sunset

Hair selfie

Hair selfie

Woods at dusk

Woods at dusk

Lots of little turkey tail mushrooms

Lots of little turkey tail mushrooms

Love the woods!

Love the woods!

One more photo of the big mushroom!

One more photo of the big mushroom!

And it is hard to resist taking a bunch of pictures of this photogenic plant!

And it is hard to resist taking a bunch of pictures of this photogenic plant!

This will be ripening on the countertop tomorrow: first frost of Spy Garden expected tonight!

This will be ripening on the countertop tomorrow: first frost of Spy Garden expected tonight!

Very spiky

Very spiky

See the bee?

See the bee?

Yellow butterfly

Yellow butterfly

Dexie looking in the window

Dexie looking in

Fallen branch off the snake tree

Fallen branch off the snake tree

Ssssss (haven't seen the snakes in awhile; they are probably already hibernating)

Ssssss (haven’t seen the snakes in awhile; they are probably already hibernating)

Blue Sky

Blue Sky

Fall forest

Fall forest

A quick still life painting tempera on copy paper (filter applied to a photo of it)

A quick still life painting tempera on copy paper (filter applied to a photo of it)

And a few fall pics of yore…

Kale (2012)

Kale (2012)

Little white moth/butterfly

Little white moth/butterfly

Leaves

Leaves

Hedgeapples

Hedgeapples

Artichoke Plant (2012)

Artichoke Plant (2012)

Fall is the best!

Featured post

Spy Garden Halloween 2015

Cowboy and Skeleton

Cowboy and Skeleton

Bark

Bark

Paper Mache

Paper Mache

Mask (used a plastic milk jug as a mold)

Mask (used a plastic milk jug as a mold)

Woolflower

Woolflower

Pumpkin...

Pumpkin…

Prep

Prep

Dexie in the woods

Dexie in the woods

Leaf

Leaf

Carving

Carving

Spy Sister carving

Spy Sister carving

Carved!

Carved!

Halloween here was perfectly drizzly, gray and spooky!

Halloween here was perfectly drizzly, gray and spooky!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Spiky

Spiky

More spikes

More spikes

Ready...

Ready…

...for candy!

…for candy!

This house went all out; that is Scooby Doo playing in the garage!

This house went all out; that is Scooby Doo playing in the garage!

AGHhhh!!! Really scary!

AGHhhh!!! Really scary!

Spooky

Spooky

Inventory; hahah

Inventory; hahah

Hope you all had a very happy Halloween!!

Hope you all had a very happy Halloween!!

Featured post

Late October in Spy Garden 2015

Blackberries

Blackberries

Leaf

Leaf

Tomato blooms (but too late for tomatoes!)

Tomato blooms (but too late for tomatoes!)

Dexie

Dexie

Leaf pile

Leaf pile

I see you!

I see you!

Mushroom (just looking, not eating!) not sure what kind.

Mushroom (just looking, not eating!) not sure what kind.

Fire pit

Fire pit

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

Another

Another

Harlequin Marigold (or Court Jester)

Harlequin Marigold (or Court Jester)

Thanks Spy Sister for these awesome rings!

Thanks Spy Sister for these awesome rings; great for juggling!

May I present...

May I present… (hahaha)

Drying celosia

Drying celosia

Sunset

Sunset

From top: celosia, blazing star, marigolds

From top: celosia, blazing star, marigolds

Swing

Swing

Weeeee

Weeeee

Eeeeeee!

Eeeeeee!

Bumblebee

Bumblebee

Lots of leaves

Lots of leaves

Leaves

Leaves

Firepit

Firepit

Smoochie (click for concrete ball DIY ahha)

Smoochie (click for concrete ball DIY ahha) celebrated a birthday this month! Happy Birthday ‘Moocha!

Field (near Spy Garden)

Field (near Spy Garden)

Getting spooky around here!

Getting spooky around here!

Kitchen window

Kitchen window

Thanks Spy Sister for these delicious treats!

Thanks Spy Sister for these delicious treats! I also celebrated a birthday this month; 33!!!

Swing

Swing

Spy Garden

Spy Garden

Dexie

Dexie

Dexie looking at the garden

Dexie in the garden

Timber!

Timber!

Clean-up

Clean-up

Stacking wood

Stacking wood

 A little loofah gourd

A little loofah gourd

Dexie, dill, mums

Dexie, dill, mums

In the Eno hammock (they are the best!!)

In the Eno hammock (they are the best!!)

Echinacea with funnel web spider

Echinacea with funnel web

Leaves caught (in another funnel web)

Leaves caught (in another funnel web)

Ghost Dog!

Ghost Dog!

Happy Fall!

Happy Fall!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday! And hope you all have a very Happy Halloween!!

 

 

Featured post

Mid-October in Spy Garden 2015

I heart fall

I heart fall

Lion's Tail

Lion’s Tail

Persimmon

Persimmon

Yum!

Yum!

A violet woolflower

A violet woolflower

Different types of celosia

Different types of celosia

Bumblebee on (what looks like) brain coral!

Bumblebee on (what looks like) brain coral!

Dexie (watching a turkey vulture)

Dexie (watching a turkey vulture)

Red leaves

Red leaves

Dexie

Dexie in the woods

Turkey Tails
Turkey Tails
Woods

Woods

Yellow

Yellow

Looks like legs walking

Looks like legs walking

Red leaf

Red leaf

Stone Bridge

Stone Bridge

Long fall shadows

Long fall shadows

Homes (for Woodpeckers?)

Homes (for woodpeckers?)

Little cedar tree

Little cedar tree

"Kitty Pizza" (the cat at Baby's school)

“Kitty Pizza” (the cat at Baby’s school)

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Tomato

Tomato

Copperhead Skin

Copperhead Skin

Fall Echinacea (facing north)

Fall Echinacea (facing north)

Facing south

Facing south

Fall in Spy Garden

Fall in Spy Garden

Tall dead tree

Tall dead tree

Celosia Bouquet

Celosia Bouquet

Dexie cleaning up the sunflower stalks

Dexie cleaning up the sunflower stalks

Dill, mums, celosia

Dill, mums, celosia: jewel tones!

Featured post

Early October 2015

Three point deer skull found by Baby in the woods!

Three point deer skull found by Baby in the woods!

How dainty!

How dainty!

Found (in this condition!) in the woods across the street from our house. Babyzilla ran right into it when going down a hill!

Found (in this condition!) in the woods across the street from our house. Babyzilla ran right into it when going down a hill!

A little burgundy "woolflower" also known as "brain celosia" cockscomb is in the amaranth family.

A little burgundy “woolflower” also known as “brain celosia” cockscomb is in the amaranth family.

Bearded Tooth Mushroom

Bearded Tooth Mushroom

Also called Lion's Mane

Also called Lion’s Mane

...or Hedgehog Mushroom

…or Hedgehog Mushroom

Knobby head

Knobby head

Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer

Watching the deer

Watching the deer

Resinous Polypores

Resinous Polypores

Spiky Lion's Tail (also called Wild Dagga)

Spiky Lion’s Tail (also called Wild Dagga)

Leonotis leonurus; in the mint family

Leonotis leonurus; in the mint family

Quintessential plant for October!

Quintessential plant for October!

Banana tree: if you did them up and bring them in for the winter they will grow fruit in the third year

Banana tree: if you dig them up and bring them in for the winter they will grow fruit in the third year

Three small banana plants heading in for the winter!

Three small banana plants heading in for the winter!

Red celery, very slow growing

Red celery, very slow growing

Another view of the red celery

Another view of the red celery

Where we get our mail! Thought that would be exciting for readers who send us mail:)

Where we get our mail! Thought that would be exciting for readers who send us mail:)

Cardinals Cake! Woo! The cards are in the playoffs!

Cardinals Cake! Woo! The cards are in the playoffs!

Painting

Painting

In...

In…

Progress

Progress

Heart Painting

Heart Painting

Teepee in fall

Teepee in fall

Celosia

Celosia

Spent Echinacea are perfect for October! Spooky black spikes!

Spent Echinacea are perfect for October! Spooky black spikes!

Featured post

Ten!

Festive Marigolds

Festive Marigolds for a…

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

10 candles! (on a cake, signed by Babe Ruth!)

10 candles! (on a cake signed by Babe Ruth! haahah)

He was happy with his presents: LOTS of baseball cards! (and gift $ for buying more baseball cards!!)

He was happy with his presents: LOTS of baseball cards! (and gift $ for buying even more baseball cards!!)

Helping build a new shed

Helping build a new shed; a low key birthday (per his request!)

And some more shots from early October…

Fall Garden

Fall Garden

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

Playing cello

Playing cello

So saturated!

So saturated!

Dried Dragon Tongue Beans

Dried Dragon Tongue Beans

Celosia

Celosia

Spider web on echninacea

Spider web on echinacea

Tunnel web

Tunnel web

Despite the lack of weeding

This photo is entitled “Despite the lack of weeding” haha

Dexie enjoying early October

Dexie enjoying early October

Knockout Rose petals

Knockout Rose petals

Composition with Baby, Dexie and Maggie

Composition with Baby, Dexie and Maggie haha

Marigolds for days!

Marigolds for days!

Featured post

Lost Valley Lake Resort

A little weekend getaway...

A little weekend getaway…

to Lost Valley Lake Resort; its one of those time share places so we went to just check it out (spoiler alert: we did not get a membership)

to Lost Valley Lake Resort; its one of those time share places so we went to just check it out (spoiler alert: we did not get a membership)

In the

In the “villa” (kind of like a tiny house): while I do love camping in a tent, having a kitchen and bathroom sure is convenient!

And a coffee maker!

And a coffee maker!

Pretty...

Pretty…

Asters

Asters

Boat Launch?

Boat Launch?

Or...

Or…

Dexie Launch?!

Dexie Launch?!

Lake Riata; one of two little lakes on the property

Lake Riata; one of two little lakes on the property

Of course Dexie didn't mind the chilly water!

Of course Dexie didn’t mind the chilly water!

The first small hints of fall color

The first small hints of fall color

Shake!

Shake!

Pretty grasses and blooms

Pretty grasses and blooms

Beautiful clear, crisp fall weather!

Beautiful clear, crisp fall weather!

On the other lake…

Dexie's first canoe ride; she jumped in and out several times...

Dexie’s first canoe ride; she jumped in and out several times…

Until she got the hang of it!

Until she got the hang of it!

Little (well really he'd getting big!) canoer

Little (well really he’s getting big!) canoer

Littler canoer

Littler canoer

I love canoes!

I love canoes!

Geese

Geese

Our best Zoolander/duck faces Hahaha

Our best Zoolander/duck faces Hahaha

And then it was off to...

And then it was off to…

the Stables!

the stables!

Striking a pose

Striking a pose hahahah

Saddling up for his first trail ride!

Saddling up for his first trail ride!

Smoochie and the Spy hitting the trail

Smoochie and the Spy hitting the trail

“I probably don’t need to hold on with both hands. But if that’s the rule I’ll follow it” hahah
Little rider

Little rider

A natural (naturally)

A natural (naturally)

Future equestrian

Future equestrian

Weeeee

Weeeee

A little waterfall

A little waterfall

On Sunday...

On Sunday…

Another ride!

Another ride!

I got to go on a trail ride too!

I got to go on a trail ride too!

Horsey Close-up

Horsey Close-up

Chatting that woman's ear off!

Chatting that woman’s ear off!

And that's all folks! It was a very fun weekend trip!

And that’s all folks! It was a very fun weekend trip!

Featured post

Mid-September in Spy Garden

Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly

Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly

The celosia and cockscomb attracts many pollinators

The celosia and cockscomb attract many pollinators

Like a magenta brain! (cockscomb)

Like a magenta brain! (cockscomb)

Cockscomb is such a cool plant; reminds me of coral!

Cockscomb is such a cool plant; reminds me of coral!

Here (on a less vibrant yellow celosia) you can see how the seeds form. The seeds form similarly on cockscomb.

Here (on a less vibrant yellow celosia) you can see how the seeds form. The seeds form similarly on cockscomb.

The plants that are this color are so vibrant and saturated a deep, deep magenta; hard to capture the saturation in a photo!

The plants that are this color are so vibrant and saturated a deep, deep magenta; hard to capture the saturation in a photo!

Maggie and Dexie

Maggie and Dexie

Tall Corn

Tall Corn

Dried out blazing star blooms

Dried out blazing star blooms

Like party favors!

Like party favors!

Picking off the little sumac pieces (sumac tastes like lemon/vinegar)

Picking off the little sumac pieces (sumac tastes like lemon/vinegar)

The last Sikkim cucumber

The last Sikkim cucumber

Tall Lion's Tail

Tall Lion’s Tail

Banana trees (and a lot of weeds!)

Banana trees (and a lot of weeds!)

A Delice de la Table melon; it has gotten chilly so not sure if this melon will make it to maturity.

A Delice de la Table melon; it has gotten chilly so not sure if this melon will make it to maturity.

Blackberries are blooming/fruiting for a second time this year; this one branch has reached far over the deer fence.

Blackberries are blooming/fruiting for a second time this year; this one branch has reached far over the deer fence.

Loofah Gourd vines on the teepee finally blooming

Loofah Gourd vines on the teepee finally blooming

More loofah gourd blooms

More loofah gourd blooms

A feather (turkey?)

A feather (turkey?)

A little cave

A little cave

The cave has a small spring with very cold water flowing out

The cave has a small spring with very cold water flowing out

A tree (at the park with the little cave)

A tree (at the park with the little cave)

And who's this?!

And who’s this?!

It's "Cat You Can Pet"; a new addition to Forest school!

It’s “Cat You Can Pet”; a new addition to Forest school!

Seen in my university's library gallery at a faculty show

Seen in my university’s library gallery at a faculty show

And art at home (collaging by Babyzilla)

And art at home (collaging by Babyzilla)

Fog rising off the Missouri River

Fog rising off the Missouri River

Spy Garden 9.14.15

Spy Garden 9.14.15

Happy Monday! Hope your week is off to a good start!

Featured post

Late Summer/Early Fall

Bumblebee on Celosia

Bumblebee on Celosia

Amaranth stalk

Amaranth stalk

Overalls to match the plants haha

Overalls to match the plants haha

So vibrant!

So vibrant!

Celosia

Celosia

Cockscomb

Cockscomb

Neon!

Neon!

Hartman's Giant Amaranth

Hartman’s Giant Amaranth

Spiderweb

Spiderweb

Malabar Spinach

Malabar Spinach

“Aunt Molly’s” Ground Cherry

Separating the berries from the thin paper-like husks

Separating the berries from the thin paper-like husks

Ground cherry

Ground cherry

A very little white eggplant and an eggplant bloom

A very little white eggplant and an eggplant bloom

Buds on the Loofah gourd vines

Buds on the Loofah gourd vines

Spy Garden Bouquet

Spy Garden Bouquet

A few corn stalks

A few corn stalks

Missouri River sunrise

Missouri River sunrise

Watching ducks

Watching ducks

Herding ducks

Herding ducks at a park

Swimming ducks

Swimming ducks

Sycamore

Sycamore

Sycamore bark

Sycamore bark

In Squirrely Garden at her school

In Squirrely Garden at her school

Our street

Our street

Slow Please

Slow Please

Dexie cruisin'

Dexie cruisin’

Sulfur-Colored Chicken of the Woods; also called Sulfur Shelf or Chicken Mushroom

Sulfur-Colored Chicken of the Woods; also called Sulfur Shelf or Chicken Mushroom

Considered a choice edible. As chicken mushrooms age, they get tough—cut off the tender outer edges and leave the rest on the tree. Recipes abound for this and the closely related pale chicken of the woods (L. cincinnatus). They have the texture of chicken, and with a little imagination can taste like chicken. Although both species are safe and delicious mushrooms, some people get a bit of stomach upset or swollen lips after eating them. Try just a small amount the first time.
This fungus can be used as a chicken substitute in casseroles, enchiladas, and more. As with all wild mushrooms, be absolutely sure of your identification, cook it well, and only eat a small amount the first time you try it, since some people have bad reactions to otherwise edible mushrooms. (from the Missouri Department of Conservation website)
For now, just going to photograph it!

For now, just going to photograph it!

Missouri has dozens of edible wild mushrooms. Missouri also has dozens of poisonous mushrooms; some with names like Deadly Galerina and Destroying Angel. Thus, I am not too eager to start harvesting mushrooms and cooking them up! I would want to be much more of a mushroom-expert first. I couldn’t identify many of the varieties pictured below.

Tree pants

Tree pants haha: note all the little white mushrooms

ID?

ID?

Bigger than a dinner plate!

Bigger than a dinner plate!

Very celestial!

Very celestial!

Like a 3/4 moon

Like a 3/4 moon

Turtle

Turtle

Turkey Tails

Turkey Tails?

I'd never seen a turkey tail mushroom so green

I’d never seen a turkey tail mushroom so green

Little feather

Little feather

Red cap

Red cap

These look like an everything bagel (or bialy!)

These look like an everything bagel (or bialy!)

Dexie helping to hunt for mushrooms!

Dexie helping to hunt for mushrooms!

So many different types!

So many different types!

Gills

Gills

Leaves starting to change

Leaves starting to change

This one was beautiful; had a totally iridescent quality to it.

This one was beautiful; had a totally iridescent quality to it. Very striking in person.

I believe this variety of mushroom was the root of the entire style aesthetic of the 1970's haha

I believe this variety of mushroom is the original source of the entire style aesthetic of the 1970’s haha

Tall tree

Tall tree

Wow!

Wow!

Looks like someone dropped a cut watermelon in the woods!

Looks like someone dropped a cut watermelon in the woods!

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Featured post

The Last of Summer in Spy Garden

Late August in Spy Garden

Late August in Spy Garden

It feels like fall here; a nice, crisp chill in the air. Rain, thunder, wind. The garden will still be growing and changing until the first frost but here’s the low-down, re-cap of Spy Garden summer of 2015: A robust garlic harvest, lots of cucumbers (Sikkim and dragon’s eggs), plenty of blackberries, ground cherries and loads of fresh herbs. What to do with all the cucumbers?

Sikkim Cucumber

Sikkim Cucumber

Aside from eating them raw, I make super easy “pickles” like so: Buy a jar of Kosher Dill Claussen pickles (the best!) and eat. Then fill up the jar with your own washed and cut cukes and put it back in the fridge; 2 or 3 jars of Claussens for the price of 1! Or, how about roasting cucumbers? Why not?! I have been roasting the Sikkim cukes along with whatever other veggies I have on hand and they are great that way.

The pumpkins were sadly killed by squash vine borers but the Loofah gourds have climbed the teepee and so hopefully we will get a bunch of those! Not exactly winter squash, but maybe a close second? Also, the Hartman’s Giant Amaranth never disappoints and we have several very large, tall specimens this year.

Showing off a beautifully vibrant Hartman's Giant Amaranth plant

Showing off a beautifully vibrant Hartman’s Giant Amaranth plant

This time last year St. Louis Homes & Lifestyles Magazine did a photoshoot of Spy Garden (click here to see the article)! The garden is definitely not in photo-shoot-ready mode (yet?! Maybe we’ll do some more serious weeding before the first frost?!) this year but that’s ok. Every year (and season) of gardening is always different. That is one of the best things about gardening!

Baby demonstrating how easy it is to pick the shiny, black Amaranth seeds

Baby demonstrating how easy it is to pick the shiny, black Amaranth seeds

Very few tomatoes so far this year; just these little yellow/orange cherries. We do have quite a few plants still growing they have just been very slow to fruit!

Very few tomatoes so far this year; just these little yellow/orange cherries. We do have quite a few plants still growing they have just been very slow to fruit!

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

Wild Dagga (also called Lion's Tail) just starting to bloom. A great ornamental fall plant.

Wild Dagga (also called Lion’s Tail) just starting to bloom. A great ornamental fall plant.

Some fallen corn (it has been rainy and windy so some of the taller things have flopped over)

Some fallen corn (it has been rainy and windy so some of the taller things have flopped over)

Sunflowers are so pretty even when not "perfectly" in bloom

Sunflowers are so pretty even when not “perfectly” in bloom

Painting in the garden; a perfect morning!

Painting in the garden; a perfect morning!

Dexie thinks so too!

Dexie thinks so too!

Seed pod stamp painting

Seed pod stamp painting

Inspirational lighting and colors!

Inspirational lighting and colors!

Collaborative painting-in-progress. Now to pass it back to my friend who will work on it for a week or so before returning it.

Collaborative painting-in-progress. Now to pass it back to my friend who will work on it for a week or so before returning it.

Babyzilla-made thank you cards

Babyzilla-made thank you cards

A wreath made by Baby's friends at Forest School, given to her for her birthday

A wreath made by Baby’s friends at Forest School, given to her for her birthday

And now, here are some really random recommendations (in no particular order)…

  • Falafel-stuffed peppers. Instead of meat or beans, add falafel mix (which is basically spices and dehydrated chickpeas), some water and tomatoes to spiced brown rice (I like a tiny pinch of garam masala plus a heaping amount of Ras el Hanout, turmeric and paprika) and some sautéed onions then stuff into peppers (I usually halve or quarter the peppers instead of stuffing whole peppers); just dollop the stuffing into each little pepper portion and bake.
  • Mendota plan-unflavored-sparkling water. Something about it is so indulgent and ridiculous (yes, and wasteful, but come on, I do live in America!) I mean, it is canned water, there is just something funny about that. I get on a kick every once in awhile and buy the stuff. I think I drank like 24 cans this week. So sparkly and delicious. One day I really should just buy my own carbonator. But carbonated tap water just might not be as fun as the blue, cold, sparkling cans of Mendota. Pelligrino and Perrier and bottled club soda are good too, but still the whole canned water thing is just the best.
  • Hail Merry Miracle Tarts. Persian Lime and Meyer Lemon are my two faves. Two servings of delectable dessert (half of one is a perfect portion) for only $3. They are super delicious and nutritious. I get them at Dierbergs but it looks like you can order direct from their website (though it looks like they’re much more costly that way).
  • Hormone Horoscope: having nothing to do with astrology, this free app you can download for your phone tells you what your hormones are up to each day; how they are affecting your mood, appetite and other things. This thing is genius.
  • Pantoprazole is better than ranitidine in the treatment of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Ok that one is way out of left field, right?! I thought this was a GARDENING website! But I am working on my doctorate of nursing practice and feel compelled to share this little finding. What good is learning if I don’t share with the Spy Garden masses?! I did a partial literature review comparing randomized controlled trials of these two medications. So before you reach for the antacids or Zantac if you have frequent heartburn you should probably ask your doctor (or nurse practitioner!) for a script for Protonix (pantoprazole). Nurse practitioner education covers all body systems and fields (how wonderful it is to have the option to go into any specialty) so stay tuned for more random recommendations! Right now my real passion is psychiatry and psychoneuroimmunology; who knows, maybe a capstone project fusing gardening AND nursing is in the cards?

Below are some random pictures to continue with the non-sequitur theme of this post!

Missouri River Sunrise

Missouri River Sunrise

Watching the dog show at Purina farms a few weeks ago

Watching the dog show at Purina farms a few weeks ago

Nice catch! Purina farms is a fun (and free!) spot for an outing near St. Louis

Nice catch! Purina farms is a fun (and free!) spot for an outing near St. Louis

Another good catch!

Another good catch!

Cow-milking demo at Purina Farms

Cow-milking demo at Purina Farms

Checking out the pump

Checking out the pump

Milking a cow!

Milking a cow!

Saw this totally cool spiral tree at a local nursery; isn't it cool?! It was quite pricy, so I just admired it, but would love to add one of these to my plant collection!

Saw this totally cool spiral tree at a local nursery; isn’t it cool?! It was quite pricy, so I just admired it, but would love to add one of these to my plant collection!

Waiting for the Spy to catch the bus to school

Waiting for the Spy to catch the bus to school

Haybales and movie theater

Haybales and movie theater

Paper plates and duct tape haha

Paper plates and duct tape haha

Checking out some of the sculptures in the library

Checking out some of the sculptures in the library

I love libraries! So peaceful and quiet!

I love libraries! So peaceful and quiet!

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!

 

Featured post

Four!

Four!

Four!…ba dum pssshhhh…

Four years old! Babyzilla’s fourth birthday with some garden pictures mixed in…since they’re so festive…

Cockscomb

Cockscomb

Cake

Cake

Nasturtium

Nasturtium (as seen on the cake!)

Hawk

Hawk

Birthday Crown (made by Baby's Forest School teachers)

Birthday Crown (made by Baby’s Forest School teachers)

Fringe (corn)

Fringe (corn)

Monarch on Echinacea

Monarch on Echinacea

A quick little still life of a vase and fruit

A quick little still life of a vase and fruit

Cockscomb

Cockscomb

Corn fringe II

Corn fringe II

Being...

Being…

Very...

Very…

Silly!

Silly!

Black Hungarian Peppers

Black Hungarian Peppers

Sunflower

Sunflower

Corn stalk

Corn stalk

A little of the garden inside!

A little of the garden inside!

All picked from Spy Garden!

All picked from Spy Garden!

Pre-picked

Pre-picked

With our friends; Mary...

With our friends; Mary…

And Shelly!

And Shelly!

Opening...

Opening…

Presents! (totally cool shirt Nana & Pop!)

Presents! (totally cool shirt Nana & Pop!)

Birthday Fun

Birthday Fun

Homegrown...

Homegrown…

Curling ribbon! (Loofah gourd vines)

Curling ribbon! (Loofah gourd vines)

Loofah Gourd vines on the teepee

Loofah Gourd vines on the teepee

And what do we have here?!

And what do we have here?!

Baby's first bike!

Baby’s first bike!

She'll get loads of instruction I'm sure!

She’ll get loads of instruction I’m sure!

The vines of this Malabar Spinach match the bike!

The vines of this Malabar Spinach match the bike!

Monarch on Marigold

Monarch on Marigold

Little yellow moth on Harlequin marigold

Little yellow moth on Harlequin marigold

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

Spider

Spider

Blazing Star wildflower

Blazing Star wildflower

Festive Garden

Festive Garden

Happy...

Happy…

Birthday!

Birthday!

4...

4…

Years Old!

Years Old!

Featured post

Meramec Caverns

Stalagtites in Meramec Caverns

Stalagtites in Meramec Caverns

Cool cave! (58 degrees, 365 days a year!)

Cool cave! (58 degrees, 365 days a year!)

Meramec Caverns was used in the civil war; one of the minerals found in the cave is called saltpeter (or potassium nitrate) and was mined to make gunpowder

Meramec Caverns was used in the civil war; one of the minerals found in the cave is called saltpeter (or potassium nitrate) and was mined to make gunpowder

The cave was also a hideout for Jesse James.

The cave was also a hideout for Jesse James.

In the summer of 1941, Missouri was in the midst of a rather severe drought. A drought so intense, it not only dropped the rivers and streams above ground, but the water table itself also depleted. At that time, the main level of Meramec Caverns seemed to ‘dead end’ at a wall with a small pool of water spilling out below. With the drop of the water table, the pool of water below the wall receded nearly six inches and allowed a cool, breeze to push into the cave between the wall’s bottom and top of the water. Les Dill was alerted of this change by his cave guides, and, being the adventurous man he was, Dill elected to go under the wall, through the water, and see what was on the other side. Once past the wall, Les was opened to yet another large area of branching networks…even more cave. It was here, too, Les found the artifacts traceable to the infamous Jesse James and the cave was dubbed ‘Jesse James Hideout’. (from Meramec Caverns website)

When you first walk in you enter the ballroom; where many parties and concerts have taken place (and continue to be held)

When you first walk in you enter the ballroom; where many parties and concerts have taken place (and continue to be held)

Disco ball in the ballroom

Disco ball in the ballroom

The 1890’s brought a new era of human interaction to the cave. During that time, locals from Stanton, MO would hold ‘cave parties’ during summer months to avoid the extreme heat. Meramec Caverns was especially popular for these types of events, as a very large room lie just 300 feet inside the cave entrance. The room was large enough to accommodate big crowds, as well as a 50 foot by 50 foot dance floor in the center. This earned the room the nickname of the ‘Ballroom’. Meramec Caverns, then known as Saltpeter Cave, was purchased in 1898 by Charles Ruepple, and he headed a dance committee along with other local men from Stanton. Dancing continued through the 1890’s and spilled over into 1900, but it would be another 33 years before the most significant event in the cave’s history. (from Meramec Caverns website)

“Onyx Mountain” one of the largest stalagmites in the world (the other 2 largest are in China and New Zealand) You can see people’s heads in the bottom of the photo to get an idea of scale.

The

The “living side” of Onyx Mountain touching the “ceiling”; the other side is cut off from a water supply so is no longer “growing”

Not the greatest picture but this part of

Not the greatest picture but this part of “Onyx Mountain” has one large section that is all calcium deposits and was very white.

This reflection pool and the lighting makes it look like there is a canyon below.

This reflection pool and the lighting makes it look like there is a canyon below.

Very hard to take pictures in a cave! As we progressed on the tour the lights behind us were shut off so we had to keep up with the “good lighting” to get pictures!. Its hard to even tell what color some of the rocks actually were because of the warmth of the light.

In the

In the “wine room”

The

The “wine room” (because these formations look like grapes)

Lots of grape-like clusters

Lots of grape-like clusters

Tall ceiling

Tall ceiling

Columns, posts and pillars

Columns, posts and pillars

Stalagmites and stalagtites

Stalagmites and stalagtites

Lester Benton Dill, born in 1898, spent the majority of his youth exploring caves in the Meramec River Valley. Les began his cave promotion days with a small cave in Meramec State Park, known as Fisher’s Cave. Though Fisher’s Cave was exciting to work with, Les wanted more and in 1933 he approached Charles Ruepple about the prospect of purchasing his cave. Mr. Dill’s sole interest in the cave was to develop it into a show cave and allow it to be entertainment for the public. Charles was reluctant at first, but soon agreed to sell the cave to Les. Les changed the name from Saltpeter Cave to Meramec Caverns and quickly began promoting and offering cave tours to the public. (from Meramec Caverns website)

Meramec Caverns is still owned by descendants of the Dill family and it definitely has a unique “throw-back” feel to it.

Meramec Caverns entrance; Stanton, MO

Meramec Caverns entrance; Stanton, MO

They also offer boat rides on the Meramec River (looking very muddy on this particular day)

They also offer boat rides on the Meramec River (looking very muddy on this particular day)

Panning for gold! (not really)

Panning for gold! (not really)

They also had a few shops and a zip line activity, but we were most interested in the cave…

This weird formation (

This weird formation (“the biggest of it’s type in the world” (don’t you just love an obscure claim to fame?!) it looked like an animal.

Mysterious crevices

Mysterious crevices

This part of the cave is where an episode of Lassie was filmed. Hahha

This part of the cave is where an episode of Lassie was filmed. Hahha

Spiky

Spiky (and slimy!)

After the discovery of 1941 and the addition of an opened lower level room in 1947, uncovering miles of new passages and spectacular views, Meramec Caverns was complete. Meramec Caverns soon became known far and wide through signs plastered along the roads to attract tourist to the Caverns. Advertisements for the Caverns were also painted on barns in 14 states. Dill also pioneered the use of bumper stickers, then called bumper signs because the vinyl and adhesive used to attach stickers to cars had not yet been developed. While visitors toured the cave, Dill would have “bumper sign boys” tie the Meramec Caverns bumper signs on their cars giving him free advertising and visitors a free souvenir.  (from Meramec Caverns website)

Like frozen waterfalls

Like frozen waterfalls

Another reflective pool

Another reflective pool

Walking down towards the theater room.

Walking down towards the theater room.

Drumroll…

Wowza! The

Wowza! The “theater room”; this huge wall of white formations (called “the curtain”) stands nearly 70 feet high!

Leaving the theater room; more large white formations.

Leaving the theater room; more large white formations.

Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the St. Louis area!

Featured post

Early August in the Garden and Grant’s Farm

Cockscomb

Cockscomb

Melons growing up a trellis (and this trellis also has kiwi plants growing up it!)

Melons growing up a trellis (and this trellis also has kiwi plants growing up it!)

Monarch; my favorite!

Monarch; my favorite!

Peppers, little onions and Sikkim and dragon's egg cucumbers

Peppers, little onions and Sikkim and dragon’s egg cucumbers

A large Hartman's Giant amaranth plant (these self-sow in our garden every year) and you can see the loofah gourds climbing up the teepee in the background

A large Hartman’s Giant amaranth plant (these self-sow in our garden every year) and you can see the loofah gourds climbing up the teepee in the background

Another monarch

Another monarch

Dill, eggplants, celosia, cockscomb, hibiscus, and a few cucumber and melon plants all in this row!

Dill, eggplants, celosia, cockscomb, hibiscus, and a few cucumber and melon plants all in this row! (and asparagus is in the far end of this patch)

Seeds on the Orach (will definitely be saving these!)

Seeds on the orach (will definitely be saving these!)

Sunny sunflower

Sunny sunflower

Malabar Spinach climbing up the teepee

Malabar Spinach climbing up the teepee

Dexie and just a few marigolds! I like how in this picture you can really tell the garden is on a slope.

Dexie and just a few marigolds! I like how in this picture you can really tell the garden is on a slope.

Unfurling

Unfurling

A nice grey-blue-purple variety of sedum.

A nice grey-blue-purple variety of sedum.

Celosia and Dill

Celosia and Dill

Blazing star bloom (a native Missouri wildflower)

Blazing star bloom (a native Missouri wildflower)

One plot weeded!

One plot weeded!

Monarch on milkweed. Normally I take a lighter and burn off all those little yellow bugs off the milkweed but I didn't get to that this year.

Monarch on milkweed. Normally I take a lighter and burn off all those little yellow bugs off the milkweed but I didn’t get to that this year.

Heavy seed head hanging over

Heavy seed head hanging over

View through the trellis: the two tall stake-trellis (made by just weaving some twine around 3 garden stakes) have kiwis and melons growing up them; I hope they grow up to the tops!)

View through the trellis: the two tall stake-trellis (made by just weaving some twine around 3 garden stakes) have kiwis and melons growing up them; I hope they grow up to the tops!)

And Grant’s Farm…

To the goats!

To the goats!

Different types of longhorn cattle

Different types of longhorn cattle

Feeding the goats!

Feeding the goats!

So cute!

So cute!

And brushing them!

And brushing them!

And petting them.

And petting them.

I always feel kind of bad for elephants since they are supposedly wicked smart. Maybe only the dumber animals should be in captivity?

I always feel bad for elephants. Maybe only the dumber animals should be in captivity?

Like camels! hahaHaa

Like camels! hahaHaa

Camel ride!

Camel ride!

Weeee!

Weeee!

Peacocks are one of my favorites

Peacocks are one of my favorites

More beautiful feathers

More beautiful feathers

Parrots people-watching

Parrots people-watching

What a good big brother

What a good big brother

For the record I didn't dress them in matching shirts!

For the record I didn’t dress them in matching shirts!

Entrance of the Bauernhof (German for

Entrance of the Bauernhof (German for “farmstead”)

Ice cream in the shade

Ice cream in the shade

Pretty, ornate carts

Pretty, ornate carts

Another

Another

This rooster looked pretty cool when it walked it looked like it had baggy feathered pants.

This rooster looked pretty cool like it was wearing baggy feathered pants.

On the carousel

On the carousel

Going to check out the Clydesdales

Going to check out the Clydesdales

Neiiighhhh

Neiiighhhh

About Grant's Farm and the Budweiser Clydesdale stables

About Grant’s Farm and the Budweiser Clydesdale stables

Click here to learn more about Grant’s Farm (yet another free St. Louis attraction!)

And just a few more random photos…

Daniel Boone Bridge (soon to be torn down) over the Missouri River

Daniel Boone Bridge (soon to be torn down) over the Missouri River

Painting by Baby

Painting by Baby

Featured post

Jam-Packed July

Pretty yellow butterfly

Pretty yellow butterfly

Sikkim Cucumbers

Sikkim Cucumbers (and my awesome pants! haha)

Mimosa Blossoms

Mimosa Blossoms

Little yellow wildflower (a perk of not weeding the garden!)

Little yellow wildflower (a perk of not weeding the garden!)

A quick little one-point perspective painting

A quick little one-point perspective painting

My friend/coworker (who is a brilliant painter!) and I are doing a little collaborate painting. I started it, now she will add to it, and we'll pass it back and forth until we deem it finished!

My friend/coworker (who is a brilliant painter!) and I are doing a little collaborate painting. I started it, now she will add to it, and we’ll pass it back and forth until we deem it finished!

Bumblebee and sunflower

Bumblebee and sunflower

A turkey strutting in the playground at Forest School

A turkey strutting in the playground at Forest School

In snake-tree news; Smoochie hosed out the snake-toilet (eww!!)

In snake-tree news; Smoochie hosed out the snake-toilet (eww!!) Not sure if this disturbed them or not but we really couldn’t help it, it looked gross!

Farther up in the tree...I spy shedded...

Farther up in the tree…I spy shed…

Snake skins!

Snake skins! Wish I could’ve photographed this process as it happened!

The same tree...another day...another reptile!

The same tree…another day…another reptile!

A skink; and a fat one!

A skink; and a fat one!

It scampered off into the snake hole!

It scampered off into the snake hole!

I was diligently picking off all these squash bug eggs, but the squash vine borers eluded me and we lost most of the pumpkin plants. But there areare lots of loofah gourd squash plants doing quite well. There's always a bright side to gardening!

I was diligently picking off all these squash bug eggs, but the squash vine borers eluded me and we lost most of the pumpkin plants. But there are lots of loofah gourd squash plants doing quite well. There’s always a bright side to gardening!

Missouri River valley

Missouri River valley

Here's a shot of my organized and meticulous method of curing/saving garlic. Hahaha

Here’s a shot of my organized and meticulous method of curing/saving garlic. Hahaha

A tattered butterfly resting on the deer fence

A tattered butterfly resting on the deer fence

Floral on floral on floral!

Floral on floral on floral!

A dragon's egg cucumber

A dragon’s egg cucumber

My study buddy at the library

My study buddy at the library

A few weeks ago we had Vacation Bible School at our church. There were about 25-30 kids there which was a great turnout!

The theme was "Camp Discovery" and the teachers did a great job decorating the classrooms.

The theme was “Camp Discovery” and the teachers did a great job decorating the classrooms.

I was in charge of the arts and crafts! VBS was Monday-Friday 6-8PM; a very busy week!

I was in charge of the arts and crafts! VBS was Monday-Friday 6-8PM; a very busy week!

A simple one-point perspective lesson

A simple one-point perspective lesson

Following directions (as usual)

Following directions (as usual)

Doing whatever she wants (as usual) hahaha!

Doing whatever she wants (as usual) hahaha!

I love painting with kids, they are so creative and don't second-guess the process of painting!

I love painting with kids, they are so creative and don’t second-guess the process of painting!

This was a great abstract piece by a 4 year old.

This was a great abstract piece by a 4 year old.

Recess!

Recess!

Snack time! (and representing Auburn; Aunt Spy's alma mater)

Snack time! (and representing Auburn; Aunt Spy’s alma mater)

The end of VBS ended with a water balloon fight; a long-standing tradition!

The end of VBS ended with a water balloon fight; a long-standing tradition!

The teenagers filled water balloons all week; 1500 of them!

The teenagers filled water balloons all week; 1500 of them!

In baseball news…

The Knights are league champions!

The Knights are league champions!

Knights fans

Knights fans

Nana and my sister (visiting from FL!) at one of the games

Nana and my sister (visiting from FL!) at one of the games

Climbing in the playground at the ballfield

Climbing in the playground at the ballfield

Watching warm-up in the shade (it was near 100 degrees at several of the games, whew!)

Watching warm-up in the shade (it was near 100 degrees at several of the games, whew!)

Hitting the trail

Hitting the trail

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

Paw-Paw trees. I have yet to sample a paw-paw (I've heard it tastes kind of like a banana).

Paw-Paw trees. I have yet to sample a paw-paw (I’ve heard it tastes kind of like a banana).

Tiny bright red mushrooms

Tiny bright red mushrooms

Pretty blue-purple wildflowers

Pretty blue-purple wildflowers

Leaf

Leaf

A feather

A feather

Little mushroom

Little mushroom

The Spy golfing

Four!

The kids with Nana & Pop, who we enjoyed having in St. Louis the whole month of July!

The kids with Nana & Pop, who we enjoyed having in St. Louis the whole month of July! Golfing, tennis, swimming, movies, etc., etc….thanks for all the fun and good memories!

On to August!

But first a good night's rest under a blue moon!

But first,a good night’s rest under a blue moon!

Featured post

Missouri Botanical Garden 7.27.15

Lanterns

Lanterns

The Lantern Festival is going on now (through August 23rd) at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The lanterns are best enjoyed at night when they are all lit up but it was cool to see them in daylight too!

Many of the lantern displays are huge!

Many of the lantern displays are huge!

The lanterns are made of silk, steel and porcelain

The lanterns are made of silk, steel and porcelain

The Spy liked this elephant fountain

The Spy liked this elephant fountain

Galloping horses in front of the Climatron

Galloping horses in front of the Climatron

These lizard lanterns fit perfectly in front of the Linnean house (the oldest operating greenhouse west of the Mississippi)

These lizard lanterns fit perfectly in front of the Linnean house (the oldest operating greenhouse west of the Mississippi)

At the children’s garden…

We cooled off in the fountains (I did too!)

We cooled off in the fountains (I did too!)

The kids in the maze...

The kids in the maze…Hmmm where are they?

Hi!

Hi!

And there's the Spy!

And there’s the Spy!

These "pincushion" gardens were very cool.

These “pincushion” gardens were very cool.

Definitely something to consider if you have a lot of succulents/other little plants!

Definitely something to consider if you have a lot of succulents/other little plants!

This nearly black elephant ear plant is like a sculpture

This dark elephant ear plant is like a sculpture

The children's garden is set up like an old west town. I saw so many beautiful hanging baskets!

The children’s garden is set up like an old western town. So many beautiful hanging baskets!

Through the foliage, looks like a forbidden city! (A large porcelain lantern)

Through the foliage, looks like a forbidden city! (A large porcelain lantern)

That huge tree is an...

That huge tree is an…

Osage orange!

Osage orange!

Duck

Duck

Peacock

Peacock

Rope...

Rope…

walk

walk

Staying soaked was the key today! It was hot!

Staying soaked was the key today! It was hot!

Showing off a big tortoise shell!

Showing off a big tortoise shell!

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

The lanterns were very detailed; and amazing that all that silk and porcelain holds up in the elements!

The lanterns were very detailed; and amazing that all that silk and porcelain holds up in the elements!

Beautiful hand-painted silk! I bet this one looks really cool at night!

Beautiful hand-painted silk! I bet this one looks really cool at night!

Lily pads

Lily pads

Detail

Detail

Haha

Haha

Reflection

Reflection

Fuzzy stalk

Fuzzy stalk

Huge koi

Huge koi

This one had some weird eyelash-like things

This one had some weird eyelash-like things

A tiny glimpse of fall! But DEFINITELY did not feel like fall today!

A tiny glimpse of fall! But DEFINITELY did not feel like fall today!

Of course, we had to get a few...

Of course, we had to get a few…

Souvenirs! The coolest one being...

Souvenirs! The coolest one being…

A Venus fly-trap!

A Venus fly-trap!

Watch out flies!

Watch out flies!

Happy Monday friends!

Featured post

Harvests, Art

Celosia (related to amaranth the leaves are edible and can be used like any green)

Celosia (related to amaranth the leaves are edible and can be used like any green)

The blackberries are nearly as big as baby's palm!

The blackberries are nearly as big as baby’s palm!

Missouri River sunrise (taken from the Daniel Boone Bridge)

Missouri River sunrise (taken from the Daniel Boone Bridge)

Plum! (the first of this tree; we only got 3 of them, but it was still exciting to finally get fruit!)

Plum! (the first of this tree; we only got 3 of them, but it was still exciting to finally get fruit!)

Corn (Kulli Black Incan)

Corn (Kulli Black Incan)

Check out these corn "feet"

Check out these corn “feet”

So cool!

So cool!

Busy bumblebees in the milkweed

Busy bumblebees in the milkweed

Sikkim cucumber (wet with rainwater) has a cool orange color and a crackle finish! (tastes the same as regular cucumbers)

Sikkim cucumber (wet with rainwater) has a cool orange color and a crackle finish! (tastes the same as regular cucumbers)

Our awesome new eno hammock! (thanks Nana & Pop!)

Our awesome new eno hammock! (thanks Nana & Pop!)

Lemon Bee Balm

Lemon Bee Balm

(part of) the garlic harvest!

(part of) the garlic harvest!

Dragon Tongue Bean blossoms

Dragon Tongue Bean blossoms

Baby showing a dragon tongue bean. These are my favorite beans to grow: crunchy, fresh and very pretty too!

Baby showing a dragon tongue bean. These are my favorite beans to grow: crunchy, fresh and very pretty too!

Seed saving (Nigella)

Seed saving (Nigella)

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

The rose of Sharon flowers turn this pretty blue-purple after they're done blooming. Tons of the spent blooms fall to the ground...

The rose of Sharon flowers turn this pretty blue-purple after they’re done blooming. Tons of the spent blooms fall to the ground…

Enough to make designs with!

Enough to make designs with!

Coneflowers

Coneflowers

And a few shots from the St. Louis Art Museum…

Torso with Smoochie (I tried to get him to take off his shirt and pose next to this, maybe next time) Hahajahah

Torso with Smoochie (I tried to get him to take off his shirt and pose next to this, maybe next time) Hahajahah

Ancient...

Ancient…

Flip flops!

Flip flops!

Look! It's just like being at our house!

Look! It’s just like being at our house!

See Tonguey at the very top of the picture and Tonguey II peeking out of the hole?

See Tonguey at the very top of the picture and Tonguey II peeking out of the hole?

Tonguey II as it turns out is the female (she is bigger and way more protective of the nest). I figured the larger one was the male but I don't think that is actually the case.

Tonguey II as it turns out is the female (she is bigger and way more protective of the nest). I figured the larger one was the male but I don’t think that is actually the case.

Who needs TV?

Who needs TV?

and this is really gross but I want to share…

Snake Toilet. Seriously gross. But at least it doesn't smell.

Snake Toilet. Seriously gross. But at least it doesn’t smell.

Tonguey II looking quite small with just her head peeking out

Tonguey II looking quite small with just her head peeking out

Tonguey II going under the deck probably to hunt for mice

Tonguey II going under the deck probably to hunt for mice

I’ll leave you with a more pleasant image (not that snakes aren’t cool and all)…

This large painting was my favorite of our latest visit. So dreamy and peaceful. Interesting how every time you go to the art museum you may be drawn to different pieces.

This large painting was my favorite of our latest visit. So dreamy and peaceful. Interesting how every time you go to the art museum you may be drawn to different pieces.

Hope you all had a nice weekend!

Featured post

July 4, 2015

Red, white & blue!(nasturtiums, carrot blossoms & nigella)

Red, white & blue! (nasturtiums, carrot blossoms & nigella)

What's more American than fireworks and flags made in China!?

What’s more American than fireworks and flags made in China!?

Patriotic Babyzilla

Patriotic Babyzilla

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

The Spy (home from camp woo!), Smoochie and Dexie setting off fireworks

The Spy (home from camp, woooo!), Smoochie and Dexie setting off fireworks

My favorite are the gold/silver fireworks

My favorite are the gold/silver fireworks

And green (for gardening!)

And green (for gardening!)

Fireworks

Fireworks

Sparkly

Sparkly (photo cred to Spy Sister!)

Love this shot!

Happy Independence Day!

Hope you all had a great fourth of July weekend!

Featured post

June 2015

Bee balm, rue, asters, wild strawberry and milkweed in this patch

Bee balm, rue, asters, wild strawberry and milkweed in this patch

Milkweed buds (taken a few weeks ago: its blooming now!)

Milkweed buds (taken a few weeks ago: its blooming now!)

Plein air...

Plein air…

Painting!

Painting!

Little bug with black and white striped antennae on orach

Little bug with black and white striped antennae on orach

Love-in-a-mist...

Love-in-a-mist…

seed pods. Fun to pick and fun to pop; they're like little balloons. Love-in-a-mist is also called Nigella.

seed pods. Fun to pick and fun to pop; they’re like little balloons. Love-in-a-mist is also called Nigella.

Check out this huge earthworm!

Check out this huge earthworm!

Babyzilla...

Babyzilla…

Worm Whisperer

Worm Whisperer

Buds peeking out

Buds peeking out (onion)

Cool wings on this bug

Cool wings on this bug

Teepee view facing south/southwest (this was taken a few weeks ago, now pumpkins are starting to creep up the teepee!)

Teepee view facing south/southwest (this was taken a few weeks ago, now pumpkins are starting to creep up the teepee!)

A ladybug in the mist

A ladybug in the mist

Weeeee...love our swings!

Weeeee…love our swings!

A plum!

A plum!

Tree ID anyone? We were given two of these and the person said they were plum, but they haven't fruited yet.

Tree ID anyone? We were given two of these and the person said they were plum, but they haven’t fruited yet.

Foliage of our mystery tree.

Foliage of our mystery tree.

Loads of garlic seeds (we ate a lot of scapes but also let many go to seed because I love how they look!)

Loads of garlic seeds (we ate a lot of scapes but also let many go to seed because I love how they look!)

I like to think of this as Grant's garlic; because our friends' the Grants gave us a small handful of these garlic seeds years ago. Now we have probably 50lbs of garlic! The garlic is nearly ready to harvest.

I like to think of this as Grant’s garlic; because our friends’ the Grants gave us a small handful of these garlic seeds years ago. Now we have probably 50lbs of garlic! The garlic is nearly ready to harvest. Garlic grows underground but these seedheads grow up.

Pretty orach with dew drops

Pretty orach with dew drops

Marigolds and onions

Marigolds and onions

Onion seed head

Onion seed head

Who needs fireworks?!

Who needs fireworks?!

This was the ONLY time we have watered the garden this year (taken 3 weeks ago). It has rained sooo much which is unusual for summer here in St. Louis.

This was the ONLY time we have watered the garden this year (taken 3 weeks ago). It has rained sooo much which is unusual for summer here in St. Louis.

Lemon Bee Balm

Lemon Bee Balm

Baby is a great running buddy!

Baby is a great running buddy!

See Tonguey?

See Tonguey?

At the pool (the Spy is still at camp; we miss him!!)

At the pool a few weeks ago (the Spy is still at camp; we miss him!!)

Baby especially misses her brother!

Baby especially misses her brother! He returns from camp this weekend!

Highlights and Stripes

Highlights and Stripes

Baby (on the left) at Forest School in Squirrely Garden

Baby (on the left) at Forest School in Squirrely Garden

Thyme at this angle reminds me of one of those Magic Eye pictures

Thyme at this angle reminds me of one of those Magic Eye pictures

Garden panorama (taken from the garden "living room")

Garden panorama (taken from the garden “living room”)

Dexie prancing through the garden (picture taken June 28th, 2015)

Dexie prancing through the garden (picture taken June 28th, 2015)

And on to July! Hope you all are having a nice summer!

Featured post

Camp!

This past weekend we traveled to…

the beautiful blue ridge mountains!

the beautiful blue ridge mountains!

At about the ninth hour of driving...Dexie, is that a wink or an eye twitch?!

At about the ninth hour of driving…Dexie, is that a wink or an eye twitch?!

Baby, only three more hours to go! haha

Baby, only three more hours to go! haha

Look at all those onions.

Look at all those onions.

Finally! Into the smoky mountains we go!

Finally! Into the smoky mountains we go!

Black Mountain, NC...home of...

Black Mountain, NC…home of…

The Greatest Place on Earth (or at least right up there with Spy Garden ;)

The Greatest Place on Earth (or at least right up there with Spy Garden ;)

Camp Merri-Mac has been a major influence in my life. I was a camper there from age 11-16 and I was a CIT (counselor in training) at 17. It is very fun for me to think of all of the things I do in my adult life that somehow relate to my days as a camper. Art, crocheting, gardening, swimming, exploring the woods: all of my hobbies and interests have some sort of roots in Camp Merri-Mac. There are wooden swings in our backyard. We spend lots of quality time in creeks. We even live on a one lane dirt/gravel road (just like camp!) Pretty much on any given afternoon, I might as well be at summer camp…enjoying our low ropes course (zip line, slack line and again, those joyous wooden swings!), singing camp songs to the kids (since they were babies!) and just generally spending loads of time outdoors learning new things.

Though there was no gardening at camp, gardening is very much a camp-type pursuit (again, outdoors: learning new things!). The excitement of tribal competition (Go Seminoles!) I now find at little league games (Go Knights!). Chapel is now church and the alarm clock is Reveille. Well maybe that last one’s a stretch;)! My sister always tells me our laundry smells like the laundry at camp. This is probably because we always have at least a couple of articles of clothing that have gotten thoroughly filthy and wet (another important tenet of summer camp!).

A major reason I’ve never gotten my kids any video games or let them play on a phone and limited TV time is because camp was (and still is) always totally technology-free. True to form, even on the (looong! 11+ hours!) drive to North Carolina, the kids stared out the window and sketched on scrap paper; no ipads or video games on our road trips just like “in my day” (I can say that now! Hahaha)!

In my professional life as a psychiatric nurse I guide and encourage others to find joy, meaning and purpose in life: something I began to learn at camp. Exploring the deeper value of leisure pursuits and conveying the importance of exploring spirituality are passions born at camp.

And of course there’s the creek and mud and friendship of Baby’s Forest School: much like camp (year round!)

Even though Camp Merri-Mac and Timberlake are on the same campus, they keep the two camps quite separate. Until now I didn’t know too much about Timberlake but I figured it is probably the greatest place on earth for a boy in the summer; since that’s true about Merri-Mac for girls!

So off we sent our first-born, our precocious progeny, into the blue ridge mountains for the next two weeks!

But first we checked out the sights of...

But first we checked out the sights of…

Montreat

Montreat

Lake Susan in Montreat

Lake Susan in Montreat

Snapping turtle laying eggs next to Lake Susan

Snapping turtle laying eggs next to Lake Susan

Baby's first time in a canoe! (canoeing was always my favorite camp activity and I took trips to the many rivers in the area)

Baby’s first time in a canoe! (canoeing was always my favorite camp activity and I took trips to the many rivers in the area)

Ready to...

Ready to…

Hit the trail!

Hit the trail!

Centipede

Centipede

Skilled hiker!

Skilled little hiker!

Cute little red mushroom

Cute little red mushroom

We hiked for four hours (much of which was uphill!) Whew!

The woods are loaded with magnolias

The woods are loaded with magnolias

Magnolia buds

Magnolia buds

Magnolia blooms

Magnolia blooms

Dexie enjoyed many dips in the cold clear mountain streams.

Dexie enjoyed many dips in the cold clear mountain streams.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Snail

Snail

Wildflower

Wildflower

Little Feather

Little Feather

Flat Creek

Flat Creek

We also explored Black Mountain, NC with easy walking access from this cheap and convenient hotel

We also explored Black Mountain, NC with easy walking access from this cheap and convenient hotel

My Father's Pizza (a Black Mountain tradition!)

My Father’s Pizza (a Black Mountain tradition!)

Father and son at My Father's Pizza

Father and son at My Father’s Pizza

At Dairy King (a Black Mountain tradition!)

At Dairy King (a Black Mountain tradition!)

Iconic Dairy King sign (iconic to me anyways;)

Iconic Dairy King sign (iconic to me anyways;)

Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains

This area is a beautiful place for a nice drive…

Ahhhhh cool mountain air!

Ahhhhh cool mountain air!

Chimney Rock drive-by

Chimney Rock drive-by

Feel free to make a joke about what else this rock looks like.

Feel free to make a joke about what else this rock looks like. lol

Many pretty vistas

Many pretty vistas

Finally it was time for drop-off!

Home forour little (big!) camper for the next two weeks!

Home for our little (big!) camper for the next two weeks!

Outside the cabin (these hammocks must be all the rage! We saw them all over the place!)

Outside the cabin (these hammocks must be all the rage! We saw them all over the place!)

Blue Heaven; the first cabin I was ever in (age 11)!

Blue Heaven; the first cabin I was ever in (age 11)!

The counselors snap shots of the kids and post them to a parents’ site so fortunately we have a little window into what he is up to…

Initiated into the Seminoles!

Initiated into the Seminoles! So far, so good!

In 2012, a great camp friend of mine invited me to be a raft guide, the summer after my freshman year of college, which is where I met Smoochie. So no camp? No Smoochie, no little spies, no Spy Garden! Thank God for camp!

DSC_0200