Fishing has been a part of our warm-weather seasons around here ... forever.
In our dating years, my wonderful husband and I spent hours sitting lakeside, watching bobbers float on rippled, glass-like surfaces. Good conversations had a chance to bloom out there, and our friendship grew. 
The mini powdered donuts just enhanced the romance. 

As soon as our little boys were able to cast a line, they joined the fishing crew, the differing levels of their 
patience dictating the success and/or failure of a fishing trip. For quite a while, My Youngest thought he was really fishing with just a long stick resting in the shallow water's edge. He would take his stick-pole out of the water to examine the wet tip and wonder aloud:  WHY are the fish not biting??? 
Eventually, he became the most avid fisherman of the group, except for his dad, of course.

When our boys were learning the art of angling, I watched my husband give up his fishing opportunities 
to detangle lines from branches, re-bait hooks, remove and celebrate every hooked fish. 
And isn't that what parenting is so often about? 
That high-demand season of life passed, not so quickly, but still, it did pass, 
and now my husband again fishes uninterrupted. His boys can all fish on their own. 
Now their camraderie is what I admire, on display as they share lures and bait, advice and taunts.

 And, of course - powdered donuts.
no romance included



The air here is clear and crisp. 
It's lost the weight of high summer heat and while the rays are still hot, 
they feel oddly light on the skin. 

It's  fall air, that's all
If you need more evidence of the change of season ... 
CANDY CORN is on the shelves.
And you need some.



Sun Lit

Glory Days of Summer


GIft Shot

This butterfly just flew into the frame as I was taking this shot of a 
Completely by surprise and without any stalking on my part, 
I had my favorite photo of the summer!  


On the Edge

We're on the edge of fall over here, even though it feels more like summer now than summer actually did. 
But the vast insect chorus has begun to sing its fall selections, and you know there's no going back. 

I like bulky sweaters, new boxes of crayons and pumpkin spice cappuccino as much as the next person; fall does have its unique charms. Yet something inside me clings to summer and mourns a little, tiny bit at every passing Labor Day.


Greenhouse Gourds

I love a good gourd vine - who doesn't?
We planted this one in a new raised bed just outside the greenhouse. 
In its enthusiasm, it found a way through a cracked lower window and staked a 
claim. Bypassing the watering cans and shunning the badly used birdhouse, it seemed to 
be on its way to the ceiling vents.
(My sons are building a practice frisbee golf basket and think the greenhouse is a great place for project storage.)

Intricate curls and modestly clasped buds -

The smallest round egg gourds are forming ...

... and developing everywhere in there.

Can you see the mildew spots on the lower leaves? It will eventually take the whole vine 
down. You can spray to stop the mildew, and after cutting off the effected leaves, 
there might be a chance of survival. 
 Some organic solutions described here which I've never tried. Seems like it might be 
worth a shot when the plant is smaller, earlier in the season.
There's always next year!


Tall and Fierce

For the first time in many years, my sunflowers have grown 
unmolested by birds, bunnies or bugs.

When I look into the backyard, they're all standing around in small cliques.  
They seem gawkily awkward from early evening straight through to the dawn hours, 
like painful middle-schoolers within the society of our backyard gardens.
But when the sunshine finally streams over the trees, they straighten up and suddenly look
strongin their prime, tall and fierce denizens of a too-small kingdom.

Lemon Queen is acting like a royal out there, doing her light, bright-yellow thing.
She bloomed pretty early in the season.

The Mammoths made me wait while they grew to UNBELIEVABLE heights.
This is actually the view of one stalk from the grass:
(note the tiny bloom heads at every leaf node - so much to come!)

See what I mean???

*** Side Note ***
Have you meandered through the end of the first chapter of First Corinthians lately? All this sunflower talk brings it home for me. Here it is, if you'd like to see it in various versions without even leaving your chair.
He chose the foolish things ... He chose the weak things ... He chose the despised things...


Here, Fishy, Fishy!

Only a few hydrangeas had any blooms here this season, due to the incredibly harsh winter just past.
The only traditional hydrangea of mine that had any blooms was a single Blue Billows bush. 
Not usually one of my favorites, but I appreciated the blue when it was so scarce in my garden this spring.
* This morning I saw that one of my Nikko bushes has added a whole new 
layer of small blooms!  It's going to do a fall bloom!  Whoo-hoo!
Super short stems make Blue Billows work best in a very small vase.
My fish is interested in anything that happens in his windowsill. 
I tell you, this fish is more like a dog in a bowl than a regular pet fish.
He (it?) rests on the bottom of his vase until someone comes to the sink for a drink 
or to wash dishes. Then he flutters at the edge, watching the water stream and wanting attention. 
Or food, whichever. 
His wife is in the background - a solar hula dancer from the Dollar Tree.
He is, after all, a 'fighting fish', so it took them a while to make their relationship work, 
but now they are inseparable. 


Misplaced Faith

When you have a car full of teenaged loved ones, a traffic back-up on the express way can cause some pretty rash driving decisions. So we believed the GPS when it said we could get to the pizza place by an 
'alternate route'
Oh the FAITH required to use a GPS! 
Off we went, following the directions in a blow-by-blow format, thinking SOMEhow we would arrive
 in a busy college town after driving further and further, deeper and deeper  into farmland.
This is where we were when the GPS said something none of us had ever heard before:

Prepare to park your car and continue to your destination on foot.

Misplaced faith, for sure.


Garden Failures

I tend to only take photos of successes. 
But just so I never forget, and to give you fair warning -
here are the celosia (boooo hisssss) I planted for some annual highlighting this year. 
In my own defense, they were $0.50 per cell pack. 
Pretty cheap annuals, but definitely NOT worth it. That's it!
I'm swearing off celosia for good. 
*Well, except for cockscomb, celosia cristata.
Who can resist those fluorescently brainiac beauties?

Other garden failures for this year, since I'm making my garden confession:
- planting my limelight in too deep shade. they don't look like this at all.
- putting annual blue salvia in a container. they got MUCH too big and fell all over the vinca
causing them to mildew in the ugliest way.
- planting that other salvia in containers and thinking it would all turn out differently this year 
just because i chose purple and melon. that's it!!  
I'm swearing off (that other) salvia for good!!!
- nicotinia - how dismal. maybe it was positioned too close to that other salvia.
- and sadly, my most shameful confession.
i tried delphinium again, this time in a container. 
OK ... and 4 (FOUR) other plants in the garden beds - they were on clearance. 
now they are menacing brown clumps of former stems, landscape eyesores.
that's it!!!
but no. i can never swear off delphinium. 
my ridiculous cottage garden ambitions will not allow it.
maybe someday i'll learn the trick to raising delphinium, but until then, i'll have 
 false indigo to keep me company.



This was the sky a few nights ago. 

At least it was OUR sky from OUR backyard. We all have a personal patchwork corner of the sky, don't we? Don't you? When dealing with an outbreak of illness, I have even laid claim to a tiny bit of the sky as seen, by day and by night, from the window closest to my bed. It has often occurred to me what a harsh deprivation it would be to have no access to the sky.

 From his spot on the couch, one of my guys called attention to it - "Look at that, Mom!" We all piled out to the back porch to stand in the middle of our acre and gawk at the balefully-colored, rolling clouds. In silence, we considered the meaning of a sky like this one. My youngest finally spoke his unease aloud -  "What's going to happen?"  Every one of us felt small and helpless standing under a sky like this one.  

And I think that's an important reality check for adults and teenagers alike. 
We ARE small!
 We ARE helpless!
That night, God reminded us of our actual  state of being, and with ultimate efficiency, reminded us who He is. 
He is BIG

*** How miraculous to be invited to rest in the safety of One so capable! ***

“It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man. 
God made man small and the universe big to say something about himself.”
John Piper