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Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. The last time I showed you some of Charlie’s macro pictures with insects on them so this time it will be macro pictures of just dahlias. So sit back, grab a cup of your favorite drink and enjoy the show.

Crimson and yellow dahlia 9-19-21 - lr

Dahlia Webster Arb 10-7-21-2 - lr

Dahlia Webster Arb 10-7-21-4 - lr

Dahlia Webster Arb 10-7-21-5 - lr

Dahlia Webster Arb 10-7-21-6 - lr

Dahlia Webster Arb 10-7-21-7 - lr

Red dahlia 9-25-21 - lr

Yellow and pink dahlia 9-25-21 - lr

Finally here is one last one with a honey bee on a daisy.

Daisy with honeybee 10-14-21-2 - lr

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the beautiful dahlias Charlie photographed with his macro lens. I’m sure the garden at the arboretum will be put to bed soon so we will have to look forward to seeing these beautiful flowers again next year.

Join the Nature Friday Blog Hop

We are joining the LLB Gang for their Nature Friday Blog Hop. You should pop over to their blog to see all the other posts.

Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. Recently Charlie picked up a new macro lens and has been having fun learning how to use it. The main use for a macro lens is to take extreme close ups of your subject. As a reminder you can click on all the pictures to see a much bigger version.

Bumblebee on red dahlia 9-19-21 - lr

Bumblebee on Red Dahlia

There is a very nice arboretum near us that has some dahlias so Charlie has taken a few trips there when the weather was nice and calm. In order to get sharp pictures there can’t be much movement in the subject. This bumblebee was still waking up from spending the night on this dahlia.

Dahlia Webster Arb 10-7-21-10 - lr

Can you find the hidden bugs on this dahlia?
(clicking on the image to make it bigger will help)

Sometimes the bugs are so small you don’t even see them when you are taking the picture as is the case with the picture above. Here is a hint there is a super tiny bug just left of center and a slightly larger one right of center hiding below the petals.

Hoverfly on potentilla flower 9-23-21 - lr

Hoverfly on Potentilla flower

Right in our own back yard one of Charlie’s favorite subjects has been bugs on the potentilla flowers. Just for reference these flowers are only about 3/4 of an inch (2 cm) in diameter.

Now I think I have to warn anyone that doesn’t like spiders much that the next few pictures might just creep you out a bit.

Crab spider on potentilla flower 9-18-21 - lr

Crab spider on Potentilla flower

The crab spiders like to hide in plants and flowers and ambush their prey. 

Crab spider on potentilla 10-5-21 - lr

Crab spider on Potentilla plant

These small spiders blend into their surroundings very well. One thing that is amazing about these pictures is that to the naked eye you cannot see the tiny hairs all over this little guy.

Crab spider with prey stack 10-6-21 - lr

Crab spider with prey

The crab spider above has captured another spider that is even smaller than it. This last picture was created using a technique called “focus stacking“. There were multiple images taken very quickly at different focal points (the camera does this automatically when you set it up). Then the images are combined to create one image where more of the subject is in focus than would be with just one image.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the creepy little things Charlie has found with his macro lens. It’s amazing to look at these creatures almost as if you had them under a microscope.

Join the Nature Friday Blog Hop

We are joining the LLB Gang for their Nature Friday Blog Hop. You should pop over to their blog to see all the other posts.

Hi everyone! It’s Walter here. Last time I posted for Nature Friday I showed you some of our butterflies. Today it’s all about the bees!

7357 - Walter - as a Bee - lr

Let’s see what’s buzzing around the yard.

Our dad was taking pictures of the bees for us.

7335 - Millie Walter - Charlie photographing flowers - lr

Are you sure you have the right f-stop dad?
Millie, you have to be wearing bee camouflage to get this close!

That sister of mine almost scared away the bees!

Bumblebee on sedum 9-2-21 - lr

Bumblebee on Sedum

7338 - Walter - Charlie photographing flowers - lr

The bees feel safer now that Millie is gone.

Bumblebee on sedum2 9-2-21 - lr

Another Bumblebee on the Sedum

There still is quite a few flowers in bloom in our yard and the pollinators just love it.

Bumblebee on turtle head flower 9-2-21 - lr

Bumblebee on Turtle Head

Carpenter bee on caryopteris 9-2-21 - lr

Carpenter bee on Caryopteris

If you can’t see the video you can go here to view it.

7373 - Walter - as a Bee - lr

Thanks for buzzing around the yard with me today.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the bees we have visiting our yard right now.

Join the Nature Friday Blog Hop

We are joining the LLB Gang for their Nature Friday Blog Hop. You should pop over to their blog to see all the other posts.

Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. Since I last posted about my crochet work I had been working on another afghan which was the Scheepjes CAL 2020: d’Histoire Naturelle by Christina Hadderingh from the blog A Spoonful of Yarn. When this CAL was run (starting September 2020) I was working on another project so I didn’t participate while it was running but I kept up with what was happening by following the OFFICIAL Scheepjes – International Group on Facebook. Christina was inspired to create this afghan after reading the book All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr which I listened to the audio book version of a few years ago when it first came out.

All The Light We Cannot See

Christina explains how the book was her inspiration:

“In the story we follow Marie-Laure and her father who is a locksmith at the National Natural History Museum at Paris. Anthony Doerr paints such a vivid picture of the Museum and its contents that I had to design a blanket around it. As you crochet the blanket, Scheepjes and I will take you through all the main Museum gardens and galleries: the Jardin des Plantes, the Galerie d’Entomologie, the Galerie de Botanique, the Galerie de Minéralogie, the Grande Galerie de l’evolution and the Galerie de Paleontologie.”

There were four colorways created for this CAL and two different yarn types to choose from making a total of 8 kits you could choose from if you wanted to use the colors Christina picked out. I chose the Entomology colorway in Scheepjes Stone Washed/River Washed yarn. In addition to running the CAL Christina also had a read along portion. She also recorded an interview with the author to discuss the sections of the book the group was reading. You can see all the interviews on the Scheepjes YouTube page.

Now I would like to take you through the CAL showing you how the 6 parts came together. I will mostly let Christina’s words explain the work and encourage you to click on the links to each “chapter”, as she calls them, to see some pictures of the actual museum and its collections.

Chapter1: Jardin des Plantes

We begin our journey outside, in the Jardin des Plantes, which is the museum botanical garden…Can you envision the grand hedges that cast their shadow upon the botanical gardens with more than 10,000 named plant species?

In this part you will find floral stitch patterns, inspired by botany, as well as round hedges in the corners, inspired by the grand hedges of the garden.

814 - d'Histoire Naturelle CAL - Entomology - Part 1 - lr

Chapter 1: Jardin des Plantes

Chapter 2: Galerie d’Entomologie

In real life, the Galerie d’ Entomologie is sadly no longer open for public. It closed for renovation in 1996, but due to lack of funding it remained closed ever since. However, from 1960 to 1996 it housed more than half of the worlds total biodiversity regarding insects, such as beetles, butterflies and bees. Envision cabinet after cabinet full of drawers with insects from all over the world, their iridescent wings and mind blowing colors

The square of the blanket will be turned into an octagonal shape, using four precious bees. After that the shape will be expanded, using eight gorgeous butterflies, encased in a flower with eight petals, which is created by using front post stitches.

(You can click on the images to see larger views of them)

Chapter 3: Galerie de Botanique

The Galerie de Botanique is situated in the Jardin des Plantes and contains the largest and oldest Herbarium in the world, with eight milion specimens. Envision beautiful scientific drawings of flowers and herbs, humid greenhouses full of exotic plants, of which Marie-Laure thought it smells like humus, wet newspaper and lobelia and rows and rows of cabinets full of ancient seed and plant specimens.

After the big octagonal shape, we will gradually turn it into a circle, which ends in a big border full of gorgeous leaves. The stitches are inspired by orchids and leaves shown on herbarium sheets or scientific drawings of flowers and plants.

(You can click on the images to see larger views of them)

Chapter 4: Galerie de Minéralogie et Géologie

Minerals play a big part in the story of All the Light We Cannot See, as we read about the curse of the infamous Sea of Flames, the gorgeous descriptions of the Galerie and as we follow major Von Rumpel on his hunt for precious gemstones and crystals. The galerie is situated in the Jardin des Plantes and contains a dazzling 770 thousand specimens. Try to keep your eyes from wandering

In part 4 we will start to turn the big circle into a square shape, using four corner shapes. The corner shapes are made with separate motifs, inspired by geodes, agate and quartz, encased in lace. After the corner shapes are attached to the blanket, Sea of Flames diamonds are made in between the corner shapes to finish the part.

(You can click on the images to see larger views of them)

Chapter 5: Grande Galerie l’Evolution

The Grande Galerie is very impressive to wander around in with more than 7000 lifelike species. Although it is only mentioned once in the book, All The Light We Cannot See, I thought it very inspirational and I wanted it to be a part of the blanket. The crochet stitches are inspired by the procession of giant mammals in the main hall, such as elephants, giraffes and rhinos and also inspired by the open space staircases and walkways along the walls of the Galerie.

In part 5 the square shape is finalized by working two elephants on each side of the blanket in between the corner shapes, which are inspired by the great procession displayed at the Galerie. After that a big border is made, inspired by the architecture and balustrades along the Galerie walls.

(You can click on the images to see larger views of them)

One thing I want to note is that in the original pattern it does not include ears on the elephants. This is one thing I picked up from following the Facebook group and decided to add them to my afghan. I also want to note that the designer was happy to have this added to her pattern.

Chapter 6: Galerie de Paleontologie

We will end our journey in the Galerie de Paleontologie. It contains an impressive collection of fossil vertebrates like dinosaurs and other extinct animals, but also invertebrates like shellfish. Shells play quite a big part in Marie-Laure’s story as she loves to touch and collect them.

Part 6, the final part, is made using two borders. One is inspired by the shells Marie-Laure collects and the role the ocean plays in the story. The shells are made using front post stitches and are made in front of the rest of the crochet work. The second and final border is inspired by bones of animal skeletons.

(You can click on the images to see larger views of them)

I really enjoyed working on this blanket and thank Christina and Scheepjes for hosting the CAL. The afghan now resides in our living room next to the Fruit Garden afghan. 

(You can click on the images to see larger views of them)

I’m joining the The Loop Scoop Yarny Link Party (formerly know as Hookin on Hump Day). You should stop by to see some of the other projects people have posted.

Sleepy Selfie Sunday

Hi everyone. It’s Millie here. It’s raining this morning so I’m just hanging out on the big bed.

Millie relaxing 9-1-21 - lr

I wish the weather was better so we could go outside.

Millie relaxing3 9-1-21 - lr

Do you have any exciting plans for this holiday weekend?

The weather has been nice and cool the past week so we’ve been able to enjoy some time hanging outside. I guess a day of rain is okay once in a while.

I’m joining The Cat on My Head for their Selfie Sunday blog hop. You should check out the hop to see some of the other selfies. Thanks for stopping by.

Hi everyone! It’s Walter here. Last week Millie showed you all some of the snakes we have in our yard and today I want to show you some of the beautiful butterflies we have.

6813 - Walter laying in grass - lr

I love watching all the butterflies in our perennial garden.

Our perennial garden is a butterfly paradise. We have all shapes and sizes. First lets look at one of the smallest.

Silver spotted skipper on clematis flower 8-4-21 - lr

Silver Spotted Skipper on Clematis

The next largest is the cabbage butterfly. On any given day we can have at least a dozen of them flitting from one flower to the next.

Cabbage butterfly on lythrum 7-16-21 - lr

Cabbage Butterfly on Lythrum

The Painted Lady is slightly larger than the Cabbage butterfly and this one had some company while it worked on one of our cone flowers.

Painted lady and skiippers on coneflower 8-3-21 - lr

Painted Lady butterfly and Zabulon skippers on Pink Coneflower

Those skippers are actually smaller than the silver spotted skipper I showed you first. It was nice of the painted lady to share the coneflower with them.

Last but not least is our largest butterfly appropriately named the Giant Swallowtail.

Giant swallowtail on agastache 7-25-21 - lr

Giant Swallowtail on Agastache

The Giant Swallowtail looks very different on the top than it does on the underside. You get a good look at what the top side looks like in the above picture. The back lighting lets the top kind of shine through. They are mostly black with lines of yellow on top while the underside has a yellow background with a multicolored pattern like you see in the picture below.

Giant swallowtail on clematis 8-19-21 - lr

Giant Swallowtail on Clematis

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the butterflies we have visiting our yard this year. Next week we might show you some different ones so stay tuned.

Join the Nature Friday Blog Hop

We are joining the LLB Gang for their Nature Friday Blog Hop. You should pop over to their blog to see all the other posts.

Hi everyone! It’s Millie here. Today I want to introduce you to some of our slithering friends around our yard.

Millie on the patio 7-19-21 - lr

My best imitation of a snake

It’s been too hot to spend much time outside lately but we enjoy watching our garter snake friends when we can. I like to try to sniff them but mom always calls me off before they can strike at my nose. Don’t worry they are basically harmless and probably wouldn’t even connect if they tried to strike me.

6686 - 2 Snakes on ground - lr

A couple of different colored garter snakes.

We’re lucky to live in an area where there are no poisonous snakes.

6691 - Colorful Snake on ground - lr

This snake has beautiful markings

Our snakes spend the night under the upper (raised) portion of our patio. In the morning they make there way out. Sometimes we can see them just sticking their heads out of a crack under the steps.

6743 - Snake coming out at down spout - lr

This snake always comes out near the down spout.

The same snake that you see above always comes out near the down spout and makes its way across the lower patio to some vegetation to hang out for the day. Here is a video that shows the snake making its way.

If you can’t see the video you can go here to view it.

6752 - Snake moving under door - lr

Always watch your step going in our out of the garage.

Here is a wide view of the snake’s path.

7271 - Patio where snake moves from drain - annotated

(Click on the image to make it bigger)

Occasionally the snake will hang out under the bench in the above picture.

Backyard garter snake 7-16-21 - lr

All curled up under the bench

Backyard garter snake 7-19-21 - lr

Maybe I should save this picture for Selfie Sunday.

These snakes do a great job of keeping small pests away from the house. They like to eat slugs which is great for the hosta on the patio. I hope you enjoyed seeing some of our snakes today.

Join the Nature Friday Blog Hop

We are joining the LLB Gang for their Nature Friday Blog Hop. You should pop over to their blog to see all the other posts.

Hi everyone. It’s Millie and Walter here. It’s been super hot around here lately so we’ve been spending lots of time indoors.

Millie undercover 7-30-21 - lr

It’s very relaxing to hang out on the big bed.

Walter relaxing on pillow 7-30-21 - lr

I like laying on mom’s pillow when she isn’t sleeping.

We’ve had fun watching the Olympics with our parents for the past couple of weeks. Mom watched lots of the equestrian events. Those big horses sure can jump high. The weather peeps are predicting a heat wave for us this coming week so we will continue to keep cool inside. We hope all of you can stay cool too.

We’re joining The Cat on My Head for their Selfie Sunday blog hop. You should check out the hop to see some of the other selfies. Thanks for stopping by.