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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Negative Space

This week, Amy has chosen Negative Space as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. At first I thought this might be a bit tricky. As some of you have already pointed out, when we take pictures, we are usually focusing on the subject rather than the surrounding space, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized that many of the images in the photo files might fit the bill and in the end I had to stop myself from adding to the list.

 

A Final Bough

I’d never actually taken a picture of it, although it appeared briefly in some of my images, and I may have complained about it’s late-falling leaves that cluttered up the garden long after our village leaf collection was done for the year, but I do miss the tree that was on the parkway across the street. Things seem very bare without it. Unfortunately it sustained considerable damage during one of our storms a few months ago and they decided that it probably ought to go, so I went outside to capture its last moments as the tree removal company did a very safe, swift and efficient job of cutting it down.

While I was standing there, something on the ground caught my eye; a faded and tattered swallowtail butterfly that could no longer fly had sought refuge among the plants.  Two of nature’s beauties taking a final bow.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Pick A Word

This week, Ann-Christine has given us a list of words from which to pick a subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Among them, Growing, Tangled and Exuberant seemed to describe the Chicago Botanic Garden very nicely. This was how it looked on my visit there yesterday.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Creativity in the Time of Covid

This week, Tina is looking at Creativity in the Time of Covid as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. An amazing piece of timing from my perspective as you will see.

While capturing images in the garden, I’ve very often focused my attention on bees, partly because they make interesting if not always cooperative subjects to photograph, but also because my grandson broadcasts a regular podcast called The God Of Honeybees. Yesterday he became a published author for the first time with a book of the same title. I am so proud of him and his achievements as you will have no doubt already surmised if you have read any of my posts in which he has featured including Happy 21st Birthday Grandson and  Collage – A Celebration.

Note; The cover image is by David Provolo and the book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I don’t know if I will ever be able to match Justin’s creative writing abilities although I hope eventually to get my stories published (something else I can work on while I’m stuck at home thanks to COVID.) Meanwhile I will continue to look for bees in the garden.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Lazy Days Under The Sun?

This week, Amy is asking us to share some moments Under The Sun for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. If you do any kind of gardening, you know that there are no such things as lazy days. I have an old tee-shirt that I use for working in that says, “I garden, therefore I weed.”  Isn’t that the truth!  It’s never ending and, at this time of year, done mostly under the sun! But fortunately, with all the spring rain that we had, the plants have grown sufficiently to cover the weeds until I can get to them. And I will…. eventually. Along with the weeds, perennials continue to flourish beside annuals and biennials that reseed and pop up randomly around the garden. Cultivating, deadheading, trimming and re-planting are just a few of the jobs that keep me busy out in the garden.

And I am not the only one who has been active out there in the garden in the summer sunshine. The rabbit explosion has produced several litters of plant-munching bunnies. Luckily there has been enough foliage to go around so I don’t feel too bad when I see them eyeing the flower beds. The coneflowers have been attracting both bees and butterflies and recently there have been hundreds of little skippers too. The sunflowers have had their fair share of interest and it’s amusing to watch the squirrels trying to get at the seeds. They are very resourceful and use the garden furniture to their best advantage.

 

Just as the sun is starting to go down, I catch a glimpse of a mouse peeping out from under the leaves, and a wren making short work of some hapless insect that is almost as large as the little bird itself.

And when the sun has disappeared below the horizon, there is still plenty of activity in the garden. There’s often a distinct whiff of fox outside, first thing in the morning, and a neighbor has reported seeing a coyote surveying the property with an eye to finding a late night snack. Skunks and possums are also frequent visitors and can be heard scratching about on the stones beneath our bedroom windows at night.

There’s never a dull moment and whether I’m running about wielding a trowel or a camera, there’s little time to sit back and enjoy those lazy days of summer under the sun.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Winter

This week, Ann-Christine invites us to share some Winter images for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I have to admit that I am a creature of comfort and rarely stray too far from home during the winter months. The older I get, the less appealing the idea of getting togged up in boots, scarf, mittens and heavy winter coat becomes.  These shots, three at the Chicago Botanic Garden and one at the Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg are a few in my very sparse collection of typical winter photos.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Autumn

This week, Patti is looking forward to Autumn for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. For so many reasons, autumn is probably my most favorite time of year. Primarily, I love the colors, and then there’s the cooler weather, not to mention less biting bugs and irate red-wing blackbirds. Of course, any time of year is great at the Chicago Botanic Garden but autumn is a very special season full of bright flowers and glowing foliage.

Autumn is one of the few times in the year that most of our family is able to get together and there is nothing more fun than our Family Fall Festival which is usually held at our daughter’s house in Indiana. She really puts on a terrific show with festive decorations that include Halloween characters, many of which are animated. The kids love it!

The Morton Arboretum in Lisle is the ideal place to visit in autumn when the trees are at their most colorful. A membership to the Chicago Botanic Garden gets you into the Arboretum for free and you can spend the day taking in the sights.

And what would autumn be without a trip to the pumpkin farm. This one is in South Barrington, Illinois, but we also visit a couple in Indiana and Wisconsin. They are a little more low-key but usually just as enjoyable.

And finally, one of my all-time favorite Halloween shots. “Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog,” and a Big Mac to go, please.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – The Spring in Spring Valley

This week, Tina is celebrating Spring for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. One of my favorite local places to visit is the Spring Valley Nature Center and Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg. Sadly it wasn’t open this Spring for obvious reasons and and will remain closed at least through August. That being the case, here is a nostalgic look back at Spring in Spring Valley.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Surprise!

This week, Ann-Christine is hoping for a few surprises for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I certainly got a surprise this morning! These two pictures were taken about 30 minutes ago in our garden. Let me explain. Last October I brought several swallowtail caterpillars indoors to spend the winter in our sunroom. Earlier this spring we were disappointed to find that most of them had already been invaded by parasitic wasps which duly hatched out and were released.  Two butterflies survived, however, and also appeared earlier this year. Because I’ve been super busy with the stamp collection over the past few weeks, I neglected to clean out the tank where we kept the caterpillars. All the foliage was dead and I assumed that we had seen the last of the butterflies. Imagine my surprise when I walked in this morning and found this beauty. It looked like it was ready to fly so I took it outside and set it down among the dill.