Saturday, July 25, 2015

Beaded bracelet....

A dear friend of mine remembered me on my birthday with this fun beaded wrap bracelet called the Mirembe Wrap Bracelet.  I absolutely love it!  Not only is it a pretty bangle that I enjoy wearing, but it reminds me of some very hard-working women who are doing their best to get out of poverty.  These are women of Uganda who are learning skills like bead making and jewelry making and who also create skin products with shea butter.  All the products are fair trade, handmade creations that you are really going to love.  The organization, Bead For Life, is giving women a helping hand out of extreme poverty by teaching them a trade and helping them to learn entrepreneurial skills that will launch them in their own businesses.  With their earnings, some women are buying land and cattle to support their families, some have started businesses selling tap water or garden vegetables, others are starting schools for children.  Many are able to send their children to school with their earnings.

Every time I wear my bracelet, I think of the woman who might have made my bracelet, and I think of the friend who gave it to me.  These are the gifts that give back.  I just wanted to share Bead for Life with you in case you have some special people you'd like to give a special gift to. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Home, home on the range....

where the deer and the antelope play...


Lots of antelope fawns are roaming the prairie.
Most are twins.
For the first couple weeks of their lives, 
they are hidden until they can run with Mama.   
They are beautiful creatures and fun to watch.
If you click the photos up to full size, 
you'll see some interesting details about them.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Whoopi Ti Yi Yo...

I've been working on a little whoopi ti yi yo stitching and it's fun!
Almost as fun as riding horseback across the prairie in July, but much cooler.
And how about some theme music for your listening pleasure? 

The pony is a pillowcase I stitched for my granddaughter, Peach, who turned 7 years old on the 11th.  She's a boot-wearing, tractor-fixin', cow-feedin' cowgirl ya know.  I found the horse pattern here but I changed the flower out for a western rose. The tea towels are stitched on two corners with some vintage western designs that I love.  The patterns are from the Wild Wild West collection of Stitcher's Revolution.   The Bakery, my local fabric store, carries them.  I have many of the iron-on SR patterns and really like using them.  I made this set of tea towels for a local cowgirl who will soon be a bride.  The towels will be tucked into a little gift for her bridal shower.

The barrel of moss roses have nothing to do with whoopi ti yi yo except that they flourish on the patio at my ranch house.  They make me smile every time I walk by their bold, rootin' tootin' blooms.  They love the hot prairie sunshine so I think there's a little bit o' wild west in them somewhere!  Can I get a  "YeeHaw!" ?

Friday, July 03, 2015

Nature Notes....

Yesterday I spent most of the day mowing and while I was gazing off, I saw this giant wasp with a 6" long poker floating below her.  I had seen this creature before and I knew what she was, but still, it's quite exciting to see something like it just floating by nonchalantly.  I suppose to her it was not a nonchalant flight.  I'm sure she was on a mission!

The female Ichneumon Wasp has this very long ovipositor which she uses to insert her eggs into old wood.  She lays her eggs in tunnels where the horntail wasp larvae are, and Mrs. Ichneumon's babies will feed on them when they hatch out.  Sounds like a nasty little way to feed your babies, but everybody's got to eat somebody, right?

What's amazing to me is how in the world does that little wasp drill a hole into the wood?  Incredible!  No power tools, no torque wrench, no chainsaw!  Just a little poker on the end of her abdomen. I do think that sometimes they find a hole that has already been "predrilled" and go in that way too.  No matter what, it's amazing!

Yesterday I saw her fly by me.  Today I went on a hunt for one and had my phone in my pocket.  I was about to give up the search when here she came.  In my excitement, I couldn't get the phone camera up and running fast enough to snap a photo.  She even landed on my leg!  Kinda creepy, but kinda cool too.  I was glad that my leg didn't look like a tree trunk after all!  They say Ichneumon wasps won't try to harm humans so I didn't feel threatened.

Here's a link to very cool video showing the actual depositing of eggs if you're interested.  It's a few minutes long and quite cool to witness.  I'm determined to find another Ichneumon wasp out there one of these days.  By the way, as I was waiting for Mrs. Ichneumon to come back out (which she did not) I did notice something else laying on the bark of the tree.  It pays to wait and look and observe.

On the swoop of the bark that was peeling off this dead tree was a mish-mash of a nest.  I know the nest type and the two eggs tell me these are a dove's.  We have lots and lots of doves around right now, and they will lay eggs all summer long.  Still, kinda fun to find!

Here's a photo of milkweed.  I think our milkweed is called "Showy Milkweed."  And it is!  I think it's so pretty and intricate.  Monarch butterflies love milkweed and lay their eggs on them.  I'm hoping to come back to this little patch and check for Monarch eggs and/or butterflies laying eggs.  One time we found a chrysalis on a milkweed plant and brought it inside and watched it emerge.  It was one of those awesome times when the kids were little and curious about all things nature.

Did you see the full moon two nights ago?  Oh, so pretty and orange when it just came up.  We've had lots of smokey skies from the Washington fires, and it makes the moon and sun look orange-y when they set or rise.  This moon is up high and peeking through the clouds.

I hope you're enjoying nature this summer.  So much to see! So much to learn!


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