Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tomcat on a Limb




A tomcat calmly looked down at me one day from a limb of the oak tree behind my condo. This is a mature oak tree and he was up a good 10 to 15 feet in the air. Mr. Cat did not display any alarm at being so high. He, obviously a male, felt no alarm at my approach either. He probably figured that the older human who was checking him out wasn't about to scamper up the tree trunk to where he was. He was absolutely correct but a younger me might have tried.

We looked at each other for a few minutes, checking each other out. Guess he got bored with the lack of action because he then did a full body stretch and lay down along the limb resting his head on his paws. So I turned around and went back into my house to look for my camera, which I found in a most unexpected place – where it was supposed to be. Imagine that!

So with camera in hand I once again approached the oak tree.  Mr. Cat had not moved but his eyes opened as I approached and he kept himself focused on me as I got closer.  When I was close he sat up, swishing his tail slowly from side to side. He still kept his focus mainly on me but also managed to take quick looks around from his perch to see what else was happening around the tree.

After I took the photo he stayed put. Since he was posing I snapped a couple more shots to make sure at least one was usable (focus, tree shade, brightness of day, etc.). He just sat there, still looking around but always returning to focus on me.

Well it seems that he liked it up there. He had an excellent view of all the area behind the condos, and knew that any stray dog that showed up couldn't possibly get to him. Finally, he must have got bored again because he laid his body down and put his head back on his paws. The cat on a limb didn't even look at me anymore.

Turns out that wasn't the first time the perching cat had chosen to be a cat on a limb. He's been there a few more times over the last couple of weeks. Seems he lives with someone in the neighborhood who keeps him fed and out of harm’s way at night but turns him loose early in the mornings.

Sometimes just before the sun comes up you'll hear a racket from the roof (my condo is an end unit attached to 4 other homes). If you hurry outside and look up to the roof you will see Mr. Cat scampering around having a good old time. He'll run across the roof from one end to the other a couple of times, and then finally come down.

He gets down by jumping from the condo roof to the top of the patio roof. From there he jumps down to the 6 foot divider fence between my unit and the neighbors, then scampers down its side to the ground. What an athletic cat!

Sometimes he'll roam around on the ground for a while but eventually he will use his claws to climb the oak tree. Right up the trunk he'll go until he reaches the limb he likes to lay on. He'll walk right out and sit down on the limb surveying the area before lying down to take a cat nap. Guess all the running around on the roof wears him out.

That cat is high in the tree and seems to want to keep it that way. Thankfully, his roof scampers are not a daily occurrence. Most times he just calmly walks around the roof before alighting on the ground and heading for the tree.
 
(This cat was in the area for a couple of months then disappeared. He was well fed and groomed so someone in the neighborhood was taking care of him. Hopefully he went with his humans when they left the area. I never saw him again.)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Great Blue Heron - Article, Photos & Haiku



 
On one of my morning walks, on a path that goes nowhere, I was met with the sight of a Great Blue Heron ( Scientific name: Ardea Herodias). This rather large bird wasn’t looking at me instead all of its attention was focused on the water flowing under the tree branch he was sitting on. It was so intent on the waters near the shore of the canal that I was able to get quite close to the tree he was using as a perch.

The heron had his back to me as he perched on a branch of the half dead tree near the canal’s edge. The branch it was on jutted out over the water a good 3 or 4 feet but was up at least 6 feet from the path’s surface. The water in the canal was another 3 down from the surface of the path. What could the great blue heron possibly see from such a height?

Perhaps it was praying for guidance. If certainly looked as if that was a possibility after all it was hunched over itself as though bowing his head in prayer. Could it have been focusing itself to commune with a higher power perhaps asking for a bit of something to eat to appear in the waters close to shore?

 

 
We’ll never know the answer as it finally realized there was some other being, a human being of all things, making noises behind him. The bird took a look over his left shoulder at me as if to say “I see you now” then opened its wings, jumped off the branch and flew off.

5 Facts about The Great Blue Heron Bird


It is the largest and most common Heron in North America with a range from North America through Central American and the Caribbean up to the northern parts of South America along the Caribbean coast.

The bird is tall. When standing they can reach heights of up to four and a half feet (4 1/2 ft. or 1.4 meters) with wing spans that can reach six and half feet (6.6 feet or 2 meters).

The bird can fly well. For such a large animal it only weighs in at about 6 pounds. Once in the air they can cruise at about 30 mph (48 kph) and travel quite a distance before landing near some water to rest and re-fuel.

The blue heron can re-fuel on a great variety of provisions as long as the food is not plant based. Yep, this great big bird is a carnivore. It will eat anything that it can catch and swallow. The main meal is fish but it is also a great eater of mice and other small mammals, frogs and other amphibians, lizards and snakes, insects and other birds. In fact, a lady I was with told me she saw one near her home, which abuts a lake, eat a Muscovy duckling. Just stabbed down, flipped in the air and swallowed it.

Like most herons the great blue likes to feed mostly around edges of wetlands such as marshes and ponds. They will also patrol the edges of canals, estuaries, lakes and even manmade ponds (koi in the raw please). A little salt water fishing can be relaxing so don’t be surprised to see a great blue heron walking along a beach edge looking for a small fish or two.

 

Blue Heron Bird Part Two




 

The next day as I was taking my morning health walk I noticed from afar that there was something sitting on the canal side tree’s branch. Sure enough, once I was a bit closer, there was the Great Blue Heron perched on the branch. He looked like the same one from the day before but then again they all look alike to me. A tall bird in gray, blue and white feathers.

 

 

As I got closer, and pulled my camera out for a few shots, I noticed that the bird was no longer facing the water but instead was facing inland toward the path I was on. It sat there as though waiting for me to show up and letting me know that sneaking up on it was not an option.

The heron just perched there on the branch over the water. It had its eye on me the whole time and just watched me as I got closer and closer. What I noticed was that it seemed to be missing a leg as only one was showing. Wonder where that other leg had gotten off to?

It barely moved as I got closer although the slight breeze ruffled some of the chest feathers. It still stood there one legged with his orange eye locked on me. Must have been it realized I wasn’t much of a threat as at any time the heron could just flop off the branch and fly off.

 
 

Finally, when I was about 5 feet away it shifted his body and brought its other leg down. The other leg had been completely hidden up in its feathers.  When it brought its leg down the bird also shifted its position slightly and moved its head so as to bring its other eye around to see me. It seemed to be sizing up the situation and trying to decide what to do.

It finally decided I was too close. It unfurled its wings from around its body and with a jump it flapped up into the sky. Then cruised over to the other side of the canal where it walked along the edge for a while before taking off again and flying off.

That was the last time I saw the great blue heron at the canal or the tree. It may come back some day or it may have decided the pickings were too slim for the effort involved. Maybe, just maybe, it just didn’t like getting itself photographed either.

5 More Blue Heron Bird Facts


The blue heron bird is a partial migrant. When winter sets in, the herons in the cold zones will move south into more temperature areas then return back north when things start heating up. That sounds real close to the humans that flock down to the southern states come winter. Could there be a little blue heron genome in some of our human cousins?

Their neck naturally curves into an S shape. This gives them a rather stocky look. However, when grabbing for something to eat that neck will propel the head quickly to the target. They can also extend it when they are posing for females or fighting off rivals.

By the way if you are small enough to be considered great blue heron bird food being out at night won’t keep you safe. Turns out these birds can see very well in the dark and can pluck you out of the water or the grass easily.

Blue herons like to live. Their average life span outside of captivity is about 15 years. There have been documented cases of some of these birds living a few years longer even reaching into the early twenties.

There is a white form of the great blue heron generally called the great white heron. It is found mostly in Florida and south into the Caribbean. The great white heron is not a separate species but rather a white variance of the blue heron.

 

 


Dark iris, yellow eyes
See into shore side waters
Guide beak to small prey

 
Fish, frogs, crustaceans
Mice, ducklings, snakes, lizards, bugs
Tasty heron meals          
 
(Note: I have published this article before on a couple of article websites. Seems one of them has decided the article and photos belongs to them. I can't get my intellectual property off of their website although I'm still trying.
The facts I got off of various websites on the internet. I looked all over and have no clue which ones I used for the 10 facts above. I rewrote them, just like they rewrote their published works, to try and make them my own but they are just facts after all.)
 
 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Progress - a poem




flowers peek among the trash
colors bold in the sun
striking a note for beauty
in land devastated to slum.
we stare in wonder
at colors seldom seen here
a child runs and tramples them
monochrome rules again

butterflies flutter by
glistening jewels in the light
flying among the weeds growing
in what once was a parking lot.
we watch the colors fly
reminded of the neighborhood new
a juvenile swings a stick
batters them into goo.



bird sings the joy of life
bright black with yellow highlights
sits on a branch
of a long dead tree.
we listen to its song
and see a forest green
a teenager appears, gun in hand
a bullet turns the bird to gore.

small street dog saunters up
shining eyes hopeful
looking for the company of man
someone to spend some time with.
we watch as it ambles along
thinking of yesterday's pets
a hood walks up and kicks it hard
broken ribs pierce lungs and heart - dead.




girl of fourteen
sweet and pretty
seems out of place
in this concrete jungle.
 
 
 
 
she brings hope briefly
that the mold can be broken
a pimp grabs her roughly
beats her to tears as we turn away.

all along this once pristine area
that man took for himself
natural beauty has been destroyed
shattered spirits stand by.
lives left without joy or hope
helpless in agony and despair
watching the destruction of home,
progress.
 

 
 
 
Once, a long time ago, when my rolling stone dad moved us back to Chicago, my family and I lived in a place very similar to this. It was on a few blocks with standing apartment buildings on the Southwest side of the city surrounded by devastation. Not good buildings, they probably should have been demolished but then where would the people go.
 
Street gangs ruled. Drugs were rampant. Pimps hawked their women openly a few blocks away. The people that were forced to live there because they could not leave were uncaring of just about anything. Real miserable place.
 
Fortunately, my dad's fortunes rose and we left that neighborhood for a better one on the North side after a few months.
 
 

 
 
 
 



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Waking Up - a short story


Early morning, stumbling through the house mostly asleep, heading for the kitchen and that desperately needed cup of coffee.

Thinking? Hell who's thinking when just moving from the bedroom to the kitchen without slamming into something occupies those sections of the mind that are waking up. Out of the bedroom, into the hallway, around the dining table - miss the chair - and finally into the kitchen. All of that within 10 seconds of climbing out of the bed, after the blaring of the radio alarm pulls you out of deep sleep.




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Half awake and entering the kitchen. Find the coffee pot - is that it there? Turn around and head back to the entrance - turn on the light fool. A bright light shines, blink a couple of times and get those cobwebs off the eyeballs. There's the maker of the black elixir of wakefulness. Press the button and get the baby turned on.

Three quarters awake now and head back across the kitchen, pass the dining table and into the living room. Who put the living room table right in the middle of the living room floor? Wow, good thing I'm mostly awake now. A quick swerve avoids a nasty leg bruise. Hey, thought I was mostly awake now? Where's my coffee?
Turn on the light and head back to the kitchen. See the pot is almost full. Find the right coffee cup in the cabinet. For today, the souvenir cup that says Puerto Rico is the one wanted. Just in time the pot fills and the coffee machine stops its dripping ways. Pour a cup. Enjoy the bliss of hot coffee freshly brewed.
Drink the cup down and enjoy it all. Get some more but first let's open the blinds and see what is lurking beyond the window's glass.






Reaching for the cord, as countless mornings before this, I pull on it to raise the blinds up a bit.
SLAM. BANG.
Down it all comes. The blinds fly out of the window and slam into - well...... me. OUCH say I. Now I am totally awake with a bit of pain as companionship.
And so it ends. The kitchen window blinds have failed. After floating up and down with a tug on their cords for many years, they wore out, slammed into me and collapsed into a heap on the floor.
*******
Angelo
www.angelowrites.com

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Flying Dolphins - a Seashell Craft

Front view - Seashell Craft Sculpture
 


The Story

 
A pair of dolphins were swimming along, when as dolphins do, they jumped out of the water showing off their strength and agility while having a bit of fun. One of the dolphins jumped so high it became airborne for a brief time, completely out of the ocean blue as though trying to imitate a bird on the wing.
 
The other dolphin rose up and up from the water's surface standing almost vertical. It moved its tail quickly back and forth, agitating the water's surface into froth before slipping back into the waters. They swam a bit further along just below the water's surface then dived deep, only to come up and repeat their feats of strength and agility.

Below them, much closer to the bottom along the reef's edge, a sea turtle swam ignoring the boisterous dolphins on the surface. The turtle was on a mission, a survival mission. It kept looking around the reef briefly checking out things that caught its interest. Perhaps it was looking for a bit of food, something to fill its tummy. A squid or a jelly fish (watch out for those bags!) would ease the hunger inside.

It could be the sea turtle needs a cleaning station - a place where small fish hang out waiting for larger animals to come by so they can remove algae and parasites from skin or carapace. Although this area is a bit barren, a more vibrant community of sea life could be further along the reef.
 
 
Back View - Seashell Craft Sculpture
 
 
Opposite of the sea turtle behind the scallop seashell, a single pearl has found a home. Currents pushed it along until it rolled right up and got stuck in place. How long, one wonders, until another current pushes the pearl off the scallop and back into a wandering journey.
 
* * * * *

How I Did It


This seashell craft is anchored on a small piece of decorative wood I found. It was probably part of something else but I don’t remember what. I had put it away for crafting. Now it has fulfilled its purpose.

The seashells, sand, and coral, even the piece of sea fan, all came from the beach. I found them during a beach combing expedition to the local beach. No animals where hurt during this expedition. All findings were washed up on the sand empty of life. The photo does not do the seashells justice. In hand they have subtle variations of color which make them interesting to look at.

The dolphins, the sea turtle and the pearl are bought items. I don't remember where I got them. A flea market or garage sale perhaps. I have bought things on the Internet so they may have come from there.

To make the water the dolphins are playing in, I filled the cavity of the seashell with hot glue while propping up the dolphins so they stayed in the position I wanted. Once the glue set I used the tip of the glue gun to create the illusion of waves. Then I painted the glue blue and highlighted the tops with white. I used acrylic hobby paints.

* * * * *

Shopping

Amazon has just about everything you need for this craft or a similar one. Follow the link to miniature dolphins (affiliate link) pick the ones you want then do a search for the rest of the things you need.
 
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Feel free to share.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Dark Night - A Poem


I wrote a version of this a few years ago and put it away, not to be seen again until recently when I cleaned up and sorted thru some old papers I had. I have rewritten the poem and now present it to you. Please feel free to let me know what you think of it in the comments section that follows the post.


 
 
evening dreams
 
twisted images
 
Nightmare approaches
 
dark thoughts -
 
rise


mind benumbed

endless dark

bottomless depth

black waters -

sink


darkness continues

suggestive paths

ebony skies

pull subconscious -

fly


dreamer tosses

blankets crumple

dark rules

brain's pathways -

despair


 
 
 
light shines
 
hazy white
 
darkness pales
 
strong spirit -
 
fights 
 
 
dark banished
 
thoughts slow
 
calmness returns
 
peace reigns -
 
sleep
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Spiritual Poems with Photos

www.angelowrites.com
 
walking across sand
footprints leave the past behind
bright future ahead 
 
 

 

 
SPIRIT! freedom calls
your adventure continues
beyond heaven's gates


 


 
across the waters
heaven's angels call souls to
eternal delight


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Finding Mrs. Turkey - micro story


I was presented with 3 words and told to fit them into a micro story of exactly 100 words (per Word counter). The three words were: turkey, semi-truck, and power-line. At first glance they have nothing in common. Just three words someone threw at me.

Now they are part of the micro-story I present below. The photos obviously are not mine, as I do not have any turkeys in my complex, well none of these types of turkeys anyway. Sometimes we do have turkey vultures flying over head looking for something to eat. They are welcome to any of the human turkeys living here that they can catch.

So please do read the story and if you like it, do share. A comment below would be welcome also.

Thanks,

Angelo



 
 
Tom turkey held his head high looking at the six lane road with heavy traffic. Across the lanes he noticed a luscious hen turkey scratching the turf. How to get to her?
 

 
 
 
Nearby, power-line anchors stretched to the ground. Tom climbed one until he reached the upper line. Now above the traffic, he thought “I can do this.” He launched, wildly beating his wings.
 

 
 
 

 
Almost there, Tom hit the top of a semi-truck - SMACK, BAM. He rolled across and off the side – right onto the hen. They tumbled, got up and preened. One glance and they journeyed onward together.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Compact Disc Seashell Crafts

2-sided Seashell Craft - Side 1

2-sided Seashell Craft - Side 2

 
So you have a bunch of seashells and would like to do something with them besides dumping them in the local landfill. Well one possibility is using them with non-wanted or non-working CDs and DVDs to create seashell crafts. You can add colorful and shiny rhinestones, faux pearls, and an assortment of other jewels to add more glitter (heck use glitter if you like).
 
Here are photos of some the ones I have made using seashells from beachcombing. I've mixed in rhinestones in various colors, faux pearls show on a couple of these, and even gem stones. Seashells vary according to what I have picked up or bought but as long as there are seashells then they are seashell crafts (self-evident I'm sure).
 
I use blank CDs most times - I bought a 100 pack at one time to make music CDs and not all of them performed as desired - and non-wanted DVD's whenever I get one and don't want it. I think adding seashells and things makes them more interesting and desirable - mixed media art for home decoration or gifting.


2-sided Seashell Craft - Side 1

2-sided Seashell Craft - Side 2

Most often, when making these seashell crafts,  I put a matching design on the back of the disc. Of course there is no real reason to do this. You can put a totally different design on the other side of the disc or leave it blank. It's your seashell craft after all.

You can also make them for wall mount, for hanging or for a shelf or desktop. For hanging I drill a small hole at the top of the disc and thread a light fishing line through it. Once it's tied you can use the string to hang the compact disc craft from the rafters (or other suitable place).



2-sided Seashell Craft - Side 1

2-sided Seashell Craft - Side 2

If you would like Step-by-step instructions on putting one of these seashell crafts together I have a couple of articles on Hubpages that take you from step 1 to the finish. Use one of the following links:

Flower Design

Circle of Blue Gem Stones

Do you need supplies? Seashells, glue, rhinestones, faux pearls, and even sand (although I use the sand that gets stuck to the seashells and things I find when beachcombing) and other supplies can be found at Amazon (affiliate link - buy through here and I get a few pennies added to my account).


2-sided Seashell Craft - Side 1


2-sided Seashell Craft - Side 2

I've shown you some possibilities with the 4 seashell crafts I designed on both sides of the disc above. Below are a few more photos of designs I've made. Sorry to say I do not know if I left the other side blank, did not take a photo of the other side, or it just plain got deleted. Either way they're not to bad to look at and can give you ideas for your own projects.


Single side of a Seashell Craft 
 
Colorful rhinestones in red and blue. I wonder where the white ones are hiding? 
 

Single side of a Seashell Craft
 
 It's a cross. Symbol of Christianity now-a-days although used in various ways in the past. It is also decorative.

Single side of a Seashell Craft 
Hey, it's the flower seashell craft I gave a link for earlier in this post. How the heck did it end up here? Pretty damn sneaky of it, if you ask me.

Single side of a Seashell Craft
 
 This one is supposed to represent a five sided star. 5 arms radiate outwards from a central seashell. Can you see it? A rainbow of colors for the rhinestones. I'm pretty sure this one was 2-sided.

Single side of a Seashell Craft 
The final photo in this post shows another possibility. Different size rhinestones of the same color curving around to point at a central faux pearl. The scallop shell at the bottom is nice and colorful and the hole in the middle will let a ray of sunshine through.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Monarch on Milkweed





One morning as I was checking up on the Silky Gold milkweed I had planted next to my home, I found a Monarch butterfly enjoying a few drafts from the opened yellow cups.

It stayed long enough for me to film the brief video above. Play it and see.



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Coin Toss Haikus



Life’s crossroads begin
As sperm and egg unite - sex?
A toss of the coin
 
In reality, the choice of what sex a child will have when they are born are currently up to the genes that get activated when the egg and the sperm exchange DNA. Unless there is human interference, it's all up to luck - which sperm gets to the egg first, what genes it is carrying are active, how all that interacts with the genes in the egg - hundreds of variables. No wonder there can be mix ups where a boy feels like a girl or a girl feels like a boy.
 
 
 

New generation
Flips coin, rocks the boat, future
Societal changes


Seems like every new generation of humans wants to change the world. Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad, and sometimes you can't tell until after the event in question goes into effect. Each new generation affects the outlook on life and expectations for the now, and the older generation in general feels their world is falling apart around them. Therefore is strife born and old evils pop up again, as those who don't like the changes fight to keep them at bay.
 
 

Coin toss – heads or tails
Chaotic winds across the world
Herald manmade changes

Mankind is making many changes to our mother, the Earth in it's mad rush to dominate the planet. The Earth fights back in the only way open to it - eruptions, mega-storms, tsunamis, etc. Still mankind's dominance of the world continues as we learn how to alleviate the damage the Earth can cause to us. We use up more and more of the limited resources on this planet - converting the natural to manmade wants - damning other species to extinction and destroying the land on which we live.
 
 
 
Tossed coin falls – tail up
Stirring the currents of fate
Apocalypse now
 
 We will be the cause of our own destruction or will the universe respond by striking us down? Seems for all the knowledge available to us of the world, the natural processes that we need to survive, the diversity we should be embracing (human and other life forms) some of mankind takes to the dark path and tries to destroy it all. Greed, desire for power, dominance - all lead to war and atrocities. The seeds of mankind's destruction. Zombies anyone?
 




Head shows ascendant
Day blossoms, future is bright
got it right this time
 
 
After the dark, comes the light of day. Perhaps one of our generations will be able to evolve past the point of destruction and evil that has plagued humans for all our past historical generations. Maybe sometime in the future, if we survive ourselves and the chaotic universe, a generation will come that will lead mankind past the destructive forces that still hold sway in our societies. One can only hope.
 
 

So five coin tosses and five haikus. Which did you like the best? Which did you like the least?
 
Leave your comment and share the link to this post.
 
Angelo
 
 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Floozy's Dinner Party – micro story

Non-original Photo
Hello readers. I present to you a micro story. This short story is based on the words:  moon, hay, floozy. Micro stories are very short stories - in my case based on 3 to 5 words and reading exactly 100 words (per Microsoft Word's word counter). Some of you may have read the story before. So take a look at this Western horror story and let me know what you think (leave a comment):
Floozy's Dinner Party – micro story
In Tombstone, legendary town of Western dead, on Boot Hill Drive, stood Floozy’s house. It’s said, that on full moon nights, adventurers who entered disappeared never to be seen again.

Mike Hay came to town on such a night. He rode with six-shooter holstered and rifle in hand. Hay was looking for adventure and Floozy’s house, with its eerie green glow, called to him. The floozy watched him approach and called to her fellow ghouls, “dinner’s coming.”
Ignoring dire warnings from the town’s folk, Hay entered Floozy’s house. That night, Floozy’s dinner party featured long-pig roast and sparkling blood wine.

*****************

Did you like the story? Want to try your own hand at it? Use the 3 words given and write your own story if you like. Put it in comments if you wish.
Thanks to you who share this tiny piece of written art. It is appreciated.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Silky Gold Milkweed - Nature Haiku

 
 

flowers bloom, clusters
golden goblets, nectar filled
open air saloon

The silky gold milkweed flowers shown above are from a plant I deliberately grew in order to attract Monarch butterflies. Most milkweeds are considered to be weeds, hence the name. It is true they can spread all over and perhaps grow in areas where you may not want them to be. Still I just don't see how anyone can have a problem with this particular type considering the nice green leaves and beautiful flower clusters.

If you'd like to know more about these plants, take a look at the following:

Monarch Butterfly Plant with Golden Yellow Flowers (article link)




 
 
Buds ride stems upward
tomorrow's gold flower cups
attraction power
 
As the plant grows it sends out future flowers on stems. At the end of the stems buds form and grow. From tiny, barely visible balls of plant matter they swell in a few days into these pretty yellowish buds. Eventually they will unfold and open into a cluster of golden yellow flowers.



 
 
Monarch visits, sips
milkweed's sweet liquid sunshine
solar power up
 
It's not only humans that need a good breakfast or lunch. So do butterflies and the Monarch will visit the silky gold milkweed flowers often when they are in bloom. They fly from cluster to cluster sipping out the nectar that is inside each cup. This fuel provides the energy that keeps the Monarch flying and healthy. It also brings the Monarch in close proximity to the gardener who can watch it knowing she/he has contributed to the survival of the species.
 



Monarch protection
flows thru sap in stems & leaves
glycoside poisons


Ultimately it's all about reproduction. The monarch will not only sip the juice the milkweed produces in the flowers, but the females will also lay eggs on the underside of the leaves. They are tiny eggs, looking like grains of sand and the caterpillar that hatches out is also tiny - barely visible to the naked eye.

Give them time and they will munch the milkweed the bones and grow into two inch long multicolored fat cylinders. The survivors will head out and find a place to hang from while they change. Then a pretty Monarch butterfly will emerge to start the cycle again.

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Hope you enjoyed the photos, the haiku and the commentary. Please feel free to share and leave a comment below.

Thanks,

Angelo

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Coquina Seashell Flowers Seashell Craft


 
 
Coquina seashells are very pretty and their small size makes them very useful in seashell arts and crafts. They can be placed on many different materials and used to form a variety of patterns.  In this project we will use the coquina seashells to make flowers.

 

The coquina flowers made for this project include 5 coquina seashells and a rhinestone (color of your choice) for each seashell flower. The flowers will then be applied to a recycled candle jar (see my article on how to recycle candle jars) - making the jar useful again.
Materials (amazon link- search for needed materials)
 
candle jar with lid
Coquina seashells
rhinestones
all-purpose glue (I used standard Elmer's glue all)
sand
hobby paint brush
accessories (I used small scallop seashells)
Starting

Use a clean candle jar with a lid. Make sure there are no cracks or chips. The one shown here is from a 16 oz scented candle, which has been recycled for arts and crafts. Although this one has clear glass, a tinted or frosted candle jar can be used as well.

Sort through your collection of seashells and pull out any coquina seashells you may have. Depending on the size of the jar you have, 20 to 30 coquina seashells will be needed. Use the seashells to make flowers with 5 petals.
 
 
Steps to the decorative jar
1. Take a rhinestone and place it on your work surface. Find 5 coquina seashells that are about the same size. Place them around the rhinestone, space them more or less evenly. There is your first flower.
2. Place the jar in front of you on its side. You may have to use something to keep it from rolling around.
3. Apply a "glob" of glue to the jar. Spread it out with your paintbrush so it forms a circle that is slightly bigger than the flower you just put together.
What's a "glob" you may ask? Well it's bigger than a drop, maybe as many as 5 drops, all in the same place. This is so when you spread the glue around it will remain wet long enough to apply the flower but not be so much glue that it runs down the side of the glass.
4. Place the flower on the glue. Start with the putting the rhinestone in the center of the circle of glue. Next place the coquina seashells around the rhinestone, just like you had them on the table. When you like what you have, sprinkle sand over the exposed glue to cover it up. Let the glue dry before going on.
5. While you wait for the glue of the first flower to dry, set up you next flower. Then go drink a cup of coffee or tea. If you move the project while the glue is still wet, the flower will try to run down the side of the glass and escape its destiny.
6. Repeat Steps 3, 4, and 5. Make as many flowers as you wish for your jar. Wait for the glue to dry between each flower.
7. Make a flower for the lid, if you are using one. Place it in the center of the lid using the same method used to place the flowers on the candle jar.
8. Scrape off any accidental glue drops and use a cloth to clean the glass between the "islands" of coquina seashell flowers.
 
 

There you have it. You just made one decorative seashell arts and crafts project using a recycled candle jar and coquina seashells in a flower design. Use the decorative jar to store things you like: other seashells, beach finds, marbles, stones, soaps, etc. Or try placing a self-contained votive candle inside and use the jar as a lantern.
 
 
 
As you can see, that is what I did here. I put a votive candleholder inside the jar and then inside the candleholder I placed a tea light - a vanilla scented one. When I lit the candle I got the shining light plus a very nice aroma that filled the air in the room. It looks even better in a darkened room.
 
Try your hand at this craft. Use different seashells or even different colored sand.
 
 
If you like this craft article, please leave a comment below and give it a share or two.
 
 
Thanks,
 
 
angelowrites