AFTER a day of Christmas Shopping! Ever felt like this?

This image perfectly describes the aftermath of one of MY shopping days. Sometimes you feel like you could just crash ANYWHERE ;0)
Photograph captured at Richmond Metro Zoo by a good friend.


Who did it? Katydid..... who else!

Autumn comes to the Angle-wing Katydid - Genus Microcentrum information on this statuesque insect:
(click on image to supersize)
Nature Photo by Carolyn Hietala


Portrait of a Lady

Tenodera aridifolia sinensis upon a bed of Asters
Photograph by Carolyn Hietala


Old Cliche - You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar - Who knew the lowly Fly could be so BEAUTIFUL!

Maybe some flies do have "good taste" after all ;0)

Allergies aside..... enjoy the sweet rich yellows of the Goldenrod. A must in the garden if you love butterflies, bees, moths & more! (click on image to supersize)
Photo by Carolyn Hietala


Queen Anne's Lace Beyond Unfurled - Seeds Abound

Shown is the intricate beauty of this old timey Virginia wildflower that is splendidly interesting before completely open, after and as seeds develop. I remember placing them in juice glasses containing water and food coloring to tint them in shades of pink, blue, green and yellow. I still love their natural white best ;0)
(click on image to see detail)
Photograph by Carolyn Hietala


Miniature Umbrellas

Delicate mushrooms emerging in unison following a warm Summer shower. Photo by a dear friend..... thanks Adrienne Celeste ;0)


When I grow up I want to be a tree ;0)

Maybe in my NEXT life?
It's all a matter of perspective..... How we perceive what we see, events in our lives or even how we view ourselves can determine our future. But let us accept the things we cannot change..... like if we were born a mushroom instead of a tree..... ha!
Ponder these questions for a moment though: Do you think BIG or small? Is your cup half empty or half FULL? Do you relish GOODNESS or evil? Can you differentiate illusion from REALITY? Can you recognize that ACTIONS do speak louder than words? ETC. etc. etc.........
I believe that possessing the ability to endlessly QUESTION and not simply surrender to the views or wishes of others is the key to personal fulfillment. Also being able to say WHAT IF allows us to strive for our own idea of personal greatness.
Thanks Adrienne Celeste for another thought provoking image ;0)


Style Savy Mushroom - With An Architectural Flair!

This is one smart mushroom - for showing up in such a "classy" terrain..... with its own architectural lines it fits right in! Definitely not an eyesore and stands proud as any other blossom in the flower garden would ;0)
This beautiful photograph is by a good friend..... Thanks Adrienne Celeste! Don't forget to click on the image to supersize.


Damselfly - Beautiful Colors From Summer Past

Damselflies are so gentle that often they are very easy targets for a great camera shot. I just love them and so does my friend..... Thanks for sharing this lovely picture Adrienne Celeste ;0)


A Summertime Sip - Skipper On Clover

Ordinary Pink Clover gets a welcome visit from this ordinary little butterfly ;0)
(click on image to see larger)
Photo by a dear friend..... Thanks Adrienne Celeste!


We have Scarab Beetles in Richmond, Virginia

(click on images to enlarge)

The Ancient Egyptians immortalized these little "sacred" insects. This little black beauty is just one adorable example of this family of beetles - Scarabaeidae.
Photograph by Carolyn Hietala


As Busy As A Bee..... What IS Busier Than A Bee?

Why TWO Bees Of Course!
Need I say more? ;0)

Bumblebees on Summer Blossoms - Beautiful photo by a good friend..... thanks Adrienne Celeste!


Ahhhh... The Brilliance & Warmth of Summer Sun - Butterfly on Brown Eyed Susan

Cupido comyntas - Eastern Tailed Blue

(click on photo to supersize) See for more information about this butterfly that was residing in a Chesterfield County, Virginia backyard:
A good friend took this photograph and once again has shared a precious glowing moment..... Thanks Adrienne Celeste! ;0)


Lily Against Blue Sky

Reminiscing Summer with a photo taken by a good friend... Adrienne Celeste ;0)


Dreamy Eyes of Summer at Richmond Metro Zoo

If we could only read minds.....
Photo by a good friend..... Thanks again!


Reminiscing October at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens - Passion Flower

Passion Flower against a background of autumn grass
Photograph of Passiflora incarnata by Carolyn Hietala



The Illusive Crane Fly - Long Legged Arthropod

Last month I followed this very large Crane Fly around the yard in hopes that it might finally rest for a photo. It did but only briefly as it was very camera shy. Next year I'll try for a better picture of these graceful creatures, floating effortlessly as they make their ghostly travels. (click on image to supersize) displays more species for you to explore:
Photograph taken in Richmond, Virginia by Carolyn Hietala


Summer Reminiscing - Daisy peacefully welcomes the dusk for a good night's rest

This Daisy is showcased against an evening sky..... Thanks for another thoughtful photo!
Photo by a good friend ;0)


Let Us Give Thanks For All Of God's Creations..... Big & Small

As our family & friends gather to give thanks.....

let us not forget that.....

even the tiniest of God's miraculous creations.....

are precious gifts worthy of celebration ;0)

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

And Thank You dear friend for these beautiful photographs of lichen & mushrooms.
For more information about Lichens, here is a site worth visiting:


Before you buy that Dog Toy - PLEASE learn more about how DOGS see color. What's up with all those Red & Green Christmas toys? Just for OUR enjoyment?

Dogs can't even see the colors Red and Green!
Hmmm.... Think about all that color dye being wasted in the making of all those dog toys!
Here are some sites with more information on what our canine loved ones are actually seeing. Dog & human color bands (electromagnetic spectrums) for comparison can be viewed in the second link.
Photograph of Miniature Pinscher by a good friend (who also makes beautiful custom pet jewelry BTW-the above necklace is made using REAL Pearls & Sterling Silver!)..... Thanks again to this talented Richmond, Virginia jeweler!


Squirrels have been busy lining their winter homes by stripping bark from this Eastern Red Cedar - Juniperus virginiana

My Dad always brought home a small Red Cedar to use as our Christmas tree each year. It smelled wonderful but placing ornaments proved a bit painful on little hands ;0)
More information about this resilient tree is available here at this Virginia Tech - Department of Forestry site:


Have you hugged your Clover today?

Hey we all love flowers..... so SHOW IT! Don't be shy ;0)
Clay-colored Leaf Beetle - Anomoea laticlavia - Photograph taken this summer in Chesterfield County by a good friend..... Thanks again! tells more about this little cutie:


On the way to the mailbox I discovered this excavation - It is the abode of a crayfish or crawfish or crawdad or whatever you wish to call them ;0)

As a youngster I would lie quietly alongside the entrance and slowly feed a long blade of grass down the hole. If the crayfish opted to grab hold, I would then gently attempt to remove the blade with crayfish attached. When the crayfish reached the top of the hole, a quick pull would bring it out completely. It doesn't always work of course and lots of patience is required. Maybe I'll try it again one day ;0)

Nature Photo by Carolyn Hietala


The last ripe tomato of the season and..... Oh Yeah, A Praying Mantid!

While nonchalantly gazing at the camera, this mantis patiently waits for prey next to the tomato plants.

(click on images to supersize)
The tomato obviously wasn't my focus in this photo session ;0) I wished to show the lace like detail of the wings on this Chinese Mantid. Amazing the works of Mother Nature!


My favorite native tree - American Holly - Ilex opaca Ait. - Aquifoliaceae or Holly family

When Autumn has stolen our deciduous foliage, the American Holly suddenly maintains a prominant place in the landscape. Winter woodlands are spotted with their greenery, reminding us that eventually Spring will bring even more green. It is also a favorite Winter welcome to birds for its sustaining red berries and sheltering leaves.
Read more about this often overlooked Virginia tree here via the USDA Forest Service website:
Photo by Carolyn Hietala


I'm tired... no PLUM TUCKERED OUT! Think I'll call in sick today.....

No it's not Friday yet but gosh.....
I REALLY need a day off!
Photograph by Carolyn Hietala


RECYCLE THAT OLD MAILBOX - Cedar post and all - Shall it be a Birdhouse or Squirrel Feeder?

White-breasted Nuthatch agrees.....

recycling an old mailbox is a good thing ;0)

Yep..... this mailbox has "Gone to the Squirrels."

Remnants of Hickory nuts lay scattered inside the box while an abandoned Wren nest is left intact. Birds often roost in old nests on cold winter days, cozy and protected from the elements. Since the mailbox is simply resting between two Holly trees, it can easily be relocated elsewhere if desired.

Last summer Wrens raised a brood here. The nest was tightly constructed against the back of the box. If neighboring cats had not been afraid to enter the yard (where my dogs rule) I would have inserted a wooden front, complete with entrance hole to make the birds safe and secure. I still may do that as the squirrels have decided to use it for a dining area this fall, wouldn't want them to disturb nesting Wrens next spring ;0)

Update from 2010: I put a front on the mailbox and a pair of Nuthatches have claimed it as theirs, as evident in the first image. Here's the link to read about the Nuthatchs nesting in the mailbox:
Conserve & Recycle - Recycling makes good sense so use your creativity and find new uses for old things. Your backyard wildlife will certainly appreciate your efforts!
Carolyn Hietala


An Intimate Look At Its Last Hours - Bumblebee on Goldenrod

This lonely fading Bumblebee has tattered wings.....

and in its weakened state.....

barely is able to cling to.....

the last blossoms of Goldenrod for the season.

Autumn comes with its chilly temperatures and some bees.....

worn out and tired, never get to return to their earthly family. Diligent to the very end. I would like to think that there is a BEE HEAVEN ;0)

Photographs by Carolyn Hietala


Glorifying the Honeybee at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

No words sufficient to describe the beauty!

Bee is on Sedum.

Photos taken in Richmond, Virginia by Carolyn Hietala


Now I ask you, honestly..... What could possibly be WORSE than falling?

Hanging on.....

by a mere thread.....

and unknowningly.....


Oh my, these poor mindless critters ;0)

(click on images to supersize)

Photographs by Carolyn Hietala
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