Find it in your heart - Leave some Poke Weed in your yard! - Poke Berries are a favorite of Bluebirds in the Fall & Winter ;0)

Last year flocks of Bluebirds and Robins invaded the Pokeweed patches. In just a few days the plants were stripped bare of their fruit. That is why I left even more of these plants alone to mature this year..... to feed the birds again.

No these weeds are not very attractive but.....

.....the birds clearly don't feel the same way as we do about them.
With the draught we are experiencing now, any help we can give our feathered friends will be appreciated. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder..... or the tummy of a bird?
Ever heard of the song (Polk) Poke Salad Annie? Just remember that pokeberries or mature pokeweed plants are NOT for human consumption. More information is given here at the Georgetown University Medical Center website:

Male Dragonfly - Blue Dasher? Am no expert on identification of Dragonflies ;0) has this information on the Pachydiplax longipennis:
(click on image to supersize)
Nature Photograph copyrighted - Compliments of a Good Friend..... Thanks again!
Carolyn Hietala


Mushroom - Small, Meek & All Alone In This Big Big World..... A Pixie With Personality ;0)

Not perfect.....
with its creased little hat tipped to one side.....
but that's OK.
This mini mushroom is appreciated just the same ;0)
Nature Photograph by Carolyn Hietala


Are our Honeybees destined to be..... just a blur in our memories? Ghosts of our insect world? CBS aired "What's Wrong with the Bees" on 60 Minutes

This is not just another scary ghost story..... our Honey Bees ARE in real trouble all over the world.

Here is a link to the story that aired on 60 Minutes last night 10/28/07 (along with video) via
Nature Photos by Carolyn Hietala


When it rains it pours - Then out come the Two-lined Salamanders of Virginia! - Eurycea bislineata - Colorful Autumn Leaves are a perfect background

Walking my Miniature Pinscher turns into a NATURE WALK every time ;0) This was a lucky find indeed. It might be a Eurycea cirrigera..... not sure. With a wetland habitat on my property, I am able to discover so many interesting creatures. Protect our WETLANDS please. More information about this salamander is found at this NPWRC website:

Goodbye Yellow Tomatoes ;0( - HELLO Fried Green Tomatoes!

Autumn comes to Tomatoes too. That is why I have dehydrated lots of Yellow Tomatoes this year. Placed in airtight containers, the slices can be used straight from the freezer for pizzas, as garnish, in veggie wraps or my favorite way..... eaten just as they are..... soooooo sweet as a snack! Very Addicting ;0)

Photo by Carolyn Hietala

Autumn brings Grass Seeds for the birds to feast upon this Winter - In such a beautiful form - Glowing in the sun

Viewed closely (click on image to supersize) these fuzzy grass seeds appear almost as if they had been crocheted with fine wool yarn. Their warm color is beautifully emphasized by a backlight of bright afternoon sunshine. Thank you Mother Nature! The birds will thank you this winter too ;0)

Nature Photograph by Carolyn Hietala


Beckoning Winter - Autumn brown comes to Yucca

Caressed by remnant webs, the open seed pods seemingly beckon Winter with their upward reaching posture. Maintaining still a statuesque presence in the garden ;0)
(don't forget to click on image to supersize)
Nature Photo by Carolyn Hietala


Photograph of a full moon on a cloudy night. Great for creating Spring tides and for owls on the prowl!

Full Moon information & more for Richmond, Virginia USA at:
time and

Young Tulip Poplar - Favorite tree for Praying Mantis to place Egg Case? - Build your house on ROCK! - Safe & Secure

Mother Nature wisely instructed this little creation.....
"Do not build your house upon the sand"

So it chose a sturdy little Tulip Poplar to house its eggs upon ;0)

I have found three Preying Mantid egg cases this week and all were carefully placed on baby Tulip Poplars. (Update: 2 more found but this time on baby Maples so I guess they like saplings of any kind ;0) Who could say insects aren't smart..... at least about some things!

Nature Photographs by Carolyn Hietala

The Tranquil Water Lilies of Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens - Richmond, Virginia

Water Lily Beauty
A fitting welcome to the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter

Peace & Serenity


Eastern Yellowjackets - Discovered cruising upon the bow of the boat - Not good! - Vespula maculifronsm

See the new baby peering out?
(click on images to enlarge)

A folded piece of old carpet stored on the bow of the boat was an open invitation for these Yellowjackets to call it "Home Sweet Home." They had been very secretive until the car door bumped the boat a few days. Then all mayhem broke loose with thousands of buzzing wasps taking to the air! A big yellow blur. Aided by the boat anchor and rope, the carpet was pulled off to reveal a huge nest which fell out onto the ground. Sorry! Hours later I was able to take a very quick shot (so apologize for the blurry photo) as I know the harm angry bees can do!

The next morning some critter had removed all evidence of the nest..... most likely an oppossum. The worker in the above photo had an injured wing so "went down with the ship" ;0(

Here's what has to say about these insects:


I should probably start a blog solely for my favorite insect - The Praying Mantis - Here is the tiny Carolina Mantid - Beautiful isn't she?

A proud pose by a very pregnant mother-to-be.
(click on image to supersize)

She's always on the alert for that next meal. Did you know that a captive preying mantid can literally burst if overfed? A survival instinct for the mantis I'm sure but it seems a bit like gluttony to me. Hmmmm..... maybe all of her insect prey TASTES LIKE CHOCOLATE! ;0)

Photo of this Richmond, Virginia native by Carolyn Hietala


Halloween Colors of Orange & Black - But this Senior Citizen is NOT scary a bit - Gentle Grandad

Sure I've got a LONG skinny neck.....

and LOADS of wrinkles.....

but you can betcha.....
I've got LOTS OF SPUNK left in me yet!

A very handsome senior citizen of Chesterfield County, Virginia..... that simply adores my yellow tomatoes ;0)

Images of male Eastern Box Turtle by Carolyn Hietala

Clean Virginia Waterways has an excellent web page about Rain Barrels - Water Conservation begins at HOME

"Even the smallest of creatures can benefit from a rain barrel under the downspout," says this pickeral frog ;0) Mosquito habitation is prevented by placing into the water Mosquito Dunks (biological mosquito control pellets shaped like doughnuts - bacillus thuringiensis) which are safe for fish, etc.
Clean Virginia Waterways' rain barrel information page:

Tired of those in life that focus mainly on the negative? Are you drawn to BAD NEWS or SHOCK & AWE? Strive for BALANCE - Life isn't ALL BAD!

Reflect and BE THANKFUL . . . . .

thankful that you were NOT born THIS victim!

For GREATEST IMPACT..... or to lose your lunch..... click on photo to supersize ;0)

Image by Carolyn Hietala

Is the GRASS GREENER on the other side? With this draught we're having..... probably NOT! Explorations of Notophthalmus viridescens - Red Eft

What's over there?
When things in my Chesterfield County yard began to dry up from lack of water, the critters dependent on moisture went into deep hiding. Only a very large overturned log could reveal this little fellow now. Leaf piles and small logs are way too dry. Often after a heavy rain these little salamanders can be spotted wandering amongt the dead leaves. But not recently ;0(

Still searching!

Often we don't consider the impact of a draught on nature's little creatures.
Maybe a brown lawn is of least importance?
Images by Carolyn Hietala

Skipper Butterfly "Hiding" on Dead Leaf - Brown on Brown is the fashion for the day!

Earth colors for these fuzzy little Ochlodes ;0)

Skipper Butterflies are just plain cute!

(click on images to enlarge)

Photographs by Carolyn Hietala

I am so beautiful!

Plain & Simple
Use natural pesticides and save your environment ;0)
(click on photo to enlarge)
Image of Praying Mantid by Carolyn Hietala

Reminiscing Blackberry Blossoms - Skipper too ;0)

I can't help it..... the moment Autumn is official my mind drifts to memories of Spring past. That's OK for when Fall is in full force with its glorious colors I will have new memories to savor ;0) The Skipper Butterfly and the Blackberries are gone...... but not forgotten. And life goes on.
Photo by Carolyn Hietala

Charlie my best bud ;0)

Bigfoot & those vintage feather down pillows..... a favorite hangout for sleepy birdwatchers ;0)
Photo by Carolyn Hietala


Demise of the Bumblebee - A moment of silence please!

Caught in the ACT!!!
There's guilt written all over her face.


Taking a break for CLEANUP!

Can't watch any longer.....

so I leave her to remove any evidence of the crime ;0(

Photographs of Chinese Preying Mantid by Carolyn Hietala


Trapdoor Images for a Scary Halloween - Relative of the Tarantula Spider

You probably have a few of these in your own Virginia backyard.

(click on photos for another view)

They are not often seen
but males will venture out
from time to time.

Here's what says about the genus Ummidia:
Photographs by Carolyn Hietala
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