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


Sweet Bay - Magnolia virginiana L. attracts White-tailed Deer - Leyland Cypress fall victim - List of Ornamentals Resistant to Deer damage

Our Virginia Whitetail Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) enjoy browsing on young Sweet Bay along with acorns scattered about the woodland floor. More information on this wetland favoring native magnolia via Virginia Department of Forestry:

This large Oak Tree gets regular visits from the bucks every year, rubbing their antlers on the bark.

On the opposite side of the Oak is a Leyland Cypress that recently received abuse from the deer.

From whence they come.....
Here is a list of ornamentals that are resistant to damage from deer via the University of Maryland - Cooperative Extension Service:


Autumn comes to the Assassin - Yellow Hickory leaves speckled with brown make a colorful support for this Wheel Bug - Arilus cristatus linnaeus

With a large abdomen, this is a heavy bug as evidenced by the Hickory leaves sinking from its weight.

Chilly temperatures allowed me to take many pictures of this desirable garden occupant as she was quite sluggish.

On close inspection you can see all the tiny hairs that explain her "fuzzy" appearance. It is obvious why they are called Wheel Bugs by the hump resembling a wheel on the back.

I was a little wary of getting too close only from what I have read about the bite they can give. This Wheel Bug was super gentle and not aggressive at all!

(click on images to supersize..... and see all the fuzzy detail)

An extremely beneficial bug as it eats many insect pests according to this site by The University of Florida - Department of Entomology and Nematology: Just be careful and do not handle as it is said to be capable of giving a nasty bite!

Nature Photograph by Carolyn Hietala

For Supper This Skipper Is Simply Sipping Sweet Dandelion Nectar - Now say that fast three times ;0)

Dandelion greens are said to be great in a salad if prepared removing the stems and ribs. I must try them sometime as a brief search for Dandelion greens on Google produced some very tempting salad recipes. I am able to say from personal experience that Dandelion WINE is the best! So sweet ;0) tells more about this quick little butterfly from the family Hesperiidae:

Images Compliments of a Good Friend..... Thanks again! I love the way the bright sun shines through the wings and flower petals on this one ;0) They glow with warmth.


Yeah..... Just another Chinese Praying Mantis picture ;0)

Surprised Look on Sedum information on the Tenodera aridifolia sinensis:
Nature Photo by Carolyn Hietala


Good Morning and Happy Hunting! This Chesterfield County spider is up early and ready for breakfast ;0)

It appears to be a Wolf Spider? If you wish to have a bit of fun..... visit all the spiders at It is an awesome place to go if you find a "bug" that you want to identify. Here is their site and give it a few seconds to load....LOADS of Insect Images:
(click on image to supersize)
Nature Photograph by Carolyn Hietala


Once again this Graham Thomas English Rose bows in Reverance to Fall & In Memory of Mom

Mom's Yellow Rose and.....

an Oil Painting of..... Mother's rose resting in a Hall's Jewel Tea teacup & saucer (Autumn Leaf pattern..... how appropriate!) For reference I took a photograph of her rose that was backlit with brilliant afternoon sunshine. The result was a rose that literally glowed with amazing yellows..... I love it when that happens ;0) I just had to paint it in oils and will paint this rose again many times over.
See the step-by-step painting progression here:

The Summer before she was abruptly taken from this world, I took Mom to The Great Big Greenhouse here in Richmond to purchase her favorite flower..... the Rose! Along with some other rose bushes, this was one of her choices to bring home to her garden. She passed in the Fall so naturally when these beautiful yellow blossoms return for their second bloom in Autumn each year..... I think of her.

Photo & Oil Painting by Carolyn Hietala
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