Season’s first ripe blackberry

The wild blackberries here on the mountain are a two-edged sword. The berries are delicious (especially when cooked into a cobbler with a lemon cornmeal crust), but the harvest is a thorny affair that often results in ripped sleeves, pierced digits and purple fingertips. Spotted the first few ripe ones yesterday.

(Drops head sheepishly) Yes. I ate them.

6-11-16 First Blackberry

Pipsqueak

The teeny, weeny grasshopper claimed the coreopsis flower for his own after the painted lady butterfly moved on to its next nectar source. In the earlier photo on the bottom, it almost looks like the grasshopper is ducking while the butterfly feeds.

6-11-16 Pipsqueak6-11-16 Share and Share Alike

Me and my shadow

While pausing for a moment on a weekend walkabout, a daredevil butterfly began flying tight circles around me at knee level. Several mad minutes passed as I tried to follow his flight round and round and round. Never could catch the little booger, but settled for his shadow.
5-8-16 Me and My Shadow

Where does the time go?

Wow. Has it really been almost two months since our last post? Since January’s snow, we’ve had record-breaking high temperatures, a six-day monsoon with more than five inches of rain, a few tornadoes and tomorrow night, we have a freeze warning.

3-13-2016 Fog Flowers 6.jpg
Wild cherry blossom in the fog. Taken March 13, 2016.
3-13-2016 Leaf Buds2.jpg
Leaf buds against wild cherry blossoms. Taken March 13, 2016.

Happy Place

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge asks: ” Where’s your happy place?” For us,  it’s that place where the rising sun’s rays skim across the mountain folds, and updrafts sustain the wind play of vultures and hawks. It’s that place where birds fill the ears with chirps and whistles and hoots, and buck snorts add exclamation points to the Ouachita Mountain soundtrack. It’s also the place that has served as a bird blind, galactic observatory and deer-watching platform. That happy place is our deck.

Sunset Sept. 19, 2015.
Sunset Sept. 19, 2015.
AUTUMN FOG -- Fog fills valleys in the Ouachita Mountains. Taken Sept. 15, 2016.
AUTUMN FOG — Fog fills valleys in the Ouachita Mountains. Taken Sept. 15, 2016.

Nitrogen-fixing beauties

Legume flowers burst forth after a timely rain, making late summer forest floor look like spring.

Gotcha!

Butterflies and dragonflies in flight can be mesmerizing.  However, their erratic flight styles can drive you crazy when trying to capture them in pixels, whether panning with a real viewfinder or even worse, trying to pan using a digital viewfinder and its fraction-of-a-second lag (and no drive or burst function).

Well, a little spray and pray with the shutter yielded my favorite shot of the morning as this red-spotted purple moved through the canopy of the valley forest.

butterfly flying.
TAKING FLIGHT – Red-spotted purple flits among trees in the valley forest.