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Posts Tagged ‘garden’

postheadericon Ode to Summer – Sunday Selections

As the end of summer draws near, we’ll celebrate with some famous authors and their lovely thoughts on the season. Please enjoy this week’s Sunday Selection.

Ode to Summer at Red Barn Blue Skies


Then followed that beautiful season… Summer…

Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape

Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow




postheadericon Restore Your Senses in the Garden – Sunday Selections

Today’s choice for  Sunday Selections answers the question of where to go in order recharge your internal battery and to restore your senses. It’s the garden of course!

There is nothing more amazing than going out to your garden (or any garden, for that matter) and recharging yourself by simply being.

Restore Your Senses in the Garden at Red Barn Blue Skies


Tuning out the world and tuning into nature is a great way to get in touch with all of your five senses. Where else can you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell everything around you?

~SEE the beauty around you

~HEAR the breeze whisper while the water trickles in a pond or possibly listen to the creatures that live in this garden as they chatter

~TOUCH the soft leaves and petals or dig your hands deep into the rich soil

~TASTE the lovely fruit you’ve helped nature bring into being or bite into that lovely ripe tomato on the vine

~SMELL the captivating fragrance of herbs and flowers that tempt you to stay longer

Restore Your Senses

Love is like a beautiful flower

which I may not touch, 

but whose fragrance makes the garden

a place of delight just the same.

~ Helen Keller

The glory of gardening:

hands in the dirt,

head in the sun, heart one with nature. 

To nurture a garden

is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

– Alfred Austin

So where do you go to restore your senses? Is there a special place you retreat to? Tell me or even show me, I’d love to hear about or see it for myself.

postheadericon My Frog Boyfriend

Do you kiss frogs? I’m thinking about it. I might just have a new beau, in fact I’m pretty sure I have a frog boyfriend. He is very shy, but he still serenades me every day. He loves it when I give him a shower in the morning.

The hubby knows about him and approves of our relationship, he’s not green with envy at all about my new guy. Of course, my new guy IS green… Meet Bo-Frog, my new boyfriend and the King of the Frogs here at Red Barn Blue Skies.

Frog Boyfriend at Red Barn Blue Skies
Bo singing to me

My Frog Boyfriend Bo

This little cutie lives in a pot of lavender on our front porch. I first discovered him last week when I was watering the plants. This little sweet froggy voice piped up and was singing away as the water sprinkled down over him.

Bo has become my own little personal opera singer. He sits in the same spot every morning (and evening) and serenades us with his song, especially when the misters turn on. He’s in his element.

Read more about the differences between frogs and toads. We have a lot of both around here and no, I’m really not planning on kissing any of them – except for the little prince below.

Frog Boyfriend at Red Barn Blue Skies


postheadericon The Truth About Frogs and Toads

Many people are mistaken when they think that frogs and toads are the same creatures. While they are both classified as amphibians, they are two distinct animals.

Frogs and Toads

Frogs and Toads at Red Barn Blue Skies
Mr Toad and Froggie


A few facts about FROGS:

~ They must live near a source of water

~ Their skin is moist and smooth, it appears to be slimy

~ Their back legs are longer, allowing them to jump much higher than toads

~ Many have suction-cup type webbed toes which allow them to swim and cling to walls and other vertical or smooth objects

~ Their eyes are higher on their heads and tend to be more round-shaped

~ Their nose and body is usually more narrow than the toad’s

Frogs and Toads at Red Barn Blue Skies  2 Frogs and Toads at Red Barn Blue Skies  3 Red Barn Blue Skies Frogs and Toads


A few facts about TOADS:

     ~ Can live in drier, more arid areas without being close to water

     ~ Their skin is much drier than a frog’s

~ They usually have bumps that are rough to the touch on their skin

~ Toads don’t do much jumping, instead, they do a waddling run or take tiny hops

~ Toads walk on shorter, stubbier legs than frogs

~ The eyes on toads sit lower on their head and are more almond-shaped than a frog’s

  Frogs and Toads at Red Barn Blue Skies 4     

These photos are all from my garden and yards. We are very lucky to have the right conditions for these little guys to hang around and try to help us with our bug populations.

We have several color variations of both the toads and the frogs. The little green frogs that live in my plants on the front porch are so fast that I have a hard time catching them on film.

Frogs and Toads Frog House at Red Barn Blue Skies

I try to make it very hospitable for both of these little tailless amphibians to live comfortably around here. I have lots of overturned old pots that are half-buried in shady spots for the toads to burrow into and under when it’s hot.

I’m planning on adding a few toad houses in the near future like the one below.

Frogs and Toads House at Red Barn Blue Skies

The frogs enjoy some shallow pans of water with pebbles that I have in the shade on the front porch near their potted plant homes. They also tend to hang in the toad houses if it is damp enough.

Frogs and Toads Homes at Red Barn Blue Skies

For an added froggy treat, go here to meet Bo, My Froggy Boyfriend. He’s a cutie!

postheadericon Why I HATE, HATE, HATE Grasshoppers

photo by Pawel Kabanski/Flickr

Welcome to my nightmare!  I really, really have a thing about grasshoppers.  If they’re the itty-bitty type, I will squish them in a heartbeat.  The giant ones send me flying into the house and then begging Mr. MoonCat to go out to extinguish them.  The sad, sad thing is that I can tell you exactly when this trauma-induced phobia started.  Please shelter the children from this story of horror….

It was a warm summer day when my mom, my sister and I were driving up into the foothills to visit my Gramma.  The fields were all golden brown with the breeze causing ripples that looked like waves int the dried grass. We had the windows down, the sunroof open and were enjoying the trip…until..a GARGANTUAN grasshopper decided to terrorize me and end my “live and let live” lifestyle forever.

photo by DRB62/Flickr

This mutant terrorist (easily over three inches long) was on his assignment to GET JULES when he bounced off of my arm and landed inside the car.  He was on the headrest behind me and managed to get tangled in my hair.  I was screeching for some help, but my horrible, unfeeling mother and sister were laughing too hard to assist me.  The foul creature then decided to travel down the back of my tank top, scratching me all the way!  (If you look closely at the photos of the horrible creatures above and below, you will see their hooks, claws, and spurs…)  Anyway, his mission was obviously a one-way trip as he made the fatal mistake of continuing his path south and ended up IN MY UNDERWEAR!  (So you don’t think I was riding around in just a tank top and undies, my Wranglers tend to gap at the small of my back and my undies follow suit sometimes.)

photo by Bossco/Flickr
Now to add insult/embarrassment to my injuries:  Mom was slowing the car down to take an almost hairpin turn – while in hysterics, I remind you.  I took advantage of this to bail out of the car, drop my pants AND underwear and proceed to stomp the life out of the suicidal demon bug.  The mortifying part comes into the story due to the fact that there is a ranch house located right on the turn.  At that particular moment in time, standing under a tree with their horses, were 4 or 5 of the ranch hands.  They saw the whole dang thing and were laughing, whooping and hollering.  With absolutely none of my dignity left, I pulled up my drawers, waved to them like a parade princess and flounced back into the car.  I didn’t speak to the other inhabitants in the car for the rest of the trip.

Once we got to Gramma’s house, she was the only one who showed me any sympathy.  That is until Mom looked at my back.  I had vivid scratches all over my back with a couple of them even a bit bloody.  I think she felt a bit bad after that, my sister didn’t.

So, now you know the cause of one of my most irrational fears.  This is also why Mom didn’t say a word this morning when we were at the kitchen table and I suddenly went screeching at top speed outside with my basket of herbs.  Something similar to the photo below was sitting on top of my catnip, LOOKING AT ME.

Hopper from A Bug’s Life/California Adventure