PHOTO OF THE DAY – BIG RED BARN – October 21, 2015

Some girlfriends go to the mall to shop for shoes and bags, and have lunch.

Today Elizabeth and I went to the farmers’ co-op to shop for round pens. We made a few peanut butter crackers for lunch, then went on to some barns and fields in the neighborhood to look at hay. Second cutting was ready for baling.

My kinda girlfriend. My kinda day out. Even if we spent enough for a gucci bag each.

We set out to conquer and we did.

We got the round pen set up. We got the first load of hay. We even took the Pips for a walk.

All the while…under a deep blue sky that was downright intoxicating.

 For Photo of the Day…here is Elizabeth in Allie’s Big Red Barn…POTD_15_10_21_Eliz_I told her she looked like a Farm Chick Centerfold!

…crazy girl that she is

PHOTO OF THE DAY – HAY MAN – October 20, 2015

Recluse Man and I picked up a load of hay today from a new source. It’s always great to make a solid ‘hay connection.’

Perry told us he has “lived in this hollar all his life.” Having lived in many hollars all over the place, all my life, I find that a charming notion. A real honest to goodness home. Earth and trees and hills you’ve known for a lifetime.

Here is Photo of the Day…with Perry the hay man on the right…POTD_15_10_20_2_hay_man“Hay Recluse Man…ain’t dat tar gittin’ low?”

PHOTO OF THE DAY – BEETLE MANIA – October 19, 2015

Please indulge me with my Photo of the Day, and the rest that follow, for I have a bad case of Beetle Mania…

It all started on a hike out my back door last week. I brought my cameras along, all determined to make some fall color photos before the leaves blew away. Before I even crossed the meadow next door, I spotted some milkweed so beautifully backlit, I had to stop and shoot.

(…question to me…how can milkweed look erotic?? …answer to me…it is nature-erotic! …next question to me…why am shooting this milkweed as tho it were a nude? …next answer…it is nude! …Dummy!)

Pardon me. These were the thoughts going thru my mind. I love how nature inspires a quiet dialogue.

I will exonerate myself by saying I was under the influence of milkweed….POTD_15_10_19_bug9

When I turned around in the milkweed patch, I discovered lots of red bugs congregating in a most club-like kinda scene. I literally gasped! They were brilliant and abundant and they almost made me pee my pants. They scared me in an Alfred Hitchcock swarm-attack way. But only for a split second.

Next split second I thought they were ladybugs. Sweet ladybugs…(under my breath…ladybug swarms creep me out).

Then I whipped out my reading glasses….

My curiosity was in overdrive. Who are these red bugs??? Are they good bugs or bad bugs? Milkweed is so important for the Monarchs survival, I wouldn’t want anybuggy interfering.

I continued on my hike wondering, and pulling for the red bugs the whole way…please let them be good bugs! When I got back to my Mac, I was blown away by what I learned. There was a lot of sex and noise involved.

When I googled ‘red bugs on milkweed,’ I found out they are rightly called Red Milkweed Beetles! How clever is that? Let’s stick with RMB.

After reading up on different sites, I came across my favorite RMB site from the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) and The BugLady…

It’s my favorite RMB site because she loves these bugs and brought them to life in a delightful way. Other sites talked about squishing them, (horror of horrors), and called them bad bugs or benign at best.

See that little RMB at the top of the pod?

There is no way she’s a bad bug…I watched her go up and down that pod for quite some time and I can safely bet, she is not a terrorist…POTD_15_10_19_bug2

What I learned, is there are big RMBs and small RMBs, and they’re either bright red or orange. They can get away with that crazy coloration because they are poisonous to birds and other predators. In their own colorful body language they are saying…EAT ME AND DIE…(or at least puke).

Milkweed itself, is an interesting plant. I knew Monarch caterpillars must have milkweed to grow and survive. But what I didn’t know is milkweed is a toxic plant unless you are an RMB or a Monarch caterpillar. As they say…you are what you eat…and that’s what makes RMBs so flashy and toxic. A great reason to wear red.

Milkweed is bisexual. Milkweeds have ovaries and a stamen with a hood and a horn and lots of seeds. Who needs anything more? I…WE…IS…ARE…ONE…TOGETHER! And such poisonous badasses at that!

Even the RMBs have a time of it. They have to slow the flow of latex in the milkweed leaves, (the poison in milkweed), or their mouth parts will stick together…forever. Imagine.

I am never saying ‘zip my lips’ again…

A lady RMB might lay 80 eggs a day, or up too 2000 eggs in her lifespan, which averages one month. That seems like a ‘load on fanny,’ if you ask me….POTD_15_10_19_bug10But what I love best about RMBs is the sounds they make. They purr and they squeak.

According to The BugLady, and a study in 1957, RMBs have a shrill squeak when they’re held, or stuck in milkweed, or exploring a cage, or have fallen over on their backs, or fighting.

Please note..they never get high on Milkweed. That has nothing to do with anything.

But the purrs…oh the purrs. Straight from The BugLady…

RMBs combine squeaking and purring when held in a closed fist, and when two individuals meet and touch antennae or crawl over each other. They will purr when standing motionless; but when they are quietly going about the business of crawling and feeding on milkweeds, they may purr or squeak.

I hear squeaking!!!

I hear purring!POTD_15_10_19_bug4

I hear….Mom…where are you??POTD_15_10_19_bug5

The coloration changes on the RMB. First there’s a solid red little nymph. Then some shedding goes on…and on…and some spots appear, and then more shedding and shagging, and wings…and heart shaped spots….according to what I read.

What I saw was another thing. Looks like a bikini heading south…POTD_15_10_19_bug7Am I wrong?

Who cares…so long as you’re purring?!POTD_15_10_19_bug12

I have hung out for so long with these RMBs, I’m starting to name them.POTD_15_10_19_bug11There’s no buggering off when you have Beetle Mania!


Yesterday was the big Valle Country Fair, in Valle Crucis, NC. It’s a top-notch arts and crafts, rural farm festival I’ve been attending the last four years.

Vendor spaces are revered. I’ve heard stories about a mighty year when it snowed sideways and vendors were called the day before to be reminded if they did not show up, next year’s space would not be guaranteed. Vendors showed up and most had a great day. The crowds are that dedicated.

At every market or festival I’ve attended, there is almost always something a little out of the ordinary that happens…things like a big sale, or a sale that leads to a photo shoot, or making a new friend or reuniting with an old friend, or discovering a brand new image is a big hit….now that’s the best.

Nothing BIG happened yesterday. It was a good, but not spectacular day overall. If it’s not a BIG day, there are always the LITTLE things that happen that make me smile and often overshadow the BIG things on a BIG day.

The one thing that’s a given…and the reason I do art festivals…is the feedback. Through art festivals, I see first hand which images resonate with people. I get instant, spontaneous response. After I set up my two big greeting card stands, I take delight in seeing people’s reaction to my Animal Garden Shop cards. It’s a treasured learning experience and it makes me feel really good to see when I’ve sparked some laughter.

I am so often surprised by who-picks-what when it comes to greeting cards. Yesterday did not disappoint.

I rarely make photos during an art show, but this encounter I had to document.

I sell greeting cards individually at $3.50 or three for $10. People love the three-fors.

So here comes this kid with his mom. They’re doing a three-for. She’s picked out her card. The kid has picked one and has one to go. So the red-headed kid picks one more and mom is like…NUH UH…NOT THAT ONE…BETTER PUT THAT ONE BACK!!!

See Photo of the Day…POTD_15_10_17_kid1

If you saw yesterday’s post you might recognize this card…POTD_15_10_17_hooters

I’m sure the kid just liked owls and didn’t even know what a Hooters is. Or maybe he goes to Hooters everyday for happy hour. Or maybe he just likes mice on ice. Whatever…he really wanted that card. His first card pick was approved…POTD_15_10_17_kid5

Closer look…POTD_15_10_17_rednekI thought that was real cute…the kid being a red-head and all. So maybe he’s a redneck? Fine by me. My nephew is a redneck and I love him. And he’s not nearly as cute.

Besides…look at what mom picked…notice the red-headed kid’s approval rating…POTD_15_10_17_kid3Let’s take a closer look…POTD_15_10_17_menage

Hey mom…what’s a little happy hour after a menage á tree???

The kid held firm..POTD_15_10_17_kid2He was proud of his choice….POTD_15_10_17_kid4Til dang…Mom overruled…POTD_15_10_17_kid6…and he ended up with a silly goat…POTD_15_10_17_Mona_Lisa

Maybe Mona Lisa hangs out a Hooters?

Love me a feisty red-headed kid.

PHOTO OF THE DAY – HOOTERS – October 17, 2015

I am pooped.

Too pooped to share a big scoop with my troops.

Although I have one that is a real hoot.

It’s all about something that tickled me at the art festival today.

That had everything to do with this card…


…and a red-headed boy.

There’s your Photo of the Day.

See ya tomorrow.

PHOTO OF THE DAY – TATER TOT – October 16, 2015

For Photo of the Day…let me explain…

It’s been a funky day for me. My last art festival is tomorrow (Valle Cruces Country Fair in NC) and I have wanted to do everything but get ready for it.

I visited the red milkweed beetles four times today. I prepped seven different photos to post for POTD. I took the dogs for a hike. I paid bills. Finally I set up my booth and got some dinner.

And now I have chosen a funky photo that never made the cut in the tent tomorrow.

Still…I like it. Put yourself in a funky mood and meet Tator Tot…POTD_15_10_16_TATER_TOTHe comes with a bad poem…sorry.

do tell me not…

by gosh.

has lil Tater Tot

peed on the squash?

PHOTO OF THE DAY – A GREAT RIDE – October 15, 2015

Boy oh boy…have I got a great photo of the day story for you.

But…too bad…not today.

See I met these cool red beetles this afternoon and wanted to share them with you. But by the time I finished editing the photos and started learning about their fascinating and lustful behavior, it was getting late. Yet I couldn’t stop reading. I was hooked on bug porn.

Then YIKES! It’s nearly 8:30. Thursday Night Football is coming up. And not just any TNF..but the Saints playing the Falcons!!! In New Orleans!!


Tomorrow will be a beetle day.

For today…let me share a photo from a very fine day exactly seven years ago…08_10_16_riding_AllieI am without a doubt a lucky girl. I made this photograph the first fall I lived on the farm, while I was riding with some new girlfriends.

I remember having to pinch myself to make sure it was real.

Every time I reach this spot on the trail I am just as bowled over by the beauty, as I was then.

OK…now on to some FOOTBALL!!!


It was such a gorgeous day in the mountains, when Elizabeth came for a visit we were all ready and rarin’ to go for a walk.

“Oh My Gwad,” said Pockets. “I waaana walk to da reever…take me to da reever…Oh My Gwad…pweas pweas pweas!”

For Photo of the Day pweas see Pockets the Ponkey on her walk to da reever…
POTD_15_10_14_Ponkey Express1…she couldn’t be bothered waiting for shoe laces and slow-pokes…POTD_15_10_14_Ponkey Express2-2Reever here we come!”POTD_15_10_14_Ponkey Express3“I wanna meet a shark!”POTD_15_10_14_Ponkey Express4“Oh My Gwad…I can’t wait!”TD_15_10_14_Ponkey Express5The Ponkey Express finally made it…POTD_15_10_14_Ponkey Express6“Hay was dat a shark? I saw a shark! I saw a shark!”POTD_15_10_14_Ponkey Express7That fonkey ponkey was sure behavin’ all wonkey.


Photo of the day comes straight from the horse’s mouth…
(paleeze don’t ask me to translate)


It’s been a Monday.

And it’s been a mess.

Woke up to big problems with my external hard drives before making the first mug of tea.

That makes me really grouchy.

And can easily make me scream.

Then the pig on the deck started grunting, (on my behalf, no doubt).

The K-9 girls were slobbering-mad, (over the hard drive issues, no doubt).

Then the cats went down and peed even before breakfast, (in alliance, I assume).

Worst of all, my curses broke the sweet slumbers of my beloved Recluse Man.


And I have not resolved a thing.

No wonder everyone has scattered.

For Photo of the Day…I have chosen one from my desktop archives.

It doesn’t have any relevance…

It’s just who I’d rather be right now.