I Heart Faces: “Happiness”

When I saw that the theme this week at “I Heart Faces” is “Happiness”, I thought immediately of my sweet granddaughter.  She is such a happy little girl full of smiles and she brings loads of happiness to others!  This before bedtime shot of her trying to get just a few more giggles out of her day is perfect for this challenge:

To see more happy faces, head on over to “I Heart Faces”:

I Heart Faces: “Furry Faces”

It’s all about pets this week at I Heart Faces with their “Furry Pet Faces” Photo Challenge.  With five pets in the house, which one would I choose?  Actually, none of them, as one of my favorite pet pictures is of a relative’s sweet kitty.  Boo Boo looks lost in thought in this pic with those big blue eyes of his.  Oh, and did I mention that I discovered him in this pose laying on my DINING ROOM TABLE?!!!  But who could get upset with him with that sweet face of his?!!

There’s plenty more furry pet faces over at I Heart Faces.  Check them out at:

Last Bouquet of the Year…….

Last night, the low here in southeastern Michigan plunged into the mid-20’s.  Knowing temps like that would kill off all my remaining flowers, I went out into the yard in the afternoon to save whatever was still blooming.  There was enough for a small but colorful arrangement.  I’ve had a vase full of fresh flowers from the garden in my house since the daffodils and grape hyacinths popped out of the ground in the spring.  I sure am going to miss being able to pick pretty flowers as we go through our long Michigan winter!  But I’ll look forward to the first flowers of spring, hepatica and bloodroot, that emerge in my woodland garden in April. Spring is my favorite season of the year and it can never come soon enough for me!!!

Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge: Brown

In November, most of the colorful autumn leaves have fallen to the ground and the predominant color in the landscape is a drab shade of brown.  But on closer examination, that drab brown can be quite beautiful with many different shades adding interest.  These old oak leaves were still hanging on to the branches and they were anything but drab with the setting sun adding a golden glow to them:

Similarly, the sun cast a warm glow on this teasel:

As it set lower, the sun provided some beautiful backlight and a warm golden brown glow to this field of teasel and grasses:

Common milkweed pods are a common sight in the fall:

Squirrels are busy in the woods gathering nuts for the cold winter ahead.  This friendly guy was keeping his eyes on me!And this deer had her eyes on me too!

Find lots more images featuring the color brown at:

Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge: Purple

One doesn’t usually think of purple when they think of fall colors so at first I figured that this would be one “Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge” week that I would skip.  The challenge colors for the four weeks of October were green, yellow, orange and red, all colors that we think of when we think of beautiful fall foliage.  But purple?!!!  Then it hit me: ASTERS!!!  Asters bloom in the fall and asters are various shades of PURPLE!!!  As an added bonus, asters attract bees and butterflies!  So here are some photos featuring the color purple, mostly asters, and all with a special visitor.  The first is of a beautiful giant swallowtail in a pretty clump of asters.  The giant swallowtail lives up to its’ name: it’s the largest swallowtail in the Midwest with a wingspan between 5 & 6 inches!

Asters are a favorite flower of migrating monarchs.  Here’s a monarch on native New England aster:

Bees love asters too.  Here’s a bumblebee enjoying one:

Here’s another bumblebee: this one is on verbena bonariensis, also known as tall verbena.

Butterfly bushes also come in shades of purple and they bloom well into the fall.  Here’s a tiger swallowtail nectaring on a light purple butterfly bush:

There’s more great photos featuring the color purple at:

Be sure to check them out!!!

Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge: Red

Red comes in a close second behind yellow as one of my favorite shades of autumn.  I think of brilliant red maple leaves and bright red berries, such as the ones I’ve captured in the pictures below.  This trio was hanging out together on the maple tree in my backyard:

I shot these red berries in a light rain which just served to intensify their color:

While hiking a trail in Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I spotted this red leaf trapped in the Tahquamenon River.  Its’ vibrant color stood out from the browns and golds of the riverbank:

There’s lots more autumn red to be found at:

Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge: Yellow

I stumbled across a fun photo challenge going on right now called “Shades of Autumn”.  Each week a different color is featured and this week’s color is yellow.  Yellow, sunshiny and happy, has always been at the top of my list of favorite colors.  As a teenager, I chose a yellow bedroom set to surround myself in mellow yellow.  Today, my gardens are filled with loads of bright yellow flowers.  Here are some of my favorite photos that feature this cheerful color:

A sunflower, of course!

Another sunflower, this one being visited by a bee!

A yellow and black bumblebee on pretty yellow and orange flowers.  Wonderful YELLOW!!!

The underside of a giant swallowtail’s wings is, guess what?!!!  Yellow!!!  Here’s one that recently emerged from its’ chrysalis hanging from pretty yellow zigzag goldenrod.

Here’s the same giant swallowtail drying its’ wings in preparation for its’ first flight!

Lastly, here’s a photo of beautiful Upper Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The falls have a wonderful golden hue which beautifully complements the golden yellow of the autumn leaves.

To see more wonderful shades of yellow, visit: