it's that time of year

it's that time of year

a middle tennessee garden blog

finding beauty in the natural things around us makes for one happy self and a lovely life. ~marmee

dash home farm, leiper's fork, tennessee

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

just the beginning...

with the weather in flux...some days are hot...others are a bit cooler.
also, with plenty of rain and cooler days this summer
things have been a little different...we have had fewer butterflies...
our grasses stayed green all summer...which meant weekly mowing.
a lot of summers we have had droughts. not this year.
another great thing about the amount of rain we have had
has been that my container plants have done so well.

since our weather has been so brilliant and beautiful...we have spent
our days out of doors. as we continue to study our world and the
living things in it...we discovered that our terrarium has made
a match...with our walking stick bugs.
we are hoping for lots of baby stick fun.
being outdoors allows for some unusual mates...lola blue joins our class.
we are observing the way things are pollinated, who does the pollinating,
how quickly things this it has changed in one week.
we have learned about the goldenrod spider who lays in wait for
bumblebees or syrphid flies to capture, paralyze with it's venom
and suck it's contents is able to change colours, camouflage
itself which makes it virtually unnoticeable.
nature has these cycles of life and death.
just like the viceroy butterfly's mimicry:
(the act of mimicking; imitative behavior the resemblance of an animal species to another species or to natural objects; provides concealment and protection from predators) is able to look just like the monarch butterfly(at least to it's predators) which is bitter to the taste for it is left alone.
it is slightly smaller than the monarch and it has a black line across the middle of each hind wing.
we are also studying the stages of development of insects...which is great when the whole world is your classroom because we walk out to the wildflower garden and are able to see the larva stage of a monarch butterfly and document it for our observations.
~above photo taken by abbey~
~both common buckeye photos taken by abbey~
she is also learning how to use a field guide to help identify the
beautiful creatures she is finding.
some more of abbey's interesting classmates...buster is a good
sport to become a headrest for reading.
lylah is always up for a walk into nature.
beatrice is shy but a good listener which make for a good friend.
so as we learn about this great big beautiful world and it's amazing
creatures and how they work...the wind is blowing.
the grasses are flowing...
the acorns are growing...
the birds are sowing...
and the sun is glowing...

life is is good.


Darla said...

If anyone can present the essence of love through a's you!

tina said...

Lucky you to have monarch caterpillars. I've yet to see any:(

Roses and Lilacs said...

Really enjoyed seeing the buckeye butterfly. Don't think we have them in this area.

Beatrice is sure growing. What a beautiful dog she is.

Lovely post.

Susie said...

Such a wonderful post Marmee. Our world is such a interesting place. So many things going on in nature and we miss it all if we don't look for it.

Hope you have lots of tiny stick bugs. That would be fun to see!

Dirt Princess said...

Always so beautiful, and peaceful. Serenity!

marmee said...

that is really the best compliment i have ever is so important. people need to have it...feel it and be sure that they are loved. thank you darla!

marmee said...


i want to protect them...they look so vulnerable...i need to plant my milkweed with some kind of bushy flower next year. i hope you will have some too soon.

marmee said...


it has been a poor summer for butterflies around here. we have some but nothing like the normal amount but then i don't have some of the normal summer flowers i usually have in masses. we were happy to find the buckeye and the caterpillars.
beatrice is the sweetest big dog...she has such a great docile personality. it's funny because she is the biggest.

marmee said...

i really appreciate the beauty surrounding's what makes all the other bad news and politics bearable these days.
would that be so fun having stick bug babies...i hope.

marmee said...

dirt princess, thank you...i am so grateful everyday that i get to live in such a wonderfully beautiful feels magical.

Cheryl said...

Dear Marmee.....beautiful finale to your post.....and Abbey looking so pretty, competition indeed for that sunset.

Your grounds look so very lush......learning about nature is a journey that never ends. I am still learning and there is always something to surprise me...
my thirst will never be quenched, it is a journey I have followed since a small child.

Well done Abbey....lovely is a joy to see a young lady enjoying all that is around her......
I must confess to being a little bit smitten with Beatrice......

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Another great post, Marmee. I always learn something when I read your posts. It's like ME going back to school at your home.... LOVE it!!!!!

Yes, we had a different summer this year for sure. Wonder what fall and winter will be like????


Q said...

Life is beautiful in your world.
I love the way your children are learning about the relationships of birds,bugs,plants and people!
Each photograph is so lovely. Abby is learning photography too! She will be well prepared for life....field guides are the best of books.
You are a wonderful teacher....and Mother.

ShySongbird said...

I'm so sorry to have missed commenting on your last few posts Marmee, I did read them all as you published them and intended to comment but I do sometimes struggle to keep up :(

How I admire you for home schooling, what very loving and caring parents you are, how could any child fail to learn and thrive in such an environment?

What lovely photos Abbey took, she has her mother's talent :)

Sweet Beatrice! She grows lovelier every time I see her, I do wish she could tell us what happened when she lost her way! I still feel sad for her and am so very pleased she was eventually returned to such a loving family.

marmee said...


i completed understand being smitten with beatrice..she is just that kind of girl. she picked us from the moment we saw her at the farmer's market and it has been love ever since.
i am well pleased with abbey loving photography...i keep thinking i need to take a class and she could join me. she's got a natural ability for seeing the beauty of things.
we have had a wet summer which helps with the lushness. it will be so interesting to see what fall and winter hold for us. i'm thinking a bit of a cold winters in store.
i do so enjoy photographing this place and abbey. she is a very obliging subject and that makes for it being all the more fun.
i love that nature and the learning of it is inexhaustable. there is always something new in
God's world to discover and delight us.
happy september.

marmee said...


i am always learning something new...especially now that i am teaching...i really love that part of it. glad to be a place you come enjoy and learn too.
do you think we are in for a very cold winter...i do. brrrr...i can only imagine.
happy september

marmee said...


thank you much for your very kind mothers we want to be the best at teaching, loving, nuturing. it helps when you have been mothering over 30 years.
our lives here are so blessed and full of beauty in our surroundings. i don't want to take one day for granted. i know i have wasted some days in the past.
i have really loved being on this learning journey with abbey...about the living things around us. i am learning...she is learning and we are growing together. today she could not stop dancing. i watch full of hope and makes me fullfilled.
happy september.

marmee said...


i have a hard time myself keeping up...but i am glad you are able to read nonetheless. it's always nice to get comments but really it is the sharing of the moment that means the most.
it was a long thought out decision to homeschool abbey with much prayer and diliberation. i am so glad we have done it. i am finding it so fullfilling. not to mention i know what is going into abbey. it has opened up a whole new level in our family...i love it. it feels completely right.
abbey loves capturing moments on film and she has a natural ability to see the beauty of a thing.
we all love beatrice...she is so sweet. i was telling cheryl earlier...she picked us at the farmer's market and we have been in love ever since. some things are meant to be or bea.
thank you for taking some time to catch up...i love hearing from you.
happy september.

Frances said...

Hi Marmee, what a delightful post this was! It was educational and beautiful. I love your header image too, so rightly captures Tennessee late summer into fall. A most wonderful time of year. Your pets and family are a joy to see, and of course your plants! It is sad about the lack of butterflies, I hope this is just a cycle and they will be back in greater numbers next year. We miss them.

marmee said...


so right about the butterflies...i am hoping for many more next year. i am just hoping our caterpillars make it so at least we will be contributing to the population.
this is the most wonderful time of the year. i really love fall. thanks for stopping by to visit with the fam/animals...we are glad you did.
happy september.

Meems said...

Sounds like a perfectly wonderful summer, Marmee... makes me wish I would have made a journey there in the midst of it. We are seeing some ever-so slight changes in the weather... today only 82 degrees on the back porch which is amazing at 11:45. It is rising but won't last as long today.

Loved this post... love the way we learn so much outdoors when we pay attention to the details. You guys are well on your way to a wonderful school year.

AND your Miss Muffett caladiums are doing great! I'm so proud of you and them. When you start to see them fading and drooping you will want to remember to dig them up for overwintering. Then you can enjoy them again next year. How cool is that!

Enjoy your labor day. (I'm digging out more sod this weekend--- the entire SE corner). I'm either obssessed or just plain crazy... pray for me. :-)