April Shower of Photos Feed

April Smiles from the Boys

These are pictures from the backyard the other morning - taken by me, but choreographed by the boys. :)

Now, fair warning ~ if you're stopping by while having your breakfast (or lunch or supper for that matter), you might want to come back a bit later ... ;)

Ants taking a caterpillar hostage:


Scat, which belongs to a rabbit:


A grub:


A weed:


A worm. Or, really, half a worm:


A ladybug ~ perhaps one of ours?


I'm sure before long we'll have spiders, mushrooms and toads (etc.) to add to the list. As the mother of three boys (and the only female in the family), I've come a long way in what I now find interesting ~ and no longer icky!

Thanks for stopping by ~ have a great Thursday!

April Smiles ~ More Spring Things


A honeybee with its satchels of pollen ...


A dandelion with all of its tiny florets ...


A tent caterpillar nest (or so we suspect) ...

We had such a busy day ~ with our cousins here for lunch and a lovely visit. We spent the whole day outside - literally! And now I have that sun-sleepy feeling you get at the end of such a day. An early-to-bed kind of night sounds awfully good, but I have my Mittenstrings Book Study tonight, so I'm off ~ leaving Bill and the boys to their own devices regarding supper. :)

Tomorrow we'll have our little St. George's Tea, munching on scones and reading Crackerjack's favorite book of all time. I've got the dragon's cave set out on display (complete with brave knight and fierce dragon) and I'm sure there will be a bit of swordplay before the day is over. ;)

Have a great night, everyone! See you all sometime tomorrow ...

April Smiles ~ Spring Violets


I popped over to my mum and dad's today to get some help with my knitting. (The scarf is done! And I'm onto something new! More on all that later ...) And on my way in, I was so delighted to see a patch of vibrant violets growing by their front door ... Of course, I had to bring some home for our nature table, and there they will sit as long as the water keeps them fresh. (That's a votive candle holder wrapped with a little lace ribbon, btw.) For this picture, however, I moved the tiny bouquet off the shelf, and onto a sunny spot which showed them to their best, and most cheerful, advantage. :)

I'm sending Bill over tomorrow to dig up a clump or two to bring home to our own yard. I hope they transplant well!

April Smiles ~ Our "New" Nature Corner


We always have a designated spot (or two) for displaying the bits of nature we bring home to observe and enjoy, and lately that spot has been the sunny windowsills of our learning room. Spring means open windows, however, so it became time for a new nature spot. And just in time, Bill brought home a new bookcase for the learning room! (One can never have too many bookcases, don't you agree?) Now we have a whole 32 inches of shelf-top where we can deposit and arrange the bits of nature we find throughout the seasons.

So how about a little tour of our recently found spring delights? :)


In the lefthand corner, perched on a corner shelf, I have a favorite book of nature prayers open to April's page. In front of it is our prayer candle and a piece of "driftwood" from the river out back.

Now for the nature shelf itself, from left to right ...


Some buggy stuff ~ a cicada exoskeleton, a tiny bit of iridescent beetle, a dead cricket we found in the house and a pearly white rock Crackerjack gave me recently.


This is a small branch of our spruce tree (aka Birdy) and one of its cones, a favorite food of the red squirrel, fyi.


This is a nest we found years ago. (Actually, if memory serves, my uncle found it and gave it to the boys!) We've stuffed it with further wild acquisitions like feathers and the tip of a red squirrel tail ~ who was OK, despite the loss, by the way!

In the foreground are three acorn caps we gathered in our yard just today. The northeast corner gets positively showered with acorns each year, but we aways forget to look and by the time we do, most of the acorns are nibbled on or bored into. For today, I asked the boys to harvest just the caps for future use. (Knitting needles later this summer!)


I filled a jam jar with water and Earlybird and I plucked some twigs off the lilac and forsythia bushes. There should be a riot of lavender and yellow here before long ...


These needles, also found in our yard, came from a pine tree in the woods. And that's one of its cones, we're pretty sure. I would love to identify what kind of pine it is. (I hear white pine tea is delicious.) And just to the right is a bowl full of what I thought were ferns, but Bill reminded me these feathery fronds grow quite tall and flower with pale yellow blossoms. Oh, and I mustn't forget to mention the little sprite in the background! This is a "humming sprite" from Spiderwick, a favorite book series and movie of ours. Truth be told the toy came from a McDonald's Happy Meal ~ we actually collected all the H.M. Spiderwick toys that month. ;)


This is, perhaps, not the fanciest means of displaying information, but recently I noticed my friend Laura had her Audubon almanac displayed at her nature table (nicely though, in a frame) and I wanted to keep mine close at hand too. Yep, good old Scotch tape did the trick! (How I love that stuff, lol.) Bill will wince when he sees this, so I'll eventually figure out a better (nicer) way.

Finally, a little preview. :) Right now the world map still hangs above the new nature shelf. It will be moved out to the family room before too long, and in its place will go these simple wooden frames:


I plan to make up these frames with the nature pictures I post here at my blog. We'll rotate them every few weeks to reflect the season at hand. These were priced quite reasonably at our local craft store.

Oh, and I should mention the books on display here as well! These have been passed down brother to brother, and now it's Earlybird's turn to enjoy them. (Not that his older brothers don't still sometimes!)

From left to right we have ~

  • Lente (or Spring), a charming wordless board book
  • Well, I'm so glad you stopped by today! And I hope this post finds you all enjoying Spring in your little corner of the world. :)

    Have a good night!

    April Smiles ~ Signs of Life

    ~ A morning nature walk in our backyard ~


    Lilac buds with a hint of the color to come ...


    A slug doing what slugs do best ...


    White crocus in full bloom ...


    A tiny ant sipping sap on the spruce ...


    A firefly minding his own business ...


    Bits of green found here ...


    ... and there. (That's natural whatever it is!)


    The first dandelion of the year, growing in gravel of all places! :)

    Happy Spring!

    April Smiles ~ Foggy Mornings


    Crackerjack has just figured out how to check the forecast on the computer. The other day he announced, "It's going to be foggy pretty soon. I saw it on WeatherBug."

    And sure enough, early this morning we have fog. He just walked out to the family room a minute ago, took one look at our woods and broke into a sleepy grin. "Fog!" he declared proudly.

    It's already burning off, and the day promises to be fine. (Sunny, 60 degrees.) But what a neat way to start the day!

    Hope yours is a good one. :)

    April Smiles ~ Craft Night


    In a little while I'll be off to my knitting circle at my friend Kim's. I so look forward to this night each month - there will be cool crafts, hot tea, good food and great conversation; what more could a mum ask for? :)

    So I have my new spring bag all packed ~ with my scarf-in-progress, a yummy magazine, and a new book I can't wait to show my friends. All the regular stuff is in there, too: my wallet, calendar, journal, cell phone, lip balm etc.

    And speaking of my new spring bag* ...


    ... isnt it cute? :)


    It's not that big a bag, but right now, that's a good thing. I am trying to downsize all my "stuff," because, really, I carry around too much of it. It's not a shoulder-bag, but a tote, and that's ok too. It's light to carry and sits nicely in the front seat of a shopping cart. My coupons and lists etc. seem much more accessible in this kind of a bag. And it was perfect for church this past Sunday!

    I'm sure I'll find fault with it somewhere down the road, but for now, my new spring bag really does make me smile. :)

    *Now, I feel compelled to mention, I was able to buy this new bag because I had money to burn at Bean's thanks to some recent returns and accumulated coupon dollars. We also got the boys some essentials like pants and jackets. And fisherman vests. ;)

    Well, have a lovely evening, my friends. See you all tomorrow!

    April Smiles ~ Natural Light






    The one thing I can't resist when it comes to photography, is capturing natural light. I am stymied without it, actually. I am drawn to its moods - the way it personifies a time of day or the season at hand. And I can't help but think it makes everything look better; it takes the most humble of subjects (a walnut shell, for instance) and reveals its inner beauty...

    "In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary." Aaron Rose

    Tuesday's a busy day here ~ have a good one, my friends!

    April Smiles ~ Spring Knitting


    I bought this pretty skein of yarn this weekend, envisioning a light scarf for my new spring jacket. Even though spring is - without a doubt - here at last, we can still have cool days now and again.

    I haven't knit in a looong time, and I must confess, I have never knit anything more than a scarf. (Though I think there might have been a washcloth once.)

    Knitting must be in my blood, though, coming from generations of knitters as I do. I love the look and feel of yarn. I love the motion of the needles in my hands. I have fond memories of the knitting all around me as a child, and it seems Crackerjack does too ...

    He was with me at the fabric store Saturday as I meandered through the aisles looking over all the varieties of yarn. He was full of questions (mostly, are we done yet?) and reminiscenses.

    "I remember you knitting," he said, fingering a bright red wool skein. "I remember the sound the needles make. Click, click, click."

    He handed me the yarn and said, "Will you knit something for me?"

    And so, I'm knitting again. :)

    What to knit after the scarf, well I have no idea. It's early days yet and I don't want to get ahead of myself ... but I bet I'll find some good ideas in here. (It's arriving today! I've tracked my package incessantly since it left Amazon, lol. I can't wait!)

    I do plan to pick up some of that thick red yarn Crackerjack liked so much and set up a little workbasket for him. He likes to work - and learn - with his hands; knitting will be a nice activity for those rainy spring days or hot summer afternoons. I'll start him on fingerknitting, and maybe by the time he's ready for a small project, the needles will seem less like swords and more like the useful hand tools they are. ;)

    Have a good Monday, everyone!

    In the April Woods


    Late this afternoon, as I was putting groceries away, Bill and the boys were playing baseball in the backyard. Suddenly I heard them call, "Mama! Mama! Come quick!"

    So I dropped the canned goods on the counter (envisioning bloody knees, or worse, missing teeth), and scurried outside. I'm happy to say, nothing was wrong; instead, my fellas were halfway into the woods out back, beckoning me to follow them with huge grins on their faces.

    The peepers had been found. :)

    Now, unfortunately, I don't have even one photo of the cute little things, because as soon as we got too close to their vernal home, they became completely silent and seemingly disappeared.


    So instead we trucked around the woods to see what other neat things we might find. Things like this shield bug ...


    And this garter snake ...


    A finding which inspired much awe ...


    We found this strange material on a fallen branch: Eggs? A fungus?


    We marveled at the trees up above ...


    And up close ...


    It was such a lovely afternoon to explore the spring woods ...


    I hope you're having a nice weekend. See you again sometime soon. 

    April Smiles


    Last night, on my way out to a meeting, I spied these tiny, tender spring heralds. Naturally, I had my camera on me, so I snapped a picture or two before I hopped in the car. :)

    You've probably noticed by now that I love taking photos, especially of nature. I must admit though, I was never much of a shutterbug till I started this blog. Now it's a favorite hobby of mine - though I still don't really know what I'm doing! I've had my camera for about a year now, but all the settings still confuse me. I suppose I could read the manual, but A. manuals bore me, and B. I can't find it anway, so I guess I'll go with my original plan which is to learn "on the job," so to speak. ;)

    If you're wondering where I'm going with all this, well, I will tell you ~ I am heading over to Jennifer's where she's kicked off a new blogging project, an April Shower of Photos! Here are Jennifer's own words to explain more ~

    If you would like to join me in a month of photos, please drop a comment into the comment box and I'll collect all our info into my seriously outdated sidebar. Set your own goals for the month or focus on a theme that interests you (Spring Flowers, macro photos, portraits, or perhaps the color green?) or simply have uploading one photo a day as your goal! Goodness knows that's all I'll get done some April days!

    I hope to make April's Shower of Photos a little Loveliness to look forward to each day, won't you join me?

    I will definitely join you, Jennifer! I will shoot for one photo a day, but I can't promise. As for a theme, I think I will stick with what makes me smile. In the merry month of April there should be plenty of things to choose from, both inside and out. :)

    Have a good day, everyone!

    Makes Me Smile


    The little red squirrel who visits our feeders ...


    Our cat, Penny, 17 years young ...


    A brand new journal started just today ...


    New buds dotting the tree-tops ...

    And April afternoons like this one ~ breezy, bright and beautiful. The boys are playing in the yard and I'm preparing notes for my Mittenstrings meeting tonight. If I have time I'm going to bake some carrot breads for the morning ... but that's a mighty big if. I still have math to correct, supper to start, and a big load of laundry to fold.

    Where does the day go, I ask you? :)

    Have a lovely evening, my friends ~ see you all again sometime soon.