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A Treasure in the Weeds...

We've had a busy Labor Day weekend around the Mavin house. Yesterday we headed outside to get caught up on some yard work. My focus, I decided to fit the whole summer's worth of weeding into one day. I figure better to get some of it out of the way now rather than leave it all for fall clean up come early November. I really do need to be more diligent next year!

As I was weeding I ran across a pair of garter snakes. The one corner of the house seems to be good shelter for them and is the most common place I find them when working in the garden. Over the past 6 summers I've learned to watch for them as I work, as not to be startled, and we coexist rather peacefully. In fact a few years ago we had affectionately named one "Lucy" (because you know, naming things makes them more like pets and less like creepy crawlies that spook the girls) and enjoyed keeping watch for her until that one fateful day when she decided to wrestle with the mower. Well, you know how that ended. Not good for Lucy.

Any who...

As I was weeding along I came across the freshly (and I mean FRESHLY because it was still moist) shed skin of one of my garden buddies. Yes, I'm a bit of a science nerd. And yes, I felt the need to go grab my camera with the macro lens attached to document my discovery. And yes, I decided my treasure was worth sharing here. You know, because why write about your cute and amazing kids when you can talk about the sloughed epithelial cells of a reptile? (Brian, this one's for you baby.)

I think what intrigued me the most was how perfect the skin was. Since it was moist it was still stretchy and easy to de-tangle from its chosen shedding grounds without ripping. And the details! Oh the details. The amazing shapes and variations in color. The clarity of the areas that once covered dark, beady little eyes. The opening at the mouth through which the former inhabitant made his (or her?) escape. It was all so real that when I laid him out beside the yard stick to measure his length, and then quick ran inside to grab my camera, Brea said she would keep an eye on him so he didn't slither away. It was seriously THAT perfect.

After a good 20 minutes of examination (remember...nerd) we hung the skin to dry in a safe spot in the garage so Lexi can take it to school tomorrow to share with her class. (My little nerd in the making.) I thought maybe I could grab a picture of the former owner, but he/she had obviously grown weary of me and had found a new, quieter resting place.

Since I had the camera out, and the macro lens attached, figured I might as well walk around seeing what I could see. Having the macro lens on my camera always makes me look at things differently. Like who knew the tiny rocks in concrete could be so interesting? (Scrolled up to see what I was referring to, didn't ya? They are, aren't they?)

We have a few late fall flowers hanging on. Yesterday I discovered our wee little hydrangea bush that I planted last fall (that then this spring the bunnies decided to snack on setting its growth back so far I was afraid it wasn't going to make it) managed to bloom one little poof of flowers. Yea! Maybe there is hope for him yet!

We planted some random seeds this spring from old packets I had laying around and to our surprise, had a few actually produce flowers!

I'm a bit obsessed with the center of flowers. It's amazing to me how very often if you take the time to look a little closer, you find amazing shapes, textures, and in this case, a miniature world of blooms.

Our neighbor gave us some purple asters this summer as he was thinning his beds. They are just starting to bloom and the buds before they pop are so fun. Rich in color. Fun spiky texture. Almost better than the blooms themselves.

I added this little wire bee to my garden this spring. He was a little treasure purchased in the Amanas when Mom and Rod were here visiting. Our daisies soon swallowed him up in their abundance, but after deadheading yesterday he has been uncovered...much rustier than when he was "planted" this spring. I still think he has a happy little face. Rusty or not.



Sarah Kroenke said…
Dear Jenn,
Thanks for providing me with material for a lesson that's sure to come up soon. I will be renaming it, "Using the Macro Lens". This will help my students understand the power of observation and also details. Thanks!

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