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Friday, September 30, 2011

There's a Possum in my house!

This past Sunday Don went to visit his parents. He came home Wednesday night with a tiny little Possum! I know, she's actually a five-week-old kitten, but with her pointed face and pink nose I thought she looked just like an opossum and the name stuck.

Possum was the runt and the only tortoiseshell in a litter of orange tabbies. She's eating well on her own and seems content living in a crate next to the computer desk until she's bigger. Possum has shown no fear of the dogs, in fact, she seems very interested in them. Last night she and Aislinn were playing together through the crate bars.

Of course, she gets to come out to cuddle with me. Possum loves to lie on her back cradled in the crook of my arm and swat at my fingers. She's just the sweetest little thing and Don was a real sweetie to bring her home as a surprise.

I have to admit though, we actually did have a possum in the house the first year we lived here on the farm. We had opossums coming into the garage to eat cat food (with the cats...they didn't seem to mind). One morning we found a baby possum under the shelving and figured it had fallen off mom while she was feasting on cat food. Don caught it and named it Possie.

Possie lived in a cat carrier in the laundry room until it got warmer weather and he grew a bit. Then we put him in a cage on the front porch. I never tried to tame him or turn Possie into a pet and when he was big enough we set him free. For several days after we released Possie he would come back and sleep in his cage, but finally he abandoned it completely...just as we'd hoped.

I'd adopt an orphaned opossum again in a heartbeat should the opportunity arise, but for now I'll just love on my little Possum kitty!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spiders of a different sort...

Last week when I was down at the pond I checked to see if Huck's spider lilies had sprouted. There was no sign of them so I figured the dry summer was to blame and there would be no spider lily blooms this year. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I discovered they had not only sprouted, but would soon be blooming again!

I like spider lilies as they are late bloomers, quite unusual and easy to grow. My mom gave me these bulbs and I just used a trowel to lift up the dirt, shoved the bulb in and patted the dirt back in place. They've been coming up like clockwork near the end of September ever since.

Of course, I had to do a little research on these lovely flowers and discovered they are an Asian native. They were first introduced to North Carolina and now grow all over the South. I don't know if my mom planted her row of spider lilies along her front porch, or if they were there when my parents bought their farm 45 years ago.  I'll definitely have to ask her when I visit next!

For now, I don't think I will plant any more on my place. I'm content to enjoy Huck's spider lilies. My only regret is that he is not here to enjoy them with me...or maybe he is, in spirit.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Door greeters...

Last night I snapped this photo of our chubby little door greeter. Every night he sits patiently next to the front door. He's much more sedate than those door greeters at Wal Mart, but that's probably because he's stuffed with all the bugs that are attracted to the porch light!

Last year we had two door greeters, one on each side. I figure we only have the one this year because only one of the porch lights is working (and yes, he was sitting under the working one). Maybe tomorrow I will change the bulb and see if his buddy will show up!

While I was at the pond this afternoon I almost stepped on my door greeter's cousin! I'm sure glad I saw him, as he was quite a handsome and colorful fellow! Early in the summer I had to be very careful not to step on the hundreds of baby frogs at the pond. It's nice to see how much they've grown!

It's been an absolutely lovely day today. Thanks to last night's storm we had a cool day with a bright blue cloudless sky. I hope you enjoyed your Monday as well!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day is done...

Sunday is done and the sun was gone much earlier than usually, not even giving me a lovely sunset like the one above that I snapped some time ago. Instead, dark storm clouds moved in and I had to hurry out to bring in a quilt hanging on the line and quickly feed the ducks, chickens and Elvis while long streaks of lightning snapped across the sky.

The loud, prolonged rumbling of thunder sent the dogs into hiding (Katie just got out from under the computer desk) and several of the cats decided to come inside. We got some rain and were under a tornado watch for a while, but the storm moved through quickly and the watch was cancelled early.

Now everyone is snoozing peacefully and I have the front door open so I can enjoy the cool fresh breeze and the hum of crickets. The next couple of weeks are going to be very busy for me so I am grateful for this still and quiet my eyelids are getting heavy!

I'm also grateful to Mother Nature for the rain. It will definitely help my new broccoli plants get a good start and will make digging up the last of the carrots an easier job!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Awww...he's so sweet!

Today was another beautiful Fall day. Don made it even nicer by letting me sleep in, something he does pretty much every day! While I'm sleeping he does his daily chores...feeding the horses, taking all the dogs out for a walk and sometimes gathering the eggs, feeding the rabbit a treat and giving the ducks and chickens fresh water.

Don added an extra surprise for me today. He tilled up a small area in the depleted garden and planted the broccoli I'd bought at the feed store the other day. Awww...wasn't that sweet? In return I made him a big breakfast of ham, eggs, grits and biscuits with homemade strawberry jam.

We really like broccoli and are hoping this Fall planting will produce well. I went out this evening and watered all the baby plants to give them a good start. I need to get some spinach seed and sprinkle it between the broccoli. One year I planted a Fall spinach patch and we had fresh spinach from the garden all winter!

My favorite way to cook young fresh spinach leaves is to saute them in my small iron skillet in some olive oil. I then serve them with a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. They go really well with pinto beans and a fresh pone of homemade cornbread.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Welcome Autumn! Glad you're here!

Today is the Autumnal Equinox...the first day of Fall! It's my favorite time of the year. I love the cooler temperatures, I love the smell of the air and the beautiful colors of the trees as their leaves change hue and eventually fall to the ground. I even love the cold dreary rainy days of Autumn...those are my favorite kind!

Autumn is a time for celebrating the year's harvest (which is why I chose this photo of my precious grandson that his Mommy made at a pumpkin patch last year). Unfortunately, due to the extremely dry summer, we don't have much of a harvest to celebrate. We did get the sweet potatoes dug, but they are pitifully small. The only things left in the garden to harvest are the rest of the carrots and possibly some butter beans.

We have lots of birthdays to celebrate in our family during the Autumn season, plus one of my favorite holidays - Halloween! There's Thanksgiving too, but it's not much of a holiday for me any more. Don and I decided since one of us needs to stay home with the animals he could go to visit his family on Thanksgiving while I stay home (then I visit my family at Christmas while he stays home). It might seem odd to some, but it works for us.

Today I hung one of my Autumn flags on the front porch and took a long walk into the woods just to soak in this glorious Fall day. For me, the only thing that spoils this time of year is being surrounded by gunfire and having to run trespassers off our property. Hunters who do not have permission (and no one ever does) to hunt on our property are not tolerated and fortunately the word has spread. We don't have even half the trouble now that we had when we first moved onto the farm.

Despite weekends that make me feel like I'm living in a war zone, I still relish this time of year. My only regret is that Autumn doesn't last longer. If it were up to me, we'd have three seasons...two months of Spring, eight months of Autumn and two months of Winter. Yes, I love it that much!

Happy Fall y'all!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nature's crochet work...

Normally Don and I don't get up in the early morning hours due to his later shift at work. Yesterday morning required us to do so though, giving us a rare opportunity to enjoy the beginning of the day.

It was very quiet...muffled actually due to a dense and heavy fog (Memphis radio was reporting visibility of just a quarter mile). The landscape was drenched in dew and I just couldn't resist snapping this photo while I was sitting in the truck waiting for Don to close the driveway gate.

I admire the beauty of spider webs (more so when I'm not walking face first into an unexpected one). They remind me of crocheted doilies. I've sat on the front porch on summer evenings watching a spider build a web. They work very hard at it and one can't help but admire their agility and craftsmanship.

Perhaps I admire spider webs and crochet pieces because I never learned to crochet myself. I'm left handed, my mother is not and she found it difficult to teach me how to crochet "backwards". So I content myself with collecting vintage doilies and watching spiders build webs.

It's not a bad trade-off.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Autumn! It's almost here and you can definitely tell it. The trees are all starting to turn and it rained last night! We needed it so bad and we got a gully washer. We never got over 70 degrees today kind of day.

Don was off today so I walked to the barn with him to feed the horses and then we spent some time at the pond. The ground was littered with fat juicy ripe persimmons and the dogs enjoyed feasting on them. I even snacked on a few myself.

It even SMELLS like Autumn now that its rained. I just sat there and took deep breaths...heavenly!

Of course, Autumn doesn't officially arrive until Wednesday. I'm just grateful I can feel it coming!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My persimmons predict....

This evening I walked down to the pond and gathered up a handful of persimmons. I could smell their spicy sweet aroma before I got to the tree. Persimmons, like pumpkins, just smell like Autumn to me. However, unlike pumpkins, persimmons don't need to be cooked with spices to give off that wonderful smell.

I didn't gather these for snacking purposes though. No, these were for predicting this year's winter weather! According to folklore you can predict the weather by splitting a persimmon seed to find what the plant kernel is hiding. If you see a forked kernel, then the winter will be mild with some light powdery snow.

If you see a spoon shape, then the winter will bring lots of heavy wet snow. Lastly, if you see a knife shape the winter will be bitter cold and the wind will cut through you like a knife.

This is what my kernel looked like this year. I see a spoon, which would be just fine with me. I like snow! Last year my persimmon seed held a knife and we did have a cold winter with more than average snowfall. I enjoyed it quite a lot, but Don wasn't to thrilled as he's the one who has to go feed the horses every morning.

I don't know if this old folklore will hold true, but I do know I'm very glad we've already started our wood pile and I better order propane soon.

Oh, by the way...if you decide to split open a persimmon seed please be very careful! They are small and slippery. I wouldn't want anyone slicing off a finger!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Can you hear it?

Can you hear my dogs? There's about 13 or so out in the front yard barking their heads off right now. Seamus, above, is listening with one ear cocked while trying to convince me he wasn't involved.

Psst...I'm not buying it!

If you can't hear the dogs barking that's probably because I'm blasting Guns 'n Roses to drown them out. I bet the neighbors think I'm having a party this weekend! Yeah...and the guests all have four legs and insist on howling at the moon!

I'm pretty sure there are a couple deer coming to the pond for a drink at night. They pay no attention to the dogs since they're behind a fence. For all I know the deer are standing on the other side of the fence sticking their tongues out at the dogs going, "Nah...nah...can't get us!" then flipping the dogs off with their white tails as they trot away.

Yeah, if I was a dog and a deer did that to me I'd probably bark too! As for the least I have better taste in music!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remembering Huck...

When Don and I moved here the farm was just a cow pasture. There were no buildings, drive, power, etc. on the place...just ponds, grass and trees. One afternoon in mid December we headed out to meet a man about building our half mile driveway. As we turned onto our road I saw a black speck running down the middle of the road. When we got closer I saw it was a small puppy. In that instant I knew it was our dog Huck. Don tells me that I blurted out, "There's Huck!".

When we got out Don asked the driveway man if it was his dog and he said no, the pup had come from the bridge. I had to wade into the swampy side of the road to grab the little shivering wet puppy, but grab him I did! We stopped for dog food and supplies on the way home and, once there, I spent an hour sitting on the bathroom floor pulling cockle burrs out of Huck's fur. Poor guy even had them embedded in his arm pits (um, guess that would be leg pits).

We took Huck to the vet the next morning and were told he was a Border Collie mix about six weeks old. His intelligence and looks won us over and we have been huge Border Collie fans ever since. He learned things so quickly! Potty training was a breeze. If he went out and did his business I would give him a treat. One day I realized he was going out every few minutes, coming in and running to the counter where I kept his treats. Next time he went out I watched. Smart fellow squeezed out a few drops then dashed in and went straight to the treats. HA...I was onto his game!

On Don's off days we would take Huck out to the farm with us (we were renting a small house in town while our house was built). He would get so excited and run circles around the truck. It got so bad that we had to start spelling certain words...R..I..D..E and F..A..R..M were two of several words Huck soon learned the meaning of and would go bouncing off the walls with excitement again.

The first summer we lived here on the farm Huck was bit by a water moccasin and almost died. He spent a week at the vet's (vet even took Huck home with him over the weekend). The bite on his front leg caused Huck's chest to swell so severely it was compressing his heart and lungs. We were so grateful that he recovered and came home!

Unfortunately our wonderful Huck became ill again the next summer. He was losing weight and couldn't seem to keep his food down. I was in Alabama a lot because my Daddy was losing his battle with colon cancer. It was an extremely difficult time. Six weeks after we lost Daddy in August we lost Huck to stomach cancer. He was just shy of his third birthday. Every year the first of August and the middle of September my heart breaks again.

A couple week's before we lost Huck (I was in Alabama) Don said Huck went out to the edge of the back yard and sat staring into the sunset. When Don called him, Huck just turned to look at him and then gazed into the sunset again. The afternoon we buried him under the persimmon tree there was a gorgeous sunset. We like to think that every beautiful sunset is Huck letting us know he is still here with us on his beloved farm.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Busy days ahead...

The past two days were very busy and I know this is just the beginning of a very busy time of year. Autumn and early Winter fly by due to preparing for holidays, family visits and getting critters settled in for the cold weather ahead. Do you find this to be the busiest time at your place as well?

Tuesday I had jury duty. It's only the second time in my life I've been summoned for jury duty and I really hope it is my last! Those hard wood benches made my back hurt and I felt like my entire day was wasted, even though I was released at noon. I barely escaped being on the jury of a shoplifting case, but I escaped!

Wednesday was shopping day. I got a bit of a late start and wasn't sure if I'd make it home in time to spend the evening at the pond with Don. I made it home just in time to unload the groceries, feed the chickens, ducks and Elvis then head to the pond. Don took a flashlight since it was so late and we needed it coming back up the driveway! It was heavenly to just sit there with my eyes closed enjoying the cool breeze and quiet. Don said we need a double hammock down there so we could nap. At least he's not still talking about putting his old Lazy-boy recliner down there!

I noticed on my way to town yesterday that all the corn on our road has been harvested. I'm not sure why the farmer left his equipment in our field, unless he had a breakdown. The crows were back today so I'm sure they're after any corn left scattered on the field. I need to do a bit of gleaning in my own garden...the sweet potatoes and carrots need to be dug up and I need to gather any dried seeds (butter beans) that still remain so I'll have them to plant next year.

Hope you've been enjoying a productive week as well!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Yesterday there was a murder at our pond!

Yesterday, while a sad day for the country, was a peaceful and pleasant day here on the farm. Well, other than the murder at the pond!

I went out to sit in my rocker while I let the dogs play in the front yard, but it wasn't as quiet as it normally is here. There was a huge commotion at the big old oak down at the pond. Crows! A whole murder of crows cawing back and forth!

We don't often have crows here. Perhaps the numerous buzzards scare them away. I suspect they were attracted to the recently harvested corn field. I don't know for sure, but I do know I had a great time talking to them and hearing their replies (although I don't speak Crow so have no idea what they were saying).

After a 15 or so minute discourse they flew off past the barn...all two of them? I thought there were much more than that in the tree! It takes more than two to have a murder, so I was relieved when a third crow joined them as they flew out of sight.

According to Cornell University, the phrase "a murder of crows" is a poetic term and never used by scientists. Scientists prefer to call a bunch of crows a flock. I'll stick to appeals to my poetic side.

As the day faded away a big harvest moon came up over the trees. A perfect ending to a murderous day!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Everyone's asking...where were you ten years ago today?

All over the net people are asking, "Where were you ten years ago today?" and for the majority of us I think the answer would be that we were glued to our televisions watching in horror the events that were to forever change the United States.

I remember well where I was...sound asleep in my bed. The phone rang and my sister told me to turn on the TV because a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. I thought she was joking and rolled over to go back to sleep. Sleep wouldn't come so I woke Don and we got up to turn on the television. What we saw and what we heard was shocking, to say the least.

Don immediately went to take a shower as he was expecting to be called into work right away. Sure enough, his phone rang just minutes later and he was out the door and on his way to the FAA control center were he worked as an air traffic controller.

I spent the rest of the day watching with tears in my eyes. We were so naive to think something like this could never happen in the good old US of A.Our nation lost its innocence that day.

The days that followed are hazy. I put the flag sticker pictured above on our vehicles, red white and blue ribbons (which quickly sold out everywhere) on the antennas and made a pin with the ribbons that Don worn to work every day. That sticker looks terribly worn today, but it will never be removed.

That day is so clear in my memory that it's hard to comprehend ten years, a decade, have passed. So many lives were lost that day and in the years afterwards. All of us, some much deeper than others, were changed that day. My heart goes out to all those families who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001 and to those who have lost family members in the military since that day.

May we all find peace in the days and years to come.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Late summer Saturday in the South...

Today's been a typical late summer Saturday here in the South. The farmer was in the field next to ours harvesting corn and Don mowed grass before going in to work a later shift. We even had a quick shower late this afternoon with a faint rainbow (in photo above). Of course I had clothes on the line so they'll have to stay there until tomorrow.

The rain brought our mild 82 degree high for the day down to an even more pleasant 75 degrees. That was exactly what I'd hoped for so I threw open the front door and some windows. As dusk fell I was shutting windows and calling the dogs in before shutting the door. I was not happy about that at all, but someone up the road decided it was a nice evening to blare their rap crap and gangsta garbage at full volume. SIGH...if they'd been playing something I liked I could have left the windows and door open!

Even the dogs dislike the "music" and were howling and barking their heads off before I brought them inside. Obviously, it hurts their ears as much as it hurts mine!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Peaceful day...

I'm so grateful for today. It was quiet and peaceful...absolutely lovely. While it got a bit warmer than the past few days, there was still a nice breeze and it was very pleasant sitting on the front porch in my rocker while the dogs played in the yard.

While I was sitting there I closed my eyes and listened. All I could hear were the birds chirping and the grasshoppers humming. It was as if I were the only human on earth...glorious! It was definitely the quintessential late summer day.

The farmer came this afternoon and harvested some of the cornfield and I took advantage of the sunshine by hanging clothes on the clothesline. I don't know why, but that's one household chore I love to do.

Last night I baked an apple pie and tonight I've got venison spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove for Don when he gets home from work. The house smelled so good last night...scents of cinnamon and apples and it smells just as good tonight with the aromas of bell peppers, onion, garlic and tomato sauce wafting around me. Mmmmm...

Even though it's dark out I still have the front door open so I can enjoy the fresh cool air and the sound of crickets chirping between Sarah McLachlan songs I have playing.

I hope you're having a pleasant Friday evening as well. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I wanna be a star....

As soon as I saw her the theme music to Project Runway went running through my mind. Obviously our pup Aislinn is an aspiring fashion designer. Check out this adorable orange poncho she created in the short time I was outside feeding the ducks and chickens!

While I was outside feeding my feathered friends I was composing today's blog in my mind. I'd intended to write about the corn field being harvested today, the Autumn coolness in the air and it being time to dig up my sweet potatoes.

My mind changed the minute I came in and laid eyes on Aislinn. She was sitting primly in her crate wearing her stylish new poncho. She fashioned it by chewing a hole in the middle of her blanket (which is actually a dust cloth I bought at Dollar Tree). Maybe this is what she intends to wear for Halloween.

Aislinn is incredibly difficult to photograph as she is never still. There's no way I could even attempt to take her photo outside the crate. As soon as she's out Aislinn is off at full speed around and around the house. She has an all out bouncy joyful run that is a delight to see. In fact, Aislinn is just a pure delight and we are very grateful that she came into our lives.

Hmmm...I wonder if she'd make me a new outfit if I gave her a tablecloth to chew?

Monday, September 5, 2011

What a glorious September day!

Yesterday and today were absolutely perfect - my favorite kind of weather! Yesterday was cool and drizzly, while today was cool and windy. I love it! No one can mistake the Fall feeling in the air and I've had the windows and front door open all day so I could enjoy it.

My daughter and her family were visiting her Dad this weekend and I drove up yesterday morning and took them out for breakfast. I love seeing them and wish with all my heart they lived closer so we could visit more often. Spending time with my three-year-old grandson is always a joy and I'm already looking forward to seeing him again in November for his fourth birthday.

Today I've spent most of my time sitting in my front porch rocker just soaking in the pleasant weather. It is such a relief to have gotten a little rain and cooler temperatures. I'm hoping we won't see any more high 90s, but I'm not holding my breath...just enjoying what I have while I have it.

I hope you have a wonderful week and are able to enjoy every minute of it. See you Thursday!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Check out my mussels...

Isn't my mussel a beautiful thing? It's certainly bigger than my muscles! This lovely freshwater mussel was living in the pond. Don was there the other day when our dog Caoihme (pronounced Kee-va) came trotting out of the pond with this mussel in her mouth. She'd found an elephant ear mussel, known in the scientific world as the species Elliptio crassidens.

This is a good indication that our pond is very healthy. Mussels are nature's water filters and can filter several gallons a day! When we moved here a neighbor told us this particular pond (at the lower end of our front yard) was dead. He said nothing had ever lived in it and told us when our property was a cow pasture the cows wouldn't drink water out of this pond. It's a "run-off" pond and isn't spring fed, so that concerns me as to what pesticides, etc. were being sprayed out here before we bought the place.

Fortunately all that appears to have dissipated and we have a thriving pond. For that, I am very grateful. The pond is a source of entertainment for Don and I. We enjoy sitting there watching the dogs swim and play, we enjoy discovering all the wildlife in and around the pond and I enjoy fishing there.

Unfortunately, freshwater mussels are considered the most endangered critters in North America. Approximately 70 percent of their species are in peril of becoming extinct and in the past 100 years 30 of those species did cease to exist. Believe me, this particular mussel was quickly returned to the pond where I hope it lives a long and healthy life!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hurricane anyone?

First off, let me assure you I'm not doing a blog on the famous drink you can get on Bourbon Street. No, I'm talking about the famous storm that nearly wiped Bourbon Street off the map and also caused damage to our house (top photo is from six years ago, lower photo from last summer...can you spot the difference?).

It's hurricane season and with Tropical Storm Lee flooding the coast of Louisiana I've been thinking about hurricane season six years past. That's when the devastating Hurricane Katrina blew in and caused widespread disaster on the coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. Less than a month later Hurricane Rita struck.

You'd think that living in the northwest corner of Mississippi we'd be to far away from the coast to worry about hurricane damage. However, those two storms were so strong we had major weather from both. Hurricane Katrina took out a piece of our gingerbread trim on the front porch above the front door. We weren't sure how we'd fix it, but Rita did that for us. She blew in and took off the other piece, exactly matching it to Katrina's damage. Six years later and we've never repaired it because it looks okay the way it is, thanks to Rita.

We were fortunate. So many down south of us were not so lucky and with Tropical Storm Lee moving in today that area is now dealing with major storms and flooding. We may get lucky again and get some rain out of this storm. We need it badly, although I wish we could have gotten it without all the devastation down south.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Charlotte's supper...

Last night while bringing the cats in for the night I noticed that the garden spider on the front porch was busily storing a meal for later. Of course I had to run get my phone and take a photo.

This is just one of the garden spiders living on our place. There are bunches of them at the barn, one on the back porch and one in the chicken pen. I call all of them Charlotte after the spider in E.B. White's book, Charlotte's Web. These are actually the seventh generation of Charlottes and are welcome additions to the farm as they catch lots of pesky insects.

Garden Spiders are also known as Writing Spiders or Corn Spiders, but in the scientific world they are known as Argiope Aurantia. They're harmless to people and are very tidy for spiders. Every night they eat the center of their web (which may have tiny insects stuck on it) and build a neat clean center in the morning.

See that thick zigzag line in the middle of the web? Scientists aren't sure exactly why the female garden spider does that. Some theories are that the zigzag is a camouflage for the spider, or a beacon to attract insects, or perhaps a warning sign for birds so that they don't fly into an otherwise difficult to see web and destroy it. Male garden spiders often have a smaller zigzag web near the female's large one.

Late in the summer Charlotte will lay one to four egg sacs that she suspends on or near her web. She will protect them as long as she can, but as Fall arrives she becomes weaker and eventually dies. It always makes me sad when I go out on the porch or to the chicken pen and discover that one of the Charlottes has died.

On the other hand, I'm always thrilled to see one of their babies setting up shop in the same area early each summer and I enjoy watching them grow and live their lives throughout the summer months. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A regal find at Goodwill...

Yesterday afternoon I made my weekly trip to buy groceries and find treasures at the Goodwill store. I was quite awestruck by what I found OUTSIDE the store...a beautiful Imperial Moth! I snapped the above photo with my cellphone and could barely wait to get home to show Don.

It was about two inches wide from wing tip to wing tip and the colors were just amazing. Naturally I had to get online to learn all I could about this beauty.

The Imperial Moth is a member of the Saturniidae family of moths which is also known as royal or regal moths. I can certainly see how they came by that moniker as it was truly a regal creature of the night!

They are really ugly as caterpillars and feed on oak, maple, pine, sycamore, sweet gum and sassafras leaves. We have plenty of those around, so I'm a bit surprised I haven't seen one before now!

I have to admit, I didn't find much inside the store yesterday, but seeing this gorgeous Imperial Moth outside made it worth the trip.