As the old song says, it's the "Merry, merry
month of May," and nothing could be merrier
than having both granddaughters complete
exemplary kindergarten years. Brianna
celebrated earlier this month and Friday was
Claire's big day. This picture will forever be
etched in our memories. And she's movin' on!
Just in case you missed Bri's big event, here
she is in all her golden glory. Ready for anything.
Our most recent addition to the tree house
is a library, chock full of irresistible books.
Including joke books, song books, and story books.
If your tree house isn't equipped with a
library, I highly recommend it.
It'll truly make it a magic tree house.
And in other recent action,
here's Roy Rogers (Evan), heading out to
pursue bad guys. The shirt, gloves, and gun
are holdovers from my childhood. The hat
and horse are not nearly that old. And the
boots are pure Evan.
Sometimes, pursuing bad guys entails crossing
deadly gorges. That's Dale Evans (Judy), Roy
Rogers (Evan), and Bullet (Claire). It's amazing
what a smart dog can do with paws.
Claire and the others have all been creating
with this magnetic building set. Not
surprisingly, it belonged to Jennifer and Amanda.
On a Saturday when the medical offices next
door were closed, we took our bikes and trikes
up for some smooth pedaling. That's something
our yard isn't too great on. Go Bri! Go Hunter!
Bri and Grandma play a little catch with
Let me show you how it's done, Grandma.
(At the tail end listen to Hunter: "Grandpa,
you're not watching me!")
Later, at the tree house, Bri shares some
new jokes from the "library."
And hard-working Hunter can enjoy the jokes
while tidying up the joint a bit.
Later on, we stop in the play yard to set up
a ramp for some races. For a while we race
all the toys that have wheels: dump trucks,
race cars, locomotives. And finally Hunter
decides to race the steam engine with the
Berenstain Bears' tree house. Go figure.
(The locomotive won, but barely.)
This was the first day I pulled out a bag of
army men and tanks for the kids. They loved
it. I showed them how to use blankets to make
caves and hiding places (like I used to do).
They're much more imaginative than I ever
was. I never would have thought of having
Daddy Tank, Mama Tank, and a slew of
talking baby tanks. Oh, what fun!
Let's shift to nature. I don't really need to
do a snake alert, because I have no pictures
of the small hognose snake or the skinny
black rat snake I saw this week. Both of
them eat bugs and small rodents, so they're
But I do have pictures of a grosbeak that
dropped by our window feeder. This picture
was taken from indoors, and doesn't show
the colorful wingbars or the iridescent blue
of its feathers.
This is the same bird in sunlight.
Now you can see what makes it distinctive.
In the center of this picture, note a solitary
wasp perched on a small mud nest he had
fashioned. I was privileged to observe him
carrying a green inchworm, stinging it as
he flew. Then I watched, astonished, as he
stuffed the deadened inchworm into the mud
nest for a wasp larva to feed on when it hatched.
This is just a five second video. Barely
got a glimpse of the wasp departing.
Sometime later, the wasp sealed the hole,
with the MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) in place.
Brianna and Hunter observed as scientists
when I broke open the nest a couple of days
later, to reveal not one . . .
. . . but FIVE inchworms! Amazing.
And I know I'll catch some flak for ending
the life of a baby wasp, but we have plenty
more, and I don't like them building nests
on our toys!
Out and about around the Loyd place, more
flowers are now in bloom.
Such as the waxy yellow blossoms of the
prickly pear cactus.
This dainty three-petaled flower may be a
type of iris.
The blackberries may be green now, but
they'll soon be turning the color we like!
The rich clumps of Bellwort or Trinity are
in full bloom on the cool mornings. They seem
to be the main attractors of honeybees, which
are much more numerous than a year ago.
I prefer the name Trinity:
three petals for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In case you missed my Facebook video
of honeybees feasting on Trinity plants.
I delight in this every morning as I do my
knee exercises on our front ramp.
And kudos to Mary Anne Johnson for this idea.
In times of drought, honeybees can safely sip in
shallow basin filled with stones. There are many
surfaces to cling to, whereas many bees drown
trying to drink from bird baths and puddles.
Just an old pot lid (stolen from the kids' play kitchen)
and a couple of pounds of pebbles. Just add water.
Sweet peas are another native favorite we
are blessed with. The pollinators love them, too.
And we like their unpredictable multi-
colors even better.
The pipssissewa (my Indian name from Camp
Cherokee) is slow to open but will be in full
bloom in June.
Our Firepink is one of our favorites. Every
day we spot one or more new ones in different
locations. Last year the deer fed on them, eating
them down to nubs, but they've recovered nicely.
Every day holds the potential for something
we've never seen around here.
And that could refer to both nature and grandkids!