Found Friday #29: Look who’s back!

Back in September, I shared some pictures of a little fox family that had made their home under our barn in the spring. It seems Mama Fox liked that spot, because she came back this year.

We’ve seen her out and about pretty frequently, but we’ve only gotten occasional glimpses of two little kits.

They were out this morning, though, and my goodness, they’re adorable. I feel very lucky that I get a front row seat to watch them grow.

Found Friday #20: A new camera lens and an alien creature on a strange planet…

My husband got a new camera lens a couple of weeks ago, and he’s been getting used to it. Graham is a wonderful photographer, though he won’t say so, and he’s captured some really amazing images in the last several years.

I really like this one from Iceland. I just love the quality of the evening light.

And this one, from Bath.

This one’s an old favorite, taken from our balcony on an Alaskan cruise.

And I love this one, which he took while we were sitting with some friends on the beach one day. I don’t even know how he spotted this kid, since it was a really crowded day in the ocean.

The movement, the sunshine, the joy – he just nailed it.

Graham doesn’t often spend money on himself, and so when he said he wanted to buy a macro lens, I told him he should go for it. We should all feel empowered to pursue the things we love, and that includes setting ourselves up with the proper tools.

He’s not quite happy with the quality of the images he’s gotten so far, but he’s enjoying learning his way around the new lens. He spotted a good opportunity a few nights ago to get some practice.

It’s a Japanese beetle (they invade our house every winter) on a piece of volcanic rock, but it looks like an alien creature on a different planet.

I mean, sure, these images are a little blurry, but I still think they’re really cool. I’m looking forward to seeing what he’ll do once he’s a little more familiar and comfortable with shooting with a macro lens.

And in the meantime, I’ll keep encouraging him, and reminding him that perfection doesn’t exist in this universe. 😊

Found Friday #12: The Last of the Fall Colors

I’m not quite sure when it happened, but it’s looking sort of wintry outside.

It’s still not too cold, but the branches are pretty empty, and there are only a few pops of fall color left.

Our honey locust had a rough summer, but it’s putting on quite a show right now.

The reds and golds have been particularly bright this year.

I’ve always loved every season, and usually, by the time one comes to an end, I’m ready for the next. I’m looking forward to the cold, and maybe, hopefully, the snow. But for now, I’ll enjoy these last days of autumn.

Found Friday #4: Pretty Mantis

I’ll start this one with a story.

When I was in third grade, my class had two pets – a cute, chubby red and white guinea pig, and two bright green praying mantises that I thought looked a lot like aliens. At the end of every week, two students were chosen, by popular vote of the class, to take the pets home and care for them until Monday. I desperately wanted to bring the guinea pig home for the weekend. But when my name finally came up and the class voted, I got…the praying mantises.

So there I was at the end of Friday, trundling down the steps off the school bus, saddled with my backpack, my spring windbreaker, the books that wouldn’t fit in my backpack, my lunch box, and a wire cage containing two potentially extraterrestrial life forms that I had absolutely no idea what to do with. When I opened the door and plopped the cage down on the kitchen table, my mother was predictably less than pleased.

“What is THAT?”

“Praying mantises.”

“Why do you have those?”

I explained what happened, and she told me I shouldn’t volunteer to take the class pets home ever again. Honestly, I don’t blame her.

Fast forward about thirty years, give or take, and my garden is positively brimming with brown praying mantises right now. It might be karma. But they’re actually kind of interesting to watch, so I’m not complaining.

We’ve been seeing them mostly on our windows at night, seeking out moths to snack on. Earlier this week, though, my husband looked out the window of his study and found this little guy hanging out in our euonymus.

He’s sort of cute, actually. And very photogenic.

And possibly has aspirations to conduct an orchestra?

Live your dream, buddy.

I don’t want him inside my house, would not even consider keeping him as a pet, but as an occasional visitor who keeps to himself, he’s perfectly welcome.

Found Friday #3: The Fantastic Family Fox

Aren’t they adorable?

We get all sorts of critters and beasties on our property. We’ve got a family of deer who come through in the evenings, a groundhog who loves our still-growing orchard, opossums, butterflies, cardinals and other little native birds, and the occasional black bear. And there are two spoiled animals who live *inside* the house with us.

These two really enjoy their creature comforts, and the consistent access to snuggles, soft places to sleep, and snacks.

We’re constantly looking out our back window to see who might be visiting, and back in the spring we were delighted to learn that a family of foxes – mom, dad, and kits – had made a den under our barn. They normally popped out around sunset for playtime and dinner, and we tried to snap some pictures without scaring them.

We found them to be lovely neighbors. They were very adept at controlling the field mouse population, and so fun to watch (from a distance, of course).

The kits have grown up now and I think they’ve moved on, but we still see a fox or two out back under the willow tree from time to time. I’d like to think they feel as happy and at home here as I do.