blond princess update

I have not seen Brad's blond princess in a long time. His lesson updates all sound similar. They start and end with one word, amazing. She is amazing, he is amazed, and her trainer is amazed with Padame. Brad has mentioned more than once, he has to remind himself she is a young horse. So willing, level headed and picks everything up right away. She doesn't act or ride like a young horse. He is very thankful for his blondee!

Padame has not been hauled for AQHA show exposure, yet. 
The only other Ranch horse that shows AQHA at the barn, had some family things going on. Plans change, and you just have to roll with it.

Brad made the wise decision to not take Padame to the local Buckskin/open shows. Our trainer has a larger group of riders/horses from her barn that she takes. Some require a lot of hands-on. That
 would mean significantly less time for Padame. Brad absolutely spends time working with his horse at the shows daily, but doesn't stay onsite. Plus the venue is smaller and less than ideal, especially with inclement weather. It seems to happen a lot there. If it rains before/during, everyone is stuck using one very small indoor for everything and with hard flooring. There is little to no warm-up. If they offer some, everyone crams in. Unsafe, even for a seasoned horse. Not the first show experience Brad wants for his girl.

It is totally okay, and gives Padame more time to school. Plans are still on for an upcoming longer show that offers much better options.

I asked for photos of Padame, and Brad obliged. Below are pics from a couple days ago after his lesson. She has filled out some. Incase you are wondering, Padame was hosed off after riding. Altho it is hot enough here to get that sweaty!! 


sunday stills ~ where you sit

My favorite place to sit is in the saddle...

in an arena

on the trail

see where others sit ~ sunday stills


past their bedtime

This post has been buggin' me, and so have a whole lot of pesky flyers!! I thought about titling this post "I have a full-time job" because that is what it feels like. Mostly because of these:

Japanese Beetles (JB)

Spraying the occasional Japanese beetle found munching on my Calla Lillies with soapy water, was not a big deal. Not even if it spoiled the bloom faster than you can say "oh look, my calla lily is blooming". I found twisted pleasure in squirting them until they fell soaked in soapy film. Let me tell you what is a big deal, shredding the vegetables I've been nurturing from seed!!

It has been a full-time job trying to keep them from decimating the foliage on my snap peas, beans, and cukes. One of our raised beds has thick strawberry foliage, and it is a hot spot for them. I've been reading up on other ways to get rid of them, besides the well known soapy bucket drowning.

I use smaller disposable plastic food containers, instead of a bucket. I just can't pick them off, even with gloves. A smaller container fits underneath most foliage, to catch the JB when they drop like a rock. It also has a lid, for knocking down, scooping up and trying to stop them from flying off.

One thing I 
decided to try, is leaving the cess pool container of dead JB's in the middle of a garden bed. They say it works. I beg to differ, but it doesn't hurt. Other than my nose. In less than 24 hours they become SUPER disgustingly stinky!! There are homemade and commercial traps I haven't tried. They also suggest to stop watering your lawn. I am here to tell you that will never happen at my house, I married "a lawn guy".  The JB lay eggs in soil, overwinter and also hide in dirt. Apparently they like moisture.

I also read, 7pm is the best time to send them swimming. Um, not at my house. 7pm is apparently past their bedtime. Not a one to be found. The very next day, poof! They rise from the soil. I make rounds, hunting JB multiple times a day and have become skilled with my approach. Drowning two toppers, gives me great satisfaction. I score a male and female pair when they drop into my container of doom. Sounds evil, but so is ruining a potential beautiful bounty of beans. Not happening on my watch.


We have many different kinds of flies. Some of which we have never experienced before moving to sand country. Big ones, tiny ones, black ones, brown ones, and they appear in mass when conditions are favorable. The biting flies I mentioned in my last post, are medium sized fast flying black flies that bite. Harder than a mosquito. We have some horse flies too. Thankfully they are not bad, knock on wood. The latter ones are very dangerous, and can get you sent flying through the air. Not really the horses fault. They really hurt!

To combat flies (beside fly spray) we are trying the Rescue fly traps our daughter mentioned that have rave reviews. I always wonder if traps don't attract even more of what you are trying to deter, but they are inexpensive and worth a try. We just hung the pop traps up yesterday, so Jury is out.

Harmony's mom also mentioned the homemade "penny in a baggie" fly deterrent method her horse friends use. How have I never heard of the penny method?? I am going to try this as well: 

"To make your own fly repellent, get a gallon-sized zip-loc bag, fill it half to 3/4 with clean water, and drop 3 or 4 pennies in the bottom of the bag. Once the bag is firmly sealed, it can be hung from or nailed to an eave near a doorway to keep the nasty critters from entering. The best explanation on how this works is, simple light refraction going through the bag of water that confuses the fly. A fly bases movement by light and the refracted light coming through the water in the plastic bag confuses the fly causing him to move on to a place that is easier on the eyes."

Flying Lint

It is always fun for me, when Brad discovers and shares something in nature. He knows how much I love nature! I ran to get my camera, but could not get a decent shot. My phone did a better job:

They really look like lint floating through the air, but are tiny wolly aphids. I have only seen them in one specific area, for now I am not spending time on these.

Oak Galls

Now that they are on my radar, I continue collecting the oak galls I can reach. When I remember to bring a baggie on my walks. I look ridiculous, I have straps hanging all over me, camera's, and now bags. Next Spring I will take this task on earlier.

my collection from one walk


We are a haven for wasps. We have beams that create a lot of corners, and all houses have peaks etc. I keep a vigilant eye out for nests, and Brad knocks them down as fast as I complain. Wasps stay busy, and build nests fast. Last year the wasps got so bad, I stopped using our deck for yoga (my favorite place to practice). I would duck in/out the door to water etc. Much to my surprise, a very kind blogger I had just "met" sent me some homemade nests to try.

Most of you follow Far Side, and I can't tell her thank you enough! Her nests absolutely work!! I know there are many nay sayer's on the 'net on how well fake nests work. Maybe they were expecting to get rid of all wasps? That would be impossible. I was just hoping to have less wasps, and not right outside my doors. And I do!! Blogger friends are the best! 

three wasp nests, scrubbies and homemade card
created by the talented Far Side

There is one very common flying pest that shall remain unmentioned. We have not fallen victim to their blood sucking ways. Perhaps because we hung these again this year. Timing is everything and they really work!!

Hope this gives you a few ideas to combat flying pests you may encounter. Have a great pest free day!! I have to get back to work now.


happy to be back

I think Koda is happy to be back to riding this year. He has behaved and responded perfectly, not once, not twice, but three times. A girl can't ask for more than that. I know his silly antics will show back up, but I am thoroughly enjoying my time with him. I for sure, am happy to be riding again!

Our first ride was short, sweet and rewarding. Good training gets you a horse that remembers cues and manners, even after 8 months off.

Two days later we attempted a second ride, a
s planned. We got some decent rain the day before, and it brought out the bugs that need moisture. It was hot and humid, flies were relentless. The friggin' little biters were all over Koda's legs and under his belly, even tho I sprayed him right before we rode. He is a hot box sweaty kinda boy that attracts insects.

Koda tried for me, but the flies were so distracting. They were making me mad. After a short 12 minutes, I got off. I just don't enjoy riding under those circumstances. More importantly, I don't think it is fair to ask Koda to pay attention and do XYZ, when he is getting bit over and over. Not to mention, the flies were biting me too. So much for the riding plans I was striving for that day. Sigh.

I turned my boy back out, while Brad and Cierra continued riding. The flies must not bother her as much as Koda, or she i
s just used to working through it. Heat, humidity and biting flies. No thank you. I realize flies are biting the horses out in the pasture too, but they have the option to get away.

We agreed to try riding again the next day, 
earlier. I am not a morning person. I get up early (around 6am) but early mornings don't work well for me to do challenging things. It takes me a while to really be awake. It is just how I am wired. Besides, everything is wet with copious amounts of dew. 

For our third ride last week, we tacked up late morning. It was already hot, but not as humid. I decided to skip lunging. I was glad I did. Koda doesn't need lunging. I do a little just to find out where his mind is, and he can get some blood flowing before he has to carry me around.

We had another great ride in the outdoor arena! Walking, stretching, trotting, forehand turns, side passing over L shaped poles, and even a short amount of loping. He framed up and got the correct lead right away, both directions. Good boy Koda!! I didn't ask him to lope far, because I am not a light load and prefer easing into riding. I had already added a lot to this ride. He did everything I asked the first time, but I wanted to ride longer...so, we headed out for a nice field ride :))

We rode across one field, over the concrete driveway, past the farm equipment, towards the big hay field. A section of it borders the neighbors backyard, as well as the road. Um, I wasn't so sure about riding over by the road.
Brad mows a path around all our fields. We were a good safe distance from the road. A big ol' horse trailer drove past us. We wondered who they were, as we waved and continued along our path and onto other fields.

When we passed our pines, Koda wanted to head into the woods. Or maybe that was me. We have to do some serious tree branch trimming before that can happen. Soon, I hope. Really looking forward to riding among the pines again!!

Koda & Cierra


a summer project

If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know I am a lover of water. Oceans, lakes, ponds, streams, rain, puddles, pools, showers ~ all of them. Every single drop. I love how water feels, sounds, ripples and reflects. Inside and out ('er on). Let's just say water brings me great joy. I am not partial to any one type of water, welllll except for maybe showers. Ha, ha!  I love my showers, they might be my number one. 

We have zero water to enjoy on our homestead, unless it rains. Our original plans included possibly building ourselves another ornamental pond. We tossed around the idea of another pool. There was talk about the possibility of a wildlife pond instead. Brad thought maybe even a walk in type pond, that we could ride the horses into. Doesn't that sounds cool?!! The indoor arena won over all of these ideas. We both agreed, an indoor is much more useful than any outdoor water feature would ever be. Zero regrets.

All the water possibilities got pushed back down the wish list. I still miss water tho. Specifically our koi pond. Falling asleep to the sound of water gently falling is soooo heavenly!! The waterfall stream was right outside our bedroom window. Our pond was my happy place, now it's our woods. I absolutely adore our woods!! However, I still miss the soothing qualities only water offers. I spent many hours contemplating life, listening to the waterfall, while gazing across our pond and reflecting towards the eastern sky. 

my fav pink water lillies

I also miss the free feeling of moving in water, in o
ur above ground pool. After 13 years of pool fun & relaxation, Mother Nature brewed up a wicked windstorm and destroyed our pool. That sad day happened a few years before we moved here. So many pool memories were made throughout the years.

I thoroughly enjoy vast bodies of water, they are larger than life. To be respected and enjoyed with great care. I probably wouldn't feel so water-deprived, if I ventured out and enjoyed WI many beautiful rivers & lakes. However, for me that requires someone to enjoy them with. Brad isn't a water or boat guy. He grew up on a dairy farm, there wasn't time to leisurely appreciate water like I did. What is a poor water lovin' girl to do?

I would be happy with the sound of a bubbling ornamental zen type fountain thingee at home. Any water feature works for me. Instead, we took on a small Summer project ~ a Cowgirl Pool! I am sure you've heard of them. They were all the rage a few years back. I rationalized future potential use of a stock tank purchase, should an adult sized kiddie pool turn out to be a bust. 

We could always use the tank for what it was intended, a livestock watering tank. Or it could be used for a garden bed or even sunk in the ground for a pond. 

I just want to cool off, float and watch the sunset. Without having to drive somewhere or worry about what I look like in a swimsuit. An oval tank would work just fine for me. I even figured out a place where we didn't have to tear anything up and landscape. Brad was onboard but asked, what if I want to get in the pool? I replied: An oval stock tank seats two. Brad came back with: I would be facing the wrong way. Ohhh, gee. Yah. I guess Brad would be facing the house wall. That doesn't sound like fun. He asked if I would be okay with an 8' round stock tank, and the rest is history!

me and my floating shadow

Our Cowgirl Pool sits under the deck. Nothing fancy, like these. I decided to keep things simple (I can do that, once in a while!) and not paint our stock tank. It is partially shaded, except later in the day. I don't want to bake in the sun, that defeats the purpose.

We added noodles around the edge, to soften them. Then hung Edison lights for ambiance. I still want to add a bit of fun-ctional decor, but can't find anything that fits the vision in my head. I was thinking an old coat rack, or sturdy wooden divider to hang a hat & towel etc. I dunno. I will get it when I see it, or not. For now, our Cowgirl Pool is as done as it is going to get ~ and I LOVE it!!

can't swim laps, but flutter kicks and floaty fun work for me

Wanna know the best part?? The pump Brad installed circulates enough water, that it turns our Cowgirl Pool into a lazy river ~ wheeeeee!! 

The water was a little too cool earlier this Summer (our solar cover ordered online, never arrived...) but it is perfect now. I've been leaving the hose out in the sun, and adding heated water that way. It works!! Brad still hasn't enjoyed the pool, but you can bet I have! Our son said I have to stop calling it a Cowgirl Pool if I want him to get in it. He can call it whatever he wants. I call it my water fix.

my water fix



making new habits

We thought about it, talked about it, wanted to do it, and just didn't make it happen. Until today. It was hot and dusty, but we planned on it - so we rode anyway. It felt good, to just do it. We are going to **try** to make it a habit to ride at least two days a week at home. 

What a difference from last years restart!! I did everything with Koda myself, and way more than I planned on. Even tho I had my doubts. When Koda is good, he is golden. I was amazed with my boy tonight!! After eight-ish months of not being asked to do much of anything but lead to/from the barn, he did every single thing I asked. Without testing or complaining.

I fumbled around tacking Koda up, and he just waited. We were the first one out to the arena, and walked up one side and down the shaded half of the outdoor in hand first. Then moved onto a super short lunge session. We did a little over two circles each direction. Walked one circle, trot a little, lope a little, back to a trot, walk and whoa for the second-ish circle. Switch sides and repeat.

Koda did all the transitions the second I asked. It has been eight months, who is this horse? and where did sassy pants go? I was pleasantly surprised.

Somewhere along the way, Brad & Cierra had joined us in the outdoor. I watched them long enough to snap one pic and think to myself, it was really nice to see them riding together again. Cierra looked good.

Of course I decided to ride Koda. We kept that part short too. I didn't even go around the whole arena. We worked smaller circles around the mounting block at a walk (both ways) backed once, and tried circling at a trot. That felt all kinds of odd. Koda's trot is choppy to begin with, but I stopped trotting shortly after we started. He did nothing wrong, I just didn't like how stiff he felt. We bent side-to-side loosening up a little, and decided to head out of the arena. 

My plan was to ride around the exterior of the arena, and then dismount. He was being so good I could have easily taken him for a trail ride, but wanted to keep today's interaction short and sweet. Koda side passed over to the gate latch like he did it every day. We rode outside the arena, ducked under a tree branch that need trimming, and dismounted. I love my horse!!


good boy Koda


sunday stills ~ flowers/floral

Lillies are one of my favorite flowers. They are low maintenance with endless varieties. Many are scented, which I consider a bonus. Two years ago, I began to transplant my long time favorite ones. They went from clay soil at our previous home, to our current sandy loam. I had my doubts. They all survived, and are coming into their own this year. They say it takes three years. So far wildlife is leaving them alone. It thrills me to see familiar blooms that I've grown to love over the decades.

I'll apologize in advance, as this post is a little more about the lillies and a little less about unique photography. Ready to walk down lily lane?!!

May May

A small butter yellow daylily, that blooms profusely. It has a slight scent & reblooms.


A beautiful soft peach daylily (not this orange) that blooms profusely.
It also happens to be my younger daughters name. 

Charles Johnston

I transplanted multiple of these fav red & yellow daylilies. It has a scent & reblooms.

Mary Todd

A very vibrant yellow daylily, that blooms profusely.

hot pink & yellow ruffled daylily (name updated later)

Interesting that it is much happier after transplanting.
It lived next to our pond and was on the struggle bus for years.

It is so pretty, I couldn't leave it behind.

red & yellow double daylily  (Dixie something...)

I almost didn't bring this oldie.
It is a double from back in the day, when doubles first came out.

Yellow Asiatic Lily

Tall, sturdy and covered in extended blooms!

Orange Asiatic Lily

A shorter, reliable bright orange bloomer.

I transplanted a few others lilies not pictured, and left some varieties I didn't love behind. My oriental lilies, and my favorite trumpet Black Dragon need more time to flourish. If you get into lilies, you will quickly learn you can't have just one!!

visit more Sunday Stills ~ and have a bloomin' good time



disappointing learning process

Cierra's breeding window has closed. We had one last related vet appointment to recheck her, just incase. She is confirmed, not pregnant. 

It was a long disappointing learning process. Brad is guaranteed a live foal, but we couldn't even get past the breeding stage. Much to my surprise, he has already decided to try to breed Cierra again next year. He will be reviewing his AI contract and contacting the standing facility to go over details etc.

Moving forward, our vet suggests having Cierra bred for an early foal. 
He said we are set up for it, and feels our odds will be better. He would like her "under lights" in December, so her cycle will be regulated earlier. The plan would be to breed her in February. I am not sure if Brad will decide to keep Cierra home. I sure hope so, and I know he wants to. If so, we may need to make some additional adjustments to our barn. Not sure. It needs to be figured out. Maybe leaving the barn lights on 24/7 is enough, or it might require adding a (heat?) lamp to her stall. 

The vet tech chimed in, saying Cierra wasn't the only mare they re-bred multiple times that did not get pregnant this season. It is nice to know we are not the only ones, but it didn't really make me feel a whole lot better.

It was question time: I asked about infertility testing. The vet said it can/can't be done. They can take a tiny forceps sample of her uterus to send off for testing. However, even if those results comes back favorable a mares fallopian tubes could still be blocked. There is no way of knowing or test/equipment that reveals blockage.

I felt stupid asking my next question, but it turned out to be a valid one. I asked if we are getting less quality semen, because the stud is in demand? I mean, if they are constantly collecting... He said potentially, yes. There was one time for sure, where the semen they sent us did not look good. It was very watery/diluted. You get what you get. He feels it is better to get on the collection schedule earlier.

Our vet added, sometimes a stud and mare just don't match up for whatever reason. They have had cases where the stud was switched, and then the mare got pregnant.

When our vet collects from studs, they do two vials for a second day of breeding. That increases chances of catching ovulation at the right time. Apparently this standing facility doesn't automatically send double doses. Brad will be asking about the possibility. The vet said there are two schools of thought, and vets are pretty much split down the middle. 50% think one dose is all you need and the mare either gets pregnant or not. The other half, thinks a second breeding increases your chances. The latter makes sense to me.


2021 breeding timeline:
Feb 3: Cierra moves to heated barn

April 6 Check productive heat

April 8: first breeding

April 9: Uterine Lavage. I didn't blog about this, and don't know much about it. They found excess fluid in Cierra's uterus at her first breeding. Fluid was removed the next day. They said it is unrelated to her ability to get pregnant. 

April 27: not pregnant and Cierra comes home

April 29: second breeding and pregnancy check. Cierra had ovulated early. 

May 18: third breeding and pregnancy check. Cierra had ovulated early, again.

June 5: fourth breeding

June 23: not pregnant

July 7: still not pregnant (this post)

I wanted to recap my related breeding blog posts in one place. Note; some pregnancy checks were combined in the linked blog post. The dates correspond with breeding, not actual recheck dates. I hope for everyones sake, breeding goes better in 2022!!

A lot of people ask if Brad will show her this year, 
since Cierra isn't bred. He will not. That would hardly be fair, as you can see she is not in show condition. Cierra will continue to enjoy being a horse, at home with her herd. Brad will start riding her again, so she stays fit. 

Nom Nomm
"I may or may not be eating these weeds"

July 9, 2021


loud squawker's

Yesterday's hike-a-bout with the Labs was all kinds of interesting. You may recall it was cooler. So much, that I wore a flannel shirt and didn't get hot until the very end of my slow stroll. It lasted about 45 minutes, much to this guys dismay:

Tank waiting, again

I hauled my camera, altho I didn't expect to see anything interesting. I figured all the wild critters would be in hiding, sleeping in the fresh cool air. Mmmmm, it felt so good to not have thick air!! Birds were chirping away, but our trees are so full it is rare to actually see one.

Jameson & Tank did pretty good with my frequent ooh's and aah's, stopping to take photos with my camera and my phone.


smooth spiderwort, still blooming!


I've concluded I stink at identifying wild thangs. I checked the amazing wildflower resource Val shared with me, and searched google image for the two white flowers above. Many look similar, but foliage doesn't match up. My gardener brain said the top flower resembles baby's breath (it is not) and the second one looks like anemone foliage (it is not). No doubt they are common flowers. They could be flowering weeds, and not official WI wild flowers. We have a lot of white phlox blooming too.

Anywho, onto the rest of yesterday's walk - and - I am not even going to try to ID the rest of my finds!! You are welcome ~ ha haa!!

medium sized feather

a very large smashed egg

At first I thought perhaps the above was a smashed mushroom, but there are what looked like shattered shell edge pieces. No, I didn't touch it or spend too much time investigating. I didn't want to labs to slurp up whatever it is, or was. Bleh!!

only saw one winged wonder

We entered the pines and got the crap scared out of us (okay, just me) no less than three times. Enormous pterodactyl sized turkey BURST from the tops of the pines! I tried to get photos, but ~ ya, let's just say I wasn't holding my camera still. I was determined to fire away the third time, annnnd when they surprised me yet again my camera had fallen asleep. Sigh. It was a sizable flock, and all I could think of was I was glad I wasn't trail riding! The turkey are loud squawker's and fly overhead outta nowhere. They can be mean when they want to, but I had my trusty guard dogs with me. Tank would hide behind me, but I think Jameson would come to my rescue.

The rest of our hike was quieter entertainment. I found more 'shrooms:

ordinary small mushrooms popped up in many places 

I oooh'ed and ahhh'ed over these minuscule mushrooms

If you look closely, there are pink even tinier mushrooms growing to the left of the lowest white delicate mushroom. I didn't even see the pinky's, until I processed the photo. The white ones are very delicate looking. They have a thin single stem, with a cool design for an umbrella top. Apparently for stylish tiny woodland fairies to take cover from the rain.

I instantly thought of Val, when I saw this disgusting glob of who knows what?!! Ha ha, sorry but it's true. It looks like someone forgot their brains. I decided it was a glob of some kind of fungus, after all it was growing among mushrooms.

closeup with my iphone
caught an ant enjoying the weird delicacy

As I rounded the corner out of the main pine trail, there was Tank. Patiently waiting. Shown above. We continued with our hike, saw more of the wildflowers and ordinary mushrooms. These days, instead of crossing the tall hay fields we walk around the field borders on mowed paths (thanks Brad!) Tinkerbell hopped off the parked hay equipment and joined us on the last leg of our hike.

newer trail between the arena's
(Tank, Tinkerbell and Jameson)

We took the path towards the back of our indoor. It still looks the same. Piles of fines, dumpster and even a portapotty that no one uses. It continues to get cleaned regularly (what a waste of resources). Looks like it will remain until the builders finish up. We are now looking at end of July, maybe even August. I hope sooner than later. I am more than ready for Brad to be done endlessly working, and move on. I want to ride my horse!!

Tinkerbell was done walking with us.

She plopped down and hung out in the middle of our desert.

Our weather is suppose to continue to be pleasant through the weekend. I plan to enjoy more hikes among nature. However, before I completely bore you guys with my many observations ~ my next post will be more horse related. Y'all have a wonderful weekend!!



winged wonders

I took advantage of a break from Summers less than desirable weather offerings, and enjoyed getting reacquainted with the ever changing ecosystem we call our property. We had a string of wet weather, that produced interesting mushroomsThe very next day the labs & I hiked the property again, and they were all gone. So quickly.

I hauled my camera and didn't observe any changes. Nothing caught my eye. That is always a drag. Nothing like hauling a heavy camera around for nothing. It happens, to me.

It brightened my walk, when winged wonders started teasing me with their random flight patterns.
Talk about challenging action!! If you ever want a good laugh, watch someone trying to take a photo of a butterfly. If it's me, you might want to cover your ears.

After moving and leaving my beloved pond behind, I thought my dragonfly photography days were over. They are not as colorful here, but we have a lot of these fluttering all over the place:

Widow Skimmer link

I couldn't figure out why my camera had such a hard time focusing on a different dragonfly that caught my attention. After taking a closer look, I know why. Much of the wings are transparent. Not the best photo, but I am keeping it after how hard I tried. The transparent wings are so cool! 

no luck identifying it

In addition to dragonflies, I tried to photograph orange butterflies over the span of several days. They are sassy! So much, that I swear I heard one say "ohhh - you want to get closer to me" as it tried to land on my face!! I never did get a photo of it.

I was thrilled to find another orange butterfly soaking up the sun just outside our front door:

look at that curl!!


Once again, not much luck identifying an orange butterfly with those large spots. What is it? Besides pretty. The closest I found was a Great Spangled Fritillary. I used this link and also a great WI Butterfly website that keeps track of them. People report sightings here who knew?

A faded Red-spotted Purple (?) butterfly that has seen better days

We have a lot of butterflies at the bottom of our property where I encourage leaving some thistles and milkweeds growing for them. It is a hard balance, when trying to maintain weed free hay fields & pastures.


The Monarchs and Viceroys continue to avoid my camera, flying fast and high. Randomly. The dogs don't help with their constant "watcha looking at" behavior. Every. Single. Time I get close...yep, cover your ears. I should just leave the dogs in the house, but that is hard for me. They love our walks as much or more than I do.

We were back to high temps for the long July 4th holiday weekend. Including very de-motivating humidity and general Summer way too hot yuckiness. Bleh. We got rain yesterday and today it is nice and cool! I am off for a hike with the labs, to see what we can see.

Have a great day!!