Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oh Bugger :: What's Buggin' Out On Thursdays?

I'm a self-proclaimed naturalist researching the "bugs" in my life.  I use the term "bug" lightly and in very general terms so I include insects, spiders, and other related creatures.  I try to share a new bug every Thursday (but do not always get a chance).

My camera is a Canon Powershot G7.  As an amateur photographer simply pursuing what interests me, I've found that I truly enjoy taking photos of bugs and doing my best to identify them and learn more about their habitat and biology.
My Philosophy: To take photos of Texas wildlife and local insects in their environment without disturbing them or causing them harm.  My goal is to capture their likeness in a photograph, identify the specimen by research using credible internet resources, and share what I've learned with others.
Have you heard?  Buggin' Out On Thursdays has it's own index list including article titles, specimens, and dates published so you can find what interests you easily.

I often contribute my photos to the field guide at and can be found there as biologie.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Buggin' Out On Thursdays :: I've Got Spines but no Backbone

Spiny Orb Weaver by © 2010

The Spiny Orb Weaver, also called the spiny backed orb weaver, is known in Texas as a beneficial spider for the garden because they eat flies and mosquitoes.  A lot of people refer to these spiders as "crab spiders", however, they are actually orb weavers.  They make the beautiful circular spiderwebs that catch the morning dew. 

These little spiny spiders may look spooky but they are not considered dangerous.  While hiking in the woods outside Austin you may come across these guys in abundance!  They usually like to spin their webs in forested areas although they can be found anywhere - like on my canna lilies in my backyard where I found this one!  She would spin her web between the leaves of the lilies.  I visited her daily while I watered my flowerbed and missed her when she disappeared.

The spiny backed orb weavers have six pointed projections on their back, commonly referred to as "spines" and are very easily identified by this characteristic, as well as the patterned "face-shaped" coloring which can be white, yellow, orange, or red.  Some of these spiders have a white pattern with red spines. 

If you've been following my blog you may remember Peaches (a true crab spider) and my post on the Western Spotted Orb Weaver (also a true orb weaver like our little spiny backed friend).

  What kinds of bugs have you seen lately?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Saw Sawfly Larvae "Saw" :: Buggin' Out On Thursdays

© Hungry by

Alice would have a thing or two to say about these hungry munchers.  It  is a  Caterpillar Wonderland and the wild green vine is the complimentary buffet.  They may look like caterpillars but these are actually sawfly larvae.  

The sawfly is a mystery to most people.  The insect is part of the family of Hymenoptera and some species are considered "pests" because the larvae eat farmer's crops and damage foliage, eating the leaves outright (like mine) or eating the leaves from the inside-out.  

The adult sawfly can easily be mistaken for a wasp although they do not have stingers and do no harm to humans.  The female adult sawfly has a little "saw" called an ovipositor on her rear-end that she uses to cut open plant tissue and lay eggs inside.

I often use the leaves of my vine (which grows wild in my backyard near the fence-line during the spring and all throughout summer) to photograph my jewelry for sale in my Etsy shop because the leaves are a beautiful green and compliment a lot of my pieces:


Caterpillars and other insects love the vine and can devour large portions of it in a matter of hours.  This doesn't phase me a bit because the vine grows back as thick and pretty as ever within a few days to a week!  

Dr. Dave Smith, a sawfly expert, at identified these "bugs" for me and also told me this vine is part of the Cissus family.  This is a host vine for my sawflies, whose scientific name is Ceratulus spectabilis.  Further research shows the plant is a native of Central Texas and is commonly known as Sorrel Vine (Cissus incisa).  It's a great vine to grow in my area because it has a high heat tolerance and can be used in place of ornamental ivy.  I love the idea of growing native plant species in my backyard as opposed to using imported exotics.

Apparently, sawfly larvae choose to ignore the rule about not crapping where you eat:
 POO! ©

What kind of bugs have you seen lately?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Updo :: Troll Doll Hair-bun

The other day I was working in the garden and it was HOT so I put my hair up in a bun with two pencils, one of which has an old Troll Doll Pencil Topper I found at Goodwill. 

He's so cute!  Now, that's a high-fashion updo ~

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunshine Spotlight: Rebecca of Raige Creations

Biologie's Sunshine Spotlight: an interview with artisan Rebecca of Raige Creations.
Raige Creations - where Creating is all the Raige and where you can find hand-crafted items made by the wonderful Rebecca, today's featured artisan.  She makes many crocheted items of all kinds from cozies to purses, intimates, original stuffed animals and, soon, quilts.  When she doesn't have her hands full juggling her family schedule she often has her hands full of yarns or fabrics.

Beck loves to create and she's good at it too!  Her interests lie in friends, family and experimenting with new materials, including trying new things.  She's a very talented lady with a background in Business Administration and she has two online shops where you can browse her pretty creations on Etsy or Zibbet.  I'm  the proud owner of this adorable crocheted stick-shift cozie (pictured above) as well as some of her Easter egg cozies!

Here's a peek at Rebecca and what goes on behind the scenes of Raige Creations:

When did you first realize you were an artist and wanted to create?
I  am an artist? Really? I never considered myself one. Seriously though, I  am sort of uncomfortable calling myself an artist because I have never  been good at drawing or sculpting, and my Painting 101 class in college  hardly makes me a painter. Though my final painting in that class was  selected to be in the end of term art show, I think it was because my  teacher thought I was “most improved“.

I was actually introduced to  art at a very young age, and art and creation has been a large part of  my life since the beginning. One of the first memories I have is  sculpting a snowman out of Ivory Snow Powder.

I fully enjoy the  process of creating, but I consider myself more of an artisan lately, as  my current works tend to be of the more practical and crafting side.

Did  you come from a large family of creative people?
Though I never  considered both my father and mother artists, both sides did contribute  very much to where I am today creatively. My Mother was an artist and  photographer who had her own Photography business.  Her father was a  creator of sorts, a structural engineer (created bridges).  My Father  was a musician, definitely the practical thinker though not much of a  visual artist. I got my urge for creating things practical from him.   His mother was both practical and creative - creative by necessity. She  taught piano lessons throughout her life, sewed clothes, and then quilts  with the leftover fabrics. It is from her that I was inspired to try a  modified version of her Tied Quilts.

My husband is an artist by  trade and uses many mediums.  We have always had art in our lives and  exposed our own children to as much art and creativity as we could.  My  husband and I even opened our own internationally renowned fine art  gallery overseas several years ago. That venture was cut short in 2004  by a Category 4 hurricane but still remains a great chapter in our  lives, and we certainly were immersed in the art world and surrounded by  creative people: which we miss dearly but never could replace, to this day.

Have your children expressed an interest in pursuing a  career in art?
They have each had spurts of artistic desires, though  each in very different ways. Our heavy involvement in the arts may have  “cured” them of pursuing art as a career. You know they say your  children strive to be the opposite of their parents. And they have seen  the difficulties involved in making a living as an artist, so although  they each enjoy creating they may pursue a different career. Too early  to tell yet really.

Your blog has a wonderful post about  colorblindness. How do you choose which colors to put together when you  are making your items?
Thank you for the compliment regarding that  post. Our 2 sons are colorblind, so we have always found the subject to  be interesting.  I am ashamed to say I am a bit selfish when I create my  crocheted things.  I tend to use colors that I like, and create things  that I find useful, and beautiful.  I find it more difficult to create  when I do not totally love the color or item I am working with.   However, with the quilts I have made and am trying to make now, I choose  the colors based on who I am making the quilt for.  I find that I love  working on it because I think they will love it and appreciate it, and  understand the colors and materials that I am using.  With each I have  made, there is a story behind the fabrics and a special meaning for each  recipient.  I am currently making a quilt for my son, who is  colorblind, so I am choosing colors and images that he likes and using  materials that he picked. He wanted a quilt of his old favorite tee  shirts that he grew out of, so I know this one will be special for him.

Who/what  inspires or influences you?
I think what inspires me the most is the  people in my life, and the stories of life.  Most of the things I have  created were for those close to me, and/or in memory of those who were  in my life.  I also love the stories behind the creations because the  item takes on an added dimension with a history behind it. If there is a  great meaning or history behind the materials or items used, I am  inspired to create with those things and give them a new purpose.  The  fabrics I use in quilts are always fabrics that were used in a different  way in their ‘former life‘.  I create other crafts based on the story  behind them also, like the Sand and Shell Christmas Ornaments I made  while living in the Caribbean.  The story of the gathering of sand and  shells was a big part of the final product.  Those ornaments were more  that just sand and shells, it included the searching, the gathering, the  fun I had with my kids.  And I see those things more than just the sand  and shells in the ornaments each time I look at them.  The history and  meanings behind the creations are something I truly enjoy, so when I  find that meaning, I am inspired to create something that will carry on  the story.

What other interests do you have outside of  creating?
I am very interested in losing about 10 pounds, so I have  been working out with My Fitness Coach (on the Wii) almost every Monday  through Friday since I got it for Christmas.  I also like walking the  dog as it gives me time to think, enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, and  get some exercise. I do love to be outdoors, though it is difficult  during the winter here. During spring-time, I want to be outside as  much as possible, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.  I like to plant  flowers, and have tried Rhubarb and Asparagus with some success.  When  we get more land I would love to try a full vegetable garden.

Other  than that, I have found some interest in the stock market, since the  crash last year when things were quite cheap.  It has been interesting  to dabble in it here and there. As we all know, the interest earned on  savings in banks is next to nothing, so we thought entering the market  couldn’t be any worse than that, and we could have never entered into  the market at it’s previous levels.

And of course, the hubby and  kids, and their interests, generally take up the rest of my interests.

What  are Tied Quilts and have you been working on any lately?
Tied  Quilts, sometimes called mock quilts, are quilts that have its 3 layers  joined by a stitch of yarn, or string.  The loose ends of the yarn or  string are then tied together in a square knot.  The Complete Guide to  Quilting (my one and only quilting book that gave me the courage to try  quilting) says that tying is used when time is limited or when the fill  is too thick to be quilted.  True, time is always limited, and that is  one of the 3 reasons I began quilting tied quilts.  The main reason I  started with tied quilts is my Grandmother made tied quilts and I just  loved the looks of hers and wanted to create that simple, rustic look  with a  modern update. And the other reason I tried tied is that I was  very intimidated by the thought of hand quilting an entire quilt.  (I  can’t hand sew very straight, and my sewing machine is not for quilting).

I have 2 quilts I am trying to work on right now. The one is for  my son that I mentioned already. It will be made using tee shirts he has  grown out of, and he picked each shirt to go in the quilt.   I am also  supplementing with his once favorite camouflage pants he grew out of. and  I  am also making one for my daughter.  It is a surprise for her - she has  no idea I am making one for her or that I have been saving fabrics for  this.  It will be made from a selection of materials that she loves, or  loved at one time.  I have saved clothes she grew out of such as  embellished jeans and velvet dresses, the material we used to create our  first teddy bear, and the cheetah/leopard print material we made a  pillow out of for her room.

Plus I am trying quilted coasters,  inspired by the Flannel Quilt I made for my husband last year.

When  did you learn to create baskets from hemp?
I am a self taught hemp  basket creator.  I first tried to crochet with it a few months ago. It  is a very durable, natural material and I love the look of it crocheted.   I had attempted my first original crocheted yarn basket at the  beginning of this year, not using any pattern.  (I seldom use patterns,  and thus there is a lot of trial and error).  I loved the results of  that.  I find I am very drawn to baskets and love their practical  function with the aesthetic beauty, and thought the hemp would really  make different and attractive basket.  So I gave it a try just about a  month ago, the beginning of April.  After starting one, ripping it out  (it looked terrible) and starting over, I was off to a great start.  I  didn’t anticipate the need for band-aids, but not even halfway through  the first try, my fingers were raw!  Once I put 2 band-aids on, I was  all set to finish.  Though it is difficult to crochet, I actually love  doing it and plan to take another stab at it soon! I also want to try to  dye the hemp different colors to create colorful baskets.

What  is one medium you have always wanted to work with but have not as of yet  had the opportunity to do so?
It is hard to think of one I haven’t  at least tried that I was interested in. I was lucky to have been able  to try all kinds of mediums while growing up.  I even learned stained  glass and tried airbrushing (tho’ be it airbrush tattoos) a few years  ago.

I do want to try mosaics next.  I have this urge to break  plates and china.  I had this compulsion to buy china sets for cheap at  auctions a few years ago and seem to have a lot of plates and  dinnerware.  I see plates and china now and think, “Oh, I would love to  break them into little pieces!“  Then I would like piece them together  in different ways to create something totally different than their  original purpose.

I also would love to figure out something to do  with rocks.  For some reason, my family collects rocks. We have rocks  everywhere, from anywhere and everywhere we have ever been.  We have  trekked rocks from Iowa all the way to the Caribbean and back, gathering  more from the Caribbean, then Maine, North Carolina, Florida, and of  course New York where we live now.  How can you create something special  and practical with rocks besides a wall? Oh, hey - there’s an idea!

Where  do you see yourself in 5 years?
Creating a rock wall with pieces of  broken plates in it, in Asheville, NC.  We do plan on moving this  summer to NC where, hopefully, art and creation still will be a large  part of our lives, all be it on a smaller, less formal and demanding  scale.

Thank you Rebecca for letting us get to know you better and for all your inspiring and creative ways to enhance our lives in not only practical but artistic and heartfelt ways!

Beck and her family are now in the process of preparing for their move to North Carolina.  She was recently appointed as a columnist at and you can read more about her creations on her blogspot at Raige Creations or check out her Facebook page!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chilled Gazpacho Soup Recipe :: Low Sodium Fat Blaster!

Gazpacho is the taste of summer.

Chilled and served in either a mug or spooned into a bowl, this soup is similar to Vegetable Juice but in a fresh, hearty, tangy, peppery way that takes things to the next level in comparison.  There are many different ways to make this soup and today I'm sharing my personal recipe.  You can control the levels of flavors and spice to your preference but I like to add extra Tabasco to turn up the heat.

If summer brings you a bumper crop of vegetables, this is the perfect way to use them quick and gobble them down even faster!  This is a chilled soup that everyone can appreciate because it's full of health, flavor, and refreshment.  Just the thing to help take the edge off a day of hard work in the outdoors under the hot sun.

Because this is my personal recipe, it contains only a little salt, however, the use of white wine makes up for the lack of sodium and adds a delicious level of flavor!

Gazpacho Soup by

Serves 10


  • 28 ounces canned tomatoes, no salt added or low sodium
  • 3 C low sodium tomato juice
  • 2 1/2 C cucumbers, diced
  • 1/2 C carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 C each green and red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 shallots (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 C red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 C fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 C each fresh oregano, basil and parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce (or to taste)


In a food processor or blender, process the tomatoes, tomato juice, cucumbers, carrots, green and red bell peppers, onion, shallots, & garlic until smooth.  Transfer to a large pot.  Whisk or stir in vinegar, lime juice, paprika, herbs, white pepper, and Tabasco sauce until thoroughly combined.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld and the soup to chill.  Serve in mugs or small bowls with a hunk of fresh bread on the side.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Distractions: Meet Hunter!

My husband and I adopted a new puppy this summer.  She's a hound dog mix and she's just ridiculously adorable.  Her superpower is Broken Heart Mending.  If you are feeling down, pick up and snuggle a sleepy puppy and you will know exactly what I mean!

Among other things, she's one of the reasons I've been so distracted from Blogging this summer but things are becoming a little more routine again so I'll be back to regular blog posts soon!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Buggin' Out On Thursdays :: I'm Molting! A Metamorphosis.

Today is Buggin' Out On Thursdays and this little grasshopper's outer skin is the star of the show!

Did you know grasshoppers molted and left a perfectly intact outer casing of their former self hanging around?  I never really thought about it until I found this skin casing hanging upside-down from one of my flower's stem.

Not only was that interesting enough for me but I also noticed the actual baby grasshopper very close-by trying to hide from me and my camera:

After a little research I found out more than I ever wanted to know about the way these insects metamorphose into adult grasshoppers.
  • As insects grow and develop, they molt at intervals, changing structures and their form. This process is called metamorphosis.
  • A number of insects undergo gradual (simple) metamorphosis, such as grasshoppers. With this type of metamorphosis the insect that hatches looks like the adult except for its smaller size, lack of wings, fewer antennal segments, and rudimentary genitalia.
    • After shedding the serosal skin, the newly hatched nymph is called the first instar. After each molt the instar increases by one so that the nymph consecutively becomes a second, third, fourth, and fifth instar. When the fifth instar molts, the grasshopper becomes an adult, as called an imago.
    Now you know more than you ever wanted to about those darn grasshoppers who chomp on all your plants and garden vegetables!  You remember my bug butt post about those bugs stuck in the mud?  Well, here's a picture of another bug butt - this time in the form of a molted skin casing.

    What kind of bugs have you seen lately?

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Hummingbird Live Cam :: Nestling hatched on Mother's Day!

    This is Phoebe, a non-migratory Channel Islands Allen's Hummingbird living in Southern California where she is raising two newly hatched baby hummingbirds named Hope and Hoku.  I love hummingbirds!

    I'm a blog follower of TexasEagle Talks and today I ran across her post about this Live Hummingbird Nest Cam.  Visit the Phoebe Allens Web Cam to see Phoebe and her two nestlings!

    As soon as I laid eyes on them I instantly fell in love with Phoebe and her two new hatchlings.  She's built her nest in a rose bush.  The nest is made out of feathers, spiderwebs, plant fibers and lichen.  When she laid her eggs the owner the of webcam, Joe, said they were about the size of a tic tac mint!  His website,, has the live streaming webcam as well as facts, a chat room, and other information about how it all began when a little hummingbird kept coming back each Spring to their rosebush to make a nest.

    Hope hatched on Mother's Day and Hoku just a day later.  To tell the babes apart, Hope has a blue tint to her body and is a little bigger than Hoku, who is brown in color.  

    In addition to the Live Hummingbird Cam, I love to look in on the Sydney, BC Eagle Cam which has a nest with one baby eagle named Solo being reared by his parents.

    Live Wildlife Web Cameras including channels dedicated to falcons, loons, eagles, robins and a house wren can also be found at WildEarth.TV.

    Do you have any favorite live wildlife cams?  If so, leave a comment and please share them with me.

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Origami Hummingbird Tutorial

    Today I am sharing with you a video I found on on how to make a folded origami Colibri Hummingbird.  This is my first origami hummingbird and it looks a little beat up because I had no clue what I was doing but I followed the video by Cheung Nga Chun on YouTube.  He has since deleted the video so here is one that is very similar and the maker sells special printed origami paper for the design:

    The colibri (hummingbird) is a sacred symbol for the Taino Indians, pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. Because the hummingbird is a pollinator and therefore disseminator of new life it is sacred to the Taino people. It symbolizes the rebirth of the Taino Indigenous Nation in the Caribbean. The bird is found on many Caribbean islands, but the most sacred species is the Guani, which 500 years ago inhabited all the islands, but today is confined to Cuba. Although the smallest of the Caribbean hummingbirds, only about the size of a penny, it is known by the mountain people as the most noble warrior of the valiant Colibris.

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    Buggin' Out On Thursdays Is Back! Meet Mothman

    Every year in May I get little earthy green and brown moths hanging out on my kitchen window. I call this one Mothman because from the underside he looks a little bit like Spiderman clinging to the outside of the window. I'm not sure what these moths are but I have an identification request in at so I'm hoping to update this blog post with the exact genus and species as soon as I hear anything from the wonderful people at the website. In the meantime it's fun to speculate about this "fuzzy" looking character with the big, black eyes!

    My first guess after researching a bit was that this moth is a smaller parasa called Parasa chloris. However, I've learned today that smaller parasa moths have a green thorax (what looks like the top of his fuzzy head in above photo) and my guy has a brown one so he must be a Euclea. More precisely, E. incisa or E. delphinii.

    In any case, my Mothman belongs to the Family of Slug Caterpillar Moths (photo credit). The caterpillars of these moths are colorful with spiny stingers so if you see any pretty little wormie sluggers - admire but don't touch! These guys in caterpillar stage like to feed on oak, willow, and other deciduous plants. They better stay off the 1000 year old Granddaddy of all Coastal Live Oaks I recently blogged about though!

    So back to identifications, the more I look at my moth the more I think it's Euclea delphinii. It's interesting to see what other Bug Huggers think about this one: follow the discussion taking place right now.


    moth - probably a Smaller Parsa moth (Parasa chloris)

    Just Hangin' Out!

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    The Big Tree :: Ever Wonder What A 1000+ Year Old Tree Looks Like?

    photo: Big'un © Biologie.

    "The Big Tree" at Goose Island State Park in Texas is said to be the oldest living coastal live oak tree in the Nation. To give you an idea of it's "gorgeous oakiness of grandeur" (as I like to call it), you may use my family and other visitors on the far side of the tree as a size reference in the above photo! Wow!

    The tree is a hop, skip and a jump from the coast of Aransas Bay and "he" is part of a family called Coastal Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana). These trees don't have the typical large, lobed oak leaves of the big oaks found further North. Rather, the leaves are small and ovoid.

    In addition to allowing visitors to gaze happily at the wonderful mighty oak, Goose Island State Park also offers camping, birding, and fishing. You can sign up to borrow fishing gear through their "Loan A Tackle Program" if you forget your own equipment.

    It's also a nice park for picnicking, nature study, wildlife observation, and photography. If you are a boater you'll be happy to note that the park even allows boats with motors! Also, there are guided nature hikes year round and guided birding tours are held from January through April. Unfortunately our visit was too short to take full advantage of all the activities offered, but we did enjoy the drive to see the handsome oak with it's gnarly branches and wonderful shade!

    The Big Tree's girth is around 35 feet and it's branches make up a 90 foot canopy! Even though it's surrounded by a protective fence, you can check out the behemoth of a tree from all angles by following a circular paved pathway all the way around. When you walk up to the tree along the path you will pass it's offspring in the grove.

    While my family was in Rockport for vacation my niece, Ahlyssa, picked up a list of "51 Things To Do" while we were there and that big ole beautiful tree was on the list, I'm so happy to have seen it and what a great time we all had that afternoon!

    We visited The Big Tree in early April and found it surrounded by pretty Texas wildflowers of Orange Globe Mallow and Pointed Phlox. This photo (below) reflects my mood today, bright and shiny!

    Orange Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea munroana) and Pointed Phlox (Phlox cuspidata) Wildflowers
    photo: © Biologie-me. FLICKR

    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    In Remembrance Of. :: And, What's a Treasury on Etsy?

    Photo: Cherry blossoms / Sakura / 桜 by Tanaka-san

    Definition of The Treasury from the Etsy Blog:
    "Satisfy your inner curator — Treasury to the rescue! The Treasury is an ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery of handpicked items. Members can feature their favorite items, items selected on a theme or just whatever they like. The Treasury is not intended for self-promotion, but instead to acknowledge and share the many cool things for sale on Etsy. Etsy’s staff (“Admin”) often choose whole or partial exceptional Treasury lists to promote to the featured, handpicked items on Etsy’s home page. Treasury lists are temporary and limited in number, so there is some competition involved in creating a list of your own."
    In addition to the Treasury on Etsy, there are places to find "anti-Treasuries". An "anti-Treasury" is an off-site collection, usually posted on personal blogs, put together by members of Etsy who didn't get a chance to grab a treasury spot on the Etsy website. Anti-Treasuries are also a kind of protest to the fact that Treasury lists on Etsy are temporary and limited in number! Showing up in a Treasury or an anti-Treasury is a wonderful compliment!

    To help all the starving artists at Etsy promote their wares, the hamsters have been running the wheels a lot lately to crank out a beta version of the Treasury called Treasury East and Treasury West. My Cherry Blossoms Necklace is featured in a Treasury West list curated by Linn of EarCandyArts: Quiet Cherry Orchard. For Cat.

    Linn of EarCandyArts is a fellow Etsian and makes beautiful earrings that are so yummy-pretty her friend said they look like candy. That's how she got her shop name! Not only that, but her gorgeous earrings come as a pair with a spare so when you lose one (it's inevitable) it's mate won't end up a lonely earring at the bottom of the jewelry box. Also, Linn is part of a team called Etsy Project Embrace (EPE) "whose main purpose is to create awareness and support for people who have been diagnosed with Cancer, whatever kind it may be. " The Quiet Cherry Orchard Treasury is in honor and remembrance of a fellow member of the EPE Team, Cat, a photographer and jewelry designer who passed away Monday, April 19th.

    May Cat be in the peaceful orchard of Heaven's Garden.

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Spring Wildflowers Bringing Hope

    My mom has Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. We learned about the diagnosis this past weekend. All the days are running together and it has been (and still is) extremely hard news to swallow for me and my family. While the world kept turning and the wildflowers kept blooming and the sun kept shining, I found myself looking out in a haze of gray, as if seeing everything through a dark veil across my eyes.

    My mom is a very strong, optimistic lady with incredible faith. She's doing okay, as a matter of fact she's doing amazing under the circumstances. She's not as much afraid for herself as she is for what this is doing to her family. Because of her, I'm starting to see the light again. I think we are all slowly coming out of our initial shock. Her doctors are starting her on an aggressive therapy to suppress her immune system so she can receive an allogeneic stem cell transplant. Our hope is that everything will go smoothly without complication so we can get her back to "normal" within the next 6 to 8 months.

    Therefore, in the name of Hope and Love, I share with you these photos of the recent wildflowers I've found growing in my backyard:

    The blue flower is Prairie Spiderwort and I was very surprised to see it growing along my back fence! The pretty orange-red with yellow borders is Indian Blanket, one of my favorite Texas wildflowers. Lastly is a little red flower with feathery leaves that I have yet to identify. If you know what is it, please let me know because I love to identify wildflowers, especially the ones growing spontaneously in my backyard!

    Here's a list by date of the Spring 2010 wildflowers I've documented in my backyard:

    Spring 2010 Backyard Wildflowers

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Think you can read me like a book?

    Maybe! But you can definitely read me like a blog post at the Raige Creations blog where I'm honored to say I am a Featured Creator!

    Read more: Biologie In Art - Featured Creator

    Rebecca @ Raige recently awarded me with the Sunshine Award. I'm feeling the love. Everyone needs sunshine and all the blogs I follow deserve this award so I nominate them all! To see a list of the blogs I follow please see my Profile.

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Rockport Sunrise On A Cloudy Day

    Rockport is a great little town on the Texas Gulf Coast. We took a little vacation there with family this past week. It was nice to get away for awhile and I think we needed a change of scenery! Nothing better than waking up and throwing open the curtains to a waterfront view of the sunrise over Aransas Bay!

    Our trip included BBQ's and a crab boil at the picnic spot right off the water, fishing on the 1000 foot long pier, crabbing and eating the freshest seafood, including the best oysters on the half shell I've ever had plus lots of walks down the bay front road with our two dogs and family.

    We also visited The Big Tree at Goose Island State Park, the Lamar Cemetery, Rockport Beach Park, and a beautiful place named Schoenstatt!

    Here's a photo I took while we road the Ferry Boat to Port Aransas:

    I have a lot more pictures to share plus suggestions on what to do if you ever find yourself in the charming Rockport-Fulton area. More to come!

    Saturday, April 3, 2010

    Happy Easter

    My natural brown eggs don their Sunday Best!

    I bought these adorable Egg Cozies from Raige Creations' shop on Etsy.

    Aren't they too cute for words?

    Drop by her blog and say hello, here.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful and Happy Easter!

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Bluebonnets Tell Bees Which Flower To Pollinate :: Nature In Harmony!

    Last month I mentioned bluebonnets are the state flower of Texas:
    The very first bluebonnet I photographed in my backyard this year was very young and none of the flowers on the spike had been pollinated yet. You can see my blog post about the "baby" bluebonnet, here.

    How do I know if the blossom has been pollinated?
    When the bees pollinate the bloom, the white section in the center of the little "bonnet shaped" flower turns a pinkish-red. My blogger friend, Hali, mentioned she'd like to see the color change and I promised a photograph so today it's time to deliver!

    Here we go:

    Why the color change?
    Bees don't interpret colors the same way humans see colors. They see the world in colors of blues, greens, and ultra-violet light. They can also see oranges and yellows. They can't see the color red.

    Since bees can't detect the color red the flowers of the Bluebonnet have adapted to save energy and time for both the bees and the flower. The flowers want to be pollinated so they can produce a seed and continue the cycle of life. They bloom and present a pleasing flower of blue with a white (or yellow) center to attract pollinators. The bees can see the bloom no matter what the color, however, that center of white or yellow is the key attractant. As far as the bluebonnets are concerned, they want the bees to ignore a flower that has already been fertilized and move up to a flower on the spike with a white or yellow center (colors bees are attracted to and can "see").

    In a nutshell, the reason the center of the bloom changes color is to encourage the pollinators to move to a flower on the bluebonnet spike that still needs pollination.

    Nature in harmony!
    The way bees and flowers work together is called symbiosis. Symbiosis is a relationship between two organisms of different kinds which benefits both organisms. Yay!

    Go forth and bloom! :)

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Cherry Limonade Beverage Recipe :: Easy and Refreshing

    Try this refreshing drink to quench your thirst.

    After hiking or biking the trails there is nothing more refreshing than a Cherry Limónade. It's so easy to whip up and it's addictive!

    Here's my recipe:

    Cherry Limónade Drink Recipe by Biologie.
    Serves 1.

    • 1 Cup ice
    • 1/2 Cup Limeade
    • 12 0z can of Cherry 7up or similar soda pop (diet or regular)
    • 1 maraschino cherry
    • 2-3 slices fresh lime

    1. Add one cup of ice to a 20-ounce Mason jar.
    2. Pour limeade over the ice, add flavored soda pop and stir.
    3. Top the drink off with a cherry and fresh lime slices.


    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Buggin' Out On Thursdays :: Mystery of the Bug Butts

    Found! Bug butts sticking out of some dried mud on a fence post has me stumped! What were they doing there? Are those wasps butts? Did they nestle in from the cold and get frozen in time? How bizarre!

    It's Buggin' Out On Thursdays!

    Here's a close-up (below) of one of them sticking out of the mud.

    What is it?

    What kind of bugs have you seen lately?

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    My Veggie Garden :: Attempt Two

    Photo: Raised Bed Veggie Garden © Biologie.

    My raised bed vegetable garden is now a total of 36 square feet. That's still small but at least I have a little more room to work with than I did last Fall. I planted my new Spring vegetable garden on Monday and tied a soaker hose along the top of the beds. After I had it all hooked up I realized it would have made more sense to line the soaker hose along the inside of the beds so I might re-do all that before the plants really start taking off.

    Last fall I planted a pesticide-free vegetable garden of mostly squash. My beautiful and healthy squash plants were devastated by squash vine borers. I even took a picture of one of the adult moths (pictured left) sitting on my squash leaf and wondered what kind of bug it was but I forgot to identify it, to my later chagrin.

    The vines went from thriving and blooming big gorgeous flowers to withered and dying, practically overnight. The squash plants had been attacked from within by the larvae of the squash vine bugs and I couldn't see the damage until it was too late! The adult female lays her eggs at the base of the plant and when the larvae hatch they burrow inside the stem and begin eating the plant alive from the inside! After they are finished with the buffet, they exit the stems and work their way into the ground to pupate and emerge the next spring to start the cycle all over again.

    To manage the menace of squash vine borers, the first step is to know what the adults look like and keep an eye out for them. Organic controls are outlined at the National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service: Squash Bug and Squash Vine Borer.

    I'm spraying the new transplants with a home-made organic pepper spray recipe my dad uses on his garden. I'm not sure if it will keep the borers at bay but it does help keep off the bugs that like to chomp the leaves.

    Organic Pepper and Garlic Spray

    • dishsoap
    • several cloves of garlic
    • 6-10 hot peppers (hotter the better!)
    • 1 gallon water

    Place garlic, peppers and a small amount of your water in a blender/food processor and puree. NOTE: Avert your face when you take the lid off because the fumes are very strong. Strain the mixture and add the liquid to your gallon of water.

    When you are ready to use the solution on your garden, fill up a spray bottle, add 2 tsp dish soap, shake and spray every few days on the tops and undersides of plants and leaves until the pests are under control.

    Shake well before each use.

    Here's my newly planted Spring 2010 Veggie Garden!
    My Spring 2010 Veggie Garden Mosaic
    Wish me luck and Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    BlueBonnets :: The State Flower of Texas

    First Bluebonnet of Spring 2010!

    The Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) is the state flower of Texas. They are just now starting to bloom in my backyard. I hope we have a ton of them this year. Last Spring we had very little rainfall so I didn't get very many.

    I love these pretty blue flowers which grow in a spiked cluster, each one shaped like a little bonnet. When the individual blooms are pollinated, the white centers of the flowers turn a pinkish red.

    Bluebonnets also come in colors of pink, white, and Texas A&M maroon! I've only had the blue ones growing naturally in my backyard and wouldn't consider scattering the seeds of the other colors because my favorite one is the blue.
    "It's not only the state flower but also a kind of floral trademark almost as well known to outsiders as cowboy boots and the Stetson hat. The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland." -Jack Maguire, historian

    Documenting the wildflowers that are coming up in my backyard this Spring is so much fun! I can't wait to see what's next.

    Here's what's been springing up so far:

    Spring 2010 Backyard Wildflowers