• Essay — Toad you so

    • Thanks for sharing this!

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      ‘Neath the light of the sparkling stars,
      In the shadow of the moon,
      We heard within our garden fair
      An unmelodious tune.

      And so we searched and so we saw
      Binocular bulbs of woe
      A wide-mouthed pot-bellied squatter
      Croaking “I toad you so.”

      ~HL Carpenter

       

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      *****

      ***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

      HL Carpenter is a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at hlcarpenter.com.

      *****

      You might also like these posts

      Essay — Seeing red We're seeing red in Carpenter Country this week.
      Essay — Birds in the bath series — Blue Jay A feathered bit of sky landed in one of Carpenter Country's bird baths this week.
      Essay — Busy reading "Come pick up two books," the voice on the phone said.
      Essay — Garden Pests Carpenter Country's weekly dose-of-nature essays tend to reflect the beauty we see.
  • Essay — Seeing red

    • Thanks for sharing this!

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       
      We’re seeing red in Carpenter Country this week, thanks to a brief cold snap that convinced the plants fall had finally arrived.

      The Loropetalum, also known as Chinese fringe-flower, must have been anxious for summer to end, because she shifted to red very quickly.

       

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       
      Even though the cold spell lasted several days, some blossoms didn’t get the status update.
       

      Image source: HL Carpenter


       
      How quickly do you adapt when seasons change?

       

      *****

      ***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

      HL Carpenter is a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at hlcarpenter.com.

      *****

      You might also like these posts

      Essay — Birds in the bath series — Blue Jay A feathered bit of sky landed in one of Carpenter Country's bird baths this week.
      Essay — Busy reading "Come pick up two books," the voice on the phone said.
      Essay — Garden Pests Carpenter Country's weekly dose-of-nature essays tend to reflect the beauty we see.
  • Essay — Birds in the bath series — Blue Jay

    • Thanks for sharing this!

      A feathered bit of sky landed in one of Carpenter Country’s bird baths this week.

      Ms. Blue Jay thoroughly enjoyed splashing in the water.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      We enjoyed learning about how the inner structure of blue jay feathers creates a trick of light.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      Tiny pockets inside the feathers reflect the natural light and make Ms. Blue Jay’s feathers appear blue instead of brown, the color they actually are.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      Meanwhile, the gorgeous red of Ms. Cardinal’s feathers, seen here as she politely awaits her turn in the bird bath, comes from pigments that she gets from her diet.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      What did you learn this week?

      Emily Dickinson – Nature, Poem 51: The Blue Jay
      (Public Domain)

      No brigadier throughout the year
      So civic as the jay.
      A neighbor and a warrior too,
      With shrill felicity

      Pursuing winds that censure us
      A February day,
      The brother of the universe
      Was never blown away.

      The snow and he are intimate;
      I ‘ve often seen them play
      When heaven looked upon us all
      With such severity,

      I felt apology were due
      To an insulted sky,
      Whose pompous frown was nutriment
      To their temerity.

      The pillow of this daring head
      Is pungent evergreens;
      His larder — terse and militant —
      Unknown, refreshing things;

      His character a tonic,
      His future a dispute;
      Unfair an immortality
      That leaves this neighbor out.

      *****

      ***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

      HL Carpenter is a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at hlcarpenter.com.

      *****

       

      You might also like these posts

      Essay — Seeing red We're seeing red in Carpenter Country this week.
      Essay — Busy reading "Come pick up two books," the voice on the phone said.
      Essay — Garden Pests Carpenter Country's weekly dose-of-nature essays tend to reflect the beauty we see.
  • Essay — Busy reading

    • Thanks for sharing this!

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      “Come pick up two books,” the voice on the phone said.

      Bright and early the next day, we traveled to the library to collect our windfall and instead of two books found five best sellers waiting for our reading pleasure. Yep, FIVE! WOOHOO!

      We may not accomplish much work here in Carpenter Country next week. 🙂

       

      *****

      HL Carpenter is a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at hlcarpenter.com.

      *****

      You might also like these posts

      Essay — Seeing red We're seeing red in Carpenter Country this week.
      Essay — Birds in the bath series — Blue Jay A feathered bit of sky landed in one of Carpenter Country's bird baths this week.
      Essay — Garden Pests Carpenter Country's weekly dose-of-nature essays tend to reflect the beauty we see.
  • Essay — Garden Pests

    • Thanks for sharing this!

      Carpenter Country’s weekly dose-of-nature essays tend to reflect the beauty we see. That preference doesn’t mean we’re oblivious to other aspects of the natural world surrounding us, including those who recently turned the lush stand of four o’clocks into stalky skeletons of their former selves.

       

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      The culprits were not difficult to find.

      Among the tattered floral remains we discovered tent caterpillars eager to become moths

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      and eastern lubber grasshoppers dedicated to producing another year’s infestation.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      Yet even among the destruction, beauty survived, including this wild poinsettia, lover of sunlight and drought.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

      Do you see the world as it is?

      *****

      ***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

      HL Carpenter is a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at hlcarpenter.com.

      *****

      You might also like these posts

      Essay — Seeing red We're seeing red in Carpenter Country this week.
      Essay — Birds in the bath series — Blue Jay A feathered bit of sky landed in one of Carpenter Country's bird baths this week.
      Essay — Busy reading "Come pick up two books," the voice on the phone said.
  • Essay – Clearing the clutter

    • Thanks for sharing this!

      Some days the path ahead is cluttered with debris.

       

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      And some days the debris is bagged and ready for disposal.

       

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      Are you clearing the clutter from your life?

       

      *****

      ***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

      HL Carpenter is a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at hlcarpenter.com.

      *****

      You might also like these posts

      Essay — Seeing red We're seeing red in Carpenter Country this week.
      Essay — Birds in the bath series — Blue Jay A feathered bit of sky landed in one of Carpenter Country's bird baths this week.
      Essay — Busy reading "Come pick up two books," the voice on the phone said.
  • Essay — Storming our way

    • Thanks for sharing this!

      We wrote a book about a hurricane, and now, like our fictional hero in Jack and The Fountain of Youth, we are waiting to learn in what direction a potentially devastating storm will turn.

      And yet … here’s the view in Carpenter Country as of Friday afternoon. The sky is blue.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      The Spanish moss hangs motionless.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      The hummingbird moth flits through the plumbago.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      Surrounded by such peace, we might be tempted to believe the danger does not exist … but we are not.

       

      Because we have been forewarned, this is the view of the window of the Carpenter Country studio as of Friday afternoon.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      Have you prepared for what tomorrow may bring?

       

      *****

      ***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

      HL Carpenter is a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at hlcarpenter.com.

      *****

  • Essay — Lizards and snakes, oh my!

    • Thanks for sharing this!

      The hummers have migrated to their winter home. Fortunately, less flighty inhabitants of Carpenter Country are still here.

      The friendly anoles scramble through the shrubs and take care of garden pests year-round. This little guy was curious about the camera lens and brave enough to stick around while we snapped his picture.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      The Clouded Yellow butterflies ignored us as they flitted through the waning plumbago blossoms in search of a last bit of nectar.

       

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      And Mrs. Black Snake was on the hunt beneath the boxwoods. She’s gorgeous, and very shy. We felt fortunate to catch a glimpse of her.

       

      Image Source: HL Carpenter

       

      Each season has its own beauty. Are you living each as it passes?

       

      *****

      ***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

      HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter duo who writes family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at hlcarpenter.com.

      *****

      You might also like these posts

      Essay — Seeing red We're seeing red in Carpenter Country this week.
      Essay — Birds in the bath series — Blue Jay A feathered bit of sky landed in one of Carpenter Country's bird baths this week.
      Essay — Busy reading "Come pick up two books," the voice on the phone said.
  • Essay — In the weeds

    • Thanks for sharing this!

      We’re deep in the weeds in Carpenter Country this week. The heroine of our current work in progress wants to be a botanist, and weeds are part of her life.

       

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      Weeds are part of our life too, like the scrappy little sidewalk-dwellers pictured above and below.

       

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      We like to know the names of the flora surrounding us, and were disappointed that we were unable to identify the common yard weeds. After all, aren’t weeds simply flowers that grow where you’d prefer they didn’t? Every now and then we discover what we believed was a weed is actually a much-desired native, such as the Beauty Berry that covers the electric box in the front yard.

       

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      The flowers are growing wildly this year too, thanks to copious amounts of rain. Here’s a Green & Gold, bravely peeping out from amid a multitude of unnamed, thriving weeds.

       

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      While we were snapping shots of the weeds, we discovered the rain has also produced an abundance of insects. Fortunately, the local dragonfly platoon is dutifully patrolling the yard. This little beauty posed on the Weeping Yaupon Holly long enough for us to thank her for her work before she darted away to rejoin the army.

       

      Image source: HL Carpenter

      The Flower
      by Alfred Lord Tennyson
      (Public Domain)

      Once in a golden hour
      I cast to earth a seed.
      Up there came a flower,
      The people said, a weed.

      To and fro they went
      Thro’ my garden bower,
      And muttering discontent
      Cursed me and my flower.

      Then it grew so tall
      It wore a crown of light,
      But thieves from o’er the wall
      Stole the seed by night.

      Sow’d it far and wide
      By every town and tower,
      Till all the people cried,
      “Splendid is the flower!”

      Read my little fable:
      He that runs may read.
      Most can raise the flowers now,
      For all have got the seed.

      And some are pretty enough,
      And some are poor indeed;
      And now again the people
      Call it but a weed.

       

      Are you misjudging any of the flowers in your life?

      *****

      ***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

      HL Carpenter is the pen name of a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at hlcarpenter.com.

      *****

      You might also like these posts

      Essay — Seeing red We're seeing red in Carpenter Country this week.
      Essay — Birds in the bath series — Blue Jay A feathered bit of sky landed in one of Carpenter Country's bird baths this week.
      Essay — Busy reading "Come pick up two books," the voice on the phone said.
  • Essay — Web art

    • Thanks for sharing this!

      We’ve been busy in Carpenter Country this week, with a new project underway and an older project coming into the editing stage. But we still made time to admire nature’s art. We know, of course, that spiders communicate through the world wide web, and that every modern spider has a web site. We were still in awe of the size of this spider-silk creation we discovered in the plumbago. The patient spider sat in the very center while we snapped her picture.

       

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      Meanwhile, over in the lantana, the ants were as busy as we were, gathering nectar from the flower buds, and completely missing the wily stink bug who was watching them. See those antenna sticking up behind the cluster of buds on the right side of the picture? That’s Mrs. Stinkbug, keeping an eye out to make sure the two industrious ants left enough nectar for her afternoon snack.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

       

      The liriope bloomed this week, coloring the garden with charming stalks of purple flowers. Did you know liriope is also called lilyturf? The name liriope came from a nymph in Roman mythology. She was the mother of Narcissus.

      Image Source: HL Carpenter

       

      We’ve had a stunning show of hibiscus this summer too. These beauties bloom in fairly regular flushes, though each blossom lasts only a day.

      Image source: HL Carpenter

      What beauty did you make time to admire this week?

      ***

       

      ***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

      HL Carpenter is the pen name of a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at hlcarpenter.com.

      Also by HL Carpenter:

      Jack and The Fountain of Youth. Some people say the Fountain of Youth is a myth. Jack Ponsi Dileonardo Thomas knows better.

      The SkyHorse. Fourteen year old Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck–until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

      Dream Stealer. Is stealing a dream better than losing your own?

      Walled In. When her father is accused of fraud, seventeen year old Vandy Spencer discovers her entire life has been built on a heart-shattering deception.

      Pirate Summer. When her brother disappears, Josey is sure she knows where he’s gone. And the only way to bring him home is to travel two hundred years into the past with a boy she can’t trust.

      A Cause for Murder. Someone at Happy Haven is a killer. Septuagenarian sleuth Emma Twiggs navigates madcap mayhem, multiple mysteries, and murderous motives to discover who has a cause for murder.

      *****

      You might also like these posts

      Essay — Seeing red We're seeing red in Carpenter Country this week.
      Essay — Birds in the bath series — Blue Jay A feathered bit of sky landed in one of Carpenter Country's bird baths this week.
      Essay — Busy reading "Come pick up two books," the voice on the phone said.

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