Come to the Cone! #flowers #photography

Since we lived in Costa Rica I have been addicted to photographing all things small-those magical wonders so easily passed over and subsequently ill appreciated.

It was a simple thrill for me to photograph small gardens where butterflies fed on the nectar of cone flowers as bees gathered golden treasure to spread from bloom to bloom before returning to the hive in a world where the secret life of insects played out while we went about our own doings, all too often oblivious to such miracles.

I simply had to have cone flowers in my space this season; and although they are in pots, I am nurturing them to welcome all small creatures who come to pay homage to The Cone.

Here are a few of the earliest visitors.

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The Imposter, with false feelers on its wings to fool predators
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The Alien with its metallic like body
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The Doppleganger beetle, looking like a small chic cockroach
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See the intricate design swirls on its back?

Now, if you are waiting on the edge of your seat for the scientific facts about these small wonders, you should relax, sit back and remember that I am merely the eye of the photographer who draws attention to these tiny treasures. I am not an entomologist. But I would like to learn more about these insects. Maybe when I finish taking photos….

Finding Food #1LinerWednesday

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“Hey, a guy’s gotta’ eat!”

During the time we lived in Costa Rica, I had the opportunity to observe and photograph so many beautiful and interesting animals and insects. During our own Spring here in the US, they are going through the hot, humid season that precedes the rainy months in CR, when things are washed down and made ready for the renewal that comes for them during our cold Winter months. During this hot time the natural fruits and vegetation that many of the animals feed on becomes very sparse. They get really resourceful in order to survive. This Capuchin monkey was using a piece of bark shredded from a cut tree to dig around inside for the termite delicacy he dined on. A lot of work for a small reward. We could learn a lot by looking more closely at this world’s original inahbitants.

Check out Linda’s space for more great #1LinerWednesday posts and enter her badge contest for the next year’s running.

Affirmative, Captain #SoCS

We need to get this straight. I will affirm here and now that I have felt less than inspired in the last week. I’m working on the novel-still…maybe forever..but really loving the progress. It is just not something one can easily do at the end of a work day or week, popping from pragmatic, ordered thinking into fanatstical dreaming reality.

Affirmative, Captain.

I mean I usually can, but lately the world has just felt so…heavy. I affirm I am not a fan of old Man Winter. And I love men in general. Just not sadistsic, self indulgent, harsh and cold troublemaking men. Just why Mother Nature has him in her circle is beyond me. But then, taste in friends is always quite subjective isn’t it? It takes all kinds of people to make a world. If we were all alike we would either be hugely bored or constantly fighting ourselves.

 

I affirm that life is wearying at times, and when I was younger I held older people in the highest regard, seeking their wisdom, understanding and encouragement. For the most part I am exposed to situations in which older people are viewed and treated as outdated, stupid or at best uninformed, and gulity of some heinous crime of destruction that most of them are completely unaware. Perhaps the crime is just being older than 30. I thank God each day my children are not this way.

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When I was in the Christian church growing up, we were taught to always put yourself in others’ shoes, to empathize and express compassion. There was a humbleness in being a child of God. I suppose there has always been a double edged sword aspect to religion..any of them, just as there is duality of spirit within each of us. I just know that I would rather stand quietly alone, with my hand in His, than stand with a mob of angry, accusatory, self righteous finger pointers whose main goal is to be the best, the biggest and the chosen. Since when did being a Christian become a popularity contest?

I affirm that God’s greatest gifts exist all around us, that peace can be found in the tiniest miracle of life, that entertainment is free in Mother Nature if you just take a moment to breathe and to feel her presence. Soul healing does not exist in a book or a prayer. It is in your own hands, the ones given to you in this life. Perhaps we should stop shouting, ”God, save us!”

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Maybe it’s time to whisper, “God help us to save ourselves.” We have to stop making our own messes then blaming everyone else for them,  which includes..

No, honey, the devil did not make you do it. We all have a choice and the light and dark exists in every one of us.

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affirm that when I love someone it is forever, even if you choose to cast me aside. Anyone who has ever found a place in my heart will remain there forever, and my family means more to me than anything. If they hurt, I hurt. When they are in pain, it is mine. When they are happy, my world is perfect. I know no other way.

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I love the friends I have made here, in this magical realm of blogging, where like minds can meet and feel less alone, share ideas and laughs. We all do such a wonderful job of encouraging, lifting one another up and being there. Thank you to any and all who have done this for me. And if you feel like a beer check out Dan’s frozen corner of the world. Now, he has some Winter tales…

I affirm that I am ready for Spring, budding flowers, buzzing insects and balmy breezes. Meanwhile, we can always dream..in fact I must insist that you dream with me, or we might not see her face again!

 

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What do you see when you step outside?

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Thanks to Linda Hill and her #SoCS prompt, ‘affirm’.

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Bits of Paradise/#1LinerWeds

The weather forecast for San Isidro el General de Perez Zeledon….

 

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Sunny. With a chance of hot. In the “Winter” of Costa Rica. Our cold months here are their most pleasant. Of course, in San Isidro most nights in the mountains are very cool to chilly.  But the days are hot, so it was best to be prepared when visiting…the ticas know how to stay cool.

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Find a nice spot (La Reyna), order some beers ( yes, that IS ice) and maybe some food….

Simole and delish. Then watch the world roll by from the balcony. Oh! And you musn’t forget the entertainment.

 

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I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. We spent at least one Thanksgiving in the land of Pura Vida. No, it is not easy to find a turkey there. But, frankly, it was the last thing on our minds…

Visit Linda Hill’s page for more great #1Liner Weds posts.

A World of Life in One Country/Costa Rica

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Imagine a land of bio diversity, a relatively small country that has an enormous variety of wildlife due to its neotropical climate and varying habitats. This peaceful, ecologically responsible land is home to more than 500,000 species, respresenting nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide. It is one of the 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in  the world. Of these species, a little more than 300,000 are insects.

The fact that, along with Panama Costa Rica formed a bridge between North and South America around three to five million years ago allowed the very different flora and fauna of the two continents to mix.

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From the magic of washed up trees on a beach in Domincal, Nature’s gallery of artistic perfection-random and beautiful-to the most minute eco system warriors that might go unnoticed if not for my viewing life through the zoom lens of a Nikon camera-my constant companion when we lived there.

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Flag Footed bug loves feeding on passion flower vines
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Leaf cutter ants, one of 47 species of leaf-chewing ants and can carry 20 times their body weight.

We discovered hundreds of leaf cutter ants right next to the beach, which extends from the jungle that borders the volcanic mountains of Costa Rica. Just look at the bio diversity in that last sentence!

 

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From the rich colors of dozens of birds we saw every day..

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To my friends, the iguanas and lizards that graced our doorstep with their presence daily, waiting for a few bread crumbs and a chance to be immortalized on digital memory!

Every day was filled with such diversity, often without leaving my front porch. I loved hanging out with the fun, freaky, fantastic family of nature in the land of Pura Vida.

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Nature is constant. So must we nurture it, accept its presence and necessity in our lives and embrace all that the world has to offer.  We were blessed to have known even a brief adventure in this paradise.

Stay tuned….

Once Upon a Time in Paradise

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It’s sad to think it has been nearly four years now since we made the move back from Costa Rica. Since that time we have planned and been unable to revisit our second home on two separate occasions, both due to natural disasters.

In the past few days I have been going through photo files and reminiscing about our very special experiences there. I loved the photography opportunities almost as much as the people and all the unique places we were able to visit.

As I explore more files I will share more of our time there since many of my new friends here didn’t know me back in 2012 when I first began this blog as a way to share our lives in the beautiful country of Pura Vida!

Once upon a time in Costa Rica, we visited a spice farm named Villa Vanilla Spice Farm. As it happens, this tour was one of the first we took on our original journey to Costa Rica, long before we made the move. Once we lived there I had the opportunity to revisit the farm with my best friend when she came to visit us.

The farm grows orchids, which include the vanilla plant, which is actually an orchid. They also grow various bromiliads, cacao trees, carambola (star fruit), peppercorn plants and ceylon cinnamon trees.  Ceylon Cinnamon    is known as true cinnamon and is the variety you need for real cinnamon  health benefits for blood pressure and blood sugar control. The best part of the tour is learning how the owners and workers grow, harvest and prepare these natural plants for consumption. Tasting was fun too. Near the end of the tour, there is a treehouse with a magnificent view where the tour ends with chocoalate and cinnamon specialty coffees, vanilla cookies and a very special mandarin lime cheesecake. Heaven!

Take a walk with me and I’ll share a few photos with you.

 

And at the end, with the heat finally taking hold, we climb to the patio of the “treehouse” for a cool breeze, tasty treats and a breathtaking view. If you make it to the  Manuel Antonio/Quepos area, this tour is one of the traditional ones but well worth the time and sweating.

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I could sit there all day……and you can when you live there. 😉💕

 

 

Speechless/#SoCS

It is with my apologies to Linda Hill and her #SoCS prompt that today’s post is not as fun filled as I normally try to create.. I try to always post things that lift others up or give them a smile.

Sadly, at this particular time, when I hear the word reservation my heart and head are heavy. Since hearing the news about Anthony Bourdain, the word only conjures up memories of watching his great food show Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations with my husband and dreaming of visitng all those wonderful places and having similar experiences as Anthony. He will be missed by so many. That also reminds me of the recent suicide of Kate Spade and not so recently of Robin Williams. All will be missed. So many people lose hope and in a single moment of deepest despair make that decision to abandon the life they were born to live. It breaks my heart for them and for those who love them.

The word reservation also conjures images of the atrocities suffered by the indigenous peoples of this and other countries for decades, a fact that many people still are unaware of or simply don’t care to look at. The issue of our government separating parents from infants has not been confined to illegals over the course of its history. There are still Native Americans seeking their natural families after being taken from them as small children and forced to live in foster homes. These are not myths or justifiable procedures. They are heartbreaking stories of growing up with a sense of lost identity and disconnection.

I have no reservation in speaking from my heart about these things. Life is beautiful in so many ways. I try to always glean the best from every situation and share the perfect moments that I find; however, we must also look at those things which are tragically present in this world and that we can affect with our prayers, with our voices and our votes, and above all else-with our love.

May Peace reign over the dis-ease that is insidiously infecting God’s perfect creation.

1 Peter 3:9-11

9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.

11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.

I rarely quote scripture these days; but since many use it as a weapon, I feel it is necessary to bring to light the words of the Christ who is being used to commit many atrocoties against his message. I also do not equate ‘evil’ to the traditional interpretation. In my heart evil is fear. When man fears he wishes to destroy. My mother and father taught me as a child that “There is no fear in perfect love.” It makes perfect sense to me, yet it can be a mighty mountain to climb in this life.

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Every living thing has a purpose
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Nature cares not for pride or possession
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We have a responsibilty to care for the planet

Even our thoughts have power, so we must use these thoughts and our words wisely, lovingly and without reservation.

Happy #Free48 everyone.

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