Category Archives: seasonal: summer

Attract Butterflies By Putting Out Fruit Scraps

This time of year we find ourselves enjoying fruit like only the summer provides. When we are done, we like to leave some for the butterflies. We learned this trick by accident years ago when my children were small. Our scraps brought unexpected visitors: butterflies of striking beauty.

We love to watch the butterflies that are attracted to rotting fruit.

Apparently when a piece of fruit begins to rot, some butterflies like to “drink up”. This viceroy butterfly uses its proboscis to suck up some of the watermelon’s sweet goodness.

I have many fun memories of butterfly watching with my kids. It will never get old. (This picture was taken years ago.)

Crazy Arms Feeding Game: Kid Party Fun

Are the kids looking for something to do this summer? This Crazy Arms Feeding Game is very entertaining and it doesn’t require you to spend a lot for supplies. You probably already have what you need to play.

To set it up, you will need to have a chair for someone (The Arms) to sit on. Another person (The Eater) will sit on their lap. You will need to find a very large dress to cover both The Eater and The Arms as in the picture. I used this brightly printed dress/ smock that I found at a thrift store. I cut it straight up the back and attached a string to each side of the neck (in the back) to hold it closed. You also need some food, napkin, drink… Things like pudding are fun (because they are messy)! Consider your location when choosing food and drink. You don’t want to have grape juice over the new carpet. Outside is always a good choice. Also, remember that a plastic or paper cup would be safer than a glass cup. You don’t want to hurt the eater.

So much fun to play at parties!!!

Cherry Pit and Stem Art

After you enjoy eating a bag of cherries this year, amuse yourself and your family too with these Cherry faces. Save the cherry pits and stems to create some amusing faces. My kids and I “painted” these faces using the computer after I took the pictures but all you will need is a marker to draw on the details.

Wouldn’t these be fun to make into cards? Ideas: Birthday card (smile), encouragement card for a friend dealing with stress (stresses out), sympathy card (sad face), Happy you are my teacher card (happy face)…

Glue the pits (eyes) and the stems (mouth) down on a piece of paper if you want to use it as part of your canvas. Alternatively, don’t glue them down. That way you can rearrange them as much as you want as an amusing way to spend some of you summer vacation time. (Eyes can be reversible: draw on both sides.) Here are a bunch of ideas to get you started.

Green Frog In Maryland

Green Frog (Rana clamitans)

I’m participating in a program called Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA). MARA is a project run by the Natural History Society of Maryland (NHSM) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR); it is a five-year (January 2010 -2014) atlas of the amphibians and reptiles of Maryland. Amphibians and reptiles are collectively known as “herpetofauna” or “herps.”

I’ve been learning my local herps in the last few years and I’ll share some pictures of herps that I find on my property or in my neighborhood.

Green frogs are sometimes confused with bull frogs. You can’t go by color because their color varies. Look for the prominent dorsolateral ridges that go down the back but not all the way.

Note the large external eardrum called a tympanum (the circle behind the eye).

This picture illustrates relative size.

I love its eyes!

P.S. I believe this is a female because she lacks a yellow throat and her tympanum is not larger than her eye.

Cool Thumb-controlled Watering Pot Made With Recycled Materials

I got the idea to make these thumb controlled pots from the pottery ones I’ve seen at Historic Williamsburg. The original earthenware “thumb pots” were used in 17th and 18th century English gardens. I reproduced this clever watering device using salvaged plastic bottles and jugs. It is ideal for watering delicate seedlings. I use this watering pot all the time now.

To Make:

Find a suitable “pot.” I love using maple syrup containers but I was successful making other smaller pots with smaller plastic milk bottles. The smaller bottles are easier for children.

Drill a hole in the center of the cap of your container. I used a 7/32nd drill bit. Next, drill small holes in the bottom. I used a 1/16th drill bit. When using softer plastic containers, it is possible to poke holes instead of using a drill. Make sure the cap is on tight; otherwise the water will not stay inside.

How it works:

It works similar to holding your thumb over the top of a drinking straw.

1. To fill your thumb pot, place into a bucket of water. Do not cover the hole in the top.

2. Hold your finger over the hole in the cap to prevent water from escaping the bottom as you lift.

3. Continue to hold your thumb over the hole as you lift.

4. Take your thumb off the hole when you are ready to water your plants. Removing your thumb allows the water to gently stream out the holes on the bottom.

How to hold a thumb pot.