Deer Eating Mulberries

I was sitting at my kitchen table when I saw this small buck in our back yard, eating mulberries off the tree.


I saw this mandolin for sale in an antique store. I am not a musician, but it made me want to find out more about mandolins. This instrument is from Italy and brings to mind “Italian Restaurant Music.” But it can be found in many genres of music. For other examples, you can watch this video by Bruce Hornsby and the Range “Listen to the Mandolin Rain” where you will see a brief mandolin solo.  The Lumineers’ video “Hey, Ho” starts with guitar music and switches halfway to mandolin played by Neyla Pakarek.


Dobsonflies and Dragonflies

I found this insect crawling on the ground near the Mississippi River. It was about four inches long. I had never seen one of these before.  My research showed that it was a dobsonfly larvae which would normally be underwater. Maybe a bird plucked it out of the water and dropped it. Anyway, a dobsonfly is a large insect that flutters around lights at night much like moths. Although the larve looks very much like a dragonfly body and their names are similar, the two insects are not related to each other. The second picture is a perfectly preserved dragonfly that had died. It is on the small plate to show its size and not because anyone was going to eat it.

German POWs in World War Two

My great-grandfather, Emil Otto Gravert, immigrated from Germany when he was a teenager. He worked at the Heinz factory in Muscatine, Iowa. During WWII, there was a German POW camp near Muscatine and the prisoners worked on the Heinz farm, planting, weeding, tending, and picking the tomatoes used to make ketchup. Since my grandfather spoke German, he was in charge of the prisoner’s work routines. By all accounts, the prisoners actually enjoyed their time on the farm and one of them gave my grandfather a calendar that he carved out of wood. The calendar sat on top of a china cabinet at my grandparent’s house. I thought it was so beautiful but I was not allowed to touch it. Now it is in The Pearl Button Museum in Muscatine and I was allowed to touch it and take pictures. On the bottom part, it has two woooden scrolls that change the day and month. On the top, it has two wooden wheels that change the date. The inscription from the museum also mentions two rings made by another prisoner. These were my great-grandparent’s wedding rings. Below, is my grandmother’s ring which was too small to fit on my ring finger.

Beehive Hat

In celebration of Spring, I thought I would show you my photo of a beehive hat from the hat museum in Savannah, Georgia. I think it would be a fun art/school project to make a beehive hat.

Polyphemus Moth

While walking our dog, Webster, I saw this moth resting on a sidewalk. Amazing the things you can see in your own neighborhood (but you will miss them if you’re looking at your phone). I posted a photo of a luna moth coccoon and pupa in August 2022. I found it in the same area where I saw this moth. The coccoons and pupae of the luna moth and polyphemus moth look so similar that now I am questioning if I was correct in my identification on the August 2022 post.


Steampunk Art

Scrap metal art is another way to reuse materials creatively. I very much like steampunk art. I saw this giant werewolf at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in Branson, MO. Unfortunately, I don’t have the name of the artist. Another large metal sculpture had a sign that said it was made in Kenya.



The Bubble Room

My son making us laugh while waiting for a table at The Bubble Room in Sanibel Florida.

Cassette Tape Art by Erika Simmons

I love art made from recycled materials. Erika Simmons makes portraits of famous people from old audio cassette tapes and video cassette tapes. She calls her project “Ghosts in the Machine.” I saw this picture of singer Lauryn Hill at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum in Branson, MO. Erika has a website which displays more of her art:

Fungus Schmungus #5

I saw this turquoise colored mushroom on a dead oak leaf in early spring.  I looked it up and it is called the green elfcup (scientific name chlorociboria aeruginascens). Normally, it is found on dead trees and sticks. Don’t eat it. Very poisonous. Despite the scientific name the blue-green coloring does not come from chlorophyll like green plants.