The day was as beautiful as a day can be, and I eagerly accepted my daughter's invitation to explore Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, Virginia. It was our first real outing since the pandemic started.

Feeling grateful for a thoughtful daughter who went out of her way to pick me up, and seemed happy to have me tag along even though she could have covered much more ground without me.



While moving my plants indoors from the balcony, I noticed a blob attached to the underside of one of my philodendron leaves. It looked like some sort of cocoon, but after posting its picture on Facebook, come to find out it was a potter wasp jug. 

Google then led me to an article on potter wasps which contained a description of how the wasp builds the jug, and I marveled at the amazing capabilities God has designed into even this species of His creation.

The female wasp collects water and mixes it with dry soil using her mandibles. She then transports the mixture to the surface she wants to attach it to (in this case my philodendron leaf), and fashions it into a mini pot, and since she is only able to carry a little bit at a time, it can take her a couple of hundred trips to complete the construction.

After the structure is ready, mama wasp fills it with small caterpillars paralyzed by her sting, lays a single egg on top of them, and then seals the pot with a clay plug. When the egg hatches, the larva feeds on the caterpillars until it pupates into an adult, and then emerges by chewing a hole through the side of the jug.

Not wanting any wasps hatching on my balcony or in my apartment, I cut off the leaf, and tucked it into a bush bordering our parking lot.



This post was written for Five Minute Friday.
Word prompt--COULD
Five minutes to free write about it.

This week's prompt felt like a rebuke, arriving as it did in the midst of my grief over my prized violet. 

Once a magnificent sight to behold, its amazing story had inspired a children's picture book I started writing but never finished. Now, I told myself, it was too late. Just one more missed opportunity to add to my long list of regrets.

A short trip down memory lane brought to mind many things I could have done, should have done but didn't, as well as some others that I did do, but could have or should have done differently. And then, unexpectedly, I was diverted from these thoughts by some startling questions.

How do I know the door to my book has closed? Am I perhaps buying into a lie that I can't tell the story of what was, because of how things look now? Maybe the prompt is a Divine exhortation to pick up where I left off and finish what I started, rather than a rebuke? 



Yesterday was my son-in-law's birthday, and the weather was perfect. We had an outdoor celebration on the deck, including pool time for those who wanted to swim before dinner.

The menu consisted of beef Wellington with roasted baby asparagus, followed by a decadent chocolate pudding boston cream birthday cake, plus the makings of strawberry shortcake for those who don't eat chocolate--or who wanted two desserts.

Because of the pandemic, birthday boy waved the candles out instead of blowing on them.

My grandson and his girlfriend had brought their drone along, and after dinner was over, and gifts had been opened, they gave us a demo on how it worked. The girls were enthralled. I think their dad was too.

Everyone seemed to have a fun time, and for me, just being able to spend these couple of hours surrounded by family was a special blessing.



The heat and humidity have been brutal, but Labor Day weekend the temperature dropped, and there was a pleasant breeze.

These shots are from my walk on Saturday. Flowers were blooming everywhere, and the roses were especially beautiful.