Yellow Spring Mystery Solved

Macro Mysteries Solved photography logo by Merry Hearts Medicine

Were you able to identify the subject of the mysterious photo from the last post?  Guesses have included flowers or bugs.  The object did come from the outdoors, but it didn’t come into our house in the condition you saw in the photo…


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Yellow Spring Surprise

Macro Mysteries logo smallBlogging and photography have been pushed far, far down on my to-do-list the last few months.  I miss them both, so today I am making the time to publish a “Macro Mystery” post.  If it’s been so long that you don’t remember what this is, or if you’re new here at the Merry Hearts Medicine blog, I’ll explain…

Macro photography is so fun for me that I created a blog game with it.  It’s probably something thousands of other people have done — I post an extreme close-up of an object to see if you can guess what the object is.  If you have an idea as to what it might be, please leave a comment below!  In a few days (hopefully), I’ll reveal the answer in another post.

You may figure this one out easily, even though the photo quality is not as great this time.  (Sorry about that. I’m adjusting to a new camera.)

mysterious yellow-striped object with blue edging

Do you enjoy trying to identify mysterious photos like this?  If so, test your eagle eye with more Macro Mysteries posts.

So, give me your best guess!  What is this spring thing?

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{After your answer has fully grown in your mind, click over to this post to see if you’re right!}

Moments of Joy: August 2016

In last month’s post, I remembered the past and glimpsed the future with the help of a sweet, cuddly baby.  Today, I’ll fill you in on a new and unusual forestry fashion trend!

tree line across Arkansas field in summer, with one dead tree

While my daughter drives me and my camera through the countryside, I find much of the typical rural Arkansas fare: trees, birds, weeds, flowers, cows, and winding gravel roads.  One thing I do not expect to see as we approach a sharp bend in the road is a tree wearing clothing!

“Whoa, stop!”

Gravel grinds under the tires as my alarmed daughter stomps the break and looks around in bewilderment.  “What is it?”

“Look at that tree,” I answer, pointing out the window past my daughter’s shoulder.  “There are clothes on that tree!  Why would someone dress up a tree?  I need a photo of this!”

Hopping out of the car, I snap several photos of the fashionable shade tree and then cross the road and squat down to try a few macro shots of the field grass and fencing.  A truck appears out of nowhere and slowly approaches the curve.  I check to make sure I’m well off the road before refocusing my attention on a particular strand of barbed-wire.

Suddenly, I realize the truck has pulled off the road near our car, rather than continuing around the curve.  I glance over my shoulder, but can’t see the driver from my position.

Hair prickles on the back of my neck as I hear crunching footsteps on the gravel road behind me.  “Ok, relax,” I think to myself, “It’s not likely the person is going to attack me!”  My car makes a distinctive “click” as my daughter hits the door lock button — there will be no help from her today!

Turning on my heel, I stand up to see the tan, time-worn face of a gray-haired gentleman approaching.  “What are you doing here?” he asks in a firm voice.

With as welcoming of a smile as I can muster, I respond with “We’re out taking pictures with my camera.”

“What?” he calls out loudly.  “I can’t hear you!”

Raising the camera in front of me, I repeat my answer more slowly and with greater volume.

“What?!  I can’t hear you without my hearing aids!” he bellows back while reaching into his jeans pocket.

“Taking pictures!” I shout, waving the camera in the air between us.

He pokes a tiny hearing aid into one ear as he again shouts, “What?!  I can’t hear you without my hearing aids!”

Ok, this scene is getting a bit comical!  This time I hold up the camera and point at it while smiling and nodding until he places the second hearing aid into the other ear.

Both our voices drop down to a normal decibel level as we begin a friendly conversation about photography and fashion-plate forestry.  The tree wearing worker’s safety gear and the fence behind it covered in orange cones and reflective tape are his handiwork.  He explains that his fence has been destroyed by vehicles three times in the past year by what he assumes to be drunk drivers.

I’m surprised that could happen so many times, even on such a sharp curve, since the fence is close to thirty feet off the road.  Before we go our separate ways, he shares a couple of funny stories that do seem to implicate the work of a drunkard.  Oh, the tales his cows could tell!


Photogenic Duck Duo

Here’s the friendly ducks I mentioned from our recent photography field trip.  I’ll start with the photo of them frantically flying up the bank toward us, hoping for a handout:

two white ducks rushing up a lake bank with their wings flapping

“Food?! FOOD!”

two white ducks in front of a lake

“Hey, do you see the food? I don’t think they even have any! Why are they here, then?”

two white ducks walking away down a sidewalk in front of a lake

“We don’t have to put up with this. We’re outta’ here!

two white ducks peering into a lake

“Oh! Is that food down there?!”

I’ll insert some random scenery here while the ducks waddle down to the water…the lake was very pretty!

small Arkansas lake surrounded by greenery and dragonflies

I liked the dragonfly who appeared in the corner of this photo. It was boiling hot outside, but a multitude of bugs were buzzing around sampling the wildflowers.

Now, back to the duck duo…

two white ducks splashing among the lily pads in the edge of a lake

“Yes! There’s definitely food here! Hurry up!”

two white ducks dipping their bills in the water, surrounded by lily pads

“Who needs handouts? This is great!”

Just as a side-note — ducks make very strange sounds when they talk with their heads under water!  ha ha

These two hungry characters were an adorable addition to our pleasant morning.  The lake was small but lovely, and full of all kinds of flowers and wildlife.  We may have to go back there for a picnic some day, and bring treats for the ducks!
Matthew 6:25-26 written on a photo of ducks eating in a lake


Sunny Summer Drive in the Country

My daughter drove me around on a fun photo shoot one sunny summer morning this week, and I thought you might enjoy coming along with us…

chip-sealed country road curving into the woods on a sunny summer day

old, white farmhouse in a field with a cedar-post fence in front

Near this farmhouse, we spotted a tree wearing clothes.  Yes, you read that right.  Soon I hope to share the story of this tree and the farmer who stopped to talk to me while I was photographing it.

macro photo of sharp points on a barbed-wire fence

gravel road lined with mailboxes bending over three hills

A few hills were so steep, I wondered if our poor car would make it to the top.

a crooked tree in dappled sunlight in the woods

I climbed up a ditch bank to take this photo (and the one below). When I returned to the car, my daughter informed me that three deer leaped across the gravel road not far past me. Ooo, missed opportunity! I never even knew they were there!

macro photo of small weeds in the woods

dead tree in field, surrounded by dragonflies

This tree is the reason we went on this journey.  We saw it on a previous drive and wanted to come back when the lighting was better.  If you’re seeing spots, it’s not your imagination — the air was thick with dragonflies!

dead tree on hill above green field on a sunny summer day

I couldn’t decide which angle was best on the last two photos.  Which do you prefer, the ground-eye view or shooting from regular height?

It was so pleasant to ride around, documenting our Creator’s beautiful works.  We also stopped at a small lake and met two very photogenic ducks, but I’ll save those photos for another time.  Thanks for reading this post; I hope it brightened your day!

SCRIPTURE -- Ecclesiastes 3:11 written on the photo of a butterfly on a milkweed flower

This photo is from my garden. If you like images with bible verses, please check out the “SCRIPTURE” page which is full of photos you can use and share.


Uninspired (A Summer Photo Gallery)

This seems to be my central theme this summer — uninspired.  For the first time in several years, I have had a slow summer where I’ve had time to relax.  Rather than use that time wisely, I seem to have fallen into a lazy, selfish slump with an “I don’t care” attitude.  How very unusual for me!

My husband claims I am having my midlife crisis.  Lol  I think that claim is merely retribution because I accused him of the same thing last fall when he planned an expensive spur-of-the-moment vacation.  😉

Regardless of the cause, my blog has been a bit neglected as a result. I simply could not think of a single thing that seemed worth sharing here over the last month.

After looking through my WordPress reader this morning and seeing the blogs listed below, I decided to whip out my old Canon camera and search for inspiration.  If you are interested in great photography, encouraging thoughts, and/or interesting info (about photography, nature, famous landmarks, etc.), check out these blogs:

Dusting off my camera and playing for far too long on has enabled me to present you with a summertime photo gallery. I hope you enjoy!

fluffy cloud over a park filled with pink crape myrtle bushes

We’ve been blessed with several pop-up showers this summer. Today the clouds passed us by, and it was too hot for the joggers and the “Pokemon Go” players to fill up the park.

dwarf marigold called "Legion of Honor" (red and yellow blooms)

“Legion of Honor” marigolds are supposedly a dwarf plant, but they are still over knee high!

orange sunflower framed by a fluffy white cloud with bumblebee flying by

Bumblebees and honeybees were buzzing all around my garden, but I only managed to capture one in a photo.

milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) nymphs on milkweed seed pod

There were no monarchs in my neighborhood this year, so I let the milkweed bugs take over the plants. The nymphs of these bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) love to cuddle in groups on the seed pods of the milkweed plants.

"Suyo Long" cucumbers hanging from a vine on a black trellis

“Suyo Long” cucumbers are wonderful and easy to grow. The cucumbers are burpless, never have bitter skins, and grow to 18 inches long. You can buy seeds for these from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

"Ali Baba" red watermelon shining in the sun surrounded by vines and leaves

Treasures are hidden among the greenery!  To me, eating melons (and sugar snap peas) is the best part of gardening! One of my favorite melons is a honeydew type called “Boule d’Or (Golden Perfection);” seeds for it can also be purchased from in the link above.

hot, panting chickens in many colors drinking from a water bucket

Our poor chickens are about to melt in the triple-digit temperatures this summer. Can you see the optical illusion of the long-legged hen on the left? It’s actually two chickens!  Let me show you…

white chicken with clump of feathers sticking up on the back of her head

This Leghorn mix got a unique “hairstyle” because of her stubbornness. In 2014, she refused to get out of the older hens’ favorite nest box and got her scalp peeled back by a dominant hen. With a little super glue, raw honey, and several weeks of care, we had her patched up. Unfortunately, the super glue didn’t work long to seal the wound. The skin on her head regrew, complete with new feathers. Strangely, the flap of skin lived as well, forming a unique pom-pom on her head.

dayflower bloom with two blue petals on Commelina weed, front view

I researched this cheerful vine-like weed that grows in the shade around our property. It’s called a dayflower, or Commelina plant.

dayflower bloom with two blue petals on Commelina weed, side view

Here’s another dayflower from the side. The chicken pen has never looked lovelier! ha ha

ant's view of tiny weed in yard, surrounded by moss

Here’s an ant’s-eye view under a bush in the yard. I often find that beautiful things are “hiding” all around me, if I look closely enough.

framed photo of dragonfly resting on a twig

The dragonflies are thick this year! I finally managed to snap a photo of one that paused on a bush.

As you can see, I experimented with framing the photos today. Do you think the frames enhance or take away from the photos?  Are certain ones better than others?  If you wish, you can compare these photos to a spring gallery I did last year without frames.  You can also compare them to an early spring gallery of garden seedlings, which is presented in a tiled format.  Which do you prefer?  Please let me know in the comments below!