The Dragonfly Pond

The dragonfly pond represents an intersection between two stories. The first story started in 2001, when we purchased our home. The second story started decades later, with an impulse purchase of marked-down water plants. These two stories converge on my obsessive fascination with dragonflies.

Photo of a brown striped dragonfly perched behind the curved metal hook of a slightly rusted plant hanger. The dragonfly’s wings show to either side of its perch, but its body is mostly hidden. The wings are transparent with brown tips and delicate networks of veins. One wing has a significant tear.

My fondness for dragonflies snapped into obsession when I learned to photograph them. (See previous posts and photos here, here, here, and almost anywhere else in this blog….)

Photo of a bright red dragonfly perched on a dried stalk of vegetation.

More than simply adding beauty to my life and the yard and the world in general, dragonflies eat the mosquitoes and other biting-type nuisances that flock particularly to me each summer.

Video with multiple clips of dragonflies launching from and returning to a perch of dried vegetation. On each return, the dragonflies are eating prey captured in flight.

The Deck

When we purchased our home in 2001, the back yard was dominated by a large deck that we envisioned as a convenient space for relaxing and entertaining. As we adjusted to home ownership, I began to see the deck as a massive, expensive, time-devouring inconvenience. (My husband continued to see the deck as a bonus feature in the yard for many long years. Our early heated disagreements cooled to intermittent disgruntlement over time, as we allowed each other room to like and dislike according to our different experiences and preferences.)

Already painted by the previous homeowner, the deck needed regular (yearly or every-other-year) paint and repairs. The paint faded and peeled; the boards warped, split, and rotted; and a slow parade of deck furnishings marched from side to side as we fought for and over the deck’s various features.

Photo of the deck mid-repair on a sweltering hot sunny day. A bottle of tea-mix sits on the railing and a box fan is set up on the deck in an attempt to stay cooler. My bright green sun-visor rests on the deck where I dropped it as I went inside for a break. Newly replaced boards are pale, the old boards are red, and a fresh coat of pale blue paint has been started. The pale blue was intended to keep the boards from getting sizzle-hot in the sun. (It didn’t work.)

Rabbits died under the deck and spiders flourished. It was a pretty enough feature, with enough time and money invested, but I never loved it enough to stop resenting the expense and labor.

Photo of the finished pale blue and white deck, complete with a dog ramp for the arthritic old dog. Irises grew to the right of the north steps, and a rotating selection of potted plants, yard art, bulbs, and perennials struggled in a small bed to the left (in one of the many little mysteries of the yard, nothing ever thrived in that bed). The air conditioning unit is visible to the right, on a bed of rocks held by landscape boards that were still mid-repair.
Photo of the finished pale blue, white-trimmed deck. A hydrangea (blooming in this photo) grew at the left of the south steps, a clump of ginger lilies at the right, and irises grew in a bed under the kitchen window. It was all quite pretty, when fresh and new and summer-drenched with water and sun. It was less pretty in the fall and winter. It was always expensive and heavy work.

The Water Gardens

Somewhere along my journey of frustration with the deck, I paused at a marked-down display of water plants in my favorite greenhouse. Over our years of home ownership, I had wanted a pond or a fountain or some kind of water in the yard, but there was never enough room. (There was only room for that gigantic deck… grumble grumble grumble….) So the birds and squirrels and rabbits made do with plant saucers of water. But here were water lilies, marginal plants, oxygenators, and water garden tubs all on sale with detailed instructions. I didn’t consult my husband or our bank account, I simply dove in.

Photo of the first of two assembled water gardens. A purple Louisiana iris blooms center-frame, the oxygenator plants have stalks of miniature pink blooms all around, and the round, shiny green water lily leaves are beginning to peek over the edges. This photo was taken after the water garden had become well-established.

The next week I invested more, buying a large barrel planter, a pond liner, and some rope at the nearby big-box store. My second, this time do-it-yourself, water garden gave me space for more oxygenators and water lilies. I let the water gardens settle their chemistry for several weeks, then purchased ten feeder-tank rosy red minnows at the pet store, five for each garden. (Rosy red minnows are a color morph of the widely introduced, but not necessarily widely native, fathead minnow.) The minnows and plants thrived. The whole set-up was lovely and fun, and the yard had water lily blooms. For the first two winters, I heaped cut ginger lily stalks around the water gardens, to provide a bit of cold protection, and enjoyed watching as the minnows grew (though they did not breed).

Photo of our cats Duchess and Marie, sleeping in their kitchen window beds during a cold snap. My do-it-yourself water garden is visible near the fence, a barrel planter and pond liner affair secured with rope around the rim and surrounded by drying ginger lily stalks.

During the second winter, I discovered an anxious flaw in my designs. The pond liner set-up was clearly more secure for the minnows than the plastic tub. What would happen when the plastic fractured, as plastic always does, under the stresses of seasonal temperature fluctuations? I fretted over visions of sudden water garden collapse, minnows spilling onto the grass during the night or some afternoon when I was away and unable to save them.

It’s often difficult to judge if my fretting-level anxieties are based in logical concern or OCD, but over weeks of internal and open debate, my husband conceded that the logic was sound enough to warrant replacing the plastic tub. But, with what? The barrel and pond liner option had flaws, too. The barrel was already showing signs of deterioration. Metal tubs exist, but they are of uncertain reliability and chemistry.


As I fretted over the water gardens, the deck’s yearly repair cycle began. COVID-19 made securing boards and other materials difficult for our immunosuppressed household. Additionally, ground settling under the deck had created a depression over the years, and this depression now collected water each time it rained. For days after rainfall, if we poured water onto the deck, the water draining between boards splashed audibly into a significant area of standing water. Paired with an uptick in mosquitos, this required some sort of remedy. The final straw was a pair of deteriorated support boards under the steps. The deck needed major reconstruction.

I mapped out a plan to take down the deck, rebuild either a smaller deck or a simple set of steps for the back door, and install a dragonfly pond based on instructions from the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership. The minnows and water lilies and other water garden inhabitants would have a safe and rather more permanent home. My husband agreed, out came the saw and sledgehammer, and down came the massive, expensive, time-consuming deck.

Photo of the bare ground behind our house after deck demolition. The ground under the deck was sandy and soft. The hydrangea had died a few years earlier and been replaced with a small pad of paver stones, the ginger lilies had been relocated to a different bed, and the irises had been replaced with Joe Pye Weed–a plant native to Virginia that blooms prolifically for pollinators in late summer and fall. In this photo, the house’s siding is stained and worn under the living room and kitchen windows, concrete blocks are serving as temporary steps, and the Joe Pye Weed hasn’t been moved yet.

After having the yard marked for utility lines, we began digging. I splurged on a thicker pond liner and made trip after trip to the big-box store, where they bemusedly loaded bag after bag of dirt and rocks into the trunk of my car via contactless curbside pickup. (We had to build up one end of the pond, as the yard has a significant slope. We also added several inches of topsoil to the entire area that had been under the deck, leveling and stabilizing the soft, sandy soil.)

Photo of one of our cats, Duchess, watching through the kitchen window as rain falls into the partially-filled pond. At this point we were uncertain how to finish the edge of the pond, so the liner still stretched past the edges like a large skirt, weighted down by bags of dirt and rocks. I had started adding pea gravel to the pond, to give it a head start on surface areas for biofilm to grow, so the depth variation of about 1 foot in the ends to nearly 3 feet in the middle is visible.

So many rocks! I was not prepared for the sheer volume of rocks I would need to stabilize and finish the pond’s sides and edges. (I confess that I probably didn’t need all of those rocks. I liked them. I like how rocks feel, especially rounded and worn rocks. And I liked creating caves for the minnows in the bottom of the pond and up all of the sides.)

Photo of the finished pond with irises planted at the built-up end, to help stabilize it. Flagstones at the opposite end provide a place for seating, and a few bits of yard art provide perches of varying height for the dragonflies. We didn’t plan the edge of the pond well enough, so an irregularly spaced and variably tilted double-row of stones covers the cut edges of the pond liner. If I make another pond, I will take extra care when digging to build a wide (5-6 inches) flat lip all of the way around instead of this rounded lip with its sloping edge stones. The remaining bare ground that had once been under the deck has scattered piles of stones raked and ready to be removed, as well as a small stack of lumber destined to become a pair of wide steps for the back door. Many thanks to my brother-in-law, who picked up and delivered the lumber when we were unable to find a seller with contactless curbside service.

A few weeks later, the pond was ready for minnows. And dragonflies.

Photo of a bright orange rosy red minnow exploring the shallows of its new pond. Piles of rock provide a connected series of tunnels and caves, while water lily leaves float in the background.

Within a month, the minnows were happy enough to begin breeding.

Photo of a tiny (less than 1/2 inch) pale speckled baby minnow.

Damselflies had been breeding in the water gardens all along, but I had not seen dragonflies laying eggs or emerging.

Photo of a freshly emerged damselfly perching on a red-stalked and pale-green-leafed oxygenator plant in one of the water gardens. The damselfly’s molted exoskeleton still clings to the plant’s stalk. The damselfly is brown and tan striped with distinct fine “hairs” on its legs and thorax. It’s transparent wings are still soft and slightly bent with a visible fine network of brown-gold veins.
Close-up photo of the damselfly’s shed exoskeleton. The exoskeleton is orange-brown in color. Visible features include the outlines of tiny wings, eye bulges, legs, and the everted linings of thoracic airways.

After transferring the minnows and plants into the pond, I combed through the sludge at the bottom of the water gardens, trying not to leave behind any damselfly larvae. (The water gardens had a thick layer of debris in the bottom, and I didn’t want to dump it all into the pond. In retrospect, I should have simply dumped it. I would have saved more larvae in less time, and the pond built its own layer of debris so quickly that the water garden debris wouldn’t have made a difference.) Scattered among the damselflies were dragonfly larvae.

Photo of a brown striped dragonfly larva resting in a small scoop of water, above a grainy smudge of dirt and sludge, in a white tablespoon I used to catch the larvae and transfer them into the pond.

All went into the pond, where I now sat each afternoon and watched over our creation as if I had, actually, created it all.

Months and years later

Now the pond is a busy and central feature in our yard. Rabbits, squirrels, birds, snakes, wasps, bees, spiders (arachnophobia alert! spider photo to follow…), and other insects drink from it; birds bathe in it; the minnows, damselflies, and dragonflies breed in it; and frogs overwinter in it.

Photo of a yellow and black carpenter bee perching on the pond’s surface to drink. The bee’s feet make small dimples in the water, but do not break through the surface tension.
Another photo of the yellow and black carpenter bee perched on the pond’s surface. The dimples in the pond’s surface, where the bee’s feet rest, are more apparent in this photo.
Photo of a large brown-striped spider standing near the center of a floating green-and-purple veined water lily leaf. A seam of water, where the water lily’s leaf splits, is visible just beneath the spider.
Photo of a dark gray damselfly perched on partially dried vegetation over the pond. The damselfly’s large eyes are prominently visible, and its folded wings lie along its narrow thorax and abdomen.
Photo of a large green dragonfly perched on the edge of a water lily leaf with its abdomen curved so that the tip of its abdomen is under water. The dragonfly is laying eggs on the submerged vegetation.
Photo of a cluster of brown, oval, slightly pointed-at-the-ends dragonfly eggs (from a different species than the one shown above) found on the cupped surface of a green water lily leaf.
Photo of a small brown frog with darker brown stripes climbing onto one of the rocks around the pond’s edge. Four variably-sized baby minnows swim at the left of the frame.
Photo of a small frog floating with its eyes above the pond’s surface. The frog is brown with green coloration around its mouth. It’s eyes are orange-gold with yellow-gold highlights around the oval opening of the pupil. A medium-sized seashell is visible in the upper left of the frame to provide a size-perspective showing that the frog is very small, maybe only an inch or two in total length.
Photo of a small brown and green frog sitting on one of the pond’s surrounding stones. The frog looks very small on the large-ish stone.
Photo of two small brown and green frogs sitting mostly submerged among the rocks in one of the pond’s shallower spots. Both frogs have their eyes just out of the water. A tiny baby minnow is visible to the right of the frame. For size perspective, the shallowest part of the water in this frame is less than an inch deep and the gravel is pea gravel. The frogs are maybe an inch (or a bit more) long.

Somehow that feels like enough photos of frogs, but I have so many more! Some of the bullfrogs have lingered in the pond until they are quite large, though none have ever stayed to spawn. (I’m eagerly awaiting the first tadpoles. There must be tadpoles at some point!)

Photo of a green and brown frog peeking from beneath a large green water lily leaf amid a floating cluster of water lily leaves. The water lily leaves range from about three inches across to maybe five inches.
Photo of a large brown bullfrog with green around its face and a pale white-and-brown spotted neck and belly. The frog is sitting mostly out of the water surrounded by oxygenator plants and a small pitcher plant. A small brown frog with less green on its face (I think also a bullfrog? I’m less certain with identification for the smaller frogs) sits partially submerged in the same plants. A few smallish (2-3 inches) water lily leaves float around them.
Photo of a large bullfrog (maybe 3 inches long? maybe a bit more?). The frog is overlooking the pond from a heap of edge-stones that are wet with rain. The pond’s surface is littered with white petals from a nearby pear tree that was near the end of its spring blooming cycle.

The frogs, no doubt, eat the minnows. Especially the younger minnows. But the minnows reproduce quickly, and the pond’s minnow population has never dropped below twenty or thirty adults. At the height of summer, I’ve estimated as many as a hundred adult or near-adult minnows in good body condition and seemingly healthy.

Photo of a small mottled-brown frog with green just visible around its mouth. The frog is floating, mostly submerged, with small minnows swimming around it.

The pond is, by now, its own vigorously alive ecosystem. I interfere for my own purposes: removing sheets of algae to provide easier swimming for the minnows, cutting back the water lily blooms as they wilt so that the water lilies won’t re-seed and overcrowd, feeding the minnows flaked fish food because I like to watch them eat, and adding water (which I treat with tap water conditioner and let sit for a day before I add it) when the water level gets low during dry periods. My husband purchased a pond heater for the minnows, and for me, to keep ice from closing off the surface exchange of oxygen and other gases during freezes.

Photo of the pond surrounded by snow and ice. The tips of the irises are just visible above the snow, along with three cut branches we installed as dragonfly perches. In the background, along the fence, my butterfly cages and flower pots have a 2-3 inch layer of snow on top of them. The pond is maybe 50% iced over, with an no ice around the visible floatation ring of the pond heater.

Temporary Guests

The pond is too small, intentionally, for the charismatic megafauna of park ponds. Mallards visit briefly each spring, but we discourage them from staying as they foul the water. They don’t seem to mind moving on, though one youngster made a confused mistake on the steps before agreeing that this was the wrong place to nest.

Photo of a pair of mallard ducks snoozing on the wide steps we constructed out of blue-tinted artificial deck boards for the back door. There is a freshly-laid egg on the doormat. The ducks did not stay, though I would have let them had they insisted, and there were no more eggs. They abandoned this egg, which I moved down into one of the beds after a few days (when the abandonment was confirmed). I later found shell fragments and opossum tracks.

We enjoyed a few weeks, one spring, when a hatchling pond turtle wandered up the drive and happily adopted the pond as his nursery. He didn’t stay, probably deciding that such a small pond didn’t suit his needs, but he was fun to watch and photograph.

Photo of a small (2-3 inches) pond turtle basking on a rock beside the pond. The turtle is mostly brown and black, with yellow-green stripes on his face, neck, and feet. His head is up, neck extended, and his right rear foot is stretched and lifted as if to better catch the sun’s warmth. Spiral grass, one of the pond’s marginal plants, is visible in the front right of the frame. Green water lily leaves, one yellowed with age, float on the water’s surface, and a single bright pink water lily bloom is open to the left front of the frame.

Snakes (Ophidiophobia alert!)

I’ve seen more snakes in the yard, since installing the pond. (Ophidiophobia alert! Snake photos to follow!) As I quite like snakes, and as none of them have been venomous, these visitors make me happy.

A black racer moved into the yard last summer and stayed. It roamed between our house and the two neighboring houses, even exploring our garage. It visited the pond for a drink daily, though I never managed to see it drinking when I had my camera (or even my phone camera) ready.

Photo of a slender black racer snake, shiny black all over in this photo, raising its head from the weedy and slightly overgrown grass of our back yard.
Photo of a black racer pausing with its head slightly raised near our fence. The snake is black over its back and sides, slightly pale along the few visible scales of its abdomen, with very pale scales under its lower jaw and neck.

While I hope the black racer is somewhere in our yard or under our garage, hibernating for the winter, I am certain that the young brown water snake that arrived last fall is hibernating in the irises at the foot of the pond.

Photo of a brown snake with darker brown spots in a defensive posture against the white background of a bucket I used to safely secure the snake while I verified its identification. I wasn’t confident enough in my identification skills to positively declare it non-venomous, so I sent a few photos to the Virginia Herpetological Society, who confirmed the snake was a brown water snake. Our harmless non-venomous visitor seemed quite happy to settle in for the winter. I haven’t seen it emerge yet this year, not even during the current record-breaking warm spell, but I expect it will let us know when spring is truly imminent.
Photo of a small brown snake with dark brown spots curled atop one of the yard-art features beside the pond. The snake is less than a foot long and slightly heavy-bodied, especially compared to the slender black racer shown in earlier photos.

I also spotted a very small (less than 6 inches long) baby snake last year that didn’t stay in view long enough for a thorough identification. I suspect it is a young ring-necked snake. (I would appreciate verification or correction, if anyone wishes to comment…)

Photo of a very slender and very tiny young snake slithering across a patch of moss. The snake is mostly gray-brown with a band of pale just behind its head. It is so young and small that its eyes appear overly-large, a variation on the exaggerated cuteness of neonates that I usually associate with mammals.

I don’t know if the snakes came because of the pond, nor if any of the yard’s other visitors come because of the pond. I hope they all know they are welcome, and that the pond might serve as some form of official notification to any creature passing through or opting to stay. They are welcome to have a drink or a dip as needed. (Unless they are venomous or otherwise dangerous to ourselves and/or our neighbors. The black and brown widows seem to be getting the message. No one else has tested the system.)

Too long, don’t have time to read? Here’s the summary…

A few years ago, we gave up on our aging, deteriorating, massive, expensive, time-consuming deck. We tore it down and replaced it with two simple wide steps leading up to our back door. At the same time, I had begun worrying about the safety of ten rosy red minnows that were living in my two water gardens alongside water lilies, oxygenator plants, and marginal plants such as a Louisiana iris, spiral grass, and a small pitcher plant. I feared the water garden containers, especially the plastic tub, might break or collapse. So we installed a dragonfly/minnow pond at one end of the area previously occupied by the massive, expensive, time-consuming deck. The completed pond is now home to the minnows, damselflies, dragonflies, and plants that inhabited the water gardens, but also to frogs and the occasional turtle or snake. A huge variety of small mammals, birds, and insects visit the pond. It’s a beautiful and functional addition to the yard. I don’t miss the deck.

Photo of the view through our kitchen window, where our cats Duchess and Marie like to watch the yard and sleep. Here, Duchess is watching the yard while Marie sleeps. Their front paws are touching, as is their habit. The yard is green and sunlit, and the pond is visible to the left as a circle of stones with irises growing at one end and layers of water lily leaves rising over the hidden water. One of the water lilies has put up a pink bloom.
Photo of the same kitchen window view as above, but this time only Duchess is present. She has rolled onto her back and is looking directly at the camera.
Surface-level photo of the pond with water lily leaves floating on the water and a single water lily bloom standing several inches above the surface. The bloom is freshly opened with rows of pink petals and stamens bearing yellow pollen showing in the center. Piles of pale rock form the backdrop, with a fold of the black pond liner just visible under the rocks.

I like to imagine that the dragonflies understand how the pond was meant for them. I like to imagine that they are thanking me, when they perch on my hand for a moment as I putter in the pollinator beds.

Photo of a Halloween pennant dragonfly, translucent orange-and-black striped wings spread, perched on my hand. My hand has a Joe Pye Weed and bee tattoo.

I like to imagine that the yard, and the yard’s inhabitants, wanted the pond all along. I know that I certainly did.

Photo of a bullfrog peering out from the arched doorway of a yard-art-trinket we purchased decades ago, when we were new homeowners. The piece is shaped like a domed cottage with a small chimney and a molded placard saying “Toad House” over the door. The bullfrogs sometimes explore this little house on rainy days, and the brown water snake seemed to enjoy basking in the sun on top of it last fall. I believe the brown water snake is hibernating in the thick grasses and irises beside the house.

As usual, I want to acknowledge the immense and unearned privilege that allows me the resources and time to have a yard at all, to be able to tear down decks and build ponds, to be able to photograph my yard and pond and post the photos on this blog. I am trying to exercise as little control as is practical over the tiny patch of Earth that my colonizing ancestors (they were all colonizers, as far as I know) taught me to call a “yard”. I know full well that this patch of Earth wants to be something other than my yard.

Here are a few articles that are more interesting and important than my dragonfly pond:

Lost Time

Squirrel May 2

Every so often, time slips sideways. One week it’s May, and the next week July scrolls into August. I have photos and bills to prove that June actually happened, but it happened in a blur of travel, home repairs, and unhoarding.

Rabbit May 11

My unhoarding saga began after Mother died, when the extent of her hoarding (and mine) could no longer be overlooked.

Eggs May 14

Mother’s hoard was generational. Parts of it accreted as she raised five children, other parts were passed down from two much-loved grandmothers, a formidable mother, a pair of admired aunts, and a somewhat difficult mother-in-law. With each obituary and burial came new photos, letters, books, furniture, glassware, doilies, and quilts.

Hoverfly May 14

The women who raised Mother had filled their homes with small treasures, and, because each of them had very real memories of hard, empty years, they treasured everything. Everything held a story, and all of the stories were passed to Mother (who had no siblings) for safe-keeping.

Ladybug July 15

Fighting her own memories of hard, empty years, Mother made room for everything, stuffing her house to the eaves with family history. She made room in her heart, too, and genuinely loved this patchwork collection of heirlooms.

Dragonfly July 15

She loved it, that is, until it overwhelmed her.

Swallow May 26

The hoard took over Mother’s house, just as my hoard was taking over mine. In her house, as in mine, cabinets were jammed full, drawers wouldn’t close, shelves bowed under their burdens, one entire room was given over to storage.

Ducks May 11

In the wake of Mother’s car accident and death, as I helped my siblings sort and pack five generations of Mother’s belongings, I resolved to make a change. I didn’t want to carry on this tradition, the death ritual of dividing the hoard. Treasures or not, I no longer needed or wanted most of the stuff I had been hoarding.

Robin May 24

Resolve is one thing, doing is another. And unhoarding is ridiculously hard work. It got even harder after I scraped off the easiest layers — books I was never going to read, clothes I was never going to wear, dishes I was never going to use. Then came the emotional stuff. Tattered childhood books. Scarred toys and threadbare stuffed animals. Memory-laden trinkets and gifts that warmed my hoarder’s heart.

Bee July 16

I spent hours and days and weeks putting off decisions, moving containers from one room to another, painting around them as I dithered. Some days I was tempted to ship them all off to thrift stores, unopened and unsorted. Other days I fought an urge to unpack everything, to binge on dusty memories.

Skipper July 8

But I don’t want to live in a box of memory. To be owned by the past. So this summer I’ve been cleaning and repairing toys and stuffed animals. Some few will stay with me, others will go to thrift stores. What can’t be salvaged will be recycled or sent to the landfill. (After being photographed, of course.) I’ve also been cutting up old books, calendars, and posters for use in current and future art projects.

Clearwing Moth July 16

Some memories I’m voluntarily discarding, others have been lost in the commotion. But the house gets lighter and brighter with each newly emptied container, with each completed project.

Carpenter Bee July 16

And it feels like an even exchange — memories for light. Time for time.

Tiger Swallowtail July 9

I think Mother would approve. I think all of them would approve.

Nearing the End of a Hot Summer

Lizard Sept 7

Our hot, humid summer is turning brittle around the edges

Mantis July 27

Rabbit July 29

It’s reassuring, really, how fall arrives

Dragonfly July 28

Mockingbirds August 6

Even after the hottest of summers

Mantis July 31

I will miss the months of extravagance

Lantana July 6

Monarch July 21

But not for long

Bee July 17

Because spring is assured, even after the coldest of winters

Bee July 27

Dragonflies, Butterflies, and More

Summer has filled the yard with flying insects.

Dragonfly June 29

I don’t care for the sudden swarms of biting flies and mosquitoes, but the dragonflies seem happy. They hunt ravenously from dawn to dusk, eating everything they can catch–including flies and mosquitoes.

Dragonfly July 4

Dragonfly July 9

Dragonfly July 10

(Of course, they pause every so often to mate.)

Dragonfly June 16

Butterflies aren’t as numerous as dragonflies, but the butterfly bush, milkweed, and lantana draw a surprising variety of species.

Butterfly July 3

Butterfly July 10

Painted Lady July 9

Red Admiral July 12

Butterfly May 25

Butterfly May 29

Butterfly May 20

Butterfly June 11

Butterfly July 1

Bees are more interested in the salvia and dill.

Bee July 9

Bee July 3

And the June bugs seem strangely attracted to Treebeard, our young live oak tree.

June Bug July 4

June Bug July 4

All in all, it’s been a good summer in the yard. So far. (Though if it gets much itchier, I may end up spending the rest of July and much of August hiding in the house.)

Quiet Fireworks

Rabbit June 29

Our dog Indigo suffered from thunder phobia. During her aging years (before she lost her hearing) our entire household suffered from thunder phobia. I dreaded all of the fireworks holidays during those years.

Rabbit June 29

After Indigo lost her hearing, I was able to enjoy thunderstorms again (I’ve always been fascinated by storms), but I never regained an appreciation for fireworks. I find all the sparkle and flash I could ever want in the yard, without the sizzle and boom.

Flowers July 3

Dill July 2

Milkweed June 8

Marigold July 2

Caterpillar May 25

Dragonfly June 17

Finch June 28

Admittedly, some of the yard’s fireworks are more flash than sparkle…

Squirrel June 26

Squirrel June 26

Squirrel June 26

Squirrel June 26

Squirrel June 26

Fighting? We weren’t fighting…

Squirrel June 28

Squirrel June 29


Dragonfly June 29

I know that I’m not alone in my preference for quiet fireworks. What’s more, my discomfort is trivial when compared to the flashbacks that haunt many service members. (Here’s an article: “Fourth of July fireworks bring pain, stress for some service members.”)

Which brings me to a request. There are many, many holidays in the course of each year that are traditionally celebrated with fireworks. So there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy fireworks, if you enjoy them. But please refrain from lighting your fireworks randomly, between holidays.

Dragonfly June 17