IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT...Today underlined that title with some interesting "little" things that made my day. It started as I drove over to the island to deliver my final reports. On the way, I saw an immature gull with something in its mouth that looked a bit strange. I slowed down and the gull dropped the item from its mouth. I thought it looked like a toad, and sure enough it was. I tried to get the gull to pick it up again for a picture, but he did not cooperate. Later I figured maybe the toad's skin was less than delicious. They are known to have distasteful substances in their skin. To be truthful, I don't think the bird killed the toad, but picked it up after it was a roadkill casualty. I had never seen a gull carrying around a toad before.

I spent a good part of the afternoon attacking the weeds in my gardens. At first I stopped in my tracks to admire a beautiful Argiope spider sitting on a web strung between some of the flowers in the garden. These spiders have decorated abdomens that are worthy of an artist's brush. Argiopes aren't the only ones to have attractive designs on their abdomens. You should check them out.

I continued my weeding over in the vegetable garden, and there again I found something that made the outing worthwhile. Hanging from a broccoli leaf was something that looked like a small leaf blowing in the breezes. I looked a bit closer and lo and behold, it was a gyrating chrysalis! I have seen these insect pupae wiggle to remove their caterpillar casing, but this was different. The chrysalis was swinging and curling back and forth. I wondered it I could possibly get it to hold still for a picture. I clipped the leaf and placed it in a container to watch the activity. I was able to get a picture as you see here. I wasn't able to identify the maker since most butterfly books pay little attention to the resting stage of these insects. So maybe I will have to await the moment of emergence. Meanwhile, I continue to see periodic gyrations. Maybe you can help me identify the maker?

I will close with another little observation that I hadn't noticed before. Have you ever watched a Zinnia flower unfold? I was stopped in my weeding and de-bugging tracks to absorb the beauty of this flower "unrolling" its petals. Such design in nature! See how each petal has its petals rolled lengthwise with just a small opening near the center to show its true color? That, plus the little circle of yellow anthers surrounding the pistil "pin cushion". Thank goodness the Japanese Beetles had not yet destroyed the symmetry. See if the Zinnias in your garden open in the same way.

So there you have a few of the little things that made my day. There are definite side benefits to weeding your garden, if you pause to absorb the natural wonders sharing that space.

9/6/06 Ronnie in wonderment.