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Monarch Butterfly Birthday March 4, 2013

Filed under: God's Beautiful Creation,Photography — Holly Jackson @ 9:05 pm
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I almost felt like a new grandma seeing her first grandchild being born. Well maybe not quite but it was pretty exiting. The was my second chrysalis that had formed. The first chrysalis has hung for about 5 months and I think it is a goner.¬† I have researched so many websites about monarch butterflies just trying to figure out what is normal for it’s life cycle.

This is the first chryslis from the caterpillar I adopted from a plant at work.

Dried up chrysalis :-(

Dried up chrysalis ūüė¶

I watched it every day and when the caterpillar began to form the J shape I was ecstatic! After I¬† found out through my research (along with my Mom and Aunt doing their own research) that butterflies can make a type of “antifreeze” making it easier to survive the cold nights, I felt there might be hope for my first chrysalis after all;¬† however I wondered why it was taking so long for it to emerge after its’ green shell transformed to a clear shell. The longer it hung on the plant the drier it started to look. It was about 2 1/2 months that it lingered until it finally got a crack on the outer casing. This didn’t look good for the guy. It seemed to dry up inside. January brought¬† some pretty cold nights in Ojai so it must have taken its toll.

but when another caterpillar begun his own transformation on the plant, I turned my my attention to it.

And…….the other one looked like this:


Despite the aphids taking up residence with the chrysalis, one day it happened and I couldn’t believe it. It changed to a see-through shell (pic above) and i could see its delicate wings through the casing. I thought surely it will be hatching soon.

130304003It did it did! So Amazing!




Ojai at Dusk February 19, 2013

Ojai Avenue at Dusk

Ojai Avenue at Dusk

Most of the time that I see a beautiful sunset on my way home from work, I don’t have my camera.¬† This time was different. I noticed a beautiful sky that was the backdrop of the Ojai Post Office tower one night around 7:30 as I drove home. Since I couldn’t pull over right away I decided to go around the block and park in front of my favorite country diner Bonnie Lu’s.¬† Its moments like this that just take my breath away.



If only wildlife could read. February 11, 2013

Filed under: God's Beautiful Creation — Holly Jackson @ 2:35 am
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Hawk on the line

Hawk on the line

While taking out the trash, I heard this guy before I spotted him. I searched the trees outside my driveway, but didn’t see him right away.¬† He was calling to another one in the neighborhood. The other one responded from a bit of distance away. Maybe they were communicating with each other. I didn’t notice until about the third shot (of my camera shutter…just to be clear) that he was eating something and it must have been pinned underneath his talons. I am just glad I didn’t see what it was he was devouring!

There is something very special to me about hawks. They seem spiritual and remind me of those who have moved on, reminding me that they are always with me.¬† This is similar to how I feel when I see a butterfly. They too, remind me how fragile this life is yet it keeps recycling the “circle of life.”

Speaking of butterflies, here is a picture of the “generations” of future monarch butterflies.

Future Monarch Butterflies

Future Monarch Butterflies


Waiting for a Monarch January 25, 2013

Patiently waiting...

Patiently waiting…


Almost ready for it magnificent escape, and barely hanging by a thread; this is day 58 in the life cycle from egg, to caterpillar to chrysalis. Normally this takes about 9-14 days from the time the caterpillar changes into a chrysalis then to an emerging butterfly. This little guy has been hanging around for what I believed was way to long. I guessed it must have died in its small green shell. This was my first monarch butterfly chrysalis so I was very invested in watching this take place. I even adopted this caterpillar from an asclepias plant that grows by my office complex.

Our gardeners were cutting back the plant every week and I figured I should take it home. I wanted to make sure it was able to finish its life cycle without the threat of clippers cutting short is life! Some pun intended.  So I carefully put it in a cup and drove it home to a safer place. I had three asclepias (Butterfly Weed) plants that I could transfer it to.

Once he started to make his “J” shape on the underside of the leaf I was practically giddy. I went so far as to tell my coworkers the next day that I was going to be a Grandma…to a butterfly.¬† So maybe I should ask them if anyone will be planning a butterfly shower soon!

If this little guy makes it out of his shell soon I just hope the next four days of rain that is forecast will not hinder his  journey.

Where do butterflies hide from the rain?


September Sunset in Ojai September 18, 2012

Filed under: God's Beautiful Creation — Holly Jackson @ 6:33 pm
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Sunsets in Ojai have been pretty spectacular lately. Its a view from the tip of highway 150 where it
intersects with Ventura Ave hwy 33.


I am always with you March 22, 2012

Filed under: God's Beautiful Creation — Holly Jackson @ 5:15 am
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I am amazed at the ways in that God chooses to interact with me. Tonight while leaving the coffee shop I glanced up to see two very bright  planets in the sky. About a week prior I  learned that these planets were Venus and Jupiter.

The early night sky was just beginning to turn from pre-dusk to a completely darkened night sky.  I knew that if I could just make it to the Rancho El Nido trail head quick enough that I could probably get a decent shot with my new camera.

Granted I have recently learned that I really need to find a tripod for my camera because I just can’t keep it still enough for my night shots..¬† I really wanted to capture was the way the last bit of light gave a great silhouette to the mountain range to the west.¬† The last bit of light of the day was visible but was quickly being taken overs by the expanding night sky. If I was able to catch my two favorite stars in the picture too, that would just be icing on the cake!

After snapping a few pictures . I quickly jumped back in my car, reviewed what i shot and then started back home.

As I pulled away I glanced back into my review mirror and thought I saw someone in my backseat and I startled myself. Within the next few seconds I immediately felt a peace wash over me & that there isn’t any reason that I should be afraid because God reminded me that he is always with me.He always gives me an opportunity to recognize that HE is with me. HE is there with me always. When I am scared, when I am happy , when I am sad and feel as though things might not get better. He is ALWAYS with me.That is so comforting to me.

I have so much to learn about photography, but even more that, I am learning about the creator of the universe in the process of exploring HIS world. I am so glad that he speaks to me through the passions that I love so much. Whether it be crafting, photography or friends and family, I am really enjoying the process; and I think HE knows it.