Butterflies & Horn Toad #25 !

By: GardenGrrl , 5:17 PM GMT on April 17, 2012

I'm still mentally skipping, doing cartwheels and grinning big. The butterflies, hundreds of them, all came to my yard this year.

Several years ago a humungous group of butterflies called question marks and commas (seriously), came to enjoy all the fermenting peaches dropped from my tree.
They flew in long lines together, in cirlces like they were holding hands. It was a butterfly dance.

This butterfly party has everyone! Buckeyes (which are usually rare) by the dozens, painted ladies, red admirals, hairstreaks, commas, swallowtails. I am deliriously happy to host these beauties.

Below are some Ylee friendly WU pics. The rest are coming from Flickr cause it's faster.

With that I will segue in to my thoughts on photo editing programs. Recently the corporate giant Google devoured the best on-line photo editor ever created called Piknik. Not to worry, the brilliant folks that created it have started a new site called PicMonkey.

I used PicMonkey to edit these WU photos. It only took a few minutes per photo to upload to PicMonkey, change my exposures, saturation and sharpness. They didn't need much, but it made the photos better. Then I save it back to my computer. The original is untouched.

For the photo of the painted lady with all the blue sky behind her, I used the "clone tool". Clone tool copies something, in this case the blue sky, and covers something else with it. There were powerlines in the photo so the clone tool covered them with blue sky.

PicMonkey is a great easy to use program. I also have Photoshop Elements 10. It is a slightly less expensive version of the famous Photoshop. Not as many bells and whistles. I had to buy two different "how-to" books to start understanding this program. It is much slower than PicMonkey to do the same simple edits. It uses lots of computer memory and hangs up requiring shut down and re-start. (I have 6GB ram, a fast fancy processor and high dollar graphic card). I feel for what I need in a photo editor, this program is not for me.

If you have not tried PicMonkey here is the link; Link

Butterfly Party (GardenGrrl)
Butterfly Party
Butterfly Party (GardenGrrl)
Butterfly Party
Butterfly Party (GardenGrrl)
Butterfly Party
Butterfly Party (GardenGrrl)
Butterfly Party
Butterfly Party (GardenGrrl)
Butterfly Party

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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47. plapman
11:43 AM GMT on May 22, 2012
Good morning GardenGrrl.
The last photo I captured of a dog and a bunny was pretty gruesome. My previous dog, Buck, had caught a wild bunny. Buck weighed in at 105 lbs. and was 29 inches at the shoulder.
I think Abbey thought the bunny was Kramer who is pretty much the same color. Kramer and Abbey have learned to share their home and get along great.
Enjoy your day.
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46. BriarCraft
9:22 PM GMT on May 02, 2012
Here's a bit of tulip eye candy for you. I've got some past-due mowing on the agenda now for this afternoon...

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45. plapman
2:27 PM GMT on May 01, 2012
Good morning GardenGrrl.
Yep those vampires are known to me. I have a scar on my arm where they bite. I'm sure if the polce checked it they'd think I was a druggy.:)
Great shots of the butterflies. I'll have to have a look at the picMonkey app.
Enjoy the day.
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44. Proserpina
12:41 PM GMT on May 01, 2012
Photo by Proserpina


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43. sandiquiz
8:59 AM GMT on May 01, 2012
Morning GG - Happy May the first!

This is a "short" week? so you should still be out and about enjoying the Spring:)
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42. GardenGrrl
5:49 PM GMT on April 29, 2012
Good Morning All,
The Bonsai (shopping) Convention was very fun. Went back this morning for the end of convention sale prices and picked up some great plants and pottery.

The niece called to say grandma was going to drop her off to finish the making the photo slide show.... Typical teenager did not call a day or two ahead of time.
She's lucky we just got home when she called.

So yes Sandi, I did put my shopping sherpa to work :)

Hi Ylee, seeing as we are talking about manufacturing, needing a job reference could go both ways. Hope not until both of us win the lotto or are ready to retire.

Hi BC, Well better threatened than extinct. I hope I can find a way to keep the little critter happy enough to start a family.

Hi Shore, that's a good link. One of the hardest things for people with "sudden" devasting illness is a change in how we feel about our bodies. It is like someone stole my physical self and replaced it with a defective and pain wracked model. Like the author, it is always preferable to have someone ask where the hair went etc.
I've found that the part where my hair is coming back like a buzz cut and I no longer look ill to be the hardest part. Being called "sir" with a slight snicker.
The discrimination that comes with looking visably different in the bible belt from these "good christians". That is worse than the cancer.
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41. shoreacres
7:17 PM GMT on April 28, 2012
Well, this doesn't have anything to do with horned toads, butterflies or flowers - at least, not exactly - but I have a feeling you'll appreciate it.
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40. sandiquiz
10:08 AM GMT on April 28, 2012
Bonsai shopping?
It is probably just as well your Sherpa has to work!!

Enjoy yourself - have fun, but don't spend a fortune!!
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39. GardenGrrl
10:07 AM GMT on April 27, 2012
Good Morning all,
where does my fifteen minutes of blogging time in the morning go?
Hi Shore, Ylee, Briarcraft, Sp :-)

The toad with the giggly name has prompted me into learning to tell which ant from what so the wrong mounds are not treated. We get some serious fire ant mounds if not vigilantly taken care of.
Am also seriously thinking of pulling up some more turf, laying pea gravel down and planting native grass that the red ants like to encourage the little dinosaurs to flourish.
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38. sp34n119w
10:48 PM GMT on April 26, 2012
Oh, cool, BC! Maybe gg will have baby horned toads! That would be neat :)

I never had Windows 95 so maybe that's why I didn't see Corn Dog. I was going to get it but watched a friend installing about half of it one day (before I got bored and wandered off), sat around waiting for him while he was on the phone with tech support (for two hours - then we went on the hike without him - he spent days on the phone) on another day, and decided 3.1 was still just fine for me ;)

I really should stop yarn bombing your blog - I am trying - but this is new and in keeping with the nerd knitters idea and you should see. If I were capable I'd offer to make one for you, if you wanted it! Alas, I am not capable, LOL
Fun story about it, anyway.
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37. BriarCraft
9:13 PM GMT on April 26, 2012
I had to go off and find some more info on Texas Horned Lizards, AKA Horny Toad. While not extinct, it is listed as threatened by Texas Parks & Wildlife. Look what is said about their habitat:

They can be found in arid and semiarid habitats in open areas with sparse plant cover. Because horned lizards dig for hibernation, nesting and insulation purposes, they commonly are found in loose sand or loamy soils.

You may have created a prime nesting site for your little friend with your recent garden work. Way to go, GG!

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36. Ylee
8:38 PM GMT on April 26, 2012
GG, hope your work day is progressing as fast as you predicted! I have plenty of OT here at the moment, but if I ever get laid off here, I may have to bug you for your HR's phone no., lol!(j/k!)

Hope you're keeping cool!
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35. shoreacres
10:58 AM GMT on April 26, 2012
GG ~ Left you a note re: the horned toad at my place, but just had to come and coo over it some more. I'm as surprised as you are that you found one in your yard, but I work up this morning wondering if you might have tempted it with all your garden work. Good soil might mean more ants - and that would bring a horny toad in a minute!

Those wildlife sightings always are wonderful. A couple of week ago I went out in the very early morning and bumped into a big, fat possum. I'm not sure, but I think the possum said "howdy". ;)
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34. GardenGrrl
10:12 AM GMT on April 26, 2012
Good Morning all, wow, it's after five already. Going to be a fast day.

So Hi Sp, Corn Dog also used to be a screen saver for Windows 95? If you paid you would get different cartoons periodically.

Sandi, I do love baking weather...then again I love baking. Best I live where it is mostly warm. There is such a thing as too much cake ;)

Hi Plapman, Mmmmmm Bison steak. Nothing finer for a carnivore. At -20 below, now that's some grillin.

Hi Ylee, You are always working. We have some OT coming up. Want to cover those shifts? You'll feel right at home lol.
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33. Ylee
8:26 PM GMT on April 25, 2012
Hi, GG! Today's my Monday, too! Superintendant had a meeting with the crew on how we must increase our production! I didn't attend, because I was on the floor catching up on what the last shift left me! Besides, the sooner I get done, the sooner I can get on WU! :)

Hope you keep cool today!
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32. plapman
11:56 AM GMT on April 25, 2012
Good morning GardenGrrl.
I agree it's always time to BBQ. I posted a picture here a couple of years ago where I was BBQng Bison steaks at -20. lol
Enjoy the day.
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31. sandiquiz
9:32 AM GMT on April 25, 2012
Happy Monday to you !

It is wild and wet here today, so I am going to do some baking - it is baking weather!
I think I might make a stew for my dinner, possibly with some dumplings!! It is winter out there!

Hope things in the bat-cave go well this week:)
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30. sp34n119w
9:14 PM GMT on April 24, 2012
I love horned toads! I caught and played with the poor things when I was a kid. Haven't seen one in many many years so, lucky you! Hope he sticks around.

I don't remember Corn Dog, but I'm glad you all had hopping fun with that link despite my prediction.
One title of an article about Caine's arcade said something like "It makes grown men cry" so, yeah, it isn't just you :)

Have a pleasant work week!
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29. GardenGrrl
5:14 PM GMT on April 24, 2012
Well it's the day before back to work do laundry, play in yard, go grocery shopping, catch up on blogs etc. As it is now a comfortable temp outside it is finish the blogs and get to the yard :)

Hi Azgrandma, how cool you are getting these too. I really thought they were extinct in N. Texas because no one I know has seen one since they were kids as well.
For photo editing PicMonkey has really made me happy. Will really be happy if they develop a "Slide Show" program too.
Spent ALL day Sunday with niece trying to put together a slide show for her birthday (Quinceanera) on my Photo Shop Elements 10. It looks good, but dang, it took long.

Calpoppy, that picture is a total grin. Amazing photography too.
The one thing that worries me about the horned toad is that they eat Harvester ants, termites and beetles. Now I have to go spee-lunking under the house to look for termite tubes.
Have seen some non-fire ants around though. We have been treating fire ant mounds as they pop up for about the length of our walks with Roxie on the back hill area over the years. This may be allowing the beneficial ants, lizards etc to live around here.

Hi Prose, Today is everyones Tues, but for Gams and I it is "Sunday" before work. It has been so amazing having all the butterflies this year. Was very much afraid last years drought and heat did away with our flying flowers.
Have definitely been rewarded for keeping my yard bird and butterfly friendly. Roxie sends puppy hugs to Koko.

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28. Proserpina
8:06 AM GMT on April 24, 2012
Horned toad? I have never seen one nor had I heard of one until now. What a prehistoric looking creature. Apparently they are useful in your garden. You left a message on one of the blogs about them eating termites. We could use a few of these toads here, we spend a fortune for a termite service to treat around the house to prevent termites from attacking the house. Having a wooded lot with lots of decaying tree branches brings lots of termites around here.

I must say, I prefer an invasion of butterflies to having a horned toad.

Wishing you a very nice Tuesday.
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27. calpoppy
7:10 PM GMT on April 23, 2012
I LOVE horned lizards!!! They do shoot blood out of their eyes, not to us but to dogs. I never believed until I saw it happen.

Here is a smile picture!!!

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26. azgrandma
6:23 PM GMT on April 23, 2012
Beautiful butterfly photos and love the horned toad. I hadn't seen one since my kids were young years ago and was so pleased to see a baby one last year. Also, thanks to everyone on the blogs for the comments on photo editing programs.
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25. GardenGrrl
4:26 PM GMT on April 23, 2012
For Earth Day I recieved the fabulous gift of a Texas Horned Toad in my yard!!!
Have not seen one since I was a kid, and really have been looking too. Thought they were extinct.

Picture taken by "Rootie Kazootie" Flickr.

Anyhow, this was really a cool creature to find in MY yard.
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24. GardenGrrl
4:13 PM GMT on April 23, 2012
Good Morning All, it is in the mid 60's calm and clear.
Am waiting for a friend who wants help picking plants to landscape a clients house.
Plant Shopping? No problem.

Ylee, it worked, there was no hail.

Hi LC, it was beautiful meteor weather. Saw two about 11pm before bed. Got up briefly at 3am. Was tired and Roxie was being hyper-vigilant..coyote or cat so we all went back to bed before she got to barking and waking the whole neigborhood.

Hi Sp, had the niece and nephew over. Showed them the Bronie link. Which lead to them showing us all the other new internet stuff, the meme page and troll face being a favorite. So of course being the good/bad aunt that I am I showed them "Corn Dog" from the 90's.

They get worse from there. hehehehe.
Really loved the "Cains Arcade" actually got a bit "oh that's so sweet teary eyed" on that one.

Here's Cains Arcade from SP
It's about ten minutes long, but really cool.

Hi Sandi, Happy Earth Day to you to. I watered the garden and fed the birds...then found...wait for the news flash in the next comments section!!!

Hi Calpoppy, thanks. Isn't PicMonkey fun. Just a crop here, a tich more saturation there and a tich more sharpness; voila! The new truck is great. We could probably put Roxie in the back and let her run laps. lol.
The Grosbeak has to be so cool. Would make my day every time it came to the finch sock. We each have different but abundant blessings in our worlds.
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23. calpoppy
7:51 PM GMT on April 22, 2012
I am sooooo jealous of your butterflies!!! We hardly get any here. At work I get swallowtails a lot but not a big variety like you have. Nice pics too and nice photo editing!!

We have an old ranch truck and I can't see us ever being without a truck!! Your new truck is quite handsome! When we had nine dogs, we get them all in the back of the pick up and off to town we'd go. They were quite the sight!!! DOGS LOVE TRUCKS!

Right now the Evening Grossbeak is on the thistle sock, he looks so big on it compared to the little goldfinches!

I planted my veggie garden today, got that done before it got to warm. I think the rest of the day is for relaxing, I am really tired from work this last week. Unloading trees off of trucks is getting harder every year!!!!

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22. sandiquiz
10:38 AM GMT on April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day from the middle of England:)
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21. sp34n119w
10:00 PM GMT on April 21, 2012
Poor pink flamingos. Always on the losing side ... even forced to wear ugly knitwear. Tch.

Got one more linky for you, gg, but this one's brief and won't send you off hopping, I don't think. Remember you told me about Bronies? Well, they're here, too!

Oh, no, you know what? I do have one more thing for you, though you probably already saw it (if you haven't, it starts a little slow but is worth watching). For the love of arcade games :)

Happy caving :)
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20. LowerCal
9:03 PM GMT on April 20, 2012
For you and the butterflies I hope your little bit of precipitation was all rain and no hail.

Looks like you'll have beautiful weather for meteor watching late Saturday and early Sunday.
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19. Ylee
10:16 AM GMT on April 20, 2012
Ooooommmmmmm, no hail, ooooommmmmm........
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18. GardenGrrl
10:10 AM GMT on April 20, 2012
Current weather; calm, humid with distant flashes of lightning. The air around the house smells like roses.

Hi Ylee, the plan today is to do all the outdoor chores at work before the sky opens up.

***Everyone all together think; No Hail!****

Hi Prose, You will like PicMonkey for doing the quick touch ups. Your right about the collage editor though. That is the one good PSE feature. Will be collaborating with niece this weekend to make something for her Quinceanera.

Hi Karen, thanks. Sounds like you had some great nature over head at your house with all the thunder symphony going on.

Hi SP, That is sooo cute. Now I'm imagining pink flamingo prisoners staked to the ground with knitted ponchos in unflattering colors ;)

Hi Shore, everyday as I learn about that camera I am happier and happier with the purchase. The good news about the truck is that now Roxie's travel kennel fits and she can go to the dogpark when my car isn't home.
The little critter sheds something fierce so she can't get on the car seats. Btw, started listening to the video and had to shut it off because I was starting to get sleepy. (It's 5am and time for work).

Okay, past my blog time. Have to go make money to support the birds and butterflys.
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17. Ylee
10:08 AM GMT on April 20, 2012
GG, as a truck owner, I shall educate Sandi on Pickup Truck 101!

Over here, the "open back" is called a truck bed. The utility of the bed cannot be underestimated. From hauling gravel to loading a refrigerator to moving large pieces of furniture, you can get a lot more stuff in an open truck bed, without having the expense of having to rent a van(which can't haul gravel, either).

At the front of the bed are small slots in the bottom where water can drain. No swimming pools here! :)
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16. sandiquiz
9:49 AM GMT on April 20, 2012
Ok - I love your truck, but please tell, why do you all need to have the "open back" - or whatever it is called. We don't have them here, unless they are council trucks for shifting rubbish. And what happens when it rains - does the back fill up??
Ah, of course - it is a mobile swimming pool!!! lol

Hope the week in the batcave is going OK :)
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15. Proserpina
8:13 AM GMT on April 20, 2012
Hi, I came back to savor the photos and to learn more about the PicMonkey. My next step is to click on the link and see what I can learn. I have Photoshop Elements 8 and a book for Dummies to help me understand the program. Well, the book is gathering dust and I use the program only to crop and a little color adjustment on some of the photos. Occasionally I 'create' a collage. This is all I know how to handle on the program. I just do not have the patience to experiment and learn all of the fun stuff it offers.

Thank you for posting the beautiful butterfly on my blog. I see butterflies as beautiful flying flowers!

Have a wonderful Friday GG.
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14. shoreacres
2:22 AM GMT on April 20, 2012
My gosh! Those butterflies are amazing! Did you plant specifically to draw them? You must have. And how you get those photos I'll never know - well, except you're obviously learning more about your camera than I have.

I saw your note somewhere about thunder audio - must have been at Karen's. Have you ever seen the wonderful collection of such things on youtube? Here's one such that I keep in my files for when I just need a little rain!

Nice truck, too! But I have to confess my favorite photo is the one of Roxie. She is such a sweetie!
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13. Ylee
2:18 AM GMT on April 20, 2012
GG, you're probably on top of this, but there are some severe TStorms heading in your general direction!

Take care!
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12. sp34n119w
9:55 PM GMT on April 19, 2012
UhOh! The pink flamingos are in BIG trouble now!
LOL That's prompted by BC's post a little while back, of course :)

I can't get over the variety and beauty of all those butterflies. They must have made a special trip to see you after all the effort you put in to attract them :)
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11. SBKaren
3:32 AM GMT on April 19, 2012
Were all those butterflies found in your yard? They are stupendous! Lucky lady!

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10. Proserpina
2:19 AM GMT on April 19, 2012
The new blog and the photos look great. I will be back tomorrow to savor all of it. Good night.
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9. GardenGrrl
1:12 AM GMT on April 19, 2012

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8. GardenGrrl
1:08 AM GMT on April 19, 2012
Hi Briar, Seems the butterfly party is happening on other shrubs like this on around the park. They have never been this active when these shrubs flower. Must be making up for last years drought.

Also, the butterflies seem much smaller this year. Maybe it's because I didn't see any last year, but I swear they shrank. That is fine by me as long as they keep coming back.

Hi Ylee, here is the new truck. It's a half ton 09 Silverado with V8 vortex engine. I think it is the biggest truck on our block right now.

And a shot of Roxie when I woke her up to take the picture.

Okay, so you can't see them at the moment, but sooner or later will put it in the WU area.

It's back to the batcave in the morning.
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7. BriarCraft
11:11 PM GMT on April 18, 2012
Wow! You're in butterfly heaven. Is the butterfly party happening just in your yard? Or is it a local or regional phenomena? I'm particularly amazed at that one shot where I see 5 butterflies crowded together. Thanks so much for sharing!

And if you happen to take more photos, I'd love to see them.
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6. Ylee
2:26 PM GMT on April 18, 2012
Congrats on the Silverado, GG! Two years of oil changes is a nice perk! If it has the V6, you should get decent gas mileage, too! What color is it?

Good luck on getting Roxie his shots! Will you have to put him in the carrier? I know he doesn't like it!

Have fun!
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5. GardenGrrl
1:31 PM GMT on April 18, 2012
Hi Patti, You are 1st! So sending (((hugs))) back from Texas and thanking you for checking out my butterfly blog.

Hi Rob, thanks for coming by and looking. Am really stoked how good these shots came out. There were so many butterflys (I was out there about 2+ hours and took 193 pictures...digital cameras are great). The hard part was picking favorites afterwards.

Hi Sandi, there are six bushes and hundreds of butterflys. Tried backing up to get that type of shot but they blended in to the shrubs. Glad you like the shot of many different types on one flower stem.

Yes I am banging the PicMonkey drum. That is what a photo editor should be like ;-) Thanks for the Flickr link. Blues photo is some really neat editing. He is such a handsome cat.

Hi Ylee, yes I kind of like Tundras too. They have a sporty yet tough look to them. The decision was made last night. It's a 2009 Chevy Quad Cab Silvarado work truck edition that came with a 12 month bumper to bumper warranty and two years of oil changes from the dealer.

Now it's off to take Roxie to get her bordatella booster so she can play with the other dogs at the dog park.

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4. Ylee
8:57 PM GMT on April 17, 2012
The pictures are great, GG, but they're probably a poor second to being there in person! I imagine your garden is a sight to behold!

I saw on Briar's blog you guys are shopping for a new truck! Nothing more fun(and potentially frustrating) than buying a new vehicle, so just remember the salespeople are there to kiss your hind end, lol! Don't let them pressure you!

I like Tundras, myself! :)
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3. sandiquiz
8:44 PM GMT on April 17, 2012
Wow, I am so jealous! These are such wonderful photos. I especially like the Red Admiral group, perfectly shows the various sizes of the butterflies.

I did laugh at your "advert" for PicMonkey... I have been doing exactly the same with my photos in Flickr.

There is a group in Flickr especially for PicMonkey and there are some great 'tutorials' on how to do masks and layers!

I took this original photo and removed the background and added a texture.

Blue on Blue

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2. RobDaHood
6:05 PM GMT on April 17, 2012
Very nice job!
Thanks for sharing them.
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1. redagainPatti
5:52 PM GMT on April 17, 2012
nice photos lady! hugs from Mississippi
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Gardengrrl likes being outside and watching "Sky-TV"