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ourgardenblog
Companion blog for http://ourenchantedgarden.net/ourench1, with photo updates & info.
 
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Our Enchanted Garden is revived, though limping!
Our Enchanted Garden - back up and running - with some glitches and missing links... oops! lol lol!! - I'll be working on these over the next week or so - the site is going live to allow testing of the new server we're experimenting with.

My old domain is now being used by another, a savvy company that buys up expired domains and uses them for advertising! But that's my own fault!   So my new one is similar... but subtly different! he he!

I managed to find a host for my site which offers some sweet features and add-ons, including the site's own blog, message board, file sharing, and sub domains! I'll be busy learning how to incorporate all these new capabilities into Our Enchanted Garden and will update everyone here and on my facebook page .Yup - I've even set up a page at facebook to promote my work and the website! Hey, come by for a visit, become a fan, post a message on the Garden Wall or start a discussion - what cool community can we all build with such useful tools? I love playing with these toys! As things begin to take shape, perhaps you can even help with debugging things as they go up ! Any volunteers?

Hope to see all my friends around and about! And hope you're all finding magic in your days! ;-)



 
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100b5050MDnew copy

A pretty garden view for Mom!
Wishing a Happy, Healthy Mother's Day to Moms everywhere!
Enjoy!
No petals - pick a flower
 
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May - It's Time for the Flowers!
May is here - Time for lots of flowers to start to bloom!

May's flower is the lily of the valley, a beautiful and tiny flowered perennial ground cover with a heavenly perfume. Sadly it's a later spring flower that's all but forgotten come the heat of summer! Still their short, sweet visit is well worth saving a shady corner of the garden to plant them in! Ours greet us at the front door and when they're in full bloom around the middle to the end of May, we enjoy their beauty and fragrance while they last.

Lining the path
Lily of the valley grows along the walkway leading to our front door, greeting visitors and family with a pretty sight and a heavenly perfume!

Precious little bells of lily of the valley
This is a lovely macro shot of a young flower stem, the green tones
in the shot seem soft and cool, creating a gentle mood.

 My grandmother was born in May and always grew them in her gardens. My daughter was also born in May and since she was about 6 years old I've been growing them to carry on the tradition, transplanting them to wherever we were living at the time until finally planting them at her very own house years later!

We featured them in my daughter's wedding as well - they made beautiful bouquets.
 
roses and lily of the valley
        White Roses and Lily of the Valley made a gorgeous bouquet!

(While it was raining and still too cool to work in the garden I used the time to scan some of the photographs from Sue's wedding day, 5 years ago.  This is a very close view so the resolution isn't perfect but the soft edges give the image a nice touch! A great project for me on rainy days!)

 

the bouquets and smiles

The bridesmaids bouquets were simple and sweet.
(the little flower girl is Sue's best friend's daughter, Nya)
No petals - pick a flower
 
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100_3297.jpg hosted for free by ImageShack 100_3308.jpg hosted for free by ImageShack 100_3322peachcropped.jpg hosted for free by ImageShack 100_3304.jpg hosted for free by ImageShack
As things begin to awaken for a new season I have been so very grateful that I can still find ways to share what new and interesting things are unfolding in the garden here at MindSay and elsewhere on the net, while sadly, my website is still down. (fingers crossed - not for much longer!) I feel compelled to share despite some wrinkles in my venues for doing so and hope that friends and those who stumble across my work can still find and enjoy the vignettes and anecdotes I continue to collect!

These are trying times for many souls to the south of where I live, in the US. As well there are ever more severe times approaching those who live in poorer countries and contend with economic crises and the pressures for fuel and food. This is taking place in the midst of world wide awareness of the fragility of earth's environment, at the understanding that we have an impact on our world and must learn to be more aware of the nature of the world we live in.

Last night I watched the speech I'm sure many will be speaking of today, the Reverend Jeramiah Wright - speaking to the Detroit chapter of the NAACP and addressing the theme "There is a Change Coming" and I was heartened, just as I felt comfort hearing Abbas, the Palestinian Authority leader suggest "Peace is the only solution" back in November. I believe it's true that when people begin to understand that "different" does not imply "deficient" and we become committed to seeing people as simply different and we are committed to treating each other with respect for our differences, with acceptance that we are all citizens of this world - we will see a vast change. It is a change that I welcome and it is a change that may cause discomfort to those who are less willing to bend, to grow and step forward in this new millennium of human kind!  I don't see the change coming without turmoil or conflict unfortunately, but I am confident the turmoil can be calmed through efforts like my own and others who attempt to help others see the underlying beauty of these changes in perspective!

Like our garden, we can bravely face the unknown and move forward to bloom in a new season! The future can be promising and can bring abundance for many.

On that note I share with you a new view from the garden, the birds will love them and the bees have already found the new young fruit trees we planted this weekend! In memory of my late brother Will - I vowed last April to plant these this spring but had to wait a few extra weeks for the snow to clear! Now they're in and appear right at home... our new little orchard by the barn!

There's nothing like planting trees! It is an exhilarating thing, and especially so when the trees will eventually provide food, (in a year or two for one tree species!) and will do so repeatedly for many, many years to come. Not to mention their beauty, their fragrance and the added benefit of having deep roots to withstand drought and wet weather extremes that have begun to plague our area. Like the grape vines and everbearing strawberries that have become well established and compared to less hardy vegetables that must be planted each year we're confident this investment will be a real bonus for our family, our garden companions and the garden itself! Our Enchanted Garden, Our World, now graced with a few more cherry trees, one red and one black, both sweet cherries, and the cutest little baby gold peach tree with gorgeous pink blooms!

Our contribution, for April at least, to reducing that carbon foot print, one that will continue to give for a lifetime!

No petals - pick a flower
 
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It appears I can paste the embed code for a shockwave flash display of my gallery at Zazzle.com,  - the graphics are really pretty slick.
You can also view the entry at my blog on Blogspot.com at Walk in the garden.blogspot.com; a photo blog...: My Zazzle Gallery  (this link goes to the specific blog...)

Or if you prefer, go directly to the gallery at Zazzle.com; Zazzle.com/Our Enchanted Garden*  to see the variety of note cards, postcards, magnets and what-nots, all available with easy secure on-line shopping and no fuss shipping within the US!

Have fun and be sure to let me know what you think if you're so inclined. I'll be back with some spring, easter photographs over the course of the weekend. That is if I'm not busy promoting something on facebook, or zazzle or other interesting places I've been finding where I can display photographs and play with whimsical imagery! Plus it keeps me entertained! he he!

With loads of love, ...from the garden, I'm sure most, like myself and the birds in the garden, are happy to see winter loosening it's grip on the Northern Hemisphere!
No petals - pick a flower
 
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To Our American Friends and Family



Happy Thanks Giving
Thanks Giving Happy
Giving Happy Thanks
Happy Giving Thanks
Thanks Happy Giving
Giving Thanks Happy


with love... from the garden
No petals - pick a flower
 
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Happy Thanks Giving
Thanks Giving Happy
Giving Happy Thanks
Thanks Happy Giving
Giving Thanks Happy
Happy Giving Thanks

No petals - pick a flower
 
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Slimy snails define determination. Efficient escargot!

I am surprised at myself for saying, these critters are another favourite! Not because I enjoy their company in the garden as I don't, quite honestly. They do quite a bit of damage to many of the plants I enjoy growing. But we are attempting to learn to live together and in the process I've learned to admire specific aspects of the common garden snail. They became a subject of observation sometime last year and that activity inspired me in many exciting ways. I was encouraged to find ways to make my images available to others (in their large format) for their own purposes. I was also inspired to promote and share my thoughts on what I am learning and experiencing through observations of the natural world I am both grateful and lucky to enjoy!

Snail explores the garden
(common garden snail, macro shot)

100_5570nospinetex, smallercropped
(no backbone, no spine... poster shot)

This creature is fascinating in many ways. There is no backbone in a snail's body, yet she can carry a house on her back! He moves as slow as thick molasses and almost as messy and yet in days he can devastate a garden plant, be it flower or vegetable! Dedicated, determined, diligent - quite the incredible critter. As a very young garden pest they are almost identical to their parents, though tiny in scale and they are slightly transluscent.

Tiny travelers
(tiny garden snails on human hand, macro shot)

Their species seem to have evolved very little and they are hermaphrodites, fertilizing each other's eggs when they mate. I had the thought that calling a snail he or she is completely irrelevant or fully interchangeable, depending on how you look at it! They certainly won't have gender issues! And they give me pause too, when considering that even with their determination and their dual sexuality, they still need to join with another in order to create new life. There's something to ponder in that and its' implications make me curious!

"Conversations with a snail" posing with the caretaker.
Well Mr Snail hows Alice these days?
This shot reminds me of Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass"

No petals - pick a flower
 
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More FavoRitE GarDeN CrittErS!
I've compiled a few items to share what I love about two creatures that are rarely even noticed and are often considered pests. They can be beautiful - sometimes it's just how we perceive them that makes them seem ugly!
The first little creature to feature is the common garden toad;


This video is more audio than visual, sit back, put your feet up and enjoy a serenade from the toads that live in the garden....

And here's a short video of one of the toads in daylight; (the audio may seem hokey - well it is, I'll admit it!) I took the clip for my almost 3 year old grand daughter Vanessa to enjoy!



I also managed to get a few nice close up still shots of this fellow, I took them just prior to shooting the video!

A Toad That Lives In The Garden

Here's a profile shot that shows how their eyes are situated, making them excellent silent hunters;

A Great Profile Shot!

It's very easy to provide habitat for toads, in fact they probably already live around your yard and you just haven't noticed them. They usually hide from the hot sun and are very shy. They are also incredibly tough - our canine companion, Keisha, has often tried to play with the toads and usually she just gets a sour taste in her mouth for her efforts - the toad will lay down as flat as he can get and secrete a milky substance that discourages most predators from gobbling him up!

Keisha the Toad Hunter

Keisha the Toad Hunter learns a lesson!

Toad secretes a milky substance
Close-up of the secretions!

Here's a shot of a toad house we tucked away in a safe place in the garden;
Toads House
It's actually this easy to provide protection and habitat for garden companions. Toads need a cool moist hiding place, where they'll hang out most of the day. Sunrise and dusk are their main hunting times, when bugs and worms are active. Toads aren't quite as selective as some other gardening "helpers". They'll eat good bugs like ground beetles and earthworms, they'll also eat mosquitoes, and they'll eat other pesky destructive critters like june bugs and earwigs.
Keisha, the dog part of our family, has yet to learn how to tell our "pesky" visitors from our "friendly" ones but hopefully she'll clue in! She is learning, the hard way, that their skin doesn't taste good at all and fortunately no harm has been done to either!

I've one more critter to feature but it might be best to make a separate entry so it doesn't take forever and a day to upload for those interested in viewing the photographs.

Enjoy! Offered with much love... from the garden, and the caretaker!
 
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A Cardinal a Sparrow and a male goldfinch sat down at the bar...
I don't know what the Sparrow said to the Cardinal, but everyone else in the shot sure looked interested!
 
A Cardinal, a sparrow and a male goldfinch sat down at the bar...

(ooops! sorry if you viewed this earlier and wondered what was up - I DID forget to load the photo before I headed in to work - but here it is now!)

I thought this photograph might top off the bird entry quite nicely and it's a shot I was thrilled to capture - the cardinal is a very shy bird and it's not always easy to get close enough for a decent image!


I've been gathering together some images of our other garden creatures, even a couple of short videos, hopefully you'll enjoy that entry - as soon as I can get to it that is!
No petals - pick a flower
 
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There's something amiss if a gardener doesn't appreciate the critters that come to visit in the garden. It's true that some can cause damage if a garden is over-run with a particular species. Squirrels, for example, can create havoc by digging up your plants while they're attempting to plant or find their nuts, seeds and goodies. They have stolen both strawberries and corn in my garden over the years. One bold black squirrel was so selfish he wasn't happy to share some ripening sunflower seeds with the blue jays, he broke off and then stole away with an entire head - twice his size! "The nerve!" said the Jays, sadly!

My favourites by far are the birds that come to visit! Because we put out feeders, birdhouses and keep the bird bath filled with fresh water, changing it every second day to keep mosquitoes at bay, we have a wide variety of birds. We also attempt to keep parts of the garden as natural and "wild" as possible, providing the sort of natural habitat and food sources they need to survive. In return we get to enjoy watching them raise their offspring. The bird types this practice attracts are breeds which live in the garden year round, which can be a delight in the middle of a hard winter when it seems there's just nothing alive outside! They seem happy to remind me that life goes on regardless!

For some this may be a bore as I've written about the birds in the garden on a regular basis and they've been the subject of many of my page designs and headers on my personal page at; imcheryl since I started blogging here at MindSay! And yet this is presented from another perspective and may still be of interest to many.

Favourite Bird... I can't decide between two - Chickadees and American Goldfinches

Chickadees;
because I love their signature calls and the songs they sing have accompanied me in gardens where-ever I've lived or puttered. They are quite friendly birds and with patience and regular encouragement can be trained to eat thistle seed or small black sunflower seeds right out of the palm of your hand. We haven't gotten to that stage here in the garden yet, but we hope to do so! It took me more than a year to get a decent photograph of these little beauties and I was thrilled when it finally came to be last January!

Chickadee-dee-dee

The second best shot was taken the previous July but sadly didn't reveal much more than an underbelly and their gymnastic abilities!
 
Chikadee Trapeeze Artist

The shot above was taken on a rainy day through a screened window and I was lucky to even get this quick shot before he flitted away to another spot!

Goldfinches;
because I just love watching the males change colours and in particular I love the fact that they are one of the latest to breed in the season - likely why the male seems to sing seductively for months once his colour comes in full! I've documented their growth and development over a couple of years now and have been rewarded many times over for my efforts!

goldfinches at feeder
Goldfinches In Winter, when they are often mistaken for sparrows!

In early spring the colours begin to fill in;

Backyard Goldfinches

This female in early spring is feeding on the catkins or buds of a paper-bark birch tree.

Breakfast for female american goldfinch

And here's' a male with his colour just starting to come in;

Early Spring Male Goldfinch Backside

Below, the male is in his full bright colour, when people sometimes will describe them as "wild canaries" thinking they just showed up, not realizing they've been there throughout the year but just looked similar to their female counterparts and so didn't stand out!

Goldfinch poem

The gift of mid-summer and my dedicated documentation was to capture a beautiful image of a young and quite chubby baby goldfinch - what a lucky treat indeed!

100_9733

Such a cutie! This little bird is born later in the season because its' parents waited until the thistle was finished blooming, providing nesting material and seed to feed their young.
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  Goldfinch Thistle Diner - vertical

They also enjoy the seeds of such plants like Black-Eyed Susan or even Purple Cone-Flower, all related Rudbeckia plants or cone flowers;

Susan is a Cone Head!

Making a few careful choices;  planting birch trees and cone flowers, allowing the odd thistle to grow (not too many though as their thorns are sharp and the plant would choke out other useful plants,) by providing water and nesting places through bird houses and cedar bushes or other shrubs, like wild rose bushes (rosa rugosa) these fine little creatures share our garden spaces, entertain us endlessly with their antics and provide colour and whimsy where ever they go!

So birds are truly my all time favourites.

There are two other little creatures I also love dearly. I'll share that with everyone with my next entry! Sure hope you enjoy the insights here and that you might be encouraged to invite such small wonders to join you in your own garden, no matter how small or humble! You too will be gifted with their delightful ways and learn a new kinship with the natural world!
 
MindSay Quick Update /
I am selecting photos to list garden fauna favourites! Coming Soon!
 
MindSay Quick Update /
I am thinking We were truly blessed with rain showers in the afternoon and meteor showers last night! Cool Wishes!
 
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One of my friends here at MindSay asked about my favourites in the garden, so for wakemeup and any other 'Sayers who might be interested I thought I'd put together a little list of favourites, I'll add pics as I've got them available or find them...

My all time botanical favourites;
Perennial Flowers; delphinium I love the tall spikes they put up and their colours, blues, purples and whites are beautiful! A very old fashioned perennial, I think they were popular because of their longevity. Like peonies, once they're well established they'll return and bloom for years. They're also one of the first plants I lost after moving to the property we have now... I've yet to invest in new plants, until I've finalized the garden layout I'd rather wait because they're not too fond of being transplanted!!

Annual Flowers; Morning Glories have to be the top on my list! They seed themselves every year and they attract humming birds. They grow 10 to 20 feet tall in a good year and their flowers, which open early in the morning to meet the rising sun, grace their vines for only a few short hours. AND, the trumpets OH THE TRUMPETS! Regal Purples, Glorious Blues, Luscious Deep Reds and Bright Pinks! Just Gotta Love them! There's only one sad fact regarding this lovely vine; no fragrance - likely they don't need it to attract bees! They sure don't need it to attract me! he! he!

Colourful neighbours Regal Colours
Pale Blue - an unusual morning glory!


Foliage Plant: Mother of Thyme, a beautiful very low growing, dark green ground cover that gets a flush of light purple flowers in late spring, early summer. This is a plant that's perfect planted between stepping stones on a garden path. It can stand up to some light foot traffic and when walked upon gives off a lovely fragrance. The leaves are tiny and not usually used as an herb for cooking, there are other thymes for that. (he! he!)
I saw a sign recently that I thought was quite a fun play on words; Thyme Started In The Garden!

Boulevard planting - thyme in flower
The caption I wrote for this shot is referring to the boulevard gardens many of my Guelph neighbours have begun to plant. Such a low growing plant is perfect for a curbside garden that won't interfere with sight lines for pedestrians, drivers and riders alike!
The caption: "This makes a nice low planting for a boulevard garden and doesn't interfere with sight lines or pedestrians using the sidewalk. A very safety conscious planting! Thank You neighbour!"
Well this entry has to be posted now... I have to head off to work once again  (darn!) - I'll have to add another chapter in a day or two and I'll find or take some pics to compliment the lists!

 
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The Heat Wave Is On!
Well the heat is on now without a doubt!
Temperatures are slated to get into the low 30's and humidity levels will also be high. By tomorrow it will feel close to 100 F! Tough for working in, and I'll be drinking lots of water. The garden will need the same to help it through and there's hope we may get a good rain overnight tonight.
The heat has put a lot of strain on some garden plants, I'll share pics tonight to update  on it's progress. The way the summer is going it's possible we'll have a long season in the garden. I'm hoping we can overcome the challenges and keep things healthy so the plants make it well into late fall.
I'm off to work for now and will touch down later!
 
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Slideshow Experiment, Picassa 2 Tools for embedding - Niagara pics
The following is a test ... only a test... he! he! Trying to compare my Flickr slideshow with this new Picassa 2 Web Album feature that provides code to embed a slideshow in a website or blog! Worth experimenting with I think!





I hope it plays nicely for anyone stopping by! It's working well on my system and with captions visible this is a neat tool for providing messages, instructions or other useful information - the album also has a mapping feature allowing me to show a map of the location where the photos were taken - Cool!
No petals - pick a flower
 
MindSay Quick Update /
I am feeling Hot! The Garden is feeling this heat wave - but we'll help it with extra watering! Photos to come!
 
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Here at Niagara there's far more to enjoy than just gambling at a casino!
Queenston Heights Park is very close to the US - Canada Border crossing, at the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge;
Very Close to the Border, the Lewiston Bridge is nearby.

Queenston Heights Park, Queenston, Ontario
Taken at the entrance to the park.
And below is a view of the Niagara River looking towards Niagara on the Lake and Lake Ontario. All the white bits in the water are boaters and water skiers and people enjoying the water on a hot day! This is viewed from the top of the Niagara Escarpment near the beginning of the Bruce Trail. Farm land can be seen in the distance to the left of the photograph, the area is well known for it's produce, fresh fruit, grapes and fine wine in particular!
The Niagara River heading to Lake Ontario


These boat rides weren't available when I was a kid; the boats ride into the rapids and around a huge permanent Whirlpool that exists in the Niagara Gorge.
100_1819
Looks like these people had some fun! 100_1816


This fellow is enjoying the ride as well!
100_1810

Here, some people are enjoying a quieter mode of water transport.
100_1805

I'd share more shots but it'll make the file take forever to load for some readers so instead I've built a set of photos that will run in a little slide show file at Flickr. Click This Link if you want to explore further.  When the new page opens you will see a series of thumbnails, you can click on the words "View as A Slideshow" to watch the photos displayed with a black background. I hope the slide show works well and hope you all enjoy the view!
 
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Here's the story about Belinda and her pet dragon.

I'm so pleased to have found a copy of this story, a lucky capture on the internet, this is the poem that was used in the little play we put on during summer camp at Queenston Heights Park about 42 years ago! If I remember correctly I played the little cat Ink!


THE TALE OF CUSTARD THE DRAGON

By Ogden Nash

Copyright Linell Nash Smith and Isabel Nash Eberstadt

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.
 

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called her Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.


Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio, daggers on his toes.


Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.


Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.


Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
And Blink said Week!, which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.


Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.


Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.


Belinda paled, and she cried, Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.


But up jumped Custard, snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.


The pirate gaped at Belinda's dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets but they didn't hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.


Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pyrate.


Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio, little pet dragon.


Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.
No petals - pick a flower
 
MindSay Quick Update /
I am selecting some photos from the trip to Niagara as well as a copy of the story about Belinda's pet dragon!
 
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