It feels fitting to be starting this blog on the First Day of Fall. My favorite thing about a new season is the excitement of a fresh start and a new beginning. Here at Lantern Hill, we have a lot of the exciting projects in the works. We can’t wait to share what we are working on with you!
When we first started Lantern Hill, it was my hope that I could create my dream job, filling my days with a little dash of all of the things that I love. I pictured something that would blend product design, writing, and teaching.
On the day of my college graduation, I received a little medallion that said, “Let Your Light Shine.” We like to think of our work on Lantern Hill as letting our light shine. We want to help you find things that will bring you joy. We want to help you enjoy nature and time with your family.
We are so appreciative of everyone who has supported our dream of owning a business. Most of all, we hope that we will be able to provide information and resources on this blog that are helpful to you. Sending lots of good thoughts your way as we enter this autumn season!
In the rolling hills of a country village, people enjoy a bountiful harvest, filling the barns to the brim with plump pumpkins and bushels of apples.
What I like about this design– One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the Harvest Festival at the Littleton Historical Museum’s living history farms every year and picking out pumpkins from their pumpkin patch. It felt like we were going back to harvest time in the 1800’s. This flag brings a small vintage pumpkin patch right to your yard so you can enjoy it all fall. The flag is filled with vibrant colors and intricate details, and my son loves trying to find all of the birds, cats, and flowers in the picture. For a boy who currently loves all things farm related, especially cows and the way that they go moo, this flag is a like a little storybook illustration for our yard.
You can find the flag here.
If you are in the Denver metro area, the Harvest Festival at Littleton Historical Museum is being held Saturday October 14th from 10am to 3pm at:
6028 S. Gallup Street
Littleton, Colorado 80120
See more details about the Harvest Festival here.
After years of retailing other company’s products, we really wanted to follow our dream of launching our own brand of products. The timing seemed right. After the birth of our daughter in February, we were returning to work. We found a factory we wanted to work with. We were thrilled with the quality of the samples we had received. Then my mother in-law passed away. Her death was very unexpected. She had been living with us, taking care of our babies. She got sick on a Monday, and she was gone on Tuesday.
My mother-in-law brought so much love into our lives, and it felt like everything had turned upside down. In the midst of grieving, we started doubting whether the time was really right for us to launch our own brand. We had a two month old baby and an active toddler, and we had just lost someone who was such an important part of our household.
We decided to put the new brand on hold. With decisions like that, sometimes it seems like the universe has other ideas in mind. In the midst of this incredibly difficult time for our family, I started to realize how often the humble garden flag outside our house brought an unprompted smile to my face. Of course a little flag couldn’t make everything better, nothing could do that. Yet, during a time when the grief felt so heavy, I was thankful for any and all little moments of lightness, any small reminders of beauty in the world. When I pulled into our driveway, the garden flag cheerily welcome me home. When I looked out our kitchen window, I would catch myself smiling at the cute design and bright splash of color. That decoration helped brighten some very challenging days for me. A decorative flag is a simple thing, but suddenly it seemed more important than ever to create our own line and send it out into the world.
Sometimes the small things in life can have a big impact. It is our hope that our flags will be beautiful pieces that will bring some joy to your day when you see them.
Is this season fall, or is it autumn?
Historically, there used to be a focus on the year having two seasons, summer and winter. Winter was the most challenging time of the year to survive so it makes sense.
The idea of spring and autumn/fall as their own seasons came later. Before people used either the word autumn or fall, they called this time of the year harvest. In agricultural communities, it was the time to reap crops and prepare for the winter ahead.
Then in the 16th century, the English started using the French word “autumn” to describe the season between summer and winter. Around this time, people also started using the phrases “spring of the leaf” and “fall of the leaf.” Over time, these phrases shortened until people referred to the time after winter before summer as spring and the time after summer before winter as fall.
The words autumn and fall started becoming popular when the British were arriving on the North American continent. People in both places used both the term autumn and the term fall with the term autumn becoming particularly popular in the 18th century. Interestingly, autumn had greater popularity in the UK, and fall had greater popularity in the United States. By 1906, the Fowler brothers wrote in The King’s English, “Fall is better on the merits than autumn, in every way; it is short, Saxon (like the other three season names), picturesque; it reveals its derivation to every one who uses it, not to the scholar only, like autumn […] We once had as good a right to is as the Americans, but we have chosen to let the right lapse, and to use the word now is no better than larceny.”
The term in fall is starting to become more common in Britain again, but for awhile it was considered archaic. People still heavily consider it an American word. Interestingly, Canadians also frequently use the term fall. Australians use both fall and autumn, but seem to use the word autumn much more often.
You can read more about the history of these terms on:
Whichever term you prefer, we have fall, autumn, or harvest flags available here.
What is a garden flag?
I will admit that it wasn’t so many years ago that I had no idea what a garden flag was. My grandpa was in the Navy, and I took great pride and care in putting out our family’s American flag. We were Green Bay Packer fans living in Denver, Colorado, and sometimes we would get brave enough to hoist a flag to celebrate one of their victories. I loved putting out those two types of flags, but I had no idea that there were other types out there.
And then one day, I saw a little flag with a Nativity Scene on it and a bright star of Bethlehem in the corner. The flag had vibrant, beautiful colors, and it was such a cheerful Christmas decoration. I have always loved miniature things, and here was this cute flag hanging from a metal flag stand. It was like one of those large flags that hangs down from a flag pole but a smaller version. I was delighted to realize that there were all different styles and themes of these little decorative flags, hummingbirds for spring, beach flip flops for summer, pumpkins for fall, and snowmen for winter.
Now that we have our own line of Lantern Hill flags, it seems like we are always trying to find new places to photograph them. I love setting flags up in new locations and then seeing delight on people’s faces when they notice them. They are little decorative pieces designed to make you smile, and I love that.
A garden flag is 12 inches (one ruler) wide and 18 inches long.
Hopefully this image of a toddler with a garden flag can help put the size in perspective.
A lot of the flags on the market are printed in such a way that you can read the message from one side, and then the other side looks like a mirror image. I am a perfectionist, and I found myself going out of my way to set up our garden flags in such a way to hide the back so that I wouldn’t have to see the unreadable text.
For Lantern Hill flags, it was very important to me that they would actually be double sided with a message that could be read from both sides. All of the sudden I could set my flags up so that you could see them from the road, but I could also look out our house window and see them too. It is a small change, but suddenly it felt like the flags were twice as useful.
One of the unexpected but nice things about the dual sided printing was that it created a need to use thicker blackout fabric that would prevent the design from bleeding through from one side to the other. This fabric is thicker, softer and more durable than the 300D polyester flags that we were selling from other companies. By setting out to make them truly two sided, the overall quality of the flags improved, and they even draped better on the flag stands.
As a busy mom with a two year old and a seven month old, I sometimes look at my yard and chuckle about what my garden looked like before kids and what it looks like now. It used to be fun to match garden flag designs to the flowers in the garden. Maybe I will get back to the days of doing that, but for now, I love that I can quickly slide the sleeve of a garden flag over a metal stand, and my yard looks pretty and cheerful even if no plants are blooming at the moment.
You can check out our entire collection of flags here .
Are you interested in putting up a bat house but not exactly sure where to put it?
Bat House International gives the following tips:
Another reason to avoid trees is that it is difficult to mount the bat house high enough up in a tree. It is very hard for bats to take off from a stationary position. They need room to drop down and then glide. This is why you should place your bat house at least fifteen feet off the ground.
2. Do put your bat house on a human house- One of the biggest benefits of attaching the bat house to your house is that it will help the bat house stay warm enough and also help the temperature in the bat box stay stable.
One of the best places to mount a bat house is under the eaves of your roof.
One of the benefits of this location is that it should help provide plenty of clear area around it for bats to fly out of the house.
3. Another great way to install a bat house is to pole mount it- this will help you get the height needed. This works especially well for multi-chamber bat houses and single chamber bat houses that are back to back.
Check out our selection of bat houses here.
Bats in Panama vary their heart rates dramatically, and that isn’t usual. Researchers have found that a bat’s heart rate varies between 1000 beats per minute when they are flying all of the way down to 200 beats per minute when they are resting. Other animals lower their heart rates during longer time periods like hibernation, but these bats slow their heart rates drastically several times each hour. In an environment where they might not find enough food, this ability helps protect the bats from starving to death.
Here is a short glimpse of these tent making bats:
Did you know that traveling to look at and photograph fall leaves is called leaf peeping?
Here in Colorado, the golden Aspen are absolutely magnificent in the fall.
Here are some ideas of where to go and how to see this year’s fall foliage:
*Driving– take the family out for a scenic drive and stop along the way to take photos.
*Hiking– this list has lots of ideas for hikes all over the state, covering a range from short, easy hikes to long, difficult hikes.
*For a unique approach, try checking out the fall colors by train:
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is hosting a Pollinator BioBlitz from September 23rd to October 8th.
What is a BioBlitz? National Geographic says that a BioBlitz is, “an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.” A BioBlitz is also called a biological inventory or biological census.
Register at the link below to receive information about daily challenges and events:
If you are in Texas, try to take photos or videos of any pollinators you see. Share them on Instagram with the hashtag #TXpollinators or join the Texas Pollinator BioBlitz iNaturalist project.
This is a great way for people of all ages to be citizen scientists and collect data for biologists to study. Pollinators like butterflies, moths, bees, bats, hummingbirds, wasps, flies, and beetles play an important role in sustaining ecosystems. Pollinator populations in North America have been declining, and projects like this aid conservation efforts.
It can be a challenge to get bats to use a bat house. Giant bat houses at the University of Florida house some 350,000 bats, one of the largest urban bat colonies in the world. Relocating bats to those houses took several years and was by no means an easy project.
After a 1987 grease fire in a cafeteria displaced some 5,000 bats from their roosts in the building’s attic, the university experienced a big problem when the bats decided to relocate to the bleachers of the sports stadium. For three years from 1991 to 1994, the school struggled to get bats to use a giant bat house instead of other campus buildings.
The Environmental Health and Safety team used guano to attract bats to the house, played recordings of bat sounds from the displaced colony, and even made sure that reflective wallboard wasn’t interfering with echolocation. Their efforts paid off. The University currently has one large bat house and two bat barns. They are the world’s largest occupied bat houses inhabited by Brazilian free-tailed bats, Southeastern bats, and Evening bats.
Watching the bats emerge for the evening is a unique and wonderful learning experience. You can get more details about best times to visit here.
We were excited to read this article about a home builder in the UK partnering with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to create a conservation minded housing development with wildlife highways for hedgehogs and native shrub and wildflower plantings for pollinators and butterflies. The community also features all kinds of wildlife homes like, “”swift boxes, house martin cups, sparrow boxes, a kingfisher/sand martin bank, a barn owl box, bat roost boxes, a loggery, dragon fly perches, wildlife tunnels, bat hop over points, a shallow invertebrate bay and a bug box at each show home.”
We appreciated Alok Sharma MP’s quote, “To build more homes in this country, we need to encourage innovative approaches to house building so that new developments complement and enhance, rather than threaten, the local and natural environment.”
If you are interested, you can read more about this community here.
One of the challenges of bat house installation, is that they should be mounted a minimum of 12 feet off the ground with 15 to 20 feet being ideal. Given the large size of bat houses, it can certainly be challenging to safely mount them high enough.
We were excited to read that this Tree Works company in Asheville, North Carolina helps mount bat houses.
Some sources advise against mounting bat houses directly on trees. Community Bat Programs of BC advises that you should de-limb around a bat house if you mount it on a tree so that any bats using the house have a clear path in and out of the house and better protection from predators.
We do like that there are companies out there thinking about how they can help with bat house installation.