Sunday, August 30, 2009

Being Mooned

Vines are sometimes very tropical in nature and will not burst forth with foliage until deep into the heat of summer. The moonflower vine, Ipomoea alba, is very much like that. I wanted to grow them last year and all the seed packets had been sold. This year I did my shopping early. Above are the lovely heart-shaped leaves of the vine that it displays in July.

The seeds are hard and resistant to germination and must be soaked in wet towels for a day or two before planting in the seed pots. It is recommended they get planted directly into soil, but then I would not have blooms by August if I did so. In the photo above the plant is starting to take over the deck railing and climb across the door from the master bedroom. It actually is forcing itself over the top of the door rim and I may find it inside the bedroom some day!

The blossoms are exotic looking first in the little purple bud heads and then bursting forth like white rockets twisting into the air.

They are called moonflowers because they do not bloom until the sun is beginning to set. Then these diaphanous petals emerge just like some night fairy in a ball gown. The blossoms are 4-5 inches across. But the very best of all is the fragrance. No French perfume, no perfume worn by your first love, will smell this good. It is hard for me to get my nose out of the blossoms!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Black Swallowtail

three new friends
eating outdoor lunch
bye to fennel

tummy full
and now so sleepy
transformed more

(I learned this summer to plant Lantana next to fennel and I can see the whole circle of life in one summer.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


loud in pink
holds fast the night sky
blushing sighs

(I have 326 sunset photos...just for this year...thus far.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Easy Being Green

I spotted this beautiful green snake along the trail from our house to the river and boat dock almost tripping over him. He was frozen in the center of the path and pretended he was a long green blade of grass allowing me to approach very closely. He did not move even when I decided to continue on the path and I actually had to walk around him.

I think he is smiling and maybe it is because he saw his meal just up ahead.

Do you see it? Look closely...maybe you should click on the photo and see if you are as good at finding 'Green Waldo' as the snake is. Take your time, I will wait....

It is sometimes not so easy being green.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Promise

If you are reverant I promise tomorrow will come in sunlight.
If you are patient I promise a better new day.
If you are hopeful I promise many new days.
If you are thoughtful I promise a sweet surprise.
If you are simple in expectations the surprise will be rich.
If you are observant you will see hope in others' eyes.
If you are thankful you will see love in others' hearts.
If you look behind you, you will see the support of many arms.
If you gather all your strength, you will be your tomorrow.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Patience and Opportunity

"Hey, maybe this human dude it going to bring some breakfast!"

"Guess not. Need to look for another pink-legged feather-less being."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Being a Sneak

We were in the canoe and paddling our way down a thinner and shallower branch of a new river between high grasses. The air was heavy with moisture and all was quiet except for the whistle of a distant osprey high in the sky and the tiny buzz of some marsh insects. The marsh grass was closing in and hid the view that was going to appear around the bend. I guess it was too warm for bugs to be biting to distract our attention.

Hubby saw this lovely green heron before I did and slowed the canoe ever so carefully so that we could coast closer for a better shot. The photos are not as good as they should be, but that is because I was too busy studying the bird and not focusing on the shots! I probably had the wrong camera setting and that is why I am not a professional! The bird surprised me by not flying away as we paddled even closer. The larger herons in our area are very wary. He flew to another nearby cross branch and then stretched his neck as shown in the photo below almost as if to see if another canoe was to follow behind us.

He was elegant and I thank him for waiting a little while before he flew on over the marsh grass to greater solitude.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vulture Culture

I was watching this red-headed turkey vulture who was watching me while I was watching him watch me. ..for some time. I looked him in the eye and I really think he was thinking, "You, too, are going to die someday."

But not before you, I was thinking in stubborness.

Actually this photo reminds me of the old cartoon where two vultures sit on a tree snag in the desert looking over vast nothingness until one of them turns to the other and says, "I don't know about you, but I am going to kill something."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Duck Duck Goose

Bored and so having some fun with post processing of photos --- making some screen savers. (Click for better resolution and save to your PC if you like.)

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Rapture of the Rapters

Canoeing along one of those Mid-Atlantic Rivers with an American Indian name during the last of the least hot days of summer, we were privileged to see an osprey/bald eagle altercation high in the sky above our canoe. A male osprey was defending its young in the nest from the bald eagle trying to land in the nearby tree. The activity was just like watching a military airplane 'dog fight' as the osprey spiraled higher and higher and screeched louder and louder trying to get above the larger and more powerful eagle and then spiral diving toward its back, just missing each time, perhaps only trying to drive the eagle away. This drama continued for several minutes while the young osprey in the nest made a little frightening 'cheeing' noise. The female mother osprey swooping nearby in the sky kept cheering daddy on while hovering high over the nest and calling to the little one to keep low. Finally the bald eagle admitted defeat and flew away looking for a less challenging perch.

This is a young bald eagle we came across on the same canoe trip just getting its adult colors. If you click to enlarge you will see the mottled coloring.

This is an adult bald eagle in flight.

This is the young osprey wondering if we also were going to attempt to eat him. The expression on his face is so readable.

Another young osprey in another nest further up the river. Actually if you look closely you will see there are two osprey in this photo. (Some photos can be clicked on for a better view. For some odd technical reason I sometime lose the link when uploading photos.)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Forgetting the Big Picture

While hiking in the mountains of this great earth I have learned over many years of tripping over my toes to focus on both the big picture (grand vistas), the close-in picture (the path) and the small pictures...wildflowers at my feet.

First discovered in 1840 by Dr. Asa Gray this is Gray's Lily, Lilium grayi, and is somewhat rare and endangered according to one of my references. It grows along the open road side of the high mountains of West Virginia in June and July.

This appears to be a wild mint, but I don't know which one. It was prolific in bloom.

I think this is the Carolina Lily (Lilium michauxii). At first I thought it might be Lilium superbum. Isn't that a fun name? Actually superbum means superb. These flowers were almost 5 inches wide but only 3 per stem which made me guess it is not the rarer Turk's Cap lily or superbum which can produce many more flowers per stem.

And above I think is the carnivore Sarracenia purpurea or Pitcher Plant, although I did not see any pitchers with this clump. The flowers are so exotic and prehistoric looking. Our trip to West Virginia was most rewarding.