Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fred and Ethel - Revisit

Yes, I have been negligent in taking about my neighbors...tenants?  I have had a VERY busy summer as my readers of my other blog know.  But I am slowly TRYING to get back into Zen mood.  (I still have at least two trips in the coming months, so may fail at this until the cold weather smacks me up the backside and makes me behave.)

Fred and Ethel, our resident ospreys, were successful this year in producing two little ones.  I, on the other hand, was not successful in documenting their adventure.  One was a runt and for a short time we thought it might not survive as the bigger one got all the food.  (The wildlife camera that my husband purchased was a mistake on his part as it was really a security camera requiring electricity to run and having the lowest resolution possible while still being a camera!)

Below is a lengthy series of photos in which I attempt to bring readers up-to-date.  Some of the photos are reasonably good and others are bad but do fit the story line!  I was too lazy to bring the tripod most times.  I reduced resolution for most since I am posting so many and that has degraded them even further!  (If osprey (fish hawks) are not your cup of tea, please feel free to leave and make coffee instead.  See you next time!)  ( I seem to be the Queen of parenthetical expressions this post!)

Daddy waits patiently all spring for the brood to hatch.

Mommy sits, and when she gets bored, she re-arranges the furniture.

Then at sunset when I head down, Daddy tells me to go jump off a cliff.

Finally we see the first little head pop up in the middle of the nest.

Then as they grow we note there are two.

Here is Mommy and the two siblings waiting for dad to bring home the bacon fish.

Then one morning at the end of July there is only one left in the nest.

Sister is waiting patiently on a nearby pole.

Daddy is doing aerobatics to show sonny how to fly.

Like this!

He gives me the evil eye every once in a while to remind me that I am on his hit list.

Finally Junior spreads his wings.


Look at me he chirps!

He gets quite high.

But after a while lands again.

Mommy is waiting patiently on the top of the crane.

Gee, that is a loooong way down.

I need dinner.  When do we eat?  I finally left for the day and he did not leave the nest until the following day!

Here is a fair close-up to make up for all the bad pics.

They have both fledged, but continue to hang around and eat dinner in the nest in the mornings and evenings.  Soon they will all head further south to get better fishing lessons and to follow the sun.  I will miss them, but know that they will return next spring!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sunny Day

Taking a digital paintbrush to the sunflowers which I have managed to save, if ever so briefly in time.

A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky


A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July —

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear —

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Butterfly Effect

There is a "myth" or perhaps a valid scientific theory that has not yet been proven that the wind created by the thrust of a butterfly's wings could change the world, perhaps by creating a storm on the other side of the planet with the energy of their wing/breath amplifying in size as it moves on the air.  

I think what the gist of this theory is that a small action can in turn create larger actions and bigger changes as it links to another and another action.  Does this sound so far fetched?  Not to me.  

I know that if I am feeling down and I hang out with some stupid optimist, it is much more likely they will bring me up to their level than that I would drag them down.  They are the butterflies in our lives and who knows what they change when we do not use the scientific data to follow up?   

I also know that just watching a butterfly as it goes greedily from blossom to blossom with such little effort makes you feel better...much better.  Just try it!  Even on a hot day it somehow has a cooling effect.

And this last below is my favorite, because he/she is so small and easily overlooked.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It Is Heliotropic

Okay, I am in love and rather than scribbling its name on the edge of my notebook paper or drawing hearts on my desk or bringing the name into the conversation every few minutes, I will just work this into a blog post.  My love began its life in this country with the Western American Indian two or three thousand years ago.

It was sustenance for all.  They ground the seeds for flour and ate the head as a vegetable.  Hopi Indians got dyes from the seeds to color their clothes, body and pots.  They even discovered medicinal properties for healing skin bites and injuries.

In 1510 the seeds were taken to Spain and then to Russia where it was hybridized and the seeds both eaten and pounded for oil under the reign of Peter the Great.  It was Joseph Stalin who hybridized the plant until it produce flower heads over 12 inches in diameter.  Then it was returned to this continent in the sacks of the Mennonite farmers that were escaping the purge in Russia and was grown once again by American farmers.  One inventor found that the pith in the stem could be used to add float ability to lifebelts such as those worn by survivors on the Titanic.

In 1888 Vincent Van Gogh captured the beauty of this plant while fighting depression.  He wrote to his brother, "I am hard at it, painting with the enthusiasm of a Marseillais eating bouillabaisse, which won't surprise you when you know that what I'm at is the painting of some sunflowers."  While the sunflower painting did not prevent his suicide, it did sell for $40 million many years later.

The sunflower, Helianthus annuus, produces the world's fourth most popular oil and is a snack and great bird food.  Heliotropic means it turns its head to the sun.

Now that you are so smart, go below and enjoy my sunflowers.

The bud seems so harsh and angry.

But eventually it begins to dance.

Some blossoms are a little embarrassed at their beauty.

And others are just a little shy.

But most indulge us with their beauty as their faces follow the sun.

My goldfinch wait patiently for the harvest and visit each morning and evening.

They get so very tall!!!

As I have written, somewhere, they remind me of a baby giggling.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Eye of the Beholder

This year for some reason my cosmos did not reseed with yellow and orange abundance as it usually does.  This year my zinnias have become rich salad for either that new cute bunny or that fat and dumpy looking groundhog and nothing is left to photograph or cut for bouquets.  I do not know the real thief because they are both sneaky, the bunny is also brave and I was on travel.

My sunflowers 'en masse' look bedraggled and sparse and bug eaten.  The goldfinch visit each afternoon waiting for their meal to ripen.  Therefore, I am left to fiddle with darkness and light and have created these artistic expressions of the beauty that is in the eyes of the beholder of the camera from the few actual blossoms that tower way over my head due to lack of sun.   The photos have been shrunken so that no one steals them without attribution.  I do have my standards.  But they are large enough to be viewed on a computer screen and to share with those who do not have sunflowers.  There must be people somewhere who have as much difficulty as I bringing these sunny faces to the yard?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Soggy Time

Everything is a penetrating, powerful, green.
Intense, it almost burns the eyes
With knife-edge charm.
Thousands of greens pulsating with threatening rhythm
Like a giant breathing beast.
It is has rained for three weeks.
Inches and ounces and quarts and gallons
Washing away all sins.

Strange forms emerge in the lawn
Providing shelter to tiny insects.

Everything is waiting, tired of waiting, for the sun
and surrenders to let its freak flags fly.

Even the sunsets are ominous
Like a smokey, choking moisture veil
Hiding the end of the day
And smothering the sun.

Heading across the bridge
At the end of the day
Challenges our spirits.
But soon we will be rewarded 
with our usual July Sauna.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Push the Pause Button

Here in North America/U.S.A. at the end of this week we are celebrating our independence...which some of us see as more than just a revolt from the "Monarchy" and an excuse to eat BBQ and drink beer and watch fireworks.

Some of us see this as the pattern that is currently repeating itself in Egypt.  Good luck to all those Egyptians as they really deserve this and I hope their road is less rocky.

Take some time, no matter what country you live in, and spend a peaceful day being thankful that the earth has survived mankind...for now.