Wednesday, November 27, 2013

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to one and all!

Monday, November 25, 2013

May All Your Birdies Feast Safely

Apologies for the blurred shots, taken through the double-paned glass window as I sat on my bedroom floor.  Have a good and safe Thanksgiving if you are celebrating such.

Getting tired of waiting here!
Be patient, Red, I am almost done.
Hey, did someone poop in the bath?
It wasn't me...really.
Oh...what was that?
Hawk!  HAWK!
Did he say 'Hawk'?
Hey, could you put down that camera and open the door and scare him away?
Thanks, you can go now.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Goodness, Dear, What Large Berries You Have!

Diospyros sp. is the persimmon.  In the fall of the year the orange and round and seductively smooth skinned Japanese versions hit the supermarkets.  Most people do not know what these are, so I am surprised that they sell at all.  There are many varieties of this fruit.  There is a native American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) that is high in nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, iron and potassium.  Tradition says that Americans cooked them in a pudding.  There are two kinds of persimmon, those that are astringent before ripening and those that are not.  Ours is the astringent version, and if you try to eat this fruit before it gets so soft you might think it has spoiled, it will make your mouth pucker tighter than a snare drum head.

This year, after a three year wait, we got our first real harvest.  But we did not wait until they fell to the ground, which is how you are supposed to harvest them.  We waited until they just started to get soft on the branch and then picked them off the tree to get them inside before the raccoons discovered this golden bounty.  They took a full week to ripen inside and we checked them each and every day.  I think that persimmons should be labeled the fruit of patience.  Their texture is custardy like an overripe plum and their flavor is sweet and gentle.

Even more, the tree itself is a shining example of a fall ornamental and turns lovely shades of autumn and is one of my favorite decorative elements in the yard this time of year.  Just look as these leaf photos I have taken the last two weeks.  Oh, and regarding the title, botanically it IS a berry!

Below in the first photo it is competing with the wild maple on the right.

 Then as the days shorten and cool it begins to put on quite a show of colors and textures!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Jewel Tones

The jewels tumbling
spill to the ground,
throw away their glow
of amber and ruby and tourmaline
and become skeletons
fading to chalk and ash
the way all living things do.

Scattered pure reflections
as from a prism
that hung at the sun's circumference
and now lie broken
spilling the bit of imperfect light
that remains
across the earth's floor.

When the cold descends
they crunch like the crackle
of a warm fire
as they give up the last
of their beauty
and remind us of
the swift passage of time.

Reminding us that
our greatest challenges
lie ahead
calling us to hold strong
with dignity and grace
as our own glow fades
and only memories
are left to warm others
when the cold descends.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Bathhouse

Such a lazy unproductive day. I sit with my laptop on my lap casually reading blogs with one eye and with the other eye and both ears following the history channel on my television talking about some ancient ways to kill an enemy with an assortment of what they call "hidden" weapons. 

I have moved the bird bath from my front yard so that it now sits (a little askew on a lopsided table) on the back deck with the background of glowing fall trees allowing afternoon light to flicker across the surface of the river and bounce up to make a golden and red backdrop at the bird bath.  The bird bath is located with such energy efficiency that I can watch it without moving at all!  My head rotates from laptop screen to TV screen to window.  Such a fun and lazy way to spend a cold and windy fall afternoon. While birds visit on and off all day in the 44F degree weather they tend to gather more in the late afternoon.  I take photos through the window which gives everything a bit of a blurry watery edge.

I have placed the bird bath heater into the water since early this morning I saw titmice skating across the surface of the ice in search of a melted area for their morning drink.  They would peck at the hard surface and then tilt their head wondering how hard the ice really was.

The house wren that visits the watering hole often breaks into song, flooding my heart with memories of spring. How can their song be so full and happy at this time of year when they no longer need to attract a mate and their immediate future will be so cold and spare? How can they remain so lyrical and upbeat when the wind pushes against their feathers and almost lifts them off the table? 

The bluebirds come in threes.  One watches at the railing while two drink.  They dip low and then throw their heads back allowing big gulps to flow down their throats.  Their little dark eyes glance around for hawks before dipping again for a another long drink.  

The cardinals always drink alone and the females frequently argue about their space on the rim of the water dish and chase each other back and forth at the table.  There is sometimes a male cardinal waiting patiently until the bitching and moaning is finished.

This year the nuthatch has joined us!  He usually would hang out by the feeders and the suet cakes but never came close to the house for water.  I have seen him at least twice today.  

Then comes the chickadee.  And the funniest part today is watching the titmice dip their head in the heated water and spray drops everywhere in the sunshine and then jump into the pool and actually bathe.  They sit for a while before flying off to groom in some nearby tree.  I am amazed at the insulation of feathers for these little gray ones who do not seem to be cold.

Hey, do you mind?  I am bathing here!

Dipping his tail and flicking the water into the air.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Over Process

Trying so hard to reach the rim and build something lovely to hold fast the perfect view. 

My materials are all lopsided, disparate, and antagonistic. 

They fight me on the way upward and some even twist away and hurry back down into the darkness.

The symmetry is compromised on my very first attempt at balance. 

A smooth edge is compromised by a broken scar in one corner. 

The teeth on the "old saw" are unmaintained; the final cut has splintered edges. 

The paint has grown thick and chalky and no longer glows with luminescence. 

I can photo shop but the dissonance still remains and has been made permanent. 

I will take a walk now....

Monday, November 11, 2013

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Cherry On the Top

Years ago, when I first moved into this house, I was impressed with the fall colors that appear in my woods.  The tulip poplar trees are the first to change, dressing their leaves in deep yellow.  This is followed by the red-buds which also turned a golden hue.  Then the dogwoods blush in a deep blood red.  The oaks compete with their rust red colors which glow when the sun hits them in the late afternoon.  In various corners the sassafras burns bright red almost painful to the eyes.  The native maple trees are arbitrary in their color change depending on rain and temperature, some autumns they start outlines of red and then fall to the ground and darken to red-brown, while on optimal autumns they become the reddest of the reds putting all the other trees and shrubs to shame.  The hollies and cedars and the slash pines stand in the chorus line and continue their rich backdrops of forest green in this autumnal painting. 

Yet, despite the inconvenient truth of global warming, I was not totally satisfied with this group of show-offs and wanted a sugar maple to add that peach red color that is not found in any of my native trees.  Three years ago, in the fall, I paid $60.00 and planted a 6 foot high twig of a sugar maple that appears to be grafted onto another type of root maple.  This year she has taken the diva role.

At first she was a little shy and just blushed, because she is so small and the fig in front of her is such a big bully of a robust tree.

But just like any happy four-year-old, once she gets her prettiest dress on, she is ready to take center stage.

And when the sun tickles her directly, it makes her laugh out loud and forget her lines.  Unfortunately, this week, the nasty wind is tearing most of the ribbons from her hair and it is getting time to take the final bow for this performance.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Thank You!

Remember that day I had sprained my ankle
and complained of having to stay home?
Well, I send generous thanks for taking me
along that walk around your lake and
thanks to you, in the back of the room,
for the hike up that aspen gold hillside.

Remember that day I drug everyone
down just like Eeyore on a normal day?
Well, abundant thanks for that poem
about autumn and thanks to you
sitting with your laptop for
that photo of your
special bird that comes to your birdbath
and the photos of your garden.

Remember that time I spewed anger
over some political loudmouth
that had been broadcast across
the land and paid well?
Here is a hug and kiss to you
for that rest on your porch
and that trip to your child's play at school
that made me laugh!

Now I will return the uplift with some photos of my own from a farm I visited near my home.  The cool front was pushing through painting the sky lovely colors and twisting the angle of the sun's rays into prisms of color.

And there was even Huckleberry Finn at the dock!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Hello, Hello.

I went down to the dock to say goodbye to October...but then realized it was November first and November was saying HELLO! (Resolution changed to protect the photographer...)

Next few days I will post the lovely scenery on the farm were I went for a fundraising activity.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Bad Rabbit!

I think an explanation is due for the photo of the Satanic rabbit in my photo in the prior post.  This was taken during my tour of Nuremberg, Germany in the fall of this year.  It is a 1984 bronze sculpture by Jurgen Goetz and "rests" in the street outside Albrecht Durer's house in Nuremberg as a provocative tribute to Durer. The statue is somewhat controversial because of it's strangeness, and so I just photo-shopped it to bring out more of its personality.  There are nails, mice and other odd things (a tiny human foot? barely seen in the lower right) beneath the rabbit and we were given a very short time to view it as we rushed by onto other important areas of the city.