Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Gift or Two

Some have challenges this month that need some peace of mind and this is what I hope to give to you.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Reflected Light

Photography is many times about the light.  If you are lucky enough to live on or near water, or a river or a lake or the ocean, you can see that light being reflected back against the leaves at sunrise or sunset when you are gearing up for a new day or winding down at the end of another rich day can be magic.  One may not notice this beautiful reflection unless you take the time to stop and push that pause button.  

Robert Brady, who writes from a hillside in Japan, and whose recent post titled "Where the Light Plays" wrote about how the flooding of the rice paddies holds up a mirror to the sun-filled sky and the star-filled sky.  This post reinforces my joy of this bounced lighting.  (You can click on the link above and find that post if you wish.) 

A few nights ago as a storm was moving in across the water, and as the sun was setting, I looked up from preparing dinner, and as I so often do, gasped!  I turned off the burners, grabbed my camera and darted in bare feet across the painful gravel to attempt to memorialize what I saw with my naked eyes in digital form.

Below is spring in reflected light and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ships in the Night

Some bloggers live within a few hours drive of me in another state.  I have actually driven by the hometown of one several times and never seemed to be able to detour and stop in for a visit!  I know I would find her at a scrabble table in the local hangout or dancing in the local pub.

Anyway, last summer I was hiking and photographing exactly where she and her husband had been this recent month and for some reason that struck a chord with me.  There is not a great deal of coincidence to this, but it does seem as if we are ships that pass in the night on this planet and except for blogging we would never know.

Below photos, sharing for her interest mostly, but hoping my other readers enjoy this place.  Peaks of Otter - the mountain in the distance.  As you can see, it was late summer.

This is one of the bridges leading to a walk around the lake.

Above is my grandson leading to the hike up to the PEAKS!  It was no small walk for this old lady and many moments for heart attacks with little ones.

And here is my family up above looking back at the lodge where we had eaten lunch!  Does this look familiar, Colleen?

Update!  This mountain climb was begun with a bus ride up to near the top and the last part of the climb, no small effort, was what we actually did!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Life Goes On

No, my family name is not Hood.

I was walking out to the bluebird house to drop some dried meal worms on their doorstep as a house warming gift.  While they are not crazy about dried meal worms at this time of year, they will eat a few.  They had nested here last year and except for one crazy event with a black rat snake that we had to haul away, they were able to bring up two new bluebirds.  I had not seen them going in and out, but I did see some grasses sticking out of the side of the door and since we had carefully cleaned all the nesting boxes, I was sure they had returned.  (Then again, bluebirds are notoriously ingenious and this could just be a fake nest.  They have managed to chase off the chickadees from building in other nearby houses!)

When I turned back I saw out of the corner of my eye a fairly large shadow of a bumblebee, but it made no sound.  Wow, I thought, he was really moving, faster than any I had seen this spring!  I turned and tried to catch him with my eye again and then this is what I saw below.  I took several shots, but Mr. Speedfast below was hard to catch in the colder morning air.  This is the FIRST of the season.  I am thinking about putting up another feeder nearby.

This month I also find my self almost daily tripping over this little fellow when I venture out either to the front yard or the back yard.  He has a varied range.

If you look closely you will see that something is wrong.  I am thinking it is my neighbors cat that has removed the tail feathers.  That is why I am almost tripping over the little guy.  He really has no "rudder" to fly.  I have read that these MAY grow back so I am placing little seed dishes here and there and a water dish for him.

Above he is hanging out with the female bluebird.  Glad they get along and she is not prejudice against the handicapped.

Above is what my white throats look like when they have a tail.  I am hoping he makes it, but if not, as with humanoids, life goes on in my woods.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Recovering from Mother Nature's surprising twists and turns, which happen most springs, and which I faithfully seem to forget is such a challenge.  Out goes the five foot potted Kaffir lime to adjust to sun and wind whipping breezes.  Out goes the other citrus, the Calamondin lime.   It is smaller and has been fighting a pest invasion for a year.  I was hoping the cooler nights would assist, but I had to bring it back in before I could spray it with an oil along with its big brother as a wind chilling frost was due to arrive.  I forgot the little and rather old geranium, but it survived the brief frost on the deck.  In spite of watching the weather I was still surprised to see a tiny layer of slushy white stuff on the deck the next morning.

I am not the only disgruntled one, though.  The cardinal flew to the bird bath and then back up to the deck table giving me the stink eye through the patio door.  I looked and saw the dish had been frozen over.  As if to emphasize he flew down to its edge and pecked at the hard shiny surface several times and then glared at me. I had taken in the water heater, of course.

That was two days ago.  Now when I see the sun and green grass I hop outside only to be reminded that it is still hanging at the 50 degree mark on the warmest of afternoons.  Back inside I go to get a scarf and sweater.

March may come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, but April is a schizophrenic diva with her own personal voodoo doll and an endless supply of pins. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bloody Tuesday

As my luck would have it, I got cloud cover in my part of the world during the lunar eclipse and resulting blood moon this past evening.  We really need the soaking rains that the cloud cover promises, and I am still waiting for that event as I write this.  But with the wonder of technology I was able to watch the eclipse live via computer and a link to the Canary Islands' observatory.  If one got tired of the British commentary in the background (which actually I did not) then one could turn off the sound and just observe the slow transformation of this heavenly body.

"The English proper name for Earth's natural satellite is "the Moon". The noun moon derives from moone (around 1380), which developed from mone (1135), which derives from Old English mōna (dating from before 725), which, like all Germanic language cognates, ultimately stems from Proto-Germanic *mǣnōn." according to Wiki.
"Mona" has danced with us in her separate orbit that began with a giant impact on earth...before you and I were born.  Even though my show was via a computer screen, her dance of the red veils was most romantic and exciting.  Eclipses always show the roundness of the gal which tends to get lost when we observe her flat and luminescent glow on most nights.

We become so small when we get to observe this vast universe in its magic moments such as these.  We have to look up from our telephones, TV screens, and Google glasses to see the world as it has been long before we began to change its patterns.  (And I do get the irony of that statement.)  And, of course, the moon has observed us all in our tiny dances and efforts and remains passive and beautiful in spite of our conceited attempt at moving mountains.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Grab Bags

Last winter just before our first super cold weather I found a grab bag of daffodil bulbs at the local hardware store.  They looked so neglected and sad, but they were cheap and even though I dreaded the thought of planting in the already cold and rainy weather, I knew that I would be rewarded in the spring for the effort.  My daffy bed is sparse, but hopefully in years to come they will grow into bunches and eventually drifts. Grab bags of bulbs can be such surprises.  And my late bloomers I planted two years ago are still in bud in another bed waiting to surprise me.   ( I just realized while editing these photos that I have my reading glasses on...so no wonder some of the photos are a little blurry!  Oh well, too lazy to go back and find the originals.) 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Mellow Yellow

The sun is shining today.  It is shiny and yellow and golden and lemon and all of those warm sunny colors.  The morning is cool but warming into that zeal of an afternoon perfect for gardeners.  I am in a glowing mood and decided to share some yellowness (blurry and sharp) with you.

This goldfinch in the process of changing his grayish feathers to that sexy gold.
Male Pine Warbler at the suet.

This photo was actually taken in Florida a few months ago, but I had to show him off.
Go ahead and sing it out Mr. Yellow Rump!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

That Quick Rush

I was spending Monday in a windowless classroom learning about how hard it is to keep the Chesapeake Bay clean...actually it was more about cleaning up the Bay since it is far, far, far from clean now.  New states' laws were passed setting higher environmental standards and the EPA is already under fire two years later from every industry you can imagine complaining that this law is too restrictive.  The data show significant water quality improvement since the laws went into effect.  Yet, we are moving toward that time in our lives when environmentalists will be muzzled and our children will routinely be having tumors removed or other traumatic health issues as a norm in order for money to continue to be made on the planet.

During the lunch break outside I watched over the small pond into the trees and was filled with spring joy as I saw two hawks (red-shouldered) setting up housekeeping in the nearby woods.

I seem to be so busy these days with family and other stuff, that this was a nice break!