Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Skipping Along

This is the season of rushing and eating and rushing some more.  The days are getting shorter and this skipper hits every garlic chive flower for sustenance.   He is so focused that even my shadow crossing his eye no longer makes him "skip" away.  Click on the photo for a closer look.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Challenge

There are at least five groups of this poisonous fungus that have appeared this year at the foot and by the roots of the old red oak that fell toward the water within a year of our moving here.  This is a Jack O' Lantern, Omphalotus illudens and not a Chanterelles, as some think.  I think the primary definition is that it grows in close clusters rather than individual mushrooms and that is has true gills.

We did think the tree fall might have been a warning omen but since many more trees have fallen both with storms and without them, we think this forest is just reaching its climax stage.  I had to crawl through thorny bush, past spider webs and over large mounds of soft leaves and soft decaying wood to get this close.  It was worth it, right?

There is a folk tale that the gills glow in the dark.  Maybe if I have energy I will trump down to the dock with my camera this evening.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Do You Remember?

There was a song
How go the words? 
That had a chorus 
If I can just remember,
We sat on the beach 
The music of the band 
Drifting across the sand 
If I can just remember,
There was a chinkle of glass 
There was the laughter 
Of other couples dancing
If I can just remember,
There was sand in my toes 
And sand in your hair 
And the whisper of wind in grass 
If I can just remember,
You held my hand 
We smiled in surprise 
Yes, that was our song 
If I can just remember.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Now For Your Moment of Zen

Still vegging and recuperating from our car trip and waiting for company in two days.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

In Touch

Nothing puts you back in touch with the soul of nature like a ten-year-old.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

The Balanced Universe

The world "cosmos" means balanced universe.  If you are a little nerdy, as I was and may still be, you possibly remember the television show by Carl Sagan called Cosmos: A Personal Voyage back in the 1980's.   I tended to get crushes on nerds back then and Carl Sagan was fascinating to me, even though he sometimes seemed to talk as if he had marbles in his mouth.  He just knew so much!  The new 2014 science show called Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a spin-off and presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson (a really cool name) who is that teddy bear guy who is also an astrophysicist(!) with the bedroom eyes.  If I was younger I would probably have a crush on him right now.  He also has a radio show called Star Talk.

This post has nothing to do with the television shows above but is does have something to do with their title.  It is about my own cosmos, the one in the Heliantheae (sunflower) Tribe.  I grow mine in a separate flower bed, because they tend to reseed and take over.  I have the common orange and a few volunteers of the sunny yellow, but the last to bloom with the most delicate leaves is the maroon one from new seeds I planted this year.   It struggles for sunlight against the other 5 foot high plants.  There are many varieties of cosmos and most come from Mexico.  There is even a cosmos that smells like chocolate!   I do not have that one.  Some of these fun flowers are double petaled like mine below.

The seeds must be collected as they are not winter-hardy in my area, so I replant them in the spring.   I also do not have the 8-10 hours of sun because I live in the woods, but I grow them anyway and they tend to get tall... very tall.  Remember the translation of their name means 'balanced universe.'  They do seem to grow with the flowers in orderly proportions like the expanding universe.   They are drought tolerant, easy to grow, good for poor soils, do self seed, can be cut for vases although flowers do not last beyond a week, and they can create a bed of "cosmic" proportions.  You might want to try them. 

Above is my flower bed with a volunteer sunflower or two.  These orange flowers are behind a wire fence to keep the bunnies and groundhogs at bay, but the plants have long since pushed through that barrier.  If I would have pinched them back in June, they would not have gotten so tall and maybe had more flowers, but lesson learned for next year.   I think below is our Painted lady, Vanessa cardui, visiting my cosmos...I am not an expert on butterflies.  They make a nice couple, though.