Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Land Of The Rising Sun

Strolling down the boulevard.... in Japan. (Click to enlarge) Posted by Picasa

"I have always believed that opera is a planet where the muses work together, join hands and celebrate all the arts." ~ Franco Zeffirelli
Japan has always seemed so mysterious to me and I am sure that to many around the world, the same is true for the United States. I have never been there, but my brother has performed there several times and is currently preparing for an opera in Tokyo. This photo was taken during his last trip to Japan, one in which he finally had a bit of down time to visit the countryside outside the main part of the city. I love the bright red framing the wide walkway.

This time around it is Tristan and Isolde, a tragic love story in the vein of Romeo and Juliet. Tristan, having lost his parents in infancy, has been reared at the court of his uncle, Marke, King of Cornwall. In combat, he kills Morold, an Irish knight, who had come to Cornwall, to collect the tribute that country had been paying to Ireland. Morold was engaged to his cousin Isolde, daughter of the Irish king. Tristan was severely wounded in this battle as well and places himself, without disclosing his identity, under the care of Isolde who comes of a race skilled in magic arts. She discerns who he is and though aware that she is harbouring the slayer of her betrothed, she spares him and carefully tends him. She develops a great passion for Tristan but does not tell him as does Tristan for her, but both deem their love to be unrequited. Soon after Tristan’s return to Cornwall, he is dispatched to Ireland by Marke, that he may win Isolde as Queen for the Cornish king.

The music-drama opens on board the vessel in which Tristan bears Isolde to Cornwall. Deeming her love for Tristan unrequited she determines to end her sorrow by quaffing a death-potion; and Tristan, feeling that the woman he loves is about to be wedded to another, readily consents to share it with her. But Brangäne, Isolde’s companion, substitutes a love-potion for the death-draught. This rouses their love to resistless passion. Not long after they reach Cornwall, they are surprised in the castle garden by the angry King and Tristan is severely wounded by Melot, one of Marke’s knights. Kurwenal, Tristan’s faithful friend, bears him to his native home, Kareol. Desperately, Isolde follows him, arriving just in time to fold him in her arms as he dies. She breathes her last over his dead body.

"And thus they sang their mysterious duo, sang of their nameless hope, their death-in-love, their union unending, lost forever in the embrace of night's magic kingdom. O sweet night, everlasting night of love! Land of blessedness whose frontiers are infinite!" ~ Thomas Mann (1875-1955) - about Tristan and Isolde
This is one of the most difficult roles to sing as Wagner fashioned a musical score with interwoven dissonant chords and uneven meter and the two main characters are essentially on stage through the whole production. Wagner's operas tend to be long... as in 4 to 6 hours long. But, in this one he gets the girl... of course, he dies in the end... but between the fatal blow and his on stage death, he sings a brilliant aria.

So if you happen to be in Tokyo this Christmas.......

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Ruby Tuesday

Monday, November 29, 2010

Silence Is Golden Yellow

In a quiet world, the goldfinch sings. (Click picture to enlarge) Posted by Picasa

"In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence." ~ Robert Lynd
Have you ever been bombarded with sound from every direction.. phones ringing, the television going non-stop for hours, kitchen appliances whirring, even the sound of people talking? And have you noticed how many different warning beeps and buzzes there are in your house that constantly go off..... the refrigerator door is open too long, there is an error in the auto-program of the microwave, the oven has reached baking temperature, the washing machine has finished the cycle, someone has opened an outside door to the house, the coffee maker has finished brewing, the oven timer has one minute left in the baking time, the George Forman grill is at grilling temperature, the dishwasher is finished the cycle, someone has shut an outside door to the house, the microwave has finished heating your cup of coffee and wants you to take it out RIGHT NOW, the dryer has finished its cycle, the oven baking time is finished and that one slightly weak high pitched beeping sort of buzz that you look all over the place to find and never do... what IS that buzz? How on earth did we ever survive even a day before all these warning systems..... oh, yes.. microwaves didn't exist, we set separate mechanical timers for ovens that rang like bells, no one cared about the clothes washer and dryer times and simply listened for them to stop, coffee pots percolated and didn't drip-drop-steam-foam-or grind and no one really knew what the temperature of a fridge was without putting an actual thermometer in there... and I mean a real mercury thermometer.. not one of these digital things as they didn't exist either. We are not talking about the ear splitting, inner ear damaging noise of a rock concert... although they apparently had one on Saturday night at the high school football field that is about a mile and a half from our house as the crow flies and I could feel the thumping of the drums and hear the wailing of the voices inside the house... with the doors and windows shut tight. I can imagine what it must have been like in person, but this is not the noise of which I speak. This noise is simply the underlying current of sound that presses on us from every direction and for such endless periods of time that we tend to tune it out.....UNTIL IT STOPS. And when it does stop.... the residual hums and rings in your ears for minutes, perhaps hours.. in fact, it takes quite a while for you to realize that it is silent.

Is it mixing sensory perceptions to say that this bird in this setting "looks silent"? To me it does. It wasn't silent when I took the picture. I was in the sunroom and the fan was circulating and the air was running and the dog was sniffing all over the floor in hopes of finding a morsel of food. Outside, it was summer and the background noise of children laughing down the street, crickets chirping, lawn mowers running and even the wind blowing the wind chimes filled the air. But, the picture still "looks silent". If it were not for the green foliage of the sunflowers and the summer yellow mating color of the male goldfinch I would say this looked like a bird in winter and in my experience, the deepest silence comes at night... in the country... in winter with a blanket of white snow covering the ground. No one is moving or crunching in the snow. There is no wind. There is only sky and stars and the moon and the snow. All other silence seems relative.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Something Hand Written, Almost History

Citizen posted advertisements ... for jobs and livestock. Colonial Williamsburg.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium." ~ Norbet Platt
Beautifully hand written Christmas cards addressed with style, small notes tucked away between the sandwich and cookies in a loved one's lunch, letters between friends to keep up with happenings far away, hand written signs offering "LEMONADE - 5¢ A GLASS" on a hot summer day; all reminders of a time now long past when things did not move with the speed of digital and "you've got mail" was what your mother said when a card came from Aunt Mary Katherine. Then we watched for the mailman with anticipation. Now there are e-mails, texting, e-cards and all things instantaneously sent back and forth. Technology is "grand", but there is still something to be said for a hand written note or card with neat and lovely penmanship that is special... personal... you can tuck it away in a keepsake box and experience the joy over and over. Yes, there is something warm and endearing about a few words written by hand.

These notes, worn by rain and wind and all the elements appear as they would have in Colonial times.. on a board outside the general store. They are symbols of the Photo Hunt for this week... "written". I also love how the wood grain stands out in the sepia monochrome look.

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Saturday Photo Hunt
Carmi's Theme ~ Sepia
Sepia Scenes #111

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stunningly Simple Sepia Sunflowers

Sunflowers from my sunflower, for Mother's Day Posted by Picasa

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~ Melody Beattie
Thanksgiving was a quiet day of reflection and personal gratitude. I am grateful that my parents, while elderly and sometimes exasperating, are still with me and able to go, albeit slowly, out and about. Sometimes a simple ride in the car to a beautiful scenic place is enough to be thankful for.

I am grateful that my sweet dog Daisy is feeling better. Yes, she has an enlarged heart and slightly elevated blood pressure and is probably at least five years older than I thought she was, but her breathing is better, she seems a bit more energetic and interested in food and even her cough is better, although the medication really shouldn't help that. She has no tumors and she has no evidence of pulmonary edema from the heart failure as yet. Perhaps I have a few more good years to help her make up for those horrid, frightening days in the gassing shelter and out in the elements on her own. She is sleeping right now, draped across Nyssa's giant stuffed teddy bear; a favorite spot I might add.

I am grateful for a brother who is without a doubt, my best friend. This was not always so. But we both outgrew our differences and now he has done so much for me, I would never be able to repay his generosity. I wish he could be here for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that is the life of a world class opera singer... this year it is Thanksgiving in the air and Christmas in a performance of Tristan and Isolda in Tokyo. The time thing really confuses me. He has gone from being six hours ahead of us to thirteen hours behind us but a day ahead. Therefore, I have absolutely NO idea as to when he was to get there.

I am grateful for a beautiful daughter who works hard to further her education and has chosen a field with many different possibilities for gainful employment. She is kind and giving and while she doesn't call me as often as a mother would like, she surprises with gestures such as these beautiful sunflowers for Mother's Day. I tried to take several different shots to make an Van Gogh-ish arrangement of things and some turned out quite nicely. But this one in a monotone is one of my favorites. I love the boldly dark centers and shadows and how the petals stand out from and blend in with the brick at the same time.

I'll post the colored artsy pictures another time... probably when you least expect it and hopefully at a point in time when a breath of sunshine is just what you need.

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Carmi's Theme ~ Sepia
Sepia Scenes

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We Give Thanks

In the midst of our harried lives, a time to pause, reflect and give thanks. Posted by Picasa

Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Life, like the weather is unpredictable. The absurdity of that statement in light of our world's and our country's current circumstances is not lost on me at all, but sometimes the obvious just has to be put out there in black and white. We would like to think we are in control, but the reality is.. we're not. So, today I will stop, as I should every day, and give thanks, not only for the many blessings I enjoy daily but that God has everything in His control.

To all, have a blessed day of giving thanks.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Tall And Short Of It

A walk though the forest.... daddy and daughter. Norfolk Botanical Garden. Posted by Picasa

“Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.”
Joseph Addison (English Essayist, Poet, Dramatist and Statesman, 1672-1719)
Caught on a hot summer day... a very tall dad and his tiny, but very independent daughter on a stroll under the big pine trees at the botanical garden. She toddles, he stays close but tries not to hover. She is learning to walk on her own and seems quite pleased with herself. He is proud, protective, watchful.... ready to swoop her up at a moments notice but trying to seem nonchalant about it, especially when she glances up at him.

She is precious in her flowered sundress and tiny shoes. She doesn't have to hold his hand to feel secure, she just has to know her daddy is there. Besides, she wants to show him what a big girl she is, so she shows off her best marching gait. They are off to see the brightly colored play houses with swinging horses, slides, tea sets and toy chairs to play with. Daddy will keep her safe and push the swing.

They are the quintessential "odd couple" and yet perfectly wonderful together. I hope she will remember this day when she grows up.... or that her mom has a camera too and caught this moment.

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Carmi's Theme ~ "candid"

Monday, November 22, 2010

If Only In My Dreams

It's hard to mute a red, red rose. (Click picture to enlarge) Posted by Picasa

"That beautiful season the Summer!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood. "
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
It was 73 degrees here today; a far cry from what my daughter Nyssa is experiencing out in Reno, Nevada where it has been snowing and the temperature is expected to be in the single digits tonight. Yes, today was a good day for grass to grow and the odd occasional rose to continue blooming. I still have one bush trying to keep blooms going. By the way... it is time to plant the tulips for flowers in the spring and this year, even though I want to wait until it is colder, I am going to get them in the ground.

This picture is of course from earlier in the year, when the rose gardens were in full bloom. I think that is why we have camera's, to capture the light and warmth of summer flowers so that we might have them wrapped around us all through the cold and drab winter. So I indulge myself... with roses so fragrant as to make one dizzy, so soft as to mimic velvet and so rich a red they cannot be equaled.... if only in my dreams.

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Ruby Tuesday

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Lake Tahoe, California. Winter, 1984. Posted by Picasa

"At last the lake burst upon us--a noble sheet of blue water lifted six thousand three hundred feet above the level of the sea, and walled in by a rim of snow-clad mountain peaks that towered aloft three thousand feet higher still! As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole world affords." ~ Mark Twain, 1861
Nyssa lives, at least for the next three years, not far from Lake Tahoe. Her father and I were there once for one of his conferences and that is where we took beginner ski lessons. Skiing is much like ice skating, in that the blades and the skis have two edges and the tasks of turning and stopping require use of the edges rather than the flat of the ski or blade. The ski is just a lot longer than the skate and more cumbersome. It is much easier to get up with skates than with skis attached.

The lake is beautiful and the pine trees surrounding it produce some of the largest pine cones I have ever seen, up to six inches in diameter and eight to ten inches long. It is a rugged landscape with sharp mountains and only a small strip of land at the base between the mountains and the lake. Big collections of boulders extend out into the water in some areas and snow was scattered everywhere. We were there in February and huge piles of plowed snow were prominent.

Currently, they are experiencing the first big storm of the season and as I understand, two more are right behind. The mountain passes are difficult going and mandatory chain use is in effect. Nyssa tells me that she and her roommate may take the dog to Seattle to stay with her roommate's mom over Christmas. By my calculations, there is NO way to get from Reno to Seattle WITHOUT having to go through at least one of the high mountain passes. She is ignoring my advice not to do this. Even if she had chains, she probably couldn't get them on or they would be the wrong size and it is going to be a slow go of it. In the bad areas, they often have to close the passes with the wind and blowing snow. This is a Mississippi person.... a Virginia person.... minimal contact with driving in snow... even on flat areas. Hopefully, someone will talk her out of this. By what the Weather Channel is saying today, I don't think she would even be able to get up to Tahoe today!

Lake Tahoe picture from 1899

This was a picture I found on the net of Lake Tahoe from 1899. It really hasn't changed configuration that much has it.

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Scenic Sunday
Scenic Sunday

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Come On In The Water's Fine!

Resisting temptation... a universal problem for kids and dogs the world over. Valencia, Spain
(Click picture to enlarge)
. Posted by Picasa

"The trouble with resisting temptation is it may never come your way again." ~ Korman's Law
The dog plunges into the shallow water of the pool and splashes with glee. The small boy, his companion, stops at the edge of the water. His new tennis shoes, his clean pants, his fall jacket.... none of these are on his mind, but he knows his mother will have a fit if he follows the dog. Suddenly, the dog stops and turns to look at his boy... he grins and wags his tail as if to say... "Come on in, the water's fine! Don't worry about your mother! She won't mind! Really! You can tell her that I made you do it! Come on in, let's have some fun and if we take the long way home and sit in the sun we may be able to be dry and she will never be the wiser!" My, my what a naughty little dog to tempt his boy in this way. He must know how difficult it is for the little tyke to resist jumping with both feet into any large puddle. So tell me how is this story going to end!

This is another photo from my brother's travels, this time in Valencia, Spain. It just shows us how universal childhood antics as well as animal antics are. This scene may well be repeated in many countries throughout the world... probably with similar results! Another "candid" photo for Carmi's theme this week.

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Carmi's Theme ~ "candid"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blushing Bride, Candid Capture

A beautiful bride with an unlimited flower budget.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

“The earth is like a beautiful bride who needs no manmade jewels to heighten her loveliness...” ~ Kahlil Gibran (Essayist, Novelist and Poet. 1883-1931)
The Setting: The Rose Gardens at Norfolk Botanical Garden
The Time: May through July, Any given year.
The Subject: Weddings, Brides, Love is in the Air.

Beginning in late May and extending through July, the scenes are repeated over and over. Brides flock to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens for wedding portraits and often, for the wedding itself. The rose garden is one of many venues available and is planted with hundreds of rose bushes in all shades of pink, red, yellow, orange, white, cream and everything in between. Tree roses, hybrid teas, old English roses, floribundas, fragrant and vibrant with color fill the space. Wide lush green grass walkways all lead to a central gazebo covered in tiny, yellow, delicate climbing roses. To one side is a stone building with stairs leading up to a low roof where a string quartet sits, the beautiful strains of The Wedding March and other classics wafting through the air. The large stone wall near the steps is covered completely with masses of ruby red climbing roses interspersed with leaves of dark emerald green. It is a royal place, a magic place, a perfect place for a wedding. No need for a floral budget here.... the flowers ARE the cathedral with blue skies and fluffy clouds as the ceiling and the soft green grass as the carpet. Simply add guests and the wedding party and in one simple step... a wedding.

Even if the wedding is held elsewhere, this is a favorite place for wedding portraits. On this day, I saw no less than three brides in various areas of the garden. Her photographer was set up far to my left and in front of me, posing her for a silhouette shot. I was using my long lens with no flash and was far enough away to be unnoticed by anyone. Everyone was shooting the flowers, as was I, but I thought there was a story here. Such promise in her pose. She was radiant, even without seeing her face you could tell this was so. I wondered what she was thinking. Was she simply excited, happy, anxious? Or was she taking in all the beauty of her surroundings and making mental notes to remember this day as well as her wedding day. Did the fragrance of the roses send her to the same imaginary world of perfection it always seems to send me? I couldn't help sending her candid silent wishes for a long and loving marriage filled with much happiness and joy! Oh, yes... I DO hope she got to have her ceremony right here.... no place could be more perfect.

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Carmi's Theme - "Candid"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another Time, Another Place

It takes a large latch to bolt a heavy door. Las Palmas, Grand Canary Island Posted by Picasa

“Knowledge of 'what' is does not open the door directly to what should be.” ~ Albert Einstein
I love the look of heavy doors and in the Grand Canary Islands with architecture styles that show a blend of Islamic, Portuguese, Spanish and Flemish influences, there are a wide variety of doors and latches. Many show the curved arches and ornate decorative bolts through the heavy wood. I will probably never get to see these sights in person, but fortunately I can experience the beauty of the area through my brother and his pictures. He laughs and tells me he isn't any good at photography and I try to give him hints and direction before his next adventure. He did pretty good with those from the Canary Islands although I have to chuckle just a bit at his angles. A lot of his pictures are at odd angles..... his take on that is that it makes the picture look more "artsy". For some things this is fine, but for others, it simply strains the neck to look at them. He has a small point and shoot type of digital camera that is quite good and the more pictures he takes, the better they look. I am in charge of the post-production and in this particular case I thought this lock and latch were so elegant and interesting... not something seen on doors anywhere in this country.

By the way, has anyone else noted that the sepia pictures reveal even more of the metal texture and more of the wood grain than the colored versions? Perhaps color distracts the eye from the tiny details of the picture. At any rate, I loved this picture in its sepia tone for Sepia Scenes.

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Sepia Scenes

Monday, November 15, 2010

Still Clinging To Summer With All My Might

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium 'Pomegranate')
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"At the heart of gardening there is a belief in the miraculous." ~ Mirabel Osler
I know it is getting colder and time to close the vents around the outside of the house. It is time to bubble wrap the planters... yes, I am bubble wrapping the planters and if I get time, I will fashion some little snuggies for them as well. I have seen these things in catalogues but being the mizer, I might just get some cheap material and make some... or just stick batting all around. But I ramble. Here, it has been cool or even cold at night but during the day there is a marked warmth in the air, at least when the wind isn't blowing. This leads to the inevitable fog and last night was no exception. Around midnight, the ground fog rolled in and it was dense, not only over the golf course but in the streets through the neighborhood. Quite spooky and wonderful. I think we have the fog here much worse than Virginia Beach as we are so close the the Great Dismal Swamp. In the early morning as the sun comes up, there is a gorgeous pink and purple and yellow swirl just above the grey-white fog held low to the ground. It burns off by 8AM but will reappear at midnight....

The weather description is for my daughter the geologist/meteorologist/geographer graduate student who laments weekly on the lack of REAL weather out in Nevada. Hot in day, cold at night, some rain, fair lightning good for photos, but no REAL weather. Snow.. yes, but not really her cup of tea. She wants the "meaty" weather... hurricanes, tornados, nor'easters, hail, fog... and so on. Now for the real post.

I planted yarrow this year, two varieties... Appleblossom, a light pink that fades to white and Pomegranate, a deep rich red that barely fades at all. I love the wispy fragile foliage that breaks up the stiff leaves of surrounding bushes and the spiked leaves of the candy lily and daylily. These red blooms brought color and an added spice to that corner of the bed. Had I been brilliant and a little more liberal with the shears, they might still be blooming. As it were, I waited until the last bloom had faded and dried before deadheading them and trimming the greenery and the blooms did not return. The foliage is doing just fine though and I really hope I don't have to cut them back any time soon for the winter.

In building my plantfolio... gardener's notebook... I found that "Milfoil, Achillea, or Yarrow" has long been symbolic of Scottish melancholy .. generally a melancholy or sadness associated with warfare along the border with England, as in the valley of the Yarrow River. I never knew the Scotts were that sad! Thrifty, but not sad! Many of these plants are said to have a wide variety of medicinal purposes but I would be hesitant to try any of the remedies... I would probably get the wrong strength to the tea or some other mess up. Instead, I'll just enjoy the flowers and try to remember to snip.. snip... snip... more often next summer.

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Ruby Tuesday

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Admiring From Afar

Maggie takes center stage. Her adoring fan, Nicki, watches from afar.
(Click to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love." ~ Charlie Brown
Miss Maggie is a DIVA. She wants what she wants, when she wants it and lets you know about it. She also makes it perfectly clear when she doesn't want something... to be brushed, to be petted, to be picked up, to be bothered by a lovesick (but fixed) boy cat who has been longing to sit with her, clean her ears, touch her head, sniff her nose... anything to be near her. Maggie will have none of it. Nicky has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.. as well as sharp claws across the nose and right crosses to the head over the years. He still makes the effort, but eventually decides it is a better idea, as well as a safer one to simply admire her from afar.... beneath the bench. Finally, a spark of intelligence from Nicky.

Carmi's theme is "black and white" this week and Nicky feels a bit "stark" here. Maggie, on the other hand, is showing her typical DIVA pose... self-confidence oozing from those eyes. She is prepping to take a trip on Friday's Ark.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Four Seasons

Clockwise, clockwise circle the seasons.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all." ~ Stanley Horowitz

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Wordless Wednesday with Faith, Hope and A Whole Lotta Love.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Mellow Yellow Little Fellow

Coneflower... just one left. (Click picture to enlarge) Posted by Picasa

"Form your own color concept of things in nature. I have no rules for fine color to give you." ~ John Sloan
This weekend, the winds have been cold and the temperatures flirting with freezing; still, here on the coast we have yet another reprieve. I did go ahead and bring in the boston fern sitting on the north porch, though I haven't repotted it nor cut it back for winter and it still languishes in the plastic pot that Stephen accidentally knocked down the steps and broke in pieces. The poor, and I use the word "poor" loosely, fern was unceremoniously stuffed back into the cracked pot and set right back where it started with ne'er so much as an added spoon of soil. Yet, it has flourished under the "benign neglect" plan. It sits in a corner where the rainwater runs off the copper roof and thus it is happy. It gets ample morning sun and is shaded from the heat of the afternoon sun and is happy. It rewarded us with growth, more than doubling the size it was at purchase and almost blocking the doorway out of the sunroom. So, I think it deserves some fresh potting mix, a fresh trim of the fronds and a winter spent in the sunroom spa.

I noticed this morning that with the slowly dropping temperatures, most of the remaining flowers are beginning to fade. I did see this one small coneflower trying its best to put a good face on the coming frost. It is pretty low to the ground, unlike its former brothers and sisters that reached fourteen to 20 inches into the sky; but it keeps spreading the soft yellow light of cheer for as long as possible. This coneflower is in an advantageous sheltered position, shielded from the north wind and still in afternoon sun for a bit of warmth. There is already much mulch around (I put over 3 inches on this summer when I built up the flower beds) and I plan to put a bit more. As soon as this nasty head cold/sinus infection goes away, I will be out there trimming and sorting out the beds, tucking all the little plants in... nice and cozy... for their short winter's nap.

Tell me. In fall and with approaching winter, why do we so want to cling to the warmth of summer when we spend most of it lamenting on the heat?

By the way, I had to just "talk" about the fern as I never took a picture of it this summer. Just another way it was totally neglected. And for my brother... Yes, I was very careful to inspect it for those pesky snakes before I brought it in. I poked and prodded with a broom handle.... yuck!!!!! I still get the creepy shivers thinking about that hiding reptile this summer. I guess they have also made their way to warmer sites... or hibernation or what ever they do. I simply say... "BE GONE! AND DON"T COME BACK!"

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Shadows In Time

Sunlight and shadows. University of the South. Sewanee, Tennessee. Posted by Picasa

"In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't." ~ Blaise Pascal
Old stones, rough hewn and set in the gothic style. Narrow and tall arches with swinging lantern lights. The campus of University of the South is very beautiful, resembling the buildings seen in Oxford and other universities of England. It has to be one of the most remote universities in the United States, set on top of a mountain in southeastern Tennessee, halfway between Chattanooga and Nashville. It is a 25 minute drive down a winding mountain road to the nearest Walmart. The small Piggly-Wiggly grocery store closes by 8 pm on most days. You really DO need to be able to commune with nature, all the time, to go there.

Nyssa did her first year in college here, before transferring to William and Mary. It was a long and trying year. She had a goal.. to get to William and Mary... and she worked hard to make it happen. I think this school is lovely and perfect for some people...but, it just wasn't perfect for her. I will say that someone could walk through these shadows, under the arches and out into the sun and be completely lost in time and space.

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Friday, November 05, 2010

A Benjamin Franklin Moment

Flying a kite in this would be a "hair raising" experience. Posted by Picasa

“Ben Franklin may have discovered electricity- but it is the man who invented the meter who made the money” ~ Earl Warren
A typical lightning bolt contains 1 billion volts and contains between 10,000 to 200,000 amperes of current. The average flash would light a 100 watt lightbulb for 3 months. Now that would be a real hair raising experience and more! The day we had this storm I was able to capture several large cloud to ground bolts, even though it took many, many shots to do so. I wouldn't have been surprised if the street light had lit up with the flash. After this one... I headed inside! We are quite close to a golf course and the lightning tends to love the area at times. Can you imagine being Ben Franklin with his kite and key in this storm?

Carmi's Theme this week is "electric" and you cannot get more "electric" than this!

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Carmi's Theme ~ Electric

Monday, November 01, 2010

Blanket Weather

Still fresh after all these months, Blanketflower. Gaillardia aristata ‘Sunburst Scarlet Halo’
(Click picture to enlarge)
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"There ought to be gardens for all months in the year, in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season." ~ Sir Francis Bacon
Slowly, slowly the temperature falls. Finally, lows in the 40's and highs in the 60's. The leaves are turning yellow and red and, unfortunately, brown. Still, it is blanket weather. Yes, I swapped out the summer cotton knit blanket on the bed for the winter microfiber electric blanket, though the house temperature is no where near cold enough at night to use the heat as yet. But, the blanket weather I am talking about is that associated with a resurgence of our blanketflowers. I bought these plants at Walmart at the end of April and they were already blooming. For the rest of spring and through the long, hot and sometimes dry summer, they flourished. These beauties have NEVER stopped blooming. All I needed to do was pluck and snip the spent blooms and suddenly more scarlet and bright yellow flowers would appear. And now when the black-eyed susan and sunflower are shriveled and grey and the butterfly bush and caryopteris are wilting, the blanketflowers are giving the mums and lantana a run for their money. They are big and bright and beautiful, sunshine even on a cloudy day. I wonder now, how long will they last? We will have to just wait and see and enjoy while we can.

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Ruby Tuesday

Another Little Stinger

It's hard to keep a buzzing bee still.
(Halloween 1987.... 18mths old)
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“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” ~ Henry David Thoreau (American Essayist, Poet and Philosopher, 1817-1862)
I've been going through old pictures, trying to remember the dates and places and events. I guess you'd say I'm trying to get my memories in order. It is easy to see the changes in your children during that first year, even up through their fifth year... but then, the changes are more subtle and when they reach high school, it is almost impossible to tell their freshman year from the junior year. Thank goodness for old film cameras that put the date on each print and how I wish I had had one to do that all throughout her growing up. But here, I remember. The second Halloween and the Killer Bees. I posted about them in the previous post Killer Bee Cutie Pies but all you could see of the adorable bees is their fronts. So here is a back view with her little wings and that mighty stinger following along behind. The picture is blurred a bit and looking through the pack.. all of them were. I had forgotten through the years how difficult it was to keep an 18 month old standing still long enough to get a sharp picture.

This, along with the previous post, will be my Mellow Yellow Monday entry for today. (Click on the badge to get there)

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