Friday, July 29, 2011

Sometimes The World Seems Out of Focus

"There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go". ~ Author Unknown
This is a post my head knew I would have to write someday, but my heart hoped that day would never come.
It is hard to say the words, or type the words, or make sense of the words or even really believe the words in that most real sense of believing.
It wasn't supposed to be this way... this cannot be happening.... but, I see the sadness in my Dad's eyes and it is real.
Our mother, Nyssa's grandmother and Dad's beloved wife of 60 years, passed away on Monday, July 18th, 2011.

"Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break." ~ William Shakespeare
There was a fall, a small fracture in the hip and a three day stay in the hospital for pain control with plans to move to a rehab facility. But the delicate balance keeping her myriad of health problems in check was overwhelmed and one by one, small problems became bigger problems and interventions simply did not work. Three days turned into four and four to seven. To say the end was "sudden" is a cliche... death is always sudden even when expected. Her final struggle was short and now our struggle to live without her has begun.

"And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." ~ Isaiah 35:10
Mom was a woman of faith and that brings great peace, with the promise that we will see and be with her again. Right now, the world seems out of focus, but comfort comes in remembering.... funny stories of events past... first dates and blossoming love.... the kind words of those whose lives she touched...and knowing that her pain is gone, she has been restored to full health and rejoices with the hosts of heaven.

We sang this hymn to close her funeral service of worship and it captures the essence of what I believe.

What a Day That Will Be

There is coming a day,
When no heart aches shall come,
No more clouds in the sky,
No more tears to dim the eye,
All is peace forever more,
On that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

There'll be no sorrow there,
No more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain,
No more parting over there;
And forever I will be,
With the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be,

~ Jim Hill, Words and Music

(end of post)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finding Her Best Light

Happy 19th Birthday, Miss Chloe!!!!! Posted by Picasa

"I don't believe in aging. I believe in forever altering ones aspect to the sun." ~ Virginia Woolf
The years pass so quickly and old age sneaks up on all of us; it seems like only yesterday we were starting out in school or our profession or having a child, or seeing a tiny Siamese kitten for the first time. She was the first born of a litter of six and has always played the part well. Miss Clover was "the dark one"; instead of being born white and developing the Siamese mask and tips, she arrived a medium to dark tan and simply grew darker as she aged, with the most marbled deep blue eyes. Clover was always angry at something. Chloe has always been calm and cool and collected, with a passion for grooming and making sure her sitting position is just so... front paws tightly together and tail wrapped neatly around to the front. Nothing bothers her (except for that one time at the vet when Clover threw such a hissy fit, they both got caught up in the drama) and she carries herself with dignity and reserve. This does not mean that she will take any guff off of the other cats. Chloe is now the Grand Dame of the household and commands the respect of ALL the cats... even those bossy ragdolls.

Her sister, Miss Clover, passed away almost three years ago and while Clover was ill and blind, Chloe showed her the way to the food and patiently waited for her to eat first. She groomed and curled up with her, even when Clover was cantankerous and in a foul mood. After Clover's death, Miss Chloe simply returned to the group of cats and her role as eldest diva.

Now, Miss Chloe is 19. She has aged a lot these last three years. Her dark facial mask is fading with rounded circles of light tan above her eyes. She still longs to be perfectly groomed, but does not have the energy for all the effort, nor her sister for cleaning her ears. She battles with kidney failure and refuses to eat the special diet, but she looks forward to her Fancy Feast each day and is holding her own with her weight even though she is very thin. Her eyesight is starting to go, but her hearing is acute. Arthritis has made her gait stiff and her front legs are slightly misshapen by age. She has her favorite bean bag sleeper and still enjoys snuggling with a catnip toy. Most of all, she loves to sleep... or, as here... sit in the sun.

I don't know how many more years.... or months... she has. I'm sure she will continue to live her life with the dignity she has always had and will let me know in her own way, when it is time. Until then, she will soak in all the sun she wants and eat all the Fancy Feast she wants and strike fear into the hearts of all the other cats...
what was that? Did I see a slight twinkle in that eye as she stares down Nicky? I do believe I did!

Happy Birthday Miss Chloe!

(end of post)
Friday's Ark
Weekend Cat Blogging
Camera Critters

Friday, July 08, 2011

First The Storm, Then The Promise, Then The Reward

The storm clouds roll....

'Til The Storm Passes By
In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face,
While the storm howls above me, and there's no hiding place.
'Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

~ Mosie Lister, 1958

Then the promise......

"Mild arch of promise! on the evening sky
Thou shinest fair with many a lovely ray,
Each in the other melting."
~ Robert Southey

Then the reward...... Posted by Picasa

"The sunrise is Gods greeting - the sunset, his signature." ~ Unknown
Storms have blossomed each afternoon all week. They appear almost out of nowhere, with wind, flashes of lightening, and booming thunder before the downpours. An inch one day, a tenth the next... nine tenths the next. Slow moving, flash flooding, and still the humidity does not break. A cold front stretches, lazily languishes across the area... asleep. And the storms keep developing. I don't have to water the grass, but the cats hide each day, afraid of the sounds of pounding rain and rolling thunder. Still, after the clouds move on to the ocean... a promise appears in the eastern sky.... a rainbow. Then later, with clouds and storms to the north and south, the setting sun delivers a magnificent masterpiece to the end of the day.

This was July 6th, 2011.

(end of post)
Nature's Notes
Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Yarrow and Yellow in the Yard

Yellow rose of Virginia.... sorry Texas.

“'Twas a yellow rose, By that south window of the little house, My cousin Romney gathered with his hand On all my birthdays, for me. save the last; And then I shook the tree too rough, too rough, For roses to stay after.” ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh (bk. VI)
In Victorian flower language, a yellow rose meant or was used to convey jealousy. However, in the western U.S., the yellow rose came to symbolize a familiar, native and humble love, including feelings of home and domestic happiness, joy, and friendship.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) in my yard Posted by Picasa

"Thou pretty herb of Venus’ tree,
Thy true name it is Yarrow;
Now who my bosom friend must be,
Pray tell thou me to-morrow.”
~ Halliwell’s Popular Rhymes
The old Myth concerning the yarrow's name sake, Achilles, states that his Mother made a strong tea of yarrow and, at his birth, dipped him in it, thus making him totally invulnerable except for the heal that she held him by, the Achilles Heal. Another bit of yarrow lore declares that if you sew a bit of yarrow into a flannel pouch, place it under your pillow, and say this poem before going to sleep; you will learn the name of your future bride or groom in your dreams.

Placed in the garden it discourages beetles, ants and flies! If a handful is added to the compost it will speed up the breakdown of the plant material. In the garden it is a very good companion plant improving the health of all plants around it.

(end of post)
ABC Wednesday ~ Letter "Y"

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Busy, Buzzing, Bees! Sort Of.

Mine! All mine!
(Click pictures to enlarge)

"The solitary Bee
Whose buzzing was the only sound of life,
Flew there on restless wing,
Seeking in vain one blossom where to fix."
~ Robert Southey, Thalaba (bk. VI, st. 13)

One "busy" bee.

"How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower.
- Isaac Watts, Against Idleness

Drunk with nectar....languishing in the summer sun. Posted by Picasa

"Give and Take...
For to the bee a flower is a fountain if life
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love
And to both, bee and flower,
the giving and the receiving is a need and an ecstasy."
~ Kahlil Gibran
"Busy as a bee" and how busy the bees have been this spring. We have all sizes from tiny little yellow fellows, all the way up to these giant bumble bees. They have latched on to the hyssops of blue and apricot (agastache), the lavender, daylilies, milkweed, black-eyed susan, and any other plant with anything that resembles a flower. Of course, the lavender and the bee balm (monarda) are the favorite. In fact, each bloom is often covered with two or three big bees at one time. I noticed that even at dusk when most insects are retreating for the night, these bees almost seemed to be in a bee-drunken stupor; settled down in between the blooms with wings folded, not moving even as the camera came to within inches of their heads. Yes, indeed... these two are drunk with delight. It wouldn't surprise me if they didn't stay on the flowers all night.

We had many bees last summer as well, but it seems as if there are more this year. And yet, the black swallowtail and monarchs are still slow to lay eggs on the abundant milkweed and fennel. Could the bees be part of the reason?

(end of post)
Saturday Photo Hunt ~ Busy (late)
Mellow Yellow Monday

Friday, July 01, 2011

Cycle of Life

Mr. & Mrs. Bluebird... this couple was obviously young... and disorganized.
(Click pictures to enlarge)

"A bird is three things:
Feathers, flight and song,
And feathers are the least of these."
~ Marjorie Allen Seiffert, "The Shining Bird"
Again this year, the bluebirds showed up. They were on time and a group of four or five birds snacked at the feeders and checked out the house. But, they were young... the male was lazy.. and chickadees built a nest of soft moss in one day and eggs were laid. The chickadees seemed distressed and more vocal than usual and I saw the male bluebird look in the already occupied birdhouse several times. Then the crime. Someone invaded the chickadee nest, took an egg and threw it against the bay window of our house. The dried protein dribbled down the length of the panes and a small shell fragment remained glued to the top. Who could do this? I would like to believe it was a blackbird or crow or one of the birds I really don't care for; so I give the bluebirds the benefit of the doubt and say it really couldn't have been them, their beaks are too small to carry an egg. Whoever the culprit was, it was so sad for the chickadees as they have a short nesting season and will not likely have another round this year.

Mrs. Bluebird was more industrious and practical than her mate.
When it was obvious that no chickadee babies were in the nest, I cleaned out the house... washed it... let it dry... and opened it back up for business. It still took this couple almost a week to decide on the place. I think she expected his help in building the nest, but his lame attempts ended up in pine needles being stuck in at the last moment; therefore, they simply stuck up and out the edge of the opening in a random way -- not tidy -- and were no help at all. No, the male spent most of his time fluttering at the window, pecking at the other male bluebird he saw as competition and peering in at us in the den (wanting mealworms). I think she expected him to either sit on the eggs while she hunted for food or bring her food. He didn't do either. I started in with the mealworms and she quickly learned that she would have to feed herself, he wouldn't do it.

Dinner time.
When the egg/eggs hatched, this young couple had to figure out how to feed the baby/babies. Mr. Bluebird fed himself first, downing four or five mealworms before taking one to the chick. Mrs. Bluebird, with true maternal instincts, fed the baby first and only herself after the chick was taken care of. Unlike last year's group, these did not always finish off the mealworms in record time. Whether it was because they had only one baby, while last year's had at least three or not; the result was that other birds became interested, particularly the brown thrasher. After he devoured the remaining mealworms at one meal, they seemed to become better organized and more purposeful in the feeding and took turns flying back and forth from the birdhouse to the mealworms. This couple added one stage, taking the mealworms to the roof for processing before flying them to the baby.

Feeding time... how could one small baby bird make so much noise. Posted by Picasa
At feeding time, the noise coming from the birdhouse was amazing and loud; it could be heard all the way to the back door and yet, there seemed to have been only one chick. He poked his head up with mouth wide open to get his food from mom and dad and starred with wide eyes at me. A week ago, I checked the birdhouse and there he was with feathers on his chest and looking like he was almost ready to go. Mrs. Bluebird must have told him to get down in the nest when I went to get my camera, for he was not to be seen when I returned. Sunday morning, the bluebirds had their breakfast of mealworms but by Sunday evening they were gone and though I left mealworms out for three days, no bluebirds. I presume they took their baby into the woods to teach him how to fly and to gather food. The feeder has been busy the last two weeks with all sorts of adult and baby blackbirds, blue jays, even finches; parents showing the babies where the food is and trying to get them to eat from the feeder without having to put it in their mouths. Now, it seems the juveniles have learned and the feeder sessions are more normal.

I waited for almost a week, then opened the house and took out the abandoned nest and washed the house. The very next day... yesterday... I came downstairs to the pecking sound of bluebirds pecking on the window and much agitation. Male and female, flying back and forth from the house to the feeder to the windowsill. I don't think these are the same bluebirds that just vacated the premises with their baby as they are supposed to stay with him in the woods for at least a few weeks. Hopefully, it is a new pair.. more mature (although this head butting against the window behavior does not indicate any maturity to the female who continually chatters at him while he is doing it) and perhaps they will build another nest and raise another family. I hope so. I still have mealworms left.

(end of post)
Friday's Ark
Camera Critters
Nature's Notes

Camera Critters

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Toe-May-Toe, Toe-Ma-Toe

Little sweet tomatoes, getting ready to pop them in my mouth! Yum! Posted by Picasa

"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato." ~ Lewis Grizzard
Storms broke out dead tree tops and littered the yard with limbs and leaves. Pinecones pelted the metal sunroom roof, sounding more like giant hailstones and the wind caught up anything that was not tied down. The grow box with these tiny tomatoes bowed to the power of the wind and rolled to the edge of the deck, then toppled over and down the steps losing a bit of dirt, several large branches and scattering tiny green tomatoes all over the stone patio. I repaired the damage as best possible: replacing the dirt and the soil cover, tying up the vines and relocating the box to be sheltered from future winds.

These are the survivors -- of the storm and the marauding squirrel bandits -- and they are beginning to ripen. At first, it was slow... one a day for a week.. but now I get a handful a day. Some are red and others orange... but all are tasty and juicy and squirt yummy goodness all in your mouth. I get to eat these at least... Mom has become enamored with the cucumbers and we really need ten vines to keep up with her passion. So far, the birds have left them alone and the squirrels are not brave enough to come directly up to the boxes as they are so close to the door. Now we will simply have to see how long they will produce.

No matter how you say it... tomatoes are one of summer's great joys.
(end of post)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Annuals: To Plant or Not To Plant, That Is The Question

Lobelia erinus (Blue Cascade) & Calibrachoa hybrid (Yellow) Posted by Picasa

"To analyze the charms of flowers is like dissecting music; it is one of those things which it is far better to enjoy, than to attempt to fully understand." ~ Henry T. Tuckerman.
I have never been a real fan of annuals; those flowers that do not survive the cooler zones of winter. I've never loved the cycle that the yard guy does in the front beds... spring brings the impatiens or vincas and fall brings the pansies. For one thing, the impatiens don't really love the sun that much and they don't seem to spread well. In Mississippi, our house had quite a few trees which made growing a good lawn a problem (St. Augustine was almost the only grass to grow under those pines), but the impatiens grew and spread, sometimes to three feet tall and a few plants would fill an entire square bed, hiding the boxwoods. Not here. They don't really start filling out -- if they survive the heat and my antipathy towards them -- until September or October when it finally begins to cool off and at their height of blooming, the yard guy comes along and rudely pulls them up. He replaces them with pansies. Now, I love pansies much more than the impatiens; still, while pansies may bloom her in winter, they are wimpy. They really don't like the cold that comes with snow and spend much of the winter looking wilted or frost bit. It really is the spring... usually here this includes late February and March, perhaps into April... where they are at their best. I have managed to nurse a few along in a pot on the deck, but now in June, even these are on their last leg and wobbling. In the front beds, the pansies only start looking really good and trying to spread when March gets here. And again, at the height of their beauty, they are snatched up and replaced in May. The endless cycle. It seems wrong. And so this is why I seldom plant annuals... at least knowingly.

When Stephen was here, he found this hanging basket of bright yellow million bells (I think a petunia relative), blue lobelia and (not pictured) red flowers (the name escapes me.. this happens more and more with each passing year.. though I doubt I ever knew the name of the red flowers). They are all annuals and won't make it until next summer, but I have to admit they are beautiful. Downside... must be watered every day and I mean, everyday. You cannot be two hours late before they start to wilt. It must be something about the planter they are in because I have a homemade basket of million bells and petunias that is not this sensitive.

I love to see the plants and don't mind pruning back or deadheading (except tickweed which is tedious), but I really like to plant only once and then watch as the little shoots and stems poke through the ground in spring again. I tend to look like a giant mudball when planting, not my favorite thing to be. So I tend to plant perennials. However, this year the monarch and black swallowtail have been slower to show up and my fennel is six feet tall, just waiting for some caterpillars and the milkweed overfloweth and the bees of all types are having orgies in the bee balm and lavender and agastache. So where are they? On the annuals. On this plant.

Black Swallowtail with red... verbena?

Perhaps I SHOULD plant a few more annuals... sigh.

(end of post)
Mellow Yellow Monday
Ruby Tuesday

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Signs..Signs..Everywhere There's Signs

Clockwise from top left: Tokyo, Las Vegas, Brooklyn, and Grand Canary Islands.
(Click pictures to enlarge)

“One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain.” ~Thomas Sowell (American Writer and Economist, b.1930)
I have a photo of a group of Canada geese standing on the shore of a local lake next to a sign that reads... "NO SWIMMING". It is as if they wonder... "Does this mean me?" These signs are from around the world.. some three dimensional, some profound and some simply different. Since I don't travel much these days, those from overseas were taken by my brother. The first, from Tokyo shows businessmen and women waiting to cross the street, although I must admit that I wondered if they were male models posing... then again... no, no way.. waiting to cross the street. All of them in black suits or skirts, black jackets or dark gray coats and white shirts; uniform in nature... conforming....expected. But the huge red LOVE sign in the background POPS off the page and gives it a strange twist (which is why I wondered if there was a photo shoot going on for a magazine cover or something). The "LOVE" also feeds into the next sign... M&M's. I do so love M&M's, either plain or with almonds (peanuts are ok but almonds are heavenly). The crazy bright colors and the three dimensional look of the lovable and sweet (in more ways than one) characters make me want to walk right into the store and buy all the M&M's my suitcase can hold. This sign would stand out here at home, but in Las Vegas... everything is gaudy and everything is brightly colored and over-the-top. You can see the Coca-Cola store next door with its oversized bottle... anyway... I love M&M's.

The next sign is one of several on the outer walls of the Brooklyn Public Library, profound and true. Even in these days of instant downloads of Kindle books, I still like to walk through the stacked shelves of the library; to smell the pages of the books and see the worn page edges. If I can check it out from the library for free, I won't buy the book to download. In any form, electronic or hardcover... books are definitely the inheritance of generations.

I thought the final sign in this group was cute... it reads "pedestrian zone".. so someone painted pedestrians on the wall behind the sign. In doing so, the artist fulfilled the intent of the sign... now it IS a pedestrian zone!

My brother is the central figure in this opera sign. Posted by Picasa
Yes, my brother is the large central figure in this opera poster sign... he's the one with the gun pointed at his head. Operas always put these large signs to advertise the coming event or the opera currently playing. Here in the United States, opera isn't that popular and the opera companies are much smaller, as are the productions. In Japan, however, the people are wild about opera to an almost fanatic degree. Stephen has performed several times in Tokyo, in this case the only opera written by Mozart... Fidelio. It is one of those comedy/drama stories... he plays Florestan, a nobleman, who has been kidnapped and imprisoned by an evil governor who spreads the word that Florestan is dead. Leonore, Florestan's wife, suspects he is still alive and she pretends to be a man (Fidelio) and manages to obtain a job as the chief jailer's helper. She smuggles provisions to her husband in the dungeon.

However, the daughter of the chief jailer, falls in love with Fidelio (not knowing that he is really Leonore) and rebuffs another young assistant who is mad for her. The governor tries to get the chief jailor to kill Florestan when he discovers that a high minister in the government is on his way to inspect the prison. The minister, Florestans close friend, will surely find him and the governor will be in real trouble. The chief jailer refuses, so the governor goes to do the murderous deed himself... the minister is within sight on the road. Lenore as Fidelio is in the dungeon with her husband and flings herself between the governor and her bound husband. She reveals herself and the pistol she has smuggled in; but as she prepares to shoot the governor or die trying to save her husband, the trumpet sounds... the minister is here... Florestan is saved! Leonore releases her husband and all is well. Oh... the chief jailer's daughter is a bit rattled that Fidelio was actually Leonore, but she quickly gets over it when the young man who is mad for her again professes his love and she accepts. It's one of those "happily ever after" endings... well, except for the evil governor... one that is not often seen in opera. In fact, this is one of the few parts my brother plays that does NOT die in the end.

While Stephen was still singing as a house tenor in Linz, Austria, they did a production of "Peter Grimes". Opera is sung in the language it is written in and this was written in English. He plays a rustic fisherman and of course, dies in the end. For the pre-opera advertising, they shot photos of him in his costume... a thick sweater, jeans and old fisherman hat.. with thick nets. The ocean was in the background and he was kneeling on the sand. This was the opera poster shot and they made it into a large billboard as well. He told me it was always disconcerting to walk down that street and look up to see a multiple times life size picture of himself. Life-size, he is big and imposing. The billboard.....really scary.

Carmi is collecting "signs" this week... I know he is going to have a lot of great ones. Actually, when I read what he wants over there... it really isn't this. I probably SHOULD have posted the geese with the "no swimming" sign. Oh, well. I am this far into it so I am just going to go with it... just won't link it over there. This is why one should ALWAYS read the instructions AND any fine print. However, the Saturday Photo Hunt, which I missed of course is on "informative". I thought this meant an informative post.. and this is one, in a way. But signs also are very informative.. at least sometimes. So, better late than never... on to the Photo Hunt.

(end of post)
Saturday Photo Hunt ~ "Informative"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Family of Another Nature

A small family of Canada geese out for a swim. (Virginia Beach) Posted by Picasa

"Everywhere water is a thing of beauty, gleaming in the dewdrops; singing in the summer rain; shining in the ice-gems till the leaves all seem to turn to living jewels; spreading a golden veil over the setting sun; or a white gauze around the midnight moon." ~ John Ballantine Gough, A Glass of Water
We have a huge population of Canada geese, many of whom refuse to migrate south in the winter or north in the spring. It is often funny to see them in their migration "V" flying northwest in the fall. I often want to yell up at them, "Hey, guys, that is the WRONG WAY!"; but then they glide gracefully in a downward spiraling arch and land in the large pond behind the neighbor's house. Oh... just moving from one pond to another, I see.

I do believe that these (probably considered "native" by now) geese are the first to have families in the spring. Ours have developed a great community plan; the young goslings are shipped off to boarding school, at least for the daytime hours. Approximately ten to sixteen little fluff balls are shepherded by three or four adults and the day is full of lessons to be learned. They are taught to swim... in a long line with one adult at the head and one bringing up the rear and at least one to the side, to catch any strays. More importantly, they are taught to cross the road. I do believe that the first step is... start slowly but resolutely, the cars will stop; though the second must be...don't try this at night. More than once this spring, I had to come to a complete stop as the goose grade school practiced their crossing (as we all know, practice makes perfect). One adult stood on the destination golf course grass gathering the goslings around that had already navigated the street. One waited on the median to make sure everyone was in a line and on the march and a third was the traffic guard, standing right in the middle of the road. The babies hopped (fell) off the curb into the road and started their trek across. One was mesmerized by a rock in the road and stopped to investigate, causing a pile up behind. Adult guard quacked... baby ignored... adult walked over, bent his neck down and honked and nudged the little one along, flapping his wings as he chased the baby to the other side. This seemed to bring all the others back into order and the rest knew better than to cross this crossing guard again. The biggest obstacle is the curb on the far side as, yet unable to fly, they must jump their height to get back up to the grass. Many took several attempts before success. I have always wonder if these "teachers" send their pupils back to their parents at the end of the day.

This family was seen swimming in one of the inlets along the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach. It was late May and most of the other resident goslings had almost grown to the size of their parents. Perhaps, this family actually migrated from the south or maybe the later goslings don't get to go to kindergarten and are home schooled instead. I wonder.

(end of post)
Carmi's Theme ~ "family"
World Bird Wednesday

Watery Wednesday

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hot Lips

Salvia x microphylla 'Hot Lips'... a changeable diva!

"If one consults enough herbals...every sickness known to humanity will be listed as being cured by sage." ~ Varro Taylor, Ph.D. (herb expert)
We already had a large pot with a bush sage planted and growing and showing off the bright red blooms that are so irresistible to hummingbirds; but this little gem was too gorgeous to pass up. I nestled it between the milkweed and the coneflowers and it loves the area. When first planted, the little flowers were totally red; but as the days grew hot, the flowers changed color....

From a deep crimson red all over...... a fabulous stripe of red against a background of pure white... very 'Hot Lips' indeed. According to several sources, the flowers may also be all white -- pure as the winter snow-- if you want to believe such a saucy flower can do so. I am going to try and collect some of the tiny seed and see what I can do with it. For now, the flowers are going strong and the hummingbirds have been dining, as have the bees and a few butterflies.

This is a variety of sage, though not the typical herb used in cooking. Still, when you crush a couple of leaves together or break off a spent flower stem, the aroma of pungent sage is left on your fingers and in the air. Heavenly.

(end of post)
Ruby Tuesday

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Photo Hunt: The Lighthouse

Clockwise from top left: The construction of our "lighthouse" progression Posted by Picasa

"You, who wish to study great and wonderful things, who wonder about the movement of the stars, must read these theorems about triangles. Knowing these ideas will open the door to all of astronomy and to certain geometric problems." ~ Regiomontanus, Johann (German mathematician and astronomer. 1436-1476)
I found out that our neighbors have dubbed the sunroom addition as "The Lighthouse"; the shining light through the stained glass at night is probably the reason. My cousin from Illinois designed it and he and his brother did the interior beam and woodworking, as well as the construction of all the furniture inside. All throughout the construction phase I took pictures of the rough wooden beams and the triangles they formed. Inside and out, triangles. The cupola roof fashioned by triangles of copper, the crossbeam supporting the hanging fan and lights, the multicolored panes of stained glass, and even the small decorative touch at the apex of the interior is triangular (a maltese cross centered with a pyramid of four triangles). On a sunny day, rays flow through the windows and cast a rainbow of color on the ceiling and walls; at night the uplighting from the fan glows through to shine in the dark... the lighthouse.

It is, by far, my favorite room in the house.

(end of post)
Photo Hunt ~ "Triangle"