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Archive for January, 2010

Some unwary visitors to my blog yesterday may have been given the impression that we are located south of the Equator.   Not so.   Yesterday’s blog was simply a trip away from the horrible reality that lay outside my windows.

Or maybe it wasn’t quite so horrible.   I’ll leave you to be the judge of that.

Same area today, after a certain amount of melting has gone on.

The labyrinth as it was yesterday.

And then making the background for the Daylily Dragon today.

As I  was walking about the place, I discovered that the Coopers hawk had a fine breakfast on my little pond this morning.   This photo may seem a little gruesome, but I love the fact that it is evidence of a healthy ecosystem here at The Havens.   Notice how she simply lands and eats, there is no disturbance in her pattern, and the imprint of her tail feathers that she left as she took off is in the lower right of the picture framed by the grass.   I am not too sorry for the starling she ate, they are a very invasive bird in this continent and I am happy to see a predator that is interested in keeping them in check.

Out at the vegetable garden, the cold frames weathered the snow very nicely.

I think we shall have salad for dinner tonight.   The rest of the garden is picturesquely dormant.   The vines you see sticking up out of the snow are the canes of the Norton grapes we started last year to replace the row of Beta grapes we removed because the pollinators hated them so much they never set any berries.

Now, a selection of images I happened across as I was wandering about the place yesterday.

Time to leave the internet and have some down-home fun.   Y’all come back now, hear?

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Photohunt: Spotted

This was really not a very tough assignment.   There are so many varieties of spottedness that showed up as I went through my archives that I really have an embarrassment of riches to share.

From pollen spotting a bumblebee’s back —

through a series of butterflies, all sporting spots —

I liked that last one because not only was the butterfly spotted, my arm is all spotted with freckles.

Then there was this fishing spider I discovered on the pond with her spotted abdomen —

Raccoon grapes have subtle spottiness along with their amazing variety of color.  By the way, this is the way they really ripen, all colors at once.

Of course, there are spots all over all sorts of flowers.   These are blackberry lilies —

— which aren’t lilies at all but a variety of iris.  There are irises that sport spots too.

Not only spots in their petals, but they are spotted with rain drops as well.   Another two-fer.

Of course lots of lilies are spotted too.

The canna lily here is spectacular, but the spotted foliage is what really catches my eye, and it stays around all summer, unlike the blossom.

Maybe that’s enough.  I’m starting to see spots before my eyes.

Make sure you wend your way over to TNChick’s place to spot a few other entries in this meme.

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About 12 hours later than the poor weather guessers thought, the snow finally reached the Ozarks and began falling in big fluffy flakes.   The wind was light, from the east.   Right now it is 19° F (-7°C) and still snowing.

I had to go out and play chase the stick with Ruby, she was So Bored having to lie in front of the fire.   After we were done with the game I put her back in front of the fire and went out and took some shots of the Stroll Garden in the snow.

What a difference 24 hours makes, huh?

It’s not quite done yet.  Seems to have set in for a while.   Jim got a new recipe book and has been trying out the recipes.  We had some amazing enchiladas yesterday, and used the leftovers for breakfast with eggs.

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Hey, you know what?   It is T-Shirt Friday, hosted by Nursemyra on the last Friday of each month so all of the rest of us can participate in her usual Friday meme and not just comment!

I loved the artwork on this t-shirt, which I found in a souvenir place in Darwin, Australia, almost the first second I saw it.   Aside from the typical dotted style of the aborigine art work, I loved the fact that the kangaroo has indications within it of its digestive and musculo-skeletal systems, that detail pleased my massage therapist’s heart.

I also acquired one  that had the Rainbow Serpent on it.   I save these for special occasions because I don’t really want to wear them out.   Don’t find them around here much, although I suppose I could find on on the internet.

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We are under a winter storm warning.  Sometime this evening we have been promised snow, which is supposed to last all night and we are expected to enjoy a 6 10 12 inch accumulation over the night.   All the people on TV are telling everybody to make sure they panic and run to the store and lay in supplies because it might be impossible to get out for a couple of days.    We had to replenish our supply of niger seed for the birds.

The temperature is below freezing, and so the pond has a rime of ice over about 65% of its surface.   Since it melted yesterday, the ice has lost the pelletized look it had after the sleet storm the other day and has made interesting crystal patterns in it.   Light is completely horrid for capturing that right now, so I will show you that it is cold by sharing the ice in the bottom of my limestone cup with you.

Looking up from that view, you see the Japanese Rock Garden neatly split into two “seas” with the boat rock sailing towards you on the edge of the White Sea.

Off to the right of the rock garden is an area where I have a few stepping stones, and the creeping thyme that I acquired from High Country Gardens last spring is making an artistic statement with the sandstones it spreads across.

When I drag myself back into the read world from the macro one, this is the view back along the Thyme Walk past the sedum and sempivirens beds.

That gravel bed doesn’t look like much from this distance, but when you get up close and personal the Hen and Chicks are really quite wonderful.   Bear in mind that this is 1/2″ gravel that these miniatures are growing in.   They have scattered themselves throughout the bed in most prolific fashion.

I tear myself away from these darling babies to make my dog happy by throwing the ball for her.   After I have worn her out, she poses regally at the edge of the Petite Prairie.

That nasellia grass continues to enchant me.   I really love it against the blue of the various fescues I planted around it.   This garden has required a lot of patience for me to grow it up, and next year it is going to be positively spectacular.   I have on order a group of indian paint brush and some apache plume as well as a couple of other prairie flowers I found at High Country Gardens.   Those babies are scheduled for delivery the first week of March.   I am agog with excitement.

But for now, I sink into the textures and colors of the grasses I have.

Tomorrow all of this will be covered in snow.   I hope it comes in big fluffy flakes rather than pellets because I am hot to capture more amazing snow flakes.

Long live macro!

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I am going to sound like a sore loser, but I honestly cannot believe that my entry in Gardening Gone Wild’s photo contest didn’t even get a silver medal.   I guess I just don’t understand the art of photography at all.

I am devastated, actually.  This was my entry.

I honestly don’t understand what was wrong with this image.   Maybe I should have cropped it more?

Would this have made this a better image?

The judges’ general comments:

I noticed some images were a bit dark or underexposed, especially when snow was included. Be careful when snow or sand is in an image that the snow/sand isn’t gray. Use the exposure compensation feature on your camera or adjust in the computer to give you better whites.

Light colored items in the foreground that are out of focus can be distracting if they occupy too much of the image.

Busy backgrounds or bright out of focus areas in an image can hurt an otherwise beautiful picture.

Last, the computer gives us tools to modify or optimize our images but too much manipulation can end up looking strange or unnatural to the viewer. Use the tools without making it obvious to the viewer.”

Well.  I give up.  They won’t have to worry about my cluttering up their contests with my entries any more.  I’m going off to play the piano or dust or weed

Okay.  I’m not doing any weeding.   It is 35 and sleeting out there.

The birds ate those rosehips, the snow melted, it rained and froze again.

Life goes on.

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