Tag Archives: plants

“Friendship is the breathing rose”

Looks like a Secret Garden

Looks like a Secret Garden

Last week my friend Doris invited me to stop by.  We get together every few months at her house.  She serves coffee or tea and delicious sweets.  Her husband, Howard, usually stops puttering to say hello, pausing at the table to give a big hug and nibble a cookie.

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Ladybug in parsley and other winter stories.

Ladybug in parsley.  View One.

Ladybug in parsley. View One.

Life is so weird.

After writing yesterday’s post about my current camera conundrum (say that fast three times) I am suddenly feeling re-inspired about taking pictures.

Twice today have dug out the Canon Rebel and photographed.

The first photo shoot involved a ladybug discovered in parsley purchased at the grocery store.

Imagine!  A bright red ladybug crawling through deep velvet-green parsley.

Perhaps some folks might be disturbed at insects in their groceries, thinking them vile creatures worth annihilating immediately, if not sooner.

Not I.

I delighted in the bright red crawling creature.  Isn’t she beautiful?  Isn’t she vibrant?  Doesn’t she remind one of spring as a possibility?

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Weekly photo challenge: Leaf a comment, will you?

How the leaf actually looked.

Can you believe how the green life is slowly retreating from the leaf as it dies?

Leaf again.

Let’s play with the green leaf photographically-speaking, shall we?  How can we renew this dying leaf?

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Pigs in space…Skull in tree

Pigs in Space. 2010. Duluth, MN

Ladder of plants

Bold sunflower

Dress on laundry line

Summer grass

Lake Superior

California poppies. Circa 2010.

Single poppy filled with light

Native American beauty

Skull in tree

Counting down the days until I can say something on this blog.  August 10th!!

Hi ho the dario the farmer in the woods.

Last of the broccoli

Here we are.  Mid to late September.  Still working in the garden in front of our house.  Still pulling plants (feeding them to the deer who have been zapped away from the garden by the handy electric fence) and harvesting delicious broccoli, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, kale and beets.

It’s suppose to get down into the 30′s tonight.  Frost is predicted “inland”.  We’re not really inland…we’re a half mile from the moderating warmth of Lake Superior.  Still, one gets nervous.  What if it drops below 38 or 35 degrees?  Luckily, I have a husband who goes to bed after midnight.  He’ll know if the thermometer is shivering toward the freezing mark.

Lots of green onions left

I spent maybe forty-five minutes putzing in the garden today.  Here, you deer! Eat this brussels sprout plant which will never produce a decent sprout.  Eat these yellowed and hole-filled kale.  Would you guys like some basil gone to seed?  You wouldn’t?  Try some anyway. 

You deer have been good. You have stayed away from our electric fence for yet another year.  You deserve every scrap we can feed you.  Before we bought the electrified fence, all those years ago, you ate every single last plant in our garden, you hoofed villains!  Even the tomato stalks, you crazy fur-covered vegetarians!  We did what we needed to co-inhabit with you in the woods.  We electrified your summer eating fields.  Now you can have whatever scraps you like, in exchange for refusing to jump over the five foot fence.

Interesting peppers this year. Not spicy-hot unless you eat the seeds.

You never know what kind of garden year it will be.  One year the tomatoes grow gangbusters and reach the clouds.  The next year the tomatoes are miserly and the carrots grow fat and thick underground.  Last year we harvested–I kid you not–51 winter squash and a dozen zucchini.  This year we had Zero Squash.  That is not a misprint.  Zero squash.

Thank goodness our friend Nancy brought us two pumpkin and two zucchini the other day.  Tonight I’m baking a pumpkin.  (You know, don’t you, that little pumpkins can be eaten and appreciated just like acorn squash?  Try ‘em; you’re sure to agree.)

The tomato stands alone...on the withering vines

We’re also resurrecting the Juicer this evening. Remember the juicer we bought in the beginning days of this blog, ‘way back last January?  We utilized it faithfully until late spring and then said–oh good–we’ll use it with our garden veggies in the summer!

Except.  Summer hath come and gone and we have never taken out the juicer.  Until tonight. We’re gonna make a Tomato-Vegetable Juice Barry will still be talking about in the deep-freeze days.  We’re going to juice his precious tomatoes, maybe a stalk of celery, maybe the peppers, who knows what else?  We’ll juice until it tastes good.  We’ll let you know how it goes.

The kale grows out-of-control behind the compost bin

We are attempting to bake Krispy Kale chips tonight.  My friend, Sonya, said her family likes ‘em.  Last time I tried to bake kale…well, let’s just say it didn’t work.  So we’ll try again tonight.

Cut kale into 1/4 inch pieces, place in a large bowl and mix in 2 T. olive oil, 2 T. lemon juice and 1/4 t. sea salt.  Mix with hands and massage the kale.  (Oh don’t you love it?  MASSAGE the kale!)  Bake 10-15 minutes in pre-heated 350 degree oven until dark green and crispy.  Cool and serve.   ((Eater’s note!  ONE tablespoon of olive oil and ONE tablespoon of lemon juice was sufficient for us.  For a LARGE batch of kale.))

Hope it tastes good…along with that pumpkin.  Some wild rice, too.  Oh, I think maybe I will stuff the pumpkin with green peppers and veggie sausages and maybe the rice.  Should I bake beets or leave ‘em until tomorrow’s dinner?

If the brussels make a golf ball-sized sprout, it will be a miracle.

Soon we’ll rototill the garden ONE more time and say a tearful goodbye to our summer vegetable crop.  We’ve planted rye grass in the empty spaces of the garden.  Folks call this “green manure”.  You grow it until it is several inches high, then ’till it back under.  This helps to enrich the soil and, hopefully, produce more squash next year.

Our "farm" in the middle of the woods. Not MUCH of a farm!

We’re lucky to have a nice organic garden.  Lucky to eat fresh vegetables from right in front of our house.  Lucky to feel so nourished and supported by our earth.

Anyone else grow a garden this year?  How did your farming venture go?

Hummingbird don’t fly away, fly away…

Hummingbird don't fly away don't fly away don't fly away...

You can’t see them.  You can’t hear them.  Yet a million tiny wings beat in the clouds and sky, veering south, aimed toward Florida and Mexico and the Caribbean at this time of year. 

They left late this year.  The females buzzed around at least until September 14th, four days later than usual. 

I have a theory.  The females leave every year on September 10th and the males arrive again from their southern homes on May 10th.  Every year.  Come rain or shine or foul weather.  They’re more regular than our clocks. 

Except this year they were still here on the 14th. 

“What’s up?” I asked Barry.  “Why aren’t they gone yet?” 

He had no answer. 

But by the 15th–yesterday–they had departed.  We think.  A lone straggler or two may show up the feeder, but basically they’re gone. 

Winter is a’coming. 

Holding a hummingbird in hand, praying for its survival.

Since I have no current-year hummingbird photos, let’s dive into the archives.  Last year a hummingbird wandered into Barry’s garage and needed immediate rescue.  It couldn’t seem to find its way out, and almost died.  If you want to read the post which describes the drama please click here

Begging an almost-dead hummingbird to drink

The precious hummingbird lived to fly into the sky.  Is it flying now through the vapors, across the wheat and corn fields of the Midwest?  

Did it return here this summer, back to the place where it sipped the nectar from our feeder?  Where the sweet sugar of the Impatiens plant dove down its sharp beak? 

The males usually leave this part of the Upper Peninsula by the end of August.  The females follow about ten days later.  Do they meet up with their mates in the land of the palm trees?

Do they somehow share stories of the long journey, of the rivers below, the bean fields, the way a hawk sometimes swooped from the sky?

Goodbye, Hummingbirds. May you wing back north next May.

We’ll miss you, dear hummingbirds.  We imagine your trail through the sky.  When you arrive next May the wildflowers will bloom again in the forest. 

Don’t be late…we’ll dream of you through the long winter.

P.S.  For those of you more interested in hummingbird facts, here is some  nectar to feed your minds:

1. Hummingbirds fly about 25-30 miles an hour.

2.  Ruby-throated hummingbirds (the variety that summer here) have been known to travel 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico to breeding grounds.

3.  A hummingbird can eat anywhere between one half  (1/2) to eight times its body weight a day.  (Yes, a day!)

4.  Some hummingbirds will travel over 2,000 miles twice a year during the annual migration.

5.  Geese and hummingbirds fly on different migration paths and no, hummingbirds do not travel south on the backs of geese.  That’s a rumor, folks.

6.  Hummingbirds eat on the average of seven times an hour for 30-60 seconds per brunch.

7.  They will visit an average of 1,000 flowers per day for nectar.  (Who in the world figured this out?)

8.  OK, instead of typing all these nifty facts, I will lead you to a page which will satisfy your hummingbird curiousity almost completely:  http://www.worldofhummingbirds.com/facts.php


Blinded by the light

The camera can see more than its operator...

I’m sure all of you have walked up the road in the evening, toward the setting sun, completely blinded by the rays.

You’re staring befuddled into the bright rays of dying sunlight, unable to see anything straight ahead except the Light of the Heavens.

You squint.  You frown.  You wonder if sunglasses might help, if you owned any. 

You wonder if you should continue with eyes closed, hands in front of your face, groping.  You wonder if you should simply stare at the road and allow the feet to lead the way.  Obviously the eyes can’t see a darn thing.

When, suddenly, you look over at the dying plants alongside the road.  The plants are dying as September edges toward its waxing moon.  The ferns look ragged wearing yellow and brown tatters, although some still sport green overcoats.

Giant thimbleberry leaf with evening sunlight

The fern enjoys one of its last sunsets...

Good evening, Spreading Dogbane. Missing your pink flowers already!

The sun!  Look at the way the light plays on the leaves.  Some photographers say that light is magic; that light in the early morning and late evening gleams special from the sun.  I am still not cognizant enough of light’s alluring qualities, but tonight I felt drunk with the golden rays.

Unseeing from the blinding light straight ahead, I wandered sideways to kneel by ferns and thimbleberries leaves bigger than an open hand.  I followed light like it was the evening’s savior, stumbling in the ditch, spotting an illuminated tuft of grass here and there, following the magnificent rays wherever they chose to lead.

Orange fern glory! Heralds of Halloween.

Then it became utterly paramount to forget the rest of the evening walk.  Must turn around and scamper home, to upload onto the computer and see if the photos captured even a tiny essence of the glorious light.

But, hark!  Who goes there?  Look at that shadow!  Look at the length of those legs!  This evening sun is a trickster extraordinaire tonight, crafting and creating its own magnified world.


Let’s stop running for a moment.  Catch our breaths.  How about a little shadow play?  Some yoga poses?  Some jumping jacks?

Shadow play

What makes the light so magical at this time of day?

Why does the lower angle of sunlight contain so much golden light, so much intrigue?

The answer, dear reader, is I’m sure…Blowing in the Wind.

(And here ends our songs–and light–for the day.  We’ll see you at dawn’s early light.  Oh say can you see…?)

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind.