Photograph – Midweek Monochrome #120

Mid-Week Monochrome #120 – My mode of transportation yesterday, out in the woods, searching for robins. I am hoping to combine several of my photos into a watercolor painting. Recently, I captured a few moments on video of this happy robin bathing in a swamp. There was a sweet magic in the moment.

My creative side has been recharged in the pursuit of the perfect composition. I’ll keep a blog record of my progress on this watercolor on my Snippets Art Blog. With all the water included in the video and photograph below, I will also include this in the Water, Water, Everywhere Challenge from Photos by Jez.

Skunk Cabbage beginning to emerge in January.

Photo Challenge – Pick a Topic/Beachy Dreams

Strathmere, New Jersey, in summer, wish I was there. Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge, pick a topic photograph, prompted me to think ‘beachy’ for some reason. It’s warmish here in the Mid-Atlantic today, but I would still exchange it for hot summer. Look at that lovely sky!

More ‘beachy’ vibes, two beautiful seagulls.

Four more ‘beachy’ birds round out my Wednesday post. I was trying for a Wordless Wednesday but couldn’t keep from writing just a bit.

Photo Challenge – Pear Green

Cee’s color choice for this week’s Fun Foto Challenge is one of my favorites, pear green, or as some call it, chartreuse. We painted our front door and shutters a creamy yellow in the summer, and my lavender and silver Christmas decor created a hideous color combination with the yellow. To appease my sense of what color goes with yellow, I chose a rather different Christmas theme this year. It’s also a vague self-portrait.

Here’s another seasonal example of Pear Green: sunlight casting a luminous reflection through Jamestown blown glass.

Water, water, everywhere. A good fit for the Photos by Jez Challenge. This photograph is out of season. It is a summer photo, taken on the Glassboro/Williamstown bike trail. I wish I could have captured more of the enchanted nature of the place; a swamp covered in duckweed. The growth is so thick the water was completely obscured. Beneath a canopy of trees, the place took on an otherworldly appearance. Hopefully, it will grow again this coming summer, and I will capture better photographs with a camera rather than my phone. I think this is a good example of pear green too.

Photo Challenges – FOTD Salvias/Six on Saturday

Salvias, sometimes referred to as sage, are the champions of my Autumnal garden beds.

In truth, all SAGES are SALVIAS. Over time, though, the term sage has been closely aligned with cooking or medicinal use and the term salvia has been given to the more ornamental members of this genus. Nevertheless, Salvia is the Latin name, or Genus, given to all these plants. ~Mountain Valley Growers

The colors of my salvias have stayed vibrant through several frosty mornings.

Pineapple Sage, Salvia elegans, is my Flower of the Day, part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge

The flowers of Mexican Sage are fuzzy and remind me of purple bumblebees and velvet.

The salvias are so blossom-loaded; I felt the hummingbirds stayed too long this year, sipping their nectar through early October. I hope they have made their journey now to warmer climates.

I held a piece of this salvia up against the bluest of Autumn skies; the camera captured the velvet texture of the blossoms and the detail of the leaves. What I didn’t see when I took the photo was the small flying insect resting beneath one of the buds. This photo is part of Friday Skywatch.

Six on Saturday Collage

Photo Challenges – Grasshopper/One Photo Three Ways

Cool Autumn has arrived in the Mid-Atlantic states. While collecting seeds from my Cardinal Flower Vine, I found myself face to face with a beautiful grasshopper.

I’m not blessed with many close-up moments with grasshoppers. When the temperature is warm, they are fast to spring away.

I was fascinated by the beautiful details, the face and large eyes, tiny hairs and hooked feet, the sporty lines resembling the stripes on a race car along the sides of his legs. I know grasshoppers can be destructive in large numbers, but I enjoyed my encounter with this fellow as we both basked in the Autumn sunshine. The beautiful creatures in God’s world bring me joy.

LAPC #220 One Subject Three Ways

Photo Challenges – Fire and Ice/Two Different Things/Cee’s Black and White Challenge

Two opposites – Cee’s Black and White Challenge – Fire and Ice

FIRE AND ICE

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

~Robert Frost
Two blocks of ice.

After I took my ‘Fire and Ice’ photograph I remembered the birds need a source of water in the Winter. I overturn my warm weather birdbath in the wintertime to keep it from breaking in the weather extremes. In its place I use a dollar store tray. Works great, although I did break a bit of the edge trying to get the ice out.

After a week of dreary skies, the snowstorm left brilliant sunshine in its wake. The sun’s rays as it went down set everything ablaze. I took this photo hanging out of my second (two) story back window.

Two pines, two houses, one chimney

Photographs – First Snowfall 2022

The first snowfall of winter is drifting down from whitened skies here in Southern New Jersey. The quick accumulation of several inches is surprising after last week’s record warmth. I took a quick stroll around my yard and found this small sparrow watching me from the leafless Vitex tree.

The gourd birdhouse is vacant, and I am reminded I need to repair the opening and rodent-proof before Spring arrives.

My Rosemary plants are covered with blue blossoms. I’m glad I waited for the first snowfall to use the surprise burst of florets for Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

The bright contrasting tones of peach, courtesy of my last blooming rose of 2021, give me chills in reality, and also in spirit. Covered in a white blanket of snowflakes the flower suggests a mysterious slumber before rebirth in Spring, truly a sleeping beauty. I can see a few starry points of individual flakes. How beautiful and rare, snowdrifts on live rose petals, not a sight I often see.

Photo Challenge & Quick Tip – Six on Saturday/Poinsettias

Poinsettias—I bought several this year to brighten up the house for Christmas. The variety of colors and easy availability of these holiday plants causes me to pause when passing a pallet of the bright flowers. I usually give into temptation and bring one, or more, home.

The ‘Six on Saturday’ Challenge was a perfect foil for my lack of willpower, and I have four types of poinsettias to display as part of my six, with an additional two as a Quick Christmas Tip. The flowers are also a good choice for Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

A common problem I encounter with Poinsettias, no matter how carefully packed inside their cellophane sleeves, is the broken stems from overcrowded displays, a rough ride down the cashier’s conveyor belt, or a bumpy trip home. Taken out of their protective plastic it is almost inevitable one or two stems will be cracked or broken, revealing a dying flower.

Years ago I read a blog post on using these broken stems in vases. It seemed a hopeless experiment, but I gave it a try. Oh my, success was achieved within an hour. The broken stems filled with water, the limp bracts spread out and were almost more beautiful than the stems still in the pot.

If you don’t find a broken stem you can always harvest one from the back of your plant for a vased arrangement. My Poinsettia cuttings are over a week old, and I am hoping they will eventually develop roots. Oh the JOY, another experiment to try. Keeps me going. Merry Christmas to you.

How to propagate Poinsettia plants

Although I read you need to singe the ends of poinsettias to use them in arrangements, I did nothing but cut and pop my broken stems in water. Perhaps singeing the stems is needed only if you use them in floral foam.

Using Poinsettias in Floral Arrangements.

Photo Challenges – Six on Saturday

We visited Longwood Gardens this week. The conservatory was filled with Christmas trees, some elegant and designed by floral experts, a few covered with decorations created by children. All the trees were beautiful, but my favorites were in the Exhibition Hall, atop the sunken marble floor, with faux ice above the water.

This post is part of Six on Saturday.

Photo Challenge – Six on Saturday/Sanctuary of Light

GOD’S DIAMONDS – An overnight rain left our pine trees covered in a million sparkles in the morning sunlight. I feel blessed when I am able to see such a beautiful work of art at the beginning of the day.
LIGHT REFLECTED ON RIPPLING STREAM – Slanting Autumn sunlight mirrors the colors of stained glass onto the brook.
END OF THE ROAD GOLD – A final glory, the best is at the last…golden leaves beside the creek.
STAINED GLASS COLEUS – Did the first stained glass craftsmen use nature as inspiration? (This beautiful pot of coleus are growing in my home. They self-seeded in the front garden in an odd and unusual manner. More on this in a later post.)
MORNING-BORN GRATITUDE – I don’t need rose-colored glasses to feel blessed when a day starts in living color.
GOD’S DIAMONDS PART II – I am bookending my Six on Saturday with more morning sunshine diamonds in the pines.

Thanks to THE PROPAGATOR blog for this great challenge.

Plants & Photo Challenges – Bald Cypress Tree

When I saw Cee’s Pick a Topic challenge today, my front yard Bald Cypress immediately became my focus. Planted about the time my first grandson was born, it has probably been growing for about fifteen years.

The challenge, November Pick a Topic, included orange, along with other words, vintage, cast iron, etc. Orange is my choice, because it is easily accessible, blazing in the sunlight; my Bald Cypress glows russet orange.

The tree, although an evergreen, is a deciduous evergreen and loses its leaves in the Autumn. The leaves, when they fall, are like velcro and stick to whatever they touch. Small evergreens in my front garden are now wearing a garland of rust. The lawn becomes carpeted, making it fun to mow, turning the grass from orange to green again.

Whenever we drive down our road on the way home from outings, and I spy this majestic tree, I can’t help exclaiming, “What a beautiful tree.” It has grown from a six foot sprig, to a towering giant, and is now beginning to dwarf the house. Bald Cypress trees can grow to 120 feet and can live for 600 years.

In a corner of my garden a small sprig of a Bald Cypress tree is growing. Planted by way of the wind,or a foraging squirrel, it now stands about a foot. In the Spring, I will have to decide what to do with it. It needs to have plenty of space. In twenty years, it might be on its way to becoming a giant too.

This post is part of Skywatch.

Photo Challenge – Sycamores

I love the beautiful bark on Sycamore trees. Although, the actual tree Zacchaeus climbed in the Bible story was a Fig Sycamore, I am still reminded of the children’s chorus when I gaze at a sycamore tree. In our area Sycamore leaves begin drying out and falling long before other trees. We don’t find them very colorful, although I have read in other areas of the country they will exhibit a bit of gold.

The story of Zacchaeus – Luke 19:1-10

This post is part of Friday Skywatch.

Photo Challenges – Yellow Sunshine in the Raindrops

The photos in this post are part of Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge – May Macro. This dahlia, and others, are waiting to be planted in pots alongside my front porch.

These pretty begonias will be planted alongside of them. I usually plant in pink color schemes in the front, this year I’ve decided on sunshine yellows and purple.

The torenia has a pool of rainwater in the center.

Torenia is also known as the wishbone flower. I shook away the water from this blossom so the wishbone would be visible.

Photo Challenge – Dewdrops

Bright April – Dewdrops – The word dewdrop brings to mind poetry. It’s such a pretty word for an ephemeral miracle of condensation. I thought this was a perfect photo for ‘getting to know you,‘ courtesy of the lens-artist photo challenge #145. Laying on the ground to get a perfect capture is very much who I am, the photo tells a bit of my story in that aspect, and so lets you know a little about me.

Each tiny dewdrop resembles a streetlight. I wonder if they illuminate the way of insects traversing the sprigs of grass. The brightness of this square will be my last entry in Becky’s April – Bright Square Challenge.

Photo Challenges – Bright Dandelion and a Wildflower Walk

I love dandelion puffs. Backlit by the morning sun, the photo becomes naturally monochromatic. There are some interesting sparkles shining in the fluffy parachutes. The correct name for the fluff is pappus. You can find more dandelion information on Quora.

Today, I came upon a great blog called Good One God Challenge. My entry for the challenge is this beautiful dandelion. The dandelion against the sky is part of Skywatch. The square shape and the bright sunshine makes it perfect for today’s Life of B – April Squares Bright challenge entry. While not bright in color, the photo conveys a sense of brightness in the contrast.

I found the beautiful puff of dandelion on this week’s wildflower walk. These bright and beautiful wildflowers are blooming now in my Mid-Atlantic state of New Jersey. (Do squares in a square count as a bright square? I’ll have to ask Becky.)

Top to bottom, left to right, the wildflower names are:

1. Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) – An invasive groundcover in the mint family.

2. Speedwell Persian (Veronica-persicaiolet) – Very small flowers, but they capture the color of the sky. It’s everywhere at this time of year in NJ, but soon disappears when hot weather arrives.

3. Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) – This plant is invasive, but it also has the beautiful yellow petals of buttercups, and is in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae.

4 Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – Nutritious, the plant has many benefits.

5. Purple Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) – Although it can be invasive, it is an important wildflower for early pollinators. In this photograph you can see a Cabbage White Butterfly feeding on the small flowers.

6 White Violets (Viola blanda) – These are lovely, but like many wildflowers, can become invasive and take over your garden beds and lawn.

7. Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) – I learned this wildflower is a wild edible, but also can be invasive.

8. Periwinkle (Myrtle vinca) – Not just a wildflower, this plant is sometimes sold in garden nurseries as an evergreen groundcover.

9. Indian Strawberry (Duchesnea indica) – The small strawberries are not edible. The leaves can be used to treat eczema.

Photo Challenges – The Challenge of One/A Beachy Day

These photos of ‘one’ are part of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. The fish above is the one that didn’t get away. It was the prettiest catch of the day. We catch and release so he/she is still out there in the Delaware Bay waters.

While we were enjoying the beautiful day a reminder of those who serve our country graced the sky; a large military plane from Dover Air Force Base flew over the beach. I think it is called a Galaxy plane.

This beautiful patriotic display of flags was flying close to the beach we were fishing on.

One flag was a reminder that there are still many who are MIA and possibly POW’s. These men and women who have disappeared or been imprisoned while serving our country still need our prayers.

I love the perseverance of this one plant growing in the midst of a large swathe of sand.

One oyster perfectly mirrored the blue of the sky above it.

One bird and birdhouse was the catalyst to an encounter I would rather not have experienced, but that is Part II of this post, and hopefully I can put it in the proper perspective tomorrow.

Photo Challenge – Color Your World: Asparagus

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I have a lot of greens in my home. Green, especially a glowing yellow-green, is one of my favorite colors. These are my photo choices for the Color Your World Photo Challenge: Asparagus.

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I love growing philodendron sprigs in ceramic pots. Philodendron easily roots in water. The plant and pot have shades of asparagus in their greens.

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The Jamestown glass from historic Jamestown, Virginia, was given to my mother as a gift for my birth many decades ago. One of the asparagus green vases holds a piece of a Photinia shrub. The underside of the Photinia leaves have the green glow of fresh asparagus.

Photinia is a wonderful bush for your garden. The foliage is outstanding in vased floral arrangements.

I enjoyed collecting these greens for the Color Your World Challenge.

Photo Challenge – The Last of the Vanes

Today I’m featuring a few of the weather vanes I have posted on #Weather Vane Wednesday. This will be my last weather vane post. I thank everyone who took part in the challenge. I enjoyed searching for weather vanes, but I think I have found almost everything in my area, and that means it’s time to end the challenge.

Thanks to everyone who has taken part. Here’s a link to last week’s entry:
Geriatri’x’fotogallery – Neptun in middelburg

A thank you also to Cee for posting the information on her photo challenge page.

Photo Challenge – Weather Vane Wednesday/North East, Maryland

This Indian Weather Vane with his bow is on top of the Old Mill Plaza in North East, Maryland. 

North East is a great small town near the Chesapeake Bay and the Elk Neck River. It is just minutes away from Elk Neck State Park and the Turkey Point Lighthouse.

Take a quick walk with me to Turkey Point Lighthouse.

Geriatri’x’Fotogallery – Weather Vane Ship
The 59 Club – The Upper Deck

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!