Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The following photos are of the same dahlia. I save them over the winter, divide them in the spring, plant them, and wait. It appears it has experienced somatic mutations. The top photo shows the original clone. Next is a plant with white tips on the flower. And a double version, one plant with white tips, another without the tipped petals. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.

Is there anyone who does not like sunflowers. (That's rhetorical I hope.) Every year a few seeds spilled from the winter bird feeders manage to escape hungry beaks, germinate, grow, and flower - much appreciated.

I live in a small neighborhood; they call it a subdivision. One of the neighbors is having some construction done which I'm grateful for. Something to watch and look forward to watching in these complicated times. Like most sensible people, I don't get out as much as I used to because of Covid 19. He's OK with me chronicling the progression of the construction. This is the garage. The square in the middle is where concrete has been removed and replaced with even an additional foot of concrete in order to support the ongoing building. These photos are from Tuesday.

Seasons come and go; haying has been going on for a while now,. Many farmers use the roll up hay "bales"; others still store hay in rectangular bales. The winter wheat has already been harvested.

These shots were taken on Wednesday. The overhead door is gone and a huge beam, one of several, is being made. It will rest on the concrete block which is now on top of the new larger reinforced concrete square. That corner is also going to disappear; the narrow slits where there were windows will be replaced by larger windows.

These two males normally fight over this feeder which must be placed where their two territories intersect. I do have three feeders but they are positioned, scattered, to reduce fights. Middle children are typically peace keepers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Hump Day

It's that time of the year in Michigan - the annual Port Huron to Mackinac race . . . normally the sailboats slip past my front yard on the way from Port Huron south of me to Mackinac north of me. I'm not sure if the race is off this year because of our badly managed Covid 19 crisis. Often before the race begins sailors practice. Clicking on photos will enlarge them

I visited the Port Austin Farmers' Market last weekend; I miss the large Royal Oak Farmer's market more than I can say. There are few farmers here and few sellers of plants; there are large numbers of vendors selling other things though.

Behind the sunflowers in the photo below there is a basket seller. I bought one for a friend a while ago to hold lotions, unguents, sprays, toiletries, perfumes, etc. Sometimes you think you've found the perfect gift for someone.

The oceans are nice, really nice.
Fresh water is nice too. 

Although my sunrises are spectacular as you may know, I don't get to see really nice sunsets here; the view is blocked by my west forest. Sometimes the sky is lit up a bit and when I'm washing up after dinner I do see some nice after effects. I don't photo shop my shots; I like to revisit them the way they looked when I actually saw them.

Pila is still expecting her former owners to come back to rescue her from me. I'm not sure why they didn't like her; I love the little bug. When she gives me "the look", my heart melts.

Hummers have been visiting my feeders for years now and I just noticed that the females often engorge themselves on nectar. My guess, my semi-scientific guess, is that when they have nestlings to feed, they consume larger quantities of nectar to take back to their kids. If you look closely at these photos you may be able to see the enlarged crop which is in the lower head or the upper neck region.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Le Quatorze Juillet

Happy Quatorze Juillet to mes amis francais. The photo below is one of those happy coincidences. Both plants, yes there are two plants there, are volunteers and they complement each other perfectly, imo. I especially like the light from a sunrise turning the gray siding almost the same shade of, is that pinkish? I never photoshop my photos. I like to see them au naturel. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.

I was shooting for the stachys in the foreground and failed to notice the physostegia in the background.

I love my rugosa roses. So do the rose chafers. Regardless their old fashioned rose aroma is intoxicating. Some rugosas are volunteers; some are "named" and were purchased. I love them all regardless.

I have had better looking dahlias but these simple magenta/maroon/burgundy flowers are a favorite of my hummingbirds. The hummers ignore the fancier looking ones. Maybe the nectar has been bred out of them?

Still - I do enjoy this one dahlia (below) even though the hummers ignore it.

As well as the omnipresent honeybees, there are many native bee species pollinating my flowers every summer. They are less conspicuous but as industrious as their more recognizable relatives.



Poppy "Pods" sans Petals are Iconic

The Daphne seeds are ready to scatter.

Totty on the qui vive. She looks so sweet. BUT!
Alpha Girl!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Fourth of July, 2020

I did not know or had forgotten that because the French had supported our war of independence from Great Britain, they had bankrupted themselves. Their normal annual budget was about 600 million dollars. They spent 1.5 billion dollars supporting us which left them virtually penniless (sous-less?) The populace were not apparently mad at Louis Seize (16th), or at least not as mad at him as at his Austrian wife Marie Antoinette. Louis was eventually executed on January 21, 1793, Marie Antoinette later that same year on October 16, 1793.

The French celebrate their liberation day on July 14, the day of the storming of the Bastille (a prison) occurred on le Quatorze Juillet, Only 7 prisoners were being held there however. Later 10,000 French women - yes women - stormed towards Versailles demanding flour to make bread to feed their hungry, starving families. Marie Antoinette is reputed today to have said, "Let them eat cake." But she never said that. A previous queen had indeed said, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche." (Let them eat brioche.) Later that was incorrectly attributed to Marie Antoinette. Brioche is not cake. It is rich type of bread which has eggs as part of the recipe. History, the stories that are spread and passed on are often not true or only partially true. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.

Bonsai - Jasmine

The Cathedral St. Denis, my personal favorite French cathedral, in Paris is where many French kings and queens are buried - including Louis XVI (16) and his wife Marie Antoinette. I did not know that the bloody murders of the nobility and takeover by actually the middle class, not the peasants, made the rulers of much of the rest of Europe very nervous and they individually attacked France. The Brits attacked Toulon in the south of France and were repulsed by Napoleon - who, at 5'7" was not short but about average for that time and place. The point? America's costly independence war was a large contributing factor in those events in Europe. Oh, and also, one of my ancestors, Antoni Bujon (we're not sure of the spelling; we're not sure if he was a noble, a peasant, a bourgeois - middle class, or?) fled France for Denmark to escape the several purges following those events. I'm glad he did though. (My own Grandfather's name Niels Marius Antoni Hansen was named after that Frenchman.

Colt's Foot

I have wondered if the nest egg for the Hansen Farm in Hurup was taken to Denmark by French Antoni. It looks pretty nice in this 1905 painting of the farm house.

Jon and Tracy making a lovely smelling and tasting Cumin dish

Jon moon watching

Two nights of pumpkin colored moon

Tracy & Jon Tacos

Inula grandiflora

Inula grandiflora

Inula grandiflora

My own personal "Hummer"

Tree Swallow young taking their first bath

Tree Swallows

Rosa Rugosa - white

Rosa Rugosa - white - Perfect rose smell

Rosa Rugosa - bud - red

Bluebird moving into abandoned Tree Swallow House