Thursday, July 31, 2008

Balloon Vine

There are probably a thousand different varieties of balloon vine and I honestly have no idea which one this is. It has bright red, oblong seeds inside, and the mockingbirds and spot-breasted orioles (when I have them) love to break them open and eat the seeds. Neat, huh? I'm letting this cover that ugly chain link fence. I wish they'd hurry up!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Here's something cheery for Hump Day:

This is one of the varieties of Gaillardia, or Painted Blanket, or Indian Blanket. I scattered some wildflower seeds over the newly-scalped front lawn, last year, hoping that they would take over and kill off the grass. Well, that didn't happen. What did happen, was that the City came by and threatened to fine us if we didn't cut the grass. >Sigh<

But every so often, a little surprise pops up! Don't forget to click!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Odd Visitor

No one was more surprised than I was, when I came home one Sunday afternoon to find this juvenile Cooper's Hawk just standing there in one of my birdbaths! I've only seen him from a distance, ever since.

This is what I'm talking about when I say "habitat in your backyard", people. You just never know what you'll see! Don't forget to click on the image!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More Chihuly

Don't forget to click on the images!

More from the Chihuly installation at Miami's Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 2007.


Friday, July 25, 2008


These images were taken in early 2007, I think. An installation artist named Dale Chihuly, whose medium is glass, set up in Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden that winter. It was wild, seeing these amazing glass images set among all the natural elements of the Garden, as if they grew there. Or flew there. Or floated in.

I shot 3 sd cards-worth of photos, most of which probably don't do them justice. Unfortunately, I was stupid back then and resized them all, making them virtually useless for any purpose other than occasionally running through them myself. And sharing with you. Which I will continue to do, from time to time. They still look better when you click on them.

If you look closely at the "equator" of this one, what initially looks like a flaw, is actually a reflection of the pool wall and several people standing there. If you look very closely, you'll see me, leaning in to take the picture!

I've got a million of 'em.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oooo, Dreamweaver

Sing with me now: Dreamweaver, I believe you can get me through the niiiight.....

Okay, fine. Don't sing. I won't be offended.

This is the Spiny-Backed Orb-Weaver spider. They apparently come in various colorations, and are pretty common around the southern U.S., but this is the variety I generally see in my yard. FYI - they're completely harmless to people and other living things - except other insects, that is.

You absolutely have to click on these pix! I think they're cool. Don't you?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Birds Of Another Feather

Birds Of Paradise, of course. :-) Don't forget to click on the images -- otherwise, what's the point? Have a great day!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


A little souvenir of my recent weekend in Sarasota - A most glorious Gulf Coast sunset on the Longest Day Of The Year:

I took this with my iPhone (original flavor), and it is now my desktop. I just stare at it and light my Sun & Sand scented candle, and I am back on the beach. My Happy Zen Place.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Where In The World Is Amedeo Cuomo?

Not a very happy way to start the weekend, but I'd like you all to click on this poster and, who knows? Maybe you know them. Spread the word - maybe someone you know, knows them. He could be anywhere in the world, Germany, France, Australia, South America - anywhere at all!

Anyway, the little boy is the son of an old and dear friend of an old and dear friend. I'd like to think that maybe this will somehow, somewhere down the line, help Gino get his kid back.

Pass it on. Thanks.

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Oh, Yeah?"

"Who you calling fat? Come in here and say that."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Butterfly Wednesday

A butterfly to brighten "Hump Day"! This is one of my rare butterfly shots. The butterfly - a Gulf Fritillary - isn't rare, but a butterfly holding still long enough for me to get a clear picture of it, is! :-)

Don't forget to click on the picture!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Bee-hold the common, yet hardworking Bumblebee!

Many people don't truly appreciate the lowly bee. One of the major problems that farmers, fruit growers, and some of your average backyard gardeners have noticed over the last few years, is the decline in bee populations, resulting in lower crop yields and less fruit. The causes range from the use of pesticides to encroaching development, to some mysterious, as yet undiscovered ailment.

My commitment to habitat creation and preservation - while still maintaining a socially acceptable appearance - has led me to learn about native and naturalized plantings that are attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds. I'm still working on it, and even though it's all still very much evolving, I'm happy to say that they're coming!

It's not all altruistic, though. I hope that by establishing an environment attractive to all these wonderful natural pollinators, when I get my own vegetable garden going again (this fall, maybe?), I'll be able to grow a lot of what we like to eat without worrying about what the FDA might have missed (the tomato scare!).

Many people are afraid of bees (like MJ, who's allergic to bee stings. Fortunately, we've never tested that theory), but there's really no need. Most of the bees you're likely to encounter will leave you alone - no matter how close you get - as long as you leave them alone. So if a bee checks you out, just stand still and don't swat! Being squished would tick you off, too, wouldn't it?

Okay, I'll get off of my soapbox now!

Did you click on the images? Well, go back and do it now!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hummingbird Moth

In the Comments under Friday's "Hummingbirds!" post, I made reference to an insect we get here called the Hummingbird Moth, which, at twilight and at a distance, can be confused with an actual hummingbird.

I was pruning some shrubs around the generator yesterday, and what did I chance to see land on the generator? Why this "Tomato Hornworm"! This big fat caterpillar, given the chance, will one day turn into a Hummingbird (or Hawk, to some people) Moth.

At this stage, they can be enormously destructive to tomato and similar plants. But since I'm not growing any tomatoes (or much of anything besides weeds and the lemongrass-that-got-away), I don't know what he's doing here!

So much for your useless tidbit of trivia for the start of the week! :-) Have a great Monday!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lazy Afternoon

Just a little dragonfly (hopefully) snacking on mosquitoes in the backyard. The wings are so delicate and fine, aren't they?

Friday, July 11, 2008


Happy Friday, y'all!

I can't think of a better way to go into the weekend than with Hummingbirds! I actually took these last winter, because that's when we get them down here. These are Rubythroat Hummingbirds (RTH for short).

The first two shots are of a juvenile male who is just coming into his red throat feathers. The last is of a female who decided to hang out one afternoon. She must have been there for at least an hour, flying down to the feeder just below this tree, having a snack, then flying back up into the tree for a bit of a rest.

And before anyone gets photo-critical, let me just say that it's really tough to get a shot of a moving hummingbird without pro equipment! Don't forget to click on the images!

Hummingbirds always make me smile -- Have a great day & weekend!

P.S. -- Sorry I enabled comment moderation this morning - I got my very first ever spam comment! I'll see how it goes and I'll probably remove it later. Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


We tend to get quite a few parrots - technically parakeets - at my bird feeders. I look forward to them showing up because they're so entertaining to watch and it's just so cool to see parrots in my backyard!

These little guys are canary-winged parakeets. They can be pretty mischievous...

These redheaded parakeets (or cherry-headed conures) don't come around too often, but when they do, it's a real treat!

Here, this redhead shares a snack with some monk (or quaker) parakeets

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mocking Me!

Here's one of the (Northern) Mockingbirds that hang around my house. I wonder why they're called "Northern" Mockingbirds. This is about as Deep South as you can get, right? (S)He's in the Beautyberry, having a snack. Any truth to the rumor that Beautyberry repels mosquitoes? If so, I'm getting a lot more of the stuff and covering my yard in it! :-)

Oh, yeah! I found another really good shot of Wood-ette, this morning:

Tomorrow: Parrots!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


There is a pair of redbellied woodpeckers that have been visiting lately. They're never both here at the same time, so I'm thinking they must have a nest nearby and are taking turns.

I hope to get a good shot of Dad sometime soon, but in the meantime, I love these shots of Mama:

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Pictures At An Exhibition

This is a little photo meme that I wasn't precisely tagged with (by Miz Shoes), but if you want to play, it's fun.

Here are the rules:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

And here's what came up for me:

I won't tag anyone either, but everyone's invited. So let me know if you do it so I can have a peek!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Continuing Homage

...and now, for something completely different - a rocket ship!

No, seriously. In a continuing homage, this 4th of July weekend, I thought I would pay tribute to a part of America's heritage that has always captured my imagination, since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and which has been sadly neglected lo, these last - seemingly endless - eight years: the Space Program.

When I was a kid, they used to drag us out of class and park us in front of the communal TV every time there was a launch and a landing. So, when we went to Houston last year, MJ and I absolutely had to visit the Johnson Space Center and NASA.

When I shot these, it wasn't to necessarily record the visit ("Oh, yeah. A rocket. Oooo.") When we walked into the building where they display the Saturn rocket - the one that made it to moon, etc. - I started to really look at all these components and began to wonder where engineering and science leaves off and art begins. Or is there a line of demarcation? Don't forget to click on the images for the full effect!

But for those of you who miss the flowers, I give you the little wildflower meadow-lets, if you will, that NASA planted all around the Space Center to soften its environmental impact on its surroundings:

I want to do this at my house.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day, Y'all!

Here's my tribute to the red, white, and blue (yes, yes - more orchids!):

*The top three are dendrobiums and the bottom two are of my favorite Mikasa cross vanda. I wanted to get the shots of the dendrobiums because I am about to repot them. Never having much luck with the process when it comes to the dendrobiums, I wanted to make sure to immortalize them, because, well, you never know. Right?

Have a fabulous holiday weekend! Stay safe and try to keep all of your digits, okay?

Thursday, July 3, 2008


This is a work-in-progress. I've been thinking about putting together a place to display some of my photos - primarily of the wildlife and plants (particularly my orchids) I have around the house or that I manage to snap along the way.

I don't know how this will work out, but I'll start with these:

My favorite orchids are vandas, ascascendas, and mixes of the two. Here are a couple of snaps I took of several that are in bloom now, a couple of which (the white vanda/ascascenda and the maroon-ey ascascenda) that are now blooming for the very first time after several years. Very exciting for me, because just about all my name tags have either fallen off or faded away. So don't ask for actual names. It wouldn't matter anyway, because most of them were bred locally and given the local growers' personal names, so it's not like you could go down to your neighborhood orchid purveyor and pick up the exact same thing. It's like local produce - enjoy it because it's special to your personal piece of the planet!

I've had this little guy for about five years and (s)he blooms pretty consistently every year in the spring. This is the first time it's ever bloomed in the summer, and never this big! Don't they look like little roaring lions? :-)

I've had these next ones for several years and it's been so long, I had quite forgotten what the blooms were supposed to look like. So it was quite exciting to see these come out - like opening a surprise package!

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