Friday, April 24, 2009

PhotoHunt: Protect(ion)

The PhotoHunt theme this week is "Protect(ion)"

This female Rubythroat Hummingbird is enjoying the "Protection" of this White Orchid tree. Feel free to click on the image for a better look.

In between feeding at the flowers and nectar feeders, hummingbirds will periodically fly up to a protected high branch of a nearby tree or other perch, to observe their surroundings and scan for predators and other potential dangers.

This photo was taken this past January in my backyard. Now that spring is here, the hummingbirds have migrated North again, and won't return until the fall. I explain the irony in my Nature Notes post over at Flamingo Musings. Please stop by if you get a chance!

Happy Weekend, All!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Safer Garden

With Earth Day coming up this Wednesday - and Spring right around the corner for most of you (it's already been here for awhile!) I wanted to take another opportunity to beat my drum on the organic bandwagon.

Soon, you'll be re-seeding your lawns and planting your flowers and vegetables - and then doing battle with the varmints who want to enjoy them as much as you do! This is where I urge you to think before you plant and to consider organic pest control.

Remember this guy?

From Flamingo Fotos
This is a Florida Leafwing and he likes citrus and roses. I found him on a shrub near my Ponderosa Lemon, Meyer Lemon and Key Lime trees. I haven't seen him since I took this photo, but the damage is starting to reveal itself. I should have gotten some Safer brand Organic Bug Patrol. Safer's organic bug patrol kills over 40 insects and is meant for lawns, trees, shrubs and all your ornamentals. Did I mention that it's organic? And that it's certified by OMRI?

What's OMRI? Founded in 1997, the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) - a non-profit organization - provides organic certifiers, growers, manufacturers, and suppliers an independent review of products intended for use in certified organic production, handling, and processing. OMRI reviews applying products against the National Organic Standards. Acceptable products are OMRI Listed® and appear on the OMRI Products List.

OMRI organic certification is your guarantee that the products you put on your lawn and garden are safe for you and the environment. You'll find that certification on all of Safer Brand products, so before you reach for some chemical control that can kill the ladybugs and bees along with the chinch bugs and aphids, remember Safer organic pest control and be kind to yourselves and the Earth!


Friday, April 17, 2009

PhotoHunt: Purple

The PhotoHunt theme this week is "Purple"

And now, for the extreme purple close-up:

Come on, don't be shy - click on it to see what I see!

This is one of my favorite Vanda-type orchids that I attached to a tree in my backyard. Contrary to most orchid-fanciers (who are absolutely horrified when I say this) , I preach the philosophy of "benign neglect" in their care. If you live in a relatively warm area, like I do, water them occasionally and leave 'em alone. It's when I fuss, that I kill them. Nature will usually find a way.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Safer Tomatoes

Here they are - my first tomatoes of 2009!

I love being able to grow some of our food, ourselves. I know where it came from, I know it is absolutely fresh, and I know that I'm never going to have to worry about it being doused in harmful chemicals and pesticides. From my garden to my table. Period. And you can't beat the flavor of a tomato you've grown yourself, not to mention all the wonderful varieties available that you just won't find at the grocery store.

Speaking of pests, meet my little friend:

I've picked 5 of these tomato hornworms off my grape and cherry tomato plants, just this past weekend. They ate most of the cherry tomato plant, but were kind enough to leave me a few tomatoes. Pest control? Umm, well, I've picked them off the plants and stepped on 'em, but that strikes me as a tad inefficient. Besides, these guys are the masters of camouflage. I was lucky to find these.

But I don't want to use chemical pesticides - they're notoriously bad for the environment and can take out the beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs, along with the aphids and hornworms. What's the word I'm looking for? Organic. I'm going to try the Safer brand Tomato & Vegetable Gardening Kit for my summer "Heatwave" tomatoes. It's an organic tomato growing kit, perfect for the home grower.

Their Stake It Easy system just snaps together and adjusts as your plants grow for great support, and in several different configurations to suit your needs. Looks great for other vining garden plants like cucumbers, too. But the best part is that the Safer® Brand Tomato & Vegetable Insect Killer is OMRI listed organic and targets just the pests targeting the veggies.

News stories have reported recently that more people than ever before are starting their own home vegetable gardens - even Michelle Obama has started an organic garden on the White House grounds. With food scares and food prices, is it any wonder?

Gardening has always been my pleasure, and the organic tomato growing kit from Safer just might let me keep more of the fruits of my labors!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

SOOC - Straight Out Of The Camera

I've been catching hints of this new Sunday meme, all day today. It's called Straight Out Of The Camera, hosted by Jan of Murrieta 365. Because sometimes you capture an image that speaks to you straight out of the camera. So, here's my first entry for SOOC :

Just before Valentine's Day, a new street vendor appeared near my office. His modified grocery cart contained cut sunflowers and a large, colorful assortment of phalaenopsis orchids at very reasonable prices. Between his broken English and my really bad Spanish, we became friendly. Needless to say, I bought several plants for my own desk. Click on the image to get the full effect.

Please visit Jan and join in!

Friday, April 10, 2009

PhotoHunt: Triangle

The PhotoHunt theme this week is "Triangle"

Kitties are all about the angles -- Triangles, that is.

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