Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guess where we went yesterday?... and something in the mail when we got home.

I can't write a long post today. Have to do some things I should have done yesterday but didn't, because the Prospector and I took a drive.
It involved fishing.
and hopes for a limit of fish for dinner.
A day of sitting in the sun.
and taking lots of photos that sparkled in the Autumn sun.
But the story will have to wait until I have an early start and some time to organize some shots from my camera.

When we got home there was a small package in the mail. My handmade winter hat came from Amity, Oregon. It happen like this.
 A woman named Michelle writes a blog called Boulderneigh. It's about her homeschooling, horse training, animal loving, garden growing farm, her Shetland sheep and her love of spinning and knitting.You have to take a look because, first of all, you are going to love her blog header photo. This is the all time greatest sheep photo I think I have ever seen... and you will never see such beautiful sheep with names and personalities on any other blog.
Anyway, I read this post... a week ago, and fell in love with the little hat that nobody wanted. So I wrote in my comment that I loved the little hat and if she wanted to sell it to me... I would buy it.
She wrote back and said to make her an offer. I did. She said "Yes", and she promptly sent me the lovely hat.
It's beautiful, very well made...
And... it fits.
I can wear it like this to hold my hair back or I can pull it down over my ears for my hikes on cold, windy days and working in the garden.
(The color is really different in the last photo because I took the hat into the bathroom with different light and forgot to change my white balance setting from sunlight to incandescent. Oops!)
The hat is charming, made well and I just love it.
Since I still have socks on my knitting "bucket list" I think I will take "knit cap", off ,because my attempt would never look this good... so why would I even try. Socks will be a big enough effort.
The hat is washable and the most beautiful blue... It doesn't have the wool from one of Michelle's sheep in it, or their name attached, but I love it anyway.  
Thanks Michelle, the little hat has a loving, new home and will be well used.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bees, butterflies, bugs... and saliva.

The Zinnias are fading. They are bug eaten, losing their color and the leaves are dying.

Each morning I cut off the spent flowers and water the pots. They like this attention and keep growing new, much smaller flowers... but the nights are cold and their lives are short.
This morning there were bees and butterflies flying around the flowers and then... a lone Bumblebee arrived. This was part of his journey through the flowers...

It's wings are beautiful. It's fuzzy body so soft.
I love these critters. They are the stuffed animals of the insect world.
There were other insects sharing the last of the Zinnias.
 The small and lovely Gray Hairstreak butterfly.
And this ragged American painted lady, that looked like it had been in a rather bad fight. The left wing was badly chewed up.
Three of them were flying around the Zinnias. This one seemed to be following me.
"Well, I'm posing! Are you going to take my picture or what? I'm waiting. "
( Do you see the two Spotted Cucumber Beetles hiding in the leaves? It's like a high rise apartment for these little beetles. They're everywhere. )
They are very destructive little insects. My mom use to call them Diabrotica, which is the Latin name for them... Diabrotica Undecimpunctata. Say that fast, three times in a row. 
I love this photo because I think this is why these bugs are so attracted to the Zinnias. Look at this. It's like a beautiful candy factory... all glistening, colorful and filled with pollen. Willy Wonka would love this.
Just remember... red and black ladybugs are good. They eat aphid. Green and black Cucumber beetles eat anything they can get their little mandibles on. Between these guys, the grasshoppers and the yellow finches my Zinnias struggled all summer. That's why I buy the seeds by the box. I seed the Zinnias all over the place. That way everyone can enjoy them.
And now... all of a sudden, the honeybees have arrived. Didn't see many all summer.
 Right now, they are everywhere. There's probably a hive of them in a hollow tree somewhere around here. If you've been worried about the lack of honey bees near you, don't worry. Most of them are all here at our place. Did you know that the queen spends her live mating and laying eggs. She will produce a colony of 60 to 80 thousand workers. She is treated like a "queen" and is fed royal jelly, while the larvae get bee bread (a mix of honey and pollen).  The rest of the story is kind of brutal.  It's a bee-licious soap opera out there. You can read about it here.
Want a  really interesting bit of information?... listen to this. By passing food mixed with saliva to one another, members of the hive form a chemical bond with each other. Maybe that's why passionate kissing is so popular with humans. Not sure where that came from. My brain sometimes moves in mysterious directions.
"Well, hello there."
It's so fun to go out there and use my 105mm macro lens to capture these little guys. I can get up close and personal without scaring them away. Plus, I believe that if you don't show your fear of them and move about slowly, they think you are just another, rather big, bug and they go about their business without worry.

My favorites are the Bumblebees. We have a bond... an understanding. Who knows,,, maybe they have been dropping saliva in my coffee cup when I'm outside in the mornings. Kind of a gross thought... but the honeybees do it and they form a bond that way.
 I shall watch my coffee cup very carefully from now on.

"Stop looking for lizards. You'll never catch one. They're too fast... Carl, Are you listening to me?"

Sunday, October 20, 2013


"Beauty is a primeval phenomenon...
which itself never makes its appearance,
but the reflection of which is visible in a thousand different utterances of the creative mind.
And is as varied as nature herself. "

( ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe~ german playwright, poet, novelist and dramatist. 1749-1832)

I've thought a lot about creativity and art lately. I believe that what we see as beautiful in our minds eye is a reflection of our own vision of how the world is. In photography, we try to recreate what it is that we have seen. But very often, the reflected image is not like the reality. We can't create the same reality so we get artistic and do something that becomes more about who we are. 
I love the old Zen saying that says, "I love reality. It tastes like bread.", but sometimes it's white bread and it has no nutritional value. That's when I go into the kitchen and bake, because I want more than just the plain ol' "reality" bread.
 All of our life experiences and the shield of protective bandages that we wear from years of trying to escape the threat of being different, don't allow us to see what is possible. We have to look for it.
 The world, viewed through a crystal ball is upside down... as is the image in a camera... as are the receptors in our eyes. If we only saw the world in this way, we would not be seeing reality, but an image that was without gravity and our feet would not be on the ground, but in the sky. As an artist, this is a very special place that calls my name.
I think that this place, inside the ball, is where creativity begins. It is the place where art becomes the reflection of our mind, not the actuality of the world. This is the place where a person can make their own reality.
This is the "multi grain" reality that allows creativity. 
 Some control their passions... but for some there is no limit. I admire these people... The ones that don't let the structure of their lives control their ability to create. They create a life that allows them this freedom. 

"...a thousand different utterances of the creative mind."  I love this. Do you see the reflections of your creative mind?
 I found someone there, inside the crystal ball, this morning. It was not a clear image but she was there and she smiled. Maybe she will find something interesting to shoot with her camera... maybe she will capture me, sitting in my living room, trying to figure out all of this.
 Do you hear the voice in the crystal ball? Does it make you want to look inside and give you a different perspective? Does the voice say, "Yes, you can do this. Use your imagination. Create." I hope so.