Sunday, August 31, 2014

Furry Blurry Cat.........

As I was out yesterday, camera in hand, I was looking to see how many apples I was going to have to pick up.  I also was looking up to see how many more apples that I needed to get picked from the tree. As I walked by the tree, I glanced back and the white cat of the neighbors was sitting there.  She was just watching and playing statue.  I whipped out the camera and caught in her perfect sitting position and off she ran.  She knows she is an intruder, a welcomed one, but she isn't friendly with us the property owners.  She does like a free meal once in a while at the side porch in the self feeder. 

Once in a while she forgets and goes into the back yard which belongs to the dogs.  Button has to gently chase over to the hole in the fence that I left for the cats to use.  She does act like royalty as she enjoys her freedom outside, as she enjoys all that there is to explore. She sneaks out of the neighbors house back door and she sneaks back in to not give notice of her travels.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Deep Forest.........

While I was out and about I looked up at the bark of this tree.  It is a Balsm Pine from Minnesota and has grown large after 30 or more years. The moss is new this year as we had rains continually and the bark stays wet.  The lights are from forever long ago.  I use to decorate this tree with lights probably 10 to 15 years ago when it was small or at least only 19 foot tall.  As you can see plastic lasts forever.  As I keep trimming off bottom branches the lights do can now be seen.  I also had to trim the pine back as the raccoon liked to cross over from the tree onto our roof.  I stopped that from happening and now it crawls up my trellis leaving muddy foot prints on my porch post. Now that I have shown everyone the old string of lights I can now pull that batch down.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Moving Subject.........

I was surprised to see the hummingbirds coming to this feeder after spending most of the summer ignoring it.  I sit at the dining room table to blog and while blogging yesterday I noticed my little visitor out the window. I went for the camera and on one of his return visits I caught this guy in action.  I at first didn't think the camera caught the wings but it did pick up the blur of them.  He has been back a couple of times today now as I blog but it is hard to take hummingbird pictures. It really is chance and an accident if I ever get a shot of them.   The other day I saw two hummingbirds at the bee balm blooms but that is an impossible shot as they zoom in and zoom out so quickly.  The rains have caused the bee balm stems to now lay on the ground. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bursting into Bloom......

I crawled up the step ladder and took the shot of the blue morning glory noticing the white bud but thinking nothing of it.  I went down the ladder and checked out some fallen apples under the apple tree next to the trellis and I looked up. The white bud had opened in less than five minutes.  I climbed up the ladder and the rest is history.  I have yet to get all three colors in bloom at the same time.  The bloom of the blue one yesterday, bottom photo, is shriveled up under the new bloom of the day.  I didn't know that the red pigment shows up after it finishes its bloom.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fallen Fruit.........

When I first started this blog I really wanted it to be just a posting of a good or better than average photographs.  The visual was to be not a slappy, happy snap.  I guess I have succeeded in trying to keep my quality higher on this blog than on my other posts.  I do want things to not be in a rut but flower after flower photo is taken because of the season they bloom.  I am trying to expand the subject matter variety but it is easy to take the quick shot of the beautiful.  I hold back on great photos sometimes and then forget to ever post them.  Regardless of all the rambling I hope to keep growing as an artistic photographer.  I am becoming more aware of the less beautiful and will try to get the subject matter expanded. 

The fallen apples are a result of me picking them up from the ground and putting them aside before I go for the major job of picking the apples from the tree. I don't know the name of the apple tree but it is getting to be old and large. I had these apples in the wheel barrow for quite a while and I have some lined up on the top of a sawhorse under the other tree.  I do have animals that like to eat at the fallen ones so I try to check every couple of days for the ones that I could really peal and have some clear fruit inside.

 The tree is probably 30 years old or more. When I pick out a tree in the catalog, it must say great for pie making. I suppose that I could find the variety that it is by going through the seed catalogs.  The tree is in need of a good pruning but that happens only when I feel like doing it. I will need the tall step ladder for this tree and the other by the shed to pick the apples.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Lineup........

I am sure that the joy of harvesting the tomatoes will become less exciting but for now it is time to celebrate.  The Lake Superior rock stays on the ledge year round to remind me of my favorite lake and place in the United States.  Actually it ties with the Eastern coast but I live closer to Lake Superior.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Extra Tall.........

I bought seed to grow sunflowers and they are mammoths.  I think they are 10 to 12 feet tall.  I really do intend to go out and measure the tallest one.  I have the shorter variety falling down from too soggy of soil.  I put in a couple of steel posts to keep them standing and a couple smaller ones broke off at the base.  This shot is taken at a five foot or more angle looking up so you can tell it is a tall sunflower.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday's Shot......

Bee balm is an unusual flower when you think about it.  I have lots of bees this time of year really swarming and collection nectar from the flowers.  The bees are so busy that they can be seen chasing the butterflies away from the coneflower.  I am sure they are coming from my friends three bee hives that he has on the opposite side of town. That distance would probably be about 5 blocks away by the way the the bees fly.  The rains are really knocking down the looks of most of my flowers. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Another Butterfly..........

The zinnias have become a great attraction to the butterflies as my coneflowers are going out of season.  I share the flower also because it is so great but I wanted you to see the blue markings on the bottom of this female butterfly.  In early summer the only butterflies that were out in the garden were plain yellow ones but these all seem to have more color on the outside of their wings. Our continuous rains have kept them in hiding so I try to get out there when the sun is out.  I did see the black swallowtail again but it never landed on anything. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Summer Buds and Blooms........

I found having the sun to my back helped to get a good shot of this kind of sunflower.  In my past tries it was so dark that I couldn't really capture the center of the bloom. I knew that this special kind of sunflower put out these colors but I didn't know it was going to have multiple stems with blooms on the end of them. From this photo I count five buds all in different stages of maturity.  The plant itself is half the height of the mammoth ones that are the common sunflower.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Black Swallowtail........

I have evidence to prove that I did see a black butterfly.  I didn't think I was ever going to capture her on the camera.  I went out and took three shots before she left.  I got this one good shot and one blurry one.  It just was not friendly like the yellow eastern tiger swallowtails.

The second shot that I took is an amazing view of the butterfly but it doesn't give anyone much information about it.   I will be interested to see if it will come back and visit again.  It took off going up the street once I started taking pictures. I did look it up for identification and it is a female swallowtail because of the blue coloring on the inside base with an orange dot centered at the base. I wanted to get a side view but that didn't happen.  They are mostly just black on the  outside of the wings with very slight pattern of gray shapes. I do hope to get a better photo of it another day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Blooms at the Top........

The trellis is tall and the morning glories are going to bloom at the end of the vines. They have sent their vines up as high as they can and now are sending them down and up again trying to get as close to the sky as they can reach.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Home from the State Fair........

Our neighbors love to live in their camper at the state fair.  They have reserved spots on the fair grounds and in the evening they stealth out of here with the truck and the camper and they are just gone.  We don't see them leave but as I walk the dog there are empty spaces across the street.

They usually don't return until the Saturday before the last day but this year it was different.  I looked over on Sunday afternoon and there sat the truck and the camper.  When it sits there year round it seems strange to have it gone for those ten or eleven days. We didn't make the fair again this year.  It is always a good way to get pictures for my wife to paint of draw but it just didn't happen this year. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Color Power...........

The zinnias are so slow in putting out their blooms.  This one is still not quite fully opened but the color does still give a strong impression.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Morning Mourning Doves...........

The sound of the birds was a different kind of call for me as they landed but I looked up and did see that they were mourning doves. I don't quite understand the behavior of their sitting up there on the insulators looking around but I guess they felt safe.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday's Shot.........

The fritillary butterflies returned to the garden a couple of days ago.  You can see that the coneflowers are starting to decline as the seasons are starting to change.  The two butterflies that returned didn't stay for only one day.  I don't know if they like the monarch migrate or not.  Perhaps the monarchs will migrate through our area this year as we don't have a drought this year.  They migrated that last two years west of us near the Missouri river.

Friday, August 15, 2014


The blooms are still coming from on one of my morning glory vines.  I have the trellis mounted away from the side of the shed so they plant seems bashful and is blooming between the trellis and the shed.  I am still waiting to see what color the other vine will be blooming.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Old Tree.............

When I first bought my house back int 1976 there were five of these on the property.  The 38 years of growth has made them larger than ever.  Two of them are now gone.  One came down onto two of my cars back in the 80's and another was removed by the city.  The city removed the one on the corner as people couldn't see around it when turning into the intersection. 

The trees keep growing and the tops of them die out and drop dead limbs down during a storm.  I have one that needs to be removed that is hanging over the front of my house.  Someday I will probably just have to have the last three removed.   I was out trying to catch a shot of the woodpecker when I took the picture of the one old tree.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A "Painted Lady".............the insect.

The smaller butterflies have great color with their great varied patterns of shapes.  I see more of these each day as they establish their feeding zones. I looked up the painted lady butterfly and found it amazing that they have such a variety in coloring of their wings.  Some are more brown than others as it is more the brown color of the body of the insect.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Eastern Tiger Swallowtails........

As a blogger one sees things that need to be shared. When I am out working in the garden I see lots of things that I could take photos of to share.  It always happens that the thing that is outstanding to share is at the time when a camera is not in my hands.  There were three of these butterflies at once in the coneflower patch.  I went to get the camera thinking that they would not be there when I returned.  Well as you can see two of them were still there, one had left,  and these two were not tame like the other swallowtail that hangs around all the time.  I was able to snap two shots and then they were gone.

I hate to blog false facts and sometimes I go back in an old blog and just erase a whole paragraph if I think that I was wrong, confused or even not sure of what I was talking about on that subject. The swallowtail apparently has various colorings on their wings.  The plain one that I shoot a lot of pictures of daily is a male butterfly.  These two in the above photo have that great blue coloring on them at the base of their two inside wings.  I am thinking that they are female butterflies.

 Another butterfly that I took the other day apparently was also a swallowtail but it must have been a younger one.  I read a lot of things about them and some of the writings contradict themselves.  Anyway, I am going to throw all of the butterflies in the shape of a swallowtail to be just that.  There are side markings that helps us to know the sex of them.  I also found out that the two fast growing poplar trees that sits next to the coneflowers are a favorite place for them to lay eggs. One other discovery is that sometimes the females can have a lot of brown on their inside wings.If they keep coming back maybe I can get them all identified just like a birdwatcher does.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Aronia Berry.................

The aronia berry bush starts to show fall color way before its time. They look like blueberries in shape but they have a very different taste.  The Native American Indians liked them because they were in season at a time when they could pick something sweet to eat. The actually would blend the berry with something else as the aronia has such a small amount of sugar in them. You really have to taste and chew for a long time to discover the sugar in them.  The insides of them are full of soft pulp unlike a blueberry that is juicy. The health food gurus are crazy about them for the antioxidants that fill them.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mystery Butterfly.........

I have not seen this butterfly before as it nervously went from flower to  flower.  It didn't wait for me to shoot a photo.  I had to take it in a very quick moment with zoom at a distance. I was lucky to get two photos  It seemed to be hyper compared to the easy going swallowtail or monarch.  I tried to find its identity on the internet but I guess I am not looking on the right site.  My cousin in Missouri says she is seeing them eating at her hummingbird feeder.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Monarch Mania.........

I finally had a monarch show up in my garden.  I have not seen one all summer.  The coneflower kept it so busy that I could approach it easily.  I always first get close to the sunflowers just in case they butterfly spooks easily.  This one did not seem bothered at all with me snapping shots. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday's Flowers......

It is a little blurry, just a tad,  but the colors and composition are good.  The rains and sprinkles brought most of these flowers down but some of them are back up again. The rug you see in the background is for Button.  It helps him to see the difference between the bottom step and concrete patio below. It all looks the same gray to him and he won't go down by his own otherwise.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Look Both Ways.......

The volunteer sunflower planted by the birds is putting out a beautiful bloom.  Smaller buds are ready to open with smaller sized flowers.  It grows next to a yellow privet under a pin oak tree.  Looks strange but I am glad I didn't remove it when I first noticed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Wednesday's Shot..........

I have so many foliage leaves of hollyhocks but I don't think I am going to have only two or three stocks of blooms this year.  This one is a short stem of some great blooms.

Sunshine through the Trees........

I went out yesterday morning to take a couple of photos for the blog.  I ended up with 35 different shots and I edited and saved 31 of them.  The digital camera just makes taking photos too easy.  I will share a lot of them on my other blog so I won't be using all 31 on this blog. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

First Bloom......

Sunday morning I went out and found the morning glories had finally started to bloom.  Early August is late for them to start blooming but I am glad that they now will be blooming.  I  had a package of mixed seeds of different colors.  I am anxious to see what other colors that I will have on the trellis.  The below photo shows you how the one bloom looks on all of the big trellis.

The question I asked the other day was what will the vine do when it runs out of trellis? Well it looks like it will be crawling up the side of the garden shed.  The vine growing around the wren house will make a great shot if it makes it that far up the gable.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Sharing a splash of color with you today.  The ditch lily continues to put out a few blooms.  For an old fashion lily it is still a pretty marvelous bloom with unusual form and wonderful color.  It still had a tough time coming back from drought years but next year it will be coming through strong.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Neighbors on Gaurd...........

Many times while I am out taking photos I have company.  The new young neighbors across the street first bought the little black dog.  I never can remember the breed but she is a cute little thing.  Within a few months later the guy bought him a man's dog, a lab, to add to their family.  The two dogs have grown up together and they are seen always side by side.  They are leashed on different ropes but they always end up together.  Even when I am not outside I can hear the two of them barking at each other and playing.  They both roll around letting each nip at the other.  As you can see they are always watching all that goes on in the area. Size doesn't seem to matter when it comes to friendship.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Wild Sunflower........

My wife is the guest photographer today of this volunteer sunflower.  The birds planted this sunflower in my front yard.  It was coming up next to a privet bush and I left it.  I was pretty sure it was a sunflower and I just  left it to see what would happen.  My wife wants to paint some sunflower paintings so I mentioned she needed to take photos of this one.  The sun was out and the bloom is in great shape as it just opened a day or two ago.  The plant has many buds on it so it must be the variety that the bird farmers harvest to make up their bags to sell.  I can visualize the combine they use to harvest a field full of them chewing up the plant and all gleaning out the seeds in a hopper.