Sunday, July 31, 2016


"Snake in the woods" is the title of this photo. Garter snakes like to climb up into bushes and warm themselves in the sun.  This one is wrapped around a cement planter swan's head. I never did see its head and really didn't want to mess with it at the time. I have seen the snakes curl up on top of evergreen branches and in other shrubs. I have a few of these guys to get rid of but I haven't been on task to do it so far this summer. If I catch them I send them to the landfill.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Harvest.........

The apple harvest at this point means picking them up off of the ground. It really isn't time to pick them off the tree but the trees are dropping them right now.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Fluffy Clouds All Day........

A cooler and cloudy day was welcomed in Iowa. I know that I take too many shots of the flora so I look to the sky for new subjects to shoot. My window to the sky is so narrow on my property as there are too many trees.  I decided that if I can get a good composition then it doesn't matter how panoramic that it may appear. The neighbor's things always seem to creep in somehow in the photos.  To crop it out would mess up the expanse of the  cloud scene.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


When I first saw this butterfly it reminded me of a small bird.  It was very active flapping its wings wildly.  It just didn't seem anything like I had seen before but I have.  This kind of swallowtail is the only variety that I saw when I was a farm kid in southern Iowa.  Getting a photo seemed impossible as it was so hyperactive flitting from one flower to the other and not really staying to eat at any one coneflower. I started snapping wildly and hoped something would be focused when I finished shooting. I was surprised to see that I had this shot.  It moves so fast that you don't see the light colored body and lighter outside wings.

To exemplify how hard it was to get a shot of this insect, in this photo you can barely make out the right wing. It is a blurred line and only parts of the left wing are in focus.

The other light colored swallowtail was out there and I did get some more photos of it.  This guy I had seen earlier Monday but never thought I would see him again.  I suppose I could stand out there all day and I would catch more things but it seems to work if I check on the area once in awhile when I am working out there.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Climbing Devices.......

A little line design in my photo today.  A feral cat likes to sit on the horizontal step ladder right next to the pole and braces.  You will have to take my word on that as the cat won't stay near me and disappears if it sees me. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Camera Confusion........

I don't read manuals very well nor do I read all of the directions to my camera.  There are too many directions to understand at one sitting.  I have been having problems with a few things as I use the automatic part of the camera and I couldn't figure things out.  I finally discovered how to just go back and RESET the camera to the default settings.  My little buttons keep getting hit by my fingers causing me to mess it up.  All of a sudden my macro is working better.  I went out to take photos of this lily and the lighting was perfect.  The photos were perfect too. 

This lily is on bud that just hung on forever before it  finally bloomed.  I don't think it successfully bloomed the past two years.  The rains gave it a  chance to make it happen.

I do have two more stems of smaller buds that are waiting for a long time to also open.  I can't believe how much difference there it in their blooming times.

This is a photo I took the day before yesterday and the sun was brightly shinning.  The hazing I think was from the heat. I have learned to wipe the lens off with a soft cloth now when it gets all steamed over.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Swallowtail Sighting.......

It has been a couple of years since I have even seen this swallowtail variety. This one is the only one in the garden right now.  It did me a big favor by landing on the nearest and largest coneflower and staying for a feast. I had run into the house to get the camera and I was not sure it would every be back.  I really appreciated the butterfly's cooperation.

The back wings have a stained glass window design on them.  I will be anxious to see if there will be more.  I have zinnias just now opening and I already know that they like my coneflowers.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mystery Markings.......

We have never seen a blue jay with this large band of black that goes up over the head.  My wife and I believe the two of them must be young ones as the back of the head feathers look like they are in progress of development. Even if they are youngsters they sure are as large as the adult bird would be.

I have been trying hard to get these photos.  It always happens when the bird is out there and the camera is at the other end of the house.   This bird did hang around for a long period of time at the feeder.  I had to shoot through the dining room window. An adult bird would not have stayed on the feeder longer that what it takes to get one sunflower seed in its beak and it then would fly away to eat it. 

Friday, July 22, 2016


The Eurasian Ring Neck Dove is a peaceful dove.  They do tend to travel in pairs or even in groups of even numbers. I am assuming they are in pairs of the birds.  The variety invaded this country from across the waters first being spotted in Florida. I don't know the specific dates but it didn't take it long to spread throughout this country. I believe I have viewed photos of ring necks in Canada and in England. Hearsay from others on the blogs say that this bird is has crowded out a lot of our smaller morning doves.  I don't know the stats on that but I do still see the smaller doves at my feeders and in my yard. I know when these birds are at the feeder as they are a large bird.

On a side note, these birds have good eyesight as they were watching me from the window as I stood in the dining room looking out. I can play "statue" and they do get use to my watching them.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Early Morning......

The phlox are blooming out again after the days of heavy rain.  It is early morning and I found some flowers in the shade that I can photograph.  The sun is up as witnessed in the back of the photo and it is 81 degrees F.  It is actually 7:00 in the morning with 83% humidity.  We really did not cool down last night and the day will prove to be a hotter one than yesterday.  I will water tomato plants in spite of the heavy humidity as I don't want the heat to dry them out and cause them to wilt.

I have a bonus photo of a rose that bloomed out quickly the past few days.  It will be gone soon with all this heat. I had to shade it with my own body to get a better shot.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sunshine All Day............

The sunflower greets the sun this morning. It is s cool 70 degree F. and 97% humidity out there.  The heat index becomes dangerous by 1:00 this afternoon.  I will have to return to see how the sunflower is doing then.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tuesday AM..............

This is the  sight of the beginning of the day before the rain clouds move into the picture. It is a cool 70 degree F. morning which means we will warm up fast.  The small band of rain should be gone in less than an hour with it making more noice than rain.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer Glow.......

It actually is moisture on the camera lens.  You take your camera from you air conditioned house outside into 82 degree weather with 90% humidity or more.  The camera thinks it is in a cloud.  When I first noticed that it was creating special effects, I kept taking more photos. 

A second shot of this lily creates a great mood also. The fogging has happened to me before with our Iowa humid days but I never could plan for this. We really don't keep our house that cool in the summer but I think the low humidity in the house did speed up the effect.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Phlox Glow.......

I took this shot many times and finally walked around on the back side of it to get some shadow.  All looked better when I could find some shade.  The sun was so bright that it just glowed white.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Subtle Colors on Saturday.......

The bud was a very white color before it opened and you can see in the above photo the back of the flower is whitish with some color veins on it.

By the front view is this creme colored lily. It really has a classic style in shape with a classic set of colors with subtle cream and peach.  It is a single stem with a single bud.  I don't understand that kind of variety as most of them have multiple buds on the stem. I am thinking that I bought a package of stargazer bulbs and this is one other color that was in the bag. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Clear and Cold.......

It is the clouds job to reflect the sun as the sun rises.  But when there are no clouds then all we get is light.  Having no clouds in the area also helped to make the day a cool day.  Lower humidity and temperatures will be a welcomed change to the very humid days. As the days are now getting shorter the 5:00 am shot is less developed compared to shots that I have been taking.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bumblebee Buffet.......

I have a large crop of monarda this year.  The bumblebees are everywhere.  I have taken a lot of shots but none of them seem to be in focus. Last evening I was out with the macro setting on and stood right against the plants.  It was a feeding frenzy.   I never noticed before that they are scraping the underneath the petals of this flower.

As the flowers matured they seem to be getting darker in color. I don't know how much longer they will stay in bloom but when they change they become a dead looking dark brown. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Promising Future....

I have shared the bud of this lily a few times wondering myself when it was going to finally bloom.

This is the before photo from a few days ago.

Early morning sun yesterday made the colors shine out brightly. It is slow to bloom and but worth the wait.

The afternoon macro gives a better, closer view of the vibrant flower.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Mint Invasion.........

I am not sure who gave me mint.  Maybe I bought it as an innocent little plant in a small black plastic container at the store.  I have too much mint now.  It has kept one of my day lilies from blooming and as seen here it has flopped onto the coneflowers during a big wind and rainstorm.  It does make for a nice photo but I will be pulling up more mint today to let the  coneflowers be liberated.

A strong wind last night with the rain cause branches to fall out of the trees.  Some were dead branches and others were ones that were snapped from the silver maple tree.  This rose bud took a hit last night as a large branch fell in the area and broke off the bud.  I had gone out to see if it had opened this morning and large limb dropped onto the whole area.

Monday, July 11, 2016

It's Not My Cat..............

I guess living on my porch a majority of the time does make him my cat. His interests consists of free food and naps.  He really likes to get petted and does hinder walking at times.  When I flip on the light at night on the porch I really am first surprised thinking I am seeing the neighborhood racoon.  My neighbor guy keeps reminding me that if it has a collar then it is his cat.  I tell him I have figured out who's cat that it is.  But we sort of are his caretakers for the summer.  While trying to take a shot of the petunias, Meow, was wanting his picture being taken.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Modern Collage......

There are a lot of layers of items in the photo.  Some are focused and some are not. I think I would call it trash art.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Not So Usual.......

I like seeing designs in nature and the various surroundings of the world.  Instead of one photo today, I want to  clear my files of some "not so usual' shots.

Lily stems are tied up together and the result is an unnatural looking group of flowers.

Early blooming phlox stand in a straight row as if they are waiting for drinks of water at the fountain.

A hosta puts out a stem with blooms that really is too tall. It now hangs out onto the walk area seeking out some attention and everyone has to push it aside. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Red Monarda.......sometimes called Bee Balm.

As I was wading through a path that was being overcrowded by this plant, I turned to see and the shade of the whole patch.  I tried to get one focused photos of a bumblebee but that didn't happen. The bees were right next to me on the path and  were too busy collecting pollen to care about me.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Good Color........

It has been budded for quite some time.  The weather became so hot that I couldn't get out to get a photo.  All of the lilies could be grouped into similar vareites.  This one is a six petal one that has the same shape as my frilly Asiatic lily.

This lily too has six petals but you can see its shape of petals are completely different from each other.  This yellow lily is the very first one that I had in my garden 30 years ago.  It came from the neighbor that had one large clump of it growing next to my rhubarb patch.  I have planted it to line a pathway and it isn't not doing well.  It rarely blooms as the shade from the kitchen in on it a lot of the day.  The petals of the flower shows evidence of some bug that liked chewing on the buds earlier.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Their Last Days........

This Asiatic lily is on its last days. The majority of the blooms have fallen apart petal by petal.  The last few are looking really weathered.  It was a good season of blooms from it this year.

I will be saying goodbye to this color of stargazer today.  It didn't fair well with the rains last night.  I could still smell it this morning while I was out with Button.  The other kind of stargazer is still in the budded form but should be open soon.  Of course, photos will follow their blooming. The lilies have given me almost too many opportunities for photos.