Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November Dandelions

A warm rain up from the south brought out these late dandelions in the driveway median:

Dandelion, Late November, Closeup

Damdelion, Late November

Dandelion Seedhead, Late November

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Back Yard in Mid-November

Full of fallen and falling leaves:

Leaves in the back yard_CRW_0001

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cold Start to November

The trees will soon be bare of leaves, revealing nests that were built in warmer days. Here's a squirrel's nest in the topmost branches of a tall maple tree:

Maple Tree With Squirrel Nest, CRW_0003

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Autumn Afternoon

The maple and dogwood trees, though still showing stress from the summer's prolonged drought, are still colorful in the afternoon sun of late October.

Dogwood leaf, 10-25-11 CRW_9790-1

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October Bees

On my Sunday afternoon walk I came upon a mass of bright yellow blossoms near a neighbor's driveway. Haven't been able to find out the name of the flowers, but the buzzing insects enjoying them were clearly bees. They were actually flying through my hair when I disturbed them by bringing the camera in close, but fortunately for me were so intent on getting back to the pollen and nectar below that they did me no harm.

Bee One

Bees Together

Bee Two

Yellow Flowers with Bees

Friday, October 7, 2011

What tiny pink spikes are these?

There's a vine I don't know the name of which is growing in a tangled sprawl under the partial shade of a line of holly trees. In late September it began putting up extremely tiny bright pink spikes. They're so small that I can't tell whether they're flowers or fruits. The leaves are pointed ovals, at alternate intervals along the vine stems.

Tiny pink spikes, leaves alternate

Tiny pink spikes on low-growing vine

Vine with tiny pink spikes, in partial shade

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All Around Avalon

On the Lipscomb campus stands the old farmhouse where the school's founder once lived. It was used for a time as the university president's home, but now it's operated as a mini-museum and bed&breakfast facility by an organization committed to its upkeep and to providing scholarship help for Lipscomb students.

Fall is evident in the bare rose garden and the tangled herb garden behind the old home's back entrance. And in the dogwood berries that I took pictures of on my way home from my walk.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Last Day of Summer, First Day of Fall

And a little autumn color, but not much. Trees around here really got stressed by the earlier prolonged hot, dry spell.

Beautiful cumulus clouds began rolling in yesterday afternoon, and by early this morning a cold front had brought substantial rain. This is part of the nandina shrub by my back porch, in silhouette against yesterday's partly cloudy sky.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Volunteer Fern

My sister's poetic response to this picture I made during last month's drought:


Little fern, pushing up,
volunteering briefly from
beneath my hosta plant,

you shyly sheltered
in the shade one dry
summer morn,
then, went away.
What can I say?
"I'm so glad I met you --
however briefly --
and hope we meet
again one day."

Friday, September 2, 2011

September Pleasures

I enjoyed the other half of this delicious canteloupe for my supper last night.

Friday, August 12, 2011

One piano, four hands

For a few years in the 1980s and the early 1990s my husband and I drove up to Interlochen, Michigan, every August. We stayed for a week on Green Lake, in a cabin owned by the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Every summer they offer an Adult Chamber Music Camp, and for about seven years we went to that. I would attend the classes, concerts, and seminars, and he would fish for the little yellow perch in Green Lake, since he was not actually a big fan of classical music.

Several of those summers my older sister Wanda went, too. This snapshot is one my daughter took of us, playing a piano duet, on the grand piano that sat on a stage in one of the school's auditoriums. We'd all arrived early for one of the classes and decided to have fun posing for a photo or two.

And we actually did play some duets together, also, which was even more fun.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Read this, because you might learn something from it!

Geoffrey K. Pullum's latest, and, as always, helpful and definitive post at Language Log -- which, further, as always, warms the cockles of my heart!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Watch Mostly Mozart Festival On-Line

Last night I enjoyed the broadcast on PBS of the opening night of the 2011 Mostly Mozart Festival in the series "Live from Lincoln Center."

They announced that the show can be watched on-line from August 3 to August 9 at pbs.org.

I highly recommend the beautiful performances in this all-Mozart program. And don't miss Itzak Perlman's conversation in the green room with violinist Christian Tetzlaff and with conductor Louis Langrée at intermission.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Perceptive Remarks by Roger Ebert

The article "Clinging to the Rearview Mirror" (July 26, 2011), by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Roger Ebert, set a whole cascade of nostalgic bells to ringing in my head.

I predict that anyone who likes to read my blog will enjoy Ebert's column even more.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When We Were Very Young

There were still five of us in the spring of 1936 -- ages 9, 8, 6, 5, and 2 -- before the scarlet fever struck three of the stair-steps sisters in November and Raudolyn died less than a week short of her seventh birthday.

Despite the Great Depression's hard times, our parents had a studio portrait made of us that spring, which was later, some time after Raudolyn's death, enlarged, tinted, and framed. This hung on the living room wall until Hurricane Celia inundated it with water in 1970.

Also hanging on the living room wall. in a formal grouping with the studio portrait, were two tinted portraits of Raudolyn.

One of them was a detail of the studio portrait and the other an enlarged, tinted picture from a 1935 black-and-white snapshot of Raudolyn sitting by the oleander bush in the side yard, posed with one of our mother's summer zinnias in her hand.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Changed template

I've changed my blog's appearance by applying the template named "Awesome" in Google's offerings of blog designs. I find that the black background displays the images of my pictures to better effect. And, for me, the white on black text is more legible. I'm leaving my other blog in its black on white template style, to accommodate some readers, like "Sis" and "Carla," who have told me that the black text font on the creamy-white background is easier on their eyes.

To begin the present blog's July posts with and demonstrate the advantages of viewing my images on a black background, here's a favorite photo of a rose. I made this picture on September 11, 2010.

September 11 Rose

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Golden Raintree

Surviving first our June drought and then the wind and hail of our thunderstorms, the golden raintree on the corner has now hung out its many young green Japanese lanterns.

It won't be long until they're filtering the sunlight through translucent golden panels.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thriving Volunteer Ginger Plant

I'm documenting the progress of the little ginger plant that I first reported on here last May 31.

Here it is, in context, on top of the refrigerator, where it can have the maximum amount of daily sunlight possible -- which wasn't much for the first three weeks of June. But today the sunshine is streaming in brilliantly.

The little doll in the background is one I told about in my post for Christmas Eve, last year.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Golden Raintree

Cicada numbers are lessening, and so yesterday afternoon I took some pictures of the flowering golden raintree on the corner.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Belated Birthday Visit

Here's a picture of my brother and me, made by his daughter, on his visit to celebrate the birthday I had last month. He was delayed in making the trip because of surgery to remove a small carcinoma from his right ear. Arrived with it still bandaged, reminding us all of Van Gogh's self-portrait, but the visit was most enjoyable, all the same. We went out to see our older sister in the nursing home where she's a resident. It was a late birthday visit to her, too, since her birthday falls two days after mine.

Roland brought me this canvas tote bag, as a belated birthday gift -- I like it a lot, for both its musical and its nature themes, including the French horn, the violin, the flowers, and the butterflies.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Tale of Sprouting Ginger

Here's a picture I made of a ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale) on my kitchen counter.

About a month ago I brought it home from the grocery in a translucent plastic bag and laid it back behind a jar of honey on the counter, intending to use both in ginger tea. But I got busy and then forgot about it. Last weekend, the new sprout's flash of green caught my eye and filled me with astonishment. I have moved the rhizome out of the plastic bag and into a bowl of shallow water to see whether the shoot will thrive. If it does, I might eventually have yellow ginger flowers blooming in my kitchen.

Wikipedia has a picture of a ginger field here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Song for Memorial Day, 2011

It's sunny this May, and cicadas,
The 13-year kind,
Jitter incessantly.
They thicken the air with their high-pitched calls for mates,
And, to them, I'm only unnoticed collateral damage.
But their drone is the drone of innocents,
Peacefully living out their heritage.
Not like the drones my taxes pay for,
In a habitat far away.

Magicicada sp

Magicicada tredecim

Friday, May 27, 2011

Nandina in flower

A species of barberry, nandina has lovely red berries among its bronze, purple, and red leaves in the fall. It's an invasive garden plant, and this spring a volunteer came up near the holly trees along the driveway. The flowers, borne in clusters, are barely an eighth of an inch long, and to me they look like tiny pale pink candles. When I took this picture, they were wet from an afternoon rain.

Nandina flowers

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sisters and playthings

I've recently spent two nights in my older sister's hospital room, keeping her company and being an extra pair of hands, eyes, and ears for her. She's better, and as she began thanking me for this care, she suddenly began reminiscing about a little china doll I'd bought for her as a birthday present, over fifteen years ago. I was amazed, with all that's happened in the intervening years, that she even remembered it.

The tiny baby doll was only about 3 inches long. I had sewed a little white dress and baby bonnet for it, using the material from an old petticoat of mine. Made all the tiny stitches using only my fingers -- I could never begin to do that today. My thought was to comfort her for the loss at age six of her big soft-bodied baby doll with the china head, arms, and legs. A younger cousin had accidentally broken it. I couldn't afford the cost of a large, modern-day reproduction the size of her lost doll, but this tiny one was within my means.

What a joy it is that in our old age we can still enjoy our playthings, and the memory of long-lost toys, too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Magical cicadas

In Nashville we are visited every 13 years by a periodical cicada, definitely the genus Magicicada, and very likely M. tredecim.

Magicicada sp

I saw my first one clinging to the cold bricks by my back door, with the air temperature at 64 degrees F. (17 degrees C.) and made this photo of it. But when the sun warms that wall, I'm sure this little cicada will fly away and I'll be hearing its call blended in a loud chorus for the next several weeks.

In a way its life cycle has a magical quality, but I can't verify that "Magi" in the genus name is from "magic," nor can I find out how the genus got its name.

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