Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Texas mallow

It's downright fascinating to me how we can happen across info we've been looking for.  I have a plant in my yard that was given to me several years ago by the late Millie Clark (the same lady who gave me the ginger lily).  I could tell the bloom looked a bit like a hibiscus bloom, so I thought it might be a mallow of some sort.  (The mallow family includes plants such as rose of Sharon, okra, cotton, and hollyhock.)
Anyway, someone had posted a picture of a littleleaf sumac on a forum I frequent.  In tracking down the littleleaf sumac id, I found a picture of a plant like mine.  Now I know I have malvaviscus arboreus in my yard. 
Here are some pics of my Texas mallow.

Another plant mystery solved!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Little frogs

I noticed that some of the tadpoles in the rain barrel had grown legs and were clinging to the side of the barrel.  Today when I walked by, I saw this little fellow on a sweetgum leaf.  He's probably between 1/2 and 5/8 of an inch long.

Treefrogs can change their color to blend in with the surroundings, and this little guy was looking quite green.  He was a good sport and stayed still while I took his picture.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another rainbow

Last evening, after a rain shower, I saw a pretty rainbow.  I took several shots.  Here are a few.

For whatever reason, rainbows in my pictures don't seem quite as vivid as in real life.  I increased the saturation on the following picture so that you can see the 3 bands of violet that were faintly visible to my eye at one point.  (Click on picture to enlarge.)


Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the sky were some pretty dramatic clouds passing in front of the sun.
I always enjoy looking at the ever changing wonders of the sky.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Growing, growing

It's summer and things are growing merrily.

I'm in love with the angel wing begonia.
I've also gotten reacquainted with an old classic.  Mom gave me a pot of wandering Jew.
I took some pieces of it and put them in a terra cotta strawberry jar with some sweet potato vine.
Another pot of various rooted clippings.
Remember what the hand tilled bed looked like on May 31?

Here it is on July 22 filled with squash and sweet potatoes.  (I did surgery on the squash vines a week or so ago and cut out three vine borers.  No pesticides have been used.)
If anyone can tell me why a couple of the squashes have ridges, please do.
It's been a good year for the blueberries.  I'm not that industrious in the kitchen, so baking a batch of blueberry muffins is a major triumph.

Good ole summertime!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday thoughts: train up a child...

Proverbs 22:6
 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Recently I've been trying to sort through the books I used for homeschooling my son to see if any were worth reselling.  Not surprisingly, it was an emotional experience as I went through them, thinking back over what I might have done a little differently or taking joy in remembering precious efforts.  The thing I treasure most, though, was the time my son and I were able to spend together.  Having a part in shaping a child's character is an awesome responsibility and privilege.
If I had an audience with young parents, I would ask them to stop to think of what qualities and values they want to see in their children when the children have grown to adulthood.  Each day, by our priorities and our actions, we are communicating what values are important.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A nature walk with a friend

I had a wonderful lunch and afternoon with my friend Lea.  She made us a very tasty homemade pizza and brownies and lemonade.  Yummy!
Then we explored the outdoors.  There were lots of things to see:
 a millipede,
 an oak gall,
 a piece of a tiny eggshell--perhaps of a white-breasted nuthatch,
a wild turkey feather,

a mushroom big enough to shelter Leprechauns,

some rattlesnake plantain,

some spotted wintergreen,

and an Eastern box turtle.
We took a little time to look around an old abandoned homestead
with its house,
magnificent oaks,

out building with black walnut arching over it,

and tobacco barns, both log construction
and board-and-batten.

(Tharrington, supplier of tobacco barn furnaces)
Also on the property were several spicebushes.
One of the highlights of our outing for me was seeing all the Indian pipe plants.  I only recall seeing Indian pipe plants once before.  They are unusual plants:  they have no chlorophyll, but live as a parasite on a fungus that is in a symbiotic relationship with a tree.  (Pretty kinky, if you ask me.)

What a great afternoon!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Highway 56 Band at Johnny's on Main

Last Saturday, we had a nice evening at Johnny's on Main in Franklinton, NC.  I had a very tasty burger with mushrooms and Swiss cheese (and a little A1 sauce) and some excellent fries.
But the main attraction was the band.
Now can you explain to me how that just a few short days ago my little fellow was doing this

and now he's doing this? 
As I listened to him playing the mandolin, I kept thinking, "Is that my little boy playing so well?"
The band has a few videos posted on their Facebook page.  If you want to hear Caleb playing the mandolin, check out their videos.  (Look for the July 12, 2014 entries.)  I really like "Freight Train Boogie."  (There are three videos from Johnny's on Main.  The one where it is still daylight is "Freight Train Boogie."  Of course, I like them all--he plays a mean break on "Rocky Top," and on the farm auction song, he makes it sound like two instruments.)
It was pleasant weather for July, and we watched the full moon rise behind the band as they played.  It was really a lovely night out.



I'm picking my blueberries.  Hindsight is 20/20.  I should not have planted the bushes so close to the fence.  It might not have mattered as much except that they're on the north side of the fence and grow toward the sun, i.e. the neighbor's side.  I also shouldn't have let them get so tall.  I'm climbing a ladder to reach the berries.

A picture paints a thousand words:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

An evening walk

Lovely cloud formations abounded this evening.

I took a chance by going into a cul-de-sac to get a better picture of the sunset.  My first obstacle was a big dog that jumps the fence (probably flat-footed).  He began barking at me and before I knew it, he was out of the fence and coming straight at me.  I took a chance and put on my syrupy sweet voice, "Hey, Duke!   You're just a big ole baby, aren't you."  Fortunately, he responded appropriately, and I scratched him behind the ears.  Then some guys who were just hanging out gave me a "What the... " vibe as I took a sunset picture just beyond them.  I'm sure they wondered why I had come by to take their picture.

When I got back home, I saw by the car in the drive that my prince had arrived.  Did he greet me?  No, I was met instead at the door by this fellow.
At least somebody is making eyes at me.