A Walk Along the Fencerow

Unknown Coneflower #1Unknown Coneflower #1

I really enjoy taking walks along the fencerows on my way to the mailbox. I took my time on this afternoon’s walk to snap a few photos along the way. The skies here have been overcast all day with chilly temperatures that remind me autumn will soon arrive. I’m not convinced that these first two flowers are wildflowers. They may have been planted purposefully by previous renters as they are quite lovely. At first I thought Black-eyed Susans or Gray-headed Coneflowers, but I also found one called Purple-headed Sneezeweed (funny name) that looks similar. It could be a cross-breed of any number of flowers. Feel free to venture a guess.

Unknown Coneflower #2Unknown Coneflower #2

I’m pretty sure we have both Ladysthumb and pale smartweed growing out here, but I’m not certain enough on the ID to label this next photo with either. In researching the two, I did find out that “the two species can hybridize.” I’m not one to judge a weed harshly. These add a nice touch of color that I find attractive.

SmartweedSmartweed

There is plenty of Goldenrod growing along the fencerows. These are one of my favorite wildflowers for its bright yellow splash of color. The scent is light and fragrant and attracts a wide variety of insects. This Double-banded Scoliid was busily at work on this one.

Double-banded Scoliid on GoldenrodDouble-banded Scoliid on Goldenrod

I could probably do a post on nothing but morning glories growing around here. We have purple ones, orange ones, white ones — you get the picture. I’m trying to coax one into the latticework off the back steps of our place; but wouldn’t you know, it’s the only one I’ve seen that is not flowering! Maybe it’s just a late bloomer.

Morning GloryMorning Glory

I’ll leave you today with two more photos of a Black-and-Yellow Argiope. This is the smaller of the two that I spoke about in last Sunday’s post, Sunday Spider. For all I know, it could be a different one completely because if it is the smaller of the two, it grew a lot in the past week. The huge one is still there, but had its web built in a briar patch that I couldn’t comfortably reach.

Black-and-Yellow Argiope #3 Black-and-Yellow Argiope #4

Advertisements

Carpenter Ant with Slug

Carpenter Ant with Slug

I don’t often use the black and white setting on my digital camera. Anytime I do, like in this photo, I have to adjust the blacks and whites post-production for better contrast; so this one has been edited. I was in the mood to try something different. I’m fairly pleased with the end result.

On a side note, the slug and ant looked as if they were conversing. The ant never touched the slug, just stood there for a while before moving on down the log.

And Finally, Burgess Waterfalls

Burgess Falls - Main Waterfall #2

Burgess Falls – Main Waterfall #2, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

These last 3 photos complete my visit to Burgess Falls on April 1st. I have more photos of this waterfall than any other in my area because I visit it so regularly. I’m obsessive about photographing it. I know this, but I’m also fascinated by the differences in each photo I have taken. These differences are subtle on some days, quite dramatic on others. No two visits have rendered the exact same photo, e.g. June 6, 2010, visit and October 5, 2012, visit. Going back through my photos, I found 9 different visits, most of which have no photos uploaded at this time. At the risk of being redundant, I’m not even sure if I should upload the remaining previous visits. At some point, I would like to have a photo representing each month of the year, perhaps, for a future calendar. It’s a little harder to get out there, though, during the winter months, especially if there’s snow and ice. However, my collection won’t be complete without one or two of those.

 Burgess Falls - Main Waterfall #1

Burgess Falls – Main Waterfall #1, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

Obviously, the flow of water depends on the amount of rain we’ve had. I thought maybe there were some larger dams upstream from Burgess Lake that might contribute to the stronger flows; but after looking over Google maps, it appears that Falling Water River flows into Center Hill Lake, not the other way around, lol. Not only do I have no sense of direction, but I think my understanding of potamology is a little off, too.

 Burgess Falls - Middle Waterfall

Burgess Falls – Middle Waterfall, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

I hope you guys enjoyed this series of photos over the last week and a half. Please, share your thoughts and suggestions. For me, taking the photos is the easy part, the fun part. Coming up with something to write about them, on the other hand, well, that’s a lot harder for me. Words just aren’t my “thing.” I suppose I could have just simply shared the images, but I think it’s important to constantly challenge myself in this way.

Spring Wildflowers and Blossoms

IMG_8265 IMG_8270

It’s no secret that I absolutely love spring! Everything returns to life, and all the color comes back in the world. I know I take a lot of very similar photos each year. To my regulars, I can only say, bear with me. I have to get the flower/blossom photos out of my system. What can I say? It’s an obsession.

Perhaps, these first two are a type of Anemone? Both of them and the next two were taken at Burgess Falls last week. These blossoms were the only ones I saw there. I caught the scent of Trailing Trillium; however, they aren’t blooming yet. Those plants were still fairly small. These next two are the same plant. Every single year, I have to look up this flower; and every single year, I’m left uncertain as to whether or not it is Periwinkle or some other phlox. I’m almost certain, this year at least, that it is Vinca minor. Apparently, last year I uploaded a photo of this plant to Project Noah and got an ID. Now, if I could just get it to stick in my brain….

 IMG_8344

The one below I did edit a bit to brighten up the blossom because it was in my shadow. I loved that I found one still curled up like this. Hopefully, I’ll get around to sketching it this year.

 IMG_8347

The remaining photos are all from today. I walked around our yard to see what all was blooming. Every spring these tiny Common Blue Violets and Confederate Violets pop up everywhere, all over the yard. I love these little flowers! If we ever move, I’m digging some of these up to take with me.

Common Blue Violet Confederate Violet

I had to laugh when I opened up this next one on my computer to view it. I didn’t even notice the tiny insect on this blossom while I was photographing it. It’s a close cousin of the strawberry, from the same family, Rosacae, commonly known as a mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica, sometimes called Potentilla indica). It also grows all over our yard. The blossoms are incredibly small, themselves, let alone the tiny insect. I’m surprised my camera captured it! (Click on the photo to view larger.)

Wild Strawberry (with a surprise insect)

My neighbor has a lot of these Forsythia bushes in his yard. They are so beautiful! This one is right on the corner of our properties. One day I would love to live somewhere where I can have my own huge flower garden; but for now, hopefully, my neighbor doesn’t mind that I admire his plants each year. I should really make it a point to tell him how much I appreciate their beauty.

Forsythia Blossoms Forsythia Blossom Close-up

The Bradford Pear Trees blossomed quickly with the heavy rains last week and are already shedding their blossoms for leaves. These trees are in another neighbor’s yard and hang over the fence, making it easy to get a few photos each year. Even with all the problems we’ve had living where we do for last few years, mostly with neighbors and landlord issues, these blossoming trees, all the wildflowers, and the natural beauty of this particular area is one of the reasons I love it so. It’s not all bad; but at this point, it’s time to move on. I really hope we find a better place soon.

Bradford Pear Tree Blossoms #1

I probably could have edited this next one to brighten it up a bit, but I left it as-is. I hate that I didn’t get a nice blue sky, though; yet I liked this one because of the hint of a roof-top in the background.

 Bradford Pear Tree Blossoms #2

Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.

From: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes – Adventure 10: “The Naval Treaty, Part 1” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Nature’s Reclamation

IMG_8290

I’m surprised I’ve never shared any photos from downstream the main falls at Burgess Falls. There’s an old abandoned mill (maybe?). I’m not really sure exactly what it was. According to the park brochure, “By the late 19th century, a gristmill and sawmill were in operation on the river here.” My best guess is that this was part of one of those. It’s a fascinating find. It almost feels haunted as nature reclaims this part of history.

 IMG_8293

I can’t imagine how these pieces fit together or worked. They’re absolutely HUGE! Beneath the structure, it’s cool and damp. What is it about human nature that makes people want to graffiti places like this? I suppose it’s no different than cave men painting their battles or hand prints on cave walls, marking their territory or to simply say, “Hey, I was here!” At least the graffiti here isn’t as bad as some places I’ve seen. There was just a lot of so and so loves so and so, lol. No doubt, bored teenagers.

IMG_8292IMG_8299

I really like the front facing wall. I’ll have to make sure to hike back out there later in the year when everything grows over a little more. I bet it will be beautiful once the vines start growing again and things green up a bit more.

 IMG_8303

If you’re interested, there’s a few more photos of these “ruins” in my Burgess Falls set on Flickr or you can click on the thumbnails below. Not sure if “ruins” is the appropriate description. I really racked my brain trying to remember the photography/art term for “the act of nature reclaiming man-made structures” and came up blank. It’s right on the tip of my tongue. I know there’s a word for it; but it totally escapes me, now. If anyone else knows the word I’m thinking of, please, feel free to share!

IMG_8289IMG_8295IMG_8296IMG_8297IMG_4635IMG_4636IMG_4669IMG_1149

Ladybug View of Burgess Falls

Ladybug View

Ladybug View , a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

I can’t get over how blue the sky is in these photos from Tuesday. It was such a beautiful day! I got as close to the waterfall as I could to take this one, at great risk to my camera, I might add. Even though I worried that the dampness might be too much for it to handle, I took the risk; and everything turned out okay. I noticed a couple of ladybugs on the rocks next to me right after snapping the first one. The photo below was the best one I got. It was a little hard to see what I was getting. I loved this one, though. The water droplets give you an idea of the level of mist we endured; but that mist was cool and refreshing after the climb down.

Mist Covered Ladybug

Mist Covered Ladybug, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

Burgess Falls 4.1.14

Burgess Falls 4.1.14, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

Summer Butterflies

I have seen so many of these butterflies this summer! I’m pretty sure that all of these photos are of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails (Papilio glaucus). These first two were taken yesterday afternoon at Cane Creek Park. Both of these are of the same butterfly. The one above is my favorite of all the ones I’ve taken so far because my camera actually focused on the eyes (no manual focus on my point and shoot), and it was intently staring at me. I was delighted that it actually climbed up on my finger, briefly, before fluttering all around me. Butterflies are so graceful.

This next one is from Cane Creek Park on July 25. The flowering bush (not sure what it is) was covered in butterflies and bumblebees. I looked yesterday, but the flowers are already gone. I liked this photo because I actually caught the butterfly with its wings open.

This is a short video clip of the same butterfly. I don’t often think to get video which is probably a good thing as my hard drive is drowning in photos, let alone video clips.

And finally, this last photo is from a short hike I took on July 7th at Standing Stone State Park. Does anyone know why butterflies gather like this on the ground? They were so focused on whatever they were doing that they were completely oblivious of my presence for the first few minutes. This allowed me to get pretty close to the whole group of them. It was pretty cool when they all took flight at the same time, dancing around me like fairies.

Oh, and that’s a millipede in the lower left-hand corner, not a snake. Unfortunately, the photo I took of it was a little blurry and not really worth sharing.

After a quick search back through my archives, I just realized that I haven’t written a post devoted to Standing Stone State Park here. I know I meant to. It must be one of those ideas I placed on the back burner that fell behind the stove! I’ll have to remember to write-up a post about it for another time. It’s a beautiful park! I ended up cutting my hike short that day because it was really too hot to be hiking.

These butterflies have, seriously, been everywhere this year. I even noticed them in my yard and while driving. Sitting at a red light the other day, one gently passed on the breeze right in front of me. It’s probably just a coincidence; but it’s a happy, beautiful coincidence that I don’t mind one bit. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it will elude you; but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” ~ Henry David Thoreau