Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Something Royal

I never met a George I didn't like. At church there was a tall gangly one. In graduate school, George was the "golden boy," on fellowship, and teachers favored him, and unlike many teachers' pets he was still nice to the lesser people in the world. My father-in-law George was as good to me as my own father, and compassionate because he understood what it was like to have a high IQ in an extended family whose other patriarch didn't have $25 to put his sick dog to sleep so instead got a knife and chased the dog around the yard trying to catch it so he could stab it to death instead. The dog knew the score and outran him. Another George was the organizer of a singles group, and despite his appearance all the females liked him because he could partner-dance while the other guys stood around mumbling, "Two left feet."

So to honor the new Prince George and hoping we don't have to hear about him again for 18 years or so, here's a Queen Anne's lace so beautifully heavy with summer blossoms it can't hold its head up.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Share a Peach Today!

I was admiring these divine riches, think them better than gold. I like the fuzz, but I peel them anyway. When peeled, they get eaten or they get sliced and served over cake or pancakes, or, if drained on towels for a little bit, get tossed into scone batter. Everyone loves them. Even the mouse in my house can't resist the ripe ones in my fruit bowl. He calls that "sharing."

Friday, July 12, 2013

These Skinks Had Better Learn

Looking up from my work I saw a skink climbing a screen on the porch. At first I couldn't tell if the skink was inside or outside. If it's inside, it's an emergency--for the skink. Often these lizards can find their ways indoors, but I've had a few visiting skinks who seemed unable to find their ways out and required my assistance.

This skink was inside looking out. Of course it shied when I approached, and tried to flee, but could only crawl madly across and around the edges of the screen, so close to but so far from the great green universe it wanted to escape to. And here came this gigantic hairy bag of salt water hundreds of times larger than the skink. I knew I looked to it like a monster, and spoke kindly to it, unhooking the screen on both sides and laying it down so it made a nice ramp to the outdoors. Still the skink clung to the screen. I tapped the screen. I shook the frame a little. No dice. I said, like my mother, "In or out. One or the other. Make up your mind. I don't have all day." This did it. It scrambled off.

These skinks have to understand that I run a tight ship here with no room for slackers or nervous Nellys.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Farm Scenery

Some of the best scenery here is in hilly country where the road is two lanes with drop-offs on each side and I can't get out to take a photo. So I haven't shown you very many pictures of the genuine farms that remain here in the valleys and floodplains: dairy cows, corn, soy, sod, hay (pictured), and almost a pig farm. The neighbors organized because the proposed 200-acre pig farm was partly in the LaBarque Creek watershed, and the pig farmer decided to settle elsewhere.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Lord of the Butterflies

The landlord forbade me to garden, allowing only the raising of vegetables in containers, because he wants the 100 acres to remain completely natural, and I understand that. So I planted native coneflowers nobody can ever object to, and every type of flying creature loves them, from the nectar-sucking Great Spangled Fritillary, lord of the butterflies, who came by today, to the seed-eating goldfinches who pick the sliver-like black seeds from the dry flower heads in autumn. I enjoy the challenge of taking a photo I've never taken before.

My camera is Nikon Coolpix 8400, a 2005-era hobby camera with great optics, excellent for closeup photos; this photo was taken on its "Portrait" setting. I used to have analog SLRs, with macro and telephoto lenses, etc., and I used to buy bulk film and "roll my own" cartridges in the dark, and develop my own photos, and specialize in architectural photography -- but carrying 12 pounds of camera around my neck isn't as appealing as it used to be. Like my friend here I prefer to travel light.