Sunday, August 31, 2008

Green Milkweed Pods for Green Thumb Sunday


Green Milkweed Pods for Green Thumb Sunday


pods of green milkweed against a blue sky




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These Milkweed plants were growing alongside the thistle plants that I have been featuring in the past few posts for Green Thumb Sunday.

They both belong to the same family, so it is not surprising to see them growing beside each other.

These pods appear spiky and untouchable, but they are really quite soft and cushy.

The milkweed fluff is all tucked away inside just waiting for the pod to ripen and split open to release them into the wind.

The birds do not seem to be too interested in them, but the Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar loves them and will eat away at the leaves quite hungrily.

Hopefully I will be able to catch some of them, but you really need to be in the right place at the right time to find them.

Next week will be the last photo I have of the Milkweeds and Thistles - it is one of my favorites, so don't forget to come back!










Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Saturday Edition - No Parking


No Parking


a long dock filled with boats


We stopped by a local marina on our way to our favorite fishing spot on the ocean.

The boys were looking for some bait and were hoping to find some here.

I wandered around a bit on the floating docks and noticed how crowded it seemed to be with all the boats.

Of course, this was a marina for pleasure watercraft, and it was in the middle of the week that we stopped by.

I would think that on the weekend, these boat's owners must be out enjoying the water and their recreation time.

But during the week, these boats all sit patiently waiting for the week-end - just like we all do too - but perhaps not as patiently as them.












Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ABC Wednesday - F is for Fudge



F is for Fudge.............



a plate of homemade chocolate fudge




Creamy, homemade chocolate fudge with walnuts - it melts in your mouth and leaves you wanting another piece.

My aunt used to make this sweet treat when I was a young girl, and I was hooked from my first bite.

I made it for the first time when I was 13, and I was so nervous I was going to end up with soup, but she kept assuring me if I followed the directions exactly, it would turn out perfect.

She was right of course, and I can't tell you how many batches of this I have made over my lifetime.

Just at Christmas time alone, I make about half a dozen batches. And that doesn't include the peanut butter fudge, caramels, toffee, or sugared pecans.

All I have to offer you my friends is a virtual piece - but rest assured it tastes as good as it looks!

Enjoy!!


This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Tuesday, August 26, 2008

After The Storm


After the Storm


storm clouds passing over the field


These passing storm clouds made the light really beautiful after they finished dropping their rain on us.

I will say though, nothing was too pretty about this powerful little storm as it was happening.

We made it into the house just as the huge summer raindrops began to fall. The computers were turned off once the thunder and lightening started - not taking any chances with them.

And it was a good thing we did - within ten minutes, the lightening struck the transformer down the road - and off went the power.

Thanks to my husband's good thinking, he had set up a diesel generator to cover these unexpected power outages.

His trusty kubota diesel generator has come in so handy over the years. It has kept us from freezing in the winter, and the freezers from thawing in the summer.

I can remember when we had it set up - the power company was right there inspecting everything out. We had to install a special switch so the power didn't run back into the lines and hurt the guys working on the transformer.

We have lived in the boonies for over 26 years now, and it has become an expected thing to loose our power when the snow falls a bit too heavily or the lightening flashes just a little too brightly.

I am most glad that we decided diesel generators were the best - ours has never let us down.












Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thistle and Goldfinch for Green Thumb Sunday


Thistle and Goldfinch for Green Thumb Sunday


dried thistle flower gone to seed




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The last couple of Sundays have featured Thistle and it's life-cycle from bloom to seed.

The seeds were still intact in last week's post, and I promised to show how they were dispersed in this week's entry.

Well - here's the guilty party - this innocent looking little American Goldfinch.

He perches his little self on the dried pod, and methodically pulls out the fluff to get to the little black seed on the end. Once he eats the seed, the fluff is discarded until it piles up like in the first Thistle post.

Those plants are full of thorns - you can easily see them in the photo above - but his little feet must be immune to them - he was flitting all through those plants.

The seeds pass through his system and he drops them as he does his business, and the life-cycle of the Thistle begins again.

I wish I could have been closer or had a longer lens to get a better shot of these little birds. They were very quick and skittish, so I apologize for the not too sharp, far away image.

I hope you enjoyed this series of photos. Thistle is also known as Milk Thistle, so perhaps you can guess what was growing prolifically alongside them. If not, come back next week and I'll show you!










Saturday, August 23, 2008

Choices, Choices


Choices, Choices


colored crystal globes with sun reflections


I remember many years ago when we were first discovering the internet and what the www thing was all about. It was way back in the mid 1990's, and there weren't many choices around for internet service.

The computer came installed with two different pieces of software for internet service providers, and we could only use one of them - the other one was not available in our area.

We signed on and were with that ISP for many years - and needless to say, it was dial up - no other choices were even thought of at that time..

When DSL became available in our area, about six years ago, I spent many hours online learning what it was all about. I had to compare cable Internet and DSL broadband providers as well as learn the pros and cons between the two.

Wireless was an option for our PC's also, but since we were using desktops in an office, we didn't set them or the DSL box up for that service.

If I was just getting involved with the internet and computers now, it would be a big task to find the best deal and service - there are so many choices - and it would be hard to pick the correct one.

One thing that doesn't get mentioned enough though to new users is the need for security and how to protect your computer and sessions online.

That is the first thing I would recommend to any new user before they join the rest of us on this superhighway of information - the internet.











Wednesday, August 20, 2008

ABC Wednesday - E is for Empty



E is for Empty.............



an empty picnic table beside the lake




Going to the lake on a hot summer day is something we have always enjoyed as a family.

This little lake is usually crowded during these hot days and finding a place to sit is hard to do. The picnic tables are usually snatched up early in the morning and the blanket spots on the ground are gone too.

Now, if you wait until dinner time to get your dip in the lake - you will hit the lottery every time.

Packing up dinner and taking it to the lake is perfect - everybody else is leaving to go home and make their dinners.

You get your choice of picnic tables and the best swimming areas without having tons of others around.

It has worked for us for over 26 years!


This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Knitting Gifts


Knitting Gifts


knitting needles and pink yarn


As the summer draws to an end, and the kids head back to school, I always get to thinking about the upcoming holidays.

I know it seems early, but I like to make many of my gifts, and that takes time.

Once I find what I want to make, whether it be knitted, sewn, or embroidered, I need to get the supplies and get to work.

As the holidays draw closer, everybody gets homemade candies as gifts too, so all the crafts have to be finished up by my deadline of black friday 2008, which is the day after Thanksgiving.

By that time, I know that I need to finish up getting the rest of the gifts, which I usually like to do online.

I gave up shopping in stores this time of the year long ago. The crowds are too much, and if I plan it right, by shopping online, I get the items in plenty of time for the holidays.

In between the online purchases, the candy making begins in earnest. We have to get all the mailed gifts done first so they can receive the treats in time also.

It is all a carefully timed process, and the earlier I get going on it the better!












Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thistle Gone to Seed for Green Thumb Sunday


Thistle Gone to Seed for Green Thumb Sunday


dried thistle flower gone to seed




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Last Sunday my Green Thumb post was an image of Purple Thistle with it's white fluff billowing around it.

This week's post is the photo of a thistle that has dried up and gone to seed - with the fluff still intact in the dry pod.

See how the brown pod folds back to allow the fluff to dry out and fly away?

It is hard to believe that that lush green spiky bulb in last week's image actually turns into that brown-but-still-spiky plant.

See those little seeds on the end of the white fluff?

Next week's post will show how these thistle seeds get dispersed.

Don't forget to come back!












Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Counting Steps



Counting Steps



a manual pedometer for counting steps




Getting out and walking has been something I try to do on a regular basis. For many years I used to clip-on a pedometer to count my steps and track my distance. It had to be attached to my waist, and it would fall off quite a bit during the day as I moved around.

The new cell phone I purchased this spring has a pedometer and distance tracker built into it, and keeping it in my pocket has been a habit since day one.

My husband usually comes along with me as we walk our dirt road, and he mentioned to me the other day that we have been walking this same road for over 26 years.

I think he is getting bored with our route, so I have been thinking about getting us involved in the Alzheimer's Memory Walk.

It's only a couple of miles, and it's in the fall when the weather is cooler and more comfortable for walking.

Although little was known about this illness in her time, my great grandmother suffered from Alzheimers. I am sure with today's medicines and care, her last few years could have been much more comfortable.

Getting out and moving will be good for us and we will be helping others who suffer from this illness.

I think he will agree to accompany me on this walk too!



Sponsored by Alzheimer's Walk


ABC Wednesday - D is for Driftwood



D is for Driftwood.............



a macro shot of a driftwood texture




This was a whole tree trunk that had washed ashore on the rocks at the ocean.

From this macro shot, you can see the texture and how it splinters away in tiny pieces.

The surface is really quite fragile, and it has been weathered to a shade of light gray.

It must have been one heck of a storm that threw this giant up so high in the rocks, and it must have been at sea for a long time also.

Makes you wonder how far and how long it traveled to get here.

I enjoy taking macro images like these - designers also enjoy these types of shots as they make nice backgrounds.


This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Sunday, August 10, 2008

Thistle and Fluff for Green Thumb Sunday


Thistle and Fluff for Green Thumb Sunday


purple thistle wildflower with fluffy seeds




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What a find this was! It was a windless day so I was very lucky to find all this fluff still hanging around the Thistle Wildflowers.

This image shows the life cycle of this hardy little plant. There are new buds forming as well as a beautiful purple thistle, just beginning to bloom. The fluff is the flower that has gone to seed.

Each one of those white fluffs have a black thistle seed that gets carried away by the wind to reseed and grow anew.

Notice all those spines on the flower bulb - these are plants that are meant to be viewed in their habitat, not picked and put in a bouquet.

Next Sunday, I will have a post showing how the flower goes to seed. I am excited about this series, and hope you enjoy it too!











Wednesday, August 6, 2008

ABC Wednesday - C is for Carts



C is for Carts.............



golf carts all lined up in a row




In between the rain drops, I ran outside to grab a shot of these golf carts all neatly parked in a row.

Now, if it had been a sunny afternoon, they would all be out on the golf course, and this picture would not have been possible.

There were actually two rows of them, and I am sure the owner of the club was hoping the rain would clear out soon.

I did notice though, there were a couple of hardy souls who certainly were not going to let a little rain stop them.

They were probably the same ones that I saw when we drove by at the beginning of winter after a light layer of snow had fallen.


This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Monday, August 4, 2008

Snorkeling at the Lake


Snorkeling at the Lake


a teen boy snorkeling at the lake


For years my husband would spend time snorkeling around the lake during the summer, and he was thrilled when the kids wanted to join him in the depths of the water.

He had spent much time scuba diving around the rugged coastline when he lived at the ocean. When we moved inland, snorkeling became a favorite pass time at the lake.

He and the kids couldn't wait to let me know about the Bass fish that were swimming around my legs as I kicked and floated above them.

Can't say I was too happy to hear about it, but you know, I never touched or felt them, so I just kept the "what you can't see" thought in mind and enjoyed the water.

He shares stories of his diving days with the kids as they read and browse the pages of his favorite Scuba diving magazine, Sport Diver.










Sunday, August 3, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday - Wet Seaweed


Wet Seaweed by the Ocean for Green Thumb Sunday


different varieties wet seaweed at the ocean




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Something a bit different for Green Thumb Sunday today - not plants from my garden, but plants from the ocean.

There was such variety of seaweed in this pile that I couldn't resist taking a shot.

We were lucky enough to be at the ocean shortly after the tide went out, so the seaweed was still wet - not all dried and hard as it can get on a hot summer day.

The different textures, shapes, and colors make for a unique composition.

What the camera didn't capture though, were the hundreds of little hopping bugs that resided in the these ocean plants. They were sand fleas, and they enjoyed my ankles while I was getting this image.

It was worth it though to capture these ocean plants.











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