Just out

From the Garden, Life Captured: Every Day Observations, Photo Challenges


Dogday Cicada emerging from its exoskeleton

Dogday Cicada emerging from its exoskeleton                                       f/5.0 1/400, ISO 560, 35mm

I spend quite a lot of time photographing in our garden throughout the spring and summer. Let me first say, I have ALWAYS been creeped out by bugs. But if you spend enough time in a vegetable garden, you’re likely to encounter quiet a few.  So, while keeping a safe camera lens distance from them, I like to capture their images and I research what I found.

I  was astonished to catch this moment.  It’s a Dogday cicada just coming out of its nymph shell.  


Tomato Pie with thanks to Moms, Betty and Paula

From the Garden, Garden Fresh Recipes

When the garden is producing a bounty of tomatoes, this is such a favorite treat! I double the recipe and make an extra pie for neighbors or friends. It’s great for brunch, a meatless dinner, or with afternoon tea.

This homemade crust for this tomato pie combines a recipe from an old cooking buddy, Betty Crocker, and my mother-in-law’s technique for keeping the pastry cold which makes it easy to handle and extra flakey.

The basic recipe for the filling comes from several Internet sources, including the queen of southern comfort food, Paula Deen. The technique for easily peeling tomatoes is something I first saw in my mother’s kitchen.

Here’s the recipe.

Garden Critters 1

From the Garden, Latest Pix

Carolina Green Anole – changes color from green to brown


Carolina Anole Couple


Carolina Anole Green

The garden seems overrun this year with these little green lizards called Carolina Green Anole (Anoles Carolinensis).  These creatures are about 5-8 inches long and change color from green to brown depending on their surroundings.  We see them dart about the plants, especially among the jungle of eggplant leaves.  We’re happy to have them, as they are great bug hunters.

According to the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory:  “Anoles eat a wide variety of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates.  They may be either green or brown depending on environmental conditions. When brown, may have faint markings on the back. Males have a pinkish throat fan that is displayed in territorial rivalries or when approaching a potential mate.”

“The anole’s ability to change color has given it the nickname chameleon; however, this species’ color changing abilities are not nearly as sophisticated as the true chameleons which inhabit the old world. The green anole is the only anole species native to the U.S.”


Attention to Detail – A Summer Garden Story

From the Garden


Charles Dudley Warner, an American essayist, was Mark Twain’s friend and neighbor.  Although often attributed to Twain, it was Warner who quipped, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” No doubt complaints about the weather factored into his observations while writing “My Summer in A Garden” in 1870. Although I didn’t learn of this book until the end of this summer, I instinctively shared his understanding: “the principal value of a private garden is to teach patience and philosophy and the higher virtues.”

From March through September, I went about patiently documenting the progress of our garden.  My first observation: God is in the details. From seedling to harvest, the camera captures the intricate facets of stems and vines, flowers and fruits.  Meanwhile, the garden plants attract pollinators, pests and predators, and the camera captures their stunning, alien character.  Ultimately, I see the marvels of the Creator manifested in the life cycles found in the garden.

The completed project is a full color 11 x 14 book.

Cee’s Black and White Challenge: Food

From the Garden, Photo Challenges

Sweet Georgia Onions

While working on a project to document the process and progress of our urban container garden when I came upon this challenge from Cee’s Photography.  The challenge is to capture a food item in black and white.  Like many photographers, there was time when I only shot film, and primarily black and white film.  Today, I’m shooting RAW with Nikon D5100; Nikkor lens: 35mm 1:1.8. There are many ways to convert a color digital image to black and white. I converted this image by completely reducing the saturation of the RAW file before importing into Ps Elements.

The image depicts the ‘first fruits’ of our Bonnie Plants Sweet Georgia Onions harvested on May 7.  We planted 24 onion ‘starts’ on in one Earth Box on February 22. The Earth Box is a 29″ L x 11″ H x14″ W/D plastic planter invented by Blake Whisenant, which uses a ‘bottoms up’ watering method. The yield ranges from golf to tennis ball-sized onions. While they are ready to eat right now, most will cure for about a week while the papery outer skins dry, the roots shrivel and the green necks begin to dry.   They can keep for weeks, but it’s not likely they’ll be around that long–deeelish!

Thanks for another good challenge, Cee!