Pollen covered Honey Bee on Sunflower Nikon D5100 35mm, F 6.3, 1/500 sec
Perhaps, like our family, you have a backyard bird feeder, frequented by numerous birds and squirrels. If so, you know they are messy eaters. Effortlessly, seeds are strewn about the area below the feeder. Spring and summer brings a circle of thin, grass-like shoots. But this year, after we had to take down a tree in the yard, the area became quite sunny. I was thrilled to have a few volunteer sunflowers spring up. They attract the honey bees and make for fun photo opportunities. This post is my contribution to Patrick Jennings’ Pic and a Word Challenge: Organic.
This portfolio contains a few more of my images of the volunteer sunflowers.
A diseased tree was leaning over our house. We contacted Jason Kelly, a certified arborist who determined the 50ft. water oak needed to come down. So, up he went and methodically felled the tree over the course of one very fascinating afternoon–giving me the opportunity to meet two challenges in one! Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Leaves or Trees and the Jen H’s Daily Post Challenge: Story
Wearing helmet with face shield and ear protection, a chainsaw, hand saw and other equipment attached to his harness, the arborist, using climbing spurs and rope, scales a high limb.
After tying off the limb to a pulley rope, he removes the top branches with chainsaw.
He guides one of the cut upper branches down while standing in the basket of his 40 ft. boom lift.
Arborist and “skywalker” balanced on a branch some 40 feet in the air.
Using a pulley and rope system, he guides heavy branches down safely.
Assistant removes the wedge shaped notch after the arborist makes the notch cut.
Assistants hold a guide line and keep the cable TV wires out of the fall zone as the final fell cut is made.
The felled tree trunk comes to rest as planned–on a log placed in the fall zone.
Certified Arborist Jason Kelly of Skywalker Tree Company
Among of our favorite toys are building blocks. According to Karen Hewitt, a toy designer and founder of the Learning Materials Workshop of Burlington, Vermont, the timeless, simple shapes lend themselves to endless opportunities for education through play. We stack them up and knock them down, we build walls and bridges, we learn about shape and color, about building and rebuilding.
There’s a new toddler in our lives; our fourth grandchild. It’s been a while since the box of blocks was opened, so I decided they needed a bath. I filled up the kitchen sink with some mild soap and water and plunged in the brightly colored cuboids, cylinders and triangular prisms together with some classic Lincoln Logs. Did you know those interlocking logs were originally designed by John Lloyd Wright, son of the architect Frank Loyd Wright? I didn’t.
Anyway, the sight of those building blocks bobbing amid the bubbles inspired me to bring out the camera. And in that mysterious way that inspiration works, the next day I saw a link to the Life of B photo challenge A Month of Squares. So I decided to play along.
Camellia Sasanqua “Falling Star” and Viceroy Butterfly F5 1/60 35 mm
January and February is the peak blooming season for camellias in our neck of the woods, although the blooms start showing as early as October in the Southeast. This image of a Viceroy butterfly drinking the nectar from Camellia Sasanqua “Falling Star” was captured in my backyard this past October.
I’m certainly no expert on these plants, but if need to know more, there’s always help nearby. The local branch of the American Camellia Society, Coastal Carolina Camellia Society held their 68th Annual Camellia Show in Charleston, SC on January 28. At that event 1067 different blooms were shown. The variety of Camellias seems endless! For those who may be interested in the American Camellia Society, the National Convention will be held April 5-8 in Newberg, Oregon.
Sharing this one with Cee’s Photography, Feb. 21, 2017 Flower of the Day.
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.
‘Gingerbread House’ Advent Calendar
Advent Calendar Doors open, filled with candy and Scripture message.
Detail with Scripture Message for Advent Calendar
In my faith tradition, the four weeks leading up to the celebration of Christmas are called Advent, meaning, “to come to”. We are taught the Advent season is a time to direct our attention to the coming of Christ at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.
It isn’t easy to stay focused on these spiritual matters in our culture. For most Americans, the Christmas season began the day after Halloween and is a sensory overload of marketing from TV shows, movies, store displays, and an email inbox overflowing with ‘unbeatable deals’ with ‘last chance’ sales.
Holiday traditions are important to me, and those traditions include celebrating the hopeful spirit of Advent. So I was thrilled to receive this charming wood Advent Calendar several years ago. Advent begins on the Sunday closest to November 30 (the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle), but most Advent calendars begin the countdown on December 1.
According to the German folklorist and historian Esther Gajek, the history of the first printed Advent Calendar is traced to 1908 and Gerhard Lang. Lang, a native of Maulbronn Germany recalled the homemade calendar his mother made with little candies. He was working in the printing office Reichhold & Lang, when he produced little colored pictures that could be placed on a cardboard marking the countdown to Christmas. Later, he produced calendars with little doors to open.
The kids especially love to open the doors of our Advent calendar. So, in addition to a bit of candy, I bring them into the Spirit of the season with a bit of Scripture printed on cardboard.