Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wild themes, continued...

Bogo posed for flight. Does she know that white horses are sacred?

I know, I know - this was last weeks theme... but wild horses do fly. If you've ever been astride a horse soaring over jumps and streams and galloping over the earth, you know what it is to fly.

Ever since I heard his album "Graffiti Man", I've been a fan of John Trudell - and an admirer of his activist work. This video, with the beautiful voice of Anne Humphreys singing, is a favorite of mine. The flight of insects, the flight of birds, the flight for survival of wild things , the flight of Native Americans to avoid extermination. When fight is certain death, only flight remains.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Who's all powerful?

I saw this over at The Clever Pup, which I came to via Polly Jackson's new website - and I wanted to pass it on. Think about it. When you go to build a home or studio or whatever, who determines what materials you can buy and who does the wiring, plumbing, etc.? If it doesn't meet insurance standards, then you'll get no bank financing. If you want to drive, you gotta have insurance. Want to own a home? Mortgage insurance. How about medical malpractice insurance and double indemnity insurance and flood insurance and dental insurance, and business insurance - and bonding and floater policies for craft and art festivals?

So tell me. Who's really responsible for the high cost of everything? Who's pockets are full?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wild Things... Theme Thursday

When despair for the world grows in me... I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of world and am free.
- Wendell Berry
I wish I were with some of the wild people that run in the woods, and know nothing about accomplishments. - Joanna Baillie

It seems no matter how we hack away and groom and "landscape" our surroundings, nature will persevere the moment our eyes and energies turn away. The spirit of the wild is stronger than civilized humankind.

Even goldfish born and raised in the tiny tanks of a Wal-Mart know how to be wild when given over to the possibilities of freedom in the natural world.

Art may imitate wild nature; less often does it dare to place itself in the midst of it, and when it does, it may come out second best - John Hart
They could just take you up yonder, honey, you're already wild and blue...
- John Anderson
And some only seem to be tamed. If you catch them unawares - wildness shines from their eyes, and shows in their actions...
Wild skies, wild animals, wild woods, wild horses - the spirit of the wild, wild at heart.

Susan Boyle singing The Rolling Stones Wild Horses

Monday, September 14, 2009

Night Night, Cereus...

Please, please - click on photo/s to enlarge. The structural detail of this flower is deserving of notice!
About six weeks ago, I was shocked to find that my Cereus had bloomed without me! When I noticed two new buds a couple of weeks ago, I was determined not to miss the rather rare phenomenon of a Night Blooming Cereus in all its glory.

Here are the tiny bud stalks which appear right where a vein from the center ends at the edge of the "leaf."

I remembered to go out for the nightly check right around midnight and found the blooms already wide open.

The flowers are showy and quite complex, reminding me of lotus blossoms or water lilies. There are many, many stalks (stamens) tipped with pollen that sweep out of the center - and what appears to be a bloom within the bloom suspended out in front of these. This is the male organ, or pistil. And those who are attracted by the Cereus' lovely perfume must climb past the pistil, and over the stamens. Quite ingenious!!If you look closely at the throat of this bloom, you can see a small brownish thing that looks like a pointed tongue. I thought this another quite amazing feature until I looked inside the other bloom (see below) and there was no brown tongue! It's a little slug! I can't figure out how it managed to find its way up and into there, but then - I probably underestimate its abilities. Just because it's a slug, doesn't mean it's a slouch.

I apologize for the change in viewpoint. Even though I rotated this photo during editing, each time I loaded it here it rotated back. I gave up. Anyhow, you can see the inner structures better in this shot - just turn your head sideways to get the right perspective... (ha).

I moved it, pot and all, out to the plant table in the front lawn so that light from my mercury vapor light would illuminate it some. I thought it would have a better chance of fertilization if moths, etc., could not only scent it, but see it as well. Last time it bloomed during a full moon, but it was overcast and quite dark last night. The scent is so sweet and powerful, my efforts are likely superfluous, but then it is a desert plant and its native insect population would differ. Couldn't hurt!

"Good days are to be gathered like grapes,
to be trodden and bottled into wine
and kept for age
to sip at ease beside the fire.
If the traveler has vintaged well,
he need trouble to wander no longer;
the ruby moments glow in his glass at will."
~Freya Stark
(French adventurer and explorer...1893-1993)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Into September... the bonny Bunny Days

What's this? The bunnies are back - and new colors are arriving just in time for Fall.

This summer, I was delighted to see a spotted bunny and her (?) friends nibbling the grasses along the mowed edges of my quarter-mile long drive. They must be escapees from my creepy neighbor - who likely eats them - or perhaps his wife/girlfriend let a few go.

I can't be sure, but based upon past history, it's difficult to believe any sort of altruism is involved. So this past week, I toodle down my driveway and get another bunny surprise.

A lovely little buff bunny with a cottontail!

Adorable and cuddly looking - but still smart enough to allow me no closer than 25 feet. So here's a blow-up.

And along with Buff Bunny was this hybrid. It has the agouti fur of a wild bunny, but the more rounded plumpness of tame rabbits.

Oops! That's not a bunny! It's the mighty tyke known as Dinah. She thinks the bathroom sink is just right for a nap, especially right after she's been harassing all the other kitties. Lately, she's taken to creeping up and cuffing them quickly, before scampering back to the safety of her sink.
- from Through The Looking Glass:
"One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with it - it was the black kitten's fault entirely."
Ah, yes. The black kittens are always blamed. (Sometimes rightly so.)

Have a three bunny day - and may the black cat bring you luck (as they do in Britain).

Out of August...

Among the delights of living in the boonies are chance encounters with prehistoric creatures. I'm pretty sure this one hasn't changed much over the millenia. With its raptor-like front legs and fantastic camouflage, the Praying Mantis is among the most successful of insect predators. Mantises were imported to the US from China and Europe to aid in control of crop-damaging insects. At least three varieties and their multi-hybridized offspring are now found here.

I caught a glimpse of this one as it flew from one place to another to escape my riding mower. I was astonished at the size of it - at least five inches length, possibly more! Just as I turned to run for my camera, I heard a horrid snapping noise. My bad dog Freda had spotted the fluttering mantis and had her muzzle buried in the butterfly bush where I had last seen it. Oh crap! I yelled at Freda "No! No!" and she backed off looking both hurt and chagrined (see below).

Luckily for the mantis - and for me - Freda's jaws had missed. As I shot photos, I bemoaned the shortcomings of my digital camera with its lack of decent focus or close-up ability. Roy or Linda would have had a field day with their high quality equipment - and excellent eye/s for what makes a fabulous photo. The photo above is just about life-size.

As a child, these were/are among my favorite insects. I was thrilled to find an egg case, always hoping to be nearby when the tiny mantises emerged by the dozens or even hundreds, and once or twice I was that lucky. Even now - when their numbers seem to me to be greatly reduced, I get a little thrill when I find a mantis - or an egg case.

Here's Freda sulking. She is a bird-dog, after all - and this mantis was large enough that I had at first thought it a fledgling fallen from a nest. I made sure the mantis was high up in the Magnolia tree and commenced mowing.