Monday, July 24, 2023

Not a Feature, but a Bug

(Warning: insect photos ahead.)

Over the years I've found that photographing wildflowers also means photographing bugs. (And spiders and bees, but for brevity's sake I'll use the collective term "bugs".)

Sometimes it's intentional:

Bee on blue vervain

But usually it's not. Often I don't even notice the bug until I'm editing photos on my computer screen at home:

Orange milkweed with unsuspected ant

Wild bergamot with hidden bee (I hope it's just napping)

Sometimes it's a combination of the two:

Bee on swamp milkweed with bonus white spider lurking in the blossoms

And occasionally I hit the mother lode:

Rudbeckia with very long-legged spider that
disappeared just after I snapped this photo

I used to be scared of bugs and spiders and bees, but after years of close encounters like these, I've learned that most of them simply aren't interested in me. They just want to get on with their buggy lives, and if I leave them alone, they'll generally leave me alone. (Mosquitoes and deerflies and ticks, however, are always worth avoiding. And I've learned not to weed near a ground wasps' nest.)

How do you feel about bugs?

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Monday, July 10, 2023

Cycling at 93°

The road exhales heat like a slow-breathing dragon
Trees let fall a benison of shade
Changeable winds blow hot and cold
and carry birdsong sweet as spring

I settle into a steady rhythm
and follow my shadow
towards the curtained coolness of home

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Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Red, White, and ... Green

Happy July 4th! Today I celebrated my independence by weeding the garden beds, working on a crochet design, and making pesto* - which we promptly enjoyed for lunch:

Gluten-free pasta, pesto, and sweet red pepper

Extreme close-up!

This surfeit of green goodness is brought to you courtesy of the aforementioned garden beds, supplemented by pots of herbs in the porch window. Despite weeks of blazing heat and statewide drought conditions, my Very Small Garden is flourishing (by the grace of God and with the help of twice-daily watering).

This year's crops include collard, kale, and serrano peppers:

Basil, tarragon, thyme, flat-leaf parsley, and chives (plus spearmint, not shown):

And two varieties of tomato:

All punctuated by dianthus and bright marigolds:

And to top it off, backup basil and mint in the porch, plus rosemary awaiting transplantation:

I feel rich.


What do you like to grow?

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*My pesto recipe is a very loose one, little changed from the version I first posted here: 4 parts packed fresh basil leaves, 2 parts finely grated fresh parmesan, and 2 parts olive oil, with walnuts (or pine nuts if the exchequer allows), crushed fresh garlic cloves, and salt to taste. Toss all ingredients into a blender and process to desired level of smoothness. I've recently started adding a tablespoon or two of hot pasta water to the blended sauce, which smooths out the flavor and seems to prevent oxidation.