Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wonderfulicious Wednesday - week in review

The Garden continues to gift me with
daily reasons to grab my camera; no reason
to leave the house! 
Yellow Barrel Cactus bloom against
a larger Barrel Cactus,

A tree stake is the perfect place for birds to pose. 
This photo was blended with a texture layer.

Shrooms among pansies.

Nearly daily I'm greeted with Sea Urchin Cactus flowers.. 
 They bloom in the 
early hours and die in the afternoon desert heat.

The above 4 flowers on one plant! What a rare surprise.

Above, a different view of the flowers in the pot.

Two flowers in the garden; ten bloomed that day.

Gardening allows you to
absorb the sounds of nature.
Anthony William

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Wonderfulicious Wednesday

It's hard to feel Wonderfulicious when it was only last Wednesday that mom
passed. What a rough week it's been. I plan on writing a tribute to mom
and my aunt who passed in Jan. but right now the grief is  . . . 

We arrived home on Monday from an appt. I barely remember 
going to in time to see this cheerful Oriole, The delight
of having a playful
time bathing in the water fountain
was infectious! 

Suddenly my mood changed from bleak to one 
full of joy! Mom knew I've always had a fondness
for birds which she always supported even when she
was terrified of them flying near her.

When I was 11 and very ill dad built me a pigeon coop and mom
allowed me to have at least 2 dozen birds. They weren't the usual pigeons
of the grey variety, though I did have one of those. 
The ones I had were exotic breeds, like owl pigeons, fan-tailed, 
and feather footed.

When we moved to Huntington Beach we had to
find homes for the flock and that's when a parakeet entered
my life. Followed by Cockatiels and a Parrot. It's been decades
since I've had birds in the house; I now prefer them
in the yard.
I had signs from my aunt when she first passed and
I feel certain that the bathing frolicking Oriole was 
a sign from mom. 

Every April the Sea Urchin Cactus start
blooming. Yesterday morning I was greeted 
with the two blooms below. 
I photographed them the night 
before, photo above.

Every year I try to get different shots
than the year before, it's a challenge.
I must have hundreds of photos
 by now.

The first two Sea Urchin cactus plants are probably 15+ years old
and never grew all that well when I lived on the
Monterey Peninsula. 
They've multiplied so many times
over the 9 years we've lived in the desert
that there are now over 50 plants of them
in the yard and in pots. Amazing! 

"The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a love one;
you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss
you have suffered. You will be be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you
be the same the same nor would you want to."
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Friday, March 25, 2016

Agave Bloom Stalk - November, 2015 - March, 2016

The mystery of the Agave Bloom Stalk revealed.

Some of these photos have been posted both here
on the blog and on FB, but they tell 
the life-cycle of the Agave Bloom Stalk that began
last November and is nearly over.

The stalk, above, started growing in November and that's when
a decision was required. Do I allow the stalk to grow thereby cutting the
life of the agave short or do I cut the stalk off giving
 the agave a longer life?
Actually, it wasn't a difficult decision; the mother-ship has
4 offspring 2 of which are shown in the photo below. Choosing to watch
and document the bloom stalk turned out to captivate me longer than
I expected. I had no idea how many stages the bloom stalk goes through.

Below. While not the best photo it
shows how close to the bedroom window
the agave is. Every morning I've
been greeted with the progress.

When the bloom stalk started
growing the tip looked like
asparagus, at least to me.

As the stalk grew buds started
At first they were tight and
then they started unfurling.

It's difficult to isolate the 
bloom stalk enough to 
photograph it.


One bloom bursting open
and one in waiting.

Both blooms fully open.

Close-up of a bloom.

The bloom stalk grew right through the 
top of the pergola. 

A finch enjoying
the agave.

The many stages of blooming.
The bottom ones are dying, the middle
ones are in bloom and the top are 
about to burst open.

Even while dying the agave is 

The resident hummer enjoying
the blooms.

In flight! After a few years of attempting to capture
the hummer in flight I was finally successful!

What a gift the bloom stalk has been; no
regrets about allowing it to go 
through its natural life cycle. 
Note: I have read that cutting the 
stalk off doesn't prevent the
Agave from dying regardless
of what my maintenance
gardener has said. 

And one last photo, Digital Art piece that
started with an image of a woodpecker borrowed
from a friend, Christina. I know that I'll use
photos of the Agave Bloom Stalk in my art work
for years to come. 

I hope you've enjoyed the photos!

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wonderfulicious Wednesday - At the Living Desert

Finally a few cooler days! The Butterfly exhibit at The Living Desert 
beckoned to us. . ..  but little did I know that it's Spring Break! I don't do
well in crowds. 
It was worth the wait for my turn to photograph the bowl full of butterflies. 
What a feeding frenzy! I didn't want to be greedy, but I was able to get 7 photos.

The yellow butterfly was on the cement walkway, not
a very interesting background, thus a blended layer.

And sometimes a sky is too bland. 
This is the first time I've had success getting some photos of 
the Bighorn Sheep on the mountain. Usually, they're in
a ravine at the bottom of the mountain.

The Ocotillo were blooming and we know how much I love 
bloom stalks!