Saturday, July 27, 2013

It Was Hot!

I’m sure that you have heard the news. There was a heat wave that covered more than 2/3 of the US. Just like most of the East Coast, the weather here has been HOT. No other word for it. The air temperatures were reaching the upper 90’s, add in the humidity and the heat  index said that it felt like 105 to 110….  That is much too hot for man and beast… but I had to go and see what LOVES this kind of weather!

So what loves the sun and heat? Sunflowers!!!

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Last weekend, I made a solo ride to an area on the Maryland side of the river (Potomac). I had heard/read about a Wildlife Management Area that plants some fields of sunflowers. I was going to wait and go with a group of camera buffs, but the weather was going be stormy… and the flowers were at peak… and after the storm the field would be wet and muddy.

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Field of sunflowers are not new. But the fields were opened to the public to walk in, is a nice change, instead of climbing fences or trespassing. There are several fields, in the area… in various stages of maturity. Next year I plan to visit then again…

This was one of my favorites pictures…. as the breeze would move, these flowers looked like they were peeking around one another…

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An of course what is a sunflower picture without a bee?

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I have thoroughly enjoyed getting back out with the camera. I hope you have too.

More Later!!!

Beth

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Special Flowers

On Monday, I took a trip to the Washington Botanic Garden. It sits just across the street from the Capital Building. The is a Corpse Flower that was supposed to bloom on Sunday or Monday. So I braved the heat, drove to the nearest Metro Station, took the Metro into DC, walked the 1/2 mile to the Botanic Garden. Can you say disappointment? The flower was still wrapped up tight and not ready to bloom. So far I have to say that the folks that are paid to predict things here are terrible at it. The Cherry Blossoms were late -weeks late, summer was late -months late (not that we are really complaining about it during this heat wave!!!), and the flower yep - Late, very late! The Botanic Garden is streaming the blooming… at the time of writing this, it still hasn’t bloomed. I don’t really have a real reason to see the flower, other than it is a once in a while thing… and well I could.

But all was not lost…. I of course had my camera with me, so I took advantage of the plants and blooms.

The Orchids were gorgeous of course… and there were quite a few. But this one was my favorite of the day. The purple and yellow are such a pretty combination.

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I also saw this long stem of flower buds, I have not idea what plant it is part of, but it was a good of focal point study for the camera.

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This flower, also don’t know for sure which plant it belongs to, but I thought it looked like a fire cracker or a birthday candle.

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Outside of the Botanic building the grounds were just as much fun. I found these little blooms on a ball. Those little flowers were smaller than a pencil eraser.

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And lastly, these White Coneflowers. I have seen pink, purple, yellow and orange coneflowers, but I don’t think I have ever spied white.

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I think I will have to make another trip back to the Garden when the heat index is not quite so high. And see what else in bloom.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Another Day Out With The Camera

After getting the battery issue with the car straightened out, I wanted to get back to where I was with the camera the other day… because the picture I REALLY went out to get I didn’t have the chance to get it, because I was riding shotgun in the tow truck!
So these are the result of my day out.
A weed.
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I see this every where here. This is the bloom. In the fall they dry out and are a stalk with a prickly top in a very dark brown. I don’t know what they are called. Anyone with a name?

(edit: I have the name. Teasel. Another quilter, Pippa (she blogs here and here) sent me the name and what it was used for before machinery came along. In the old days the dry prickly head was used to nap wool. But it also used as an herb in Chinese medicine and more recently against Lyme Disease.)


























While taking the portrait of the weed I found these shinny little bugs
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I also don’t know what kind of beetle this is. This is the coloring of the bugs, not enhanced in post processing… so I don’t think they are June bugs or Japanese Beetles… they are a beetle of some sort and a quick search on the internet did not reveal the kind.
(on edit, I did an Internet search for iridescent beetle and discovered that they are commonly called Dogbane Beetle)






















On the way back to the spot where the car died, I took a detour ….  and found this:
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An abandoned Mansion. I don’t know any of the history of the building… but it is clear that the vegetation is taking over!


































Just past where I broke down was a small pond. It was posted to keep out, so I was unable to get closer. But it was a very serene and peaceful place.
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And the picture I started out to capture was an expanse of wild Cosmos:
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The 2 distance shots really don’t show what I saw, but part of that is because of the location… on a highway and not a safe place to mess around with a camera…. for “the picture”.  But the portrait of  a blossom or two is just right!
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~ More later ~

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Quilted

Back in April I completed another small project. Took a picture, gifted it and then forgot all about it.

It started as a small hand project… Jan, my sponsor when I arrived in South Africa, (see this post) and friend, that now lives a few miles south and east of me went on a ‘Save my Sanity’ outing while residing in the hotel upon our return to the USA. She took me to Web Fabrics, which at the time was a bit of a drive, but now is my LQS!!!

Anyway, I stumbled upon a basket of English Paper Piecing pre-cuts and fabric packs…. and picked up a couple of them…. in the red, green and beige color ways. It they turned in to this.

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A holiday table topper. I gifted it to my Sister in Law that lives here as well, for all the hospitality she has shared with us. From getting us out of the hotel nearly every weekend while waiting for the house to close and celebrating all the holidays at her home.

Hand pieced, machine quilted, batiks with cotton batting and backing.

More later….

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nearly Wordless….

I have been trying to get out with the camera, and see the nature of Virginia and surrounding countryside. I only have 3 photos…. to show for this outing… a flower (weed) and 2 bugs (not scary).

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a common Thistle- I love looking at them in nearly every state…

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a beetle - Flower Longhorn Beetle…. bugs are fascinating because of their colors and patterns.

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and this little guy is a Milkweed Beetle.

and this concludes the photo session for that day. It was cut short when the car refused to start. Dead battery. After a tow to the shop and a few hundred dollars later, the car is now fine!!!

More Later!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Local Views

I recently visited the little ‘burg’ of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. It sits between 2 rivers…. The Shenandoah and the Potomac. The rivers come together and flow on East toward the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Oceans as the Potomac.

Lots of American history comes together here or maybe comes apart is a more apt term. It is where the North and the South Divided during the Civil War. This was not our original destination, but an accident closed the road to Frederick MD, so we decided to drive to Harpers Ferry… instead. We drove around the upper part of the village, and then took a drive through the Harpers Ferry National Park…. We were just in time to take a walking tour of a local Farm and heard a bit of the history from a Park Guide. I enjoyed hearing some of the history… and the start of the war with the abolitionist John Brown and his attempt to capture the Armory and Gun Factory in Harpers Ferry, of the area and the names involved, but when he started to describe the battles and who was where, I lost interest. If you are interested in knowing more….. see HERE or Here or here

cr-chambers-farm-canonI am always more interested in how they lived in those days… like how the cannons were hefted by men up the rocky hillsides from the train tracks below- about a 1,000 feet…. 10,000 pound cannons hauled up by 100 or more men in late June!!! They tried mules, but it was too hard on them!!! Can you imagine… that hard labor and the less than healthy  food that was available then? Not to mention the heat and humidity, that is always present at this time of year….

So they hauled a cannon like this up a wall of rocks and trees like this…

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A cannon row:

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So, when our guide started talking about General Lee and the other Generals on either side… I wandered off with the camera and took some nature shots.

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This butterfly is smaller than a Quarter. When it’s wings are folded it is smaller than a dime!!! It is an Eastern Tailed Blue Hairstreak.

Hiding in the shade I found a Moth resting.

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Also spotted was the remains of a flower. I don’t know what flower, but whatever it was I don’t think it is nearly as interesting as it’s seed head….

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On our way into one of the restored original buildings in Harpers Ferry, I saw this door latch. It has been there a long while…. and used much, as we can see by the wearing on the metal. Isn’t a beautiful piece of workmanship?