Saturday, August 30, 2014

Kings, Kites, and Cauliflowers

The monarch butterflies seem to be migrating through town today.  It feels early, but I don't know if it is.

The Mississippi Kites are, by and large, are gone.  They've mostly been gone for a week.  It's much harder to note their emigration than immigration, but around the first day of school (August 20), they were actively congregating, and when we visited the park on Thursday (for it was not over 100 degrees, as it had been every previous day this week), we did not experience any eerie diving attacks.

Beet Down at DIA Root Down
The Mister is in charge of fruit and vegetable orders through Bountiful Baskets and frequently orders something beyond the regular fruit and vegetable basket.  Two weeks ago we received a case of cauliflower.  We had thirteen heads of cauliflower and I am pleased to report that, prior to picking up today's baskets, we were down to one head.  Having eaten twelve heads of cauliflower in fourteen days for the first time in my life, I can now authoritatively say that I love cauliflower, particularly the way the Mister fixes it with Indian spices, and I am actually happy to have picked up two more heads today.  It's the four bunches of celery and the fourteen prickly pear fruits for which I don't have a plan.  Suggestions?

Here's a picture of a Beet Down, by the way.

No, there is no point or theme here in this post.  School is underway; I am already behind; youth soccer may or may not start next week; my son's are in grades 0 and -2 according to the official paperwork; the Mister, Dianthus and Aster are in Kansas attending a rodeo tomorrow while I organize documents documenting how well I profess (and pick up vegetables).

One of my students reported that watermelon is her favorite vegetable.  She can do this because watermelon is the official state vegetable of Oklahoma.  Really.  This bothers me far more than it should.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fruition and Warning

After two days of prurient content, I am happy to present imagery no more lascivious than a pregnant or breastfeeding mother.  This should also be a warning to all of the flowers from Sunday's post; if you keep dangling your stigma out like that, you might end up all fat and sprogged up like this.

[For those of you wondering why I am prepping posts of plant pictures and bad puns on Sunday afternoon when school is about to start, rather than, say, working on my syllabi, I should add that there are lots of practical reasons (computer incompatibility, napping kid that I can't disturb with cleaning, non-napping kid that I must supervise rather than errand running and so forth) and there is plain ol' wanting to extend summer for just a few more minutes.]

Monday, August 18, 2014


After I explained that petals weren't reproductive, the crazy woman in the back of the classroom (there's always at least one, but this was my first year teaching and I didn't realize it), blurted out, "so petals are basically the makeup and perfume?"
Somehow I couldn't resist replying, "Yes, if the makeup and perfume attract the guy driving the sperm delivery truck, and he is a member of an entirely different kingdom of organisms."
Plant sex, with its animal intermediaries, just doesn't have any analogous practices among humans.
Many of these were taken on a cool day in Idaho.  You just never know when you are going to find the action.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Without the artful cropping they'd be pornographic

I'm about to crash hard into the school year (new adventures for all four of us, and we are not prepared, either physically, materially or emotionally) tomorrow.
So I'll set up a series of salacious plant images today.  Today is "alluring parts" tomorrow, "action" and then it will all come to "fruition".

 You're welcome.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

And sometimes it just gets blurry

Except for the small parts of plants in sharp focus, much of the last five weeks has been a blur.
Oh, and we also went to a Chihuly exhibit at
Denver Botanic Gardens
The boys have taken swimming lessons, camped, fished, cranked ice cream, turned three and five, seen both of their first cousins, all of their grandparents, all of their aunts and uncles, all of their great aunts and uncles, all but one of their maternal second cousins and all of their maternal first cousins once removed, run around like maniacs, played at three libraries, ridden the train, visited museums (train, dinosaur, farm implement, and Mississippi River)  flown a kite, eaten way too much mac and cheese, mini-golfed and made s'mores three or four times.  One of them saw several medical specialists and one visited a new state (Dianthus had previously crossed Illinois, and both  have been to Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri).
The Mister and I did all of this, with slight variations in the relationships of relatives visited, amount of mac and cheese consumed, and museum specifics; and also threw a party, attended the opera, ate wonderfully in Boise, presented at a conference, learned about herbarium digitization, learned that we are not teaching what we thought we were this coming semester, hiked, and saw graduate school and high school friends.
I really didn't take these pictures in lower light in order to make them blurry.  Constant motion can just be hard to capture.

And gardened with grandpa

Green ball in the air.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Adjusting the focus

I've become much better at flower photography over the last year.  Some of this improvement could be attributed to just taking more pictures and some to having lower expectations (and a greater willingness to toss out), but a lot of the improvement comes from my willingness to forget about most of the frame.  The whole thing is not going to be in focus at once.  And that's okay.
I'm trying to apply the metaphorical lesson here as well.  There's a lot going on in my life these days and I often feel busy and blurry as I try to control it all. 
Clarity and beauty can be found when I focus on a little at time.
Alpine Caryophyllaceae at 12,000 ft.  Dime size flowers.  ID anyone?