3 July, 2016 Happy THIRD of July!
The original title of this post was “Mostly pictures, redux.” Neither title is attention-grabbing, oh well.
I put up a blog post in December of 2012 called “Mostly pictures.” In high school in the late 1970’s I read a 1971 book by John Updike called Rabbit Redux. Here’s a great explanation of the word from the Wikipedia entry about Rabbit Redux:
Meaning and use of ‘redux’
The book’s popularity resulted in a rise in the use of the word “redux” in popular discourse. In Rabbit at Rest, Rabbit notices: a story…in the Sarasota paper a week or so ago, headlined Circus Redux. He hates that word, you see it everywhere, and he doesn’t know how to pronounce it. Like arbitrageur and perestroika.
Updike pronounced the word “ray-dooks.”
So if, like me, you don’t know how to pronounce that word, take heart – we’re not alone.
First of the “mostly pictures” for this week. I know I’ve posted a lot of gardenia pictures recently, I hope you haven’t tired of them. Before this year I was at one time aware of and ignorant of gardenias. If you have one thriving next to your front stoop, you will be ignorant no more. When it comes to flowers that smell good, there are gardenias, and then every other good smelling flower. Lilacs, peonies, hyacinths, roses – they all smell wonderful and they’re all my favorite, but they simply are not even in the conversation with a gardenia when it comes to fragrance. Or elegant good looks. No less important is the fact I took this picture today – that’s a flower blooming in Richmond in July. Evelyn’s put a lot of hard work into this:
She also has these delicious (they’re edible and faintly peppery tasting) nasturtiums glowing cheerfully within a camera-strap’s length of the gardenia; this picture also taken today:
My dad’s favorite color – he would have loved nasturtiums. He probably already did; I just don’t recall talking with him about them.
She has our hydrangeas in full bloom, and brought some in to brighten our home (it’s dreary outside!):
Ditto for our roses!
I was fortunate to spend some time outdoors this week (all time I spend outdoors is fortunate) and of course photographed the ospreys near West End Assembly of God (WEAG). There’s a lot of activity around the nest, including two adults and at least one juvenile. The juvenile won’t be juvenile much longer. I’m not certain when they head south; I wasn’t as aware last year. Always something new to learn.
I believe this is the female perched to the right of the nest. See between her “shoulder blades” that sort of sunken dark area in her breast? That’s her “crop,” where raptors (and some other birds) store food before they digest it. If it was full, it would look like she’d swallowed a tennis ball. I see it all the time. But she’s hungry; that sunken chest is the body shape of every hungry raptor. Woe to an unsuspecting fish very soon:
This is zoomed back a bit; one of her offspring is sitting on the nest. There may be more than one but I never saw two at once so I can’t say for certain:
The male was very active and came in for a visit. Here’s the power line with him on the left and her on the right with the nest in the middle:
Evelyn and I also went out to eat this week at Perly’s, a downtown Richmond treasure. We headed over to the Virginia War Memorial after dinner. The War Memorial sits on a hill looking east down the river:
Summer clouds are the prettiest; these big puffy shapes won’t form in a winter sky. The photo above was taken facing east, toward Williamsburg, Virginia Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. I rotated almost precisely 90º left and photographed these puffy white bulges of cumulus piling up in the north. If you’re interested in weather at all (even if you’re not), we don’t get bad weather from the north or the west here in Richmond. When the weather is coming unraveled in our area, it’s blowing up from the south or coming in from the east:
In 2015 I was fastidious cataloging “Every living thing” at Pony Pasture. You can click on that “Every living thing” link; I did relatively well, photographing about fifty different species each of Pony Pasture Flora and Pony Pasture Fauna. But I never identified this dragonfly! I’ll figure it out this week; the people at BugGuide.Net are a treasure. And they’re so friendly and helpful it’s like having a really smart neighbor who will correctly answer any insect-related question you can think of, at any time of the day, on any day of the year. I know libraries and bookstores and books are really superb – very few people enjoy reading more than I do; I don’t even own a television – but BugGuide.net is unbeatable. For this week, just enjoy:
I stumbled across two more pictures I can’t resist using. This mockingbird enjoyed the evening at the War Memorial with us:
The other I thought was a Blue-fronted Dancer (Argia apicalis) but again I’ve lost my certainty! A year ago I knew all of these! How quickly we (I) forget. The background’s not beautiful here; tree bark or paw paw leaves are much more attractive. Please add a comment (or email or facebook message) with a correct identification of this lovely animal:
I’m coming up with more ideas to write about every day, and more structure. But talk is cheap! Hopefully next week. Two local authors have given me feedback; all I need to do is write! I had dinner last night with Evie’s and my friend Joel Elston, author of The Bench. Later this summer I’m getting together with my friend Weldon Bradshaw, author of My Dance with Grace. Next week…
Have a Happy Independence Day! Or if you’re not from the U.S.A., have an excellent Fourth of July anyway!