Sunday, May 30, 2010

Runaway Menace

The vine is kudzu (Pueraria lobata), one of the many non-native invasive plant species that were brought into this country for a purpose, but then got out of hand, especially in the southeast. The joke about how to plant kudzu is, "Take a piece of the vine to the middle of a BIG field, drop it and RUN!!!" It's not that fast, but it's not called the foot-a-night vine for no reason. It will easily cover this entire building and silo and quite probably the nearby trees by the end of the summer.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

2 Things Challenge: Organic/Chaos

The 2 Things Challenge this week is Organic/Chaos.
Since my screen persona is Eeyore, and thistle is Eeyore's favorite food (probably not so much because of the taste as much as he doesn't think he deserves any better) I had to eventually get thistle on the blog. Even though thistle starts out quite well organized, with rather pretty and regular flowers, which grow into bigger balls of purple color, ultimately, to spread it's future and the survival of the species, thistle must rely heavily on massive, overwhelming chaos. This one was growing in an abandoned field, so I'm quite sure it had no artificial fertilizer, pesticides, or color added, therefore it is totally organic.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More Backyard Wildlife

My blog has seemed pretty slow to load lately, so I'm trying a new way to get the larger images without going through flickr. The blog image seems just as large and clear as going through flickr, but when you click it, the resultant image is not quite as large. I think it will be faster though.

The bumblebees are busy doing their thing, pollinating everything in site. This is one of the clearest shots of one of these guys I've ever gotten.

Meanwhile this dove was just chillin' out on top of the swing, surveying the world and gettin' some rays.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Backyard Wildlife

Carolina Anole
Look close and you can see me in his eye.

Fledgling Mockingbird
This little guy was not long out of the nest. His mom was still catching bugs, etc. and feeding him when he would spread his wings and open wide. Look close at his mouth, and it looks a little bloody. I don't know what she's been feeding him.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lay Lake Dragonfly

This is another of the many types of dragonfly that hang out at Lay Lake. A previous one is here. Or maybe it's the same kind, just at a different point in the life cycle/molting process.

2 Things Challenge Brilliant/Hidden

The 2 Things Challenge this week is Brilliant/Hidden.
While in Florida on business a while back, my wife and I got to eat at the Sundowner Restaurant on Key Largo. As we left, this is what we saw, the brilliant sun hidden by the clouds and horizon. I think I know how the restaurant got its name.

Join us at the 2 Things Challenge site for other interpretations.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Amish Friendship Bread

A friend got my wife started making Amish Friendship Bread. This batch had blueberries and tasted a little like a blueberry muffin. That's the starter for the next batch in the cup.
Hot shoe mounted flash with an old alcohol bottle for a diffuser.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Birds and the Texas Moon

I forgot these photos I made while in Texas visiting my son and daughter-in-law a couple of months ago. The moon was full and bright right out their front door as the sun sat out the back door. It was time for the grackles to swarm like locusts, and everywhere you went there were these massive black clouds of grackles. While I was making photos of the moon, a swarm flew between the moon and me.

A few minutes later a small V of geese flew by, headed East Northeast.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

2 Things Challenge Initial/Impression

The 2 Things Challenge this week is Initial/Impression.

This is Shelby Springs Confederate Cemetary, not far from my house. I remember my Initial Impression when I discovered this place was, "Why are there so many Confederate soldiers buried here in Shelby County when it really wasn't a very well known battleground?" Then I discovered that after the fall of Vicksburg and Jackson, the Confederate Hospitial was moved to Shelby Springs by rail. Many injured soldiers were treated at the hospital, but those who died there were buried here on the hill behind the hospital (now long gone).
There are over 300 soldiers buried here, and unfortunately, 212 of their tombstones are simply marked "Unknown Soldier, C. S. A.". There are, however, 95 identified soldiers whose tombstones are marked with the impression of their initials and last name, or for some, their whole name and whatever other information was known.
Join us over at 2 Things Challenge to see other interpretations of this and previous challenges.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Brownies from Publix

A new Publix grocery opened up in nearby Calera and we did our first shopping trip there Saturday. My wife wanted some of their brownies, and I'm glad she did. We had one last night with a little whipped cream. Mmmmm.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

2 Things Challenge Cardinal/Number

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The 2 Things Challenge this week is Cardinal/Number. Five Points South is a somewhat historic district on the southern edge of Birmingham which over the years has tried several times with varying degrees of success to revitalize itself. There are several very nice restaurants and entertainment spots around, as well as popular gathering spots, churches, tatoo parlors, etc. This cardinal colored banner hanging on many of the light poles is one of the current efforts to attract attention, and money, to the area.

Is that color really "cardinal?" Close enough for me.
Is "FIVE" a cardinal number? Yep, it counts the number of streets/points at a particular intersection in the heart of the neighborhood.

But what I was really wondering is whether "NO" (another way of saying zero) and "RED" (a generic color that surely encompasses cardinal) could also count as a "Cardinal/Number" entry? I'm going to say yes, because I can.

So here we have not two photos for one interpretation, but two different interpretations in one photo.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Long Horn in Alabama

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While my wife attended a bridal tea, I drove around the contryside north of Birmingham, looking for something to put in the camera. I don't think this guy wanted to go in, but after a stare down, he went on about his business. These guys may be common and fit in quite well in a big ole state like Texas, but they are pretty rare and too wide for most of the cattle handling equipment around here.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

2 Things Challenge Flower/Fall

The 2 Things Challenge this week is Flower / Fall. Our wet winter has led to very prolific flowers this spring, even if they are a little late. One of our beds of thrift/phlox phlox/thrift (the debate rages on but I think phlox is winning) was so thick it resembled a waterfall made out of flowers.

Flower Fall 2