Friday, January 14, 2011

Gemini to Taurus



Making the rounds today is a story that says the signs of the zodiac are incorrect and there has been a shift. What? How can they do this?


Suddenly, I am no longer a Gemini, but a Taurus. No longer the twin, known to be dual-natured and flighty, complex and elusive; now I am the bull, steadfast and prudent, solid and loyal--a bovine, for heaven's sake! (Pardon me if you are also a Taurus.)


One of my coworkers read the description of a Taurus and helpfully offered, "Well, you ARE stubborn."


Harumph!


That may well be. But what about "witty and communicative?" What about "intellectual and lively?" I am those in spades! What about my "mercurial" nature? Am I suddenly "solid and stubborn," like a bull? No. I reject this new designation. And while I do not read my daily horoscope, and I believe our lives are influenced much more by attitude and application than by astrological sign, I am not going to accept this new assignation. I reject it, and that's that. I refuse to be budged. Like a...like a...bull!



Photo of Gemini rose from Edmunds' Roses.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brush to Paper











Writing has taken a back seat to painting lately. I just needed to put brush to paper and not think. Thinking leads to trouble. Between over-thinking and negative self-talk, it's a wonder I ever get out of bed in the morning! But, temporarily, at least, I've duct-taped the mouth of my mind and have been painting. The results are not good, but I am learning from each exercise. Two self-portraits--admittedly somewhat severe--are above, as well as a floral experiment on watercolor canvas and an attempt to paint a tomato (hard) and a pear (fun).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Here's a different twist on Halloween, and I like it. The witch looks friendly, the cat is cuddly and the pumpkins are smiling. Here's to a Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wild Roses








Fall color isn't limited to foliage. Look at the three clusters of rose hips, all gathered on the 2010 Walk With Nature, an annual stroll along the canal path I mentioned last post. Aren't they lovely? And rich in vitamin C, too. It won't be long before the winter birds devour them.

Rosa multiflora features the tiniest hips. This rose is a non-native, once planted as natural fencerows. Unfortunately, the multiflora ability to thrive might have been too much of a good thing as it refused to stay put and now riots along roadsides and edges of woodlots. It's earned the dreaded "invasive" status. Appropriately named, the multiflora rose boasts a myriad tiny, single, white flowers in the spring. The flowers are followed by the hips, orangey red fruits.
The other two roses might be the native swamp rose, rosa palustris, and the pasture rose, rosa carolina. These roses are somewhat showier, having larger, but still single, pink flowers, followed by larger, redder hips.
The roses in my garden, after generations of careful breeding, produce glorious, many-petaled blooms in a rainbow of colors. The fragrance of many of them will knock your socks off. But once the weather turns cold and the garden roses go dormant, the show is over. It's then that the plain winter cousins outshine their cultivated relations, and it's then that I know the birds and wildlife--and I--appreciate the wild roses. Rose hip photos by JulenaJo.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Miami Erie Canal Walk











The Miami Erie Canal links the communities in this part of Ohio historically and literally, running through them like an artery, the shallow, slow moving water and surrounding vegetation creating a corridor of beautiful habitat for wildlife. Through the efforts of the state and groups like MECCA, the Miami Erie Canal Corridor Authority and Heritage Trails Park District, the canal towpath is preserved for hiking, and it coincides here in my northwest part of the state with the Buckeye Trail, a hiking trail that loops the entire state. This means there is always a nice place to go for a walk in these parts.
Although I don't often see animals other than the occasional duck or groundhog on the path, I think it's because they hear me coming a long way off. Gourdo and I usually have the dogs with us when we visit the trail. But the scenery is spectacular, especially on these beautiful autumn days.




Monday, September 27, 2010

2010 Ohio Gourd Show

















A year in the garden has paid off for Gourdo, whose entries at the 2010 Ohio Gourd Show scored a rainbow of ribbons (only a few of his entries with their ribbons are shown above). Congratulations, Gourdo!

The weather was perfect for the show at the Darke County Fairgrounds in Greenville, OH. Everyone seemed to be having a marvelous time viewing the selection of dried gourds and everlastings, seeds, dyes and other gourd-related paraphernalia that was available for sale. The artwork was again truly inspiring. It never ceases to amaze me what people can craft from gourds. There were lamps, jewelry, musical instruments, bowls, vases and all kinds of decorative pieces from the whimsical to the truly aesthetic.

Gourdo eagerly anticipates this show every year, as do hundreds of like-minded gourd nuts. For those of us who attend with a gourdie, it's a time to sit back and watch our loved ones revel in their passion. It's fun to observe from the sidelines, so to speak. My father, who has zero interest in gourds, attended the show with me one one year and had this to say about the hordes of grown men and women dressed in gourd jewelry and playing gourd instuments: "They are a very nice bunch of people and they seem harmless enough." That always makes me laugh to think of it. How else can you sum up such an interest? It is a little silly, but it's a lot of fun. Gourdies spend tireless hours planting, watering, training and worrying about their gourds. They harvest and watch over them as they dry, moaning over prized fruits that crack or turn to mush and rejoicing over ones that dry beautifully--which in the case of a gourd means hollow and hard and covered in mold. They rigorously scrub them and they carve, burn or paint them. They share them with anyone and everyone.

When they enter shows like the Ohio Gourd Show, they do so only for the personal satisfaction. The handful of ribbons Gourdo brought home will be cherished all year. He knows his garden was a success. There will be no money, no fame, no measurable glory for all his efforts, but that blue ribbon will fan the flames of his passion all year long. Way to go, Gourdo! I'm proud of you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Butterfly Summer 2010


If I were to sum up the summer of 2010 with one word it would be this: butterflies. This was the summer of butterflies. We had hundreds of them in my little flowering oasis. Buckeyes, black swallowtails, monarchs, silver spotted skippers, sulphurs, cabbage butterflies, tiger swallowtails and more swirled in kaleidescopic frenzy about the butterfly bush and nepeta, especially. It was dazzling. I hadn't seen a buckeye since I was a child! Pictured above is just one sedum in my garden--and all of the flowers in my garden were just as loaded with butterflies. It was astonishing.
I would put a chair in the center of the garden and sit there, with scads of butterflies swirling about me and it felt like heaven must feel. Fragrant, warm, surrounded by color and beauty. Amazing.
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I would be remiss if I did not at least attempt to explain my absence from this blog:
The long, dreary months of last winter gave way to a wonderful spring, and I was overjoyed. Plants that normally fail to bloom in my garden due to late freezes rewarded my impatient vigil with glorious bowers of color and fragrance. June provided warm days and plenty of rain. But the warmth grew quickly uncomfortable. There were few balmy days, but plenty of blistering ones. Thankfully, the weekly rainfall continued, but the 90+ degree heat and humidity drove me indoors, and there I languished. Without the sunshine to restore my soul, it was as though the seasonal winter blues never really left.


If I had one goal for this blog, it was to never let it get bogged down with negativity. So I quit writing. Several of my friends asked me where I'd gone and I just had nothing to say. A blue cloud had settled on me like a shroud.


Now, as I face the prospect of another winter, I am peering out of my turtle shell. I can't remain completely silent for much longer, but what direction my writing will take is a mystery even to me.