Sunday, August 31, 2008
Here it is already, the last day of August, I remember my grandfather saying that" the older you get...the seasons just fly by faster and faster each year". In my case, I'd have to agree with him. As my husband and I sat on the dock last night around 7:oo p.m., it was the perfect evening. It's my favorite time of the days' end...the sun is low in the sky, casting shadows across the land and pond. The tall trees look so majestic ... the sun doing its' magic creating the contrast of half the tree and leaves, bright and sunny...while the other half is deep and dark. Our trees are all on good sized hills, so it makes for an interesting pattern as your eye scans the landscape. The water looks black at this time of evening, with sharp, crisp reflections all across the ponds' surface. There was an ever so gentle breeze and the perfect amount of warmth in the air. I told my husband that I've really been feeling the need to paint again...something I've always wanted to do and earlier this year, finally discovered that I enjoy it immensely. He said," why don't you go in and start painting now...you have a long weekend". I didn't, and the reason being is that as I sat there, all I wanted to do was soak up that perfect calm. I kept thinking to myself and finally aloud to my husband, how few evenings we have left this year that will be like this. I have to make these moments on the dock last, soak them up and save them for a dreary day that's surely ahead! It was a bittersweet feeling. Last evening could've been late spring...how it felt...and the feeling would've been quite different. I would've thoroughly enjoyed it, knowing there were many more of the same to come. For my mother, she feels sadness at this time of day in the summer months...as my father passed away around that time of day...at home...outside. Perception...and now I'm thinking too much here...that's when I get in trouble! Back to the last day of August...not much going on in the gardens, everything is winding down...ready for a much needed rest. Our summer was particularly dry and hot...I can't pull our hoses around the gardens and pond anymore due to back problems as of last year(we have a very, very, very long hose!). That job falls on my hubby now...and with him driving such a distance to and from work...time is limited for him. If he pulls the hose in certain areas close to the cabin, I can water for a short time before I feel the weight of the hose pulling my muscles down...then I have to stop. I used to love watering my gardens with the hose, I found it to be relaxing. Uh-oh...thinking again!! Well, at least the bees and butterflies are going about their business! It seems that all at at once I've noticed a surge in bees, especially the honey bee. Mmmm?? To end this post on a happy note...I found a sunflower growing not too far from our bird feeders!! Obviously a little present from the birds which I was thrilled to see growing! A few years back ...we made attempts to grow them in the sunniest spot we had at the time, with no luck. Here's my little beauty shown just shining...in an area that only receives early morning sun for about 2 hours, and very late evening sun for about an hour! What is up with that?! Did you notice the little lady on the sunflower?!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Oh, yes I am!...Look who came back again today...and brought friends! I had just walked out onto the dock and sat down and it flew right down in front of me on the dock - as if to say,"where were you?" (just indulge me in my fantasy world!) Then it proceeded to come closer and closer. This dragonfly may have been the one that I spent so much time with yesterday. I can't tell you many times it was within inches of my face...just looking at me. My husband and stepson were fishing there watching this. It would follow me and my camera...so many times I took photos with the camera held smack next to my face..I tried it on the auto and close up settings...but the pictures were too blurry...the Dragon was just too close! It also allowed me to pet its' wings several moments at various times. I spent awhile out there and then I spotted three other "Ruby Meadowhawks" (if I'm correct on the identification). At one point... my husband moved our waterlily plant to a different spot. As he was canoeing away with the plant..one "Widow Skimmer" came right ON MY FACE and fluttered its' wings...a little upset maybe?! Not me..the dragonfly! Possibly eggs were deposited there? The pond is down a good eight inches...and the waterlily plant has grown so much, that it needed to be moved anyhow. It's a good thing my dragonfly photos are close ups where I'm taking them, because right now the shallow end of the pond is quite mucky. Not a pretty sight...we need a good long rain. The last photograph is just one of the times the little guy(or girl) was watching me!
It was late in the evening and the sun was setting...I was taking an evening stroll around the pond when I looked to the woods and saw a "preview" of what's yet to come. What caught my attention was where the beam of sunshine had rested, highlighting the lone tree that was the first to give in to the fall. I felt that was worthy of this photo. With green being my favorite color and the delicate damselfly also a favorite...I couldn't help but to sneak this in my post. There's the contrast of the fragile damselfly and the strength of the rocks. Such a great shot...I'm going to have to print this one to frame. How I wish the Bat that I photographed would have been as good...but, it will have to do for now...I'll keep trying to get a better one. I would really like to photograph one flying high with the moon in the background! Mmmm???...what do you think the chances are of that? Kudos to the bats, they are great for mosquito control. It is very rare that you'll see all five of my indoor cats together like this...must've been a really BIG Bug out there! They will get together if the turkeys are out walking around the cabin. Left to right is...DeNiro, Isabelle, Sugar, Scarlett and Licorice. And finally...a Swallowtail on one of my butterfly bushes. I still can't believe how the butterflies and bees just land right on top of a gathering of beetles and go about their business.
I am one happy camper!...I was quite surprised when this red dragonfly came to visit our pond yesterday! I am taking a guess at this being a "Ruby Meadowhawk"...and please...if anyone knows better, leave me a comment of correction. I would like to start and try to identify all of the species of damselflies and dragonflies that hang out at Wishnik Woods. It's the first time that I've seen this one...we spent quite a while together bonding. It allowed me to pet its' wings several times. I love that I was able to capture a photo while I was touching him(or her?)...of course my hand looks a little funky in the shot and full of grass seed(?) from having to push through some tall plants full of seed..o.k. - my vanity aside....that was one tough shot to take. I was in a half squat position, leaning forward, arms outstretched...and my arm holding the camera was unsteady and shaking! All I have to say, is that was one circus balancing act I was in!! All the while I was hoping that I wouldn't sink in the mucky marsh water at that end of the pond. The photo of the two golden colored small dragonflies mating are two "Eastern Amberwings" They flew all around me in this position and finally ended here in my Japanese willow bush. In the last photograph is a pair of "Widow Skimmers", I believe. Once again, please correct me if I'm wrong. Obviously, I enjoy the the beauty and amazing antics of these creatures. I am in the process of setting up a blog featuring just photos of the dragonflies and damselflies. They must just take my stress away on their wings and drop my worries off somewhere else... while watching and admiring them I am totally relaxed...I've found that calm.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I photograph many of my plants using the pond as a background(or a foreground as in this case) simply because the water compliments whatever I am trying to capture. Shown is one of my two "Pink Diamond" Hydrangea trees that I have planted around the pond. This tree in particular offers a waterfall of blooms...my other tree has struggled and has stayed small, yet still offers a few blooms. I really need to move the smaller tree because of the soil conditions, I believe. We just have hard clay and every garden spot has to amended, which has been costly through the years...and really, my garden soil is still far from perfect. I used to have 5 quite large gardens besides what I have now...they all had to be moved due to an addition to the cabin, construction of the pond and the pond itself. A couple of beds were just a fighting battle due to constant moisture, so I am moving plants little by little around the pond. When we first bought our property here, I remember sitting in my office with my husband and a couple of co-workers. My husband mentioned that after we built our cabin, we were going to put in a pond...one of the girls asked how big it was going to be. Well, I answered, "oh something small ....about 15ft. by 15ft." My husband almost choked, laughed and said, "you've got to be kidding me!!!" I pictured a small fishless pond with a small waterfall and plants around the edges(something to take a dip in!) He pictured a small lake with bass and bluegill! He got his pond -1/4 acre (and fish! - no dipping for me!), but I have my waterfall. I have to say, I now am so glad we did it his way! Also shown is an up close view of the "pink Diamond"... as fall nears, the blooms undergo a metamorphosis, they change to a rich pink/mauve color. As I mentioned earlier, we have alot of moisture here- we have a huge three way watershed leading to the pond, due to being surrounded by three very large hills on our property. I have lost many, many plants...even though I thought that I could amend the situation - wrong!! I used to have quite a few Scabiosa in pinks, whites, blues, and yellow. Now all I have are three of the purple left. We'd have to re-do many areas into raised beds..anymore ...we just aren't up to that. So, here is a photo of my one bloom I have! Shown next is another Hibiscus in rose pink...most of the blooms were the dessert of THOSE Japanese beetles. Finally, there is the tried and true...geraniums. I haven't a clue of how to properly take a photo, and I'm sure a few of you are experts and look at these photos and say to yourselves ...that background shouldn't be black...I don't know how it should look...but, I really like the dark background...just as it turns out! Basically, I started this blog as a diary for myself...and for family to see what moves me.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Let me start off by saying that you must be 21 or over to view this post!! See the first photo...well, I'm taking a picture of my waterlily, and my little friend flies right in front of me!!! Look closely!...notice the smile on that cute face?....in the next photo you can see why there was a smile plastered on the little mug! Yes....love is in the air here at Wishnik Woods. That handsome green stud...I have been trying to get a clear shot of him for weeks(green is my favorite color)....now he's strutting his stuff!...and right in front of me! At one point, the handsome couple in the last two photos were within a foot of me. I suppose the fresh country air, warm sunny days, moonlit nights on the pond and beautiful scenery make this a perfect honeymoon getaway nestled way back in the woods! (well now - let's just hope these guys are in a committed relationship!). All of this excitement is happening around here daily lately...hope there's many new dragonflies next year...at any one point...on a sunny day....there could be 30 of the dragonflies gliding through the air and a few wander off to the gardens. Next year will be the fourth year for our pond, my fingers are crossed...hopefully, come next summer I'll be enjoying the outcome of all this HankyPanky!!!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Deep breath in....and slowly let it out...a-h-h-h ..now feel the warm sunshine on your face and the gentle breeze...gliding across and rippling the water, through the young cattails...then gently blowing through your hair....hear the few crickets and all the song birds singing. How's that for setting a mood?! That view of the pond reminds me of watercolors. I still have a few more daylillies in bloom, not many...doesn't the day lily look as if it's saying come her and look at me with her "finger" motion? Yes, I know I'm obsessed with the daylillies and dragonflies, but this dragonfly photo I caught was after a little ballet this speed racer and I did together. This was taken in the late evening...matter of fact, the rest of the dragonflies had retired. I was out doing a last walk of the day collecting my third jar of beetles..I must've woke up this guy...I've only seen him once this summer...he's a big one actually! Dragonflies are the fastest insects on earth...well, he showed off his talents like no other!! All around me he zoomed ...and close! I must've ticked him off? I had to run in the cabin for the camera..he waited for me and the ballet began! I set my camera on sports action to catch this photo... I probably took 50 shots. Just let me say...thank god we live way back in the woods...otherwise if anyone saw this scenario of me twirling and leaping around in circles...they would've had a good laugh and then made that call to the funny farm! As of late, I am finally seeing a couple of other butterflies rather than just the monarchs...this colorful beauty is resting on one of my Hydrangea trees. Somehow, I lost my 5th photo here..our connection is so bad due to our location and being in a valley type setting...I can be working on something and I lose it...very frustrating!! So, use your imagination on the last photo...I don't know... maybe visualizing my ballet? Do I need to set the mood again?...no, for your sake, I won't go there!
Monday, August 11, 2008
Actually, this playful dragonfly is gently gliding just above the waters' surface! Isn't this captured moment just magical?! Love, love, love the reflection of the sky as a backdrop for this fanciful flight! What a life, huh? It's so relaxing and enjoyable for me to watch...dragonflies must enjoy life! I caught this mirror image of the waterlily.....not too far off was the small golden dragonfly, this type of dragonfly has become more trusting of me as the summer has progressed. Take a good look at the direction of Bandits' eyes as she lays under the canoe on the dock.....she was caught by surprise as this fairly decent sized dragonfly teased her zooming around and under the canoe....catch me if you can!! The little toad hiding under the rock finally came out just enough to pose for me. It is the most relaxing feeling around the pond...I hope you feel a little of the calm here at Wishnik Woods.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
With my jar in hand, determined to capture as many Japanese beetles as I could to feed my fish...I started looking under all the Queens' petticoats to find my prey. It was an interesting view...so I snapped numerous photos of the beetles hiding out. After loading the photos, I decided that I didn't even want to give them their spotlight on the stage here in my blog...so I went back and took another photo of the view...after I knocked off the beetles in my jar and filled the bellies of my fish! I find an aspect that I really enjoy in and around the garden, are the different contrasts and textures of what I'm seeing. Take for instance... the hard porous texture of the shade dappled rock with the feathery fern-like foliage and its' shadow draped over it...they compliment each other. Then there's the contrast of the dark, delicate damselfly...her silhouette strong... showing against the platinum iridescent lily pad. Doesn't the photo take on a certain dramatic, bold effect even though the damselfly, the two lily pads, the waterlily petal and the water are all delicate in themselves? It really amazes me how nature "plays" with lighting effects...depending if it's a sunny day, a cloudy day, a misty or after the rain kind of day...the same view you just looked at could look totally different two hours later! It just gives me another reason to snap another photo! I especially enjoy the sun/shade dappled views, and how the ponds' color seems to change so much depending on the time of day and weather conditions. I just loved how this dainty Marguerite daisy is laying across the rugged log...again, there's the contrast. Then there is the pond...and all of its' reflections...just mesmerizing...sometimes the pond surface looks like a Monet type painting...Mother Natures' attempt at impressionism! The last photograph is a reflection where the sky had quickly moving storm clouds taking over...yet the sun was still shining brightly...yes, I love the contrasts.