Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Butterfly Bush and Gulls

No, there is no connection between the two - except that both gave me moments of pleasure today.

My butterfly bush is blooming at last, and so I was pleasantly surprised when I went out this morning. I love the way that bush and the orange day lilies compliment one another. And, of course my first sunflower is also in bloom next to them, which adds another cheerful note.

Most days, if the temperature gets up around 80, I just stay at home. I went out this morning because I had to drop off prescriptions. Now that I'm home, I am definitely feeling the aftermath of the heat and humidity. But, on the way home I passed a farm field where there were dozens of gulls circling and diving. I had to stop and enjoy the sight. Click to enlarge.

Now I'm sorry I didn't think to use the video feature on my camera.

Tarra and Bella

D0 you watch CBS Sunday Morning? I never miss it. Last Sunday it ended with a story about Tarra and Bella. It was the second time they showed us this story. Tarra is an elephant. Bella is a stray dog. They both live at the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, not far from Nashville.

The sanctuary takes in elephants who have come from circuses or other venues where they have spent their lives entertaining the public and earning money for those who choose to display them for profit. At the sanctuary they live out the rest of their lives in freedom at last, allowed to roam, and receiving good care.

Each elephant, as it arrives at the sanctuary, seeks out another, and the two seem to become best friends for the duration of their stay. When Tarra arrived, she found not another elephant, but Bella the dog, and the two became fast friends, completely devoted to one another.

This second piece on Tarra and Bella made me very happy. It seems that after the first presentation, the owners of the sanctuary were flooded with contacts from all sorts of people who wanted their story. One of these offers was from Disney. They wanted to make a movie about the elephant and the dog, and to use Tara, or an "actor" substitute. What made me so happy was that the owners of the sanctuary said NO. They feel that animals are not put on this earth to perform and entertain us, but that they are worthwhile in themselves alone, and should be allowed to live their lives with dignity, in their natural environment. It isn't everyone who could bring themselves to turn down what must have been a very lucrative offer like that.

Carol Buckley, one of the owners, has written a book about Tarra and Bella, and no doubt the profits from that go to aid in the continued operation of the sanctuary, without further exploitation of the animals. It can be pre-ordered - due to come out in September.

The photos are from the internet site.

Monday, June 29, 2009


With all the talk of death recently, it started me thinking.

In the summer of 1964 my husband had his first heart attack. It's sometimes strange, the way our minds work - or don't work - in an emergency situation. I think that if the emergency is happening to someone else we are better able to be reasonable and objective. If it is happening to us, we are more emotionally involved and it gets in the way of reason. Ralph was not feeling very well all that day. As his work day ended, he definitely knew that something was very wrong. He got into the car and started home, and as he drove he became more and more aware that he needed help. Instead of heading to a hospital, or stopping at either his sister's home or his brother's - both of which he passed on the way - all he could think of was reaching his own home.

He literally staggered into the front door and told me he was having a heart attack. At the time we had three children, ages five, four and three. The neighbors in back of us were barbecuing outside. I rounded up our children and pushed them through the gate, calling to my friends to watch them, and I drove Ralph to the Emergency Room. Why did I not call an ambulance? I have no idea. Like his, my mind just wasn't working logically.

It turned out to be a very mild attack, but he was hospitalized for three weeks. I cannot see to drive at night, so I visited him every afternoon, leaving the kids with a baby sitter or a neighbor. The oldest was being really difficult and cranky, but I put it down to her missing her father and not liking the baby sitter. After a week or so, I was putting her to bed one night when she said to me, "Mommy, where do you go every day?" Of course I had told her that Daddy was sick and I visited him in the hospital, and I repeated this to her now. She got very angry and said, "No you don't! Daddy is dead." Well, that was a shocker for me. It seems that she had been listening to other children talking about a Little League coach who had a heart attack on the field, and had died. So, she knew that if you had a heart attack, you died. That was all there was to it in a five year old's mind.

Children were not permitted to visit in hospitals in those days. Fortunately for all concerned, my husband's room was on the first floor. I had the baby sitter bring the kids with me when I visited the next day, and she took them around to the window. He got out of bed (against doctor's orders) and came to the window to talk to them.

You never know what a child is thinking or how they are interpreting events around them. Even at that young age, Ruth kept her feelings to herself, and did not share them until she thought she had things all worked out. It's a bit frustrating for those who love her and want to be supportive. In 1964 I should have been more aware of her feelings. I suppose I was concentrating too exclusively on my husband's health.

By the way, he did recover from that attack, and returned to work after a stay at home, during which he drove me a little crazy. He was not a man who could stand being idle for long, or allow others to do things for him. We were to have eleven more years and another child before his next attack. He also kept things to himself when he thought they might worry us. This time I should have been more aware of his needs instead of concentrating so much on the children. His death in 1975 left me in shock. But, that's another story.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday #25

Every Mellow Yellow Monday, Drowsey Monkey hosts this meme for us, and we have a good time, finding beautiful yellow things to photograph.

Today of course, is no exception. I found a great bumper sticker, and chose a photo from last summer to go with it.

Mama turtle was busy laying her eggs at the time, but didn't seem to mind if I photographed her in the act.

Another Shade of Green

Bloggers worldwide:

One of our fellow bloggers is missing in Tehran.
Join us next Sunday, June 28th and post in support of the people of Iran.
Please spread the word. Thank you.

- http://oeirasdailyphoto.blogspot.com/

My words are not as eloquent as those of the Pagan Sphinx. Please go to her posts of the past two days. and follow the links. They will show you photos - if you still need them after the TV coverage we have all seen - of the peaceful demonstrations by the voters in Iran. They need to know that they have the support of the world outside of their country.

Although Sunday is designated as the day to offer your support, it is something that we can offer at any time, and I know it will be appreciated whenever it is seen.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday #58

Saturday here, but Sunday in Australia, where Tracy is hosting for us on her wonderful blog, Hey Harriet.

These pictures belong to my daughter, Kathryn. She and her family were visiting in San Francisco last weekend. They went to Crissy Park, on the San Francisco Bay, and she sent these to me.

I love these shadows!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Clean Energy

As you probably know by now - the Clean Energy Bill passed! It was a squeaker, but it did pass.

Thanks to everyone who helped!

as has been pointed out to me - Yes. It still has to go to the Senate. And we still have work to do to get it through. http://www.repoweramerica.org/ is one way to go. They will put you in touch directly with your senators, when the time comes.

My Garden

I am excited! It's starting to bloom at last! Only starting, mind you, but it's enough to excite me. I'm sure that any day now I will go out and see twenty feet or so of flowers blooming. I'll be eating more vegetables than just the lettuce too.

My first sunflower opened a couple of days ago.

The wildflowers have been blooming, but they are from last year.

And I planted the marigolds and the angelonia as plants rather than seed.

But now the smallest of the seeds I planted have begun to
bloom. You have to look closely to find them, but it's a beginning

This is one of the petunias from my big basket on the front step, complete with sleeping bug. Hey! Have you been eating my flower?

I think he's snoozing after his meal of petunia.
Click to see him more easily.

I'm really looking forward to the butterfly bush. The blooms are forming nicely, and a few are starting to show purple. I do enjoy that one. Most of the seeds that I sowed will be a surprise. I was given a big box of mixed seeds labeled for a hummingbird garden, so I won't know until they bloom how many of what kinds of flowers will appear. I know that I will love them all. Just hope our hummers find them enticing.

I took all of these pictures yesterday morning. In the afternoon I intended to head over to the local airport for some photos of the biplanes doing their aerobatics. They've been zooming around for two days now. I got as far as Bayshore Road. The gas company detours had the road blocked solid for a long, long stretch, and from what I could see, there were other detours ahead. I turned around and went home.

Instead, I went back to pick mulberries. I haven't had mulberries since I was a child. There is a tree all the way in the back of my property, where I rarely go, and it seems that every year I forget about it until it's too late. They fall to the ground as soon as they're ripe, and are walked on and mowed over, and by the time I think of it, they are gone. But yesterday I did manage to collect a few. Of course, I didn't think of gloves, and my hands quickly turned purple. A small price to pay. I was so pleased with my small harvest.

Do any of you have fruit trees, bushes, vines - whatever?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sky Watch #50

Klaus, Sandy, Fishing Guy, Louise, Ivar and Wren comprise the team which brings Sky Watch to us each week. We owe them our thanks.

Earlier this month I took these photos as I drove along a road past a farm field. I thought the deep blue of the sky, the few clouds above, and the green field made such a pretty picture.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Think Green Thursday

My thanks to Michele of Rambling Woods, who now hosts Think Green Thursday.

In a previous post I have mentioned Tootie, and her Turtle Talk. On Saturday she posted the news that our endangered sea turtles, the Loggerhead, pictured here,

and also the Leatherback, shown here laying her eggs in the sand, are in more grave danger.

She referred us to a news release from Earthjustice, and from the Center for Biological Diversity, to the effect that our National Marine Fisheries Service is about to change the rules. Instead of trying to preserve these wonderful animals, already in danger of extinction, they are proposing to pass laws concerning commercial swordfish longline fishing which would by all reports increase the death of these turtles by as much as three times what is already happening. The longlines also cause serious injury to the animals who are not dragged down to be drowned.

This report came out on June 19th, and the Fisheries Service is accepting public comment for 45 days. Their address is: 1315 E. West Highway, Silver Springs, Maryland 20910.

The photographs are from National Geographic.

I'm going to hit you with a double whammy this week.

Remember my last week's Think Green? This one:

Well, the House of Representatives is about to vote on the power bill.

The lobbyists, such as the Coal Lobby, and the gas and oil people, are pouring on the pressure. It will be a close vote. Please

Do it on your own, or you can call 1-877-9-737-6937 where you can get some direction and talking points.

Please don't let the bad guys win by distorting facts to influence the vote. We don't need still more rising fuel costs and further dependence on foreign oil.

For Poetry Lovers

Have you heard of the on-line Chicago Poetry Tour?

This from my daughter, Kathryn:

"hey, here's a cool idea http://www.poetryfoundation.org/gallery/walking-tours/chicago/index.html"

I haven't explored the whole thing myself yet - just had a taste of it last night. But if poetry is your thing, by all means, give it a try.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Squash Blossoms, A Day Without Rain, Gas Company Woes

I had noticed a little while ago, that a stray squash seed must have found its way into the large container where I planted my "magic beans". Yesterday I saw two huge buds on the vine, and this morning - squash blossoms! They are so pretty. Don't quite know what I'll do if I end up with squash growing in this container though. That should prove interesting.

My garden that Joe dug along the fence is going great guns with all the rain we have had. Right now there isn't much blooming in it except the day lilies, some small marigold plants I put in, and a couple of angelonia I added for early color. But soon the butterfly bush will blossom, and the many hummingbird flower seeds should have made themselves known as well. I have added a few veggies, but so far all I have eaten is lettuce.

We have made it all the way to 4:45 today WITHOUT RAIN !! That's pretty exciting.

The gas company has actually started a little repair of the damage done to our street. Not a lot - but it's a start. Lisa called me from work this afternoon to tell me she had just heard that there is a South Jersey Gas blog on line. Well, I had to go read that immediately. These people have been really pushing their product right from the start - which is, of course, quite understandable. I did not attend the public meetings they held at Town Hall, for the simple reason that I would not want gas even if they paid me instead of the other way around. I've had experience with it, and I really hate it. So I can't tell you what was said there. But I'm sure they presented it as all sunshine and roses - again, understandable since they want to sell it to as many as possible. Each time they had their meetings there was a huge bright balloon man waving outside the door. Very cute. They send a representative to homes to look at the situation and tell the homeowner how easy it will be to make the conversion. Only in some cases I've heard of, she is mistaken, and when they get down to it there have to be major expensive adjustments. They are really trying hard for good will. They are sponsoring a Little League team for the youngest kids, and now they have this blog. The workmen doing the actual roadwork are very pleasant and friendly. But I'm sorry - no amount of friendliness can change the facts. It's a very expensive proposition to make a conversion, and few people around this area are terribly affluent, with a few exceptions. They laid pipe all the way down our two block street. Two houses on the end of our block did hook up, and I believe there are two at the other end of the other block. That's actually at least two more than I anticipated, and one of them I know is not too pleased with what she found out after she was committed to it. Meantime, we are all inconvenienced, and the detours on the main roads are absurd. Water mains have been broken as well. And why is that? Didn't they check before they dug, as most of us are required to do?

I will be soooo happy when this is over!

Well, let me go back to concentrating on the fact that it didn't rain all day. That should make me feel better. I'll fill my hummingbird feeders, and later I will watch the fireflies. They always make me feel better too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

At Least the Lawn Got Mowed

Yes, Al came and mowed my lawn! I was so glad to see him! There just has been so much rain, it's really getting out of hand. But he showed up today, between storms. I say "between" because it's already clouding up again, and I have no doubt we'll be getting more rain soon. Remind me of this when I'm dying of the unrelenting heat in August.

The hummingbirds amaze me all the time. Doesn't matter how it storms, or how the wind is whipping around, those tiny things come to the feeders as if the sun was shining.

The piles of dirt left by the gas line guys have now turned to piles of mud. What a mess! No one has come back to replace grass or mend broken driveways as yet. Al mows all over the Township, and he told me they have all the streets pretty broken up. We won't hold our breath until things are back to normal.

Think I'll go bring the car back into the drive, so it's easier to jump in during the next storm.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday #24

Our friend, Drowsey Monkey, hosts Mellow Yellow Monday for us each week. Everyone shares something bright and sunny yellow. I don't know - maybe this is sort of cheating. But they are always on yellow Post It Notes. I just love Doug Savage's Savage Chickens. I get them by e-mail every week day. So I thought I might share a few with you today.

Fathers' Day

May I wish a very Happy Fathers' Day to all the Dads out there!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday #57

Happy Fathers' Day to all the Dads out there!

It's Shadow Shot Sunday once again! I love this meme! Thank you, Tracy.

I've been noticing for a long time the shadows made by the overhead wires on our highways. Never stop to take a photo. This week, I did it - not stop, but took pictures right through the windshield as I drove along. Not too bad, considering. I like their patterns.

The awnings on the house and the trees make nice shadows too.

Please forgive me if I don't comment much for a day or two. Not feeling up to par just now.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thematic Photographic #54

Carmi, our host for Thematic Photographic, has decided on "Green" as our theme for this week. The word "green" has many connotations these days, starting with the political protestors in Iran, through environmental interests, and all the way to the wonderful, lush green colors of spring and summer.

It is the latter that I am presenting today. The first photo is one of our local roads. Each time I turn onto it, it makes me smile, no matter what the season.

The second is a lane that also makes me smile. It leads to green pastures.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sky Watch #49

The team of Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise are once again hosting Sky Watch Friday for us. Thanks, guys.

About 8:00 o'clock one evening last week I looked out and could not resist taking a ride to photograph the lovely, soft colors of the sunset.