Saturday, March 30, 2013

Getting Outside Again, Late March 2013

Above, a Mallard couple in the creek that borders Pink Gardens. The reflections in the water remind me of Op-Art from the 1960s.

I spent about four hours outside today starting to clean off the flowerbeds. I always cover them with fall leaves for the winter. I did a pretty good job on the initial raking on six beds. I have another six or so to go and then my two larger shade gardens. Afterward I walked around and shot some photos. I have been very inactive in the photography department lately!

The creek is quite full this spring. It tends to dry up in August for a month or two.

Almost Surreal landscape in the backyard.

I believe the red stems visible in the middle of this watery landscape are a form of long-ago-naturalized witch-hazel.

Birdhouse and late afternoon western sky.
Central in my main perennial garden is this decaying tree stump. It's very medieval looking this year after the heavy winter snows. I don't believe I can even put the blue glass garden globe out on this year. There is no place to secure it anymore. I might start looking at garage sales for a birdbath base to hold it. I think this stump looks like a little crazy castle. The chipmunks gather around it and so do the rabbits once it fills in mid-June or so.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Recently Found: NatGeo's 1973 Space Posters

I recently came across these large fold-out posters published by National Geographic in 1973. They are approximately 38 inches by 24 inches and in perfect condition. I bet they've never been out of the magazines they came in. Above, the iconic photo of the Earth floating in space as seen by our Apollo astronauts.

The reverse side of the above Earth poster is this lovely painting of all of the Apollo astronauts. Recently deceased Neil Armstrong is on the right holding his helmet. The detail of the painting is really great. All sorts of facts and figures are also printed on the poster.

The second poster from a 1973 National Geographic shows the then recently mapped Mars from all "sides." Forty years later our newest Mars robotic explorer is sending daily tweets from the Red Planet!
  • You can follow "Curiosity" on Twitter, here!

The back of the Mars poster has this awesome painting of what they felt Mars would look like on the surface. While I don't think the wind is that strong with Mars' thin atmosphere, we know Mars HAS wind and features like "dust devils" that are like small cyclones. I'd say the artist just about nailed it back then.
  • For a photo and an animation of a dust devil on Mars click over to NASA/JPL, here
  • NASA just released this mega-billion pixel panoramic image of Mars. You can use your mouse to scroll from side to side in an interactive manner. The detail is incredible. Still hard to believe this is an entirely different planet! Here.

Someday I'd like to have these framed and matted. I think I would have clear glass/plexiglass on both sides so they could be hung either way. I'm sure I'd change them weekly, lol.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Winter Western WIndow

Stained Glass Window? During the late fall and winter seasons, the indoor plant count in my apartment at least doubles, if not triples. I bring in all the houseplants that prefer to spend their summers outside, and I also have several "annuals" that I've wintered over for years. The large Angelwing Begonia at the top has been around for just about ten years now. I've planted sprigs of Christmas cactus around it and they seem to thrive together. In the deep blue bottle, lower right, are stems of purple Tradescanthia, another annual. The plant itself doesn't seem to live longer than a summer but I always cut off stems and keep them in water all winter. By spring they're full of roots to make another summer plant. I keep changing the vintage colored glass in this western window because it's just so fun every sunny afternoon to see the changing colors reflected on the walls and ceiling and on my other vintage collectibles. This arrangement is very warm with all of these pinks, magentas, and reds.

Pink Garden's Newest Friend: Tom

Meet Tom! Tom is a wild turkey who has recently taken up residence at Pink Gardens. Tom walks with a limp, and I haven't seen him fly yet. He seems to be quite healthy otherwise, and comes when we call him for corn. The other day he was on the "wrong" side of the house near the tracks, so I went out and called to him. He waddled over, not being able to put his full weight on his left leg, and then followed me all the way around the house to the bird feeding area. I gave him a couple of handfuls of cracked corn. He almost eats out of our hands now. I've been in contact with an old elementary school friend who rehabs birds. She's been over but of course, Tom didn't show up even though he's here most of the time. She thought his "scats" looked healthy, and I don't see any broken bones or discoloring of any sort. We'll keep an eye on him and if he seems to be getting worse we'll do a rescue.

The way Tom walks around and pecks he really seems to be a little dinosaur.

Tom's feathers are iridescent with green, orange, aqua, blue, red and lavender areas. It's really quite striking when the sun shines on him. He also has what looks for all the world like a long, thin beard sprouting out from his chest, lol.

Tom's tracks and my size 12s. Too bad they were in the snow and had no chance of petrifying. I could see these in a "Human Museum" someday, labeled "walking alongside dinosaur tracks," lol.

The End of a Long Short Day
Winter's Burning Coldness—Though Winter's days are short in daylight hours they seem like the longest of the year sometimes when the snow is piling up, the roads are narrowing, and sidewalks nonexistent. Life just seems to be more grating and out-of-sync to me during this season.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Just a Lovely Summer Day in the 1950s

My dear aunt Hoohoo piloting one of their wooden boats in Long Island Sound. This small black & white photo is only 2 1/2 inches square, but has always captured my imagination. Her smile is so broad and real, it's just pure joy being out on the water with her then-fairly new husband. This photo dates to about 1955 when she would have been thirty years old. Believe it or not, the reason I colored that boat cushion blue is that I still have it. It's packed away in the attic. I really have tried to save as much of my family's history as I can and it hasn't been easy.