I was on my way to church this evening and there was a beautiful sunset. Unfortunately, my drive to church has very few good places to stop and see the western horizon. Because traffic on our normal route is heavy and slow this time of the evening, I went the back way, which does go over the top of a hill and give one or two quick glimpses to the west. I stopped the car briefly to take a very few pictures and this one turned out to be pretty good, I think. There is actually the top board of a fence running across the bottom but because all the ground has gone to black, it doesn’t hurt the picture.
Monthly Archives: October 2014
Autumn is upon us. The black-eyed Susan flowers have all dropped their petals and trees are starting to get a bit of color in their leaves (color other than green, that is). Many plants that have given us brightly colored flowers all summer are now giving us more subtle things to look at. The Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed), with its bright orange or yellow flowers has been transformed through a greed pot stage to this, where the pods are breaking open and the seeds are beginning to emerge. The seeds of the milkweeds have these filaments (called pappus, from the ancient Greek word pappos and Latin pappus, meaning “old man”) which enable them to be carried by the wind and spread far and wide.
All the black-eye Susan flowers have been reduced to little black balls of seeds. Most of the coneflowers have, as well. This is the last coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) with a bloom still on it. The purple is faded and the petals are splotched and weathered. This, too, shall soon fall, in keeping with our common name for the season. But I don’t mind. Some people love the summer and want it to go on forever. Not me. I love the autumn best of all. Welcome.
This monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus, female) was flitting around our buddleia for a while this afternoon and I was able to get close enough for a few good pictures before she left. This late in the summer any butterflies we see are often a bit battered but this one is in remarkably good condition, with no bare patches on her wings.
I’m still a bit behind in posting photographs here, but I have just taken 10 days worth off the camera and will continue adding them as I can. Thanks for sticking around.
There were some mushrooms in the yard this evening and I got some pictures of one of them, but they aren’t as interesting as the mushroom was in person (or in fungus, I guess). I also took some pictures of leaves that have fallen from the maple tree in the center of the yard. They are mostly read and orange but I found this one to be the most interesting. The picture doesn’t really do it justice but I love the deep, earthy tones of this drying leaf.
Today, I took a bunch of pictures of milkweed seed. specifically, this is Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed). I enjoyed lying on the ground watching the spider-web-thin filaments shimmer in the afternoon sun, trembling in even the slightest breeze. I’m not as happy with the pictures as I might be, but this one is pretty good.
Fall is in full swing here now and most of the flowers have been replaced with seeds, and of course, soon the predominant color in the back yard will be brown.
I had a dentist appointment this morning, to replace a filling that was going on 40 years old but which was starting to hurt a bit. X-rays taken last month didn’t show any significant problems under the filling, so it was just a matter of taking out the old and replacing it. When I got to the office, I have a couple minutes to spare before Dr. T was ready to see me, so I took a couple pictures, including this one of some of his things.
Cathy brought this home today to confirm what she thought it was. It’s an American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), and is a member of the family Ebenaceae, the ebony family. The heartwood of the persimmon is a wonderful, dark, ebony, although trees have to be quite old before they produce enough heartwood to be commercially productive. The fruit is terrific, as long as you wait long enough to eat it. Before it is fully ripe, it will turn your mouth inside out with its astringency. Usually, at least around here, waiting for the first frost is a good idea.
Cathy and I walked around my building a few times today at lunch time. It was a pretty day and we enjoyed looking at berries on various plants along the woods around the parking lot. We also walked down to the pond between our buildings and I took some pictures of the reflections and of the things floating in the water. Color and texture. That seems to be what autumn is about, in terms of photographs. Beyond the camera, though, there is the feel of chill in the air, sometimes a whiff of wood fire smoke (mostly in our neighborhood, not near our office), and often really beautiful light.
It was a beautiful day today and although Cathy and I didn’t have a chance to get out of our offices during the day, we did take a short walk in the evening. As usual, I carried my camera with me and took a (very) few pictures while we walked. This sedum is growing next to a mailbox down the street from our house and was particularly pretty in the fading evening light. For us, it tends to flop. This wasn’t tied up or staked in any way, so I’m not sure what the secret is, but it looked good.
We went down into Bethesda this evening. I really needed to buy a pair of dress shoes. My current pair were literally falling apart and it was to the point where even I couldn’t stand it any more (which takes some doing). So, we went to DSW and I found a nice pair for a reasonable price and we were done. I actually took a few pictures of shoes, but, fortunately for you, I’m not posting any of them. They are pretty poor pictures (without any soul, if you’ll pardon the pun).
After that we went to dinner at the Silver Diner. I haven’t been there since they moved, so I know it’s been a little while. Even with a line out to the door, we were seated in pretty short order. The food was good and we had a nice night out. It isn’t the best meal in town, but it’s reasonably priced, a friendly atmosphere, decent service, and the food was certainly good enough. I’d go back again.
We have a reasonably small purple morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) growing outside our front door. Many mornings we are greeted by a few new flowers which, by the evening have closed up for the day. If I want a picture, that usually means I need to stop and take it as I’m on the way out the door, which isn’t generally the best time. Today, the fact that the flowers were partially closed and downward facing wasn’t a real problem. The rain we had was covering the outside of the flowers and they were quite beautiful.
A mushroom person would probably be able to take one look at this and tell us what it is (please speak up, if you can), but I have no real idea. I mean, I know it’s a mushroom but I won’t even hazard a guess at to which type. It’s pretty, though, and was growing under a pine tree in our church yard. Hopefully I didn’t attract too much attention lying on the ground after church. It’s what I do.
It was a foggy evening as I drove home from work today. Fog is a funny thing, when it comes to taking pictures. It rarely looks the same in the picture as it did when you took it. Also, the temptation is to increase the contrast, which ruins the effect. In this case, this is about what it looked like on the way home, taken with my do-it-yourself (or did-it-myself) dash-cam. I do like a soft, foggy evening (or morning, or night), actually.
My office isn’t much to speak of. It isn’t terribly large and it certainly isn’t fancy. The furniture is simple, utilitarian, and almost industrial. I don’t have more than a desk and chair, a bookcase, and a file cabinet. Well, I do have some plants and pictures on the wall, so it’s a bit more than a monastic cell.
Also, and this is significant, this is the view out my window. I could do a lot worse, especially this time of year.
I was just about ready to leave for youth group at church when I noticed that the light outside was amazing. You know how sometimes, just before dusk, the sky lights up with a warm glow? Well, that was going on. So I grabbed my camera to try to get a picture of that light shining on the tops of the trees out front. When I got outside, however, I found this rainbow waiting for me, so I took pictures of that, instead, against the backdrop of brightly colored clouds. I took just a few pictures with that lens, then came in to switch to the wide angle so I could get more of the rainbow. By the time I came back out, the brightness had faded a bit and before I had taken three more pictures, the rainbow was gone.
It had been a particularly busy day, with lots of things to do after work, as well as during work. Then, at about 10:00 this evening I realized I hadn’t taken any pictures. I generally prefer it when I happen to see something and think to myself, “I should take a picture of that.” Pictures like yesterday’s rainbow are especially nice, because there isn’t any question that I’m going to think about taking a picture. Having to pick up my camera and find something to take a picture of, that’s not so much fun.
Of course, taking pictures of Dorothy or of Cathy is an easy out, but I try not to do it too often, at least not for the purposes of this blog. Rest assured that I take pictures of them now and then, either together, with friends, or individually. This evening, though, I asked Cathy if I could take her picture for the blog and she happily said yes. Well, it sounded happily. I appreciated it, anyway. And if I say so myself, I think it’s a pretty good snapshot.
We drove down to Richmond to get Dorothy today (or maybe I should say we crawled down, because it was about three and a half hours each way). Shortly after we got back, Hannah came over. She happened to be here on her fall break, so we were fortunate enough to have her for the evening. The girls let me take a few “normal” pictures (of which this is one), although we took a fair number of not-so-normal pictures, as well. I’ll let the girls post any of those that they want to share.
I’ve already posted a few pictures to Instagram and Facebook of Stacy and Bryan’s wedding but now that I’m getting caught up on my blog, I’m posting one more. This one is of them after the ceremony and just before the reception really got going. Stacy had asked me if I’d be willing to set up and man a photo booth at the reception. This is what I came up with. I got the idea from Dorothy’s high school art teacher but built it to my own design. It’s not everything I could have hoped, but I was basically pretty happy with it. The other guests at the wedding seemed to enjoy dressing up a bit with funny hats, masks, etc. and posing for pictures, so I guess it was a success. If you would like to borrow it for a wedding or other event, let me know.
It has become quite windy and a bit cooler today. Yesterday started out sunny and warm but today there is a chill in the air. When we got to church this morning, much of the parking lot was covered by a thin layer of pine needles from the trees that surround it. In the bright sun they were quite orange and, to me, very pretty. If only I had my camera. Oh, wait.
We had a slow drive to Virginia this afternoon, taking over two hours to get through the first 60 miles and a third hour for the second 60. Shortly before the traffic eased up we stopped at a rest area. The sun was setting and the clouds were quite lovely. The higher clouds were still lit by the setting sun but there was a layer of clouds much lower that were already in the shadow of the turning earth. Those dark clouds were set off against the bright, higher clouds and made a wonderful tapestry in the sky. Certainly a nice break from interstate 95 traffic.
I suppose that title sounds a bit like a singing group from the fifties. It’s also a little off because Dorothy is actually one of the interns. Also, the eighth intern isn’t in the picture. That’s life (”that’s what all the people say”). We crawled down I-95 to Richmond this evening and dropped Dorothy off. We had a nice dinner in a little place called Tarrent’s and came back to her apartment just as the rest were coming back, as well. So, we got to say hello and I got to take a few pictures before we got back on the road. Coming home was much easier and we made the trip in about two and a quarter hours, including a stop for gas. We only had to slow briefly for two areas of construction and for some rain the second half of the drive.
Cathy and I went for a walk around the block at work today. It was a beautiful, sunny (and almost hot) day. I took pictures of a few things along the way, including this one of winged sumac (Rhus copallinum), also known as shining, dwarf, or flameleaf sumac. It’s a weed plant native to the area and there is quite a bit of it growing on the empty lot next to my office, especially around the edges. This time of year the leaves turn the most remarkable, deep burgundy fading to a bright, scarlet around the edges.
We have four orchids growing in our kitchen. Two of them are older and larger and two were in smaller pots until recently, when I repotted them. The oldest is this phalaenopsis, which has bloomed a few times, most recently almost exactly a year ago. I posted a picture of it on Monday, October 14, 2013. Anyway, it’s blooming again and is quite lovely. Orchids are a bit tricky and I’m not convinced that ours are in the best spot. There is a heating and air conditioning vent not too far from them and I think that contributes to them drying out a bit faster than they like. I’ve been meaning to do something about that, but I’m not sure where I’d move them.
In November of last year (Sunday, November 03, 2013, to be precise) I took a picture that I titled “Autumn’s Chapel.” It was of Zelkova serrata trees that line a busy road near where we live. Today’s picture is of the same trees, this time lit by the late afternoon sun. The photo is a bit dark in the lower portion, but I didn’t have a lot of time to adjust the camera. As you can see, there is oncoming traffic and I needed to get the picture and then move.
What a beautiful day it was today. We’ve been getting more than our fair share of beautiful days lately (although come to think of it, I’m not exactly sure what our fair share would be, so perhaps we are getting our fair share, I don’t know). Anyway, I had a meeting over in the next building so I brought my camera with me. On the way back, I went out into the woods between our buildings to where there is an old, mostly silted up sediment pond. I took pictures of reflections in that but they didn’t really turn out as well as I had hoped. This is the stream that runs below that pond. When it’s been raining, the water is a murky brown, but today it was as clear as crystal.
I happened to be in a local Asian super market this afternoon and took a few pictures of the aisle of sauces and condiments. This is a picture mostly of various types of vinegar (on the right) with soy sauces to their left. I mostly like the colors and repeating patterns of the bottles. I’m not sure how many types of vinegar I might need. I have three that I usually keep on hand, a plain, white vinegar, malt vinegar (which is fairly plain, also), and balsamic vinegar (although not the really expensive stuff, just the ordinary cooking sort). I usually have two or three soy sauces, as well. A plain sauce, a dark (and quite salty type, and a mushroom flavoured variety.
After church today Cathy and I paid a visit to the cemetery where her father’s grave is. We put flowers on his grave and that of a close family friend who died in 1998 and whose grave is fairly close to Jim’s. It was a beautiful, fall afternoon, cool, bright, and clear. This picture could have been taken anywhere and doesn’t really show that we’re at a cemetery, but I thought it was pretty, anyway.
Do you know how you can identify dogwood? By its bark. Also, this time of year, by its leaf color. It seems to me that the trees in our area were taking longer to change colors than normal and I was getting myself ready for a less than amazing year in terms of fall color. In the last few days things have really started to change. The two dogwoods in our front yard are pretty amazingly red. It may not set any records for most colorful, but this year is turning out pretty well.
I had a meeting in the next building over today and decided to take my camera with me. After the meeting, I figure I could go through the woods and take some pictures. When the time came, I went a different route, though. There is a pond between our buildings and I normally would walk along the path that crosses the dam. This time, I went down the slope before crossing and walked up that side of the pond, crossing the stream at the top, instead. There are quite a few little aster-like flowers blooming in the sun. They aren’t particularly showy but nice enough, with their bright yellow centers. This one had the added interest of a green bee, possibly a cuckoo wasp. It’s hard to see in this picture but the wasp is a bright, metallic green when viewed in the right light. I did get a few that show it, but they didn’t have the flower, so, I went with this one.
I had a follow-up appointment with the ophthalmologist who did my cataract surgery this morning and all seems to be as it should be. Before returning to work, I took enough time to take a few pictures of a hedge of asters growing along the building across the street from the eye doctor’s building. It’s quite a nice hedge, growing about three feet tall and maybe six feet wide, running nearly the full length of the property, and absolutely covered with flowers. As is often the case with bluish flowers, they turn out more pink if photographs than they appear to our eyes. In this case I have not attempted to fix that and this photo shows them the way the camera saw them.
Cathy took Solomon to the vet today to get his nails and beak trimmed. If having your toenails worked on is a pedicure, what’s the word for having your beak trimmed? The Latin word rostrum is the beak of a bird (as well as the “beak,” or prow, of a ship), so perhaps “rostricure.” Anyway, that’s what he had done. When I got home he was sitting on top of his travel cage, which was on the floor of our family room. When Cathy went to put him back in his regular cage, I had them pose for a few pictures.
I know you are probably expecting pictures of kids dressed up for Halloween for today’s picture but I don’t have any. We had 49 trick-or-treaters come this evening but I didn’t take any pictures as I didn’t (to my knowledge, anyway) know any of them. They were mostly older kids although some may have been in fourth or fifth grade. So, this is a picture of the tomatoes that I cooked for the omelet I made Cathy for dinner. Tomatoes, spinish, and cheese. I pretty good combination.