Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wild Thing

We went for a walk last evening--the dogs, Toby, my digital camera and I. It's a great way to unwind after a day in the office. Along the lane beside my pasture, there are dozens of interesting things to look at and photograph. I'm walking and thinking about my digital camera. Digital, what an huge stride forward. Of course I loved my old Canon EOS SLR too, but how great to snap away with a 4 gig memory card. No worries about changing film. Take a dozen photos of the same squirrel, save one and delete 11. No hassles having the film processed (or lost by the processor as happened to me on several occasions). Light weight, 12x zoom lens (which is approximately equal to a 432mm lens) but without the weight and without having to carry a bag with lenses and tripods.

Growing along the lane are two milk weed plants, huge blooms just opening. Lovely fragrance. No Monarch caterpillars on the pristine foliage, I always look.

Off by the fence, Queen Ann's Lace stands tall above the grass. Today she is just opening her blossoms to host the tiny predator wasps. On a more romantic note, the flower was named for Queen Ann of course who enjoyed sewing beautiful lace. The red at the bloom's center is a tiny drop of her blood, dripped onto the lace from a finger prick.
I barely noticed the clover. One is growing in wheel ruts or I would have missed it. No bees, they may have deserted the clover for the QAL. Had to lay in the grass to get this prospective.
To make a prairie, it takes a clover and one bee.
One clover, and a bee.

And reverie.
The reverie alone will do If bees are few.
~ Emily Dickinson

A little song sparrow follows us along the fence row. He probably has a nest nearby and isn't happy to see the cat walking along
his lane. The feathers on his head are standing up, he looks a little frazeled. Maybe the cat or maybe his kids are giving him a hard time. I wonder if he is the same song sparrow who sat in my locust tree and sang so loudly and sweetly early in the spring. He was a bachelor then with no cares.

The horses used to stand in the shade of this old apple tree. They picked the low hanging fruit and waited for the rest to fall. Now the deer get all the apples.
When we reach the hilltop beside the barn, a squirrel is checking out the logs that are often stuffed with peanut butter. Peanut butter is meant to attract birds so I can photograph them. The squirrels get the largest share.

I had to include Toby's photo, he sometimes thinks he's wild. This old, abandoned piece of farm equipment fascinates him. He wants his own blog post. He's pretty full of himself and thinks everybody would be interested in his thoughts.


Two days ago I walked 
the empty woods, bent over, 
crunching through oak leaves, 
asking myself questions 
without answers. From somewhere 
a froth of seeds drifted by touched 
with gold in the last light 
of a lost day, going with 
the wind as they always did.
~Philip Levine

I love this brief poem by Melanie Bishop. Seed of whim and chance, what perfect words to describe a wild flower. Click on her name to see more of her poems.

forgotten of days passed
seed of whim and chance
wild Queen Anne's lace

~ Melanie Bishop

queen anne's lace

by elizabeth perdomo

a wild queen of dirt roads & deserted places

with blossoms which crown the summer
& dust kitchen tablecloths with pollen bouquets

queen anne's lace tats the roadsides creamy white

looking delicate as a lineaged lady

it grows deep rooted
strong as a woman

How often my kitchen table has been dusted the with the falling petals.

I've heard this weed called cow parsley or cow parsnips. I don't believe that's the correct name. Cow parsley has a white bloom. These weeds get 6 to 8 feet tall.

Hope everyone has a weekend filled with long walks and butterflies.


A Wild Thing said...

Beautiful...beautiful!!!! I want to go on walks with you...clicking away with this wonderful gadget called 'digital'...and yes my little when house is 'wren-ted' the story of the Queen Annes' lace, never heard the tale before.

Have a wonderful, colorful weekend...


Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning Sharon. I have some pretty places to walk around the farm. The creek is a nice walk early in the season and then again very late when things aren't so overgrown.

I have wren-ters too. Those tiny birds have such a big voice.

Two things I know about Queen Ann: the legend of the blood drop and her influence on furniture;) I love those Queen Ann legs on tables.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Love your closeups! I just posted something in my other garden blog ( about taking time to see things closeup in the garden! I also rant a lot about being frugal! :)
~ Monica

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Monica, I visited your other blog at mlive. Didn't have time to sign up so couldn't leave a message.

Enjoyed the water wise gardening topics. That's something I'm working toward. I have a garden growing in slightly amended gravel which I'm trying to make work. In my area, rain is often scarce from July to October. IMHO, growing water wasting plants just isn't a good option.

Sitting in my garden and seeing/reflecting just is not possible for me. If I sit and look, I see a weed. Up I jump like a jack-in-a-box to pluck the weed. Sit, see spent bloom, jump up and deadhead.

I really see things thru the camera lens--but I still have to pull that weed. Even with the camera getting tangled in rose canes, I reach for the weed. It's a genetic defect inherited from my Dad.

Kim said...

Truly beautiful pictures and the verses are very moving. I adore Toby cat, isn't he a love? Have you checked out the 'wethreecats.blogspot'? Now, they are opinionated!!!

Kim x

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Kim. I have not looked at wethreecats. I'm excited, I love cat blogs. Thanks for the tip.

If I tell Toby you said that, he will insist on a blog. Then Voodoo will hear about it and want one too. It could get out of control.

100 Thoughts of Love said...

I love digital cameras too, but I must say i miss the creativity of my old manual Olympus everyone is a great photographer!
And that last picture of your barn is beautiful!

Eve said...

What a beautiful blog you have. I need to take time to figure out my new camera. I just point and shoot right now and that just drives my DH crazy. I know zoom in and far away, LOL.

I love the idea of the peanut butter to capture the bird pics. I have red birds, in my woods, but can't get thier pics. I am going to try that.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Pat. Yeah, I did get some great photos with the Canon. I don't miss stopping to feed it another roll of film.

That barn is probably over a hundred years old. Graceful for her age, isn't she?

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Eve. Thank you for stopping by to visit.

Good luck with your bird photos. There are a lot of tricks that don't involve trekking through woods full of poison ivy or hiding motionless behind a blind for hours.

A very pretty kitty you have.

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

I so loved this post! Isn't the advent of digital photography just the best??? I still marvel that I can taken "unlimited" photos and not worry about running out of film!

Toby is a cutie. I have a couple that act "wild" if they go outside too. But they're really walking along with me so that disproves that they're really "wild".

About the weed in the last photo... when you break it does it smell like licorice? Our fennel looks just like that weed. It grows just as high and smells like licorice.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

tina said...

Thanks for taking us along for the walk. Surely Toby thought you were nuts to get on the ground to snap the clover? He would surely have some stories to tell wouldn't he? Thanks for taking us along for the walk.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
That's quite the tour you have here! Absolutely lovely, though what you're missing is the dog shot, lol. As Elliott Erwin once said, "There are two kinds of photos. Those with dogs in them, and those who don't." Real hard to guess which ones I prefer, lol.

Rose said...

Beautiful post, Marnie! I loved all the poems here; the Emily Dickinson one is a favorite, but the others were new to me. I've always loved Queen Anne's Lace and used to pick bouquets of it as a girl.
Enjoyed seeing the picture of Toby; my Toby says hi and that he would be happy to read his blog.

Lallee said...

Your photos are just beautiful! I felt like I was on a stroll with you and even got to give Toby a scratch behind the ear. My camera is one of my most favored possessions.

Gail said...

Marnie, I feel like I just meditated; relaxed and filled with a lovely spirit. Your post was wonderful and the poetry very moving. Isn't it amazing that these beautiful wildflowers inspire both reverence and distain! I am in the reverence camp! Gail

Gail said...

A lovely walk and did I read correctly? Your kitty walks with you? Wonderful. Your farm is beautiful and nothing is more enjoyable to a wildflower enthusiast than wild things! Thank you...

Kerri said...

Hi Marnie,
Thanks for visiting and saying hello. I've thoroughly enjoyed this walk with you and Toby. Our most intelligent cat ever was a Toby. He was gray and white and a beautiful boy. Your Toby is a beauty too.
Your photos are wonderful! I especially love the squirrel.
Yes, digital is great, especially for learning and experimenting. We used a Canon Film camera for 35 years, and loved it. My digital is a Canon Rebel XTi. Seeing things through the camera's eye really opens up our world, doesn't it?
Wildflowers are a passion of mine too :) I can't remember the name of that tall weed just now, but we have it all over the roadsides and fields here.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning Cindy. I will check tonite and see if I can detect a licorice smell on the weed. The weed is a host for swallow tail butterfly larva so it must be in that family of plants.

Hi Tina, LOL You're right, Toby probably thinks my behavior is pretty odd. But if he blabs about the embarrassing things I do, I'll tell everybody about him getting stuck on the roof and screeching for help;)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi IVG, I have a good dog story I'll blog soon. This one beats all:)

Rose, I liked that Emily Dickenson poem too.

I love QAL stuck in amongst other cut flowers--or just by itself on my kitchen table.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Lallee I agree, digital cameras are the best thing. I bet I took 50 photos this weekend. Would never have wasted that much film.

Hi Gail, my cats often go walking with me if I'm not going near a road. The problem is, they walk very, very slowly. They stop to investigate every rock, every leaf, every stick along the way. Toby's pace worked out fine on this walk because I was going slow and stopping for photographs.

I really enjoy the wild flowers too. So many of them are endangered. I like the tough ones like QAL and chickory. They manage to do well in spite of the mowers and sprayers. How drab our roadsides and fields would be without them.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Kerri, thanks for stopping by to visit. I can't believe how many Toby cats there are:)

Guess I need to buy or borrow a wildflower book. It bothers me when I can't remember a flower name.

Cosmo said...

What a beautiful walk, Marnie--thanks so much for sharing it. One of our dreams is to turn some of the acreage into pasture for horses, but we're not zoned for them and we're not sure yet that we're up to challenge of taking care of them. But maybe some day . . .

And thanks for reminding me of those beautiful poems.

Anonymous said...

Marnie: Good to meet you! Thank you for visiting my blog at Ledge and Gardens. You have some gorgeous pictures over here and the Queen Anne's Lace is blooming in my garden also. It is such a pretty flower.

troutbirder said...

A walk with dog and camera, some beautiful flowers, a little history for spice and some poems for good measure. I love it. Thanks for sharing.

Roses and Lilacs said...

TB, thanks for stopping by. I was at your site a while ago looking at your lilies.

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous walk Marnie. I would be itching to go every night if I saw such things. The barn photo is wonderful, tho it's hard to single one out and I think maybe your cat should have his own blog or at the very least his own post! ;-) Thanks for sharing the sights.
ps I have loved photography more than ever since going digital, so another fan here.