Sunday, June 28, 2009

Today's Flowers: Crepe Myrtles

I thought I'd feature the Crepe Myrtle trees that are blooming around town.
I shot the crepe myrtle above when I was at a doctor's appointment this week and the one below when I was at the grocery store. My crepe myrtle trees are like the watched pot that takes forever to boil. I took the shot below, this morning, of the one blossom so far on the one in my back garden. The one in front of my house hasn't started blooming at all yet. Interesting how far behind they are from the ones around town.For more participants, please visit the home of today's flowers.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Photohunters: Flags

The photohunters theme this week is flags. I enjoy photographing flags from different angles.
The flag above flies over the post office box where I usually drop off my letters. The flags below are in front of the Wake County Courthouse. The flag on the right is North Carolina's flag.The signal flags below were shot through a porthole aboard the USS North Carolina a retired battleship.
Although I posted some of my shots of the signal flags before, I took so many photographs that I had a lot left which I haven't posted before.
On the left hand side of the shot above you can see the USA flag just below the signal flags. This is on the deck of the boat and there is a small plane in the middle.
The last shot is very similar to ones I posted before of the signal flags. However, I took so many shots of the guns pointing at the clouds with the signal flags in between that I had a zillion, like this one, that I haven't posted yet. So I thought I'd use one of those zillion for the flags theme.
To find other participants, please visit the home of Photohunters on Saturday.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nature Notes - Sweet and Savory smells

The first two shots were taken earlier in the growing season but haven't been posted yet. I started thinking of fragrances as a bit part of what I notice when I step outside.
The sweet smell of peppermint is released when the leaves are broken which happens this time of year with all the insects around.
The oregano adds a savory scent to the mix which baffles sometimes when they all mix together and I'm trying to figure out what I'm smelling.The recent bird food which is maturing in the trees are the black cherries. The cherry trees are becoming a good spot to find the birds as they are snacking away.
There are so many different flowers blooming at the moment. I'm pleased that the different shades of rose of sharon are being added to the white ones I've already posted.
I love seeing blooms at all different stages. Buds next to full blooms holding promise for days to come.To find other participants in this activity please visit the home of Nature Notes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

How Many Blogs do you have, is the question . . .

When I received an email from Jeanne who blogs at the Assertive Cancer Patient that she was suggesting some of her fellow cancer bloggers blog on the same topic, I thought that sounded like a good idea. Her post titled How Many Blogs do you Have? is about the topic and following is my own long winded take on the topic. Warning - I ramble pretty far afield.Before I was diagnosed with stage III melanoma in 2005, the concept of blogging was very foreign to me. I thought blogging was something young people do and I never thought I'd have one much less two blogs. I was born in 1957 so although I'm not exactly old, I'm not a teenager either. My first experience with the internet beyond research, work, and email was when I started participating on an online melanoma support group, the MPIP. The first time I went there, I stumbled across it doing a web search to see if anyone on the face of the planet had a surgical drain in after a groin lymph node dissection for as long as I did.
It was reassuring to discover that although most people were able to get their drains out within 4 weeks, I wasn't the only person to have one in for twice that long. At first I was shy about participating on the bulletin board but before I knew it I was diving in and finding it very helpful to exchange information with people going through what I was going through. Some of the MPIP participants mentioned that they had blogs. My ears/eyes really perked up when I saw people in their 40s and 50s mention that they couldn't believe they were doing it but they had a blog.
When I started visiting some of the melanoma patient's blogs, I thought for the first time that blogging might be something I'd find helpful. This was my first blog and I started it initially as a way to organize some of my research links as well as work through some of the health issues I was going through. I had some funky scans ("worrisome for fdg avid malignancy") as well as lymphedema, myalgia, blah, blah, blah . . .
From the very beginning of my blogging on this site, I found myself using my garden photography as a way to get started. By that I mean that it was easier for me to write if I was writing around pictures that took the bad taste out of my mouth from talking about cancer, fears about recurrent/metastatic disease, the aftermath of surgery, etc. ect. At first the only blogs I visited were blogs which other melanoma patients had. Then I started visited blogs by other cancer patients (not only those whose cancer was melanoma). Then I started finding out about photoblogs and photography themes. Gradually I found that the photographs I posted weren't surrounded with posts which primarily dealt with health care issues but were more and more about gardening or photoblogger themes I started doing. I am still followed by a medical and surgical oncologist, dermatologist, and pain specialist and I get annual full body PET/CT scans so I still have reminders of my lymph node positive melanoma. However, having gone 4 years without a recurrence, I find myself blogging more as a hobby connected to the photography than as a way of dealing with my cancer diagnosis.
I even started to feel self conscious about talking about my health issues on my blog. That's when I came up with the idea of starting a second blog called Carver Cards which would be a photojournal with few or no words and this blog would be where I would feel free to babble about health worries and anything else on my mind. The funny thing is that both of my blogs are really more about gardening, photography, etc. at this point. I do occasionally post about scans or health issues on this blog, but less and less.More and more people are on facebook and I finally set up a facebook page but I don't go there very often. There are a lot of melanoma patients I know with facebook pages as well as other friends but for me, facebook is a habit I don't have yet and I'm kind of glad. There does come a time when online time becomes too much, at least for me. I like being able to check and see how friends with facebook pages are doing but I don't post there very much.
I think my post has been more of one long digression than it has been an answer to the question but I've enjoyed writing on a topic like this one. As I said, Jeanne has posted on the topic in her post titled: How Many Blogs Do You Have? The Cheeky Librarian has posted How Many Blogs Can a Blogger Blog Penelope has a post titled Why Two Blogs? Susan's post Climb over the Balcony is what gave Jeanne the idea of this as a topic. I am looking forward to reading those posts and those of others who, like me, join in after Jeanne's initial round up. I wanted to go ahead and put the links to those who are participating so far. In case I didn't answer the question within my digression, for the record, I have two blogs.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Today's Flowers - Blooms everywhere I look

I thought I'd start with my Rose of Sharon which has just started blooming recently. I have several different varieties and they come up throughout my garden. Since left to their own devises they become small trees, I have to think about it when I let new volunteers grow.
Rose of Sharon are members of the hibiscus family but their blooms are smaller than the tropical hibiscus. Below is a shot of my Rose of Sharon reaching up through the trees.
Another star in my garden at the moment are my hydrangea bushes. The blooms are at different stages on a single bush which I enjoy.The early blooms are white and blue and then they start to go solid blue.Later they turn almost purple. What surprises me is at the moment I have individual blossoms on a single shrub that are representing the various stages so it's a lovely mishmash.
There is so much in bloom at the moment, it's hard to know where to stop. Below is a wildflower which is very tall with small blooms. Below is a closeup of the flowers.To give you an idea of the size of the bloom, below is a wider shot and these are the flowers near the top of the photograph.
I have always loved meadows and I'm discovering that all it takes to achieve a meadow after years of gardening is to stop weeding. Some might see a section of weeds, I see a meadow.
My mini meadow is filled with purple cone flower (above), coriopsis (below) and blackeyed susan (last shot), amongst other flowers and grasses.
The butterflies, bees, birds, dragonflies, rabbits, and other animals love to hang out in my wild garden. The mosquitoes do too but hopefully they will be eaten by some of my more desirable visitors. I guess that's a little harsh but I don't like getting bit. I don't mind bees because they are more interested in the flowers than they are in me.For other participants, please go to the home of Today's flowers.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Photohunters: Creamy

The photohuters theme this week is creamy. I love creamy sour cream on top of tortilla chips, tomatoes and cheese.
For other photohunters, please visit the TN Chick's home of the hunt on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nature Notes: Rain, rain, rain and more rain

I am very happy that the hot muggy weather has given way to much cooler weather which is a nice break this time of year. It is raining pretty continually but at least when it stops briefly it feels great outside. I'm not a big fan of heat so I'll take any cooler days in the summer I can get.
I was pleased that I actually managed to capture a reflection of the leaves within a single water droplet which was hanging on to a spent flower for dear life.I am not complaining about the rain. I'd rather have too much rain than too little but it does seem like feast or famine. We had a long drought from the spring of 2007 to the spring of 2008 but that is being replaced by rain, rain, rain. We're even having flash flood warnings although my house isn't affected.
The garden is still flourishing although some of my flowers and ornamental bushes are getting beaten down pretty badly.
The bird below cracked me up. Maybe it's just me but I swear I thought he was giving me a "you talking to me" look.
The damselfly or dragonfly below is practically a permanent fixture on my car antenna, returning to it again and again.I have been checking my blackberries every day and this one is getting closer and closer to being ready. I wonder if the birds will get the first ripe blackberry or if I'll have that honor.
The way these mushrooms are growing up under the rosemary it's almost like they are telling me to fix some sauteed mushrooms with rosemary, potatoes and white wine. Too bad I don't know which mushrooms are poisonous and which are safe.
I'm listening to the raindrops pelting down as I type up these nature notes and I do so love that sound.
I guess I'll end with a big old broad leaf filled with . . . . yep, you guessed it, raindrops.
Please visit the home of Nature Notes for other participants.