Monday, March 06, 2006

Picture This

I'm growing weary of winter. It's been extra gloomy this year, with much more rain than usual.

I don't usually mind winter, as long as something exciting happens to break the monotony. Last year we had an ice storm. That made for some interesting photographs. But this winter, every time I've had a yen to go snap some pictures it's been soppy out and that's not good for my camera.

I'll be glad when spring gets here. It can't be far off now. Already some of the peach trees are budding and under Elmira the Elm tree a few bulbs have shot up. The purple hyacinth is even putting out early blooms. Larry covers it with a bucket each evening, just in case we get frost.

I'll be glad when it gets warm because the insects will be back. I like taking pictures of insects, especially bees. I was on a bee-photographing kick last June when I took this picture of a bumblee on the coneflower.

The thing about bees, though, is that they run out of patience with you if you follow them around. One stung me on the hand last summer when I was trying to get its picture, which was very upsetting. Not as upsetting as that Terrible Incident With the Monkey, but upsetting nonetheless.

After getting stung, I went into a temporary snit during which I refused to have anything to do with Nature.

But I couldn't stay away.

Two days later I was back, snapping pictures of moths on moonflowers. Moths are nicer. They're less businesslike than bees don't give a care if you photograph them.


Taylor said...

under Elmira the Elm

I thought I was the only nut who named my trees. I did some landscaping in August and bought a couple of Italian Cypresses. I christened them Romulus and Remus. They're lovely. Anyway, nice photos, Morgan. It is fun to get out there and see what you can capture with the camera.

Morgan said...

Ah, the twins from the Roman legend. Alex was always fond of that story. We read it last year and she wanted to know if a wolf could *really* raise a child.

Those are good names for trees.

Elmira is the only one we've named, but it's because she's the largest. Larry's put in a huge flower bed underneath her full of flowers and exotic ferns.

Thanks for your kind words, Taylor. I'm glad you like the pictures. I'm a total shutterbug. I love photography.

tc said...

When I was about 10 years old on the farm, my grandmother had to have a pair of locusts removed from her yard. My brother and I were nearly inconsolable about this, so my grandmother gave us each a few burr-oak acorns and showed us how to plant them in the soil where the trees had been removed.

Mine is now about 25 feet tall--burr oaks grow very slowly, but live next to forever. When I die, my ashes will go around it.

Burrs are wonderful trees. Across from my grandmother's old place (where my 83 year old fierce mother lives) is the 5 acres that I grew up on. There are a pair of burr-oaks there that are simply huge. The interesting thing is that I have seen photos of the property from the 1890s, and the two trees are a bit smaller in diameter, but otherwise indistinguishable from what they look like now.

During my childhood we had a 240 acre woods along Baily Creek that we ran cows in. The cows kept the brush down and it was Paradise. There were badgers and foxes and skunks and owls. During the winter, to suppliment our paltry income (the cows were dry), my brother and I borrowed a 'coon dog from a friend and hunted on moonlit, snowcovered nights.

If you've got Googe Earth, the coordinates are:

41 degrees 14' 11.28" N
89 degrees 03' 05.84" W

The woods are still there, but changed. About 30 years ago, the new owner cut down all the trees larger than 10 inches in diameter. I cried. He didn't let cows in anymore to keep the brush down, so it overflowed with multi-flora rose.

It now belongs to the animals--there's even some wolves there now, I hear. The brush is too thick for humans to get into. I still find myself there in dreams.

I'm surprised that the bumblers stung you. There's usually pretty darn mellow. Watch white and pastel clothing, because they put UV enhancers in laundry detergents, and bees see in the near-UV. They may have thought you were a flower and were sorely disappointed to find that you were not.


Taylor said...

hunted on moonlit, snowcovered nights.

Tom, those childhood memories are enchanting. Your description reminds me, when, as a young girl, I would ride alone, all bundled up, in the dead quiet of a still winter night, full moon, big snow flakes falling steadily and silently. Walking slowly through the white, glistening field, the only sound is the snow being crunched under my horse's hooves.

So many wonderful memories with my horse. I even got my very first real kiss while cleaning out the stall one summer's day. C.R. walks in, looks at me and says "You look like a model standing there - even with that shovel in your hand and sawdust in your hair." Then he walks over and lands one right on my lips! I will never forget that kiss.

tc said...

Man, I never got any kisses while I was cleaning out the barn. About the best the town-girls would do would be to look in the door and go, "Ewwwwww."


Taylor said...

Those town-girls didn't know what they were missing...

Morgan said...


That was beautiful, the way you described the trees and your memories among them. You've possess a poet's soul!

I share your fondness for locust trees, the way they branch out and provide so much cover if allowed.

"...(where my 83 year old fierce mother lives)..."

I just love that. Everyone should have a fierce mother!

"I'm surprised that the bumblers stung you."

Oh, I misled you. It wasn't a bumblebee that stung me, but a particularly ill-tempered honeybee. The bumblebees sometime get agitated, but are generally slow to anger.

I'll keep in mind what you mentioned about the clothing and detergent. I know that bees have a fondness for certain herbal shampoos I use. I don't know what it is.

Taylor said...

Now that I recall - really silly town-girls... There's nothing like an old barn with a nice, cozy hay loft.

Morgan said...

I've been meaning to ask you. What kind of horse do you have? We have a Haflinger and a sheltand pony.

tc said...

Haylofts, ow ow ow ow ow ow.

Actually, my first real kiss......

I was visiting a town girl who lived on the edge and had a horse (as a matter of fact). We had just leapt down from the loft (me 15 and she 14) and my hormones had risen enough for me to dare to give it a try. I've been a kissing fan ever since and traces of it still linger on my lips (most noticable on spring days.)

And, Morgan, I have to return the poet's soul. The Boss says that we made a mistake on the Contract. I had even put air holes in the top of the empty peanut butter jar I keep it in on my desk.


Taylor said...

I don't have my own horse anymore. The only time I had one of my own was when I was a kid. Cinnamon, a thoroughbred, sorrel mare, 17 hands tall. She wasn't very well trained when I got her from a friend of the family. I knew absolutely nothing about horses. She almost killed me. She'd grab that bit with her teeth and take off, running away, jumping over fences - she'd be the only one to make it to the other side, I'd be on my arse on the ground. But I finally got her - a hackamore bridle! She was one hell of a jumper. So, I learned how to ride the hard way and after that could stay on em like glue, no matter what they tried.

I lived in the city. Boarded the horse at some stables. Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not a country girl.

I have a friend with a ranch and I'll go out to his place and ride his horse - a big, 5-year old Palomino gelding. I think of him as mine, but he's not :-(

tc said...

I was always a bit intimidated by our equine friends. I was fascinated by the young ladies' abilities with something the size of a cow that kept giving me dirty looks and biting me when they weren't looking--something definitely malevolent going on there.

Morgan, any skill that I may have with words is not innate. I am a great believer in the use of the printed or spoken medium as a canvas on which to paint. I was horrid in my youth, but was fortunate enough to meet a professional philosopher when I was in my early 20s.

His name was Karl Hess and he was welding on the side--lived in West Virginia. If you get a chance, you might do a google on him, he ended up quite famous in his own right, as well as knowing about everyone interesting in the country at the time. He did the July 1976 (Bicentennial) Playboy interview on the future of America after 200 years.

In any case, he thought I showed some promise and tore my writing up repeatedly like Mr. Miyagi did to the skill of the Karate Kid, and with about as much tact. I got a bit better after that, and have never forgotten what he taught me. I know you write for a living, so your compliment is received with the respect it is due.


Morgan said...

"And, Morgan, I have to return the poet's soul. The Boss says that we made a mistake on the Contract. I had even put air holes in the top of the empty peanut butter jar I keep it in on my desk."

Well, I think you should keep it. But if you must return it a well-ventilated jar is a good ideas. It's essential that creative souls be allowed to ~*~breathe~*~

What you say about Hess is interesting, Tom, because I'm of the opinion that the ability to write is innate. Hess may have helped to bring out the writer within, but I think you aren't giving yourself enough credit. I don't think anyone can teach you how to have an ear for rythym, syntax, etc. They can show you how to tap into those things, but they can't instill them.

However, I will Google him nonetheless.

Morgan said...

"I have a friend with a ranch and I'll go out to his place and ride his horse - a big, 5-year old Palomino gelding. I think of him as mine, but he's not :-( "

Ahh, that makes me sad. We love our ponies so much. I'll have to post something with pictures of them soon just for you, Taylor.

Taylor said...

We love our ponies so much. I'll have to post something with pictures of them soon just for you, Taylor

Awww, thanks, Morgan. I got horse crazy as a girl and have loved them ever since. I feel so privileged to have had Cinnamon. And I love ponies too. What I also think are precious are those miniatures. Ayeee! so cute. You know, they're from Argentina! I'm trying to talk my aunt into getting one...

We had just leapt down from the loft

Uh-huh! Glad I could joggle your memory there, Tom. See what I mean about haylofts?

tc said...

heh heh heh

Tell ya what, I've got some evidence here. Read this interview of Karl's from Mother Earth News and see if his style seems familiar to anyone you've just met.....

Just rereading it has caused me to choke up a bit. He was a wonderful, wonderful man.

tc said...

Morgan, they've bollixed up the net address of the article. I'll email you the link.

Damn Blogger


Morgan said...

I got the link in my email along with your other - very educational - email. I've bookmarked the link and will respond to your note this evening. I'd love to know what your friend wants for the loom.