Phototog Saturday

I was playing with my camera and took some quick photos trying to get as close as I could to some blooms and plants with just my 18-55mm lens and came up with a few pretty nice shots. One of these days I want to get a macro lens and really play.

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A daylily with an ant wandering around

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Another shot of the same daylily

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This a wildflower that I found, dug up and transplanted a few years ago, I keep forgetting what it is called

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An Echinacea just starting to bloo,

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A close up of a hens and chicks

Poison Ivy One – Susan Zero

Could someone please explain something to me? What on earth could possibly be the benefit of poison ivy? It grows prolifically, withstands floods and extreme drought and can live despite me spraying it with even the most concentrated herbicide I can find on the base of the plant for five minutes. I find this noxious weed all over my yard every time I turn around. I will be weeding away and reach down to pull a weed and there it is, suddenly visible waggling its leaves at me, taunting me, saying “Come on grab hold, I got something for you. I have a really bad rash just waiting for you. Come on pull me.”

As you might have guessed I am one of the eighty-five percent of people out there that has allergic reactions to urushiol, the clear liquid sap in the plant. I even get the rash from the dogs after they’ve run through the miserable plant. Poison ivy doesn’t bother the dogs, just lays a urushiol sappy coating on their coats, waiting for me to pet them and spread it all over me. I went online to research poison ivy, to try and determine what possible benefit there is to the plant and could only find a brief reference to “some animals eat the leaves and some birds eat the berries”. Come on what self-respecting animal would eat the leaves or bird would eat the berries? I know better, no one knows what purpose poison ivy serves, but they can’t put “I don’t have a clue as to why this plant is on this earth” so the vague catch phrase “some animals eat the leaves and some birds eat the berries” is inserted. Probably because I am the only dummy to ask what purpose does this vicious plant serves?

Look at all of the other creatures and plants, large and small, out there. They all serve a purpose; big fish eat smaller fish and so on. Some are pretty gross such as maggots. Maggots are fly larvae that eat decaying flesh so the world isn’t a stinky rotting mess, even as gross as they are maggots do serve a purpose. The thorns on a blackberry bramble are super unpleasant but the thorns keep a creature from stripping the plant of its fruit in one sitting, leaving fruit for other animals. But what purpose does poison ivy serve?

Could poison ivy be the invention of the Calamine Lotion people? Maybe that’s it, somebody sitting in a marketing meeting comes up with the idea, “What if we invent a plant that makes people itch? Then we advertise that Calamine Lotion is great for relieving the itch from poison ivy.” Then the little lab people go invent poison ivy and use a crop duster to spread the seeds. Pure genius. That has to be it; it’s the only plausible explanation. Why on earth would Mother Nature make such an evil nasty plant? Mother Nature is the great keeper of natural order. Surely she wouldn’t play such a cruel joke on the human race.

Maybe that’s it; it was a joke that got out of hand. I don’t know, but I know one thing for sure, poison ivy is out to get me. It’s stalking me, everywhere I go, there it is growing away happy and healthy, laughing at me when I walk the dogs, tempting them to come and rub up against the leaves.

Maybe I should buy stock in Calamine Lotion.

The Future Looks Bleak

Back in April I wrote about “The House that Nobody Loves”, an abandoned house that sits overgrown with weeds and tree saplings growing out of the gutters. Bushes are growing up the side of the house and working their way under the shingles. The house has fallen in disrepair waiting lonely for someone to love it again. Well today as I drove past it, I noticed something new in the front yard. A giant backhoe was parked waiting patiently for someone to come and start it up. Next to the backhoe sits an equally large dump bucket, according to Mitch, but I think it looks like a giant pair of grabbers. Grabbers with huge fingers ready to rip through the failing roof and rip it apart.

It looks like the end of the little abandoned house is eminent. I understand the need to tear down the little house because it now looks like a blight on the street overgrown with weeds and broken shingles, but a part of me is a little sad for the house and the memories it holds. I think about the ghosts that walk the floorboards from room to room, retracing the steps of children running through the house playing tag. Memories of a mother and a father hugging and loving the children, making them eat their vegetables and tucking them in bed at night. I can only imagine the love and tenderness that once flowed through the walls of the house.

Maybe I’m way off base, maybe there was no love in the house and that’s why it sits empty. Maybe, but I would rather like to think that the house was loved and that someone besides me will shed a tear when it is finally torn down.

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Who Turned the Clock Back to Monday?

What happened to Wednesday? I woke up Wednesday morning and could have sworn it was Monday by the days’ events. We woke up to thunderstorms and heavy rain, a good thing for us but our “water dogs” don’t like getting their heads wet making the morning walk more of a morning “drag”. After I took Mitch to work the rain had stopped so I thought the walk would be a breeze. Wrong.

As the dogs and I rounded a curve in the road I noticed the road ahead didn’t look quite right in the dark, then I realized that two very large limbs of a tree had broken in the storm and were laying across the power lines overhead causing the power lines to sag almost to the ground. I stood there looking at the distance between the power lines and tree limbs wondering if we should turn around and change direction or walk under the sagging power lines and tree limbs to continue on our route. The power lines hadn’t broken yet and there was no snapping or crackling so I decided to take the plunge. Yes I know that walking under the limbs and power lines is not a wise decision and there was a chance that the tree limbs could completely break off and crush us or the power lines could come loose and electrocute us, but turning back and changing directions meant I would have to walk past the neighborhood nudist’s house. So I considered the lesser of two evils and decided that being crushed to death or electrocuted was more appealing. I ducked and ran the dogs under the low hanging canopy of leaves and branches. Once on the other side I figured I shouldn’t tempt fate again by walking back through on our return which meant now I had to walk past the neighborhood nudist’s house on the way home. Oh joy. The nudist is a man who one summer came out every morning I walked the dogs in the predawn, nude to water his flowers or get his paper. Believe me it was not a pretty site.

We walked down the hill and turned the corner to continue on our walk toward “perv lane” when I noticed there was something small and white in the road ahead of us. The dogs immediately went on high alert and I tightened my hold on the leashes. Then the little white object stood up and started walking, but not away from us, no, the little animal was coming straight at us. It was a tiny white kitten left out in the storm and he wanted somebody to save him. My heart went out to the little guy and under different circumstances I would have snatched him up and taken him home, but there I was trying to hold one hundred and seventy pounds of teeth back from an early morning snack. I stood in the middle of the street saying, NO to both the dogs and the tiny kitten. No to the dogs telling them they couldn’t have fun with it and no to the kitten telling him to please walk away and live another day. For once in their lives both dogs actually listened to me and just stood very still and watched the kitten walk toward us. I think they couldn’t believe that the tiny animal had the audacity to come so close.

The kitten stopped about four feet away and just looked at us, then sort of side stepped giving me enough room to walk around him dragging the dogs with me. Orso kept looking back as I tried to put some distance between us and the poor little guy. I looked back and saw him start to follow us. My heart started to sink thinking that this was not going to turn out well. After a few steps the kitten turned around. Whew, I figured we dodged a bullet and headed toward the last leg of our walk, “perv lane”.

I fervently hoped that the storms had kept the nudist inside as we got closer to his house. Luckily no nudist but I did see the cable line hanging from the pole to the ground in front of his house. That explained why we had no cable television that morning. Finally arriving home all three of us intact I figured we were pretty lucky. I didn’t get us crushed or electrocuted, a kitten didn’t get eaten and I didn’t have to have my eyes burned out of my head seeing a very unattractive naked man. Bonus.