Summer Lovin’ Bovines

On my drive home today, this herd of cattle grazing in the high summer grasses caught my eye. Their bodies glistened bronze gold and coal blue in the evening light.

cattle herd in summer pasture

cattle herd in summer pasture

I pulled my car to the side of the road and got out, camera in hand. The only sound around me was the rustling of dry grasses as the animals slowly moved through the field grabbing mouthfuls of grass along the way. Every once in a while, I could hear tails swishing through the air, a useless attempt to chase away clouds of flies.

As I watched these animals which I usually consider smelly, boring and dumb, I realized for the first time that they seemed to have slightly different styles and personalities (don’t tell a cattle farmer I said this and don’t laugh if you have cows yourself).

Dare I say that this one looks kind of handsome with a sweet disposition?

munching grass

And this one liked to twist and turn, still full of the abundant energy of the young:

twisting here and there

But the biggest surprise of it all? Cows eat thistles! I always thought only goats and maybe sheep will chow down on that thorny plant and that cows only like the nice smooth, green grass below. Well, take a look at this:

Oh, and believe it or not, another cow munched on Queen Anne’s Lace, the wildflower I highlighted in my first Summer Lovin’ post!

This is my second post in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’.

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Summer Lovin’

Summer brings abundance, if not excess, of everything: zucchinis, cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, lightning bugs, hummingbirds, ripe, juicy peaches, wild blackberries, festivals, picnics, perspiration, swimming in the lake. I can’t even say what I love the most about summer, so I’ll pick just one: wildflowers.
They are ubiquitous, even in the city. Any abandoned lot, a crack in the sidewalk, a river bank, will sprout their seeds.
Right now, I see an ocean of white lacy saucers suspended on tall green stalks everywhere I go. Lacking the color burst of other, more splashy, wildflowers, Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) compensates with her intricate, lacy flowerhead that’s really an accumulation of many tiny flowers.

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace is also known as Wild Carrot for it’s edible white root that smells like carrot. However, before you start digging up wildflowers, be aware that Queen Anne’s Lace is part of the parsley family which contains the highly toxic Poison Hemlock. You really would not want to confuse these two plants.

Queen Anne's Lace side view

Queen Anne’s Lace side view

Queen Anne’s has a very flat flower cluster with characteristic bracts below the flower cluster. It often also has a dark purple floweret in the very center of the white lacy cluster.

Queen Anne's Lace flower cluster

Queen Anne’s Lace flower cluster

When the flower cluster is done blooming, it curls itself into a cup-like shape that resembles a bird’s nest:

Birdnest stage

Birdnest stage

To me, a field of Queen Anne’s Lace warmed abundantly by sun and swarming with insects is the epitome of Summer. Please take a look at a much earlier post with a meadow full of this elegant wildflower and a poem to go with it.

This post was created in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’.

Posted in Weekly Photo Challenge, Flora | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

At the Water Fountain

My container of choice for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is a large ceramic pot that’s been converted into a water fountain.

Water fountain

Water fountain

The splashing sound of the water drowns out traffic sounds and turns a small urban backyard into a park-like setting. The water fountain has become a meeting spot of sorts – for the birds.

Here’s the first sparrow landing, checking things out:

One sparrow

One sparrow

Another one lands on the rim, dipping deeply into the cooling water:

splashing up a storm

splashing up a storm

And then the party begins

And you thought only your office colleagues enjoyed gathering around the water fountain?!

the pigeon has landed

the pigeon has landed

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Purple Daze

When Ailsa sent out her “Purple” Photo Challenge, I started pondering colors in general and this mixture of red and blue that we call purple in particular.
Recently, I wore what I considered a green blouse and a friend commented on how she liked my “blue” shirt. I wondered whether she was colorblind but when I looked more closely at my blouse, I realized (for the first time) that the green contained dots of blue. While my eyes chose to see the green as predominant, my friend focused on the blue.
This was quite an eye opener. How do we know what others see and what they envision when we mention a particular color (or anything else for that matter)?
Throw in the gender gap in differentiating between nuances of colors and labeling them, you can begin to see how complicated this color thing is. Seriously, how many guys who are not artists or interior designers will use the color word “mauve” or “chartreuse?”

To get some more clarity, I went to a paint store and collected a large number of “purple” color samples.

Shades of purple to indigo
I found a wide spectrum of purplish shades, from a more pinkish magenta (think “Plum Burst,” “Sonic Plum”), to a more reddish plum (“Plum Good”), to true true purple (“Purple Royalty, “Byzantine Purple”), to lavender or periwinkle shades (“Purple Gala, “Imperial Plum,” “Grape Parfait”) all the way into dark indigo blue (“Indigo Cloth,” “Indigo Streamer”, and “Nightshift”). Can you imagine being paid to come up with names for hundreds of color shades?
When I scanned my color samples, my scanner picked up the blue and purplish shades but for some reason couldn’t pick up the more reddish (magenta, plum) shades. Strange…

In looking through my photo archives, I selected a few purple shades that are leaning more towards the magenta/pink spectrum:

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And then a few stretching more into the lavender/periwinkle shades:

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The following pictures contain what I consider “true” purple, but your eyes may see it differently.

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I didn’t quite know what to call the purplish neck of this vulture, though:

vulture on fencepost

vulture on fencepost

What do you think?

One of my favorite shades of purple, unapologetically, comes in the shape of a rainbow.

Posted in Animals and Critters, Flora, Travel Theme Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Sunday Stills: Looking through the Windows of my World

View from Desert Museum, Tucson AZ

View from Desert Museum, Tucson AZ

Windshield durig carwash

Windshield durig carwash

Window of car abandoned in desert

Window of car abandoned in desert

Restaurant window, Helvetia, WV

Restaurant window, Helvetia, WV

 

Old fort window, Puerto Rico

Old fort window, Puerto Rico

Painted Window, Sueno Azul, Costa Rica

Painted Window, Sueno Azul, Costa Rica

Castle window, Scotland

Castle window, Scotland

Rock window, Arizona

Rock window, Arizona

Through my living room window

Through my living room window

For more window looking, check out Ed’s Sunday Stills

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