Red-headed Visitor

He’s been visiting for a while now but whenever he saw me coming to the window with my camera in hand, he’d quickly disappear.
But lately, he’s become less skittish and watches me for a time while I watch him. Here is my newest visitor to the bird feeder – the red-bellied woodpecker.

red-bellied woodpecker

red-bellied woodpecker

He’s about the size of an American Robin and has a black and white zebra back and a tan-colored breast. But the bright red crown is probably the most enchanting part about him. Watch him turn to show off that carnival-colored hair of his!

But why would anyone name this woodpecker “red-bellied?” Seriously, for that little coloration on its belly?

showing his red belly

showing his red belly

There’s a “red-headed woodpecker” already who sports an all-red head, so that name is taken. Red belly and all, I always enjoy watching this colorful visitor.

Posted in Animals and Critters | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Ephemeral Wave Action

Watching ocean waves easily puts me in a trance – the way waves slowly rise up into a shelf wall, the moment when the first white curls dance on the ridge, the rippling effect down the wave as it coils itself around a tube of air, until it finally collapses upon itself and runs foamy fingers up the beach.

up or down

Wave after wave, building and collapsing, again and again, until my whole body begins to pulse with the eternal rhythm of the ocean.

foam roller

What I love as much as watching ocean waves is to photograph them. One of these days, I hope to stand in awe of the really big ones in Hawaii. For now, the smaller ones will do.

The only slow part in the wave formation process is the building up to the crest.

building momentum

Once, the wave begins to spill down the other side, everything happens really fast. Only the camera can capture the ephemeral shapes and patterns that form spontaneously, determined by any number of variables – perhaps wind, perhaps an undertow, perhaps a preceding wave that folds back into the new wave.

Dancing on the ridge

Then there are all kinds of shapes that only exist for the blink of an eyelash.

Can you see the dark body of a reptile gliding through the top of the wave?

reptile cresting

Glittering garlands?

glittering garland

A horse’s silvery mane?

silver mane

A wild hissy fit?

throwing a fit

The opening to a cave?

cave entrance

Sometimes, you can see the sand being whirled up into the wave, like sand clouds rising in a landscape:

whirling sand

At other times, the wave sends out little foamy creatures to dance on the beach:

pursuit

The theme of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: Ephemeral.

Posted in Travel Puerto Rico, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Drinking (in) Fresh Grass

During my two weeks at the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico, I sipped fresh grass every morning, or more specifically, fresh wheatgrass juice.

The Institute’s greenhouse grows dozens of flats of wheatgrass to ensure an abundant supply for both visitors and employees.

The wheatgrass gets juiced in one of these heavy-duty juicers solely used for the green liquid:

juicing wheatgrass

Why would anyone drink grass juice?

Wheatgrass contains a high level of nutrients including minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, etc.); amino acids (lysine, histidine, arginine, tyrosine, etc) and vitamins (A, K, C, E, thiamine, choline, riboflavin, folic acid, etc). It also contains chlorophyll and some protein.
Wheatgrass chlorophyll is one of the richest nutritional liquids and serves as a cleansing, blood building, and rejuvenating food.
Wheatgrass juice has been found to prevent tooth decay, soothe toothaches and sore throats, cure skin problems, improve digestion, reduce high blood pressure, and remove heavy metals from the body, among other benefits.

The liquid does take some getting used to as it tastes as intense as it looks in its rich, dark-green color. While it has a surprisingly sweet flavor, there’s also a bitter aftertaste. But I’d rather drink down a shot glass full of wheatgrass juice than take any pills.

Let food be thy medicine!

a shot of wheatgrass juice

The theme of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is “Fresh.”

Posted in Weekly Photo Challenge, Healing Ourselves and the Planet, Travel Puerto Rico | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Market Day in Rincón, Puerto Rico

Sunday is time for church and the Farmer’s Market in Rincón. While I had wanted to peek inside the large Catholic Church right next to the town square, I was so taken by the vibrant Farmer’s Market atmosphere that I never made it to the church before my ride picked me up.

A golden arch across the street marks the entry to the downtown area that holds the market square.

golden arch

A spacious pavilion in vibrant colors matching those of the golden arch provides space for music and dance performances:

pavilon

Market vendors sold the usual fruits and vegetables, in their original, unprocessed state:

Even more common were vendors who sold prepared foods of all kinds, many super healthy and organically grown:

The best part was probably people watching as the market place was humming with people talking, playing, resting, or just ambling around. Even churchgoers were fascinated by market activities and watched from their high perch:

market overlook

Posted in Travel Puerto Rico | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Living Walls

I am reveling in the warmth of the Isle of Enchantment (Isla del Encanto), Puerto Rico. What a delightful break away from the harsh winter weather up north.

Here, I am drawn to living walls – walls decorated with pendulous flowers, walls with vines growing up on them, weedy fences that hold a few surprises.

I am staying at a Raw Foods Institute that has its own organic gardens. That’s where I was wandering around early this morning. This protective wire wall kept a smaller garden safe from marauders and provided lots of vertical and horizontal climbing spaces for plants. The bluish tint reflects the ambient early morning light.

Wire wall around garden

Wire wall around garden

Cucumber vines and a vine with small red flowers cover the outside of this wire wall:

Cucumber vines

Cucumber vines

Even more delicious were the sky blue morning glories spreading horizontally on the wire roof:

Blue morning glories

Blue morning glories

On the outskirts of the garden, I found this weedy looking fence, nothing spectacular, just another living wall:

weedy fence

weedy fence

When I looked more closely, though, I found a few things growing there – it may be various stages of the same fruit:

I’ll close with this picture of lavender flowers cascading down an invisible wall:

wall of flowers

If spring won’t come to me (yet), I just have to look for it elsewhere…. Isla del Encanto.

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall.

Posted in Flora, Travel Puerto Rico, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments