Flowers, bugs, bark, and rocks

If I were smart . . . scratch that; let me start over; if I applied my considerable intellect to maximizing visits to this blog, I would split this post into four or five posts and feed them piecemeal to my eager public. Like, maybe, one post every other day for a week. 

Create a narrative of sorts, engaging the audience with the progression of the narrative and create an expectation that I could exploit both for more visitors and gaining subscribers. 

That ain’t me, Bob. 

Speaking of Bob . . . 

Bob N. See, Bob N. Hear, and Bob N. Speak.

I’ve yet to replace Bones; Bob Bones but I’ve acquired Bob N. See, Bob N. Hear, and Bob N. Speak. 

Can you believe it? $6.

For them not interested in reading the rest of the post, you can go directly to the SmugMug Gallery HERE.  

For a SmugMug slideshow, click HERE. When you click the link, it will open in a new window and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button at the bottom-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: clicking the PLAY arrow will run a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos as this will pause the slideshow.

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

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Anyway, I have a lot to cover so let me get to it. First, some music for people who like to listen to music so as to be distracted from my ramblings.

First of all, our small herbs corner.

Would you believe it’s difficult finding quality plant saucers? Or, for that matter, any plant saucers. Most of the pots we bought come without saucers and none (saucers) are to be had at the usual places (nurseries and the various garden centers associated with many stores).  

Hence why you see the cheap plastic stuff found at the Dollar Store. 

You can occasionally find large saucers but the selection — both sizes and colors — is limited.

I’m trying to attract hummers and I know that they like fuschia plants. This one decided to flower all at once . . . 

This is what the patio looked like a few days ago . . . 

We already have furniture for the patio but we’re currently using it indoor as we wait for the indoor furniture to be delivered. 

Some might have noticed this plant in the background . . . 

Melisa got that for me because she knows I like them. Notice the little critter climbing on the petals . . . more on that later on (see! . . . there’s more than one way to create a narrative and generate suspense). 

Bet you’re wondering about the name of the plant . . . it’s Gilda. I know it looks more like a Henrietta but I just buy them, not name them. 

Notice also all of the plants are in pots. The landscaping has flowering shrubs but we don’t know what they will all look like and the area is not conducive to perennials (or annuals) planting. Maybe next year, but not now; now, it’s gonna be pots. 

OK, OK . . . I’ve held you in suspense long enough. 

When I saw the little critter, I rushed into the house and grabbed my macro lens. You know what that means, right? Yup; most of the remaining shots are macros. 

So, that little critter was Fedoro. Fedoro is a jumping spider . . . or not; he didn’t do much jumping so I don’t know with 100% certainty. 

While I was shooting him, I also took the opportunity to shook Gilda. 

But, back to Fedoro . . . 

Most of those photos are pretty similar and out of them all, this is what I thought was the best shot . . . 

OK, OK, I’m kidding . . . it’s this one:

Six eyes (I think) . . . imagine his contact lenses bill!

Of course, once I had the macro lens out (Nikon 105mm f/2.8) I had to embark on a bug safari. 

The first one I found was Helena . . . 

She was quite the show-off and of all of those, this next one is probably the best . . . 

As a reminder, you can click on any of the photos to have a larger version open in a new window or tab

Of course, in between finding bugs to shoot, I still had Gilda . . . 

. . . and the Minstral Clan . . . 

“Why are they called the Minstral Clan,” you ask?

How the heck would I know? Do I look like a botanist to you?

This little feller was no more than a half inch long and traversing one of the stepping stones . . . lucky thing I noticed him before I stepped on the stepping stone . . . 

I know, I know . . . lots of similar shots. This might come as a surprise but Mazian (that’s his name) moves very slowly and I have a hair-trigger shutter. Plus, I hate wasting photos.

This is probably the best shot of both Mazian and his shell although other shots in the gallery above show the shell in greater detail . . . 

I tried taking a macro of these tiny flowers but I don’t like the results.

Why am I sharing it, then? I told you . . . I hate wasting photos. Do you have any idea of the effort I put into getting that photo? I had to bend at the waist, align the camera, wait for it to be (almost) in focus and exert pressure on the shutter release with my index finger. And that’s even before I labored to download, arrange, and edit the photos.

This is not a hobby for wimps, I tell you what. 

As I didn’t see anything else nearby, I went to the front of the house to see what was happening there and — you won’t believe this — Mazian beat me there.

I know what you’re thinking . . . “That’s a different snail!”

That’s what I thought as well but just to be sure, I rushed back to the patio . . . and Mazian was nowhere to be seen! Ergo, Q. E. D., expo-facto, dominus Nabisco, Mazian has the ability to transport itself across space and time. I mean, what other explanation could there be?

Luckily, I got distracted by Gobric.

House flies are not considered particularly attractive. I don’t know if this is due to a skewed standard of beauty — skewed by the fact many consider them schifose — or if their habit of eating excrement just before landing on your food. Perhaps it’s one and the same. 

Regardless, here’s a small gallery of Gobric.

Gobric; even the name is unattractive. I tell you, they could use an image consultant. Or, if they want to move up in the world, a Twitter account. 

These next flies are all small; no more than 1/4 of an inch in length, if that. And, they are a tad more attractive. 

I seldom find examples of reflections so I was pleased to see an example on the leaf of a plant.

I think it must have landed on a drop of water and the water was acting as a mirror . . . 

Neat . . . wait . . .

 

. . . ahem . . . Hey! Look over here! A flower!

Once you notice a couple of flies . . . er . . . a fly or two, you start seeing them all over the place. They are small, but if you are looking for them, you’ll easily notice them. 

The fact that they’re small makes it difficult getting them into complete focus which is why I normally post multiple shots that look as if they are the same photo repeated but that are — in fact — different photos.

Here’s a small gallery of the above fly; five different shots with two different types of post-processing.

I mentioned rocks in the title . . . 

. . . here’s another Berillium Ball . . . 

This next rock may transition into the house along with a couple of other rocks I’ve brought in. I’m not sure why I find it interesting. Perhaps it’s that if you mentally rotate it 90º counter-clockwise, it looks like it’s screaming.

Nah; it’s the subtle lines.

Does it look as if this fly is very relaxed and smoking a cigarette? No? must be my imagination. 

Here are a few more flowers . . . 

That’s some sort of rose (there are two of these bushes) and from what one of the neighbors said, the deer don’t eat this version so they are popular with many homeowners. 

This is a dead flower but I’m told when the plant does flower, they will be very pretty. 

There’s a shrub — a tall shrub — that has these very tiny flowers on it . . . and the bees are all over them. These flowers are small and it’s difficult to see how the bees — or any insect — get much nectar from them.

That same shrub has the last remaining active nest on my property (that I know of):

Would you spot the Robin’s tail and partial headshot unless I had zoomed in on it? 

I don’t know if this is a late first-brood or if she’s already working on her second batch. 

I have a lot of shots of this next fly. Again, very small fly, similar shots, and I don’t want to waste them . . . 

Let me show you one . . . 

That brownish spot on its carapace . . . that’s me. A selfie of sorts. 

More music for you . . . 

How about we get back to flowers?

Notice something about those two shots?

One has the petal in focus but not the pistil and the other has the pistil in focus but not the petals. What is one to do?

Well, blend them together, of course. 

I wasn’t going to say anything but I typically do let readers know when I modified a photo.

Here’s another shot of Gilda . . . 

This next photo . . . 

. . . is one of my favorites for the day  . . . but I also like the individual components. 

Another of my favorite subjects as these guys will flower all summer long.

But, you obviously want to see rocks . . . 

I call him . . . Brains. 

And this is Grouchy . . . 

But it’s this one that caught my attention . . . 

That — to me — looks like a fossil of a butterfly; one wing and the body. Of course, it could just be a random formation of material on the rock. 

Still, it do look like a wing of a butterfly. 

“What about the Bark?”

That’s from one of my trees. It looks like it’s peeling from a bad sunburn . . . 

I’m lichen this next one . . . 

This rock looks like it trapped some sort of small alien and froze it in time . . . 

And this looks like quartz or maybe amber . . . 

OK, one more flower before the big finish . . . 

This is our patio today . . . we added a few things.

Panorama shot
Panorama shot
A pensive Hudson looks on
A pensive Hudson looks on
Goliath on guard
It’s slowly coming together.

Well, that’s about it for now. 

Here’s the gallery of all the above photos.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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