Monday, April 26, 2010
Smokies Wildflower Pilgrimage
Friday, April 16, 2010
Wildflower Pilgrimage in Gatlinburg, TN
Sorry I have neglected my blog this spring. I had high hopes of keeping up to date but some stuff happened with my extended family and I was totally distracted by it. However, I can say this: Lots of stuff is currently blooming, including dutchman's breeches and Virginia blue bell. Bloodroot is probably done. Same with hepatica and snow trillium. I am sure that spring beauty is well underway and will be blooming for another week or two (trailing off) here in eastern Iowa. The Smokies are ahead of eastern Iowa and so spring beauty is probably gone. Wild ginger is up, as are many of the Solomon Seal type flowers and trilliums.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Snow Trillium Flowers
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Snow Trillium Bud
Monday, March 15, 2010
Skunk Cabbage Patch
Peeking into a Cabbage
Skunk Cabbages and ... Snakes!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Patches of Snow
Hepatica Peeks through the Snow
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Spring Beauty Sprout
Spring Beauty Sprout
The plant starts out appearing pink, due to the absense of chlorophyll. The chlorophyll begins to develop with exposure to the sun, during which time the plant becomes more and more green. With time, the stem will straighten up and grow taller, and the leaves will lengthen and become somewhat plump.
The tiny "nubs" under the arch of the arch are the undeveloped buds. Eventually they will develop into white flowers with pink veins and pink pollen. Each stem will produce anywhere from 4 to 12 (approximately), blooming in sequence from the top of the stem toward the bottom. Typically one or two flowers bloom at a time, but toward the peak season, sometimes a single stem can have three or four all at once.
It's wonderful to be back in Iowa for my first Iowa spring in 14 years.
Oops -- Sorry
Friday, March 12, 2010
Spring is HERE !!!
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Snow and Snow Trilliums
Monday, February 22, 2010
Spring is on its Way!
This photograph offers a flashback to a sunny winter day around 1992 when I was living in my "new" farm house in eastern Iowa; the house itself was 70 years old, but in surprisingly wonderful condition. I ended up staying there for just a few years, then marrying Ed Wolfe and moving away, and traveling around (NJ, FL, TX, MI, VA) for the next 13 years. But this past summer, we have returned--not to the same house, but the same basic location. This is where I lived when I first came up with the idea of "Woodland Spring," and would lead nature walks for local folks and help them learn about the wildflowers.
With my return to Iowa, I also return to this website with a renewed level of interest and committment. I will be heading back to some of the same forests where I first learned about these wildflowers in the mid-late 1980s. I will report on what's going on, what's blooming, and things like that.
The first plant will likely be skunk cabbage, or possibly snow trillium! I have seen skunk cabbage elsewhere (including Princeton, NJ, various locations in Michigan, and SW Virginia) but it has been 14 full years since I have seen snow trillium, and I can hardly wait!
So stay tuned... It's the end of February and I am gearing up for spring.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Mt LeConte Sunset (one year ago)
Point Poipu in Kauai
Monday, September 14, 2009
Prairie Dog Alarm
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Blue Cohosh (Buds and Blooms)
Blue Cohosh Flowers (and visitor)
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Spring Flowers are Blooming Again!
Monday, September 29, 2008
As I rounded the corner, I saw a beautiful small tabby. Her ID tag said she was a mother cat, found as a stray. She was alone in the cage. I fell in love.
I looked at all the kitties in all the cages, including kittens, and knew that the tabby momma was the one who would most need a home. And I left, knowing that we have two cats and that my husband would probably prefer to stick with just two for a while. I had tried to suggest kittens a few weeks ago and he said he just didn't think it was a good time for that.
I dropped a hint or two here and there. And then the following night, my husband said one adult tabby would be an acceptable addition to the family, bringing us back to three cats. We agreed to stop by Petsmart the next afternoon to adopt her--part of a birthday "surprise" for him, but really more for me and the boys.
I could not sleep. All night I kept imagining that she would already be adopted and that wasting two days without making a move would have meant that she is already gone. I decided to assume she was already gone just so I would not be disappointed if she was gone when I got there.
I ended up going to Petsmart at 9:30 that morning; it was Saturday. The store opened at 9. I wanted to check on the kitty and get the adoption started as soon as possible. It was going to be a surprise for our two boys who love kitties as much as I do.
As I rounded the corner, her cage was empty! But I quickly noticed the back was open and a volunteer was cleaning the cage. I looked through the glass and beyond the cages, and there she was, just running around in the area where people meet cats they want to adopt. She looked up at me, with a bounce in her step. My eyes watered.
Anyway, I found a Petsmart employee to help me, and she said that adoptions usually take several days to complete, for good reason. They need to make sure the family is a good match for that cat and everything seems ok and safe. I wrote my name and number on a sheet of paper and indicated which cat I wanted. The employee told me that I would have to wait for a volunteer from the agency to call me, probably Monday. Petsmart itself does not do the adoptions.
The employee said that the volunteer would be stopping by later that day to check on the cats, and that volunteer would initiate the adoption process, but that she knew nothing about the details of the procedure and I would just have to wait and see. Urgh! Meanwhile, I asked whether I could meet the kitty and pet her. She said that employees are not allowed to let people meet the cats, but since the other volunteer was there to clean cages, it would be ok as long as the volunteer said it was ok with her. Well, the volunteer cleaning the cages was wonderfully sweet and said of course it would be ok.
I entered the tiny closet-sized "meeting" room and feel in love even more. I spent 40 minutes petting the beautiful tabby. She purred almost the entire time. I wanted to drag it out as long as possible for hopes that somehow the person in charge of her might show up and we could make sure that I would be the one to eventually take her home. I was lucky... and had good timing. I overheard someone through the door talking to another person about the cats, calling them by name and acting like she knew them. By this point, the volunteer cleaning cages was just finishing up and so it was about time for me to leave. I gave back the tabby and left the little room.
I knew this was my big chance. I walked over to the woman talking about the cats and I bravely asked if she was the person in charge of the tabby. She said yes. I almost cried with relief.
We talked awhile, and my eyes watered. I told her that I have fallen in love with the momma tabby and would love to take her home as soon as possible. We talked about the formal procedure, which would take a few days. Then kind of spontaneously, the person said, "You know, you can just take her today and we can finish up the paperwork and interview next week." She would not normally do that, of course, but she sensed (correctly) that I was a good match for the kitty, and that my home would be safe and loving. Both she and I were eager to get the tabby out of the cage and into a home.
We talked together as I filled out some of the paperwork. She shared her joy that the kitty had found a home so quickly, after just one week in the cage at Petsmart. She explained that she had been concerned about finding a home for the tabby: "We were worried about whether we could place her. It is hard to find a home for mother cats. And we have a lot of brown and black tabbies right now, which added to our concern." I replied by saying, "She is the perfect cat for me. I love her."
Of course there were two cats at home, minding their own business at that very moment, having no idea that I was in the process of changing their lives. Not immensely but somewhat. We'd adopted them two years ago as kittens, sister and brother from a litter of four. One solid brown and one solid black.
The introduction was better than we could have hoped for. Shadow and Cinnamon, are weary of their new sister, but already after just two days seem ok with her around. There has been a little posturing by Cinny (fur standing on end, as he raises himself up to look as large as possible), but no genunine agression, no contact. Mostly he stands back and watches from a distance. Shadow follows the tabby around, a bit close, sniffing. There were a few nose-to-nose exchanges as each one sniffed the other's face. For the most part, the tabby seems kind of oblivous to the other kitties, happy go lucky, comfortable, just nervous when she hears a strange noise. She is curious but not that interested in the kitties.
As it turns out, the tabby had been living with a group of feral cats when she was captured for spaying. Immediately they knew the tabby was not wild due to the way she cuddled and acted so friendly. She was also pregnant. She was brought to foster care, had her kittens, and now the kittens are finding homes of their own. The lady in charge of the adoptions is hopeful that the kittens will be placed rather easily. But was so glad to see that the momma (our new tabby) had found a home so quickly, and she could tell it would be home in which she would get lots of love.
We hope to name her by the end of the week.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
I am sorry to say that she is gone. Cancer took her life at the age of 15. I know 15 is kind of old for a cat, but other than the cancer, she was in great shape, and she had been a very happy cat.
One of my favorite things to do each morning would be to look for my coffee cup, which is white with little black cat silhouettes "walking" around the bottom edge. And each morning when the coffee was ready, I would walk into the kitchen and say, "Where's my cup?" And Buttercup would let out a little squeaky MEOW. I would look at her and say, "There's my Cup." And of course, I would continue looking for my "other" kitty cat cup too.
I will miss her forever.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Composing Wildflower Photos
Friday, May 23, 2008
Turkey on Clingmans Dome
I met this girl on April 1, 2008, the first day that Clingmans Dome Road was open during 2008. (It is closed from Dec 1 through March 31 every year.) As I pulled into the parking lot, she came running up beside my car. It seemed she must have been used to getting food from people in cars. Of course I did not feed her. It's not good for the animals to get used to thinking of humans as a source of food. Anyway, I parked the car and got out. She put some distance between us but still let me get close enough to get several good shots of her. I called her "Lucky" because I felt so lucky to meet her.
I returned several more times during the month of April, and each time I returned, she was there. Toward the end of April, she was walking around among the people at the western end of the lot. Sadly of course, people were feeding her, luring her over to get snapshots of her beside them and their cars.
I returned this week (May 20) and did not see her. I hope she found a better place to live and is doing well. After all, she's a wild turkey, not a pet. I still feel lucky to have met her.
Black Bear in Smokies
On April 2, 2008, I was driving up Newfound Gap Road (from Gatlinburg, on my way to Clingmans Dome) when I stopped along the side of the road to photograph some trees that were lit nicely in the late afternoon sun. Since it was mid spring, the tree tops had a variety of color due to the buds that were forming in the branches. As I photograhed the trees across the valley, I heard a loud sound in a tree not far from where I was standing. I looked over, knowing it was something large, and I saw a black spot moving along the edge of a tree. I kept looking, and shifted my camera. I readjusted the settings too, since a bear tends to move faster than a calm landscape... In any case, here are two shots that I got while standing there alone by my car. Little did I know that day, that a month and a half later (May 19) I would meet my first bear alone in the woods. That second meeting was even more exiting than the one along the road since I was three miles from my car and all alone in the woods.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sea Birds on the Atlantic Coast
This shot is more clinical than the one above, but the bird is nicely lit. I like this shot mainly because it is something new for me. I hardly ever have the chance to photograph a bird. The clouds helped diffuse the light but also kind of cooled and flattened the image to some degree. Ideally, I would ask for a slight bit of sunshine, which this time of day would have been lighting the top and back of the bird, kind of like the shot above.
After Sunrise in Charleston
Pre Sunrise in Charleston
I chose this shot because I like the way the sunlight reflects off the surface and the way the group of three waves kind of breaks up the light. It might have been cold and windy, but the reflection was also very bright.
Blustery Sunrise in Charleston, SC
Lochness Monster (sort of)
The dark bump on the left part of the frame was intentional. I wanted to add some variety (color/texture/pattern) to the otherwise extremely uniform (and possibly boring) frame.
I got this shot before the sun rose above the horizon. I was standing on a beach in Hilton Head, SC, looking east over the Atlantic. This was the brightest and most colorful sunrise so far that I have seen over the Atlantic in my limited experience--being from the midwest, most of my life, I haven't seen too many ocean sunrises!