Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bulldog having fun.....

Every now and again I get an e-mail with a YouTube video I enjoy sharing. If you like such things you can click here to check it out. I tried to embed the video but it won't play on blogger. That's a first for me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Cloud by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Another favorite poem.
I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in the rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night 'tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast,
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning my pilot sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion
The pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning star shines dead;
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one morning may sit
In the light of its golden wings.
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
Its ardours of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of Heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine aery nest,
As still as a brooding dove.

That orbed maiden with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till calm the rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.

I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,
And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-colored bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove,
While the moist Earth was laughing below.

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The deer we saw on our ride home

So there we were on Sunday, we had had a nice stop off at the bookstore, I had my coffee and a little reading done while Gregg looked around, we had had a great walk around Walney Pond and didn't think we would see anything else of interest, except......

driving through one of the neighborhoods on our way home we came across a family of deer. This was surprising considering the time of day. We don't usually see them until later on when the sun is going down, but we figured all that rain-soaked grass must have been extra tasty. The deer family appeared to be having a great lunch, and didn't pay us much mind when we stopped the car at the side of the road.

Hello handsome!

These little guys still had their spots as you can see.....

and they were more interested in that tasty grass than the woman taking photos from the passenger window.....

and I had a great time.....

taking their pictures.....


"Gregg, why did you move the car?"

"There was a car coming up behind me."

"Gregg, why did you move the car?"

"Why don't you get out and take the pictures?"

"Because they're going to disappear into the trees if I do. The car makes a great blind."

"Gregg, why did you move the car now?"

"Gotta go, the traffic is getting heavier."

He's right of course, safety comes first. Sometimes you just have to listen to your husband like he should have listened to me 30 years ago when he bought those startling lime green golfing pants on sale for $7 at the navy exchange. His Mom and I took one look at his purchase and mutually decided we needed to help him out. They mysteriously disappeared and when he came off that six month cruise......

"Where are my lime green pants?"

"What lime green pants?"

But I digress, weren't those the cutest deer?

Thank you Gregg for taking care of me when I get too focused behind the camera, and next time you get any lime green pants, I'll be happy to take care of you because I love you too.

More photos from Walney Pond

One thing I love to do at Walney Pond is look up, especially when the sky is so blue. Very often a plane passes over on its way to Dulles Airport. In the photo below just to the right of the sunspot you can just make one out. There were thousands of cancellations due to Hurricane Irene, so I am sure a lot of people were glad to be on their way that day.

There is a lovely walking path around the pond, and you can see all kinds of interesting plants, some I am not too sure about.

The lily pads are looking a little faded and we haven't seen our resident beaver on our last few visits. Not sure if he has moved on. We noticed signs of work to be done, large green boxes that look like small pumping stations, and there are markings on the grass alongside pipes in preparation for 'planting'. I don't suppose Mr. Beaver will like that activity at all.

The plant with the white flowers in the middle of the lilypads is called an arrowhead.

We actually took the following photo last weekend. It is called the Common Arrowhead, also known as the Duck Potato. It is called Duck Potato because the roots look like a small potato which ducks relish. Its origins can be found in South America.

This is a Cardinal flower and apparently hummingbirds and butterflies love these. They grow at the top of a long spike up to four feet tall, and you will see them growing along streams, around ponds or wet meadows. Late summer it comes alive. I also read that Native Americans used to make tea from the leaves and roots as a cure for stomach aches, fevers, headaches and a host of other maladies. But I also read that the plant contains poisonous alkaloids and can be fatal if ingested.

The following lavender plant is a called a pickerel weed. It flowers from mid-June to mid-September. It is common throughout the Eastern United States, from Nova Scotia southward to Florida and Texas, and also reported from western parts of the United States, but is less commonly found west of the Mississippi. Pickerel weed also provides habitat and food for many kinds of animals. For instance, growth of dense mats of vegetation provides excellent cover for pickerel fish which feed on the insects that are attracted to the flowers of the plant, perhaps the reason for its name. Seeds are eaten by several different kinds of animals including ducks, other waterfowl and deer. Leaves rhizomes and roots are eaten by geese and muskrats. The flowers provide nectar for several different kinds of insects, including bees, wasps and butterflies. One type of bees (Dufourea novae-angliae) has been reported to visit only this species of plant to gather nectar and pollen. Manatees are reported to choose pickerel weed over other plants as food. Pickerel weed also provides cover and habitat for a variety of animals, including fish, aquatic invertebrates, birds and small mammals. After I take a photo I immediately want to go online and find information, always fascinating what one learns.

I would like to know what plants these pods grow on. Any ideas?

So there you go, that's our latest trip out to Walney Pond. I'm sure when we eventually move on from this area, we will look back with very fond memories.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Post Hurricane Irene Ramble

The day after Hurricane Irene made its way up the eastern seaboard, the sun was shining and Gregg and I decided to get out and enjoy it. We didn't fair so badly, live 25 miles east of Washington DC and were on the edge of it as it veered a little to the east - we kept pretty close tabs on it. There was lots of rain but only 29 mile per hour winds, and we didn't even lose power. Our family in Virginia Beach was okay, though they did lose their electricity. Gregg's Dad was well prepared and has a generator. We were very lucky but I wondered about our friends who were in Irene's path. I was glad to read several blogs where they seemed to have come through okay. Our birds haven't come back yet but I saw a very large hawk in the neighborhood and maybe that's why they are keeping clear. Hopefully tomorrow with the feeders and water bowls full, our feathered friends will be back again, and hopefully the squirrels. I can only imagine the roller coaster ride they must have had in the tree tops last night. They have had quite a week of it, an earthquake and a hurricane.

We went to the bookstore, to Barnes and Noble, and while Gregg browsed around the book shelves, I took myself off to the coffee shop, ordered my usual, sat down and read my Nook for a while. I have been reading a series of books by Jacqueline Winspear, about a wonderful character called Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator in 1930's London. The series tells of her life as a 13 year old housemaid, then as a battle nurse in France during WWI, and finally as a psychologist and investigator. You can read more about her here. I am totally hooked on the series and will be a little sad when this last one is finished. I shall be looking forward to her next adventure and hopefully the author will already have one in the works. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

After the book store we went for our usual walk around Walney Pond. This time we started off near the small bridge that crosses the brook, and noticed that a couple of trees had fallen across, courtesy of Irene no doubt.

The water looked muddy but with the surrounding trees it is always idyllic. The sunlight throws dappled light everywhere and it was wonderfully cool in the shade. We stayed for a while enjoying the peacefulness of it all.

"I chatter, chatter, chatter, as I flow,
To join the brimming river,
For men may come, and men may go,
But I go on forever."

~Alfred, Lord Tennyson~
The Brook

Saturday, August 27, 2011


These flowers I am sharing today are not my own, but those of Gregg's cousin Fayette who lives in North Dakota. I would like to dedicate my post today to Fayette's Dad, Gregg's Uncle and Godfather, who passed away ten months ago. We loved Uncle Orville very much and because of the distance we didn't get to see him as often as we would have liked, but those times we did we have so many special memories of him. We miss him dearly.

I found the North Dakota State Song and Hymn
written by James W. Foley and
composed by Dr. C. S. Putnam
North Dakota, North Dakota,
With they prairies wide and free,
All thy sons and daughters love thee,

Fairest state from sea to sea.
North Dakota, North Dakota,
Here we pledge ourselves to thee

Hear thy loyal children singing,
Songs of happiness and praise,
Far and long the echoes ringing.

Through the vastness of thy ways;
North Dakota, North Dakota,
We will serve these all our days.

Onward, onward, onward going,
Light of courage in thine eyes,
Sweet the winds above thee,

Green thy fields and fair thy skies;
North Dakota, North Dakota,
Brave the soul that in thee lies.

God of freedom, all victorious,
Give us Souls serene and strong,
Strength to make the future glorious,

Keep the echo of our song;
North Dakota, North Dakota,
In our hearts forever long.

This is for Fayette, for our Family in North Dakota and elsewhere, and especially in loving memory of Uncle Orville.

TODAY’S FLOWER’S was created by our good friend Luiz Santilli Jr.

Celia's Ladybird

Every now and again I like to share photos that family and friends have sent me. I have a whole pile of them which I am slowly going through and organizing into folders, so it takes me a while to get them on here. However, today I received this one from my in-laws. Celia took this photo. You can find out all about ladybirds at a question and answer site right here.

This one looks like a Coccinella septempunctata, a seven-spotted lady beetle, and is a medium-sized orange beetle with seven black spots. It is a European species that was introduced into the US to aid managing some aphid pests. Again I am no expert so if any of you more knowledgeable bug people out there think I have incorrectly identified it, then please let me know and I will amend accordingly.

There is also an environmental article on orange ladybugs if you click here.