Archive for the 'photography' Category

Happy Mother’s Day

May 10, 2009

Assorted gardening related photos (updated with labels, which I couldn’t seem to do with the iPhone WordPress app).

Herb patch – parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme (!), oregano and basil:

Our Lady’s butterfly garden:

Vegetables-in-the-making. Back to front: tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and yello squash. Way way in the back are what’s left of the sunflowers, which isn’t much.

Compost. Mostly green, so a bit on the stinky side right now.


Tank. The Love of the Word. Lewis’ OHEL. Montaigne on Custom.

January 10, 2008

The first residents of our new tank have moved in: five zebra danios which will kick off the first round of tank cycling. On deck: a small shoal of neon tetras, a pair each of dwarf flame gouramis and dwarf coryadoras. Once the tank matures a little, we’ll add a handful of ghost shrimp. We affixed a piece of black posterboard behind the tank to serve as a backdrop and hide the wires and tubes. It finished things off quite nicely (in the picture above, the lights in the room are off to cut down on reflections).

On an unrelated note, here’s a short post (with some open-ended questions) by Prof. Anthony Esolen, a teacher at Providence College and frequent contributor to Touchstone. I can’t recommend his translation of Dante highly enough, and his two other works, translations of Lucretius and Tasso, have perennial spots on my Amazon wish list. As for his questions, I confess I am no closer to answers than he is, though I suspect that the first step is to kill off the television at home, buy a ton of (good) books and set an example by actually starting to read them.

We have a TV, but it’s upstairs in a guest room and used exclusively for movies. It’s not connected to a cable or satellite box. The aquarium is in the logical location for a TV in our living room. It’s bow-front design actually recalls a TV screen, and at least one of the children has already pointed it out. I’ll take the fish any day.

Familywise, everyone seems to have gotten over their respective holiday colds and stubborn coughs, so we’re in the clear. Or at least for now. We should probably post one of those workplace injury signs in the kitchen. 10 Sneeze/Hack-Free Days, or somesuch.

I’m still working through Lewis’ OHEL, and finding some parts of it pretty easy and others somewhat difficult. In particular, his references to the works under discussion – many of them are unfamiliar to me, and I suspect that only a very well-stocked library would afford the opportunities to find them. Still, it’s a joy to read and I’ll probably come back to it frequently if continue to loiter in the 16th century. His discussion of (St.) Thomas More was particularly interesting – I’ve only just read Utopia recently, and it’s probably just as well that this was the only book of his to make the list from which I’m working. Apparently the rest of his stuff is…well, not so good. Or worse, almost great but not quite as compared to, say, Montaigne.

He seems to have had a right and true apprehension of the power of custom, who first invented the story of a countrywoman who, having accustomed herself to play with and carry, a young calf in her arms, and daily continuing to do so as it grew up, obtained this by custom, that, when grown to be a great ox, she was still able to bear it. For, in truth, custom is a violent and treacherous schoolmistress. She, by little and little, slily and unperceived, slips in the foot of her authority, but having by this gentle and humble beginning, with the benefit of time, fixed and established it, she then unmasks a furious and tyrannic countenance, against which we have no more the courage or the power so much as to lift up our eyes.

– Montaigne, Essay 1, Of Custom, and that we should not easily change a law received

But really, who wants to go toe-to-toe with Montaigne?

Flickr frenzy

December 7, 2007

Just uploaded a batch of pictures to the flickr account. Some of these go back a few weeks.

These are some yeast-risen cornbread muffins we made from a recipe at the wonderful 101 Cookbooks blog. They turned out lovely, and had that great leavened texture of white bread…but they were cornbread, which makes for a nifty gotcha! in your mouth.

Close-up of same. The white stuff is cornmeal, not Parmesan cheese.

The original recipe and back-story are here.

Insect Safari 3

September 2, 2007

Pennsylvania Leatherwing (Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus)

Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia), with an unlucky Skipper. This particular spider had also snared 2 full-sized Monarch butterflies and an adult dragonfly, which ought to give you some idea regarding its size. It was big. Real big.

Katydid, unknown species

Another Argiope. This one was near my in-law’s house. Not as big as the other (which was in the landscaping at my employer’s HQ building), but still plenty to creep out on.

Insect Safari 2

August 19, 2007

A few more shots from in and around the basil plant.

I had thought this was a lacewing or some kind of beetle, but it’s an Ailanthus Webworm Moth. Go figure!

A much more cooperative Gray Hairstreak.  I had mis-identified this as a Banded Hairstreak yesterday, but it stayed put long enough today for a positive ID.

Here are the Skippers again. I’m fairly certain that these are a female and male (below). I think the male is engaging in some sort of mating display. This wing-spread pose was usually followed by frantic attempts to get a little closer, if you catch my drift.

A cicada killer has been hanging around, but never seems to land close enough for a picture. It may be the largest hornet/wasp insect I’ve ever seen. The pictures here don’t do it justice – the one I”ve seen looks like a flying moose. Nevertheless, they are said to be generally harmless and quite interesting to observe.

Insect Safari!

August 18, 2007

I have a minor predilection for photographing insects – they are often convenient targets of opportunity and most of them do not seriously creep me out. I was walking past our little herb patch and noticed that the enormous basil plant was teeming with flying insects. I counted no less than a dozen different species, and there were probably more.

Getting pictures of them, however, was a different matter. They’re small, they move fast and I’m out of practice. It should go without saying that it was also hot out there. When it cools off, I’ll rig up another macro lens and see what I can shake from the bushes.

In any case, here are the three best shots, cropped somewhat.

Cabbage White Butterfly

I think this is a Skipper, possibly a Tawny Edged Skipper. If anyone has a positive identification, I’m all ears.

Honeybee. Lots of these around. I think I’ve seen some hives along my cycling route. We never had that many honeybees around the yard in Atlanta, and seeing them around bodes well for next spring’s vegetable gardening. Here’s hoping these little guys avoid whatever is causing bees to disappear.

I also think I saw at least one Banded Hairstreak, but I couldn’t get close enough.

Sun Tea

August 15, 2007

When life hands you 101 degrees, make sun tea. We’re making sun tea while we wait for the air conditioning repairman to show up. OK, I’m making it. The chillun are in the wading pool.

This tea, by the way, is rooibos, which I think is so-so when it’s hot but fantastic when it’s iced with a little bit of sugar. It also turns a nifty red color. Wikipedia says that we can thank Precious Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books for at least some of the drink’s popularity, and that’s good enough for me.