Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Some of my favorite pieces of writing were begun at "my" corner table at Morning Thunder. In fact, one I completed at that table back in 1981 was titled "The Coffee Habit: A scientific Study." We regulars will miss Renee's energy as expressed by one of her employees in the bottom photo.
Some of you may remember when the word "Cafe" used to hang beneath Morning Thunder. That part of the sign is now hanging above my kitchen sink. But that's another story.
Monday, February 27, 2012
The bottom photo is Mullein, a member of the snapdragon family, Scrophulariaceae. Each of its many flowers has both male and female parts, like most flowers. A fascinating feature of this plant, besides its European origin and rapid spread across the USA, is that it's a biennial. In the first season, it produces only a ground-level rosette of large, wooly leaves. Their shade provides great hiding places during the heat of summer for many kinds of bugs and lizards. In the first fall, these leaves turn brown, and the plant appears dead. However, it's still alive below ground. During the second season, a new rosette of green leaves appears in spring, then a rapidly growing spike develops six or more feet in height. I've seen a few exceed ten feet. The top foot or more ends up covered with yellow flowers. They produce thousands of tiny seeds, and often support many feeding birds.
At the end of the second season, the plant dies, but the tall, brown stalk may stand through one or more winters. The one pictured above dies last fall, and the current winter is taking a toll. It is bent toward the ground and probably won't stand through the coming summer. The early leaves of the next crop have already appeared in the immediate surroundings.
Pipisessewa is probably of Native American origin. All the other names have their reasons, and it can be quite an interesting back door into history to research the origins of plant names.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Otherwise, the experience motivated me to rearrange my day packs, and have one primarily dedicated to my portable art supplies. The one I used yesterday that carried colored pencils, a set of pan watercolors, a waterbrush, and some other odds and ends, accompanied me to a coffee shop this morning. Out of habit, I brought along the laptop as well. The pack that usually carries my laptop is otherwise filled with what I'd call office supplies. Oh my, decisions.... Meanwhile, I've decided I need to take up the drawing and painting habit more seriously. Here I have photos of a moss page from my journal, finally completed, and a painting of damselflies mating. I've been ambivalent about that painting ever since I did it. I wanted to show it in the gallery, then made a bad choice of frame, then became dissatisfied with the painting itself. This morning I removed it from the frame and decided it was good enough to show off here. Meanwhile, the photo of my various day packs and a tote bag show the dilemma I'm trying to resolve. I need to prioritize my portables and choose matching day packs within the next week or so before the wildflowers start to show up in force.