Tuesday, October 4, 2022

 Here We Are Again

Since my last post - feels like a million years ago - I've had a few interesting span comments appear.  It's now 2022 and hopefully, COVID and all that entails is truly in our review mirror.  Surely those in power have learned a few good lessons on handling a worldwide crisis and will make better decisions in the future - I don't see everyone truly locking down again as we did in 2020. 

So onward we go.  I'm again attempting to post/update this blog with similar content as in the past, but with some new things as well (it is titled From All Directions after all). I've considered Vlogging, but don't think that is for me (right now) - I follow several vloggers who are great (editing, filming etc all wonderful), and I follow several who really need a bit more - well more (better editing, steadier filming, posting content just to post something - may not be the best idea). 

Unrelated - it's October! While not really autumnal weather in my area, our nights are cooling down, and the shift of the earth on its axis is noticeable when the sun is high, just not the same high as summer. This month's celebration is Halloween and that means FreeForm airs spooky movies every day! Around here we like spooky not frightening - although the OG Halloween movie is still the BEST!

If you made it through all of the above - thank you.  Stay tuned for more (and better/informative) posts in the near future. 

Headstone from a 2020 road trip exploring our county

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Checking In

I haven't visited this blog in quite a while (2 years - ouch), but looking back it appears this is my usual pattern...start strong in the new year (every 2 years) then life gets in the way.  This time I'm making no promises about sticking with it, but hopefully you'll see me posting a bit more often.  Honestly I thought blogs were no longer in style, but it seems some are making a comeback.   Hope everyone had a safe new years and is looking forward to the new year and new decade.

Looking for an image to post - realized I'm behind in picture editing as well - so neglecting everything (except my kids -- that's where all my time and energy has been).   Image from 2019 trip to Louisiana.  I'm ready for the next road trip.

Avery Island 2019

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

It's Been a While

Yowza -- didn't realize how long it has been since I've visited or posted on this blog.  It isn't highly read, but still helped me keep a routine of regular writing.  I've read about a few original bloggers (those who started in the early days) are returning to blogging after tapering off in recent years, so I though I'd give it another go as well.

So to catch you up on my activities:

reading - Outlander series (979 pages/book = massive undertaking), and others on my growing to-read pile
writing - some poetry (I'll share later)
photograph - yes, some
research -- all things Texas and especially my county.  I have some ideas for projects, but collecting information (I like research) at this time

Not enjoying this continued extreme cold weather and the threat of deadly flu at every corner.  We've been lucky so far and I've been reminding everyone, including myself, basics such as washing hands, eating correct, getting enough sleep. I'm ready for spring.  The yard is so soggy from all the rain I haven't been able to venture to the big yard and check for signs of spring.

Where I have been:
twitter -- I've been more active recently - it's quick and nearly effortless
instagram -- trying to post more, but sometimes I feel like I'm posting the same thing over and over.  I have been in the day-to-day routine (rut) for months and it's just not exciting to post those things (not exciting to me).

One quick picture of a possible project -- in very early stages - a very unique cemetery.

Fox Hound Cemetery

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Texas Wildflowers - Blue Eyed Grass

Blue Eyed Grass -- actually not a grass, but this clumping wildflower plant can be found hidden among grasses. Rising to around 12 inches high, this small (but true blue) flower can still make an impact on a landscape - filling pastures, prairies and  roadsides with a sheet of blue on a sunny day.  Found mostly in southern states of the US and most regions of Texas, this wildflower can be an ornamental addition to cultivated gardens as well. Growing from bulbs, blue eyed grass is in the iris family; reseeding each year (can also be planted from purchased seed).

The flower may be modest, but bees and butterflies are drawn to it and especially birds when flowers give way to seeds (one source includes wild turkeys and prairie chickens).

As for medicinal uses - sources says the Native Americans used the roots for various intestinal ailments (stomach aches, diarrhea, etc).  Another source stated parts were used for fevers, but also mentioned the possibility of the plant being poisonous.

To preserve  by pressing - collect the fully open flowers after the morning dew has dried and before they have closed up for the day.  They don't fully open on cloudy days.

Photographing -- since they are small and delicate, any breeze will cause movement, and growing low to the ground you'll definitely be on your knees or crouch position to capture this one.  Following are a few suggested angles/shots to get you started:
- overhead, to include the yellow inside the flower
- wider shot if shooting a large area for the effect of solid blue
-from the side for closed buds or seeds/fruit

Blue Eyed Grass in various stages - cloudy morning
I used a 105mm macro lens (Nikon), handheld (dodging playing dogs) for these images. The first image is only slightly cropped, the second image is cropped a bit more. Images resized for uploading/web, so are not full resolution.

Sources I used for this blog post include:
Common Sense Homesteader
Dave's Garden
Native Plants
Wildflowers of Texas by Geyata Ajilvsgi (my go-to book for wildflower identification)
Images are my own - copyrighted
Are you discovering the small showy flower near you?  For my backyard it is a sure sign of spring.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Texas Wildflowers - False Garlic

False Garlic

False Garlic (nothoscordum bivalve) is sprouting up everywhere in Texas right now. Growing from a bulb, and flowering in clumps, it rises above the bermuda grass found in most lawns.  Although false garlic is also known as crow poison - everyone assumes the wildflower to be poisonous. However, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower experts - there is "no creditable references ... saying that Nothoscordum bivalve (Crow poison) is poisonous."  This doesn't mean you should volunteer to test that theory -- it could be toxic or at least make you sick.  The Ozark Wildflowers website states that  "Cherokee legend tells that they would use this plant to make a poison that would kill the crows eating their corn."  However, further research using the all-knowing internet, I could not confirm the legend and one site (Native American Legends, Bird Tribes) stated that although crows could be found in many Native American beliefs, legends, etc. - they weren't included in the Cherokee mythology.  So, maybe they weren't revered as in other Native cultures - leading to the belief that they would possibly want to poison them? Don't know - good questions - and the common name had to originate from somewhere. 

False Garlic isn't listed in Delena Tull's Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest guide either - so for myself, I'm going to assume this wildflower's purpose is for our viewing pleasure, add color to the sea of grasses, photography, and wildlife (attracts bees and butterflies). If you're in to pressing flowers, its best to gather these at mid-day. 

 If anyone happens to know additional information on this wildflower - I'd love to hear about it! 

(I apologize for the text background color -- technical difficulties -- it happens.)

The Native Plant Society of Texas recommends that no flower be picked from a colony of fewer than 100 plants and as a reminder - never dig or remove a wildflower from TxDOT rights of way or private property without permission.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Review - The Black Eyed Susans are Dying Now

The Black Eyed Susans are Dying Now, by David Feist is a short non-fiction diary type book.  I ran across this title while doing research on the black-eyed susan flower and really didn't know what to expect. This short book is from The Prairie Naturalist Notes of the same author. Didn't really have what I was looking for concerning black-eyed susans and was more observations of the birds, wildflowers during one summer, early fall on his Minnesota acreage.  But what I did find interesting, after more research into this book and author - this is a self-published book - not obvious at first.  The author has written many shorts for local schools to educate young children about their state.  So with that knowledge/view - this book could be used in lesson plans in a school setting - providing a starting place for further research into various birds, flowers, seasons, etc, without getting caught up in a story of his property.  For now, I'll keep it on my shelf.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Review - The Raft

The Raft, a young adult book by S.A. Bodeen.  I wasn't familiar with this author beforehand, but it was a quick, easy read - no stumbling on sentences, grammar etc.  Obviously from the tag line  "No one knew she as on the plane when it crashed. No one knows to come find her." - you get a good idea of the storyline. The story is of her experiences before, during, and after the crash.  It's kind of a freaky, but believable story, and one that you'll think about after you finish it - mainly what the main character (Robie) goes through.  If I said much more it would give away too much.  The book has references to a few other currently popular novels (Hunger Games, etc). Probably frightening for kids (and many adults), but can lead to great discussions on survival, trauma, PTSD, and how your brain can work to help you mentally survive particularly stressful, life/death situations.  My suggestion - read this before your child does, so you'll be ready to answer the questions they will have while reading.