Unexpected in common hours

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
– Henry David Thoreau

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Brilliant in orange and black

From my “photos only” blog….

captured for a moment

Monarch butterfly

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Festival of Leaves, Week #2: Sourwood

Our Sourwood tree is just beginning to turn red here in the North Georgia mountains.

Sourwood 2

Sourwood

 

See more autumn leaves or join the Festival of Leaves challenge here.

Monarchs!

I cannot remember when I’ve seen so many Monarch butterflies in our garden.  It’s been several years since our Buddleia, also known as Butterfly Bush, hosted so many Monarchs. I got a little carried away trying to photograph them…

Monarch

Monarch 2

Monarch 3

Monarch 4

Monarch 5

Monarch 6

“…Happiness is like a butterfly which appears and delights us for one brief moment, but soon flits away.”    (Anna Pavlova)

Festival of Leaves 2017: Week #1

This autumn, Dawn at The Day After is hosting the weekly Festival of Leaves challenge. She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where the leaves are already showing more color than here in Georgia. So far, the most brilliant color here has been on our maple tree.  Even so, only a few leaves on the ends of the maple’s branches have changed…

Maple leaves 2

Maple leaves 3

Maple leaves

 

See more autumn leaves or join the Festival of Leaves challenge here.

A little beauty in the aftermath of Irma

Tropical Storm Irma (previously Hurricane Irma) blew through here in the mountains of North Georgia as our first ever tropical storm, leaving considerable damage in its wake.  Many people have no electricity, no water, no landline telephone service, spotty cell phone service, power lines down across roads, trees down, and homes damaged.  Many businesses are closed, and the schools have been out all week so far.  There is no indication as to when power will be restored, although it could be two weeks for some people here.  And where Irma hit as a hurricane, the damage is immense.

We made it through without losing power, water, landline phone service, or satellite television, which is incredible because we often lose those services at random times anyway for no apparent reason.  We live in the woods in the middle of nowhere, and I really don’t understand why everything stayed on, but I am grateful.  There were only a few small tree limbs down on our property, and I was able to clean those up yesterday morning.

The weather turned very chilly here prior to the storm’s arrival, and I think that may have lessened its strength, as it had largely fizzled out by the time it reached the northwest corner of our state.

A few days before the storm I noticed that the blooms on our Tardiva Hydrangea, which always are white, were beginning to have a pink tinge to them.  Yes, they are turning pink for the first time ever, adding a little beauty and color to the drab aftermath of the storm.

 

“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities of the world.”   (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

A little beauty while waiting on Irma

For the first time ever, the area in which I live is under a tropical storm warning as a result of Hurricane Irma which has made its way up the Florida peninsula and now is approaching the North Georgia mountains.

I thought I’d share a little autumn beauty as we experience a rainy, chilly, dreary afternoon waiting for the first tropical storm ever recorded here,

Butterfly

Butterfly 2

Butterfly 3

Butterfly 4

Butterfly 5

 

“Butterflies are self propelled flowers.”

R.H. Heinlein

 

“A satellite dish for sunshine…”

We plant flowers that are supposed to be perennials in the back garden .  But they die out, and two years later reappear in the front garden. Ah, nature!

These are Rudbeckia hirta, a type of sunflower commonly known as Black-Eyed Susan or coneflower, and they are blooming now in my corner of Northeast Georgia.

 

“I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life than the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.”      (Helen Mirren)

Can someone explain this to me?

I’ve written about my solar chicken before.  It was a gift from our daughter, and when it was first placed in the garden, it worked beautifully. Then my husband decided to move it, thinking it would look better in another area of the garden, and it quit working. Since then, which was about two years ago, it never worked even though we tried several locations, each receiving full sun almost daily. Even so, I enjoy the chicken because of its uniqueness and lovely colors.

Solar chicken

Then, four days before the recent solar eclipse my chicken began to glow at night.  It glowed for four nights before the eclipse, the night of August 21 which is when the eclipse occurred, and for two nights afterwards.

Solar chicken

Then it stopped working again and has not glowed since. Surely there must be a scientific reason for this. Can anyone explain it to me?

 

“Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.”   (Ivan Pavlov)

Dainty in White: Country Clematis

 

“White… is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black… God paints in many colours; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white.”        (G.K. Chesterton)

In the Path of Totality

Today was the first solar eclipse to be visible within the entire U.S. since 1918, and we were in the path of totality. Even though many people did take photos with cameras or cellphones, I erred on the side of caution and didn’t, after reading articles that said cameras and phones could be “fried” by photographing the event.  I didn’t even purchase eclipse glasses, declaring that I intended to stay inside and watch the eclipse on television.

However, when the time came I just couldn’t stay inside. So I made a pinhole viewer using two white cards and was amazed at how well such a simple thing enabled me to see indirectly what was occurring.  A few minutes before totality the little girl from next door brought over a pair of eclipse glasses, and I was able to actually look at the eclipse. For the two minutes or so that the sun is totally obscured by the moon, it is safe to take off the glasses and look directly at the sun’s corona, which I did.

Never will I experience another total solar eclipse, and I am glad I went outside to view this one because it was absolutely awe inspiring.

A few things I noticed before, during and after the eclipse:

  • 4 days ago, the light outside began to look different, and leaves on the trees looked a dull grayish-green
  • also 4 days ago, my solar chicken began to glow at night after having not worked for 2 years

  • today, 30 minutes before totality, the crows began cawing loudly
  • 20 minutes before totality, the katydids which are very loud during the day became quiet
  • 15 minutes before totality, all birds stopped singing or cawing
  • during totality, our solar lights came on, yellow jackets began swarming, and the tree frogs began their nighttime chorus
  • as soon as totality was over, the tree frogs became quiet
  • 5 minutes after totality, the birds began singing again

The photos I did take were of the fascinating shadows cast on our back deck and concrete walkway:

Shadows on the deck before totality

 

Shadows on the deck after totality

 

Shadows on concrete walkway before totality

 

Shadows on concrete walkway after totality

 

I  found this lovely poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox who was born in 1850 and was a popular writer of her day.  She died in 1919, a year after the last total eclipse to be seen coast to coast in the U.S.

A Solar Eclipse

In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.

Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun’s bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover’s lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.