Sunday, May 31, 2009

500th Post

What is in a number? Numbers are a way to keep track of things. To catalog your belongings, to demand a certain amount, to make a trade of unevenly valued things by quantifying the sides differently so as to be equal to each other, to mark the passing of time, to assign relative value. But do these round numbers like two hundred or six thousand or 100,000 really have any significance? They are fun but they are strictly man-made boundaries. Because we have ten fingers, we have a number system based on tens and tens of tens and tens of tens of tens and on in that pattern. So 500 is 5 times the number of our fingers times the number of our fingers.
If we had 8 fingers and a number system that went 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 20 and so on, the number 500 would have occurred 180 posts ago, at post 320, which is 5 times 8 times 8, or 500 in base 8.
If we had used our toes and our fingers for a base 20 number system, as in 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 a b c d e f g h i j 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1a 1b 1c 1d 1e 1f 1g 1h 1i 1j 20, then 500 would be 5 times 20 times 20 or 2000 and this would be blog number 150. I would only be a quarter of the way to 500.
As such, this being my 500th published post is about as significant as the roundness of the number 500 itself: Not at all.
Still, it would make me feel like I write this for someone other than myself if SOMEone would wish me a "Happy 500th Post-iversary" or some similar sentiment to mark this (meaningless) occasion.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Flora . . . and Fauna

Flowers with sucking bugs and spiders and spider webs and dead sucked dry bugs caught in webs remind us that there quite a bit going on out there in the pretty pretty woods. Find the fauna in these lovely floral portraits. Delight in the dead mosquito carcass. Remember you can click on a photo to have it shown large on your screen, then use your back arrow to come back here.
Spider with complex tiny web network.
The spider is behind stamens at upper right of center with its legs drawn up close to its head. Other objects are dead things caught in webbing.

Two sucking bugs, one yellow, one paler.

Spider lurking. No web, so this is apparently an attack spider.

Weevil with pollen on its back.

Fine webbing between upper ends of flower tubes with a dead bug well-encased in webbing.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Music Again

There were times in my life when I played recorded music nearly constantly, as a background to whatever I was doing. These days, I listen in the car and to a specific song now and then on my computer. But some people do not just listen to recorded music of others, but they play music of their own. The ones that play music nearly every day, and the ones like my son that truly 'play' with music by taking a song or tune they have learned and exploring endless variations on it, those are the lucky ones indeed, because for them, music is beyond observing and beyond reproducing all the way into creating. When my son is gone at college, I miss him and I miss his music. It is good, truly very good, to have live spontaneous living music in my life again!

Boys Together

If you follow this little web log, you've seen me post a great number of photographs of beautiful scenery, amazing flowers, awesome aspects of the natural world, and you will surely see more to come. But there is nothing, nothing, that is more beautiful to me, that makes me smile, that makes me happier to the core of my being, than having my sons together. Each individually, they are brilliant and kind and fun and funny and thoughtful and intelligent and competent and talented and creative and giving and caring and each individually makes me proud and amazed and awed and very very happy.
But there is nothing so wonderful in this world as having my boys back together.

Ghost Plant

This plant has a genetic mutation that turns chlorophyll production off, so it lacks the green coloration provided by chlorophyll. It has been using the food that was stored in the seed to grow this far, but soon, it will need more and be unable to make any due to its lack of chlorophyll, so it will die. It is eerily beautiful, silvery white and ghostlike, now, but soon it will be brown and food for the forest floor decomposers. Such is the fate of mutations that lessen the ability of an organism to function. This mutation that happens constantly and commonly in the natural world is one of the key steps in the process of evolution.

Hooks, We Got Hooks!

We installed hooks for hand towels, bath and beach towels, coats, and clothing in the bedroom. This helps make up for the lack of closets that would require walls that would block views! Some of them are made from left over cabinet pulls and others are coordinating cabinet pulls from the same line of hardware. One more step in making the place easy to live in.

Damn Redbuds!

This is one of the prettiest scenes ever that I have never been able to photograph to my satisfaction. Lacking real telephoto lenses, my point and shoot gives results only as good as this. The right way to shoot it would be from a boat in the middle of the pond, which is prohibited by Arboretum rules.
Who's with me on this caper during redbud season 2010?

More Furniture

The welcoming foyer console.
The house is a great place to play with the telescope the kids got for Christmas . . . in 1999!

Upstairs, for breakfast tea or coffee while enjoying the ever awesome views.

Bench for luggage or conversation or viewing the views.

The elusive nightstands.

Leafy Glow

The ground on our north facing slope rarely gets lit by the sun, but as soon as the sun rises enough to light the canopies of the trees on the slope, they glow a brilliant bright green. This is a fairly common effect, but it never fails to awe me!

Compass Rose

The first time I saw this idea was on the floor of a stone house that was hand built by one of my heroes, a local naturalist. His house is on a river, and his water source is a spring that flows through his house and out to the river. His staircase echoes the shape of his wife's baby grand piano! Some of his crown molding is grapevine split into quarters. I loved the hand crafted touches in his beautiful home. We have been trying to fit a compass rose into every remodeling project and building project since and finally, at the lake house, it seemed right. This granite tile is set into the slate floor of the foyer, revealing the orientation of the house in relation to true North. Up north, where we came from in North Dakota, up north where we spent lake vacations at Star Lake when the kids were younger, up north where the Boy Scouts went on High Adventure paddling and are going again in a couple weeks. If you were looking at a map of Lake Redstone, knowing where true North is might help you understand where our lot is in relation to the southern bay of the lake. Knowing the cardinal directions might help you understand where the sun will rise and set in relation to the houses amazing windows and views. The design has an abstract sail as a North arrow in honor of the little sailboat my kids and their dad rescued from the garbage and restored to use. The bur oak represents the prairie savanna that covers the rolling hills of the region. The sugar maple represents the maple-linden woods that shelters the stream edges and valleys. The white pine grows to towering heights along the shores of the lake on the sunnier drier slopes, and our lot whose slope faces nearly north has hemlocks that drape their graceful branches near the shore where we put in our canoes and kayaks. Some day, I hope to carve this design into a linoleum block, reversed of course, so that I can make prints of it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This May Be Too Much Information

Now that the the minimal glass 'splash panel' is installed at the edge of the upstairs bathtub, we can shower there now. From my shower I can see out three windows in two directions, into the canopy of the neighbor's sugar maple and at the vista of wooded hilltops across the alfalfa field. If the bathroom door is left open, I can even peek out and see who might be in my driveway. It is almost like showering outdoors! Yes!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Last Light of The Day

The end of a perfect spring day on the lake.

Head of a Dead Fish

Found: Head of a Dead Fish
Where: On the Railing of the Stairs to the Lake
Why: Unknown
Message: Be Careful Where You Put Your Hand

Spring Farm

Twelve Turtles

Reflections of Perfection

White on White on White

Clouds. Birch. Serviceberry.

Warning Labels

Some days I think I should come with warning labels like these to keep the world from hurting me. Other times, I think I should come with labels like this to warn the world away from me.

Yellow Tulips

Bleeding Heart

After I forgive them for not being native to our continent and for the overly dramatic name, I have to admit they are lovely and intriguing.