Category: flowers

Photography Challenge Day 13: Ruby-throated hummingbird

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the ruby-throated hummingbird.

I’ve always been intrigued by hummingbirds—they’re small, quick, and they beat their wings constantly.

Lately, I’ve also been trying to remember that when I was younger I felt a little like a hummingbird.

In that I could dive into a subject, immerse myself, learns as much as I could and then move on.

Ruby-throated hummingbird at the rose-of-Sharon

I did this for class projects: there was the paper over the Culture of India (and I covered everything from architecture to music to philosophy), to diving into the history of Peru (though I don’t think I ever wrote a paper over this—so that may be something to go back to) and medieval England.

I’ve always been fascinated with birds—I have quite a few bird encyclopedias in my storage unit, plus numerous articles that I had clipped out of the papers as I was growing up to make a scrap book on them.

So what does fascination with birds, culture and history of other countries, and everything else have to do with hummingbirds?

Ruby-throated hummingbird at another rose-of-Sharon

When I had taken the Clifton Strength Assessment test back in both 2017 and 2019, my top strength was learner.

This trait fits people who have a love of learning (though they have to be drawn to the topic), love digging into new things, love researching topics and ideas and gathering information.

These individual have been likened to hummingbirds in that they will deeply investigate on subject before moving on to another—similarly how hummingbirds will investigate flowers for their nectar before going to the next flower.

Until I took the test and saw the top strength as learner—I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed learning, reading, investigating, and putting the information together in some format.

Getting my undergraduate degrees took awhile—because I was ‘bouncing’ between ‘flowers’ (aka different subjects)—but I did manage to get my two degrees and minor (though now looking back, I should have taken that last six hours of sociology to get that minor as well).

Graduate school, allowed me to dive deeply into a subject that was still fairly new and I was learning different techniques and systems. The first postdoc was where the love of learning started to dwindle—while the topic was slightly different from grad school—what I was being taught really wasn’t, and therefore I got bored (only realizing now, exactly why I was getting bored so early—if I had realized it then, things might have gone differently had I asked for either another project or figured out a way to strike up a collaboration with another lab).

The second postdoc allowed me to dive into another system and I learned quite a bit—though I didn’t like being told to read up on other things in my spare time. I learned in both staff positions—more so in the first (only because I was working with undergrads in several different labs on several different projects) than the second. It has taken about ten months of self-reflection to realize that one of the problems that I had with the last position—I was bored; while I had been told I could ‘collaborate’ with other labs on projects, the only labs I could think of would have required me doing experiments and those aren’t something that you can schedule to only take 1 to 2 hours a day.

As I now move forward—I have to remember that I’m like a hummingbird, where there needs to be ample ‘flowers’ around for me to sample; I may hang around one or two longer than others, but at least I won’t get bored.

This is something that I will keep in the forefront as I start looking towards either my industry transition or freelancing/working for myself–I need variety to keep busy–so for me (at least mentally) it is better to be both a jack-of-all-trades and a ‘specialist’.

Have you taken the Clifton Strength Assessment Test? What was your top strength?

No Comments bird watchingcareerflowersnaturePersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflections

The bee on the chive flower: Photography challenge day 8

So I’m basically going to be a day behind in the photography challenge, unless I manage to do a double photography post at some point.

The winner for today’s entry is the honeybee on the chive flowers.

Honeybee on the chive flowers

The honeybee (and actually all of the bee clade) is actually only native to Eurasia, but humans took them to four other continents (Africa, Australia, South & North America).

In terms of recognition—there are eight species recognized, but with a total of 43 subspecies. These subspecies are populations of bees that living in different areas and have different morphological characteristics. Out of those species—two have been domesticated for honey production and/or crop pollination—the eastern & western honeybees. Other bees may also produce & store honey—but not to the extent that the eastern & western honeybees manage.

Honeybee on the chive flowers

One way to help these insects is to plant bushes, flowers, veggies, herbs, and other plants that are native to the area (or at least not totally invasive) that can attract the bees and help them survive.

We have numerous bushes in the yard that flower (crepe myrtles, rose-of-Sharon, wisteria, clematis, flowering quints, and others), in addition we also have various herbs planted, though the only one that really flowers is the chive.

Chives are a flowering plant that produces edible leaves and flowers (though we leave the flowers alone so that the bees, wasps, and butterflies have something to also feed on). They are also related to common onions, garlic, shallot, leek, scallion, and the Chinese onion. These are one herb that once you plant; they will come back up for a couple of years (unless there is a really cold snap, and I’d guess less than 0 degrees).

This year I’ve managed to get the picture of bees, flies, butterflies, and wasps all resting/feeding on the chive flowers. A new goal for next year—record and see how many of which species land on the flowers.

Do you like chives? If so–what is your favorite recipe for them? Another thought–maybe once I have my own place, I can become a part time beekeeper. Are you (or someone you know) a beekeeper? Have you ever thought of becoming one??

No Comments flowersinsectsnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 199: Odds and Ends

So since I couldn’t just pick one or two pictures to share today, the theme is odds and ends. Basically a little bit of several things–namely insects, arthropods, and maybe either some fungi or a bird or two. In other words–it will be mainly pictures, with a few words here and there.

Viceroy butterfly

I did see a Viceroy butterfly on my morning walk the other day going around Boomer Lake. It was just sitting on the one edge of the bridge soaking up some morning sun before looking for food.

Heron flying overhead

I’m also pretty certain that I got a picture of a green heron in flight. The body type is right for them, and they’re a dark color. It just didn’t help that they had the sun at their back, making it hard to see the actual green color of their feathers.

Red-spotted Purple Admiral Butterfly

I managed to get a good picture of an red-spotted purple admiral this weekend as well. Luckily I spotted one on the street (and there weren’t any cars coming).

Bee on the flowers

Our decorative grass is flowering, and that means I’m starting to see some bees in the backyard again this fall. It’s always nice to see them.

Creepy little spider

Then I noticed that there was this little spider spinning it’s web between the leaves of some of the plants.

So these are just a few of the other pictures that I took this weekend (and I still have others I can share). Most of the pictures are nature/wildlife, as that is what I’m currently most comfortable trying to photograph. Though this fall/winter I may start branching out and starting to do some architecture shots as well. But mainly I’m focusing on enjoying a hobby, and maybe figuring out how to fit in daily with everything else.

No Comments bird watchingbutterfliesflowersinsectsnaturePhotographyScience

Photography Challenge Day 198: The chives have flowered

So the winner of today’s photography challenge are the flowers of the chive plant, and the numerous different insects that have visited them so far.

One of the several stalks of chive flowers

There have been numerous different insects on the chive flowers so far, though I haven’t been keeping count (or actually watch for a specific amount of time).

One species of wasp on the flowers.

This summer I’ve seen a couple of different wasps, and some flies. I’m pretty sure that the butterflies are coming through–just not that often when I’m around with my camera.

Mating wasps on the flowers??

So it looks like some of the wasps were also potentially mating on the flowers as well–I thought that this was a really weird looking wasp. Once I got the pictures on the computer–it looks likes two wasps (or other flying insects) potentially were mating (or one was cannibalizing the other).

Butterfly on the flowers

Though this one butterfly did come through the yard on Saturday, and stopped on the flowers long enough for me to get a couple of pictures of it. I also think that this is the silvery checkerspot butterfly (more on this in another post).

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Photography Challenge Day 197: The plant optical illusion (short post)

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the Rose-of-Sharon in the backyard. I was spending time doing photography this afternoon and I liked the way that the flowers of the one Rose-of-Sharon looked.

It looks like Johnny/Number-5 to me…..

It wasn’t until I was reviewing the picture, that I realized it reminded me of Johnny/Number-5 from Short Circuit. If you’ve never seen the movie–you’re forgiven (I’ve aged myself with the reference).

The plot of the movie is a robot discovers self-awareness and consciousness after being struck by lightning. With a little help, it tries to evade being recaptured and reprogrammed while at the same time trying to prove “it’s alive” to its creator.

While the movie is over thirty years old, it is a wonderful movie–and if you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend it.

No Comments flowersnatureOptical IllusionsPhotography

Photography Challenge Day 188: Grasshopper hiding in the grass

The winner of today’s photography challenge is a grasshopper. I noticed this guy hanging out in the flowers of some grass (if I had to wager a bet—it is either switchgrass, or a close family member).

Grasshopper in the grass

So grasshoppers go through five different molts between hatching from the egg and the adult—but they look like an adult in each stage (just smaller and slightly weirder—as I shared some pictures of the younger nymphs earlier this summer).

This one was just chilling in the flowers, though I’m sure that if I got any closer it would have jumped towards other tall grasses in the area.

A little on the grass (as I’m going to say that I’m pretty sure that it is either switchgrass—or a close family member), it was probably thinking of chomping on. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a perennial warm season grass that is native to North America. This is one of the many plants that is being groomed as potential biofuel plants. One of the main reason why it is being looked at: it isn’t part of the food chain for either humans or cattle (or other farm animals).

It can also grow in areas that other plants can’t—such as high salt, and brackish waters. It has a very good root system—so it can also work in erosion control as well. It comes back year after year—and before we started building cities and towns in the middle of the prairie—it was one of the major native grasses.

I actually worked with this grass during graduate school (it was the focus of my dissertation)—and I am always amazed to see how tall it grows in the wild (in the lab—it’s height is limited by either the growth chamber or being trimmed back in the greenhouses)—it can get up to six feet tall pretty quickly in some areas.

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Photography Challenge Day 171: Wisteria seed pods

The winner of today’s photography challenge are wisteria seed pods.

Wisteria seed pods

The wisteria is a climbing vine that is native to the eastern part of the United States. This flowering vine is actually a member of the pea family—which is one reason why it’s seed pods look like pea pods.

Though unlike peas—wisteria plants are poisonous, so it shouldn’t be planted in areas where child play, and shouldn’t be planted in areas where someone might accidentally pick the seed pods and eat the seeds.

We have the wisteria growing along the back fence, and I’ve been thinking of trying to start a new wisteria vine elsewhere in the yard—that way once it does flower (in ten to fifteen years), it can be seen closer to the house, and it may add value to the house whenever it comes time to sell. The only thing is—I’ve never tried to grow the plant before (the one we have, we got as a smaller plant from a friend who was thinning her’s out).

But I’m thinking that I’ll check on the wisteria over the next couple of months and maybe pick a seed pod or two, and see how many seeds are inside. Then I’ll dry them out, put them in an container for the winter and then try planting them somewhere in the spring. If nothing else, we’ll get some green growth going as the vines are suppose to start growing rapidly.

No Comments flowersnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 146: The white false garlic

Today’s winner of the photography challenge is another early spring wildflower: the false garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve), and also goes by the names of crow poison.

This is one of the more numerous wildflowers up at Boomer Lake in the early spring time, it looked like the entire field was covered with them.

Numerous blossoming white false garlic

It will bloom in the early spring, and potentially again in the fall (now I have something to keep an lookout for on my walks this fall). It is called false garlic, because it looks like a wild onion but lacks the onion odor.

It is a native wildflower to the south plains and south eastern states (basically from Arizona east to Virginia), and it’s blooming schedule is March through May, and then again possibly in September and October.

It can also be found growing in Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile as well.

I wonder that even though it doesn’t have the garlic/onion odor—would it have the garlic/onion flavor? This could be a possible native wildflower to plant in the yard to help naturally deter the moles from coming through and destroying everything—it is something to look into.

It would also be interesting to try to find the origin of the other common name–crow poison. Just a quick google search didn’t really turn up anything–it might require looking into older botany papers and books to see if origin (or even old wise tale) about the other name. My hypothesis: someone (years upon years ago) found a dead crow in the middle of a field of false garlic, and though it ate the seeds and died; they therefore named the flowers crowpoison.

That is one of two main reasons why I haven’t done much gardening over the years—the moles have a habit of eating the flower bulbs (didn’t realize they liked tulips as much as they did until they ate like two dozen tulip bulbs the second year we were living here). The second reason why I haven’t done much gardening—is the soil—it is really nothing more than solid red clay, and it is a pain to dig in. You need to add in some much extra mulch and topsoil and hope that you’ve added enough extra that the soil will actually drain and not drown the roots of your plants.

It’s looking like it could be August before I really try to do any type of even weeding of the front garden—starting Tuesday it’s going to be triple digit weather for at least 10 days—and that means I may not even get my morning walk in at Boomer Lake next weekend (depending on what the temperature and humidity is at 7am).

Starting tomorrow I’m going to try to do another week of pictures that follow a certain trend—something for me to think on tonight and most of tomorrow.

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Photography Challenge Day 145: White and Purple wildflowers

So I’m doing a dual flashback Friday post for the color/flower challenge. These flowers were some of the wildflowers that bloomed earlier this year up at Boomer Lake. I managed to spot both of these white and purple flowers, and I’m pretty certain they’re from the same family (if not the same flower species–just different color genes were activated during germination).

White Carolina anemone

So this plant goes by two different names, and depending on what name you call it—it can change it’s scientific name.

One name is the Carolina anemone (Anemone caroliniana), and that places it within the genus Anemone and the family Ranunculacae. It is also native to the central and south eastern parts of the United States.

Purple Carolina anemone

The plants flower in early to mid spring, with coloring of white, soft rose, and occasionally purple flowers, with one flower per stem.

The other name that they can go by is windflower. Now windflowers can refer to anemones in general (so that is fine)—but the main anemone that goes by that common name is Anemone nemorosa (or the wood anemone), and it found mainly in Europe.

So if one is referring to them as windflowers—we also need to add in the other common name of Carolina anemone.

I’ve always loved anemones, as they’re some of the first flowers to bloom in the spring time. We have some of the smaller purple anemones planted in the front yard, but they’re slowly dying off (since it’s been about twenty years since I originally planted the seeds). I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to get some more seeds and start a new batch of anemones in the front yards.

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Photography Challenge Day 144: The pink-purple (maybe wine colored) poppy mallow

Today’s flower/color photography winner is also a Thursday throwback to the spring when more of the flowers were in bloom. That was one of the really nice things about walking up to Boomer Lake–the hill closest to where I’d cross the street was in full bloom of wildflowers during late spring and early summer months.

The bright pink/purple (or maybe even wine colored) flowers are poppy mallows and the main winners of the photography challenge.

The poppies and other wildflowers were in bloom

This is the common name for the nine species found within the genus Callirhoe. These plants are all native to the prairies and grasslands of North America.

Since I see these flowers basically yearly (though I will admit I’ve only really started noticing plants as I’ve started to get more into photography), I’m pretty sure that these are one of the species that are perennials (meaning they come back year after year).

One of the things I’ve been thinking of doing is figuring out what type of native flowers and plants we could get that would add both color to the yard and also attract bees, butterflies, and birds.

I’ve actually looked into trying to get seeds of the poppy mallow to plant around the house–but they need basically full sun, and there is only one area of the house that gets full sun. That would be the side of the house, and it is also the side that everyone forgets about–these are such pretty flowers, they should be planted in an area where they’d be seen more than maybe just once or twice a day (or week).

So I still need to do some research into different types of flowers and plants that are hardy for the extreme weather changes and seasons in Oklahoma, and that can also deal with either total shade, or part shade/part sun. It would be nice to get some color (other than mainly green) in the yards again.

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