I bought this plant three years ago and planted it in My mom’s garden. This year, for the first time, it sprouted some flowers. Touted as the only two-tone peony one can buy, the blooms were certainly impressive! Hard to go wrong with $3 flowers, but these are particularly gorgeous…
Yeah, I’ve gotten pretty far behind on posting here. Hopefully I’ll be caught up in a week or two. It’s mid-summer now, but here are a few shots of the first flowers that bloom in My yard every year. Too bad the squirrels haven’t let us have any of the apples in a decade or so…
I bought a set of screw on macro filters to play with. I was buying an intervalometer to enter in to time lapse photography and adding the filters to the order made it qualify for free shipping, for cheaper than the shipping cost. At twelve dollars, this four piece set made by AGFA is a steal! They simply screw on a lens like a UV, or polarizing filter and allow You to get physically closer to what You are trying to shoot. Not without a hitch though. This 77mm set has been mated to my Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 OS to reduce the minimum focus distance from three and a half feet, down to eight to twelve inches with the +4. The extreme curve of the +4 and +10 filters, dramatically reduces the amount of light intake. So You are pretty much required to shoot in full sun light. On My first try, I used a portable L.E.D. to augment the fading evening light. It worked okay, not great though.
Over the weekend, I was musing pretty hard on My friends garden, so I popped on the +4 filter and had a go in full sun light. The filter reduced the depth of field to nearly nothing. I had to run very tight apertures to get a range of one inch into focus. Using shutter speeds of 125ths, to 400ths of a second, with apertures from 16-22 and My ISO at 400 and 800 in broad daylight was very odd. It did yield some rewards, at a better ratio than the first time, but still only 1 in every 15 shots was acceptable. Half of those were still not quite sharp, but I think I am getting the hang of using these things. Who would have thought that a $12 set of filters could turn a telephoto lens into decent macro shooting optics. It is not as good as buying a 200mm macro lens, but at one, or two percent of the price, WOW. None of the images in this post have been cropped…
Last fall, I headed up to northern Wisconsin with My brother and some friends. During that trip, two of the bunch proposed a monthly cook-off. The original theme was simply ‘make Your s*** fancy.’ What can I say, it was a weekend of drinking, shooting and dirt bikes. The feast idea changed slightly after that and starting this past January, Fancy Feast had begun. Instead of making it a competition, it is a slightly less intense meal making endeavor. Four courses minimum, guests bring a bottle of decent booze as tribute, or declare themselves the next host/cook for the feast.
First up was My friend Keith, who made some beet and cheese appetizers that were quite good. Followed by a lobster and shrimp torta with lima beans, avacodo topped with seasoned cream cheese and an encrusted herby salmon bake. Then, He banged out a lovely candied bacon, puffed cream and brownie desert.
February went to My brother, Chris. Churning out seven dishes and various drinks. I did however neglect to catch a picture of the fresh pumpkin bread desert. Pictured are His mushroom soup, with leeks. Egg cooked in swirling water and hash, a topper variety plate, cold soba and soy sauce, what I think was a chorizo dish and meatballs cooked forever in a pho soup stock.
I called March’s meal. My theme was simply to do something different. So, no stir-fry. No grill, or smoker. No cajun spices, chili blends, sherry, or even soy sauce. I struggled a bit, making multi-course meals that come round after round doesn’t mesh particularly well with My laid back, ‘just throw some stuff together and hope it’s good’ cooking tendencies. I produced the minimum of four dishes. Bacon and baby lima bean soup, spicy sweet potato mash with roasted brocolli and pistachios on toast, fruit stuffed pork tenderloin roll and finished with citrus gratin. The desert was kind of odd honestly, but it had much potential to be delicious. Something to ponder on how to go about improving.
I bought this indoor friendly vine three years ago, along with My first citrus trees. It pumps out interesting orange-red flowers that do indeed roughly resemble dolphins jumping out of the water. Plentiful amounts of two and a half inch long blooms have come in waves every few months the whole time I’ve had it. At first, it was just two, four inch branches. After about a year, I re-potted the vine, proceeding to drop it and break off two-thirds of the delicate branches. Left with only one, six inch branch, I got it situated and let it grow. Then, one day I came home from work and found My lovely, quite fragile vine, top down and pot up on the floor. Presumably sliding off its perch on a stool due to vibrations from the construction crews updating the 55-100+ year old sewers and water lines along My street. Again, all but one twelve inch branch had broken off the vine. This time, I gave the broken off bits to My Mom, which she rooted in water and has now potted two of these plants, a little larger than the one I got from the nursery to start with. In the 6 months since the last tumble, a couple new sprouts are coming from the base of the mother plant, but the lone remaining arm of the vine has more than doubled its size. Pictured here is that vine, now 2 feet long and a shot of the parts that were broken off, but are now rooted and growing just fine on their own. This plant should be a mainstay in My living room for many years to come. Such a neat variety of flowers to have around the house.
A friend gave this plant to Me for christmas. Flowers have never really caught My interest, instead I tend to grow plants that give Me food, flowers to Me are just there to draw in more pollinators for the edible stuff. It’s been a couple of months since then and it’s still looking great. This petite little plant has been constantly sprouting 2 inch wide white flowers, with splashes of green, yellow and magenta in the center. I can’t keep from taking pictures of it every week or two.
I got this little shrub last year. Having read it grows to only 8 to 12 inches in height and bearing ‘nickel sized’ flowers. So far, it’s grown to about 18 inches and the beautiful blooms are between one and one and a half inches wide. Certainly smaller than most rose varieties.. It may not be exactly what I was Looking for, but it’s conjuring new blooms constantly, with 3 to 10 blossoming at a time. What a lovely little plant!