I don’t know about you, but I’ve been using the Okame Cherry in my yard as a reliable sing of spring. Once it starts to bloom, everything starts. This year, the date of the first blossom was March 4. An early spring indeed! Last year, the first bloom didn’t come until April 2. The year before that, it was March 21st. What is your sure sign of spring?
It’s pretty unusual for us to have a Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) actually in bloom on Christmas day. We have three of them – one blooms reliably around Easter and another is pretty dependable at Thanksgiving. This one usually starts sometime after Thanksgiving, but is normally done well before Christmas. In reading about these plants, it appears that there are several varieties that bloom at different times of the year. I can’t tell them apart.
This is the source of the two close-up photographs from last week: Holiday Colors, and Festivities. It’s a piece of art glass, created by Josh Simpson, that I picked up back in the eighties. Josh does some wonderful work, making these glass planets sized from marbles to bowling balls. This one is only about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and contains an amazing amount of detail.
I was shooting a picture of a crystal tear drop Christmas ornament, and noticed that a fairly clear but distorted image was visible through the glass, so I relocated the ornament and took this picture. The image is looking out the window of my living room. If you look closely, you can see the rhododendrons just outside the window and Nikki Frazer’s car out front. Can’t quite make out the license plate.
Below is the image I originally set out to make with this ornament:
It’s too cold and windy to wander outside for pictures, so I put on the macro lens and went looking for things around the house that would make an interesting picture in extreme closeup. The colors in this one seemed appropriate for the holiday season. It was also the subject used for the Christmas Mandala.
This is a smartweed caterpillar that I encountered during a visit to the DuPont Environmental Education Center on the Christina Riverfront. It’s a gaudy caterpillar that turns into a rather drab and insipid moth.
I’ve noticed that I’m taking an awful lot of insect and nature pictures lately, so I’ve created a new blog site just dedicated to that. It’s called Delaware Naturalist, so give it a look. My plan is to return this blog to it’s original focus on experiments and such and leave the bugs on the new blog. Let me know what you think.
This is another tiny butterfly – again less than an inch from top to bottom. Half the fun is figuring out what I took a picture of, and this time I’m going with “Spring Azure”. Not quite as blue as it should be because it’s so late in the season. On a blossom, they keep their wings folded. In flight, you see flashes of blue. I particularly like that you can see the proboscis in this shot.