Friday, April 28, 2017

Quaker Ladies - Nothing is better for thee

One of my favorite spring flowers to photograph is the Bluet flower (Hustonia caerulea).

Another name for them is Quaker ladies, apparently so named because the shape of the flower is similar to the white bonnets once worn by women of the Quaker faith.   I tried googling for an image of such a hat, and I think that's quite a stretch.  A better explanation is that they're named for the shade of fabric used in making dresses worn by Quaker ladies.

Here is a macro of an individual flower, which is a pretty little thing:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Buddy Guy at the CAC

Saw blues musician Buddy Guy perform at the WVU Creative Arts Center last night. I'm sorry to admit that I haven't heard much of his work before, at least nothing that I can recall.  I must correct this oversight.

A Wikipedia article on Buddy says that he is ranked 30th in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.  Last night, he showed how that was earned.

Up towards almost the end of the concert, I had respected the signs that said "No photographs or recordings."   Seeing that it was widely flouted, however, I grabbed a few shots on my old iPhone 5s.

I only wished that I'd had it together to start recording when he took his guitar playing up into the audience, wandering up and down the aisles and interacting with the audience.

He's a seasoned entertainer, chatty and full of quips and anecdotes.

I read that his latest album, Born to Play Guitar (2015) has won the 2016 Grammy for best blues album.   I plan to vote with my wallet and pick that album up sometime soon.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mighty Mitey

Meet the Red Velvet Mite (Trombidiidae), at least I think it is -- there are thousands of different species.

It looks like a red russet potato with legs. Looking around at Google Images, I've seen a mite like this also identified as a chigger, but I suspect that it's a mistake. They are classified as arachnids, but they are not spiders.

I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about these mites. If you want to get a lot of factoids about them, I recommend What Are Mites? The Red Velvet Mite (Trombidiidae) that's part of

Interestingly, one Indian (the sub-continent) species of velvet mite (rombidium grandissimum) has some unusual medicinal properties. Check out Indian Viagra in Siddha Medicine also used for limb paralysis and to improve spermatogenesis

For something a little more whimsical, TheOatmeal goes into great depth on the subject of Red Velvet Mite Love. Enjoy!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Alien Egg?

I was walking  along the rail trail, south of Little Falls, looking for Spring flowers and sundry wild life.  Now that I recognize what the Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) plant looks like, I'm seeing tons of it.   This North American native perennial is large and lush, somewhat reminiscent to a violet, though much bigger.   The trick is in finding the flower, which is low to the ground and well hidden by the leaves.

I had to pull a couple of its leaves out of the way to get this shot.    For all the world, it reminds me of an egg from the Alien movie franchise.  See the facehugger ready to pop out?

The flowers are supposed to bloom from April through June, so I'll probably have more opportunities to photograph them.

According to Wikipedia, the pollinated flowers develop into a pod that later splits open and is eaten by ants.

I also learned that this plant has aromatic properties similar to real ginger.  But although it was used by native Americans as a medicinal herb, the plant contains aristolochic acid and asarone, both of which are carcinogens.

One group of early American settlers (witch hunters) called Wild Ginger (wartchase) and believed witches used it to rid themselves of warts so they would not be recognized.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ohwha Tagoo Siam

This kōan from my deformative Boy Scout years, circa 1969, has stayed with me.  Recite the mantra:
O-wha Ta-goo Siam!

Say it over and over again, and you will be enlightened.

This week, I've been packing my telephoto lens every morning in the hope of catching the WVU Rowing Team at practice on the river, near where I work.   Luck has not smiled on me.

What I did manage to get is nothing worthy of Nat-Geo, but it will have to do.  Here is a Canada goose (Branta canadensis) proclaiming its stand-on vessel status.

The next shot is less crisp, but it spoke to me:

What is said is "Don't paddle away from me when I'm talking to you!"

Where to Begin?

Where to begin?  Or where to continue?  It's been since October of 2015 that I've posted anything here.  You may have thought that I was dead.  In a way, you were close.

But I don't want to use this as a forum for personal demons.  It would be far better for me to use this space as a blog for my imagination and as an outlet for creativity.

'Nuff said.   Let's do it.