New Camera Learning Curve :-O

Colorful bug on a passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

Colorful bug on a passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

Wow!  Do I ever have a lot to learn!  But I adore macro photography and now I should be able to get some of the closeups I love.

Another passionflower with a bee

Another passionflower with a bee

I am not sure about the color capabilities of this camera.  They looked a little dull without the saturation boost, but I am not sure I like them with the saturation boost either.  And I want the subject sharp and the background blurred.  Maybe I need to do everything with manual focus and skip the automatic settings?  If anyone has any tips for a beginner, I’d love to hear them.   In the meantime, I’ll be doing a lot of reading on it.

A small (blurry) maypop, the fruit of the passionflower.  It will eventually get lime size.

A small (blurry) maypop, the fruit of the passionflower. It will eventually get lime size.

Maybe I should have bought a more expensive camera?  Or maybe I just need to learn this one.  One thing is for sure, it will take a while!  🙂

Today was hot and muggy.  So humid that the air felt heavy and hard to breathe.  So walking wasn’t a lot of fun.  But this evening a cool, brisk breeze is blowing and thunderstorms will be moving in shortly.

I don't know what these are.  The leaves are powdery white, and they have a non-descript white flower -- until you see them up close!

Mountain mint. The leaves are powdery white, and they have a non-descript white flower — until you see them up close! (Thanks for the ID, Lynne.)

I haven’t found a single decent mushroom yet.  They will probably all fruit a couple of days after we leave since more rain is predicted!

Closeup of the powdery leaved plant's flowers.

Closeup of the mountain mint flowers.

Doe & Fawns

This doe and her fawns were all in one distant photo, but were difficult to see.  So I cropped them and put them together so you could see each one.

This doe and her fawns were all in one far away photo, but were difficult to see. So I cropped them and put them together so you could see each one.

My photos are not so great today.  I’m trying to break in a new camera and am not sure if I like it or not.

Just a pretty view.

Just a pretty view.

Also, all of the flowers are past their prime, so it’s not a lot of fun to post their pictures!

Deer are plentiful here.  It appears that all of the does had twins this year.

And so far, the only mushrooms I’ve found have been dried up and past their prime, too.

Hopefully tomorrow’s photos will be more interesting.  And of better quality!  🙂

Wilting and tattered.  But still beautiful.

Wilting and tattered. But still beautiful.

Doves and a young cardinal foraging together

Doves and a young cardinal foraging together

The deer were in the sunlit field to the left.

The deer were in the sunlit field to the left.

This little leaf looks like jewelry, doesn't it?

This little leaf looks like jewelry, doesn’t it?

 

 

The Season for Flowers

Four o'clocks and gladiolas

Four o’clocks and gladiolas

It seems like only a few weeks ago I was waiting for it to be warm enough to go camping.  Now I’m waiting for it to be cool enough again!

The last of the white gladiolas

The last of the white gladiolas

In the meantime, I’m enjoying low-key summer puttering with flowers and a few veggies.

Something wiped out my tomatoes.  I didn’t plant resistant varieties and they didn’t fare well.  So I’m planting more tomorrow. I sure am glad we have such a long growing season!

pink gladiolas

Pink gladiolas

Also I had read that bell peppers will occasionally have a genetic flashback and produce hot peppers.  What are the odds of both of my container peppers doing the same thing?  They are too fiery to eat, so I’m planning to dehydrate some tomorrow for sparing use in dishes that need a little added kick.

I also want to get a fall vegetable garden going soon.  I sure do miss my home-grown lettuce! It had all bolted when we got back from our trip to Modoc.

Dianthus

Dianthus

 

 

Fantastic Forms Down by the Water

 

Huge tree kept from toppling into the lake by rocky supports.

Precarious twins

Precarious twins

It’s still sweltering here.  Far too hot to do anything energetic.  So I’ve meandered around amusing myself by searching out intriguing and unusual natural formations.

Many of the trees at waters’ edge just about have the supporting earth washed away.  It looks like the Army Corps of Engineers has put rocks around some of the more precarious ones to help support them.  But every time a jet ski flies by, strong waves crash relentlessly against them, taking a bit more of the red clay support.  And leaving even more fantastic forms behind.

This one can't last long.  It looks like grandaddy long-legs spider legs are holding it up.

This one can’t last long. It looks like grandaddy long-legs spider legs are holding it up.

We have had nice, strong breezes today as the ever-threatened, seldom-materialized thunderstorms pass us by.

One thing this trip has taught us is not to ever camp in South Carolina in the summertime again!

Ron brought home superb Mexican take-out for dinner this evening.

I’m still drawing plans for a camper van.  I am so itching to tackle that project!  Hopefully next year!

Clutching at the disappearing earth

Clutching at the disappearing earth

Interlocking roots

Interlocking roots

Odd trees on the swamp side

Odd trees on the swamp side

Trumpet flower vine hidden in underbrush

Trumpet flower vine hidden in underbrush

Growing at water's edge.  I used to know their name, but have forgotten and am too lazy to look them up.  :)

Growing at water’s edge. I used to know their name, but have forgotten and am too lazy to look them up. 🙂

Sunlight  glinting on water

Sunlight glinting on water

Thunderclouds passing over

Thunderclouds passing over

 

 

 

The Heart of Summertime

Tenters on the far bank

Tenters on the other bank

Cloud cover and a steady breeze made exploring the woods a pleasure today.  Amazingly, we have not picked up a single tick! Yet, anyway!

A variety of blueberries or huckleberries.

A variety of blueberries or huckleberries.

I took Sunny for a short, slow, old-doggie-paced walk this morning.  He soon tired, so we headed back.  Then I took Sheba for a longer, brisker, more interesting walk.

I found all kinds of little wonders to photograph.  However, in transferring them to my computer, I lost over 30 of them.  My favorites, of course!

I think it might be time to start thinking about getting a new camera.  I promised myself one for Christmas, but I might not make it  that long.

Darn!  😀

Wild muscadine grape buds

Wild muscadine grape buds

Greenbrier berries

Greenbrier berries

Smilax flower buds

Smilax flower buds

Sunny after his walk

Sunny after his walk

Sheba exploring

Sheba exploring

Last night's thunderstorm blew all of the trumpet flowers off their vines.  None are left in the trees.

Last night’s thunderstorm blew all of the trumpet flowers off their vines.

Greenbrier thorns and tendrils

Greenbrier thorns and tendrils

 

 

Earth Box Bounty & Camping

Extremely productive bell peppers in an Earth Box

Extremely productive bell peppers in an Earth Box

Patio tomatoes in Earth Box

Patio tomatoes in Earth Box

I would never have believed how much lettuce we are getting from 3 Earth Boxes.  The danger is that it will bolt before we can use it.  I’ll be taking several bags on our camping trip, and expect several of the new heads that are growing on cut-off stalks to be ready when we get home.

And I haven’t even started on the romaine.

Little Gem lettuce has small heads that are the perfect size for a salad for two.  Note top left where a head was harvested and is growing a new head.

Little Gem lettuce has small heads that are the perfect size for a salad for two. Note top left where a head was harvested and is growing a new head.

I have two patio tomatoes in one Earth Box and two bell peppers in another.  They are both loaded.  So I am getting my garden fix this year without even having a garden!

We are planning to leave tomorrow for a week camping on the GA/SC border.  It will be hot and humid, but it will be hot and humid at home and I’d rather be on a big lake than at home.

The lettuce plant in the rear is one that regenerated from a stalk that was harvested earlier.

The lettuce plant in the rear is one that regenerated from a stalk that was harvested earlier.

Plenty of rain is predicted, so the little veggies should be fine while we are gone.

P.S.  Just wanted to add that I have used NO pesticides on these plants.  They are so healthy that they are naturally insect repellent.

The romaine will be ready soon.

The romaine will be ready soon.

Earth Boxes, Wild Strawberries & Baby Fig Trees

Wild strawberries are just about through fruiting for the year.

Wild strawberries are just about through fruiting for the year.

The invasive, tasteless Indian strawberries seem to fruit all season.  Their job seems to be to take over the wild strawberries' habitat, and they are doing a good job of it, unfortunately.

The invasive, tasteless Indian strawberries seem to fruit all season. Their job seems to be to take over the wild strawberries’ habitat, and they are doing a good job of it, unfortunately.

The rain has been so dependable that I haven’t had to water anything yet this year.  Both the things I planted and the wild things I didn’t are thriving.

We have been eating salad from our Earth Boxes for several days.  All of the lettuces are going strong.  I did have to pull up the radicchio because it bolted and turned too bitter.  It certainly was beautiful, though.

The patio tomatoes are fruiting, and the bell peppers have little peppers on them.

I planted cilantro and marigolds in two empty Earth Boxes.  I also have green clumping onions planted in one.

I have put off doing anything with the square foot gardens because my heart is just not into it.

Lettuce

Lettuce

Life is in a holding pattern until our next trip, it seems.  🙂

Little Gem lettuce starting to head.

Little Gem lettuce starting to head.

Baby romaine

Baby romaine

Patio tomatoes in Earth Box

Patio tomatoes in Earth Box

Baby  bell peppers

Baby bell peppers

 

The cold spring killed the fig trees, but new shoots are coming up from the base of the trees.

The cold spring killed the fig trees, but new shoots are coming up.

 

 

 

FDR State Park

our big pull through site

Our big pull through site at FDR State Park

I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but I loved camping at FDR better than I did at the more beautiful and spacious Amity Campground.  It’s odd because Amity had huge, expansive water views, while FDR’s lake is more like a large pond.

Lakeside tent sites

Lakeside tent sites

FDR is old, and maybe that’s why I like it so much.  It has a comfortably worn, down home feeling about it.  Our deeply shaded site suited us perfectly.  I felt so happy and relaxed there.

Yesterday afternoon the rain moved in, so we cocooned with games and internet until the thunderstorms started.  Then I got off the computer.

We had an '85 Scamp for a neighbor

We had an ’85 Scamp for a neighbor

Right after dinner, Sheba started whimpering like she had to go to the bathroom.  So I bundled up in rain jacket and flip flops and took her for a walk in the downpour, through the water running in the streets, while thunder boomed and lightning flashed all around us.

Sheba didn’t have to go.  She just wanted a walk.  She thoroughly enjoyed it.  And while I would never admit it to Ron, (lest I lose my martyr’s halo for walking Sheba in a storm) I also thoroughly enjoyed the walk.

The Scamp owners' son-in-law was there in an '86 Scotty.

The Scamp owners’ son-in-law was there in an ’86 Scotty.

It got cold overnight!  It went from the high 80’s on Wednesday to a damp, chilly morning in the high 50’s.  I even turned the furnace on to take the chill out of the Casita, and Ron and I both wore light jackets until around noon.

We got home around 3:00 to discover that the little veggies in my Earth Boxes are thriving.  When we drove up, Ron commented, “We can have salad for dinner!”

Blueberry flowers down by the campground bridge

Blueberry flowers down by the campground bridge

And we, of course, are already dreaming about our next trip!

Path around the lake on the cabin side

Path around the lake on the cabin side

Mountain laurel near the cabins

Mountain laurel near the cabins

Small island in the lake on the cabin side

Small island in the lake on the cabin side

Sheba watching another dog pass

Sheba watching another dog pass

 

 

 

Thunderstorms Today

shoreline

Sunny is getting old.  He can’t keep up with me when we go walking anymore.  So today I left Sheba with Ron and took a gentle stroll with Sunny along the shoreline, letting him take all the time he wanted to sniff and explore while I took pictures.

Blackberries and hairy ragwort.

Blackberries and hairy ragwort.

I always wonder how much more time we have with him, so I want to let him pack all the doggie adventure in that he can in his remaining time.

Shortly after we returned from our walk, the thunderstorms moved in.

The variety of plant life around the lake is amazing.  It’s pretty humbling to see how much I don’t know!

lanceleaf coreopsis (tickseed)

Lanceleaf coreopsis (tickseed)

Anyway, I’ll share some of my photos and hope you enjoy them.

 

Lyre leaved sage

Lyre leaved sage

Oxalis leaves (shamrock)

Oxalis leaves (shamrock)

Ripening blackberries

Ripening blackberries

Spiderwort

Spiderwort

Bobber caughtimus  :D

Bobber caughtimus 😀

The urge to build a kid's fort between these 4 trees was almost irrestible!

The urge to build a kid’s fort between these 4 trees was almost irrestible!

 

Lagustrum.  Not sure if its tree privet or Chinese privet.  (Or another lagustrum!)

Lagustrum. Not sure if its tree privet or Chinese privet. (Or another lagustrum!) But it’s beautiful and smells heavenly.

 

A Visit with Kim!

Kim and Sunny

Kim and Sunny

I had been feeling uncharacteristically bored and a little depressed before Kim came by today.

agaricus

An agaricus. Not sure what kind. 🙂

She arrived in a cute little yellow Volkswagen convertible with the top down!  I am kicking myself for not getting a photo of it!  And she brought a gift bag with doggie treats for Sunny and Sheba.

Sunny really surprised me.  He usually barks ferociously at anyone who tries to pet him.  But he loved the attention Kim gave him.

The agaricus' gills

The agaricus’ gills

It was too hot to do much, so we moved our chairs into the deep shade and talked.  Kim has such a gentle, elegant manner.  It’s a delight to be with her.  And, in answer to my questions, she caught me up on her plans for her upcoming very ambitious trip.

Later we took a short walk to the dock and boat launch where Sheba got a chance to get in the water.

Kim’s visit energized me and banished my blaughs. I’m so glad she came!

The lake shore is littered with bivalve shells

The lake shore is littered with bivalve shells

Blackberries are blooming

Blackberries are blooming

Not sure what these are.  Maybe a variety of blue eyed grass?

Not sure what these are. Maybe a variety of blue eyed grass?

Tasty bullbrier shoot -- I ate this tender little guy!

Tasty bullbrier shoot — I ate this tender little guy!

Horribly invasive, but sweet-smelling Chinese privet.

Horribly invasive, but sweet-smelling Chinese privet.

Another sweet smelling invasive -- Japanese honeysuckle.

Another sweet smelling invasive — Japanese honeysuckle.

Sauteing wild onion bulblets

Sauteing wild onion bulblets

Verbena rigida, I think.

Verbena rigida, I think.

 

 

Wild onion bulblets

Wild onion bulblets

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