New Toys!

Jun. 29th, 2011 11:09 pm
felis_lupus: (plant kitteh)

Bee in Rose
Originally uploaded by gshower7
So... I really, really want a macro lens for my camera. But no way no how in the budget right now.

So, poking around on Amazon a bit, I found these. Less than 1/10th the price, even though I knew that the quality would definitely not be the same, I figured it'd be a fun thing to try out.

Oh. So. Fun. It's basically screwing a magnifying glass onto the front of the camera. I've so far only played with the 10X. If I'm gonna get close and look at bee's butts, I'm gonna get close and look at bee's butts, darnit! It's an interesting effect; a little bit of distortion and color shifting approaching the edges of the photo, but the center focal point is nice and sharp! Now I just need to get my camera to behave, and my eyeballs to recognize where the camera is focusing, and I'll be all set... The filters stack, too, so I can, in theory, get up to 17X magnification. Eep. I have no idea... will have to try it!

More of a gallery here. Dear lord, do I have to make sure the lens is clean... look at all those dust spots! (actually... don't look at the dust spots... look at the pretty pretty flowers, please...)
felis_lupus: (plant kitteh)

Red Admiral Butterfly
Originally uploaded by gshower7
Photo was taken yesterday morning, while the sun was shining bright, the wind was blowing, and we still had working water...

...sigh. Repairs to the water system are almost done. There was one pipe that we knew we'd have to replace soon when we bought the house, and soon came this morning. [livejournal.com profile] kurlon is just about done, I think, then I can have a shower...

In other, happy news, then, I have a lilac in my front yard! It's purple! And it blooms! And smells absolutely heavenly. It will bloom more once I take out the sumac and some other trees that are shading it, but it's quite pretty as it is. And the butterflies like it. This one is a Red Admiral (do click and view full... s/he's beautiful), fairly common in this area, but always a welcome sight. They're beautiful. And this one posed for me quite nicely, even through the wind whipping the blossoms around. Poor thing, holding on for dear life later on... But much enjoying the sunshine.

More reason for me to plant some more natives, too, in the (what I now discover is) beautiful, bluet-filled, shady spot just on the other side of the house. Not sure what the former owners of this house were growing in the three broken beds, or just how much the trees have grown up to make it a glorious shaded glen, but it wasn't anything that needed any sun. I can see my favorite dark 'Purple Passion' rhododendron in the corner nearest the house, and all sorts of various wonderful shady plants filling in the rest of it... Ah, to be independently wealthy so I can just play in my gardens...
felis_lupus: (plant kitteh)

Glories of the Morning
Originally uploaded by gshower7
Finally got out of bed early enough (but not too early, it is Saturday, after all) to see my morning glories bloom. Finally got them to grow well in a pot, after 3 years of trying. They need their own trellis to climb; they won't attach themselves to the wide boards between the patios very well on their own. So pretty.

It's a good thing we've got gardens with OMG cucumbers planted at work, which are growing like crazy, because I don't think mine are going to do much of anything. :( I've gotten one little, pathetic looking (but tasty) white pickler, and that's it. Vines aren't doing anything except getting little yellow patches on the leaves. Will try again next year, might have to move the trellis. I think this is the 2nd or 3rd year I've grown peas/cukes at the back of the garden, and in a small space, it is really, really important to rotate the crops... will have to relocate the garlic chives and lemon balm, I think, if I do that.

Now, to clean the apartment before [livejournal.com profile] pet_spider and M get here... we will Rock some Band and then go fly kites tomorrow. Should be fun.
felis_lupus: (plant kitteh)

Happy Bee
Originally uploaded by gshower7
Nothing a 10,000 BTU air conditioner can't take care of, though. A good investment, that, earlier this year. Cools off 800 sq ft over 2 floors of apartment quite nicely. Could probably take care of the basement too, but that will cool off if we turn off the dehumidifier... which would in turn make everything soggy, so I'll live with being a little warmer downstairs. At least my brain isn't melting out my ears like it was earlier.

Hot today, yesterday, day before, tomorrow, probably Friday too. We went from April straight to July. At least the plants are happy. Blooming and beautiful. Last year I had a collection of flower photographs. I haven't taken as many this year (as there haven't been nearly as many flowers yet...), but those that I have taken have been pretty good. Timing with this little bee was perfect, and I love the color and texture of the Echinacea flowerhead. Got to look at the full size photo for the full effect. It's gorgeous.

I've been wearing skirts more. I think they're cooler, and they make me feel pretty. I like feeling pretty. :) Got a new pretty pretty skirt and dress in the mail yesterday, my early birthday present to myself, paid for mostly by several garden centers around the area. Finally got all the checks in from the website I did back in May. Am happy. And pretty. Eee! Fabrics-store.com has some beautiful colors of cotton/linen blend that would make some lovely skirts, I think... I am partial to the royal purple... eee fabric.
felis_lupus: (Purr)

Sun Bright
Originally uploaded by gshower7
Random flowers... the little daffodil at the edge of the woodline just behind the apartment is actually not my fault... at least, I don't think so. I don't ever remember tossing anything that resembled bulbs except the old dead (quite dead...) Easter Lily a few years ago. This li'l guy appears to be a relatively young bulb too, based on the single-ness of the flower stalk and low number of leaves... I dunno. Nice to see when I came home tonight, all sunlit.

I'm working on a week's vacation(ish) from work... haven't left on time since we opened, and that means comp time! Thaaat I won't be able to use till November, maybe. We'll see. The veiled threat of "nope, nobody's getting any time off till October" was muttered when I reminded my boss about the weekend I always take off in July for GNEW, but I will be reminding him again, and I will be attending the full three days of war. So there.

Not getting out on time stressed me out yesterday, as [livejournal.com profile] kurlon and I had an appointment to see a house in Saco at 6. I figured an hour and a half between when I was supposed to leave work, allowing for 'nope, not gone yet!' and when I was supposed to be elsewhere was enough. Barely. Agh.

The house... I was in love with the outside from the moment I saw it a week ago... which means, of course, that this venture was doomed from the start. Old farmhouse, built in 1887(ish), with garage, cute little farmer's porch, nice back deck, and about a half acre, in a not-too-bad neighborhood (we think...). "Some work needed, but worth the effort!" said the listing. Price was right... we could low-ball the offer, probably get it, and have a really nice place.

Here's what we found inside... ) The right place will fall into our laps soon, I hope. I can be patient. I have planted my garden. My forget-me-nots are going to bloom soon. Spring will go on.
felis_lupus: (Purr)

Pink and White
Originally uploaded by gshower7
So... it snowed last night, and is still snowing this morning, and somehow, I still managed to be out driving in it at midnight. The difference being, of course that it was my choice. A bit of RockBand after vocal practice is never a bad thing, and though it was REALLY windy on the drive home, my awesome tires did their job, and I had no problems at all.

Slept till 11 this morning. So wonderful.

Should move my car, as the snow has turned to rain, and I think my landlord will probably want to get the rest of the parking lot plowed.

I got a NewEgg in the mail yesterday too, containing a ton of little green packing peanuts, two overly-packaged SD cards, and an external hard drive, so I can back up all my photos and music, finally. Even a non-supertechie like me should be able to figure out the backup software, I think.

Photo notes: I am not a fan of pink flowers, generally. They're just too.. pink... for me. But these tulips were too sweet to leave at the store, and tulips just look really, really nice in the Portland Glass vase [livejournal.com profile] kurlon's parents gave us. I usually use it as a dish for M&Ms... and completely unintentionally, this shot is oriented in the same way as the last tulip shot... I thought I'd done them differently... The heavy left third seems more pleasing to me at this moment.
felis_lupus: (plant kitteh)

Rose & Calla Cake Topper
Originally uploaded by gshower7
Wedding flowers are done and delivered, and by now, the wedding is over. I can have my brain back, for a few days, anyway. Day 6 of heading into work at early o'clock (for me....), and then 2 days off in a row a day where I don't have to think about anything floral or plant-related that I don't want to. Because I inevitably do. There are houseplants that need repotting, and it's going to freeze tonight, so the mandevilla vines really should come in if I want any hope of saving them.

I am overall quite pleased with how all the flowers came out. I realized at 7:30 this morning (too late!) that I screwed up the boutonnieres a bit, but they should have still worked... Jess helped me finish up the corsages yesterday while I did the cake decorations, and I left work only a half hour later than I planned. Not bad at all. A wedding this size, for a friend, if I could get the time off, I would do again. Even with the lack of facilities we have. Not for a while, though. Nobody get excited (I think most of you are married anyway... so nyaah.).

Edit: sigh... two days off in a row next week... this is another 6-day stint for me... hullo comptime... g'bye sleep. That changes my plans a bit.
felis_lupus: (plant kitteh)

Bee and Aster
Originally uploaded by gshower7
As we did not win the Megabucks, I went into work today. Spent a lovely (almost) morning on Sebago Lake, weeding a ridiculous patch of sorrel. All mixed in with beebalm. Whatta pain. Done, got to go home early, thanks to rescheduling of coworkers appointments to get her poor back taken care of... ack... I'll have a normal week again soon, I hope, and everybody will be healthy again.

The lake was pretty active this morning; I weeded to the constant sound of waves crashing up on the beach. Was beautiful. Kicking myself because I left my camera in my car, at the office. Dumb. Gorgeous foliage across the lake, bright blue skies and lake once the clouds and fog burned off. The wind picked up towards lunchtime, and I was glad to be done. Got pine pitch in my hair. Yuck.

The bumblebees have been out in force for the last several days, though, thanks to warm weather... The last of the asters are blooming, as well as a few late black-eyed susans, so there's a bit of food for them, still. (Lookit the pollen grains stuck to the fuzzy fuzzy bumblebee! Eeee! Have I mentioned I love my camera?)

Some fall foliage photos are here, especially for [livejournal.com profile] nightpaws, as you missed our New England autumn so much last year... :)
felis_lupus: (Swedish Chef)

Hoya carnosa 2
Originally uploaded by gshower7
A good day, overall... vacuumed, cleaned dishes, got dishes dirty, cleaned more dishes, did laundry, cut/sewed garb, got stuff done! Yay! The Hoya plant in my sewing room is still blooming, 2 1/2 months after it started, with no signs of slowing down. All the flower spurs are on at least round 3 of blossoms, and there are more buds on the way on the ones that aren't blooming at the moment. I am impressed and happy.

Made lemon-balm sun tea (with a leaky sun tea-maker... that's what you get for $3.88 at Wal-Mart in the off season, though... I'll find some caulking...), which is really about like water with lemon slice, though not quite so tangy. It is, however, absolutely wonderful with a few tsp of the lavender syrup I made last week. Finally figuring out what to do with these herbs I keep growing is incredibly satisfying. Tasty, too.

Despite all efforts to the contrary, I have also successfully created Lemon-Mint Sekanjabin. What a comedy of errors. Nearly dropped the pot lid on my foot to begin with, the sugar/water syrup boiled over, making a mess of the stovetop and pot, the lemon balm had slugs and bugs (which were swiftly removed in the initial rinse BEFORE putting into the syrup mix. Fear not, those that will be potentially consuming said beverage), and I came very close to slicing my hand whilst cutting open the lemons. That would have been exceedingly pleasant. Everything perked and steeped and filtered out just like it was supposed to when it was done, though. I then took that opportunity to slip and pour fully a third of the finished syrup all over my hand and the bottle, and subsequently down the drain. nrrggghhhh... I really, really need to find a bigger funnel. At least it was over the sink, so I didn't have to clean up sticky, sugary mess over everything...
felis_lupus: (Purr)

Irises
Originally uploaded by gshower7
Thunderstorms rolled through last night, finally... right around midnight, we were treated to the sound of beautiful, beautiful, HEAVY rain. The skies lit up with the flashes of lightning and the thunder rolled. It is cool now. Most of yesterday (here, anyway) was quite comfortable as well. Actually made it to fencing practice, and fenced, and had a wonderful time.

Glad I took this photo before all the weather happened. The light was wonderful, and the contrast between the irises and stone behind them is really something. The wonderful thing about the yellow & purple Iris (Iris germanica 'Enchanted One') is that it smells like lemons! The color is absolutely amazing as well, of course, but the citrusy scent makes it that much better.

In medical news... J got his hand back yesterday! Mostly... the bones appear to be healed, he still has to wear the splint, but the docs want him to move his fingers and get some circulation and strength back in his hand. 6 weeks of PT, starting soonish. All should be better after that. He can drive his own car again, but I do not forsee much motorcycling for us this summer...
felis_lupus: (Purr)

Pink Lady's Slippers
Originally uploaded by gshower7
Spent a glorious weekend. Two days off in a row! What a rarity...

As this was computer delivery weekend for a friend of mine, my brother came up on Thursday night. There was much co-op Guitar Hero. Joy! Friday morning after some serious slow waking up and a lazy morning, we piled us and our stuff into his awesomely cute li'l turquoise MINI, and headed north. Met E at her apartment, dropped off the computer, and headed to Olive Garden for our usual lunch. Much socialness and silliness happened, and we all ate way too much wonderful, wonderful food.

E had the presence of mind to realize that the Bangor City Forest would be an excellent post-stuff-ourselves-lunch walk. Bangor City Forest? What Bangor City Forest? Why, this one! So beautiful... Spring flowers were blooming everywhere, plants I'd never seen in the wild before, plants that I'd never seen before, period! Painted Trillium, Blue Bead Lilies, Rhodora, and cute, cute, cute little Fringed Polygala. There were literally dozens, possibly hundreds, of Lady Slippers blooming... I'd never seen so many in one place before White and Pink, and one slightly off-pink/yellow one, that I think may have just been a newly-bloomed pink, and not a true (extremely rare) yellow.

Four years I was in Orono, in a horticulture program, even, and nobody thought to mention the 640+ acres of beautiful Maine woods and peat bog, stuffed with all manner of plant (and animal) life. Four years. I could have spent so many happy hours wandering around getting lost in the woods... We spent a good three hours wandering around, not quite getting lost in the woods, but attracting more and more mosquitoes every time I stopped to take a photograph...

Saturday brought blessed, blessed rain... it's been far too long without. Now lawns will be green again, and gardens won't be quite so stressed... Hung out at E's apartment for a while, had lunch at Tim Horton's, headed south again around 3:30, stopped at her parents' house to visit and see her mom's gardens... a lovely time. Her parents have two English Mastiffs, Jack and Stella, who are lovely, very sweet, fortunately very well behaved, but oh my goodness what huge doggies...

The evening saw some marathon Rock Band. We got the band back together, with a special guest lead guitarist. He's now acquired the nickname of Spider (for an explanation of why, please see here). So amusing, and so true...

Flowers are blooming all over the nursery, it's a beautiful time of year. And now, there are chocolate chip eggo waffles and insta-bacon for dinner. Life is good.

Perks

Nov. 24th, 2007 07:31 pm
felis_lupus: (Default)

'Circus' Rose
Originally uploaded by gshower7
I do love my job. As much as I whine sometimes, and as much as my boss irritates me (and whose doesn't?), it really is a good place to be. My co-workers are awesome, I get to play outside in the sunshine (and the rain... and snow...), most of our customers are really wonderful people (though there are some that I'll run and hide from), and it's generally a fun time. We're playing with balsam tips, making wreaths, and selling Christmas trees. All things that make people happy. We've started playing Christmas music inside, but it's all nice instrumental, classical-type carols. No loud choruses of 'Jingle Bells' yet, and probably not at all. I control the music, for the most part, so we listen to what I want. muahahaha. :)

There are some definite perks; most notably at the moment: Fresh Flowers. We've got a pseudo-floral department... not really enough traffic most of the time to justify actually having flowers on a day to day basis, so we're basically available for weddings, and special orders (at least 2-3 days notice, please!), and we do arrangements for holidays. When the arrangements don't sell, and are about to go past their "good" time, we get to take them home. :) My apartment is full of flowers at the moment. There were lots leftover from Thanksgiving, so I got to play floral designer when I got home tonight. There are velvet-red roses in the living room, sunflowers in the kitchen, and three perfect 'Circus' roses in a bud vase on the table. (see photo... I love them...) I have purple and white carnations in my bathroom, for goodness sakes! Is wonderful. Now just need some sunlight so I don't have to use the flash to photograph the beauties...

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