Orchid | Finally in Bloom

After months of waiting, our orchid is finally in bloom. It was a gift from a young woman who stayed with us while she worked in a local political campaign office. It was in bloom at the time. Soon after she left, the blooms dropped off and left a bare stalk. It looked so sad. I cut the stalk and cared for the plant as best I could. I never had an orchid before. It seems to be Phalaenopsis.

A few months ago, it sent up a new flower stalk. Buds appeared and slowly grew larger. A few days ago, this beautiful flower opened. Another opened today. I hope it brightens your day.

Earth and Sky in Time Lapse

We live on a planet just the right distance from the Sun. Our survival depends on many critical factors being in delicate harmony. The shallow space we inhabit on Earth bathes all of humanity. Looking up on a clear night, we see through the thin layer of air to the vast expanse of the heavens. The wonders of the night sky can be inspirational.

Too often, we experience forces of evil and destruction. We wonder why. Why do some choose senseless and hurtful ways? These events can shake us to our core.

May you feel renewed and motivated by this video. It highlights some of the beauty of the natural world. Choose positive and good actions each day. Promote peace and understanding.

View in full screen mode for best effect. Time lapse by Terje Sorgjerd. 

Bald Eagles | Below Lock and Dam 14

Our View From Iowa

Iowa has an east coast and a west coast since it is bounded by two major rivers. This View From Iowa was about as far east as one can be in the state. We met friends Tom and Sharon in LeClaire along the Mississippi River. Melanie and Sharon did some shopping in a fabric store to stock up on their quilting needs. Jim and Tom visited while sitting in some fancy painted chairs in the front window of the store. We walked down the street for lunch.

After lunch, we drove a short distance along the river to a viewing area below Lock and Dam 14. Bald Eagles congregate there to snatch fish from the water, stunned by their passage over the gates of the dam. Several were soaring above us checking the waters.

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Many thanks to Tom for permission to use his photo above and…

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Death of a Dove

It had been quite a while since I last used the window cleaning tools to reach those on the second floor. Maybe I would get around to it soon. But, no hurry.

There was a loud thud on the window. Birds will often do that as they come and go at our feeders. Sure enough, there was a faint outline of a bird in flight on the glass. A Dove was dead on the patio below. A few small feathers stuck to the glass where it made impact. I could barely make out some other features on the glass.

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That night, with the room lights off, I put the camera on a tripod pointing at the impact spot from the inside to the darkness outside. I set the camera for a 6 second time exposure. There is another window to the right of this one. I reached out and painted the crash site from the right side with a small flashlight during the 6 seconds.

What a surprise. A leg extended down. Curved wings showed up clearly. The neck was twisted badly and probably broke upon impact. Some minor editing cleaned up the dirty window surrounding the outline. But, there it was, almost like a photograph of the crash.

I’m glad I wasn’t in a hurry to wash that window.

Castor Bean | Hard Freeze | Update 6

Our View From Iowa

Links to the Original post, Update 1, and Updates 2 and 3, 4, and 5


It was bound to happen. Cold air from the north arrived recently and killed the once tall and strong castor bean plant. It looked so sad. It will not regrow in the spring. I will see if the seeds are viable.

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The seeds never quite fully ripened. The prickly pods contain 3 in each. A few were starting to split. I cut off the long stalk of them for a closer look. Plus, they will be destroyed and not put out to the environment for animals or children to access. They are toxic.

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Here are some close views of a seed pod followed by photos of the 3 seeds compartments and one of a seed exposed. I read where the seeds resemble a tick full of blood

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Milkweed | Seeds Harvested

Our View From Iowa

Milkweed plants are disappearing according to Monarch Watch and other sources. The Monarch butterflies rely upon them for survival. I decided to gather a few seed pods so I can plant some in my backyard and along a trail near my house. I cruised around some places on my bike looking for patches of milkweed that had extra pods I could harvest and bring home. I only took seven and left the rest for nature. I placed them on the deck for a month to dry out. That worked well. They split open and revealed their many seeds with attached coma.

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Each pod had dozens of healthy brown seeds. The challenge was to remove them without getting coma fuzzies all over the place. The garage seemed the best place to do that job.

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I grasped each pod firmly by the end opposite the seeds. That is where the…

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Dead Trees | Impressive Removal Job

Two elm trees died on the property line between our house and our neighbor. We decided to split the cost and have them removed before they dropped dead branches and damaged our houses or injured a person. Their trunks were 14″ and 24″ in diameter. Equipment could not get to them between the houses. They couldn’t be dropped into a yard due to lack of space. In came the heavy duty 80 ft crane to my driveway. Because of its size, I had to sign a waiver for possible damage to the concrete. Nothing happened to the concrete.

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