Thursday, June 11, 2015

Finding My Focus

My new super Macro lens takes great close up pictures that have a shallow "depth of field" (ie, the part of the picture that's in focus). That can be good for isolating the subject but you do have to decide what you want to focus on.

Do you focus on the details that are closest to you while making the "big picture" slightly out of focus? Or do you focus on the petals and leave the stuff closest to you blurry?

I was musing on this as it relates to photography while weeding the garden this week. Weeding is a great time for contemplating my navel thinking about my philosophy of life. The garden was very weedy so this topic expanded into finding the focus in my life.

When I was younger I always had plans for the future. After graduating high school I'll go to THIS college because I want to go to vet school. OK. maybe not vet school. Next I'll go to graduate school. OK. I need to take a few years between undergrad and graduate school. No problem. 

Toward the end of graduate school I quit making much in the way of future plans. Graduate school didn't quite work out as I had planned and while I did eventually plan my next career move it kind of stalled after that.

So lately I've been plan-less. 

And I feel "scattered." I  have a good job that I mostly enjoy. I don't have any major career plans because once I reach full professor (tenured) I don't intend to move into administration. We aren't moving any time soon (a first for me in a LONG time - this house is the second longest I've ever lived in one place in my whole life). No major life changes coming up that require plans. No major changes coming up (that I can predict).

So that leave my "personal" life. I've taken an art class, I've enrolled in a Spanish class, I've dabbled in this and that but not really found a focus (except gardening). This leaves me feeling like I'm not accomplishing anything.

It's not an accurate perception but it's there.

So I decided to sit down and list all of the categories of stuff I'm interested in and have claimed to be working on and make plans. One year, two year, five year and ten year goals.

Do I want to become proficient in Spanish or just learn enough to help while traveling (the latter, definitely)?

Do I want to spend more time and energy improving my photography? My writing skills? My drawing/art?

Do I want to work on finally refinishing inherited furniture that needs work? Will I ever replace the no longer functioning innards of the 1950s era radio with a modern system (an iPod doc, anyone?) or is it fine as an aesthetic piece?

It's time to find a focus. What will I do in "this" lifetime?

Thanks to Zack Weiner of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and BAHfest for this GREAT concept!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

A small sampling of what can be found in my garden right now.

Centaurea montana Black Sprite

Digitalis too-lazy-to-go-check-labelii

Baptisia australis

An unidentified Opiliones who clearly hadn't had her coffee yet
(these are commonly known as Daddy Long Legs or Harvestmen and they are ALL OVER my garden this year)

Trasdescantia too-brightus

No, she's not quite that bright but I like the level of detail so I included it anyway

Friday, June 5, 2015

Close Up Friday

I'm still playing learning to use my new Macro lens so there's no "theme" to today's images except - NEW MACRO LENS WOO HOO!

Veronica prostrata (Speedwell Aztec Gold) close

Veronica prostrata (Speedwell Aztec Gold) closer

Unknown eggs on Panicum virgatum Cloud Nine

Possibly these are eggs of a predatory insect in the genus Podisus 
(based on one comment on Bug Guide. net)

Flower of Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diablo')

Even closer. I love the way the pinkish/redish anthers look 3-D

Lastly, a little jumping spider that was crawling on my desk this week

Yes, that's a pad of drawing paper. A little thicker than average printer or notebook paper but not much. Did I say little? I meant TINY. Jumping spiders are soooo cute. Too bad I couldn't get closer.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Favorite NEW Plant in the Garden This Week

One of my favorite new plants in the garden are the Icelandic Poppies (Papaver nudicaula).

I noticed these from several isles away at the local garden center. Yellow and Orange do not go with the front yard color scheme so I passed them up.

But when I came home I kept thinking about them and looked them up on-line. They got rave reviews so I looked around the back yard (which does not have a color scheme) and found a spot they could fit.

What bright and cheerful color. Before I could even get them in the ground they were covered with bees. That fits the overall theme of my garden - Pollinators R Us.

Papaver nudicaule is a short lived perennial with a long bloom season in cooler climates. Native to circumpolar boreal regions (ie northern parts of North America and Asia). I'm hoping these will re-seed in the garden and come back next year. I'll be sure to leave some pods on the plants at the end of the season.