Monday, August 27, 2012

Gray Catbird

I lose a cat (Miss Mouse, RIP) and gain a catbird.

This gray catbird has not only built a nest and raised a brood in my Forest Pansy redbud in my small garden, but has decided to hang out and become a summer resident in the garden.

He allows me to get within arm's length before he takes off to a higher branch or the junipers next door. Not normally a visitor at the bird feeders, now that I have added a mixture that includes raisins, he will fly in and get a raisin and then perch contentedly in the redbud.

Soon he'll leave with the other gray catbirds and migrate down to Central America. But for now he joins the two other cats in the household.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kim Rupert Rose

This summer hasn't been kind to my small garden. Despite the fact that we aren't in a drought according to NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), it really has been feast or famine with the rain. We would go a couple of weeks without rain and then we would have fearsome deluges; one that gave my part of the city nearly six inches within two hours. And the heat! There was a long period in July when the heat indices were over 105F.

The antique roses in containers on the patio have suffered despite my ministrations, particularly with black spots. So, I did what I thought would be the kindest thing to put them out of their misery; I pruned them down to the ground.

And yet, they've come back and have started to bloom again (the black spot has come back, too, unfortunately). The rose above is Kim Rupert, named for a famous Californian rosarian (who also has his own blog about roses and how to create your own hybrids - Pushing the Rose Envelope). This is not one of his hybrids; this was created by Paul Barden and named for Kim. It is a small rose, not growing much larger than 1 1/2 feet tall which makes it great for containers.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Storm Clouds, Greensboro, North Carolina

If you take a look at the US Drought Monitor, you'll see that North Carolina is one of the few states that, so far, has escaped the Great 2012 Drought. Out of 100 counties in the state, only two are experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

And this is one of the reasons we've avoided being one of the 43 states caught up in the drought. Nearly every week we've had storms, including one that dumped six inches of rain in two hours in my section of town.

This incoming storm was taken from the parking lot of First Baptist Church and was run through the Simply HDR app on my iPhone.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Whirlwind Flag Barn Quilt, Randolph County, North Carolina

In the past when I've gone to look for barn quilts, it has meant a two hour or longer drive up to the mountains. But thanks to a new blogger friend (shout out to Matt. Go check his blog over at The, I found out that there has been a barn quilt trail in neighboring Randolph County of 29 barn quilts.

I made a plan to drive the northeast quadrant of Randolph County to take snapshots of five or six of these barn quilts. Unlike the large and professionally created quilts you find up in the mountains, these are much smaller and more handmade.

This barn quilt is called Whirlwind Flag and you'll find it on the dairy goat barn at Rising Meadow. You'll also find friendly Nubian goats, too.

You'll also notice these photos look different than my normal postings. Thanks again to Matt who put me onto the iPhone app called "Simply HDR". It's a fun app to add HDR to your snapshots. I'm not a big Instagram fan (even though I have it on my iPhone). I found that I can email the snapshots that I take with the Panasonic to my phone, run it through the app and then email it back again. Time consuming and I'll only do it occasionally and let you all know when they're rendered HDR.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Moon, Greensboro, North Carolina

No, not the Super Moon. This was taken ten minutes ago - Wednesday night at 9 PM - standing on the patio with a fairly clear shot over the back privacy fence. It's the actual color tonight, too. Perhaps with the high level of ozone plus the heat (it is around 84F), I'm getting this orange color.

Some day I'm going to keel over in a dead faint from taking these hand-held shots as I try to hold my breath long enough to get a decent snapshot. Maybe then I'll buy a tripod.