340: A morning with the jewelweed

Most of my outdoor time today was spent by a large patch of jewelweed early this morning.  The leaves of the plants were dotted with dew glittering in the sun.  I’m not sure but I think that’s why it’s called jewelweed.  Another name for it is the spotted touch-me-not.  The flowers attract the Ruby Throated Hummingbird, and long-tongued bees such as honeybees and bumblebees.  This morning the jewelweed was a-buzz and humming with thousands of bees.

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177: Purple Reign

Lady butterfly
Perfumes wings by floating
Over the orchid.

~ Basho (Translation by Peter Beilenson)

Purple Reign is the theme for this year’s Orchid Mania at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.  Guess where I took my camera yesterday?

The photographer/blogger in purple. A self-portrait.

I am now in possession of 134 new photos of orchids to add to my already extensive collection of photographs of orchids.  Yikes.  What will I do with them all??

I will share some of them with you, of course.  Aren’t you glad you stopped today?  (As always, you can view the slightly larger version of the photos by clicking on them.)

The exhibit truly is a feast for the senses.  The colors and scents are amazing.  It was the perfect pick-me-up after a winter of whites, blues, and grays.

To be honest, 134 photos is a pretty modest amount.  I would have more except for the batteries.  It appears it’s time for me to invest in new batteries for the camera.  Even the back-up set don’t last long these days.

When visiting orchid exhibits, I do more than look at and photograph the flowers.  I take the time to lean in and smell them as well.  Orchids are known as the “king of the fragrant plants.”  It is a well-deserved title.  Orchid fragrances range from subtle to strong, and from pleasant to putrid, and everything in between.  I didn’t come across any of the unpleasantly scented orchids.  I’m not sure if there were any there or not.  It’s possible I missed them.

In general, the orchids pollinated by bees and moths tend to have pleasant scents whereas those pollinated by flies and other carrion-feeding insects are, to put it gently, not so pleasant (putrid and fecal scents, to put it not so gently, although some are more earthy and mimic fungal scents).

I found the line of orchids above interesting.  It reminds me of fish bones.  Someone else said they thought it looked like  a mustache.

I might have a few more orchid photos to share another day, after I’ve finished sorting through them.  That means it might be next year, at the rate I’m going.  Would you believe I still haven’t finished going through my photos from our trip to Colorado last August?  It’s true.  We keep traveling to other places or doing other things before I have a chance to catch up with myself.  Usually I manage to play catch-up  during the winter months, but this past winter was unusual in that I was spending time outside every day, taking photos while I was out there, and then blogging about it every day.  I may take a year off from blogging once this over.

Today’s Outdoor Adventures

M and I had originally planned to attend part of the 2011 Maple Tour here in northeast Ohio.  I thought it might be interesting to see (and photograph) how maple sugar is made.

Today's view of the pond

But it was such a gorgeous day that we decided to skip the maple syrup, as yummy as it sounds, and go for a walk around Wingfoot Lake State Park.

The park is not far from where we live, and we had never been there before today.  The north shore of Wingfoot Lake was originally developed for corporate retreats and employee outings by the Goodyear Company (located in Akron, not far from Wingfoot Lake).  You might be familiar with Goodyear.  They manufacture tires.  You might also know them by their blimps, one of which (Spirit of Goodyear) is based at the Goodyear Wingfoot Lake Airship facility just across the lake from the park.

Goodyear blimp and the air dock

The park was privately owned by Goodyear up until 2009 when the land and the lake were purchased by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, and is now open to the public.

We timed our visit to Wingfoot Lake State Park unexpectedly well.  The blimp folks were taking advantage of the nice weather too, by practicing their touch-and-go’s.  I’ll bring you some photos of that tomorrow.

Paved path to the lake

We had a nice walk around the park.  It is sunny, clear, windy, and a little chilly today with highs in the upper 40s.  Once you get moving, it doesn’t feel too bad.

Old cherry tree

There are a lot of beautiful, old trees in the park.  There are also plenty of recreational opportunities, or will be when the weather warms up and the facilities are opened.  There are tennis courts, badminton and volleyball courts, playgrounds, plenty of picnic shelters, a barbecue pit, horseshoe pits and bocce ball courts, an 18-hole mini-golf course, and (something I’m really excited about) an 18-hole disc golf course (yes!).  It’s been a while since M and I played disc golf.  We decided to take the discs with us the next time we visit Wingfoot Lake State Park.

Fishing Wingfoot Lake

You can also go fishing and boating.  We noticed that they do have boat rentals (paddle boats, kayaks, etc.) available (but not yet open for the season).

We had a nice walk.  The trails are all paved and there are not a lot of them, but it was enough for us for today.  We’re going to have to start doing some long hikes soon, to get in shape for some of our summer plans.

A last view of the lake as we left the park

I’ll be outside tonight, too.  I’m sure about a billion other photographers who have clear skies tonight will be out with their tripods and cameras, taking a shot at capturing a good photo of the “Supermoon.”