Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Herbs

Now it's summer and the herbs I had shown you in my blog are long since gone.

One that flowers very nicely right now is the "Wegwarte", a form of "Chicory" - but wild and thus not used as salad or vegetable. But it is rumored to have some magical powers too. Either for finding the right husband if an unmarried young girl puts it under her pillow over night, he will show up in her dream then. and if unearth in a special ritual makes the one carrying it invulnerable and invincible.

The "Ysop" (Hyssop) is having a second season - I still count it to the more summer than spring herbs, it likes high temperatures and dry soil. Right now this is the favorite flower for the bees. I even saw a more white than yellow variation on this bush but so fast flitting about I didn't manage to get a close up shot of those bees. ( If you look close you can see the bees in the photo.)

Not wearing flowers yet - they will be whitish and rather small. In front of this bush like herb you can see some Hawkbit. (Also called "Löwenzahn" in German - or "Milchkraut" [ yes, I had to look this one up ^^;;] The look like the Common Dandelion but grow with smaller flowers, thinner leaves and having the flowers on hard long stilts and are a different class altogether. 

This one - also not yet in full flower - but it will be in strong yellow once it does - looks a lot like that Fernleaf Yarrow. This can be seen in gardens around her in summer as solitary bushes of moderate height (between 80 cm and 1.5m).
But I think it is something completely different. It does grow on dry soil like the other two (all of them close to the train station and take months to reach this size - about 80cm high - and carry their flowers and later the seeds). If someone knows this plant, please, let me know. Maybe I come across the name "accidentally" while searching for plants and herbs. Of course I will update it then.

Now this pink-purple one I don't know at all. It grows opposite of the others between high grass and bushes and a run-off for water after heavy rain. I couldn't get any closer and I haven't seen it anywhere else so far - as most high grass gets cut before the flowers show. 

There are some more "just summer" herbs. I will add them if I can get a photo before they get cut for cow silage.

Friday, July 27, 2012

In the Evening Light

In the Evening Light

as the sun is about to set
the light plays with the wood
tiny flies buzz a last flight
around the leaves 
chasing the sun rays

crickets sound a last song
birds settle for the night
a mouse runs across the path
squirrels run up the trunks
then all is silent
but for the wind 
rustling through the trees
saying good night

all is quiet 
the sun went down
sleep well, my wood
and have nice dreams

© Micha Fire, July 2012

This is not the wood I own - but the wood close to my home that I love to walk through (and sometimes even jog). It's such a lovely place in nature. I enjoy thinking about it and experiencing all the different plays of light and shadow in all seasons.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

From Spring to Summer - TREES

So, finally it's Summer here too. A few hot days above 25°C are called summer. 
But you can see it also in how the trees change from fresh green to a darker green - and some already have fruits and seeds on them ready to harvest.
The Walnut tree at the train station and the cherry "orchard" are very green indeed now:
The Wallnut tree alone

Also the Linden tree has added some leaves - and seeds nearly ready to fall off to be blown by the wind to new places to sprout:

And the Bloodplum tree in front of my house has grown a bit too (and already some lower branches removed once more). The difference between the Spring and Summer photo is not that great here; this tree has it's spring flowers when most are still bare and are in "winter mode":


One bush I have been watching this year; growing just opposite of the train station at my workplace:
Spring - leaves barely coming out, later than some other
Summer - the grass already dry, finally in full leaves

And a tree in that village where I work:
Spring - with some flowers left
Summer - with the seeds nearly ready to fall down
and yes, it was close to a thunderstorm that day

And this is taken from the starting train - an apple tree growing in a wheat field:
Summer - the wheat already harvested

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sunset Sky

Last evening was one of those beautiful sunsets - not as red as some were recently.
But intense in the color nonetheless.

To show you the sky completely in one photo is just not possible - the sky is too big.
So (and having finally found the video option on my camera) I took those two videos to show you how the color is spread in the sky.The clouds are the leftovers of passing planes, reflecting the last sun rays so beautifully.


The sound you hear, I assume, is the sound the camera makes.

Oak Tree

This is an oak tree growing at the edge of the forest. Not that old yet - but already very tall and wide.
More than would fit on one photo. So I made a video of it. You can hear a cuckoo in the video too. Or maybe it was a dove??

Some basic information on oak trees can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak

At the area where I filmed this one above are more of them - seemingly growing in a row as if planted to mark the edge of a territory. 

As child I had lived across a villa with a garden full of oak trees. From the grandmother of my friend and school mate there I heard the story of how they used the oak acorns to make coffee after WW2.
And we 2 girls, being around 8 years old then and not yet allowed to drink real coffee, had nothing better to do that afternoon as to run outside and pick up all the acorns we could find. Each took a batch of them home. 
It took a few weeks to dry them. I then mashed mine and poured hot water over them, hoping to get coffee. It tasted awful. Only years later I found out that I should have roasted the dried acorns as you roast the coffee beans too. My friend had thrown the acorns away before they even had been fully dried. 

My mother, when she found out about the fake coffee making experiment, was very upset - telling me that to do this is very dangerous to my health as the acorns are poisonous. Well, as it hadn't tasted well I didn't repeat that experiment. But I did try to make tea and soups out of leaves I found in our garden: walnut and "Essigbaum"; without much success. 

Three years later we moved overseas for five years. That was the end to those kind of experiments.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Photo manipulation

Lots of digital photos get "upgraded" by doing some Photoshop work to them.
For brightness, color and sharpness of image to name a few reasons.
Some even combine different shots of the same image to make it interesting and "brilliant". 
Others add some other images into a photo. 
Some even do a complete "paintographie" to the photo (making the photo or parts of it look as if they had been painted and not photographed).

I already had shown one of such a "photo combined with other images" to one of my photos here.

Another one of my photos that has been "manipulated" (photo taken 21. July 2012 at sunset and in the G+ album "sunsets from home" :
and here the manipulation (well done too - thank you):
courtesy and credits go to "Siguie" of psifly.com
But actually - I got reminded through this of a photo I had wanted to "re-do" some longer time ago.
I had this post about a dream with a blue-pink bird (The Blue Bird) and shortly after that seen a photo of a Bulbul that looked so similar to my blue bird except for the colors.
Bulbul by Jasbir S. Randhawa
I had mentioned to him that I would change the colors of that bird to those in the dream - and up to now I haven't gotten around to doing it.
Today I did a quick attempt on it (with taking some more time it could have been done better, more detailed. It was a nice experiment and learning experience that will get repeated ):

And now once more the original drawing:

Except for the length of the beak and the upright tail - similar. What do you think?!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Soccer season 2012/2013 - it has already started

One sure way to know that soccer season is starting again after the Summer pause is:
1) you have more reports on TV and radio about "new" players
2) players changing teams
3) trainers commenting and boasting about the goals they want to reach this year
4) fans of soccer teams excitedly hoist the team flags and dress in team colors

5 ) But also when you drive with your local train and see all the mess the fans left behind when going with it to the stadium for a first (friendly) match. So obvious after 6 weeks of clean trains.

Not happy about it at all. :-((

BAD examples:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Palmitos Park, Gran Canaria - Part 3, flora and insects

Additional to the animals and the shows with them the nature was fascinating. The dead end part of this canyon was being watered regularly and thus green compared to the higher up cliffs. All grass was brown up there - only a few cacti to be seen. But in the park area it was so colorful. Lots of palm trees and cacti and flowering trees and bushes. Some of them I knew as pot plants for the balcony in summer here in  Germany. There they grew to be bushes and trees.
Here some of them (there were too many varieties on "display" to take a photo of each one of them. And I will not add a name to each as well as either I don't know it or the plant is easily recognizable as what it is):
This is how the surrounding cliffs looked like (and most of the country side on the  island that was not watered).
View from the highest point toward the entry to the canyon (and the ocean).

A geranium the size of a small bush -- more than a summer old. 

All stadiums of  the plant there at the same time: flower, dried flower, green seeds and ripe seeds.
Oleander - not as pot plant but as big tree.
Red Bougainville in full midday sunshine.
Orange Bougainville 

Passion fruit flower -- this one grew inside.

And then there was the orchid house:
A small water fall right behind the ferns to keep the air humid ; maybe an idea for at home too?!

Small holes in the wall for the succulent plants.
Next was the "Butterfly House". Those small flying things are so hard to take photos of - they won't even sit still for long on the flowers.

And the aquarium:

No, not a fish - a spider - in the arch way into the aquarium.
Well, I have more photos - about the Palmitos Park and the vacation too. Too many for here right now. Visit me at G+ and have a look at my albums there: "Palmitos Park" and "Vacation in Gran Canaria". 

I hope you like the visit to the park with me. =^.^=