Urban Entertainer

Do you enjoy watching acrobats?

Then you’ll love today’s featured animal.

He’s plentiful in St. Louis. I’m not sure, but they may outnumber the humans. Very difficult to get accurate census figures for the critters.

Without humans, they would do very well in trees. Trees provide them with home building materials, home sites, and food. However, when humans are added to the mix they have no qualms about stealing fruits and vegetables from the branch or vine to supplement their diet. Like wise if you put up a bird feeder. Most of them see this as a challenge — a problem to be solved. It makes for good entertainment but a messy patch of ground under an empty bird feeder.

I’ll admit it. The times my father had a successful hunt, I ate the meat with the rest of the family. Prepare more than one per person. Not much meat per squirrel.

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Old-Fashioned Laptop

You may be reading this on a laptop. Some days I write the blog on one. The modern, electronic version.

But the need for a portable, secure writing desk has been around for some time. The first time I saw one — more elaborate than the one below — was in a display of Napoleon’s mobile headquarters.

This portable desk held all the necessary supplies: paper, ink, quill, and blotter. And while this did not follow a general on the battlefield, it enabled the Justice of the Peace to write decisions and letters while away from home. And in Missouri during the early decades of the 1800’s you could not always depend on your boarding house, inn, or host to have these items available.

From my brief inspection. I believe if it was filled with modern pens and pencils, and paper and folded to it’s compact position — you could use it as an airline carry-on. Imagine the other passengers as you unfold it and work while waiting at the gate.

 

 

Delicate Worker

They enchant humans of all ages. A burst of color if you disturb them on a path. The flight from one welcoming blossom to another.

They don’t loiter at their work. Sip. Fly. Land. Sip.

It would be wise for us humans to pause in our own work long enough to notice them. Relax. Let them bring a smile to your face as they dance in the air on a sunny day.

These yellow flowers attracted delicate workers.

Neighbor’s Favorite

It’s the sort of thing her friends check for each spring.

Did she plant them again? Did last year’s crop reseed?

Either way, we all get an opportunity to enjoy. They begin, like most flowers, as tiny green things testing the spring temperatures. And then, if the spring rains cooperate, enjoy a burst of growth and stretch up, up, up.

Ah, they’ve reached it. Tendrils reach out and wrap around the wrought iron. Leaves expand.  And to the spectators, it appears that overnight the porch railing becomes a living, joyous statement.

Glory not limited to the morning.

 

Home Sweet Hive

Is it a nest? Or a hive?

Layperson that I am, honeybees live in a hive. And others? It’s commonly called a hornet’s nest. And bumblebees “nest” in the ground.

So I was mildly surprised when preparing for this post and came across a more formal definition.

It’s a nest when the bees (any variety) construct it.

It’s a hive when men get involved. The below is a hive – man-made at first, second, and third glance.

Bees collect pollen and make honey to survive the winter (non-growing) season. Man enjoys the taste of honey and has been building hives, collecting the product, and caring for the insects at least back to the Ancient Egyptians.

Modern hives, like those above, use standard sizes and spacing for the frames. This makes the parts inter-changable and harvesting and care easier.

Think you see a lot of bees in the field or orchard or garden near the hive? To my surprise, I learned only 10% of the hive population will be outside at any one time. Think of it! For every bee you see pollinating and collecting — nine more are back at home when they are building the honeycomb, producing honey, and caring for the queen and her thousands of eggs.

Hold with care.

Soft things. Tiny things. Delicate things.

When handed one of the above the natural reaction is to cradle it gently in your hand. You want to be kind. Avoid doing damage.

Consider a bird nest for a moment. They are designed to hold and protect soft, tiny, delicate birds. And while they vary in size, location, and building material, all of the parents are following instinct to do the best for the next generation.

The glass artist has captured the spirit of the nest in the shape of the glass as well as in the careful position in the tree.

Ready for the blue glass birds to move in.

Solemn Experience

Every person’s life is marked by events. The early ones are often controlled by our parents. As we grow and mature, we make more decisions of our own.

As regular readers of this blog are aware, I’m old enough to have experienced many of these “turning points” in my life. They come in both positive and negative varieties.

Recently I was privileged to witness one of these events in the life of a son.

While the ceremony was solemn, the congratulations and handshakes which followed were sincere. I’ll add my private best wishes as he continues to follow the religious path he has chosen.

First Thought

Quick. No serious thought. What’s your reaction to the photo?

When I saw this in person at the Missouri Botanical Garden — the first thing that popped into my mind:

POPCORN!                  You know, on the cob, lightly toasted.

I was wrong. It’s not popcorn at all. And I was a polite guest (I want to be welcome again) and did not nibble.

The name is: Anchomanes hookeri

Unless you live in Tropical Africa (or perhaps another tropical spot) don’t attempt to grow this in your backyard. But if you would happen to get it established, relax, it’s a perennial and will be back year after year.

After Totality

In case you’ve been hibernating — we had a solar eclipse yesterday.

From Oregon to South Carolina, the media this last week or more has been filled with information and advice for viewing. (Wear the special glasses!) Since I happen to live in one of the areas in the direct path of the eclipse, my plans were simple.

From my front door I needed to walk a matter of yards to find a spot on the lawn with a good view. Joined by other residents of my condo, we chatted and traded memories of other, partial, eclipses. The tricky part for me was photographs. Rather than risk the sensor on the camera, I turned around and got images of the shadows.

I have never seen this pattern on my sidewalk near the oak tree before.

This was taken ten minutes or less after totality.

 

One step to success

Are you ambitious?  Do you want to succeed?

Most people I know would answer yes to those questions. A few have achieved it. Others keep striving. And still others don’t recognize it in front of them.

You’ve heard about the steps. Get a good education. Work hard. Pay your dues in time and talent. Sometimes they leave out a step.

Do you enjoy your work?  Can you imagine your life without doing ____?

Today’s glass and steel flower is exactly what you need…

Allow me to introduce PASSION.