Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lamesa Photo Essay # 1: The Plants

This is my photo essay of one of our Secondhand Lions Photo Safari. (What is Secondhand Lions? It's what we call ourselves: my best friend Donna, me, and now my brother Casey.)

We chose an area near Lamesa, Texas, roughly a half-way point between Donna in Lubbock and Odessa. An aerial trip via Google Earth showed it had lots of ponds, tanks, and small creeks. Unfortunately, what Google didn't reveal is that most of that property is private land. Still somehow we followed the winding, gravel Muleshoe Road and got a glimpse of paradise.

(Click any thumbnail for a larger picture.)

Erect Dayflower, Commelina erecta -- it's always fun to see blue in nature. The Swedish botanist Linneaeus named this plant for the three Commeline brothers, Dutch botanists, two of whom were very productive in their field. The third brother published nothing and was relatively unknown. Linneaeus used the flower's three petals -- two showy and one inconspicuous -- to represent the traits of the three brothers.

This is one of the many species of milkweed, but I couldn't find a way to identify exactly which one. And although it's a common species, and likes sandy soil and full sun, I don't see too much of it around home. So I'm always pleased when I see old lowly milkweeds. I think its flowers are really beautiful. (Remember the Green antelopehorn?)

I like lichens. (Aw, that was too easy.) Actually I don't know much about lichens, so I did a quick search and found from this site that, "Structurally, lichens are among the most bizarre of all forms of life. That's because every lichen species is actually composed of two, possibly even three, distinct species of organisms. One species is a kind of fungus. Usually the other species is an alga, but sometimes it can be a photosynthesizing bacterium known as a cyanobacterium. Sometimes all three organisms are found in one lichen." Who knew!

You are going to love this little gem. It's called a balsam gourd or snake apple, or scientifically a Ibervillea lindheimeri. It looks just like a watermelon. (I know what you are thinking, what is it with Debi and wild watermelons?) Only this one is small -- it's about the size of a jawbreaker. It's a vine that requires both a male and a female plant to produce fruit. I don't think it's edible in spite of its yummy appearance. When it ripens, it loses its watermelon stripes and turns all red.

I don't know what to say about this beauty, a bush with delicate, bright berries and striking black bark. It's the first time I've seen it. I may have to ask one of our local experts, like Mr. Burr Williams at the nearby Midland Sibley Center. The berries ranged from yellow, to red, to black based on ripeness I'm guessing. I brought along this trip some little ziplock bags and came home with about 10 of the little black berries. And high hopes.

Well, I think that's enough for one posting, don't you? Stay tuned for more photos of the Lamesa trip as time permits. Coming up next: The Critters.

June 2008


Friday, June 27, 2008

Don't Look

"Texas Brown Tarantula"
West Odessa, Texas

Don't look at either of these photos if you are afraid of spiders. Um, sorry, it's too late I guess.

This is the second tarantula Casey and I have seen in as many days. The first one (pictured on his blog) chased me. Or Casey. We don't know which -- we were both running. Yesterday's find was much milder. And because of that I was able to get a good shot of him underneath -- I guess that's his mouth -- and another good shot of him from above where you can see his eye -- that black blob on the right of his, er, head -- which is actually supposed to be like five eyes even though I don't see it.

And yes, it's a "he." See those things (above) sticking out from his bum? That means it's a male.

For John

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Debi & Casey, circa 1980

Debi (21) & Casey (14), circa 1980
Taken at the photobooth at the "old mall" -- Winwood Mall, Odessa, Texas
Probably cost a buck for four pictures -- I only have this one remaining, though.

This photo has been on my fridge for a while now. It makes me happy looking at it. It reminds me of the forty-plus-year long, loving relationship I've had with my baby brother. (Here you go, Bev -- a picture of Casey.)

Oh, yeah. Casey (our family nickname for him, his real name is Cecil) now has his own blog, Living in Focus.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Photo a day and sometimes more

You might notice that beginning with this month, I'm implementing a new approach to my monthly thumbnails. It was an idea that I tossed around while I was on that three month blogging sabbatical. (See, I hadn't stopped thinking about Blog Life.)

My goal is still to post a photo a day but with this way of organizing by category rather than per date, I've freed myself to be willy-nilly and to post my heart out when the mood strikes.

Mad with joy

Yellow Bird of Paradise (again)

We West Texans should be absolutely giddy that these shrubs grow wild here. Or as Iris Murdoch once wrote more generally,
"People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Back of strip mall on W County Rd, Odessa, Texas

Tenacious, eh?

Monday, June 23, 2008

New Camera

Yellow Bird of Paradise, Poinciana gilliesii

I have a new camera, another Lumix; this time a DMZ-FZ18. No I'm not rich. Donna got a new camera, and gave me her old one, not even 6 months old. In turn, I gave Casey my old camera. Call it trickle down economics.

With this camera I can get very, very close to my subjects now and still focus. The bloom above is actually touching the lens, bending those very long Bird of Paradise stamens.

It is bliss poking my camera nose into the secret language of flowers.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Day It Never Rained

My brother Casey
Highway 180, between Seminole and Lamesa, Texas

This is one of my favorite pictures from yesterday's safari. The morning started off overcast and we were sure we were going to get rained on. By noon, though, it was all burned off. It was lovely, though, to have such cool weather to tromp around in for half the day.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Three Chairs

"Three Chairs"
Seminole, Texas

Today was another photo safari day with Donna. Now we are a threesome, though, with my brother Casey fitting right in with us. Today was his first day to take photos with us too. Don't be surprised if you see a new link in my blog list. ;)

Great day.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


My grandson
Odessa, Texas

What? I'm losing my hair? But I'm only 5 months old!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bone Yard

"Bone Yard"
Digital Collage, Photoshop Adobe 5.5

I haven't been getting out taking photos daily as I used to. It's just too dang hot, y'all. So we'll just have to do with some digital play now and then.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Someone to Watch Over Me

"Someone to Watch Over Me"
Digital Collage, Adobe Photoshop 5.5

I can't explain why I crave for my creations to sometimes make me uncomfortable. Perhaps it's best explained by Annie Dillard as she wrote in The Writing Life,
Why do you never find anything written about that idiosyncratic thought you advert to, about your fascination with something no one else understands? Because it is up to you. There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain. It is hard to explain because you have never read it on any page; there you begin. You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.

How about you? What is your idiosyncratic fascination that is hard to explain?

+ cropping, burning, brightness, etc.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Like a Huge Dandelion

Western goatsbeard, Yellow Salsify, or Western Salsify. Tragopogon dubius
Farm Road 826, Texas

This is a composition dreamed up for me to snap by my brother, and that's his hand.

Trying to find this plant's name before blogging it (google search "like a huge dandelion" worked), I discovered this is apparently a world-wide wild plant.

Its skeleton is lovely and I used some in arrangements this winter. Only at that time, I didn't know how to identify it based on its dried, petalless, seedless self.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Friday the 13th >=]

"Pity and Admiration for Van Gough"
Multiple photos

As most of you know I do a little double imaging with my photos from time to time using Adobe Photoshop's "multiply" function. This one was inspired by Van Gough's ominous Wheat Field with Crows.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happiness is ...

These two!

Happy Birthday Aunt Audrey ;)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008