CHRISTMAS CACTUS BLOOMING AGAIN – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – 02-11-2020 – Christmas Cactus


I didn’t even realize it had started blooming because part of the table cloth on which the plants stand is red. But it’s blooming. Not with quite the verve it showed last November and December, but definitely blooming. And I gave it a shot of 10-10-10 fertilizer because it’s a cactus so I thought what worked for an orchid might reasonably work for a cactus. I hope I’m right. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Red blooms

Wider shot

Warmer

THE FINAL PHOTOS OF JANUARY 2020 – Marilyn Armstrong

bushboys world: LAST PHOTO, JANUARY 2020


I use three cameras. The Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS80 (my traveling camera), and my Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark I and Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark  II. The I has a 25mm 1.8 lens on it (effectively 50mm) and the II has a Panasonic 100-300 on it which I use for shooting birds (it’s effectively 200-600). It’s a great lens, but slow.

As it happened, I used all three of them yesterday, January 31st. That’s rare. I usually shoot either inside or outside. As often as not, it’s either all birds or all the “indoor garden” or a trip to one of our many riverside parks.

On the OMD M5-II, this is a nuthatch with a black sunflower seed in his beak

I used to bring the Olympus with me when I was out, but I could never make up my mind what lenses to bring. I would sometimes just sit there with the bag open trying to figure out what I was likely to need. Would there be any birds? Would I need a wide-angle or long lens? Will there be people to portray?

On the Olympus OMD M5-I, this is a blooming Christmas Cactus

The confusion got so bad I gave up. Now. I take one camera, the Panasonic (unless we are going on vacation in which case I might take everything). The Panny has a good Leica telephoto lens which extends from 25mm to 750mm and of course, has a close up “macro” focus as well. It’s considerably smaller than the one I’d been carrying and will actually fit in my bag, but: (1) it’s a very big bag and (2) it may be a smaller camera, but I swear it’s heavier than its predecessors — all three of which I still have.

I’m sure I have even more cameras going back to my earliest Canons, but exactly where they are, I’m not sure.

The last shot of the dam before going home. Garry who had not brought HIS camera was moving me around telling me where to shoot and I finally said: “Next time bring your OWN camera!” Sheesh.

I think they are all working. I had an entire array of Olympus cameras, but I have distributed the ones I never used amongst family and close friends who were camera-challenged. The only camera I still really really want is the Olympus Pen F. I even have a friend who has an extra one to sell, but alas, I don’t have the money. I have to remind myself that I’m not suffering from a lack of cameras. But ah, the Pen-F is such a sweetheart of a camera.

THE CHANGING SEASONS NOVEMBER 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong

THE CHANGING SEASONS – NOVEMBER 2019

This is one of the big change months of our calendar. We go from warm late fall days to bitter cold and sometimes snow. We didn’t (praise be!) get snow, but we got a lot of rain. We had one perfect week of Autumn. We used to get a month of it, but times are changing. It arrived late and departed in one night. A lot of trees just dropped their leaves without them even changing color.

But we got Cardinals and our very first Bluebirds. A triumph!

Bluebird and Chickadee

Very pretty Bluebird

Like Su Leslie, I’ve largely retreated emotionally to home and things I have some control over. I try to keep in touch with the world because maybe big things are coming and I hope I’m still here to participate. Meanwhile, I feed the birds — a small thing to help beleaguered creatures — and simultaneously am growing the fattest squirrels in North America.

From the front of the Bluebird

And one day, we had bluebirds!

It’s supposed to snow tomorrow and the news has been full of it. But when they talk about huge snowstorms, they mean nine inches to a foot. I am meanwhile thinking two to three feet or, as you folks say, a meter or more. What we are actually supposed to get is one to three inches, which isn’t snow. It’s a dusting.

It does mean winter really is here. I hope it isn’t really awful. A mild winter would be easier for everyone!

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to Su Leslie’s original post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

CHRISTMAS CACTUS, NOVEMBER 25, 2019 — Marilyn Armstrong

Christmas Cactus — November 25, 2019

Mind you, I’m still waiting for my orchids to stop sending out shoots and start putting out buds. But — you can’t hurry a plant. You can’t force buds, at least not here in this house. So we have blooming cactus until we also having blooming orchids!

There are a lot more buds ready to pop and the first flower to open is beginning to droop. Should we get a little bit of sun one of these days, all will go better. Or so I believe.

IS ANYONE LISTENING? — Marilyn Armstrong

I feel like I need to keep blogging on the off-chance that whatever I’m writing, someone is reading it and thinks a little differently because of what I wrote.

In the cave

The politics of the country are also getting painful. I can’t detach from them, but they give me a permanent headache. I wonder if this really IS the end of the country I’ve loved.

I don’t know whose country this is. I don’t understand the meanness, the hatred, the lack of kindness by those who are rich enough to really make a difference. Or, for that matter, how hard we tried to do the right things and seem to have failed on every possible level.


The weather is changing, my birds are dying — and regardless of whether or not our government believes it, it’s hard to not notice that many things about our climate have altered, with a lot more to come. It’s hard to be funny when everything seems so negative. Upbeat is a bumpy road.


Meanwhile, our littlest dog has a  lot of old dog problems. She, Gibbs, Garry, me, and this house are all suffering from aging. I’m also not convinced that trying to fix each problem is necessarily the right thing to do. Should Bonnie’s last days be full of surgery and pulled teeth? Is that how I would like to pass?

I don’t think she has a lot more time. I have been watching her decline as I have watched so many other pets. Do we want to put her through massive dental work — even if we could afford it — and eye surgery — which might or might not actually help? I have had many dogs move on from this world and every time we’ve tried to do something drastic to try and stop that clock, it has not only not improved the life of the pet we loved, but rather made their last months miserable and painful. We swore to each other to never do that again, but we always want to fix it. As if somehow, we can make time stop.

Maybe it’s more sane and kind to recognize that this bell is tolling for us.


So what’s the right thing to do? My current thought is that as long as Bonnie seems to be okay with life, that’s good.  I won’t put her through surgeries or procedures. She is 13, deaf, rather blind, and a wee bit into doggie dementia. Not deep into it. And despite all of this, she is quite spritely.

Meanwhile, do I have an obligation to keep on keeping on? To try to speak up about what I believe is right? To try to fight what I know is wrong? Does anyone care what I say? Is anyone listening? Do our voices matter?

The older I get, the more I realize no one is listening to their “elders” anymore — not counting the AARP crowd who are running for President. They appear to believe they will live forever.

The political reality that has gripped this country feels unreal. The only “real things” are solid. The house, Garry, the birds, and squirrels. Friends, family, and flowers are real. Everything else is … weird.

I’m going to write, so I might as well write here. What would I do with all the photographs no one will ever see unless I post them?

I also finally realized I am living in an American version of tyranny. I hardly know HOW to feel about it. How did this happen? I wonder how many people have felt like this for a long time? We became the Banana Republic, minus the bananas. What’s strangest of all — to me — is that it life is the same as ever. We have the same problems we’ve had for years. We hope for better days … or at least better days for our son and granddaughter. The young ones deserve a world they can live in.

What a peculiar and dangerous world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren. I hope we get to fix at least some of it before it goes totally out of control. That the one thing we most need to do. Politics be damned, we need to make our world a safe and healthy place to live.

Or, as the Wicked Witch of the West (or is it East?) say: “WHAT A WORLD. WHAT A WORLD.”

CHRISTMAS CACTUS IS BACK — Marilyn Armstrong

The Cactus is Back!

I had been noticing how exceptionally healthy both my cactuses looked, but I hadn’t noticed any buds. Until I looked more carefully and realized they were full of buds. Tiny buds at the end of almost every strand.

Now, some of them are big, plump buds and just about ready to open. Here’s how they looked yesterday:

An overlook of the big cactus

Closeup one

A little broader look

Softly framed

RED CHRISTMAS CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong

Red Christmas Cactus Blooming FOTD – 05/15/19

I’ve been taking pictures as the blooms budding and as they open. It has been pretty spectacular. This morning, it was amazing. For reasons of pure laziness, I shot these two pictures with my 100-300 lens.

I was very surprised at how well they came out.

Remarkably, it worked really well. I got exactly what I wanted, which was the entire plant in context with the other plants by the window.

I got it!

With only the light from the French doors after four in the afternoon …

Shooting in low light can bring out stronger color

BLOOMING CACTUS AGAIN – Marilyn Armstrong

Blooming Red Cactus Flower – FOTD – 05/10/19

Just as the pink ones died off, the red ones bloomed. It’s been a really big year for cactus flowers. I don’t think I’ve ever had them bloom so frequently or so plentifully.

How about a few pictures? These are all macros. I got revved up and changed the lens!

Amazing, eh?

That’s some cactus flower!

A bloom and a big bud

The color is perfectly red. Or is it scarlet?

SETTING BUDS ON THE RED CHRISTMAS CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong

More from the Red Cactus – FOTD – 05/05/19

It’s lucky I have indoor plants because it is so miserable and cold outside, it’s very hard to persuade me to go anywhere. I’m cold ALL the time. My feet need constant defrosting … but the Christmas cactuses are busy setting buds.

I don’t know what has made them bloom so much this year. I haven’t done anything differently than usual. I don’t re-pot them. I don’t trim them. I don’t fertilize them. I occasionally turn them so they grow evenly, but otherwise, I water them when they are dry. That’s it. The totality of my relationship with them.

The big red one is getting ready to bloom again and is setting a lot of buds. I swear they are trying to make up for the miserable weather outside!

Setting buds

And you can see my new Norfolk Island Pine. I have never had much luck with them, so maybe I’ll get lucky this time

 

PINK CHRISTMAS CACTUS BLOOMING – Marilyn Armstrong

Pink Christmas Cactus – FOTD – 04/06/2019

The pink cactus is blooming up a storm. I think I got the color a little better today, maybe because the light was better yesterday when I took the pictures.

It was a bright but not sunny morning, which is good for portraits and pictures of plants, but not much fun when shooting outside.

The latest flower

The full plant!

BLOOM PINK CHRISTMAS CACTUS IN TIME FOR EASTER – Marilyn Armstrong

Pink Christmas Cactus – FOTD – 04/03/2019

Having just recovered from a major blooming of the scarlet Christmas Cactus, the pink one is coming into a heavy bloom of its own. Unlike the red one, it only threw a few flowers in season, but now it’s got a lot of buds, one flower fully in bloom and another about to burst for tomorrow.

Almost ready to bloom

Blooming!

Another bloom

Fat bud