SQUARE PERSPECTIVE IN QUARANTINE

A Square Perspective – BeckyB, 22 July 2020

My View from a Quarantined World


 

Got a few seeds? This tiny chipmunk is a “least chipmunk.” He looks exactly like his bigger brethren, but he’s a quarter of their size. He likes to sit on the feeder and watch me watching him.

I feel like life has become an endless game of hide n’ seek. We are perpetually in hiding and that which is hunting us is too tiny to see. Maybe not entirely in hiding. I go out on the deck. I go to the garden. I even occasionally get all the way into the basement. Wow! i know, you are overwhelmed at these experiences, aren’t you? I take a lot of square pictures. Sometimes, it is a cropping choice, getting the busyness out of the picture. Other times, it’s just the right format for the picture. Since I’ve missed so much of this challenge, I’ll give you some extra pictures to try to make up for it.

My cigar box guitar
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Orchids
Goldfinches!
Wings

MAY 2020 – THE CHANGING SEASONS, A DIFFERENT WORLD – MARILYN ARMSTRONG

The Changing Seasons, May 2020


To say that the world is a different place than it was last month and completely different than the month before, AND has almost nothing to do with last spring or even last winter is probably an understatement. I hardly know where to start. Plagues,  riots and warm winter without snow which, in one night, turned into summer.

Whatever comes out of this, it’s going to be different. Possibly very different. Or maybe not. Does anyone know? I sure don’t know.

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 (Choose your favorite format):

Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month

Don’t use archived stuff. Only new material! Except for maybe this and last month when a lot of us have gotten out of the house much — or at all.

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to SuLeslie’s post, she can update all the entries with links.

THE LAST ORCHID OF MAY 2020 – MARILYN ARMSTRONG

bushboys world

As it happened, I took these pictures yesterday late in the day. This really is the last photo I took. Usually, I’m not sure because, for reasons I can’t explain, this aging version of Photoshop doesn’t necessarily number things in the same order they appear on your SD card. This time, they did … and also, I remember taking the picture.

All I did was crop it slight, sign it, and make it small enough to not fill up my blog space.

The last photo of May 2020

It could have used some color adjustment but this is au natural.

FOREVER EVOLVING? WHERE AM I? – Marilyn Armstrong

Blogging Insights # 30 – Evolving

The question from BLOGGING INSIGHTS #30 – EVOLVING is:

“Your blog is never static.It is a living and breathing organism that continues to grow as you grow as a blogger. Sometimes this growth takes unexpected directions and you end up with something very different from what you had envisioned.”

Credit for today’s question goes to Di of Pensitivity.

Since I never expected anything, it is exactly what I expected but also, totally different. I really was just trying to post photographs that were sitting in my hard drive. No one ever saw them. I had done this before on a variety of platforms that closed down.

I was never really “into” it. Maybe because I was still working and I wrote all day, so I wasn’t all that eager to do some more writing when I got home. I hadn’t had the time to develop photographically, either. I worked a lot of hours, had a child to raise, a house to maintain and I really enjoyed my few hours of doing nothing.

Looking for a few seeds?

So I started this blog without expectations. I also didn’t think it would last long. All the others had closed down, so I figure a couple of years or even less, and this one would close down too.

What I didn’t expect was that I would develop a pretty large readership so quickly nor did I think politics was going to become a big part of my landscape. Mostly, I didn’t think that from this experience would come real friendships across oceans and continents.

Square and still blooming!

It has been eight years and I’ve put up more than 10,600 posts. Some are reblogged from other authors who have said something I wish I’d said, but they said it better. If someone else wrote it well, there’s no reason for me to reinvent the wheel.

Blogs don’t need wheels. We roll through cyberspace where there are no roads.

A couple of thousand posts were likely written by co-authors who have gathered under Serendipity’s umbrella.

How did it happen? I don’t know. I still wonder why anyone bothers to read what I write. I greatly appreciate it, but there are so many blogs around, why me? I’ve never gotten huge responses. I’ve never gotten a million hits, though I’m close to a million total after blogging for eight years. Typically, I get good responses to well-written posts. Garry almost always gets better numbers than I do.

I also gave up studying stats. Numbers make me crazy.

I also never imagined that birds were going to become such a huge part of the blog. Birds, orchids. Christmas cacti, Flying squirrels. Raccoons. Squirrels. Even little baby chipmunks. Until I put up feeders, I didn’t realize I lived in the Forest Primevil.

And some of those squirrels fly!

Given that I had no expectations, it is exactly what I wanted. A free-for-all. A place where I can say what I want without a boss warning me about deadlines. Trying to make sense of history, where we fit into history, and what is going on in this messed up world.

Still blooming and more buds

One of the things I have been told — repeatedly — is that I must find a niche. I disagree. On this blog, I am free to be me, free to pretend I’m someone else, free to find unique and new areas that interest me. I can write articles I am sure no one will read because they are a bit obscure, but I don’t have someone telling me how many characters I need to fit into this column. I figured I’d do more book reviews, but I can’t read as much as I used to, so now I review special books that have personal meaning to me.

Finally, I am doing what Garry always told me to do. I write about dogs.

ORCHIDS LAST A VERY LONG TIME – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – May 12 – Two Buds Remain

Two of the first five flowers have fallen, but five more have opened on the second branch and two more buds are waiting. Possibly one will open next week and another the week after.

Macro Orchids
Square Orchids
Almost all the Orchids

PICK ME UP AND HOIST THE ORCHIDS – Marilyn Armstrong

Pick Me Up – I choose to raise orchids 

The electric company came this morning and took down the tree! The whole tree. I’m assuming that they couldn’t find an easier way to remove the branches. I guess it was the fifth call that was sent to the correct office that deals with fallen limbs. By the time they removed it, the entire tree was leaning on the high tension line. Ever since Columbia Gas blew up a city in northern Massachusetts a couple of years ago, I’ve been waiting for the next calamity. One has now been avoided, but it wasn’t easy!

Like Cee and maybe many photographers, I usually have a camera in my hand or without reach. There are two. no three, cameras on the living room coffee table, a bunch of various cameras, Garry’s and mine, on the wooden bench. Those are the ones We are not using much at the moment. Five dining room chairs hold camera bags. The two cameras I use to shoot birds and flowers. Especially birds, because if I have to go and get the camera out of the bag and get it pointed, the bird got bored and left. The flowers usually hang around, so I always take the birds first.

Flowers under lights
You can see that the last orchid is going to fall off.

Thus while writing is a big deal for me, taking pictures is right up there. I’ve been taking pictures pretty much as long as I’ve been writing, though I didn’t put a lot of effort into trying to become a professional photographer. I was a better writer and there were better jobs for writers, too. I am still happily wrapped in orchids.

You can almost see all of them
The young lifely orchids

I haven’t been feeling well. It’s not just my arm. It’s allergies. Anyone who thinks allergies don’t count because they aren’t a “real disease” never suffered from allergies. Now that we’ve had just enough sun (3 partial days with more than two hours each day of sunshine) to bring forth the buds, weeds. and flowers which will create something like spring or summer, I’m not sure. It has been so long since we saw nice weather.

Meanwhile, the biggest pollen roaming the airways is oak. We live in oak woods.

Orchid again

The second biggest pollinator is birch and we have them too. And of course, the maples are flowering. Not to mention the weeds and flowers. You name it, it’s pollinating. Which leaves both of us with sore throats that disappear after we get out of bed and sit up. The aches and pains? Could it be the rain, wind, dampness, and chill? Not to mention the constant changes in the weather?

Cold, snowy, and below freezing tomorrow and Monday. I hear there is possibly an end in sight around the end of the month. I’m holding my breath.

INDOOR GARDEN UNDER LIGHTS – Marilyn Armstrong

INDOOR GARDEN UNDER LIGHTS

So after all these years of working entirely with natural light, I gave in and bought grow lights. When we are having more normal weather — you know, the kind that comes with some hours per day of sunshine? — it works. But in the last two months, it has rained all the time.

It didn’t rain today (it wasn’t sunny either), but we’ve got a heavy 3-day cold, torrential storm waiting to move in overnight. I’m glad I got the lights. Now all I need to do it hardly ever water them.

Greenery under lights!
Greenery before lights


 

THE FINAL ORCHID ON THE THE LAST SD CHIP FOR APRIL 2020 – Marilyn Armstrong

Last photo for 30 April


I took the last pictures of the orchids when all of them were in full bloom. I left the card in my camera in the hopes that there would be one more set of full pictures, but the older orchids — which have been blooming for more than a month started to fade as the new ones took their place.

You can see that at least one leaf is beginning to shrivel. Just a few days more until that whole set went limp.

So this is indeed the final April picture set. I took a total of nine shots and 8 of them looked pretty good. I think this is the last one, but when they download, they do not download in order and I still can’t figure out why not. They really should come out in order, shouldn’t they? This isn’t an Adobe issue. It’s a Windows 10 thing.

FAREWELL SQUARES – Marilyn Armstrong

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN

Happy trails to the squares. I’ve made so many that I thought since this is the end of this month of squaring, I’ll just find all the ones I never got around to posting or posted, but forgot I posted them — and give you a mishmash of life here in the cold, wet woods.

So there will be birds and squirrels. Flying squirrels and raccoons. And a few flowers, just for the pretty colors.

FANDANGO’S PROVOCATIVE QUESTION VIA BLOGGING INSIGHTS #26 – Marilyn Armstrong

Blogging Insights — What’s Next?

Here are the original questions:

BLOGGING INSIGHTS -QUESTIONS:

What suggestions / tipsdo you have for improving/upgrading this series?Do you have any questions that you would like me to feature?

If you are new to the Blogging Insights series, how about trying out some of the questions?There is no time limit so feel free to answer any whenever you please. 

Remember to tag your post #blogging insightsand also linkback to my blog. This will make sure that I do not miss out on reading your views and will also enable me to share your posts on my blog. You can check out the previous questions by clicking on the links below:

https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/2019/12/30/blogging-insights-recap-2/

https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/2020/03/16/blogging-insights-2nd-recap/

I’ve been following this series through other blogs. It pops up pretty often. I think you are doing just fine. I don’t want to put ideas in your head because I think your ideas are good and your own creativity will find the right way.

Seven orchids on a shoot

Blogging isn’t just something we do because we have nothing more interesting to do. And we each have our own reasons, often many different reasons. It’s a hobby, an avocation, a dedication, an art form, a post-occupation-occupation — all at the same time.

That’s probably why we like to ask each other about blogging and why you do it which makes me think about why I do it. For those of us who are retired, it has become our new occupation after giving up whatever it is we used to do. Since before this, I was a writer, I am now truly enjoying this busman’s holiday.

Three on the yellow feeder

I started out doing this because I had a ton of pictures and no one ever saw them because they were all on my computer. I figured what the heck, I might as well publish them where others might enjoy them. It became a good reason for spending way too much money on cameras and lenses and the urge for better and better cameras and lenses and processing software never ends.

In this age of Trump and the crushing of everything I believed in, not to mention the eruption of our very own plague, I’ve felt that I need to not just post pretty pictures, but talk about the world. Climate change. Oppression. Racism. The hatred that seems to bind us tighter than love ever could.

I keep hearing that all we need is love, but that’s a song lyric, not a meaningful way of life. We need a lot more than love. We certainly can love people who aren’t our personal family or friends a lot more than we do, but that’s not going to fix the ozone layer or bring back the dying creatures our “development” of the wild places have killed. I fear that in the end, this world will be entirely paved over with roads running from an empty mall to another empty mall.

And if that isn’t scary enough, we need to get serious about figuring out how we can support all these PEOPLE. We are so over-populated, it’s terrifying. You know when you crowd the rats this much, they start to try to kill each other. Periodically Garry and I congratulate each other on having the sense to get OUT of Boston. With all the limitations of living in the middle of nowhere, it’s a whole lot easier on the nervous system than any city anywhere.

Today I write as much because I think there are important issues that need to be talked about. It’s not just about trashing the president. He’ll be gone soon enough. But clearly, we need to hate less and care more. The world has become ugly and greedy. For there to be subsequent generations of humans, we need to be a lot less ugly and massively less greedy. So I figure I have a small, but living bully pulpit and I might as well use it. And I can still post pretty pictures. I wouldn’t want to stress everyone out.

So for me, what’s next is to do the best I can do. Write, create pictures, count the flying squirrels, and hope I can keep affording food for the creatures of the woods.

ENAMORED IS LOVE OF MANY THINGS – Marilyn Armstrong

If I were talking about a person — a real, live one and not a screen-idol or a character in a book — I would never use “enamored” to describe the relationship. To me, enamored means “fascinated” or maybe “entranced” by something. Not necessarily someone, either.

I can easily be enamored by things, like a particular food, a camera, a  lens, a fast car. Even by something I use in the kitchen and occasionally, by food preparation itself.

I can become enamored by a location. A river, a dam. The pond where the swans live or how the mist lays heavy on the beach as the sun rises. When I had a sports car (oh, too briefly!), I was totally smitten by its ability to accelerate from zero to whoopee in nanoseconds. It actually made my heart pound when it took off, almost in flight.

Of what am I currently enamored?

Orchids.

 

And I’m most particularly enamored by the light of the sun. We’ve had so little of it this year. We’ve had clouds and grey skies. Wind. Heavy rain. Bone chilly nights.

And waiting for life to come back. I hope I’m still young enough to enjoy it.

YOUNG ORCHIDS – Marilyn Armstrong

Young and growing Orchids

I counted them. There will be in total of twelve Orchids in this cycle. I tried shooting with three different cameras today. I stood way back and used the shortest length of the long lens, the macro lens, and also my smallish Panasonic with the 25 to 700mm Leica lens.

They all came out differently depending on the angle and the light.

Square orchids
Seven orchids on a shoot
Vertical!
Previously buds
And still growing