ANOTHER ORCHID – Marilyn Armstrong

NOW THERE ARE TWO


First, there was one orchid flowering. There were several big buds waiting and a couple of days ago, the second flower started to open. I didn’t take any pictures until this morning. By the middle of the day, it was very bright, but the sun was not shining directly through the window. My macro lens was on the camera. I picked it up and here are the results.

Big orchid with the smaller one behind

The double bloom

Two Orchids

Square pair of orchids

There are more photographs for another day. The light was exactly right for this particular piece of photography.

FAVORITE ROSE PHOTO – CEE’S FLOWER OF THE DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

February 15 – My Favorite Rose Photo


This is one of my top two rose photo favorites. The two pictures are very much alike.

I love this picture because the roses bloomed so intensely they look like the roses they put on the winner of the Kentucky Derby. Last year we cut them back very far and the bloomed, but not nearly as much as usual and I think the intense rain has prevented a lot of sun-loving flowers from blooming. It’s all mud out there!

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

ORCHIDS, OF COURSE – Marilyn Armstrong

MORE ORCHIDS, OF COURSE – FOTD – 2-10-2020


Today I fed my orchid 10-10-10 fertilizer and dug out some ice cubes. This is supposed to keep them growing. Apparently, they sort of burn out when they bloom. So let’s hear it for fertilizer and ice cubes. It’s so cold in this house, it’s going to take a long time before those cubes melt!

I’m getting reacquainted with my macro lens. Also, I think we are getting more daylight. Our meteorologist said we are adding 2-1/2 minutes each day. It feels like more.

Warm Orchid

Nice medium shot Love that “heart” in the orchid

Closer

In the heart of the orchid

 

SO GROWS THE ORCHID – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – FEBRUARY 6, 2019 – SO GROWS THE ORCHID


It’s fun watching the orchid unfold and seeing the other buds growing bigger. I’m hoping for a long bloom this time and I hope I have more time to take care of it and be able to bring it back again.

Meanwhile, here is today’s orchid. It’s not fully open, but it’s getting close.

Close to the heart of the flower

Medium shot showing buds

I have learned that all the very dark colored orchids are dyed. So when you buy a red or dark blue or purple flower, when (if) it blooms again, the next time it will be its natural color which typically is a dark center with white, sometimes veined, petals.

With or without dye, it’s still a lovely flower

FLOWER OF THE DAY: BABY ORCHIDS ARE BACK – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – Feb. 5, 2020 – Baby Orchid


I got this set of orchids for my anniversary. They were a brilliant violet. Almost purple. I was surprised to see buds on the stalks so soon after getting them, especially because I haven’t been very diligent about caring for them. Too much going on with house, dogs, moving out the dolls, off-loading old furniture. The problem with all of this effort is that the house looks worse, not better.

All the old furniture had stuff in it. Even though we’ve dumped multiple bags of trash, there are items left over and no place to put them. We are very short of closets in this house, even though we added an extra set when we moved in.

Purple in September

Everything is full and I grant you if we cleaned out the closets, there might be some room, but then again, maybe not. A lot of it is winter clothing and it takes up a lot of room.

The previously purple orchid

So between worrying about the health of the Scotties and feeding birds and fixing broken pieces of the house, my plants have not gotten the attention they deserve. Nonetheless, the Christmas Cactus began blooming again and my purple orchid opened this morning. There are more buds too.

It was hard to get a complete picture because it was facing down and I had to get underneath it to get a picture

But it isn’t purple this time. It is dark magenta in the middle with white petals. So I have to ask: does that mean the purple was artificially injected into the soil or do orchids change color?

LET’S PRETEND IT’S SPRING AND LOOK AT DAFFODILS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – January 29, 2020 – Daffodils


It’s winter and not even a really good winter. It’s a very warm winter. Not the warmest January ever, but the third warmest in 100 years, which is warm. We’ve had a bit of snow, a few days of cold, a fair bit of rain. It has been gray skies almost every day. Tomorrow they are promising us a day of sunshine. I guess we’ll see.

Meanwhile, daffodils sound great to me. Let’s pretend it’s spring again. Eventually, it really will be spring.

SPRING IN THE VALLEY – CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Spring Scenes and flowers of the day

We don’t have much of a spring season here. It tends to stay cold until suddenly in May, the leaves pop out of the trees and everything blooms during one, sunny midday. The process takes just a few hours. It’s amazing. One year, it was winter when we went into the grocery and summer when we came out.

Autumn to winter can be like that too. Garry and I went out for lunch in Boston wearing tee-shirts and shorts,. Two hours later, we came out and it was near freezing, We ran home — which, fortunately, wasn’t very far.

We do get spring flowers, though. And birds. I hope that will count because otherwise, I’m just out of luck!

Harbinger of spring – our purple crocuses

Columbine

More yellow daffodils

The Goldfinch turning bright yellow for mating season.

Spring along the river

Our last Tulip.

More bright Goldfinch

Baby oak leaves and a very blue sky

Along the fence, Forsythia flowers

And the House Finch turns brighter too

Spring on the Mumford River

Solomon’s Seal

Springtime on the Commons

FOTD – January 14, 2020 – Daffodils in Bloom

MORE OF OUR LITTLE TREE – Marilyn Armstrong

The Tree – FOTD – Dec. 11, 2019

So this time, I used my f1.8 25mm Olympus lens and the pictures are nominally better. I probably should take the pictures earlier in the day when there’s some light coming in from the windows. Anyway, I’ll try again.

Much better than the pictures with the slower lens.

I never noticed the painting on the mantel is crooked.

Lights on the big window

 

A TREE GROWS IN UXBRIDGE – Marilyn Armstrong

THE CHRISTMAS TREE FOR 2019

A small tree with tiny lights is the flower of MY day! I have to do a little rearranging of the lights, but it’s such a pretty little tree. I keep it – intact – in my spare “office” room, covered in plastic from year to year.

When the season comes around, I unwrap it — carefully — and carry it into the living room. This year, we have a CD player where the tree usually goes, so I had to do a little planning. I didn’t realize how heavy that player was, so when I picked it up to move it, me and it headed for the floor and I was trying to not drop it. I can’t afford to replace it.

I finally got it onto the semi-circular brick front of the fireplace.

Phew. After I nudged it into place, I realized I can’t use the remote because now it’s below the level of the coffee table. I have to stand and walk over and point the remote down. But it works.

Harry Belefonte’s Greatest Hits was in the machine, so the moment I plugged it in, he began to sing.  I love his voice. It’s like velvet.

I grabbed the kitchen scissors and went into my office. Very carefully, I cut the bag off the tree. I looked it over. Pretty good. The lights had sagged a little, but otherwise, it looked as good as it ever did.

I had already put down a Christmas cover and it was perfect. It’s a hand-made patchwork quilt I bought years ago in Pennsylvania. It’s long and narrow and I never really knew what to do with it. Now, for Christmas, it has a home under our tree.  I’ll take better pictures of it later.

Ever since I gave Garry my Leica, I’m having trouble using the new small camera. It has a much slower lens. I’m trying to get used to it. It’s fine in brighter light, but an f3.3 lens is slow indoors. A bit disappointing so far, but it’ll be good outside which is mostly where I take pictures.

BEHOLD THE PINK CACTUS FLOWERS – Marilyn Armstrong

Pink Cactus Flowers – December 1, 2019

The red cactus is still fully in bloom, but now, the pink is taking off too. I think this is the first time they have ever bloomed at the same time.

It was a fairly bright day today. Not sunny, but not dead and gray, either. The flowers bloomed yesterday, but it was such a busy day, I didn’t have time to take any pictures. I caught them today, though. I almost didn’t. I was setting up shots of old family pictures for Garry’s post.

I had pulled the chip and was going to the computer and then I realized the pink cactus look quite glorious, so I went back, picked up the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark I which has the 25mm f1.8 lens on it. It’s not a macro lens, but it gets very close. I replaced the chip in the camera and took a few more pictures.

I have a macro lens, but I like to leave my cameras with a lens on it because by the time I get into sorting lenses, I’ve usually missed the shot … and you can get almost as close with the 25mm (50mm if it was a DSLR) lens and it’s two stops faster. And if I want to take any other picture, it’s the magic “do anything” lens.

You just never know what tomorrow might bring, so take your flowers today.

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! – Marilyn Armstrong, with Photos by Garry Armstrong

November 28, 2019 – Happy Thanksgiving


I couldn’t do this on Thanksgiving. The day was spent with family and chopping things for Waldorf Salad (https://wp.me/p2bT5l-1d8VE1), a roast leg of lamb, baked potatoes (which didn’t get eaten, still in the fridge), little potatoes cooked with the roast (they did get eaten), hot rolls, and green beans.

With fresh apple cider. There were apple pie and strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert — but we didn’t make it to dessert, either.


We passed along the apple pie and have been enjoying the strawberry-rhubarb pie. We sent leftovers, and today, with the last piece of lamb, I made a great little lamb curry. I have to admit, the curry is my favorite part of the lamb. All those yummy spices. Oh, and the salad went over very well.

I was too busy to take pictures, but Garry picked up the camera and here are a few. There were only four of us in the end. Sandy had to work. Healthcare workers often have to work on holidays. So do reporters, fire-fighters, police and, of course, retail workers.

Garry always worked on Thanksgiving until after we got married, but took Christmas off. Now we are both just plain OFF. All the time.

Gotta love retirement.

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.