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


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 – 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.


Orchids – FOTD – April 13

Each day they buds get fatter and now, the older flowers are beginning to wilt a bit. Just a little bit. They are still looking pretty healthy. I think in about a week the petals will begin to fall, but by then the new buds will be starting to open.

And maybe, by then something like spring will be peeking around of cold, wet earth. I do wish we would have spring.

The buds are getting close.
Full orchid!



Orchids and buds – FOTD – April 12

I decided the buds are now big enough to photograph. Meanwhile, the original orchids are in their final glow and glory. I was going to not take any pictures, but then I stopped and decided pictures, then coffee. Because the pictures you don’t take are never going to be the same again.

Fat new buds on another branch of the orchids
A perfect Orchid and more to come
Orchids at their peak


Healthy Happy Orchids

Every day, the orchids look healthier and stronger. The second shoot is getting bigger and the buds are getting full. I think we’ll have more orchids in a few weeks. One bud looks like it getting ready to pop.

If you have the right light, everything works. Also, some 2-2-2 fertilizer helps and fresh soil when the old soil is old and tired.

Macro Orchids
From the side, another macro
More orchids


FOTD – March 23 –ORCHIDS

It’s very quiet here. It’s quiet everywhere except, I suppose in the hospitals. Because we have a guy as the president who cannot tell the truth and I think isn’t entirely sure what the truth IS, trying to find out what is happening is very hard. They make decisions, then the congress gets to brawling again. While they are busy politicking, the rest of us are wondering how we are going to pay the mortgage. All across this country, the unemployment rate is rising like crazy … and they are STILL arguing.

The table garden …

All the orchids on the branch
But before the flower, the bud
Five Orchids

NEW BABY ORCHID – Marilyn Armstrong


Life isn’t very exciting around here. I’m sure it isn’t exciting around your place either.

Never have I been more grateful for books, streaming TV, flowers, birds, cameras, and software of all kinds.

Before the flower comes the bud

Today I scored the last package of 24 rolls of Charmin on Amazon. I won’t get it until next week, but that’s okay. I think we’ll survive until then. Every time I use a paper towel or some TP, I feel like I need to be very wary of how much I use. It is very weird.

See the baby orchid?
The full branch

I feel like I did while recuperating from some major surgery or other. We can’t go anywhere and in this case, there’s nowhere to go anyway. As the weather warms a bit, we might take cameras and go to the parks. They, at least, are still open.

The orchid was opening as I took pictures

I also want to know who told the grocery store owners that old people get up very early. I don’t get up very early. Garry doesn’t get up very early. In fact, if he had a choice, he might just sleep around the clock. After announcing the super early-morning for the elderly shopping hours, they did some on-the-street-interviews with the over-60 crowd. Every single one said they didn’t know about other folks their age, but pretty much nothing on earth would get them out of bed at 6:30 in the morning.

You can actually see the difference between the pictures

As of right now, the only thing that gets me up that early is Bonnie on a nonstop barking spree, needing something to drink because I feel thirsty all the time, and the bathroom.

I was awake at around 10 this morning, which is a little on the early side. I used the extra time to listen to more of “Earth Abides,” discover Amazon had one package remaining of 24 rolls of Charmin toilet paper. Now no one has to get up at the crack of dawn to raid a grocery store.

The garden

Overnight, the last big bud on this branch of my orchids opened up. There were a couple of new blooms on the cactuses, too. I took a few pictures of flowers. I also took some bird pictures. And processed some really cute raccoon shots.

We vacuumed, changed the covers on the sofas, I realized I need to re-pot three plants and decided to throw a pizza in the oven tonight. Life toddles along. Even the dogs are sleeping late these days.



On a day that felt like a form of madness, another flower bloomed on my orchids. I always wanted to go back and check out the 14th century and I feel like I really am … but with better technology. And medicine. We may not have a cure for Coronavirus, but we do have medicine, something they were mostly missing in the 14th century.

Five flowers and one more big bud

For all the people who have said this is no big deal … is it a big deal yet?

Pretty flowers

Just because you don’t have it and figure you’ll survive it, remember that we are all in contact with people whose lives are threatened by this disease. It would be nice if we don’t wipe out my entire generation, you think?

I love how the light makes the flowers translucent

This is about as insane as the news and reality get, at least in my lifetime. Please everyone, even if you figure you’re safe enough, remember that you meet other people and they are more likely to die from this illness, even if you are not.

Square Orchids

We are in the middle of a plague. It’s not the Black Plague of the 1300s, but it’s bad enough for me and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t survive it. Since I had been hoping to have a few more years of life, be careful and don’t expose others to something you feel isn’t very serious.

AND THE ORCHIDS BLOOM ON – Marilyn Armstrong

More Orchids – FOTD – March 11, 2020

This plant is a much sturdier, healthier plant than the last time I was able to bloom orchids. The buds are huge and the plant is sturdy and another bud opened this afternoon. There are two more big buds on this branch and at least half a dozen on another branch.

Five blossoms and big buds
This bud opened this evening. I took a few pictures, but I will take more tomorrow
I love the way the flowers are clumping
You can see the center of the other flowers through the translucent leaves

FOUR ORCHIDS – Marilyn Armstrong

March 7 – Four Orchids – FOTD

Day by day, more orchids bloom. It’s exciting, in a senior citizen sort of way. Although to be fair, I was very proud of my plants 40 years ago when my entire house looked like a nursery. My son points out he grew up in a jungle. He did. It was an old house with big cast iron radiators. What do you do when you have huge iron radiators in front of all your windows?

Macro orchid

You find a machine shop that does small jobs. You build metal trays that sit on top of the radiators. You fill each of the trays with gravel and add water to the trays. When the steam comes up, it creates a mist around all the plants sitting in the tray and hanging above them. Voila!

All four and a big bud

It worked gangbusters. Everything grew in that house. The windows were huge and the plants were even huger. I was very proud of my garden. It also took a lot of time to care for the more than 250 plants. I had to check each plant every day to make sure it looked healthy, hadn’t picked up red-spider or some other bug. And water those that needed water, not water those which didn’t.

More orchids

That was always the danger of bringing in new plants. No matter how classy the nursery looks, you can never be 100% sure that they don’t carry disease or destructive insects.

So I guess it isn’t a big surprise that I’m really happy that my orchids are growing. I never managed to grow orchids back then, though I did grow some ferns that were world-class. My orchids are not world-class, but they are mine. That’s something.

FOUR ORCHIDS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – March 4 – Four Orchids

Another bud opened today, so today, there are four orchids and more to come.

Four blooms

And now there are four

The new bloom isn’t fully open yet, but I expect it will be by tomorrow afternoon.