Most Boring Game of “Find That Lizard”

In case you don’t already know, “Find that lizard” is a fun game Dr. Earyn McGee is hosting on Twitter, where you get a photo of a yard or something with a lizard hidden somewhere, often showing how well these creatures blend with their environment. Well, my own lizards are lazy, which is why I got to take this shot:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

As you can see, the little fellow lost its tail and is currently regrowing it. You sure deserve a break, buddy!

The Art of …

… illlustration, by Swedish artist Carl Larsson

Larssen is well known for his idyllic portrayals of family life, and this inviting watercolour is typical of his style. The day is steeped in bright yellow sunshine, and the warm colour palette is both charming and welcoming. The family is relaxed and at ease, including the dog, who is calmly focused on some tidbit on the table. The youngest child has turned to face the viewer, and her expression is open and seems to be saying, “Hello. What are you doing all the way over there? Won’t you come and join us.” Why there’s even an empty chair inviting the viewer to sit down.


Breakfast under the Big Birtch, 1895, Carl Larsson. Image from Wikiart.

Milan Royal – Magnifique!

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Last week this magnificent bird sat on a dead branch of a nearby ash tree. It is their favorite spot and I have gotten some pictures of kites sitting there already, but this time It was later in the day, so the sun was at a much better angle. And the bird obliged staying in one place long enough for me to actually run with the camera outside.

It is a bit of pity that there seems to be some dirt stuck to the corner of its beak. Really, no sense of style whatsoever. One would expect a model to show to a photoshoot well groomed and clean and not with bits of food stuck to the corner of their mouths.

Still, what a magnificent bird. I shall definitively make a kite-themed knife. Soon.

Have some Flowers

While we took a look at the cultivated garden yesterday, today it’s time to look at the wilder side with some flowers.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

These poppies are just amazing. Too bad the rain ruined them all.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Here’s some simpler ones.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Last year I threw some cheap flower seeds on one area. They turned put top be white mustard, which bloomed last year, and alfalfa, which is growing like mad this year. The bees love it, the degus love it, I’ll let it flower so it can seed next year’s crop as well.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

And a colourful beetle. It was somewhat shy and I only had the mobile, so the pic isn’t great.

Garden Update: The Big Growing

The heavy rains with nice temperatures basically made the garden explode.

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What I thought was squash were actually the two courgette seeds I had planted. Turns out they are more resistant to frost. We’ll, have a lot of them over summer…

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One of the three sisters beds with the monster squash/pumpkin/whatever. I bought a small, withering plant for cheap and gave it soil and water and it is a very grateful plant.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I planted two different breeds of corn and it’s very noticeable.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Look at my tomatoes! By now I have to put in multiple sticks to support the whole plant. The first fruit are visible and they made it through both storm and rain alike.


Salads are bad for your health

At least if you manage to cut your finger half off.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Last night we wanted to make salad for dinner, cutting up a lettuce and tons of veggies and somewhere in this process I cut myself badly. The most likely culprit is the avocado, since they often lead to bad cuts, and the fact that I wasn’t using my usual knife, but acting like I did. Honestly, I can’t tell. The family says the avocado was still on the cutting board. Mr drove me to the hospital, almost threw a temper tantrum because he was not allowed to stay with me due to Covid restrictions, and picked me up again later. A nice doc sewed me up with three stitches and gave me dire warnings about not letting it get infected because though I thankfully missed the sinew, I was close to it.

Well, so much about finally having put up the pool. No swimming for me for the next week at least.

Bonsai Tree – Taking Things Slow

Previous post.

My persimmon tree got me worried this spring again. It looked perfectly healthy when I was repotting it, but I had to trim a lot of roots in order to promote good growth – the main root was a bit too much as a carrot. But it had plenty of lateral roots too, so I did not think cutting it will be a problem. I have also trimmed most of the last years’ growth in order to promote the tree to branch out a bit.

The roots did not support splitting the plant into two, but that is not a problem, I will be happy to have bonsai with two trunks. But the tree, again, did stubbornly did not grow. Outdoors was everything green already and growing like mad, and this one did nothing. It was indoors the whole time, so I do not understand how it could be so heavily influenced by weather (this spring was delayed by more than a month), but possibly it was.

I was fretting and checking the tree regularly. Both twigs were still springy and the bark was fresh-looking, there were no obvious signs of the tree dying. Just no growth.

Last week I have put the tree in the greenhouse, in the hope that the warmth and high humidity will wake it up already. And it might have worked.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Well, the tree is growing, but it seems unwilling to branch out. Maybe persimmons are plants with strong apical dominance. We shall see whether I will persuade it to branch out or not.

On the right, you see a new addition to my plants collection, a mango grown from seed. My aunt gave me mango fruit in the fall, which I, unfortunately, could not eat because I was seriously revolted by the smell. It was not spoiled, it just smelled unpleasant to me, like raw peaches (to which I am allergic). At least my parents found the smell pleasant and the taste too. And the stone went straight into substrate afterward. It looks promising and might make a passable bonsai too. And it seems to grow much faster than the persimmon since it is a tropical plant and does not have a real need for wintering.

Tornadoes in Czechia

Smaller whirlwinds do happen quite often even in Central Europe, although usually we just have ordinary high winds. Occasionally some roofs get torn off, but rarely anything more severe than that.

Yesterday was different. A once-in-1000-years tornado ripped through the south of Czechia and flattened seven towns and villages.

If you can spare some money for disaster relief, you can donate here. This is run by a non-religious charity foundation.

There might be some glitches, their servers have difficulty coping at the moment.

The Art of …

… poetry, by Canadian poet Evelyn Lau

This poem was published in The Walrus, a Canadian magazine, in 2007. I picked up the magazine a few times to reread it and finally tore out the page and set it on my nightstand. I found it again today, and it filled me with longing for my east coast beach as acutely as it did 14 years ago. It feels very tactile to me and sad in a raw sort of way. It did serve to propel me outdoors, and that seems like a worthy cause to me, so I’m sharing.

The Mall

Today I chose it over the ocean.

Over the trees, their fall leaves

a flock of orange parrots perched on branches.

Over the chandelier of sunlight broken

on blue waves, over flowers

shaped like teacups or trumpets,

over the jade garden where once I dreamed

I wore a green velvet dress

clasped tight at the waist

like the grip of a man’s hand.

I walk toward it like a Zombie,

this strange planet suspended in time,

a space station in the rainforest

inhabited by teenage girls wearing glitter eyeshadow

and slippery lipgloss. I skate

along its arid walkways

as if on an invisible track, away

from my life. Here it could be day or night,

the walls stripped of clocks,

music moaning a mindless refrain,

not a window in sight.

The stores hold their mouths open

like seductresses, radiating heat and light

and a bright array of wares,

a sorbet rainbow of merchandise

delectable as pastilles.

Outside, the lives of grasses

and insects and breezes go on.

After a day at the mall,

stepping back into what’s left of the world,

the sunlight will sear your skin,

and the gallons of fresh air

will pour over you like pain.

by Evelyn Lau


High as a Kite and Higher

There is a pair of kites flying around every day and I hear their typical cries from morning until evening, so they are probably nesting somewhere close-ish. I hope they do and I also hope they will help with local water vole population, i.e. massacre it.

Unfortunately, I did not manage to get both into good focus, so a blurry picture must do.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I did manage to get a few decent pictures of one of them though, from different angles.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The pictures are of suboptimal quality because they fly very, very high. Even finding them through the camera lens is a challenge, and to take focus and press the trigger button on a moving target that high is a bugger, that much I can tell ya.

But no matter how high a kite flies, there was something even higher that day around her. I could not find it in my bird atlas so the species is not determined. If you know it, let me know in the comments.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.


The Art of …

First, I’d like to thank all of you who left comments for me about the direction of this column. For now, I’ve decided to continue jumping around and letting it be a daily surprise. I don’t have a classical education and often feel inhibited about commenting on the art that I choose, but I’m going to try and be more open about what appeals to me. To that end, I’d like to thank Tethys and Flex for the information about Kay Neilsen from yesterday’s post. Neilsen is one of my favourite artists of the Art Nouveau period. I find his work sensual and suggestive. I will also be following up with artist Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, whose work was a delight to discover. Thanks, Tethys.

Today we’ll take a peek at the art of … sacrilege, by respected Dutch-Swedish painter Martin Van Meytens the Younger, This is a rare double-sided painting, the front depicting a pious nun at prayer and the backside showing her naked bum to the monk who stands behind her. It’s a fun and naughty painting from a time when the catholic religion was a powerful force that declared sexuality as only for procreation through the bonds of marriage.

The Nun’s backside, 1731, Martin Van Meytens The Younger. Image from The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

The Nun’s backside, 1731, Martin Van Meytens The Younger. Image from The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

Close Encounters of the Graffiti Kind

When waiting for my father to come back from a doctor’s appointment, I wandered around a bit and went into an underground garage. I was around and about there several times, but I do not ever remember wandering inside. But the weather was extremely hot and I needed some shade and cold. So I went down the stairs…

…and there I saw beautiful graffiti that immediately caught my eye.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I had to take two photographs and make a composite, this thing is huge, ca 4 m tall and 10 m in length. Graffiti is usually just pieces of vandalism around here, just initials or a highly stylized signature lazily sprayed over some newly painted facade. Those deserve a ding around the ear and a duty to pay for the cleaning/repainting. But this is a work of art and it was probably done with the approval of the garage owner. This must have taken several days of work at least. And that was just the start.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

There were some small insect pictures on some of the support columns, and that still was not all. The whole huge second wall was covered with art too. Possibly done by several different artists because it had several distinct styles.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The last two panels of the walls did contain beautiful pictures too, but also bear witness that the graffiti vandals seem incapable of not being vandals for a bit, even when the thing they are vandalizing is someone else’s graffiti.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.