(Spring?) Flowers

Nightjar has sent us flowers. Mondays are always better with flowers. Thanks, Nightjar.

Today I bring you another wildflower, I think it is Verbascum virgatum, also known as twiggy mullein or wand mullein. According to my field guide it should bloom from April to July, which last time I checked doesn’t include January, but I suspect that such information is no longer useful so I’m standing by this ID anyway. The photo was taken with my telephoto lens while I was looking for birds (with limited success).

©Nightjar, all rights reserved


Bright yellow flowers from Nightjar.

This week I bring you another flower that is all over the place this time of the year. Except this time it shouldn’t be. Oxalis pes-caprae, also known as sourgrass or Bermuda-buttercup, is indigenous to South Africa and an invasive species in many parts of the world. It’s beautiful nonetheless, it covers the fields in yellow and bugs seem to like it.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

Fabulous Fumaria Flowers

Thanks to Nightjar and her magic with a camera we have beautiful flowers to start the week.

I wanted to share these photos I took on my first walk of 2020. This is Fumaria officinalis, known as common fumitory or earth smoke, and one of the first winter wildflowers to bloom here in Portugal and give the fields some colour. They look even prettier covered in morning dew.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

Shades and Reflections

I took my camera with me on our Sunday walk and upon looking at the pictures I decided that they together shaped a perfect theme for an end of year post.

Because looking at a whole year can never be one thing. Unless you’re a rock. I guess then you’re thinking in centuries or something.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

There were so many good things this year. I love my job, despite its high stress levels and I really hope that I can stay in this area. And I won’t say that I don’t care about the money. Having some financial backup really takes a lot off your shoulders, despite all the unexpected expenses we had this year. We had a wonderful holiday and despite the fact that #1 is deep within puberty and of course we’re having conflicts it’s also some precious time that won’t return.

I have so many wonderful friends, some very close to me, some across the globe and I’m greatfull for all of you.

©Giliell, all rights reserved The lake has started to freeze over in the part under the trees where all the debris accumulates, leading to interesting pictures.

But 2019 also had different layers. My body introduced me to whole new levels of pain. I thought I knew pain. After all I gave birth twice, broke some bones and had an infected wisdom tooth, but as it turned out, I only knew pain, not Pain. If you ever thought that “passing out from pain” was a trope found in books and bad movies: believe me, it’s not.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Politically, the world seems to be getting darker. Fascism is more and more normalised, the coup in Bolivia has critically endangered native rights and right wing parties in Europe are gaining more and more influence. But there is also some light, with progressive movements, especially around environmentalism.

Let’s see what 2020 brings and let’s work together to make it a better year, each one of us however we can.

©Giliell, all rights reserved


Moonvine Madness

It’s no secret that I love flowers, especially on Mondays, which I think need a bit of extra pretty. Well, for this Monday,  Opus has sent us some gorgeous photos of the last of his moon vine. Enjoy!

Before the freeze I was able to rescue a moon vine blossom and photograph it. It was a bit of a challenge, since I was taking multiple photographs while it was wilting. But, it was worth it. Now I can’t wait for next year, to try again.

Moon vine Unfurling – 1 ©Opus, all rights reserved

Moon vine Unfurling – 2 ©Opus, all rights reserved

Moon vine Unfurling – 3 ©Opus, all rights reserved

Moon vine Unfurling – 4 ©Opus, all rights reserved

Fuzzy and Fierce

From Avalus, two small creatures hard at work. One of them looks adorably fuzzy and cute, and the other one looks fierce and ferocious.

The Black Bee I found buzzing around in this bush, covered in pollen.

Black Bee ©Avalus, all rights reserved

Black Bee 2 ©Avalus, all rights reserved


On the same day, I found this wasp. She sports some terrifying mandibles!

Clawed Wasp ©Avalus, all rights reserved

Clawed wasp 2 ©Avalus, all rights reserved





Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

It was a wet and windy weekend, and by this morning, almost all the pretty leaves had blown away. There are a few bright patches here and there, but the riot of colour is finished for another year. Jack and I set out feeling a bit blue about the bare trees, but the sun was shining, the day was warm and pleasant, and it wasn’t long before we were both feeling better. The colour may be gone looking up, but there’s still plenty of pretty here on the ground. We passed burning bushes burning scarlet and porches with pumpkins and mums in pots. We found lavender of the palest blue, golden hostas and even a red-breasted robin picking at purple berries. The fallen leaves from the weekend are still full of colour, too, and they brightly litter the ground in every direction. Jack says he can see the leaves better this way, and he thinks that’s why they fall – so the small creatures who don’t look up much can appreciate them too. I didn’t tell him otherwise.


Local Reminders of Global Warming

Last year the broken weather nearly killed my fig trees. There were signs of hope afterward, I wrote about it here.

This year, the broken weather has lead to me harvesting over 1 kg of fresh figs today, in late October, when it should be freezing already. I mean, I am glad the trees recovered and are doing well, but this is not normal. Sometimes a small good thing is a result of a big bad one I guess.

A Magnificent Moon Vine

Opus has sent us something special – a lovely story accompanied by some gorgeous photos. Enjoy.

   When I was growing up in north Georgia, in the early 1960s, my mother always grew moon vines.  I remember that the seeds needed a lot of help to germinate – soaking, followed by nicking with a nail file.  The vines were nothing special, much like many members of the morning glory family.  However, unlike morning glories, moon vines bloom in the evening.  Mom always grew them in pots on the front porch, to make it easier to keep an eye on them.  In my hazy memories, they always opened as darkness fell.  Earlier this summer I ran across some seeds and decided to see if they were as beautiful as I remembered. 

  The plant has had two blooms so far, with more on the way.  I missed the first; was busy inside and just didn’t notice until the next morning.. I was alert the next evening, and the bloom was well on its way to opening by early evening when I checked.  

   I had not seen one bloom in well over 50 years and had forgotten:  it was spectacular.   I usually do plant photography in the studio, with lots of light and gadgets galore.  This was just an iPhone, and a truly mind-boggling subject.  No edits, no cropping, no tweaking.

  I have nothing to add to the pictures. 

  Well, one thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipomoea_alba

©Opus, all rights reserved

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