September 2017
The Herb Farm

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Travel Pictures 1.5

Taking a vacation trip is an adventure, especially if you take lots and lots of pictures. The other part of that adventure is when you get them all uploaded, purge the bad ones, edit the good ones and select the ones to show off. Then there’s yet a third part of that adventure.

About 12 days ago, I got a bad tourist virus and it sent me into panic because I have never gotten anything quite as bad as that. I call it Montezuma’s revenge of the computer! That really got me going!

All of my photographs and notes are safe and protected from this virus. However, I cannot access them at this time. I believe the virus came in from one of the news services I subscribe to and it set me back on my gardening time by about two weeks.

No matter. Being up against a deadline with the publisher, I had to cut my losses with time spent on the main computer and get busy writing. I had set aside a two-day block of all-day time to dig deep and possibly even completely wipe the solid-state drive and just start all over with a clean slate.

So, what does that all mean right now? I had to take a mini vacation with my camera in hand and search for something interesting to photograph and write about for this month’s column. After all, I promised to show you more travel pictures. And that’s why I call it "Travel Pictures 1.5."

Now, I sit down in front of this strange computer to write to you with as much of a smile on my face as I can muster. This machine is my spare. It’s a little older and a lot slower than my workhorse computer. But it works and doesn’t have a virus.

One thing I wanted to present in this month’s column was extreme close-up photography of things I see here on the farm. I have a ton of pictures to show you, but …. It just amazes me that I can find something to photograph around the farm in a matter of minutes and have fodder for an OK column.

 

Sharing my supper with a fall armyworm isn’t my idea of fine dining.

First thing this morning, as I walked into the kitchen to make coffee, I remembered one of my neighbors had brought me a sack of sweet potatoes. I took a few of them out to put in the ready bin and the rest went into the root cellar. I laid a couple of big ones in a box so I would remember they would be part of supper. I turned around to get my coffee, looked back at the sweet potatoes and saw something crawling out of one of them. It was a fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda). Of course, I grabbed the camera and got a couple of shots before I tossed it outside for the birds to eat.

We had a little wind this morning and it blew down some dead branches of an old oak tree. One of the branches had some cool-looking lichen on it; I changed lenses, powered up the flash and shot a few more pictures.

The side of one of the little sheds will need to be re-sided in a few years, but the existing siding has some character to it. I found some interesting orange fungi coming out of it today. I took a picture.

Even the back side of this branch has beautiful texture and color.

 
   
   

There are always some begonias around here to photograph. Here are a few showing their life cycle.

Finally, I’ll tell y’all a story about the casserole that never was. One night I steamed some green beans in the microwave using a clear casserole dish. They were delicious. Somehow, the dish of leftovers got shuffled to the dark corner of death in the refrigerator and weren’t seen again until a few weeks ago. I was disappointed that I had wasted the food, but glad the moldy beans would soon be worm food in the compost pile. I put them on the counter with the intention of dumping them into the kitchen compost receptacle that turned out to be full. Later that afternoon, I started preparing supper and, after peeling and cutting up the evening vegetables, I put the scraps into the dish of moldy beans. I also decided to prepare the coffee maker for the next morning while supper was cooking. I added the current day’s coffee grounds to the dish of kitchen scraps.

 

When it rains, this orange fungus creeps from deep within the wood siding on this old barn.

After dinner, I did my usual routine. I washed dishes and put away the leftovers.

Fast forward several weeks. Today, I was looking for some refrigerator pickles a friend brought me and found them in the back of the fridge. I also found a clear casserole dish with a coating of gray fuzz growing on top resembling cotton candy. Here’s a close-up of one of the interesting parts of this accidental work of art.

One of my life’s simple pleasures is remembering in detail how I did some long-forgotten, bone-headed thing.

This is a mature female blossom of a begonia (B. fischeri).

 
   

I hope you’ll forgive my vacation pics. When I can access the other ones, I’ll show them to you.

Now I think I’ll just go and clean the glass on the computer monitors. First, I need to mix up some of my great glass cleaner. Want the recipe?

¼ cup rubbing alcohol (91%)
¼ cup vinegar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups water

Put all ingredients into your favorite spray bottle and shake thoroughly before each use.

2017 Autumnal Equinox is Friday, Sep. 22, 3:02 p.m. CDT.

I eat my yard! You should eat yours, too!

Until next time, remember to watch your salt and sugar, drink plenty of pure water, and breathe in and out!

Thanks for reading!

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