The World Beneath Our Feet

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Dandelions from the yard.

After a few days of rain, the sun broke through the gray and I was able to get out and spend some time in my backyard this weekend. Most of the time was spent cleaning up debris from some strong winds that broke off weak tree limbs and getting my herb bed ready for some new herbs. I plan on keeping things simple and small this year. I’ve been itching to try my hand at making some hot pepper jelly, so jalapenos are the only thing on my short list that isn’t an herb that I plan on planting. Other than that, I’ll be sticking with my three favorites; peppermint, lemon verbena (or lemon balm if I can’t get any starters for the verbena) and thyme.

After cleaning out my herb bed I took a rest on the grass. What started off as a simple moment of relaxation turned into a mini adventure. I found myself paying way too much attention to the grass as I begun to notice all the tiny plants that I had been trampling and sitting upon. I’ve had a few botany courses, so I can identify flowers, trees and a few plants, but nothing I discovered among this sea of grass was familiar to me except for some clover and dandelions. I’m sure my neighbor, who was out raking her yard, found it a bit peculiar that I was on my hands and knees with small pruners clipping at the grass but I was fascinated. It occurred to me that the plant life in our yards are so common that we never give much thought to what’s going on with it, other than having to cut it and getting rid of pesky weeds so that we can have that manicured look. But as I watch all kinds of tiny insects move and flutter about, I realized that there’s a whole other world going on beneath my feet.

I took a few clippings and made some references photos from them for future sketchs. You can see them below. Other than the clover, if you know the names of any of these plants feel free to comment below. πŸ™‚

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Weekend At The Gardens

Bonsai

Made my way to our local botanical gardens, Matthaei, this weekend. I got married here and I’m a little embarrassed to say this is the first time I’ve been back since then, even though it’s just a 20 minute drive away.  I don’t intend on staying away so long from now on since this is a wonderful resource for me to come and snap my own reference photos for flowers and various plants. To my delight, I lucked up and visited on a weekend where they were having a beautiful outdoor Bonsai exhibit. It brought back memories of a failed attempt to do my own with a little bonsai tree purchased from our local grocery store. It wasn’t until we got home that we discovered that the poor thing was infested. Word to the wise, don’t buy bonsai from a grocery store. Get them from a reputable nursery.

Anyhoo, here are a few photos from my weekend adventure. 😊

Peony

A lovely indoor Koi pond.

Bonsai
This is how pineapples grow. I honestly thought they grew on trees like apples. Learn something new everyday.
This monstrosity is a Peruvian Apple. I suspect you don’t make pies from it.
Furry cactus. That’s not it’s real name, that’s just want I called it. Amazing but creepy.
This is a Sausage Tree…and that’s all that I’m going to say about that.
These purple beauties didn’t have a sign on them so I have no ideal what they are but from the angle I took this picture, you get the feeling you’ve entered the land of Dr. Seus.
African Senna. I have a feeling these will end up in my drawings.

Morning Snow

Midwest morning snow.

I woke to a winter wonderland this morning. I usually get home sick around this time despite being over 20 years removed from where I was raised. Not sure if I can still call myself an Alaskan but whenever the snow begins to fall I’m reminded of the land and mountains that nurtured my spirit when I was a child. My mother’s yearly “care packages” of moose, smoked salmon, king crab and Fireweed honey often beats back the winter blues, so I’m watching and waiting patiently for the mailman to bring me my box of treats packed with hugs and kisses, from the land of the Midnight Sun, that me and my other half devour like two little kids in a donut shop. It’s a yearly delight that I treasure as Nature draws another year to its end with the sleep of cold winds and blankets of snow before allowing another to spring into it’s beginning. 

Little Creatures

​This summer has flew by. Already I’m seeing school buses making their way through my neighborhood. August is here and soon the summer breeze will turn into beautiful hues of Autumn leaves. 

This summer I let my little garden bed of herbs run amuck…in other words I’ve been a bit lazy on attending to it. Luckily herbs don’t require too much care. The Lemon balm was forceful this year, pushing the chocolate mint and apple mint to the edge to bust through and climb over the weather worn wood that boxed them in. Good thing I put my sage in a separate container. I allowed the lemon balm to flower for it was far too much for me harvest for tea, hoping that it would bring in a host of bees like last summer but the fuzzy little creatures haven’t made much of an appearance. Instead there are a bunch of these things…

Unfamiliar wasp like insect on flowered lemon balm.

I have no idea as to what they are but they seem to really like the lemon balm. 

A little beetle hanging out on some apple mint.

Weekend Day Trip

Saginaw Chippewa Annual Pow Wow. (Pictures were allowed during the dances.)

My better half and I took a little day trip up to the Saginaw Chippewa Annual Pow Wow this weekend. It’s been years since the last time I had been to one and I just so happened to luck out in discovering that one was coming up. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and allowing yourself to experience another culture without appropriating or denigrating it can be eye opening. The experience was haunting and spiritual. Even long after we had left we could still feel the beat of the drums pounding in our chests and the songs of the singers ringing in our ears. I brought nothing home with me simply because I feel that some things, especially cultural things, just need to be experienced and not always treated as a product. Maybe next year I’ll get myself some jewelry or clothing out of appreciation and to help out another artist. But this time I just wanted to experience the beauty of another culture and take with me nothing more than a memory…and a few pictures. 😊