The camellia returneth

Closeup of camellia bloom

Up close and personal with a camellia bloom on the bush outside our kitchen window. While most flowers are internally governed to bloom on time, this one has scrambled instructions. It has bloomed as early as December and as late as March. We never know for sure until we see the red tips on the buds.

I’d like to claim credit for the blooms on this magnificent plant, but such claims would trip the breakers and sound an alarm as the truth and veracity test notifies all that I prevaricate. The truth is — the former and first owner of our residence was a dedicated gardener and saw fit to plant the camellia outside the kitchen window.

Click on on the bloom for the original story

Click on the bloom for the original pix and story

The plant is apparently as tough as an anvil, because other than water in the summer and an occasional pruning, it does not get much attention. Despite this shabby treatment, it continues to hold forth with its dazzling display.

We originally extolled the virtues and aggravations of this budding flower factory on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com with a story and more pictures. We’ll wait here while you look.

Camellia blooms against the sky

On the way to this condition, the plant has been parched, covered with ice, pelted with hail and generally left to its own devices. This sucker has has to have Divine Intervention on its side. These blooms are at the top of the bush. Big bare oak limbs are blurred in the background.

See more camellia blooms in our Weekly Grist Gallery

That the plant survives at all is a miracle given the lack of attention it suffers. Not only does it survive, it is prolific. We make it known in our neighborhood that when this thing is blooming, help yourself. The same goes for the mail man and UPS lady. There will be plenty to take the place of those you pick.

The cantankerous plant tends to hide its best blooms behind foliage, making it difficult to get good shots without a little outside interference to its nefarious design. Big plastic background clamps to the rescue. To photographers, background clamps are right up there with duct tape and baling wire.

Camera and clamps on bush to hold foliage out of the way

Big ol' plastic background clamps hold foliage out of the way and do no harm to the plant. Once the clamps are removed, the twigs snap back in to place. One clamp is also holding a white balance card to the left of the bloom. The camera was much closer to the plant during the actual shots.

 Mind you, no plants were harmed in producing this story — other than well-documented callous neglect. Since it does so well on it’s own, I am not going to mess with it. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Close up of camellia

Click on the pretty poesy for more pix

See more of the camellia

In our Weekly Grist Gallery. You’ll find six larger, high resolution pictures of the flowers and their redness. Guaranteed all natural, double your money back if not completely satisfied, no coupons needed.

Shoes and shirt not required for viewing.  Click and look.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


I was being watched (again)

1947 KB6 International fire truck at Parkin, Arkansas

"OLE MOTHER," a.k.a. Unit 1 of the Parkin, Arkansas Fire Department, a 1947 International Harvester KB6 Fire Truck.The truck is in operable condition despite its age. When it operates these days, it is part of a parade, not a fire fighting mission.

This week, we are sending you back in time to May 31, 2010, when I stumbled across this fine old fire truck at Parkin, Arkansas. Getting the shot was part of a two day trek during which I was under surveillance from the denizens of the areas where I was shooting.

In one case, the local police followed me out of town. Click here to see the original post including more of the old fire truck, a long since abandoned old hangar, an old service station converted to a museum, and a couple of tall buildings shimmering in light after a rain storm.

Old fire truck at Parkin AR

Click on the truck for more pictures

See where the story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com where you can see a nice side view of the old truck, a peek inside the cab, a the ancient “Triple-Diamond” International Harvester Truck logo.
Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

Late bird, early spring

Robin with worm

It was late in the day when when this fat robin, flying in the face of tradition, once and for all proved that the early bird is not the only one to get the worm.

I start looking for the yellow presence of Jonquils at the tail-end of February and the first week in March. Last year, I found my first ones on February 20, this year, I saw fully developed and happy Jonquils on February 7. In that condition, one can safely presume they have been there a few days.

robin on stump

Click on the bird for another picture of him at Corndancer dot-com

Here in LA, it’s been an anemic, puny winter with days topping out in the high 60 and low 70 degree range. That makes for severe weather, sinus trouble, and plants with their schedule out of whack. Which is why I found the bird.

Earlier in the week, on the way to jury duty, I saw the Jonquils but could not stop to shoot. When I returned late one afternoon a few days later to shoot the flowers, Cock Robin was sitting on the broken stump of a tree which had earlier succumbed to a big wind.

I was able to shoot from the truck so he did not spook as soon as most wild critters do. Since the lot is about two feet higher than the street, I got him eyeball to eyeball in the Nikon glass.

See more of the bird and flowers in our Weekly Grist Gallery

In fact when I arrived, he was on the stump without the worm, took a dive, grabbed the worm and returned to his perch most of which I captured. It is always better to be lucky than good. See the first shot of the robin and the early jonquils I was after where this story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. We will wait here while you look.

Early spring volunteer jonquils

The target jonquils, despite their lack of human attention, were doing quite well thank you very much. Originally planted by former residents of the long since demolished house, the plants continue to follow the genetic instructions imbued by the Almighty. Some things are best left alone.

Anytime one discusses spring flowers, my across-the-street-neighbor’s yard cannot be overlooked. She is a master gardener and her yard and flower beds are silent witness to her considerable skills. Her horticultural efforts offset the lack of same in my yard. I suppose it is some sort of vegetative equation if there is such a thing.

yellow and black pansy

This stout little pansy at my neigbhors is tougher than it looks. It has survived a couple of sub-freezing nights.

See more of the bird and flowers in our Weekly Grist Gallery

Large jonquil

This is a large Jonquil in my neighbor's yard. This one looks like a bloom on steroids compared to others. Must be the green thumb.

robin on ground

Click on the bird for our Weekly Grist Gallery

Mother Nature is messing with us and it’s not the first time, nor will it be the last. We simply are not in charge. But we can enjoy birds and flowers without too many foot pounds of energy expended.

In fact, with a mere click, you can see more of them in our Weekly Grist Gallery. Click here and take a gander.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

I never promised you a rose garden, but you got one anyway

Old chevy truck and roses

The former gas island at Joe Webb's Auto Repair is now an unlikely rose garden, proving that beauty can blunt the edge of ugly and look cool when properly applied. We've shown you this before, but somehow, it just seemed right to feature it again.

Things you do not expect to see

It’s not often that you observe an old gas station pump island enclosed in a razor-wire-topped chain-link fence and converted to a rose planter. However at Webb’s Auto Service in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, seeing the unusual is well, usual. This bit of horticultural presence came about at the capable hands of Vicki, the bookkeeper, office manager, gardener, and in-house ray of sunshine at Webb’s. This is not our first visit to Webb’s Auto Service, check out our previous post here.

basset hound

Click on the dog to see another picture of her

Among other things you do not expect to see is a gate with a Basset Hound nose hole. However, at Dick Warriner’s domicile, like Joe Webb’s garage, seeing the unusual is, well, also usual.

Dick replaced his old gate which did not have the imaginative orifice you see below. In a moment of brilliance, he modified the new gate to accommodate Lillie, his Basset Hound. She is appreciative of her leader’s thoughtfulness as you can see below.

Lillie is a rescue dog, and like most rescues, has proven to be a loyal and rewarding companion. She came to the Chez Warriner suffering from the ill-effects of protracted neglect. To her credit, despite her less-than-ideal condition, her tail-wagging mechanism worked well as did her built-in Basset mournful look which will melt the heart of all but the most calloused and hopeless people. As you can see, things are going well for her now. See another picture of Lillie and get in on the start of this story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Bassett Hound looks out a hole in a gate

Lillie, the Basset Basset Hound peers out a hole in a gate. The hole was placed where it is so she can do exactly what she is doing.

 Sometimes, even plants can send a message. Here some vastly different plants seem to enjoy each others presence the same environment. It appears that their joint efforts have choked out the weeds.

clover and butter cups

These wild flowers seem to be sending a message.

Out-of-the-ordinary stuff provides some of the cheapest entertainment available. It’s simply a matter of allowing one’s self to stumble across it. Happy stumbling this week.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

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