Sunflower Explosion

My minor mania concerning sunflowers started four years ago when friends in Cape Cod sent a few red sunflower seeds from plants growing on the beach next to their home.  The Cape Cod plants were “generated” from seeds that fell out of a bird feeder. My first crop produced pure reds; however, by the second season, other colors started to appear and I collected and sorted the seeds.

This year I started with seventy plants and fifty made it to various levels of maturity. The rest succumbed to the snails and finches. While it has been an extremely cool summer to date, the sunflowers are thriving.

The yellow and yellow-reds are 8 to 10 ft tall with up to 25 blooms or buds at the top of the main stalk and several more buds popping out below.

  • The Cape Cod Reds and Courtway Orange sunflowers are still growing–they usually don’t start blooming until late August.
  • I am hoping that they will get tall enough for me to attempt another sunflower/flag photo similar to the one used in the header to this blog–this time with the reds in the scene.

From a bee perspective, the sunflower blooms are just in time as the bees have nearly exhausted the verbenas.  Now, they are dining on the sunflowers…

Sunflowers tend to need support, which they usually get from each other if planted in groups.  Notwithstanding, they may require some additional human intervention to keep them upright and/or out of the right of way.  

After the reds and Courtway oranges come into bloom, I may work up some macro photos for my photo blog.  For now, I offer this…

NOTE–Depending on your browser, if you click on a photo, a larger version will appear. After it opens, if you click again on the new window, the photo will expand again. Try it on the last photo and you should get a real close up view of the bees.


One Determined Bird…

Almost every day for the last four years, a certain bird has been defending its territory…against itself. Now to be perfectly accurate, I don’t know if it is the same bird. However, the behavior is the same.

By way of background, there is a car parked in the driveway across the street with a chrome strip on the lower body.  The bird(s?) in question, sees its reflection and attacks the strip. It can go on for 10 minutes or more. The sound reverberates across the street sounding ever so much like a tap hammer–bang, bang, bang, etc. 

In the past, I have been able to walk across the street and observe the behavior.  Finally, a few weeks ago I decided to document it with my camera.

It should have been an easy task. The bird, however, is camera-shy.  If I approach with the camera, it takes off. Go figure. Being almost as determined as the bird, I finally decided that the only way I was going to get a photo was to try it from my side of the street. I encountered the same problem–If I watched without a camera, no problem. Carry a camera and the bird takes off.

So I had to settle for a very imperfect solution–I hid behind one of the cypress trees. The problem with this position is that it is 120 feet away from the scene and the lighting from this position is terrible. Worse, the scene is well beyond the usable capabilities of the camera. Nonetheless, I was able to get some photos, which are technically awful.  With these caveats, I offer the following photo story…



Musings from the street…

In August 2006, in a post on the first Argus blog site, I reflected on some of the discards & detritus one sees while traversing Petaluma’s streets, sidewalks and paths:

  • Why is there only one shoe (usually the right) by the side of the road? Where is the other one?
  • Why are hard hats always in the center of the road, usually upside down?

You can also note the “demise” of a consumer product when you start to see it in the street, the gutter, or sidewalk. For example, you used to see cassette tapes with their innards spread all over the road. They were then replaced by discarded CD’s. So far none of them are playable.

Now it is discarded DVD’s and smashed IPODS.

Perhaps the new IPHONES will quickly appear in the gutter.

But I digress!

While riding over to the recent Petaluma Classic Wings & Wheels Show at the Petaluma Airport last week, I happened to notice something in a creek by Prince Park…

I have long since given up ranting, raving, and photographing the trashy aspects of our environment. However, this scene captured my attention.

How did they get there?

  • Was someone running away from a vampire and they were literally chased out of their shoes (sandals) so to speak? 
  • Did someone buy a new pair of sandals and decide to simply discard the “old” pair by tossing them over the bridge? 
  • Is this what Billie Joe McAllister and his girlfriend tossed off the Tallahatchie Bridge at Choctaw Ridge?

Inquiring minds want to know!

By the bye…I do know what was–or was not–tossed off the Tallahatchie Bridge

Petaluma’s Classic Wings & Wheels

Today was the second Classic Wings & Wheels show at the Petaluma Airport. I got there early to get ahead of the heat later in the day and to capture a few pixs!

I will let the camera tell the rest of the story…

Just in case the crowd got too rowdy, they were prepared…

NOTE: For larger views of some of these photos plus a few others, go to Pixels of Petaluma (2010) and scroll to the end of the page.

Petaluma’s Art & Garden Show — My Take

Petaluma’s Art & Garden Festival is one of my favorite events–particularly if it is not boiling hot.  Fortunately, this year, last Sunday was a perfect day to walk through the show in downtown Petaluma.

Of course there are the usual crowd scenes that one is obliged to document…

However, I am always on the alert for the unusual and was amazed that nobody took note of the super large tie dye shirt hanging from a light pole over the show… *

My, it was big! They must have had to get a permit to hang it up there.

As we were leaving, I heard a mewing sound and looked down to see two alpacas. Of course, I had to get a few photos…

The alpacas were show stoppers as people came up to talk to the handlers.  Physically they are about the size of a Great Dane. They tolerated the human curiosity quite well and one was determined to have a snack, which was kept in a pouch by one of the handlers…

All in all, a good time–and yes, we did buy something for the garden.

*NOTE: Of course, the shirt photo is an illusion. It was not created using Adobe Photoshop.  As it happened, there was a booth with this shirt on display. I merely aligned the shirt’s pole with  the light pole in the background. 


Save The Trestle?

Ah, the Petaluma Trolley & Trestle.  Well, most people may not know about the historic trolley, but they are aware of the trestle downtown.

Apparently there have been five years of fundraisers to help procure funds to restore the trestle and trolley service in Petaluma.

Whether or not such an effort is worthwhile or even economically feasible, I will leave to others. 

However, the existing trestle…is decomposing…in the middle of town…before our eyes… 

Could the City at least put a large blue tarp over it?

In the alternative, the City could cover it with a huge canvas and…

  • Have a contest to paint murals of a trolley & trestle on the tarp, or
  • Make it a designated freehand graffiti site

Just a thought…