Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #904 – Holding on in the wind!

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We have been waiting (somewhat patiently) for Hagerman Wildlife Refuge to reopen. They were hit pretty hard with the Lake Texoma flooding from a couple of months back. The amount of damage was still evident and the folks have been working hard to get things back to normal, but it is a long haul.

We spent the afternoon there, whiling away the day with the company of many butterflies, waterfowl and other flying and crawling creatures. The butterfly garden was a real treat and we basked in the beauty that only He can put together, What fun.

These two dragonflies were part of a gaggle of twenty or so all hanging on to the barest of little stalks. These two were taken from the same angle as I was on the ground and it was impossible to hold focus on the both of them. They were about a foot or so apart. So I made two separate photos with both in focus and then stacked them together in photoshop. What fun !

monos en theos…….jas L

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #759 – Pretty, but mostly not wanted.

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On our new grounds we have a die hard and forever hardy Mimosa tree. It has many scars inflicted on it from previous owner’s attempts to take it out. I guess being pretty is not synonymous with being wanted.

The web is very much full of hate mail touting methods for it’s eradication. This one from Southern Living was one of my favorites:

Mimosa — The Wonderful, Awful Weed

June 29, 2009 | By 

When anyone asks me what’s the best time to prune a mimosa, my instinctive response is, “Any time you can find a chainsaw.”

That’s very judgmental of me, I know, but heck, that’s pretty much my job. And mimosa is one of those plants you either love or you hate. I hate it now. But I used to love it.

Why, when I was a kid, at the nadir of sensibility and good taste, I thought mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) was the prettiest tree in the world. Its leaves were like ferns. Its flowers were pink puffballs. And it bloomed in summer, when few other trees did.

A Miracle — My Wife Agrees!

Judy, who notices very few plants,  has fond childhood memories of mimosa too. She remembers climbing up in her neighbors trees to smell the flowers. I think they smell faintly of gardenias — not like my son’s socks, which would actually cause you to faint.

How It all Began

Native to the Middle East and Asia, mimosa was brought to this country in 1785 by the famous French botanist Andre Michaux, who planted it in his botanic garden in Charleston, South Carolina. It grew quickly into a vase-shaped, flat-topped tree, 30 to 40 feet tall, and it loved the Southern climate. The flowers, attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds, and colonial gardeners, ranged in color from nearly red to deep pink to flesh-pink to white. On one road-side near my home, there is a row of them, each a different color. Here’s the usual pink.

And here’s a white one. I really like the white, but I’ve never seen it for sale. The various colors are due to genetic variation, with pink being dominant. Where I live in Alabama, the trees usually start blooming in June and continue for several weeks into July.

So Why Do I Hate Mimosa Now?

Two reasons, First, like most all fast-growing trees, mimosa is notoriously short-lived, subject to many pests, and will die on you in a heartbeat. When people ask me the best way to get rid of a mimosa, I tell them to make it the focal point of their landscape and it will be gone momentarily.

Second, after the flowers fade, the tree grows hundreds of 6-inch long, bean-like, brown seedpods which hang from every branch. The seedpods persist all winter, even after the tree has dropped its leaves. Few trees look as ugly or more forlorn.

But wait! It gets worse! Each of those pods is filled with seeds and each and every one of them germinates somewhere, even in cracks in the pavement. Plant one mimosa in the yard and soon every house in the neighborhood has two or three mimosas. coming up in the fence, the middle of a bush, or by the silver propane tank.

Mimosa adapts to almost any well-drained soil, laughs at heat and drought, and does not mind if you spray-paint the trunk white, hang tires from the branches, or park your pickup on top of its roots. In hort class, we called it a “pioneer species,” because if you disturb the land, remove native vegetation, and open the tree canopy to light, it’s one of the first trees to appear. That’s why you see it growing along just about every highway and country road in the South. Northerners be glad it doesn’t like your cold winters, but with global warming, who knows how much longer you’ll be free?

Not Fooling Me

Recently, a new kind of mimosa was introduced to the gardening world, a purplish-bronze leaf selection called Summer Chocolate. The hype over its undeniably pretty foliage and pink flowers was overwhelming. Probably many of you bought one and are enjoying it right now. But not me.

See, any mimosa that flowers is going to produce seeds and lots of them. And if a thousand seedlings come up in my yard, I don’t care if they have green leaves or purple leaves. They need to be eliminated with extreme prejudice.

So my advice about when to prune a mimosa remains the same — whenever you can find a chainsaw.”

So much beauty, memories and distaste all from a plant that only does what it was designed to do. Power to the Mimosa!   monos en theos † jim

IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #754 – FIRST PHONE BOOTHS NOW MAILBOXES

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Just think, today I can try to explain to my granddaughter about “yesterday”, that when we needed to make a phone call we used to go into these glass booths that were almost everywhere (except when you really needed one). You then had to drop in a dime and put your finger in this dial that had numbers on it and you turned it. Yes, kind of like “Wheel of Fortune” game.

In forty years or so, she will have the same conversation with her child or grandchild, explaining how we used to get mail in a box that was in front of your house. And to send mail, you had to hand write it, put it in an envelope and then attach this thing called a stamp to it. This person called a mailman would then come by your house, take the letter and some how three to four days later the letter magically arrived to whomever you had sent it to.

and let’s not even get started on explaining “pony express” !

Change, fight it or go with it, cause it will come.     monos en theos ††† jim

IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #738 – Be careful what you imagine!

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Be careful what you imagine for. You just might get it and sooner than you expect.

I need a rock that tells me to accept change especially when it comes at you fast.

Find that Rock to lean on! ……en theos monos ††† jim

IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #734 – MARS & THE MOON IN EARLY AM DUSTY HAZE

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Two days ago I sat in my shorts and dirty t-shirt basking in the beauty and warmth of a bluebonnet patch. Early this am up to attack my writing drills I was greeted with this mysterious view in the western darkness. A great prelude to the coming blood moon eclipse coming early tomorrow morning.

Our balm had faded to sand blown in the 40 mph winds as I stranded to hold my camera still at a 1/15 of a second at 1600 iso. All the while staving the 37 degree chill in my briefs and too thin shirt. The dogs thought me crazy and kept looking to see what the heck had the attention of their strange two legged leader.  I quickly agreed and retreated from outside images to inside words and warm coffee. Image making is fun, but word-smithing can sometimes be a little more comfortable.

I don’t normally post such fuzzy grainy images, but I hope this will keep me from having to braving the 2:00 am call to the blood eclipse. I already gave.  One needs to save their bravery as I have too little to spare.

” A good photograph is  knowing where to stand.” Ansel Adams

I think I will stand inside.   en theos monos ††† jim