Monday smiles

1 06 2015

Bell peppers were on sale at Giant Food this morning for just a buck each (really good deal), so I bought two red, two yellow and two orange (for the ark?), with no particular purpose intended for them. I started chopping them up for bite size dipping snacks and decided that whacking off the tops (stuffed pepper style) would speed up the process.

1 Yellow Pepper

I cut up a yellow one first and when I lopped off its “head,” voila—a happy smiley face greeted me—in both top and bottom sections. (FYI, this only happened with the yellow peppers. How appropriate is that?)

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What’s better than one smiley face? Two!

2 Yellow Pepper

Figuring this was a fluke, I cut into the second yellow pepper (very scientific approach, eh?) and voila—another smiley duo. This one has a crooked smile just like mine (plus Groucho Marx eyebrows).

3 Yellow Pepper

I give you the Smiley family. If they don’t cheer up your Monday, I give up!

4 Smiley Family





The bean harvest

30 09 2011

Behold—the fruits vegetables of my labor!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Harvest time

21 07 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bluer than blue redux

5 03 2009

In early February I posted a collage of my blue flower photographs here.

On Tuesday Michael and I took a field trip to Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, to see the Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens. I was inspired to do so by fellow photographer and blogger, Patty Hankins, who has been regularly posting her orchid photos from Longwood Gardens (thanks, Patty!). I spent quite a bit of time photographing this bed of beautiful blue flowers in the Conservatory.

If I have identified these correctly by the marker in one of the beds, then these flowers, a member of the Aster family, are a Longwood hybrid—Longwood Hybrid Cineraria (Pericallis x hybrida). Learn more about the history of this hybrid here. I’ll do some extra fact-finding to make sure that’s correct.

After our photo excursion to Longwood, we headed over to Philadelphia to the 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show. This was our second time attending the event (first time was in 2006) and we were disappointed that Borders Books didn’t have their garden-books-only booth. (As if I really needed more gardening books. But still…)

compleastsquash1We still managed to part with a little money, though (seed packets, a worm bin compost system, and the book, Melons for the Passionate Grower, written by Amy Goldman with beautiful photographs by Victor Schrager.

I found one of Goldman’s other books, The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower’s Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds, at a kitchen store that was closing in San Antonio this past Christmas. I paid just $6 for this coffee table book. I have her book, The Heirloom Tomato, on my radar now. Check these books out on Amazon—the photographs are exquisite still lifes; stunning in their simplicity. melons

Now I can identify those pumpkins, squashes and gourds that I photographed last fall here and here at Nalls Produce, a local plant and produce stand in Springfield, Virginia. Mind you, I have no room in a townhouse garden to grow melons or pumpkins, but these books are simply beautiful works of art, and informative too. How could I not add them to my library?

As you may have suspected, I’ll be posting more flower photographs from Longwood soon.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

bluerthanblueredux1






Sigh…the final harvest

22 10 2008

The temperatures are finally starting to feel more fall-like in Virginia. A few nights ago, we gathered up the three passion flower vines and brought them into the studio so they could continue their growing indoors through the winter. I cut the last of the catnip and made our cat, Jasper, a very happy boy this afternoon. And although there are still a few things in bloom, the garden is growing weary and fading fast. The only things blooming now are daisies, butterfly bushes, yellow mums, and balloon flowers in the front. And the only things blooming in the back yard garden are a red cardinal plant and one solitary Marguerite daisy. It’s nearing that sad, sad time when my garden goes dormant. I’ll put the garden to bed for the winter by next week.

When the evening weatherman reported impending frost a few nights ago, Michael ran out to pick the remaining (green) tomatoes (for his homemade tomato relish), as well as the rest of the green beans. With flashlight in hand, he picked what he could find easily in the dark, then I assisted by shining one of my studio modeling lights through the window. To add to the harvest, I found another dozen beans today on a vine hiding by the heat pump.

Without further delay, I present to you the final bean harvest—enough for dinner for two…and a beautiful poem by Irish poet and playwright Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), followed with a quote by one of my favorite writers, May Sarton.

The Sunlight on the Garden

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.

__________________________________________

In the garden the door is always open to the holy—growth, birth, death. Every flower holds the whole mystery in its short cycle, and in the garden we are never far away from death, the fertilizing, good creative death. May Sarton

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





One more batch of pumpkins…

9 10 2008

Michael and I couldn’t resist…we headed back to Nall’s in the late afternoon yesterday to shoot some images without the harsh mid-day sunlight. I shot mostly abstract closeups of the unusual colored pumpkins and loads of various colored mums. We never knew there were this many different kinds of pumpkins in such an unusual array of colors….blue, brown, gray, purple-gray, verdigris green & blue, peach, forest green, green & orange, creamy white, charcoal gray, earthy browns. Amazing!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A plethora of pumpkins (gourds and squash, too)

5 10 2008

Yesterday, Michael and Regina and I went to Nalls Produce in Alexandria to see their huge assortment of pumpkins, gourds, and squash. We got there past the ideal shooting light and I shot most of these in the mid-day sun. Morning light would have been best, eliminating the hard shadows on some of the images, and intensifying the colors. I plan to go back to reshoot some of these for comparison later and will post the reshoot. All in all, I still like most of the images, despite the lighting. I especially want to get a good shot of BLUE pumpkins (which are actually a purple-grayish-blue)! 

PUMPKINS
On the subject of pumpkins, did you know that Antarctica is the only continent where pumpkins won’t grow? While researching the myriad varieties of pumpkins, I also learned that:

• The Irish brought the tradition of pumpkin carving to America. The tradition originally started with carving turnips. When the Irish immigrated to the U.S., they found pumpkins were plentiful and easier to carve.

• Pumpkins are 90 percent water and were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.

• The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds and the largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs, and took six hours to make. 

• The name pumpkin originated from “pepon”—the Greek word for “large melon.”

• Pumpkins are native to North America and have been domestically grown here for five thousand years.

Click here to see the extensive list of the variety of pumpkins that are grown.

For some really sophisticated and very imaginative patterns, check out Martha Stewart‘s site.

Check out Tom Nardone’s www.extremepumpkins.com site for all things pumpkin (including “pumpkin pyrotechnics!)

GOURDS
Wouldn’t you just know it, there is an American Gourd Society! It is located in Kokomo, Indiana. Learn everything you could ever want to know about gourds on the Wayne’s Word site. This site is dedicated to the gourd family and reports that the total number of species may exceed 700!

SQUASH
Nalls also had a wide variety of squash, both ornamental and edible. Click here for a “squash glossary,” recipes, and decorating ideas. Click here for more recipes and learn the difference between summer and winter squash.

Regina and I were really smitten with the beautiful variation of colors on the Indian corn. Click here to learn why the kernel colors vary in Indian corn.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.