Saturday, September 26, 2015

Monaco/Monte Carlo and Cannes, France

 Cannes and Ile Sainte-Marguerite

 Cap-d'Ail, Monte Carlo/Monaco, and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
Venting gas at the refinery at Etang de Berre/Marignane.  It was burning, every time I passed by; I don't know if it burns 24x7x365 but it seems to be a constant presence.

Carry le Rouet

Some shots from Carry le Rouet, France.

Pup resting on the beach while sitting on his master; you can see a tiny bit of knee to the left.

Odd two tailed plane passing overhead.

Flock of Egrets

Fossilized scallop from an ancient seabed.  Do you suppose there is a tectonic plate being forced up?

Cutest lab-terrier mix.  Mom was this tiny terrier and dad was a very persistent black lab.  He was up for adoption as his owner was moving into a small apartment and didn't have space for a lab mix.

The Carry le Rouet lighthouse under cloudy skies.

An old, unused boat ramp.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Chateau de la Barben

This photo of the Chateau de la Barben was shot from the road, looking towards the castle.  This mediaeval fortress, mentioned as early as 1069, belonged to King RenĂ© of Provence in the 15th century. It was, at some point, sold to a merchent family (who sold furs and pelts) that supported the King, and was altered and extended in the 16th and 17th centuries.  The keep was burned at the beginning of the French revolution and the family, who supported the King, was executed (beheaded) later during
the revolution.  Restoration work was carried out in the 19th and 20th centuries and the castle remains run and maintained by private owners who conduct tours, cater out events and run a
hotel at the site.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Day in Marseille

A quick trip to the Musee des Civilisations de l'Europe et la Mediterranee in Marseille and some of the surrounding sights.  The weather was bright, sunny with a light breeze.  The museum and the surroundings were quite captivating and lunch after was wonderful, but then that is another story for another day.

Athlete vainquer au pugilat

Cathedrale de La Major, under restoration

Ceres Borghese

Greek Vase Oenoechoe

Icone au Saint Michel Pesant Les Ames

A guy jumping up and down on a tightrope, as if walking was not hard enough!

La Vierge et l'Enfant by Sheikh Sana'an

Medusae Jellyfish in the calm waters outside the Museum

A huge storage vase for grain or olive oil

The old entrance to Marseille

Carry Le Rouet

In the Summer, Carry Le Rouet is a bustling tourist town along the Mediterranean in the South of France.  In the Fall, it is mostly quiet with locals walking along the board walk and some of the restaurants closed along the beach during the cooler, windier weather.  Here are a few shots from Carry le Rouet.

The docks at the fishing harbor.

Really cool blue lights along the boardwalk.

Kite surfer taking advantage of the strong winds.

A seagull pecking at a fish that the fisherman left for him.

One of several windsurfers taking advantage of the strong winds and choppy waters to get in some combination wind/wave surfing.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

What's Jade Green and Smooth?

Mang Mountain Pit Viper, Zhaoermia mangshanensis, is the largest of the Asian pit vipers, growing to over 11 feet in length, making it the largest of the Asian pit vipers.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Red Phalaenopsis!

Dtps. I-Hsin Red Rose
Red Phalaenopsis have been somewhat elusive.  While there are some, few have large numbers of flowers and the long arching sprays that most of us associate with Phalaenopsis.  Here's a pretty one that's well along the way towards that goal.

The View From Idyllwild

Went for a short hike to the end of the road in one of the subdivisions in Idyllwild, California.  Here's the view!  Very peaceful with wild asters and lupine.  Worth the drive.

Huge Carpenter Ants!

Carpenter Ant, Campo, California. Carpenter ant swarms usually occur in the spring and are a sign that a colony is nesting somewhere inside the structure. They usually get into a house through holes, where trees branches contact the house or from wooden structures attached to the house like a porch or deck.

While large carpenter ant colonies can cause structural damage, it is not as serious as that from termites. The degree of any potential damage can only be determined by locating the nest area.

Looking for Perseids

Went up to Campo, California to see the Persieds.  We were two days off peak and there was nary a meteor.  Perhaps a few and a few helicopters and jets to boot.  Still, it was awesome to see all those stars!

Monday, August 10, 2015

A New Look at the Naked Lady Amarallis, Amarillis belladonna

Amarillis belladonna, commonly called the Naked Lady Amarillis, due to it's bare stems that rise out of the ground in late Summer and Fall, is typically a light pink color.  However, I happened upon a batch of 50 mixed bulbs that had been hybridized some time ago, by a now deceased hybridizer.  The bulbs were being sold on EBay fairly inexpensively and had apparently been growing wild in the desert.  Most were still moderately small so I've been waiting for about 2 years for these to start to bloom.  I think it was worth the wait.  Of course, I'm a plant lover, so...  Note that these need very little if any water during the Summer and like well drained soil.

This clone is just a hair darker than the typical variety but has the most wonderful striping.

An albino clone that is quite delicate and elegant.

Here is a particularly bright colored clone, one of my favorites.

This is the typically colored Amarillis belladonna, a wonderfully robust and hardy grower.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus

Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus, hanging out on a wire.  These little guys stash acorns from Oak trees into holes they peck into the bark of neighboring pine trees.  Idyllwild, California.

Late-blooming Wildflowers at Idyllwild, California

Evening Primrose Oenothera elata ssp hookeri

Late Purple Aster Symphyotrichum patens

Lupinus excubitus Grape soda lupine

Wild Sweet Pea Lathyrus latifolia

The Bishop's Lotus, Lotus strigosus, a furry leaved, yellow wildflower in the pea family, Idyllwild, California. These generally grow in sandy sage scrub.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What's Blooming Today?

Stuff blooming around the house.  The Encyclia are in full season as are the Sobralias!  If you go to Central America you can see Sobralias blooming right along the road.  They're not so common in cultivation in America though.  Quite the shame.

Encyclia ambigua

Encyclia gracile x Encyclia Orchid Jungle

Encyclia tampense alba 'Mendenhall'

Sobralia La Folie

Sobralia macrantha 'Angelica'

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

San Diego County Orchid Society Show

There were three AOS awards at the San Diego County Orchid Society Show.

Catyclia Leaf Hopper 'Bruce Berg' HCC/AOS

Dracula Raven 'Windflower' HCC/AOS

Encyclia Lorraine Smith 'Arnieberry' AM/AOS