Weekly photo challenge: Two subjects

The steel mesh of the fencing mask and the scarred guard of the sabre seemed to have all the ingredients for a photographic duet.

TWO SUBJECTS (I) -- Fencing mask and sabre.
TWO SUBJECTS (part 2) -- This time the subjects are history and horseracing. Random togetherness in the household library.

A sampling of interesting posts from this week’s challenge are below.

Or check out the whole shebang at: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/weekly-photo-challenge-two-subjects/

http://mezzaphonicallyspeaking.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/photo-contest-of-the-week-two-subjects-2/
http://joycannis.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/weekly-photo-challenge-two-subjects/
http://empireoflights.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/a-picture-with-me-in-it/#comment-928
http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/weekly-photo-challenge-two-subjects/
http://laavventura.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/weekly-photo-challenge-two-subjects-1/
http://aditimitra.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/weekly-photo-challenge-two-subjects/
http://rutheh.com/2012/04/14/weekly-photo-challenge-two-subjects/#comment-10420
http://robertjhorton.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/weekly-photo-challenge-two-subjects/
http://colderweather.net/2012/04/13/weekly-photo-challenge-two-subjects/

The Pink Moon

April’s full moon is known as the “Pink Moon,” according to the Farmers Almanac. It’s named for the wild phlox whose  blooms add brilliant magenta notes to the spring green.

The moon appeared to live up to its name as it set on Holy Saturday, just as the first pink and orange rays of the sun lit up the haze.

PINK MOON -- The first full moon of spring, according to the Farmers Almanac, is the pink moon. Here it is just before moonset April 7, 2012. At the bottom of the photo, vapor rises from a warm valley into the cooler air above. Rows of Ouachita mountain folds recede into the west.
WILD PHLOX -- Wild phlox lights up the understory on the mountain.

Weekly photo challenge: Journey

“Journey” is a perfect theme for Easter weekend. It’s a time of hope. It’s the end of one journey and the beginning of another for catechumens and candidates entering the Catholic church. For those celebrating Passover, it’s a journey celebrating deliverance.

There were many journeys on the mountain this week. Flocks of birds whirled in great sweeps from tree to tree. Hummingbirds returned from their central American winter sojourn. On a smaller scale, carpenter bees, bumblebees, butterflies and moths buzzed and fluttered from flower to flower. All of it a great reminder of the renewal of life from the dead of winter.

Be sure to check out the other intriguing,beautiful and challenging  interpretations of “journey” at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/weekly-photo-challenge-journey/.

Be sure to visit:

http://advenus.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/weekly-photo-challenge-journey/

http://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/journey-weekly-photo-challenge/

http://digitalcatharsis.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/weekly-photo-challenge-journey/

http://mostlymonochrome.wordpress.com/

http://windagainstcurrent.com/

ON THE MOVE -- Flock of birds moves westward on a wide orbit from and to the same tree.
CLEARWING -- Bee colored clearwing moth visits the lavender.
IN SEARCH OF NECTAR -- Clearwing about to uncoil his proboscis for lavender nectar.
IF I WAS A CARPENTER -- Carpenter bee buzzes the lavender.
LADY IN THE LAVENDER -- Painted lady's body covered in pollen specks.

A little birdie told me …

Winter gave way to spring and Lent is giving way to Easter.

Here on the mountain, a little birdie told us it’s time for another seasonal change, from Christmas to, well, now.

For each of the last three seasons, ruby throated hummingbirds have jetted, dog-fought (is this the past tense of dog-fight?) and hovered around our deck to enjoy homemade nectar. Wednesday night, one of the hummingbirds reappeared, having returned from his winter home nearer the equator. We spotted him checking each of the red bulbs on the strings of Christmas lights draped around the deck, probably thinking at each stop that the next one would be a refreshing floral Slurpee. It seemed a terrible (and unintentional) trick to play on the poor little guy. It was time to take the lights down and put the feeder up.

There is something even more ambitious on our seasons-change agenda, something in honor of Easter: taking down the Christmas tree. The Leland Cypress we bought the week after Thanksgiving has, amazingly, remained green and supple. We will hate to see it go, but it will serve as additional cover for our wild neighbors down the mountain slope.

So, what does all have to do with the spiders below? They are the new seasonal deck decor in the absence of Christmas lights.

HE'S GOT LEGS -- Daddy long legs clings to the underside of the railing.
GREEN and HAIRY -- The photo doesn't do it justice, but this spider with tiny tufts of hair was the same pale green of all-things-that-glow-in-the-dark with black accents.
SUSPENSION BRIDGE -- Spider hangs on a silken line from deck table to chair.

My, what big eyes you have!

Don’t know what this fellow is, but he is eye-catching! Will update the post if we get an ID on him.  We found him walking around on some landscape fabric on the way to get closer to the coachwhip from an earlier post.

UPDATE: Thanks to U of Arkansas entomologist Kelly Loftin for identifying this fellow as an eyed click beetle.

BUG EYED -- This guy's coloration is probably meant to fool predators into thinking he's something bigger than he really is.

Scenes from the Natural State

Random shots from recent road trips.

ALL ABOARD -- A stroke of folk art genius -- transforming a plain Jane concrete storm cellar into a school bus filled with friendly faces. This shot taken outside of Quitman, Ark.
"I'LL TRY SIR" -- This plaque was dedicated to James Miller, first territorial governor of Arkansas and one of the heroes of the War of 1812. He apparently was not much of a governor. Still, one of the state's 75 counties is named for him.
THE ROAD DOWN -- Driving down Petit Jean Mountain on a fine March day.
ELEGANT CURL -- Swan in the wetlands park in downtown Little Rock curls his neck tightly while preening.
SPAN -- First sections of road deck are going up at the Big Rock Interchange (I-630 and I-430 in Little Rock.)

Herp-y April!

More of our local reptiles showed themselves on April Fool’s Day. The long coachwhip stuck his head, and a few inches, out from under the porch and a big fence lizard made himself at home on the deck.

CAN YOU SEE ME? -- Big Jake, the big fence lizard, finds the deck's outdoor carpet to be a great place not to be seen hungry hawks.
COMING OUT -- The under-the-porch coachwhip comes out for some sunshine on April Fool's Day. It was our first sighting of him (or her) this year.
EYE ON YOU -- The coachwhip turns to face the photographer. It's tough stalking a snake!

Almost torrid, very florid

It’s been warm here in Arkansas. National Weather Service records show that during February 2012 there were only four days where the temps fell to freezing or below and there were two days in February that hit 80 or higher. In January, there were only 13 days that saw lows at freezing or below and three days hit 70 or above.

The warm air and warm soil temperatures accelerated this year’s flower show.

LAVENDER -- Flower spikes reach for the sky on a gorgeous blue-sky day.
IN BLOOM -- Little lavender plants from a big box store fare surprisingly well into their second season on the mountain.
NOTHING BUT SUNSHINE -- The coreopsis that came in a native wildflower seed mix has produced blooms almost non-stop since last summer. A great choice for brown thumb gardeners like us!
YELLOWBEARD -- A colleague from the office shared cuttings from her prolific irises.