On ice

Winter is a slow time here on the mountain. Not much is moving and wildlife is elusive. However, Nature does provide a little interest in the variety of strokes in which she uses her frosty paintbrush. There are leaves carefully rimmed with ice crystals. On the cliff sides,  bladelike crystals  arise from the earth, separating roots from soil and rocks from their beds. And  there are those those tiny, rimming crystals — flakes that stand on end in seeming defiance of gravity.

Frost-rimmed oak leaf amid frosted chickweed and dormant Bermuda grass blades.
Frost-rimmed oak leaf amid frosted chickweed and dormant Bermuda grass blades.
Ice blades
Tiny blades of ice, about one-eighth of an inch wide, span an inch-and-a-half gap in the cliffside.
Ice crystal flakes.
Ice flakes like raised hackles on the edge of this leaf.

Weekly photo challenge: Fleeting

The water strider’s place in the world is fleeting, subject to the whims of wind and water.

Water strider on the surface of a creek.
WALKING ON WATER —  Water strider skates along the surface of a Ouachita mountains creek.

And the source of all these fleeting moments:


Trickle to torrent

The Ouachitas got a little bit of rain over the last couple of days. This morning, the clouds parted perhaps long enough for the Easter sunrise service down by the Arkansas River, but it wasn’t long before the dark  stormclouds were again in full throat.  The rain fell so hard at 8 a.m. Mass, the pastor said he could barely hear anything above the din of the drops battering the roof.

During yesterday’s walkabout, water was everywhere from tiny drip-drip-drips from the edge of a stone to white mini-rapids in the deepest part of the valley.


Travel Theme: Liquid

Alisa’s challenge this week is liquid. Below are two shots of soda straw stalactites being formed. Water from last night’s half-inch rain slowly worked its way through the concrete in the deck, leaching calcium carbonate  and adding tiny amounts to these hollow stalactites before the water droplets fall to the ground. Although they can grow very long when left undisturbed in caves, the longest of these dissolving deck formations reached 2 inches before falling to the ground.


There is something lovely and delicate, yet so primitive about dragonflies.  Oh to see one of their Permian ancestors, the meganeura, with their 2-foot wingspans. Today’s dragonflies happily dine on mosquitoes.  Considering their non-vegetarian leanings, perhaps it’s best the meganeura are admired from a safe distance in time.

TEN SPOT SKIMMER — Rests near a parking lot catch basin.
PROFILE — Dragonfly camps outside the office window.

Splendor in the grass

This web in the grass captured more than prey this morning. Suspended in its threads were droplets from sprinkler,  each catching the filtered morning light and each acting as lens and window into a world closer to the ground.

WEB OF JEWELS — Droplets of water cling to a web suspended from blades of grass.

Weekly photo challenge: Summer (I)

Summer? Sandy Hook. Wildwood. Monmouth Park.  Mungo Jerry. “Close to You.” Water pistols and nickel punks. Bikes with baseball cards flap-growling  in the spokes. And when it got really hot,  we begged Dad (the man in charge of all things lawn-related) to deploy that ultimate weapon against the July heat: the sprinkler.

SPRINKLER — It just wasn’t summer without the oscillating sprinkler on the front lawn and a trio of giggly girlfriends running and jumping through its streams.
DROPS — What summer fun looked like if you wore glasses.

Don’t miss these visions of summer:
Arizona hot: http://galen911.net/2012/05/25/arizona-summer-sun-halo/
Another sprinkler fan: http://sideyardflock.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/weekly-photo-challenge-summertime/
Happy beach umbrella: http://fourdeeroak.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/weekly-photo-challenge-summertime/


THANKS to everyone who has liked our blog! Thanks for taking time to stop by.

Bonkers for honkers

The neighborhood pond is a favorite stop for small flocks of geese who make the rounds in the county. It’s also the wintering duck hole for some very skittish buffleheads.

GANDER IN THE MIST -- Canada geese sail around the pond as mist rises from the surface on a frosty December morning. The steam envelops a small flock of buffleheads in the background.

All about the arc

Two random objects, a sprinkler and a wild grass seed panicle, united by two things: 1) they represent different facets of our current near-drought and 2) their graceful arc.

ALL WET -- The trajectory of the sprinkler's flow is backlit by the morning sun. The limited manual capabilities of the camera rendered the drops in short streaks.
Seed panicles
DRIED OUT -- These seed panicles reach over and down, offering a tempting meal for the avian population.