Last week, only a narrow swathe of straggly Paterson’s curse lined parts of the bush track to our camp by the river.  I’m really pleased with the few photos of foraging bees I took (Nikon D3000), but I decided to seek out a fact or two about this weed before hitting publish.

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Paterson’s curse has a high concentration of pyrrolizidine alkaloidsis, making it poisonous when eaten in large quantities by grazing animals. Those with simple digestive systems, like horses, are particularly vulnerable.

Native to Western and Southern Europe and is also known as blueweed, Lady Campbell weed, Riverina bluebell, and purple vipers-bugloss. In South Australia it is known as Salvation Jane because it has good points, too, being valuable fodder for ruminants – cattle and sheep – when natural pasture has died off.

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When used in honey production, the nectar has to be blended with other honey to reduce the toxins.

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I love how the colour changes over the life of the bloom – from pink to blues to purples. These images have only been cropped and sharpened. I haven’t messed with the colours.

 

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What I really wanted to know was how it got its name. Apparently, it’s thought that a Patterson family grew Echium plantagineum as an ornamental plant in their garden. It spread and took over previously productive land. I was a little disappointed at that, hoping for something more dramatic. I suppose Mrs Patterson got the blame.

I’m not surprised it would be cultivated for its beautiful flowers, though, not surprised at all.

Many thanks for dropping in!

🙂

 

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Bees & Bugs, Flowers

Bees and Salvation Jane

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Flowers

Prickly Lettuce

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Hello people, hope you are having a lovely week. I’ve been in a bit of photography slump as I’m looking for new things so you never get sick of the bees. I really miss having the birds on my front fence – I don’t put seed out for them at the moment as the paddocks and roadsides have ample seed supplies. The weeds have flourished this year with the regular rainfall. And it is a weed that I’m sharing today. (I still put out water for the birds but they visit when the light is poor or when I’m still abed.)

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While walking this morning – back building up to 10,000 daily steps – I wondered about this weed in my garden. I normally pull them before they reach this stage and I was surprised to see the dandelion-like seed heads. I discovered they are known as prickly lettuce and are the ancestors of all lettuces. Gosh, I wouldn’t fancy eating them, but the young leaves are edible.

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Most plants with milky sap are poisonous. These have milky sap and a horrible smell when you brush against them.

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Maybe if I was starving!

Thanks for looking. Do have a good day.

🙂

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Last year, I purchased a potted Magnolia from the supermarket. It is a little frazzled about the edges from the heat and I’ve been watching the two flower buds with some anxiety – sure they would wither and harden. A few days ago, the first one began to loosen and, yesterday, the flower opened on one side. Its lemon scent is heavenly.

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the lopsided flower with stamens fallen in a sepal.

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stamens scooped in a sepal

I didn’t know about sepals until I was checking Wikipedia to make sure I was looking at stamens. On a magnolia, sepals are indistinguishable from petals so I’m guessing they are the first three at the base.

I moved overhead and looked down and saw more stamens piled in a second sepal. When I came back with the camera, the culprit was there, cavorting amid the stamens with pleasure.

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cavorting in loose stamens

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looking for juicy bits

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yummy yum yum

Curious, I cautiously moved the stem so I could see the heart of the flower.

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red stamen scars and curly topped stigmas and a bee, of course

As I watched, this bee took out another stamen and it fell down to join the others.

Today, the flower looks like it spent our very warm night in a pot of tea. Just as well I hadn’t planted the poor thing. I’ll see how the second flower fares in another position.

Inside the flower, the curly bits are gone – replaced by what looked like some spiky red things to my nearly 62-year-old eyes. Apparently, I have a colourful fruit to look forward to. There are several little green bugs lurking inside the flower, too, so I know what my next photography session will be.

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to have a magnolia tree.

On writing…

I have moved past the revision block I’ve had for weeks. I’ve been stuck on lesson 7 and it’s an important one to make sure everything in my novel’s setting makes sense. I had trouble identifying the different things I needed to see during a read-through.

I doubted myself to the stage where I thought let’s just chuck in this whole being a writer thing.  But then I thought of my sister and the promise I made when she died. I will finish this. I will make this dream come true. Of course, I also thought of the money I had paid out to learn to revise in a productive way. I thank my lucky stars I chose to publish on Wattpad because I know some people already love my story despite its shortcomings. To paraphrase Holly Lisle –  it’s already as crappy as it’s going to get.

So, after lots of false starts, some tears, and piles of crumpled worksheets, I decided to do the analysis differently. I put the settings and other elements on index cards instead of using the worksheets. Down to business,finally, and I found myself filling out the worksheets instead of the cards. Huh? Go figure. I know I’m not filling them out exactly right, but the lesson is going to work how it should as I already see how my story start hasn’t carried through to the end as well as it could have.

Progress, at last. A little daunting, as I have quite a few settings and magical explanations to think about and 91 scenes to explore.

Thanks for being part of my journey.  ❤

Flowers, Taniel

My first magnolia flower

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Bees & Bugs, Flowers

Sunny insects

I breathed a big sigh of relief this morning when I got my Nikon D3000 to work in the Guide Mode after I selected single release for the shutter.

Obviously I have done something to the settings which will not reset with the reset button. It might have something to do with white balance as the EXIF data on the photos I took today reported it was doing something unexpected.

You may recall that my troubles began when I began my adventurous experimenting with manual settings.

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Anyway, I had a bit of a snap-happy time and then had a hard time choosing what to share. I settled on these as they reflect my mood – sunny, with fuzzy edges.

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These lovely flowers are borne on a tree in my neighbour’s yard. I love the play of light and shadow on the insect and the little flowers.

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I cropped the bee from a larger image and it’s heavily sharpened using GIMP. I’m including the featured image again – I love the tendril/leaf thing at the lower edge.

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Tomorrow, I’ll show you a speckled-eyed drone hoverfly.

Thanks for looking. Do have a good week!  🙂

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Bees & Bugs, Birds, Flowers

In my garden today …

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Rainbow lorikeets on my front fence (Nokia Lumia 530)

 

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I very nearly had a photo of a silver-eye bathing in the small top pond, but the sun shining on the window foiled my plans. This is why you aren’t seeing the cockatoos lately – too many reflections on the window glass throwing back into the lens.

I coaxed the lorikeets out of the tree with some apple, else I wouldn’t be able to show you those, either! They let me get quite close to them.

 

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Bee with its head in an Abelia trumpet  (Nokia Lumia 520)

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