Inviting Bees with Dwarf Sungold Sunflower

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I received a bunch of seeds courtesy of the Sierra Club. The seeds were from Bentley Seeds Inc in Cambridge, New York and were to grow Dwarf Sungold Sunflowers or Helianthus annuus. So I followed the instructions last March 21, 2020 to put the seeds in 1/2 inch deep into loose soil and planted the seeds about 12 inches apart.

These flowers are considered as dwarf in size. But they are still big and grew to be about 3 feet tall with about 8 inches in diameter. I shot this picture on July 16, 2020. These flowers are full with all these ruffled petals. They attracted a lot of bees to my garden. Unfortunately, these sunflowers did not last forever and eventually died off. But they are relatively easy to grow.

I still have some of seeds leftover from my free stash. I plan to grow more sunflowers in March as I did last year. I am learning what flowers grow well in my environment of fog and sandy soil. I am creating a schedule when I should purchase and plant the flowers to invite more flying friends to my garden.

It is funny now I am planning how to invite bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to my garden. Early last year, we were planning to invite real people to our garden for a party to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 100th birthday. I was planning the Bluetooth music with speakers and fun lighting. My wife was imagining what kind of food to purchase and cook. My mother-in-law wanted a party at our home and not in a restaurant. Parties can be more intimate at home. Parties do take work and planning. But it is rewarding to see people interacting and having fun.

Unfortunately, all these plans were dismissed as we realized how serious the pandemic is. Even though our plans had to change, the discovery of a backyard refuge for me and my flying friends has been an interesting adventure.

Who knows how long this pandemic will last? We don’t know when we can actually invite our family and friends for a backyard party. But for now, I plan on inviting my flying friends and providing enticing sweet treats for our garden party.

I am learning to change with our circumstantial changes in order to thrive during this pandemic. Change is hard, but change is required.

Photos remind us that our world constantly changes, and we must change to adapt.

 

Black Wing Bumblebee Stinger

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This Bumblebee was approaching a Lobelia Gerardii Vedrarien Cardinal Flower for nectar. I photographed her at 1/8000 of a second.

The side black wing on this bee is cool. I associate black wings with a DC or Marvel super hero. Even though this bee is not attacking the flower with its antennae, it makes an interesting fantasy story with these black wings. This bumblebee has a nice mostly black body. The coloring just adds to the ominous appearance.

A few years ago, my friends and I had a blast watching Ant Man. Maybe one day someone will create “The Stinger” – a superhero who has the ability to sting and stun for protection against bad guys. He would have super wings to fly fast like a bee. It might be a little funny to see this superhero in a fuzzy black and yellow suit.

This photograph would be perfect to show off this new super hero with the greenish lighted background and bee centered approaching the flower.

A good photograph should allow us to use our imagination and take us to a fantasy world. We all want to escape our current reality. We need to use our imagination to create a better reality. We can use our imagination to be creative with our reality to find solutions.

So if we ever see a movie called “The Stinger”, remember you saw the idea in this blog post first.

Photos encourage our imagination!

 

 

 

Quick Chow Down with Meyer Lemon Nectar

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I photographed this Bumblebee recently sitting on a leaf and taking a break and feasting on some Meyer Lemon Nectar from the flower. She was also helping to pollinate the flowers. I had to be quick to shoot this picture. The bumblebee was only there for about a minute. It is interesting how the bumblebee planted herself down in this sitting position. Then she curved her body over the lemon blossom to properly positioned herself to get a good sucking of the nectar. She even had her legs hanging out on the side of the leaf. It is pretty amusing to see the bumblebee chowing down for the quick sweet snack.

This reminds me when I could enjoy chowing down at a buffet. Periodically, my buddy and I would go to a buffet for lunch to enjoy a variety of Chinese and other Asian food. I can identify with this bee’s sitting to be comfortable as she had her short feast. Even though over the years, I have modified the amount of food I eat at a buffet. I am more selective, and I do not have to try every single food in the buffet. There was a time I had to absolutely eat at buffets in Las Vegas. But now I do not feel this necessity. I do not go to Las Vegas very often. But now I prefer choosing a restaurant based on what I am craving to eat. Also since the buffet prices are higher now, this contributes to my change in preferences of restaurants. 

I do love the variety of food choices at a buffet. Eating at a buffet gave my friend and I an excuse to spend time together in the midst of our work and family. I do miss going out with friends and eating at restaurants. I have not done any outdoor dining. The temperature in my neighborhood is never too warm, so it is not as inviting to sit outside to eat.

Who knows what is the future of buffets after the pandemic? 

At least, I have been enjoying cooking and eating food at home. I can do this chow down pose in the privacy of my home to enjoy good food. Let’s see how long it will be when I can go out with my good buddy to enjoy a meal at a restaurant.

Photos show fun eating poses!

Really Long and Thin

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Have you seen a Costa Rican spider? This spider’s length was about the size of my fist. So I did not use a macro lens to take this picture. This spider is long and thin.

This is a golden orb weaver spider. I spotted this spider as we were hiking in the rainforest in Costa Rica. It’s yellow striped legs popped out to me.

A big spider needs a big web. It was probably 5 to 6 feet in diameter. it is good that this spider is in Costa Rica and not living near us. My wife hates spiders.

We’ve been home for 10 months now, and we are getting a tired of this routine. Even though we do not physically see too many people, we feel the stress of our nation’s conflicts. We feel stress from being home for such a long time. We are losing our patience with one another in our family due to being together a little too much.

So my wife says let’s think about a future blog post. We go and look at my collection of pictures and see this happy spider in his big web home. This photograph diverts our attention to this interesting creature. Our stress level decreases. The spider reminds us about this happy time on vacation seeing all the different creatures in Costa Rica. 

Maybe we are a little like this spider who is stuck on his web home. One day, we will get immunized. Hopefully, the vast population will be immunized, and we will be free to leave our homes to enjoy vacations, restaurants, and parties.

What photographs make you happy and forget current circumstances?

Display photographs which draw your attention to another place and time. We all need a diversion from our pandemic life.

Photos make us happy!

Wild Flowers that grew in our yard 6 Years ago

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Six years ago, these flowers grew naturally in our backyard. I shot this photograph of these flowers in 2015. It was nice that I did not have to tend to these flowers. The color was vibrant. Our yard had been landscaped previously, and these flowers were probably planted in the original design. Unfortunately, when we had the drought years, then the flowers eventually died off.

The rain has not been overly abundant this season. It looks like this could be a drought year. In 2015, I was not spending time in the backyard as I am doing currently. What am I going to do to preserve the flowers and plants if we have a drought?

Lack of resources whether it is money, food, housing, or water is a problem for many individuals especially during this pandemic life. I am trying to ponder how I will water my garden if there is not an abundance of rain. I do save shower water for the garden. My wife is suggesting to collect rain water, even if it is not too much.

Planting drought resistance flowers which attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds is also another option to consider. Since my garden has been my refuge from the pandemic, I am determined to figure out a way to preserve my flowers and plants.

During this pandemic life, we all are facing a variety of problems. But which problem are you determined to find a solution? I need to create a list of options to try. My parents taught me to create a variety of backup plans, if an initial plan does not work. This has been a valuable lesson to have alternatives to find a solution.

These flowers are vibrant and pretty in color. I miss these flowers and am glad I have the photographs to remind me of their beauty. The photograph also reminds me due to drought, and my neglect to find a solution for watering during a drought resulted in their demise.

Stay tuned to see what my future plans to maintain my garden will be. I am looking forward to see what my plans will be too.

Photos give lessons from past failures. 

 

Blowing kisses to say Good Bye to Tommy Lasorda

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The Opening Night pregame lineup for the 1991 season with the San Francisco Giants facing the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants’ manager Roger Craig is seen greeting the Dodger’s manager, Tommy Lasorda. The rivalry between the teams is intense but for the introduction of the line-up, it was on the lighter side.

SF Giants fans will miss Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager, Tommy Lasorda. Despite the rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, SF Giants fans had fun watching Tommy Lasorda.

SF Giants fans loved booing Tommy Lasorda, and he loved blowing kisses to the booing fans at Candlestick Park. It was very entertaining to watch. This was a ritual whenever Tommy Lasorda visited the Stick. I appreciated his excellent attitude in receiving the boo’s. Tommy Lasorda taught us how to exhibit good sportsmanship.

It was natural for this Dodger coach to get mad when the players did not perform. He would get angry and yell at players to play better. But we all need to hear the yelling to push to the limits for the best performance. We all need someone to cheer and criticize us to be our best. A good coach will suggest us to try new things to improve. Old routines are good. But change is constant, and we need to change too.

A few years ago, I was encouraged to start this blog. I was not too keen to showing my photographs online. I did not think there would be interest in my photography. Creating a website was a challenge. It was a big hurdle and challenge that I was not willing to attempt initially. It was a learning experience, and we are still learning how to do a better blog. We are learning to express our thoughts and revelations to show off my photographs. If people in my life did not encourage and coach me in different ways, I would not have started this blog. It is still a challenge. But I learned the more work I do on my photography, I do reap rewards. It has been a step by step journey. It is a work of faith not knowing where the journey will lead.

Tommy Lasorda’s good attitude and fighting spirit is an example to all of us. We need to smile at adversity, even as he welcomed the SF Giants fans boo greetings. Welcoming challenges will help us to push to win. Welcoming rivalry encourages us to be our best.

Tommy Lasorda deserves us blowing him kisses to say “Good Bye”. He also earned our respect to follow his excellent attitude example.

Photos remember a great icon!

How do You spell Relief?

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Peaceful Moraine Lake in Alberta, Canada

As we witnessed the Capital Building attacked by protestors, our nation was upset and outraged. No matter what political party one is associated with, there is no justification of this type of protest or event. Seeing the picture of a protester invading Nancy Pelosi’s office and sitting in her chair is just not right. Yes we can agree to disagree. But our disagreements do not justify the actions.

I mentioned in a recent blog post how I am cautiously optimistic about 2021. After today’s events in Washington D.C., I am shifting to being a little less optimistic about the new year. Since the pandemic started, we’ve experienced a list of unfortunate and upsetting events. The unexpected is becoming our normal. How do we deal with this stress?

We need to find a physical and a spiritual place to retreat. Creating my backyard oasis, so I can safely retreat to enjoy nature and photograph pictures, has been a refuge for me. My wife reminds me that I need to spend more time praying away my stress in my backyard retreat. God even answered my prayers by giving me this place I dreamed about 25 years ago so I could shoot pictures of hummingbirds, butterflies and bees in a natural setting.

The weather is a little cold and wet. I was glued to the news to watch the events in our nation’s capital. Fortunately, I have my nature pictures to review and take me away from the stress of the nation’s events.

How do you spell relief from the stress of life’s events? Never would we have dreamed about the situations we are facing today with a worldwide pandemic accompanied with an abundance of American political and racial drama with violence.

Individually and physically, we may be limited in what we can do to change these situations other than just staying home as much as we can to be safe. SIP has meant to be “Sheltering in Place”. Another meaning we could use for SIP is “Sheltering in Prayer”.

Maybe all this disruption is meant to bring us to our knees to pray for peace and relief. Can we pray away our stress by trusting in God to provide peace?

When I look at my nature pictures, they reminds me God is the Creator and can provide peace in the midst of our current storms.

Photos spell relief to de-stress!

Who is this Bird in my Yard?

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I shot this photograph of this bird in my yard in December 2020. He was resting on our fence and enjoying the view. It was only during this year that I started watching birds in my backyard. I mostly see the hummingbirds feasting on the nectar from the flowers.

Even though this bird does not have the bright colors as the hummingbirds, this bird is dark and handsome! I tried to identify this bird, but so far I did not find a picture to identify him yet.

We all hope 2021 will be better than 2020. There were many disappointments due to this past pandemic year. We will wait to see how the vaccines will work, and we will hope to be free to go out and see people again.

What goals and plans are possible and realistic for 2021? I am cautiously optimistic about this new year.

A realistic goal for me is to learn more about birds. The hummingbirds come up close to me and buzz me as I sit in the backyard waiting for their visits. As I examine and observe my pictures, the details of the birds amaze me.

Does anyone recognize this bird? I would appreciate anyone leaving a comment to this post to inform me of this bird’s name. This bird is living near the beach in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Knowing someone’s names is important. Identification is the first step in getting to know someone. Do we forget people’s names after meeting someone new? 2020 was a year when we may not have met too many new people, since we spent a bulk of time at home. Meeting someone virtually is different than actually facing a person.

Will we remember how to interact with new people when we are let out free into the world? What will that day be like when we can walk around without a mask?

When the day comes and we can go out without a mask, let’s look forward to meeting new people and remembering their name is the first step to know them.

Can you identify this bird? Identification is always important. Thank you if you can tell me who is this bird.

Photos identify!

Never Giving up my Old Tickets from Candlestick Park

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These were some ticket stubs from SF Giants games I went to at Candlestick Park in 1988. I took this picture sitting in the general admission section behind the centerfield fence before a night game. I took the picture with 35mm color film with my Canon camera.

My wife asked me if I still have these tickets. My answer is “YES”! I am glad I kept these tickets especially whenever we go back to seeing live games, we will be using tickets on our cellphones. If we print out our tickets, they will not look like the old paper tickets. 

We are celebrating the new year – 2021! Often we think about getting rid of the “old” to make room for the “new”. We are trying to clean up. But I will keep these Candlestick Park tickets forever.

Why do I want to keep these old tickets? They remind me of the good times I had at Candlestick Park. For many sports fans who grew up at Candlestick Park, we remember the good times where tickets were easy to purchase. The tickets were cheap. I did not have to plan way in advance to buy the tickets. I could just walk up to the ticket window and purchase a seat. It is cool I can buy a ticket online whenever we can go back to Oracle Park. But the experience of going up to the ticket office to purchase a ticket is history.

It is a tough decision to know what to keep and what to throw away. We need to keep our good memories especially during this pandemic period when times are tough. We keep mementos and photographs to get our minds to think about good things. Our hallway has canvas photographs which make us smile. 

Our goal for 2021 is to keep what makes us smile and get rid of stuff which makes life difficult. We hope to create our happy space and improve it to be more efficient and functional.

Be happy with good memories and pictures in 2021!

Keep Photos to be Happy!

 

 

How About an Insect for Dessert?

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I took these series of photographs in sequence as I followed this hummingbird’s actions. These hummingbirds are constantly looking for food to maintain their energy level.

It is amazing to see the different positions of this bird’s wings from the back to the side and forward. I love the forward curved wing positions.  He enjoyed the nectar from the flower and kept moving his wings while drinking the nectar.

The hummingbird’s green back blends in so well with the greenery in the garden. The Creator gave the hummingbird pretty colors to match his surrounding and to be hidden from any predators.

The hummingbird’s expression is interesting as he gazes at the insect dessert. Not sure how he compares the insect snack with the flower nectar. I usually prefer sweets over savory. But it is a hard choice since I love all food.

I can identify with the hummingbird and his constant need to feed. It doesn’t take me too long to get hungry after a meal. I often am hungry by bedtime. Unfortunately, I do not have the metabolism of a hummingbird. So I cannot afford to eat before bedtime.

As this difficult 2020 ends, we all possess an abundance of mixed emotions about the events of this year.

One of my goals during this pandemic was to get healthier. I learned to increase my steps per day and managed to lose about 10 pounds. Perhaps, I would not have accomplished this goal, if it were not for the pandemic and sheltering in place.

During this pandemic, our household tried to cook and eat different foods. Fortunately, my wife did bake comfort treats to ease our SIP mood. We needed our desserts to soothe our anxieties and the changed social interactions.

In the midst of trials, we do need good things to comfort us like dessert.

This hummingbird enjoyed his insect dessert, as he stared at his spec of a meal.

In 2021, make sure to find ways to reward ourselves, since we do not know how long until we transform into a new and better normal.

What pandemic goals will we seek to achieve in 2021? Let’s give ourselves comfort rewards for our achievements in the new year. We all need our comfort foods, but I would not choose an insect dessert.

May we find photographs to motivate us to do better in 2021!