Iceland!

Our trip has begun! I’ve decided to post a few photos via smartphone as time allows. I’ve never used the WP app before, so no guarantees! 😆😆

First stop Iceland!

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Skogafoss

Such spellbinding scenery, albeit waaaayyyyy colder than I imagined of September! ;)  Even though it was drizzly/overcast with low hanging clouds, the drive along Ring Road revealed some unexpected sights:

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Abandoned house shrouded by glacial rock

The sun appeared (briefly) as something unusual caught our attention, so we pulled over for a closer look.

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Lone teepee in uninhabited field.

More in a day or so…

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Brassia Maculata in Bloom

Brassias are sympodial (bulbous) orchids whose large fleshy leaves and woody flower spikes emerge from oval pseudobulbs along the soil line. Each pseudobulb provides nutrients and water for a single bloom cycle in August/September.  The light was perfect this morning so I took a few pics of their incredible beauty.

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First Brassia maculata flowers of the season, 9/3/14

Their spidery appearance gives Brassias a distinct reproductive advantage. Parasitic wasps who typically lay their eggs on spiders, get confused by the orchid’s appearance and land on the flowers instead. As the wasps flit from plant to plant, they create one of nature’s best win-win situations: the wasps reproduce,  the brassias get pollinated, and a few very lucky 8 legged insects are saved in the process!

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Although my Brassias live outdoors, they also make great houseplants: read more about it here.

Until next time…

:) :) :)

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Ruralside, Vero Beach

Although I’ve shared many pictures of Beachside, Vero Beach, I’ve never shown you the rural belt along the western edge of town.  For today’s Wordless Wednesday (mostly!) I thought I’d share pictures of a friend’s farmlet property in this lovely and quiet area.

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The new fence looks really pretty!

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and here’s the reason for said fence:

This horse thinks she’s human!

Her horse kept coming on the porch and looking in the windows…esp when it rained! :) :)

FYI, I’ve been posting less for several reasons: Maggie moved back in a few weeks ago and we’ve been busy reorganizing the house, cleaning the garage, baking for fun, and trying to learn a bit of Icelandic–we leave on our trip two weeks from this very minute!

We’ve also been shopping, shopping (and more shopping) having realized Florida wardrobes are completely inadequate for Iceland/England/France in September.  Finding warm gear in stores here was challenging but we finally purchased everything we need including full raingear and rubber boots.  Now we’re just keeping fingers crossed Bárðarbunga doesn’t blow until after 9/10!

Until next time…

:) :) :)

Wordless Wednesday: 8/20/14 (Mushroom Cloud)

Check out these crazy clouds forming off Jaycee Beach.  (Photos taken 3mins apart at 12:30pm, 8/15/14)

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As the storm coalesced and the rain began, it looked a lot like a nuclear mushroom cloud.  We made it off the beach just as it REALLY started coming down!

For more on Wordless Wednesday, click the WW blog/linkup at the Jenny Evolution

Until next time…

:) :) :)

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Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata)

Partridge Pea is a North American wildflower growing from Massachusetts to Michigan and southward to the Gulf Coast states. During August it blooms profusely along the Jaycee boardwalk:

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Chamaecrista fasciculata, Jaycee Beach 8/17/14

C. fasciculata is typically 1-3ft tall with similar spread; each compound leaf has up to 20 leaflets that contract when touched. The bright yellow flowers have an open irregular shape with 5 rounded petals that vary in size.  They appear near the leaf axils along the major (green) stems.

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Following fertilization, Partridge pea bears typical legume-style fruit in the form of narrow pods measuring 2.5″ long. Right now the pods are bright green and pliable, but by October they’ll be brown, dry, and bursting with flat pitted seeds.

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Partridge pea grows from a long central taproot that favors sandy/disturbed areas. It establishes readily, fixes nitrogen, and reseeds year-to-year making it an excellent choice for controlling beach erosion.

For an in depth look at C. fasciculata, click on this .pdf file from the Florida Native Plant Society.

Until next time….

:) :) :)

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Wordless Wednesday: 8/13/14 (Siam Tulip)

My smartphone’s charging port crapped out after my last post (no smartphone = no camera/photos.) I finally got it repaired and can’t tell you how good it feels to take pictures again. :)  The blog is back in time for Wordless Wednesday.

Siam tulips are Florida late summer bloomers and I look forward to their arrival every August!

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Curcuma alismatifolia, Maejo Mont Blanc

Although the inflorescence resembles a northern style tulip, this plant is a member of the Ginger family specifically Curcuma alismatifolia with bracts ranging from pure white to deep purple. Mine are a pink tinged hybrid named Maejo Mont Blanc.

For more on Wordless Wednesday, click the WW blog/linkup at the Jenny Evolution.

Until next time….

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