The Dinosaurs’ Home

We’ve dug out and/or gathered so much trash in our Greenbelt restoration site. Most of it is garbage and is hauled away. One day last year, though, a student found a plastic dinosaur and put it on a protruding tree root in my yard. I loved the gesture, and the dinosaur, and decided to keep it. I ended up giving it a home in one of my ferns. Since ferns were in existence before dinosaurs, that fern seemed like an appropriate home.

A few weeks later, I found another dinosaur and placed him in the same fern. This is a photo I took of the dinosaurs last July.

The fern has grown so much since then. Here is a photo I took this week!

I suppose once the fronds get bigger, their weight will bring them down and the plant won’t be as high as it is now… but I wonder if the dinosaurs will ever be able to see each other through the fern again.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unlikely

Last week’s photo challenge was to share a photo of something “unlikely”; something that may fit into the category of “never say never”.

I, for the most part, stopped saying “never” decades ago when I realized that many, if not most, of the things that I said “never” to ended up being an important part of my life journey.

I first recognized that pattern in my early 40’s when in a span of 2 years I became a devotee of an Indian guru (and still am), a “groupie” of a rock band named “Tribal Therapy” (for about a year), and started going to an African-American Pentecostal church (for about 15 years.) At the time when these life changes began, I had described myself as being somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist for 20 years. If, at that time, someone had told me these things would become a life focus of mine, I would have adamantly said “never… no way… not a chance”.

The other area where I have moved from “never” to it being a life focus is photography. I took some photos as a teenager, a college student and when my children were young but at some point developed the belief that photography keeps one from being in the moment; that you don’t “live” when you are focused on preserving a past moment.

I started blogging in 2014. I soon decided that my posts looked better when there were photos in them. Since most photos on the internet are copyrighted, I started looking for ones in the public domain. While over the years I have found some good sources, like pixabay.com and Creative Commons, finding free photos was a very time consuming endeavor at first. It occurred to me that I could solve that problem by taking photographs of my own.

As my interest in nature developed, I became interested in nature photography. At that point, a whole new world opened up for me.

I even bought a microscope and began to snap pictures with my iPhone and an adapter.

I suspect photography will be in my life for a long time.

This photo was taken yesterday, 5-9-18

I will continue to make it a practice to (almost) never say never.

 

Unlikely

Amritapuri Tulasi Garden

The Tulasi Garden is the first garden I ever visited in Amritapuri. I probably saw it for the first time a decade or more ago. It has changed so much over the years. They have added land and there are so many different kinds of plants there now. Most of the plants are edible.

I really enjoyed my visit to the Tulasi garden last week. These first photos are of the nursery and some newly planted seedlings. (Click on any of the galleries to enlarge the photos.)

The garden had a banana palm that was at least thirty feet tall. It was twice the size of any I have seen in the past. I also saw several sprouts, the beginning of new banana palms. These photos show various views of banana palms.

I thought this scene of a coconut palm tree was beautiful.

These are old and new papaya trees. The short ones surround the tall one.

There was a wild orchid in the garden.

This is a photo of some of the rudraksha trees…

The seeds that are inside the fruit of a rudraksha tree are sacred. They are often used in making malas. I took these photos of the fruit of rudraksha trees, and the seeds that are inside of them, a few years ago. The second photo was taken at a work station where ashram residents were separating the seeds from the fruit.

Below are photos of other plants I saw in the garden.

And last but not least, I saw this unusual but beautiful tree as I walked back to the main part of the ashram.

To read the previous posts in this series click here.

More Photos of the School of Biotechnology Grounds

I was unsuccessful in locating the photos I took of the School of Biotechnology grounds a few years ago. All I can do is tell you that when I saw it last week, I was astounded by how much some of the shrubs have grown since I saw it back then. The land was beautiful at that time, and it is even more beautiful now. (Click on the gallery to enlarge the photos.)

To read the previous posts in this series click here.

Amritapuri Gardens: School of Biotechnology

I took these photos when I was visiting the Amrita University School of Biotechnology. That part of the university is located in Vallikavu, the town across the backwaters from the ashram.

Can you find the bird?

To read the previous posts in this series click here.

A Surprise Gift

On Friday, I spent time working in our Greenbelt restoration site. As I turned to go back home, I heard a loud sound. It took a moment for me to figure out what it was. When I looked ahead of me, I saw a woodpecker pecking at a dead tree. It was unlike any woodpecker I’ve ever seen. One of the remarkable things about it was that it looked huge.

I used the burst setting on my phone camera and was able to capture a shot of it in the action of pecking.

I wish I had thought to take a video so you could hear the loud sound it made when it was pecking.

Later, I learned that it was a Pileated woodpecker. which is similar in size to a crow. One of their most notable features is their bright red crest. The males have a red streak on their cheek, so the one I saw must have been a female.

These birds are often found around dead trees, foraging for carpenter ants. They are known for the triangle shape holes they create in trees, holes that become habitat to “swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens.”

Pileated woodpeckers  apparently have bright white underwings. I hope that someday I have the opportunity to see one in flight!

 

Reference:

Pileated Woodpecker