A Good Friday Feet on the Farm with John Deere

Friday Feet on the John Deere Tractor

This is a very late version of Friday Feet today, but it’s technically still Friday. This late post is because We had an incredible, very humbling, Good Friday service today-tonight, (a post which will have to wait until tomorrow when I can get to the images). After finishing up a book review for Liberty this morning, my Friday-day-off became a mow as much grass as can be mowed in one afternoon. That’s not as bad as it sounds, I actually like getting out on the tractor, it gives me an escape of sorts to be able to listen to a book or something like that.

I know many people who do their thinking while they run, or ride, but I do mine while I’m on the tractor. It takes just about as long (that’s a good thing) to ride 30-40 miles, or run 10-15 miles, as it does to mow acres of grass. All that and I have less of a chance to get run over by a passing car too. It’s hard not to think about Holy Week, and the significance of it all, but I’ll elaborate on tonight’s service in the next post.

For now, the grass is green and growing fast, and the garden is about to be washed in purple. Our purple Iris’ (photo below), are about to bloom surrounding our red Double Knockout Roses. You may not look for the symbolic among creation, but I do, and I love the fact that we have purple flowers about to bloom, the day before Easter, surrounding blood red roses… royalty of a King, surrounded by the blood shed for me and you, all displayed in a tiny little flower garden in south Alabama. The larger version taking place on Auburn’s campus is seen just below, but then again, all of creation proclaims the Glory of God (Romans 1:20 and others).

Purple Iris About to Bloom

Azaleas on Auburn University Campus

Cutting the Pasture on the John Deere Tractor

Most Beautiful Dogwood Blooms of any Recent Spring in Auburn

Dogwood Flower Bloom in Spring

OK, so this will probably be the last post of the Spring showing our Dogwood bloom or our Wisteria, but I just love the colors so today it’s my Photo of the Day and my P365 :2012 photo [Day 114]. I don’t know if it’s all the rain we got over the winter or that I’m just another year older, but this Spring has been the most beautiful I can remember in a long time. The Dogwood blooms around Auburn were, and still are spectacular this year. The one pictured above is from our yard and is just screaming of the beauty of creation.

This photo was taken handheld, and is seen basically straight out of my Nikon D7000 camera body, with a little added saturation processing from Adobe Lightroom. You can see the full exif data from over on my Flickr site. The background blur comes from the lens I was using, a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 G version (a very fast and inexpensive prime lens), shot almost wide open (i.e. f/1.4) so the depth of field was very shallow. The purple and green, two incredible contrasting colors for a white flower, come from our purple Wisteria blooms and the trees in the background. This wouldn’t necessarily be considered macro photography (see my previous examples here), but it was shot at the lens’ minimum focal distance.

Hope you have been able to get out and smell the roses this Spring, even if they are in the form of Wisteria and Dogwood blooms.

The Spring Equinox Today with Spring is Coming to Zion :: Poem

Dogwood Flower Bloom in Spring

Today is the first day of Spring (the Spring Equinox)! For some reason, a day I look more forward to each year, but this year, I wanted to commemorate the day with a poem. I make no claims whatsoever to be any kind of a decent poet (see prior attempts), but I do make attempts from time to time. This is one I started in the middle of winter, when it was dark and dreary, and all I wanted was to see some sun and a little bit of warmth in the air. I was writing in anticipation when I would be able to shoot this image above, which I took on Sunday of our Dogwood tree.

I was told off and on in photography that if you have to explain a photo it isn’t very good. I’m not so sure that counts for some forms of writing, since many genres I need plenty of explanation to understand. The first half of the poem is very very loosely formed in an iambic tetrameter as my others have been, in counter rhyming verse, going back and forth between nature and scripture. The back and forth is supposed to be between our current here and now, and the second coming. Looking forward to the time of the new heaven and the new earth, a time when Christ will come back like a Spring, waiting to arrive. I think of that time much like I do Spring after a long winter, the anticipation of Christ’s Second Coming after a long cold winter.

I really wanted to “finished” poem and post it on the first day of Spring, but as with life, so many things got in the way. It still feels unfinished to me, a rough start to something that needs much more work. Kind of like life. So for what it’s worth, here it is:

Spring is Coming to Zion

Spring is coming, ‘or the daffodils say it’s true
Spring is coming, where the frost gives way to the dew
No one knows that day and hour
Still light moves on in full power
The bluebirds fill their boxes full
Where legends of the dogwoods rule

Spring is coming, where the winter must resume it’s queue
Spring is coming, for darkness is a light with you
We are pure at it’s arrival
At once we see him in his all
The seam of light begins the prize
And the meadow grass now gives rise

Spring is coming, where the night is bright as the day
Spring is coming, the very stones cry out and pray
The time as yet to have appeared
His glory is joy and revered
When pure beauty colors our eyes
We know summer is set to rise

Spring is coming, so stay awake and do not snooze
Spring is coming, rejoice in knowing the Good News
Where the city of our God shines
He will establish in the pines
A beauty that has no ending
And winter that has no beggining

Spring is coming now.
In the city of God
There is a river
Where streams are made glad
Though the earth gives way
And the mountains tremble

Spring is coming now
And is to be praised.
Let creation rejoice
to the ends of earth
that this is our God

Spring is coming now
So be still and know
Our God is with us
He won’t forsake us
Let Zion be glad

Spring is coming, where the frost gives way to the dew
Spring is coming, just for you.

If you have some favorite Spring poems I would love to read them, send them on over or leave a comment below.

Southern Magnolia sieboldii Blooms in Early Spring

We have a tiny little Magnolia tree we planted about 3-4 years ago and all it does is bloom like crazy about this time of year. It never seems to grow or put out many leaves but the blooms are very pretty. It’s not the traditional Magnolia tree with the big waxy leaves, I’m pretty sure it is a Magnolia sieboldii tree but it really hasn’t grown much since we planted it, and today it is the photo of the day.

Early Spring Flower Blooms of Jasmine, Jonquil, and Daffodils

The photo of the day today comes from about 50 feet away from where I type this blog post.  You can’t really tell from the shot but these little guys are about the size of my thumb, and while we don’t have a huge supply of Daffodils at our place we have a bunch of little Jonquils. Normally I wouldn’t take shots of flowers blooming in direct sunlight but it made for some great bokeh in the background.

It’s just the very beginning of Spring here in Auburn (we have had March snowstorms before, see Rare March Snowstorm in Auburn 2009 and also Samford Hall and Auburn University in the Snow), one of the most beautiful times of the year.  Every year I look forward to these little guys coming up in the garden because no matter what cold temps are currently outside I know warmer weather is coming.

I know sometimes in this part of the country we look over the landscape, see nothing but green Pine trees that grow like weeds and think there are no other colors to be seen besides brown and green.  To me, seeing other colors is often a time issue.  Taking time to slow down enough to see the nuances that occur all around us.  It’s easy to see in the heart of Springtime, but even winter has some color around here.

Coming up next will be the beautiful purples of Wisteria and the Dogwood Trees.

Photos of Spring Wildflowers and Dogwood Blooms

Wild Flower in Bloom

Wild Flower in Bloom

Wild Flower in Bloom

Spider Web in the Sunset

Dead Cedar Tree

Closeup of Dogwood Flower Bloom

The flowers around town tell us it is Springtime but for the last week or so it has been nothing but cold and rainy so last night before it got dark I did another photo walk-through in the back yard (see part 1 Backyard Dose of Spring Flowers // Photos). There were plenty of wild flowers blooming and the Dogwood trees are still in full bloom down here.  I always think that if a photo needs an explanation it isn’t very good, but… the one with the sun in the middle was a spider web wrapped around a branch and the last photo is the very center of a Dogwood bloom.

If you walk around outside long enough you can always find something of beauty, even if it is actually in the eye of the beholder.

Photography of Wisteria Flowers in Bloom

Wisteria in Bloom

Magnolia in Bloom

Violet in Bloom

The backyard is a great place to take some photos of Spring in action.  I took these photos last night after I got home from work and it shows the color of Spring can be found just about everywhere right now.  The fist shot is the bud stem of the Wisteria plant which is almost as prevalent around here as Kudzu.  You can click on the larger size of the Wisteria and see it is covered in yellow pollen from the pine trees which is covering just about everything right now.

The next is a bloom from a Magnolia tree (a southern Magnolia I believe, not the traditional large thick green leaved trees), and the last is a violet (weed).  The violets are everywhere this year but they are so small if you don’t look closely you might miss them altogether.  They are about the size of a pencil eraser at most, and are usually considered to be weeds.

The Magnolia tree is interesting… one of the early bloomers of Spring, it produces these large white flowers before it grows any leaves at all and doesn’t bloom again until next February.  Right now it has exploded in bloom and the very center of the flower has a beautiful yellow and red center (shown below) which is also smaller than the size of a pencil eraser (very small).

Closeup Photos of Dogwood Blooms in Spring

dogwood buds

dogwood buds

dogwood buds

Pine Cone Buds

I didn’t really think about it like that until this year, but life seems so fragile sometimes, even if we live out the average life span for this country, we will only see, or recognize, this time comes around 50-80 times on average, if we are lucky.  I think the first 5-10 Spring season changes don’t really count since we can’t comprehend what we are looking at, but I have already experienced 37 Spring’s in my life, so as the flowers bloom and leaves start to fill the trees again, I am keenly aware I have about 35 down and 35 to go, so to speak.

I am amazed at God’s symphony that we call Spring.  Almost so slowly we don’t notice, the buds on the trees come out and things go from brown to green in a blink of an eye.  Last week in what I hope is winter’s last hurrah, I shot some photos of the Dogwood blooms on a tree in front of our house.  It survived the snow, the ice, the cold, to bring us the images below.  Of course down here in the south, no Spring is complete without the bloom of the yellow pollen from the pines.  I took the other shot a few days ago just before all the pods started to release gallons of yellow pollen that now covers every square inch of everything.

These photos are of the Dogwood in bloom just outside out living room window.  Just the smallest blooms, waiting for a warmer day to arrive.  The closeup of the pine tree below covers us in a bath of yellow pollen for several weeks, but it is still a beautiful sight when you know warmer weather is on its way.

Cahaba or Shoals Spider Lily in Full Summer Bloom

Cahaba Shoals Spider Lily

We had a nice weekend of hot weather, but it finally started raining. We have been in such a drought that any rain at all is a welcome site. After the rain cleared out our unknown bulb started blooming, rapidly. We were given this and told it was a “4th of July plant” and it started looking very star trek like before the blooms opened.

Cahaba or Shoals Spider Lily

Once the blooms opened we could see that it was indeed what is known locally in Alabama as the Cahaba Lily. Hymenocallis coronaria (Cahaba Lily or Shoals spider-lily), is known within the state of Alabama as the Cahaba Lily (outside the state it is known as the Shoals spider-lily) because it grows on the banks of the Cahaba River. It is actually an Amaryllis bulb and should multiple quite nicely in our garden.

You can see from the image that it has several more blooms to go, hopefully we can get some more rain over the next few days and it should be very happy. What is funny about this Lily is we actually got it from Texas. My father-in-law ordered it online, probably at Jackson & Perkins, but we took it from the box in Texas, back over here to Alabama and planted it in the garden back in March/April.

The image was taken very late in the afternoon. I love photography of flowers, but the conditions have to be just right to be able to get a sharp image, with a good background, and in good light. Especially when photographing a white flower, special care should be taken not to overexpose the white part of the flower.

Red Double Knock Out Rose in Bloom in Summer

Double Knock Out Rose in Bloom

This week has gone by in a blink. Yesterday we planted 5 oak trees before breakfast trying to avoid the mid-morning heat and by about 10am it was to hot to do anything outside. I looked over at our rose bush today, a red Double Knockout Rose (or aka a Double Knock Out Rose) and it was in full bloom.

Thinking again like I was yesterday, I went out to try and capture a photo of the bloom before it got way to hot outside. As my luck would have it, the wind was blowing like crazy.

The Red Double Knock Out Rose Bloom

Normally this time of year they are covered in red double bloom flowers but this one was not planted to long ago and it sat in the hot dry drought we have going on for several weeks looking rather pitiful. Two days ago Deb put some rose food around its base, and now, blooms everywhere.

This variety of rose is a sister to the Knockout Rose which can get to be a very large, tree, shrub sized rose bush. The Double Knockout is quite a bit smaller and well suited to our very young garden. I took this shot this morning, about 7am, before it got really hot outside.

The wind gave me fits as it decided this morning was the morning to blow, continuously, but I was still able to enjoy a small amount of time to smell the roses this morning before I went to work.