A Little Help from my Friends

This is a blog from Chris Condello, a young fellow I have been following for some time. He has reached out through his words and pictures but this blog reveals how hard his life can be. Please send good thoughts his way. He is a fragile thread in this weaving we call life but the tapestry is better with him in it.


The following post was not easy to write… before the emails and comments start I have to say that I am alright… I won’t be accepting comments on this particular post… Read it for what it is… A deeply personal piece of art… Enjoy…

TulipSnowfall “Snow on my Dreams of Spring” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – Yesterday… Snow fell from the mid-April skies… Last night… The temperature fell to 21F… Snow is truly falling on my dreams of spring…

PlumChurch “Plum Blossom in a Neighborhoods Bottom” – Second Presbyterian Church of Wilkinsburg – Hay Street – Wilkinsburg, PA – Took a walk through one of the neighborhood food forests the other day… It had to be a quick walk because it decided to start raining the moment I walked out the door… This garden was a project done by a local artist/resident and a few non-profits… And I honestly don’t…

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Image #220 – Flight pictures

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Frequent visitors by now will have figured out that I take many pictures and only a small percentage reach this blog. I try to be discriminating but sometimes, I think, I may apply too high a standard. The picture above is a case in point. This was captured about a week ago. I was at a nearby park and saw these pretty birds “working” the area around the fence. The markings on this bird are quite distinctive but my reference resources are limited so I don’t know what kind of bird it is. Please, anyone, feel free to help me out.

When I sorted the pictures that night I lingered on this photo for quite a while because it is so dramatic. Birds are such awesome creatures of agility and I love pictures that capture their moves. I was going to post it but then thought better of it because it wasn’t “good enough.”

And then a fellow blogger — Bird Canada — posted a blog about flight and said, “in fact, a good picture can reveal things that go [by]  too quickly if you are looking at it at normal speed (even after the fact on a video).”  I immediately thought about this photo.  Yes, it isn’t as sharp as I would like but it is a good picture because of what it reveals. It has caught this bird springing straight into the air from the fence, with his wings tucked and extended all at the same time.  In the next moment, which I and the camera completely missed, he dove straight down in fast pursuit of a tasty morsel.

So, thanks Pierre for  your wonderful photo-essay.  Photographing birds in flight is not easy but even the less than perfect picture can be pleasing. ❧

Image #217 – No entry

SAMSUNG CSCThese windows on an old Florida farm house caught my eye and imagination recently. There was a time when there were dozens of dilapidated, clapboard farm houses all across the Florida landscape but they are rapidly disappearing in the “new” Florida.  I’ve photographed this particular house twice now.  It’s still standing but doesn’t have much longer.  To see more pictures from this shoot visit my Flickr set “Old Florida Farm Houses.” ❧

Image #213 – Oak Cathedral

SAMSUNG CSCIt was really a beautiful  day here. Tango and I hiked to one of my favorite spots along the orange trail at Myakka, off Fox’s High Road. I call it Oak Cathedral.  Today it was particularly stunning with the new tree moss blooms shinning bright red in the sunlight, looking like stained glass windows.  It is so peaceful in this grove.  We lingered here for quite a while and many thoughts passed through my mind.  I have cousins and friends who are going through some difficult, grief-filled times. I wished I could transport them all to this spot. For the grieving soul there is no better place than nature. Long hikes are not required. It is as simple as sitting quietly in your yard or a nearby park. The comfort is there, waiting to be embraced. ❧

Image #208 – I Wish I Knew

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I had a nice hike at Myakka River State Park on Sunday along with my friend Kim and, of course, Tango.  It was Kim who spotted the plant above.  At the time I was busy collecting my dog who had decided to go for a swim in the marshy area by the two-track path we were following. I didn’t really mind that he decided to go for a swim but his backpack contained my macro lens!  Thankfully no harm was done.  Tango did need a bath afterwards.

But I digress. This tiny gem is about 2″ in circumference and seems to favor marshy ground. We found numerous clusters near the marsh but none further on. Alas, all my reference books are in NC and I am in FL so I had to dig a bit on the web.  The “petals” as you can see, are spiked with a dewy substance on the tips.  The plant seemed carnivorous so I ran a search on Bing images but, as usual, there were pictures with no data.  I did locate one plant that was very similar and it had a name–Sundew.  So I proceeded with a search based on  “Sundew” plant and learned it was part of the Drosera family–there are more than 170 species.  So, Sundew is as good as it gets. They are small and easy to overlook–especially when you dog goes swimming with your macro lens. 🙂

Image #207 – Ladybugs, hired assassins

Image #207Many people have a love affair with Lady Bugs (Coccinellidae).  They are the stuff of children’s songs and story books.  Some will look upon them as emissaries from the spiritual world. But basically they are cute and colorful insects, welcome additions to a garden because they will eat other insects, especially aphids.

It is that Lady Bug talent that led my friend Mary to purchase more that 4,000 lady bugs.  To the uninformed, L.B.s can be purchased online and will arrive via the mail in a cardboard box that is dotted with air holes. The bugs themselves are in small wire-mesh type envelopes that you cut open and loose on your garden.  Mary is installing a butterfly garden and numerous aphids had found their way to it…I mean NUMEROUS. So rather than spraying them Mary decided to bring in a posse of hired assassins…the Lady Bugs.  That’s one of the 4,000 in the top picture. In the picture below you can see some of the aphids–the yellow dots– that are fodder for the L.B.s.  The L.B.s appear to be very efficient.  Mary is hoping they stick around. ❧

Image #207 (1)

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