Common Buckeye Butterfly on Ironweed


It is hard to look manly prancing through a meadow, net in hand, chasing a butterfly as I did as a student at Morehead State University.   Don’t think this was a daily occurrence, as it only happened once when we were trying to collect specimens for our insect collections in Invertebrate Zoology class.

I was reminded of this two summers ago when I was chasing this common buckeye butterfly through a field of ironweed in a beautiful area of Morgan County, Kentucky called Woodsbend.   Except it was less prancing and more hobbling.   Carrying a camera instead of a net was probably not any more manly looking either.

The order of butterflies and moths is called lepidoptera.   This is the only order I remember from that class and only because our professor told us that butterflies burst out of their cocoons and “lepid” up off the ground.   Apparently there is an advantage to having a PhD.

This particular butterfly must have sucked down the nectar from a flower that was doused with the fifth can of Red Bull some teen-ager could not finish due to his sudden tachycardia.   I chased it for thirty minutes before it lit on this ironweed plant.

In this part of eastern Kentucky, fields of ironweed indicate that summer is about over and fall is coming.   Ironweed plants are difficult to photograph.   The true color is hard to capture.   It takes a dimmer overcast day to capture the true deep purple of the blooms.

Photographing butterflies, on the other hand, just takes someone who is in denial about their ability to maneuver strappingly through a meadow.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.



My wife loves daisies.   It’s her favorite flower.   Therefore it is my favorite flower.   If something can bring a smile to my wife’s face in exchange for the perpetual eye roll  response to my usual way of doing things, then I want a case, or a gross, or a truckload, or a hillside of these little glee-makers.

I guess you would assume this blog is an act of contrition to something stupid I said…or did…or acted upon…or any other poorly thought-out instinct that I am responsible for in the time-space continuum, and that would be a good assumption.   I have used the Bellis perennis on many of the above occasions.  However, this is not one of  those many instances.

I took this photo of a daisy in my father’s flower garden.  I used a Canon 50 mm macro lens.  I wanted the contrast of the white petals with the darker shaded background.

Whenever I see daisies, I first think of my wife.

After many hours of thinking precious thoughts about my wife, I think of Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail”.   I hate to admit  I love this movie.   I will always watch it whenever I am riding the Big Kahuna of the Fiber-optic Sea (channel-surfing).   No matter what point I pick up the movie, I will always watch it to the end.  I love when Joe Fox comes to visit Kathleen Kelly when she is sick.   I love it when she says, “I have a temPAtour”.   And I love when Joe gives her daisies and she says ” they are the friendliest flower”.

In some discombobulated way, this blog is about my brother-in-law.   He loves the movie “Tombstone”, a little more testosterone-driven than Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.   He can quote all of Doc Holliday’s musings, as in “…you’re a daisy if you do”.

My brother-in-law retired last week after forty years of educating.    He was very good at whatever job he had in education from teacher, to coach, to principal, to director of pupil personnel.   He was very good because his first concern was the  students.   He will never know the full scope of what he meant to those many students that were taught and guided by him and even those that were disciplined by him.

My brother-in-law was never accused of being politically correct.   He had been known on occasion to tell one or more of his female co-workers to visit the moon hut during a certain monthly celebration. (I hope this doesn’t interfere with his first retirement check).   But, to a woman, they all loved him.  He was, at times, at odds with the teachers union, his superiors, and parents.  But in each instance, he had the best interest of the students in mind.  He was very well respected and like Frank Sinatra, he did it his way.

So to my brother-in -law, I say “well done”.  Your retirement is well-deserved and you will be missed by your peers and co-workers and above all, the students.  So here’s to more Florida time in winter with your lovely wife, more golf, more late morning breakfasts, more days with your grandkids and more times to watch “Tombstone”.

Incidentally, if  my brother-in-law finds out I can quote “You’ve Got Mail”  like he can quote “Tombstone”,   he will want to send me to the moon hut the next time he hears me fussing.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my photos here.

Pieris Japonica in Sunlight

image_1 2Sometimes all we need is to bask in the glow of the sun.

After a particular long winter in eastern Kentucky of cold and wet and gray days, these early, sunny, spring days give us a renewed vigor and hope.

Pharaoh Akhenaton, who hailed from the land of the Nile and died about 1335 BC, appreciated the healing power of the sun.   Though the Nile winters probably weren’t as long as the ones  along the Licking, he thought enough about Ol’ Sol to try to make him the only god in Egypt (other than himself, of course).   However since the good pharaoh noticed that no one was oiling up in his presence, he probably sensed that the sun may have been a little more important than himself.  He is credited to bringing monotheistic worshiping to Egypt, quite radical thinking in those days.

After he expired he was deemed a little goofy by the religious community and polytheism was restored.   In a sense, Akhenaton got the equation right (wanting to serve one god), he  just solved for the wrong variable.

To continue this walk down memory lane, Akhenaton’s wife was Nefertiti.   And who doesn’t like to say “Nefertiti”?  They were the proud parents of Steve Martin’s alter ego, King Tut.

While playing with my new macro lens, I took this picture of a Pieris Japonica bush in our landscaping.  I took the photo a few days ago.   I like how the little bloom at the end of the strand has found the sunlight.    He seems happier and more well-adjusted than the other pasty, nerdy-looking blooms with the Cheetos-stained petals.

I thought of how we all need the sun and how God placed the sun at exactly the right distance for us.   Though the sun has been given a bum rap with all of the UV scare, it actually is a necessary part of our good health.  We need certain amounts of sunlight to aid in digestion, skin problems, and sleep.  We need its anti-bacterial defenses.    This is only a small list of benefits of the proper amount of sun-worshiping.

We probably don’t need to go to the extreme of the West Liberty Kiwanis Swimming Pool  lifeguards of the 1970’s and oil up with  Hawaiian Tropic red label for maximum tanning (affectionately known as “fry sauce”).   We just need to follow the advice of this little Pieris Japonica bloom and seek the healing warmth of the sun when we can.

So get out and bask in the sunlight.   The religious leaders probably won’t put you in stocks on the town square.   Although, if the sun is shining, you probably would feel better.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.