Menagerie Monday: Lingering in Lipica

Having taken you to Slovenia yesterday, I’d like extend the invitation and share with you another highlight from that wonderful day. One of the stops that we made was the Lipica Stud Farm, where the world-renowned Lipizan horses are bred and trained. They are highly-valued in equestrian societies for their elegance, stamina, and showmanship. j-1741lrWe had several other places on our planned itinerary for this busy day and not a lot of time to spend at this one, so we declined to pay the rather-high entrance fee and drove around the outside of the estate grounds instead. My photo angel, Frances, was with me yet again on this occasion, as one of the bordering roads took us fairly close to a fence from which I was able to make this telephoto shot of four of them. I felt rather like a paparazzo!

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Serenity Sunday: A Farm with a View

In September 2009, during a work trip to Italy, a friend invited me to a drive across the border into Slovenia. For dinner, he took me to a tourist farm in the hills above the little village of Breg pri Golem Brdu, and this was one of the views from one of the windows. breg-pri-golem-brdu-1774-09-12-09-10-16-16Slovenia was the 50th country I have had the privilege and pleasure to visit.

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Flashback Friday: CLV Revisited

My blogging buddy Linda over at Shoreacres commented, just the other day, on my current header photo. It’s a favorite of mine, and one that I made at one of my very favorite places. This particular day in late September six years ago  started out with heavy fog, and I decided to take advantage of it with a walk around one of the lakes on the grounds of the Concordia Language Villages, several miles north of Bemidji, Minnesota. buck-lake-11012pmtxpsThe colors were close to peak and, as I started my hike around the little lake, the fog slowly lifted and gave me a complete softbox sky that lit everything evenly without any harsh direct sunlight or sudden deep shadows. One can hike around the lake in a half-hour or so, but I stretched it out to several hours, savoring the gentle beauty of this oh-so-lovely spot.

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A Fondness for Fungi: Late oysters

I was only at the cabin for a few days and only had time for one walk in our woods, a little more than a week ago, but this year’s crop of mushrooms was the most prolific I can remember. My last post highlighted one variety, which I hope to identify more closely when we go back for the last time this season (in a couple of weeks). Meanwhile, here’s Late oysters 2735lrpsanother variety that seemed to ask for attention. After consulting the Minnesota Seasons website, I have tentatively identified these as Late Oyster Mushrooms (Panellus serotinus), though they may be a form of turkey tail. We have a good mushroom book, but it’s up at the cabin and, again, I’ll have a closer look soon to see if my first hunch seems reasonably justified.

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A Fondness for Fungi: Birch Boletes(?)

I’m back at home after several days at the cabin, during which I had no time at all to pay any attention either new posts or comments from my WordPress pals. In fact, it may be a week or more before I can get back to reasonably normal.  Be that as it may, it was a wonderful trip, and I’ll be posting about it for some time. One of the highlights was a walk in the woods, during which I found that the mushroom population has absolutely exploded this year. I’ve never seen so many and in such variety. I’ll start with a decades- old birch stump that is very close to the cabin. I’ve seen mushrooms growing on it before, but something has caused ideal conditions, and I was quite literally stopped in my tracksBirch Boletes 2688crlrpswhen I saw what has flourished there. I didn’t have the time, unfortunately, to consult my Minnesota mushroom field guide, so I’ve done a quick Google search, and I believe that they are birch boletes (Leccinum scabrum). We will be returning in a couple of weeks to close the place up for the winter, and I’ll try to examine one more closely to be able to identify them more reliably. Meanwhile, aren’t they magnificent?

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About Face (4)

This is a category that I haven’t reawakened in some two and a half years, but a close encounter a couple of weeks ago urged me to pick up the thread again. It is dedicated to my imagination, which sometimes permits me to think I can see the likeness of a face in some aspect of the natural world.  And, as I said, it’s been some time since I found one.  We have a sweet autumn clematis (Clematis paniculata) that grows up the post on which our mailbox perches, and if we don’t trim it back occasionally, it would engulf the whole structure. Insects love the flowers (as do we), and I often stand next to it and study its depths to see what new visitor might have decided to spend some time there. I spied this 2547crlr_pslittle moth a few inches in from the outermost blossoms and hoped it would wait for me to fetch my camera and tripod.  It turned out to be a patient one and it was still there when I 2555crlrpsreturned, and remained so while I spent a happy quarter of an hour trying to see how close I could get before it became uncomfortable with my proximity. But even when I was within 2555crlrps-cquite intimate macro range, I didn’t notice what resembled a face on its dorsal thorax—this didn’t happen until I was check- ing extreme zooms to pick out the most detailed of several similar shots that I’d made in a series while waiting for absolute absence of the breeze that was causing the flowers to bob and weave around. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the one on the death’s head moth that appears on the poster for the film Silence of the Lambs, but quite a bit more gentle and, at the same time, definitely more alien-looking. What do you think? (If you click on the About Face category, you will be able to see my three previous posts on the subject.) I’m sorry, but I don’t know the moth’s name.  Anyone?

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A liking for lichens: Bretagne

Earlier this month, as I was going through my archives from my visit to France in April 2002 to bring you my photo of the Vaillac meadow, I came across this study that I made during an adventurous and memorable hike on the Pointe du Raz, the westernmost tip of 04-20-02-pt-du-raz-lichens-1-lrpsFrance, in Bretagne (Brittany). There are at least four varieties of lichen here—light and dark crusty ones on the rocks, the brilliant orange one, and the pale green filamentous one—in addition to some interesting small succulents.

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