Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Under my canopy…

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The cherry tree is in bloom. Stand under it and be totally covered in a cloud of cotton-candy pink with sound effects. The number of bees that are buzzing is so loud that you think that your ears are exploding or you are ready for lift off into the great unknown. Must enjoy it at every opportunity because it only lasts for a couple of weeks before all the blossoms rain down in pink snow caused by an errant wind. Like anticipating the blood oranges or Chandler strawberries coming into the farmer’s market, the week of March 17 marks the blooming of the cherry tree. It is superior to the marking of a year by school vacations or holidays, in my humble opinion…

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I spent the last few weeks painting my gate…easier said than done it turns out.

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The paint had gotten chalky after nine years and there were rusty spots. After some research on the internet my process was this:

1. Sand the chalky paint and sand any rust away

2. Wash with a rag and a spray bottle filled with 50% water and 50% vinegar

3. Immediately spot prime with rustoleum oil based primer for metal

4. Paint with metal paint…since I wanted a color that was not standard I had to use an alkyd. (At least the clean-up was easier.) I am hoping that if it needs repainting in another nine years I will have moved to Rossmore and somebody else will get to paint it. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…It was not the easiest painting job because every joint is soldered and needed pouncing with a small foam brush to get the crevices painted. Then, I could use a foam roller on the flat places but had to go over it another time with the brush to smooth any pooled paint. Oh, and also I did not want to totally cut back the Dutchman’s pipe vine and there were a few places I could not get paint underneath the vine that has such a vise-like grip. One of those jobs that the best thing about it is that it is done!

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Now the pipe vine has a beautiful purple background…and we are still waiting for those special butterflies that are supposed to be attracted to it.

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Dutchman’s Pipe Vine flower


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Success at last…

Many times in these posts I have mentioned visiting the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. In particular, the butterflies have held my interest. Last week we made a swift visit and had a few moments to see them again because I am always in hope of capturing a photo of the Blue Morpho. I have been successful with birds…

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Other butterflies…

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The Blue Morpho closed up…

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But usually it is…

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I was in despair until there was one quick moment this time (thanks Terry for spotting it)…

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At long last, success!!


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Tuesday morning, early…

Just because we can (two retired people), we decided to take advantage of the monthly Members Day at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. With eyes barely open we hopped in the car to brave early morning commute traffic to take advantage of special activities just for members. (The best part about it is that you get in early and there are no lines where usually the lines are quite long.) That day we wanted to see the feeding of an anaconda at 8:45 Unfortunately, the traffic did keep us from watching but by the time we got there ten minutes later, he was still cuddling his rabbit.

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We wandered the aquarium until time for our next member’s activity. I felt I was being watched the entire time (and it wasn’t by the guards).

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Then it was a preview for members of the new Terrace Restaurant that would open in a few days. This meant FREE FOOD, and being San Francisco…high style free food. Oh, yum, chacuterie with duck rillettes (who does that!), cheeses and sliced meats with artisan mustards. Plus…

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San Francisco cioppino with crab…

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A few moments to wander the rainforest where the birds and butterflies were very active…

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Hope springs eternal that on some visit I will catch a picture of this Blue Morpho butterfly, but once again this time I could see them fluttering around but none would light in a convenient place for my little iPhone. I had to rely on the display picture…

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Then we participated in a “behind the scenes” tour and got to see where the thousands of specimens are stored. The theme of the tour was how photography is used in studying science and at the end they had specimens set up so that we and about 10 kids could try our hand at photographing specimens.

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It pays to be a member!


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iPhone Photo Friday…

The iPhone’s native camera-no apps

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From the aquarium…

To the rainforest and butterflies…

(Which is the snake?)

And then to the penquins…

and up to the living roof covered with California native plants…

and I could not resist bringing out the Classic Pan app for the view sans fog…

While we were up on the roof there was a show by some redtails-in-love (which is what it is called at this time of year). Gotta love it…great day trip!


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Morning fieldtrip…

A purchase marking Terry’s retirement was a membership in the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. This membership is worth its weight in gold because each week there are membership hours where you can get in before the crowds. In winter on weekdays there are school field trips that fill the place, so your observations are done to the background of excited, enthusiastic gaggle of kid voices. The extra hour before it opens to the general public is quiet with just a few people and you are able to get a good look at the albino alligator.  The only disadvantage is that we have to be out of the house at an ungodly hour in order to take advantage of the early entry time. Well worth it, when all is said and done.

I combined some of my images into collages. There was a beautiful display of preserved butterflies in one part that I combined with images in the aquarium and rainforest/ butterfly exhibit. Lots of condensation made glass patterns for backgrounds.

This layering was done with the Backgroundz app and an iPhone 4.


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Tales of the garden (as opposed to the city)….

Butterflies finally paused long enough for me to get a few pictures.

A Western Tiger Swallowtail on a Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii). (Not native, but certainly does the purpose of drawing the butterflies to the garden.)

And an unidentified butterfly on a Del Norte Willow (Salix delnortensis).

Our wild turkey visitors.

And a Photoshop image of a big, round bee with so much pollen on its legs that it is a wonder that it can fly and buzz.