Author Archives: Russel Ray Photos

About Russel Ray Photos

Photographer career began in sixth grade in 1966.

“Cats” – Special edition of LIFE magazine available now!

A special edition of LIFE magazine is now available at your local news stand. I searched everywhere online to try to provide a link to an online source so you wouldn’t have to get all spruced up and go out into the world to buy it. Alas, it looks like it’s available only out in the real world. I can highly recommend it, regardless the source.

The bar code says that I paid $13.99 for it. I didn’t know until just now. It’s not just a magazine, though. It’s a great “book” that will be in my library until the day I die. Well worth the $13.99 (plus tax?), and I’ve only read the first 22 (out of 96) pages.

Best quote in the first 22 pages:

“No matter how much the cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.”—Abraham Lincoln

Cats, a LIFE special edition

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Gomphocarpus physocarpus

Perhaps if we renamed them

Did you know?

About a year ago a friend of mine was out trying to buy milkweeds for her gardens. That reminded me that I wanted a milkweed, too. I went searching but couldn’t find regular, everyday milkweeds at any of the nurseries. I’m thinking that, perhaps, if we were to rename them, say, butterfly bushes, the nurseries might carry them. Anyways……..

The last nursery I stopped at had an interesting tree near the checkout stand. Looked like this:

Gomphocarpus physocarpus

I wandered around the nursery looking for plants that I didn’t have, that I needed, that I wanted. I found a few, but I kept coming back to that tree with the Chinese lanterns hanging on it.

Gomphocarpus physocarpus

I had not seen any for sale so I asked about it. The plant lady told me that it was a Gomphocarpus physocarpus, that it was in the milkweed family, and that it always had monarch caterpillars and butterflies on it each year. She said she thought it was about ten years old.

I asked her if she had any for sale. She had “a few in back” so she went to get me one. It was just a little thing on July 17, 2018:

Gomphocarpus physocarpus

Here is what mine looked like on May 26 when I saw the first monarch butterfly on it:

Gomphocarpus physocarpus

It looks like this today, full of Chinese lanterns:

Gomphocarpus physocarpus

This thing blooms year-round, and I have seen monarch butterflies on it, lots of caterpillars, but no chrysalises. I’m thinking there might be some predators around who snack on the caterpillars before they can hide in their chrysalises.

Here is a 31-second video of a monarch caterpillar chomping down on it:

Dear Diary (July 5, 2019, 1st entry)

Ha!

I discovered that Olivia is keeping a diary.

She just made this entry a few minutes ago.

I found it only because I had gone out to the kitchen and she followed me, thinking she was going to get morning food, without closing and locking her diary.

Trust me.

I would never break into and read someone else’s diary.

Dear Diary 07052019

Olivia's first visit to the vet on July 3, 2019

How old is the little girl?

So……………………

Olivia had her first vet visit yesterday. Picture below.

Said vet questioned the date of birth, provided by the El Cajon Animal Shelter, as November 21, 2017.

Said vet thought it more likely that it was November 21, 2018. That would make this little girl just 7 months old instead of 1 year & 7 months old. That certainly would explain her small size (7½ pounds) and her boundless energy.

Said vet approved of feeding her whenever she wanted to eat, as much as she wanted to eat, and we’ll see if she “puts on weight and grows up to be a full grown cat.”

Said vet approved of the food I was feeding her, which is not kitten food. Said vet said at her actual age or perceived age, adult food was fine.

If she is only 7 months old, she’s a very well trained and/or smart little 7-year-old. She has learned that she cannot go on the top of the piano, tables, and countertops. She’s not happy about being banished from the bathroom countertops, though. Oh, well.

Next visit to said vet is scheduled for January 3, 2020.

Olivia's first visit to the vet on July 3, 2019

Zoey the Cool Cat's remains

Zoey the Cool Cat has come home

Zoey the Cool Cat came home at 12:16 p.m. on July 1, 2019.

Zoey the Cool Cat's remains

I don’t know what all is in it because it’s so beautiful that I haven’t opened it. There’s an envelope on top from the Pet Emergency & Specialty Center, probably some sort of sympathy note.

Originally I was planning on creating a memorial in my reading garden because I wasn’t expecting something this beautiful. I’m going to leave this inside and create a different type of memorial in my reading garden. Jim and I haven’t decided yet when, or even if, we will open it.

Rest in peace, little girl, and thank you for twelve years of your love and antics. You’ll always be with us.

Nature's Geometry: Succulents, by Russel Ray

Nature’s Geometry: Succulents

It looks like I finally am finished doing the final editing and design layout for Jeff Moore’s fourth book, Spiny Succulents. It only took all of February, March, April, May, and June!

Now that I’m finished, I am endeavoring to write my own book. Originally I was going to title it Nature’s Geometry: Flora. However, after doing a presentation on Nature’s Geometry: Succulents on June 22 for the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society in Escondido, California, I realized that I actually can make three books out of the Nature’s Geometry subject: Succulents, Flora, and Fauna. I could even exclude people from Fauna and do a fourth book on People & Their Creations.

I have started fifty books previously. Chapter 1 is complete in all of them. I just couldn’t decide where to go with Chapter 2, so I gave up. With Nature’s Geometry: Succulents, I don’t have that problem because my Powerpoint presentation for Palomar C&SS is my outline. So it’s just a matter of writing the text, which was my narration for the Powerpoint presentation, and formatting the text and pictures for an 8½” x 8½” square book.

I already created the cover, which I think will help me go forward. Looks like this:

Nature's Geometry: Succulents, by Russel Ray

I also have written the Dedication. Many readers probably know who I am dedicating the book to.

Dedication, Nature's Geometry: Succulents, by Russel Ray

I hope to have this book completed by August 1, which I think is possible since I have the Powerpoint presentation as my outline. I’m letting BookBaby do the publishing and printing because they can do print on demand, which means I don’t have to order many thousands of books with the subsequent shipping charge. I can order 250 softcover books with an ISBN, printing, and shipping, for just $11.76 per copy. The only reason I’m ordering that many is because I already know what my initial demand and my promotional give-away total is. One can order as few as 10 books or so, but the price per copy goes up, of course. This enterprise should keep me busy for a little while.

Of course, Olivia also is keeping me busy, or at least entertained with her photogenic antics.