Tag Archives: flowers

SNIPPETS (5/17/2019)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

I finished my second video of the two Union Pacific steam locomotives, this one titled “They’ll be coming round the mountain when they come. They’ll be high up on the mountain when they come.” The scenery is just as beautiful as the train!

SNIPPET 2

The lead locomotive, Big Boy #4014, recently restored after sitting in static display at Rail Giants Museum in Pomona, California, from 1959 to 2014, derailed yesterday. The public didn’t know the extent of any damage for about thirty minutes. Fortunately, the train was entering the yard in Rawlins, Wyoming, so it was going rather slow. It took them a little over three hours to get Big Boy up on the rails again. We rail fans were tense for a time there.

SNIPPET 3

All the cacti that had bloomed in my gardens two days ago bloomed again yesterday. However, someone was late to the party but finally made it, but it was worth the wait. It’s a Trichocereus grandiflorus Thai hybrid.

SNIPPET 4

My neighbors have a huge loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica) in their back yard which I can see from my kitchen window. It is in full fruit right now, and the ground squirrels are all over it, seeming to forget that they are ground squirrels, not tree squirrels. Here’s one who has found an all-you-can-eat buffet about thirty feet up in the tree:

Ground squirrel eating loquats in the tree

SNIPPET 5

It rained all day yesterday, so I drank some macho juice and went outside to take macro pictures of raindrops on flowers. The first picture below is raindrops on the flowers of Asclepias physocarpa, a type of milkweed called the “Balloon Plant” because it’s seed pods look like balloons, albeit hairy balloons. The second picture is of the seed pods, of which this plant had three last year when it was just a wee plant; it’s now about ten feet tall.

Asclepias physocarpa

Asclepias physocarpa seed pod

SNIPPET 6

My road trip to Promontory Summit and Ogden, Utah, comprised five days and covered 2,282.9 miles (yes, I’m a little detailed). My two favorite scenic parts of the drive were the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona and Interstate 80 from Echo, Utah, to Evanston, Wyoming.

I bought a dash cam last July on that eight-day road trip, so eventually I’ll be able to share these two drives on YouTube. They were that great.

SNIPPET 6

Based on state license plates over the 2,282.9-mile drive, here is my considered opinion of drivers, best to worst:

  1. Wyoming drivers were the best but perhaps only because there were so few of them, right in line with Wyoming being the least populous state with a mere 544,270 people spread out over 97,000 square miles.
  2. Arizona—Interstate 15 went through the northwest corner of Arizona for only about 35 miles so I might not have a large enough sample to truly say anything definitive about Arizona drivers.
  3. Nevada—The speed limit was 70 or 75 mph, and Interstate 15 goes right smack dab through the heart of Las Vegas. I do believe most Nevada drivers also were gambling while driving.
  4. Utah—The speed limit on Interstate 15 in Utah is 70 to 80 miles per hour, mostly 80, only dropping to 70 in construction zones. Sadly, speed limit laws apply equally to the smart and the stupid, but I think the number of stupid people is far greater than smart people. The fact that so many stupid people are driving 80 miles per hour, and often up to 90 miles per hour, in heavy traffic, was a constant source of worry.
  5. California drivers were the worst. I think each person believes all roadways within 10 miles belong to him or her; female drivers were far worse than male drivers.

SNIPPET 7

Speaking of speed limits, it was interesting how each state handles them. California was 65 mph in or near cities and 70 mph in boondocks areas. Arizona was 70 mph and 75 mph, as was Nevada. Utah was 70 mph in construction zones, 75 mph through cities, and 80 mph in the boondocks, which was basically all of southern Utah. Wyoming was 80 mph. My thinking would be that California needs to get with the program!

SNIPPET 8

Gas prices were another issue of mine. When I left the confines of California, gas was $4.799 a gallon for the cheapest grade, usually something like ARCO 87 octane. In Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, gas was $3.049 to $3.159. Interestingly, almost all the brands were the exact same price, so instead of doing ARCO, I went with Shell, Union 76, and ExxonMobil.

As I determined back in the late ’70s when I got my first car, the major brands brought better gas mileage. What was weird, though, was that the major brand cheap gas was 85 octane. Theoretically, 85 octane should give you lower gas mileage than 87 octane.

Gas mileage using California ARCO 87 octane gas ranged from 30.9 mpg to 33.8 mpg. Using Shell, Union 76, and ExxonMobil 85 octane gas provided 35.2 to 40.7 mpg.

A new item this morning indicates that certain entities might be manipulating California gas prices, which I would believe since California gas prices usually aren’t $1.80 higher than surrounding states.

I filled up with Shell gas at a truck stop just south of Las Vegas where I paid $3.089. A few miles later I passed the first truck stop in California where the gas was $4.999. I saved $1.91 a gallon, calculating to $22.92 for my
12-gallon tank. That would buy a lot of margaritas!

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

An explosion of color in my cactus gardens

I live in my own little world

There currently is a flower explosion happening in my cactus gardens.

Here are some pictures of today’s color:

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

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Friday Flower Fiesta (11-3-17)—Alternatives to that all-white landscaping of the north

Friday Flower Fiesta

I never have been a fan of that all-white landscaping that they seem to prefer this time in northern states. It’s just boring. I want flowers. Lots of flowers. Like these:

Bird of ParadiseBird of Paradise

ArtichokeArtichoke

Tuberous Begonia
Begonia

Tuberous Begonia
Begonia

Tuberous Begonia
Begonia

Wax-leaf Begonia
Begonia

Cane Begonia
Begonia

Tuberous Begonia
Begonia

Water Lily
Water lily

Lily
Easter lily

All of those started as plain ol’ pictures of flowers. I used Redfield’s Fractalius G4 to add a little extra pizzazz to them. Fractalius in one of my favorite photo editing programs. It’s interesting because it literally has millions of settings.

The bad part is that I could not tell you exactly what setting I used for any of those pictures above. The good part is that I could not tell you exactly what setting I used for any of those pictures, which means they truly are one of a kind because other than telling you that I used Fractalius, I wouldn’t know how to do any of them again.

Fractalius does have a little die which you can click on. It’s like rolling the dice. You don’t know what setting is going to come up. It also has a “last used” setting but I quickly discovered that what I liked for the last picture doesn’t necessarily work for the current picture, so I usually just keep rolling the die until I get something I like.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Friday Flower Fiesta (12-16-2016)—Winter flowers in San Diego

Friday Flower Fiesta

Although Winter doesn’t begin for another few days, many of my northern friends are posting pictures of this really boring all-white landscaping. It’s enough to drive me to drinking margaritas. I thought today would be a perfect time to show them what real winter landscaping looks like.

Friday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray Photos Friday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray Photos
Red pelargonium, Friday Flower Fiesta, October 12, 2012 Friday Flower Fiesta Friday Flower Fiesta

Pansy

Bird of Paradise flower

Mother of thousands flower head from the side

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (9-25-15)

Friday Flower Fiesta

One of the things that I really like doing in Photoshop is replacing the dull, boring, uninteresting, cloudy, overcast gray skies with beautiful blue, partly cloudy skies.

However, I also enjoy it immensely when I get a picture directly out of the camera that I am pretty happy with, something that doesn’t happen often, which is why I became a Photoshop expert to begin with!

Following are some examples. Except for adding frames, only the last two were subjected to significant post-processing in Photoshop. That doesn’t mean that the other pictures can’t be improved upon, only that I was quite happy with what I had to start with.

Blue Sky Ecological Reserve

Friday Flower FiestaFriday Flower FiestaFriday Flower FiestaRed rose, Friday Flower Fiesta, October 12, 2012Friday Flower Fiesta 4-5-13Friday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray PhotosFriday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray PhotosFriday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray PhotosFriday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

For wise old grandmothers everywhere

My wise old grandmother

My wise old grandmother had the most beautiful yard and gardens, although I have to give myself a little credit because I’m the one who mowed the yard and trimmed the trees and bushes. THAT is why I have never had a grass yard that needed mowing and never had trees and bushes that needed trimming. Whatever is in my yard and gardens gets to grow until it can grow no more.

One of my wise old grandmother’s hanging baskets had a plant in it that I really didn’t like. The plant had no leaves, and its stems and branches were flat. It just looked weird to this 12-year-old, one who was not weird himself, yet.

However, it didn’t need water, fertilizer, or pruning. It simply existed in its hanging basket. So THAT was a plus.

Then one day it bloomed.

I was a fan forever.

The plant is more on the expensive side, so I have never had one. However, when my employee, Julian, and his mom moved last summer, his mom asked me if I wanted any of the plants. ANY? Does ALL count as ANY?

Two of the plants she had were the odd-looking plant that my wise old grandmother had. Yesterday, one of them bloomed. Looks like this:

img_2015 epiphyllum stampPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is the flower of an epiphyllum, common name orchid cactus. The flower is about nine inches in diameter. It’s huge! And it’s purple, which was my wise old grandmother’s favorite color.

My wise old grandmother died in June 2003, but I do believe she has come to visit me in my garden. I shall name my epiphyllum Mary since that was my wise old grandmother’s name. You thought her name was “my wise old grandmother,” didn’t you? Nope.

Mary Agnes Hartmann Kirk, this epiphyllum is for you, and for wise old grandmothers everywhere!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Anniversary? Birthday? Graduation? Marriage?
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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