Friday, December 28, 2018

A Thousand Words

At the end of the year, we have a tendency to do a "Best of the Year" post featuring our best "phauxtos" for the past year.  This year, we thought we would do something different.  We will still hold a vote on Facebook for the best pictures from the season.  But, on the blog, we're going to select from the candidates and include some of the 'words' they might bring to mind when we see them.

Today's picture features purple coneflowers and oregano in full bloom on our farm.  If you look closer, you might see a hint of other flowers (such as a rudebekia) in the background.  This picture has not been filtered in any way, so you are seeing the color just as I saw it.

The sky was slightly overcast, so the sun did not bleach out the color with its light.  There was only a light, sporadic breeze - just enough to keep a person comfortable.  In fact, this was one of those rare times on the farm that I saw something I liked and I stopped what I was doing to go GET the camera.  Often, the moment is lost because light and conditions can change before you return to record it.  I was fortunate that this was not the case this time around.

This picture tells us two stories.  The first is what you might expect - there is beauty in nature.  There is healing for the soul if you can just transport yourself to that field that is covered in flowers.  Most places in nature have a specific time when they really dress up to show off, but you need to give them the rest of the year to build up to that moment.

The second story is one of absence.  The flowers are clearly in full bloom.  The weather was beautiful.  But, there are no pollinators in this picture.  Coneflowers and oregano (and the other flowers in the area) are plants that often attract a whole host of pollinators, yet I observed none while I stood there to take pictures.  There was very little wind, there was plenty of light, temperatures were moderate and it was a typical point in the day when there is often significant insect activity.  This area should literally have been humming with activity at this moment.

But, it wasn't.


  1. We have a bird feeder that the chickadees love, but there are many times of the day where there is no activity. Could it be that there is a rhythm we don't know about? Otherwise it is a sad beauty...

    1. This is certainly a reasonable thought on the matter. The answer is, yes, there is certainly a rhythm that our birds, pollinators and other creatures have that we don't always recognize. And I wish I could believe that was the reason. But, when you have flowers like the ones you see in this picture, and there is no activity throughout the day, we have a problem.

      I think the part that is hard for me to describe is that I am outside much of every day during the growing season. I've been doing this now for enough years that I can tell you the activity by our pollinators is much declined from what it once was. I actually feel like I have some idea of the patterns that pollinators follow - they respond to the weather, light conditions, target flower state and time of day. According to my past experience, everything pointed the time being right for them. And they weren't there.

      I don't want to be alarmist, but my observations - along with those now being shared by others - have me extremely worried.

      Regardless, thank you for taking the time to comment. We'll keep planting the flowers and hope that our small part can help the recovery of the pollinators.


  2. What a lovely image -- and so well composed too! (The depth of field, framing and how you got both some of the coneflowers and rudebekia in focus). Though indeed, a disconcerting story the flowers tell too ... I hope you, Tammy and all feathered and furred farm occupants had a pleasant holiday.

  3. Thank you Tamsyn!
    We hope your family is also enjoying the holidays!
    Since I clearly barely qualify as a 'hobbyist' when it comes to photography, it's great when one shot turns out so well.


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