Belated New Year Greeting and Hummingbird Profile

New Year 2013
New Year 2013, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

I’m popping in to wish you all a belated Happy New Year.  (At least it’s still January!)  I haven’t posted for a while, but I’ve really appreciated your visits, comments and well wishes on my blog and by email.  Healing in general is slow, and even slower when there are already existing health issues.

This is my Japanese New Year postcard for 2013.  I have been creating these postcards, called “nengajo” for the last few years, and with my own twist!  (Click here to see my nengajo from last year.)  In Japan, these cards are traditionally delivered on January 1st, but there is no mail delivery in the United States on that day, so my cards arrive after the 1st.

  • Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu 明けましておめでとうございます – Happy New Year!
  • Nengajo 年賀状 – Japanese New Year’s card
  • Etegami 絵手紙 – Japanese word meaning picture letter/message, traditionally done in a postcard size meant to be mailed
  • Hachidori  ハチドリ – Hummingbird

This is an image of a female Rufous Hummingbird, which I created from a photo I took last summer.  Hummingbirds have different symbolisms in different countries, but the more common ones I’ve found are the following:

Tiniest of all birds, the hummingbird is quite spectacular.  It is the only bird that can come to a dead stop in mid-air.  It can hover, fly backwards, forwards, up and down.

A common symbolism of the hummingbird is joy.  It also symbolizes powerful energy, the ability to accomplish the seemingly impossible, and flexibility in life circumstances.  They are reminders that life is meant to be savored.  When in the air, their wings are continually in motion, which symbolizes tirelessness and perseverance.  The hummingbird wings move in the pattern of the infinity symbol (figure 8) and are often thought to symbolize eternity and everlasting life.”

 Wishing you a happy new year full of JOY! 

Linking up with:
NATURE NOTES
WILD BIRD WEDNESDAY
BIRD D’POT

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Related postings:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

“The photo challenge this week is GREEN?!?!  Are you kidding me?
Why isn’t it BROWN…or better yet…SQUIRREL?”

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I wanted to be the star of the show…the main attraction!
Ya know what I mean?”

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“Hey Dude…just relax…chill out!
You ARE the center of attention now with all your griping!”

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This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is to share pictures
that mean green to you.

 Linking up with:
PHOTO ART FRIDAY
WEEKLY TOP SHOT
CAMERA CRITTERS
YOUR SUNDAY BEST
MACRO MONDAY
NATURE NOTES

Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

Frost
Frost, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

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winter’s paintbrushes
create fascinating abstracts
frost on my window
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A photograph of fractal geometry (frost) creating a common geometric shape (triangle).

Fractal:  A geometric pattern that is repeated at ever smaller scales to produce irregular shapes and surfaces that cannot be represented by classical geometry.  Snowflakes and frost are examples of fractals in nature.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is to share a photo
that means geometry to you.

Linking up with:
PHOTO ART FRIDAY
WEEKLY TOP SHOT
WILD WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE
MACRO MONDAY

“R” Challenge: Residence (nature), Residents

Haunted House
Haunted House, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  Click on photo to enlarge.

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residence for spooks
sporting indelible costumes
haunted house
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Does this look spooky to you, even without seeing any of its residents?

This nest is a residence for the Bald Faced Hornet and was in my mother’s yard in her large Asian Pear tree.  It was about 3-feet off the ground and larger than a football in diameter.  When she told me about it last week while I was visiting her, curiosity motivated me to have a quick look and snap a couple of photos.  However, fear of having a painfully potent encounter with lots of small black spooky-looking things drove me away very quickly.  I have been stung before by yellowjackets and bees, and I’ve stepped on a bumble bee nest by accident – big owwwwwie for several days!!  So I decided to use Wikipedia’s photo below so you can see what the little critter looks like up close.

Bald Faced Hornet – Source: Wikipedia

Here is some information about the Bald Faced Hornet:

  • It belongs to a genus of wasps in North America called yellowjackets, but called a hornet because it builds paper nests.  It is not a true hornet.
  • Are large (greater than 15mm) with black and ivory coloring
  • Are common tree-nesting wasps
  • Are more aggressive than yellowjackets and other hornets
  • A nest can contain 400 to 700 workers
  • Will aggressively attack with little provocation, and anyone or anything that invades their space
  • Have smooth stingers, and will sting repeatedly if their nest is disturbed
  • Are known for their football-shaped paper nests
  • Nests are abandoned by winter and are not reused
  • Old nests provide good winter shelter for other insects and spiders since they are insulated from heat and cold
  • It is not considered safe to approach the nest for observation purposes
  • Their scary costumes and face masks are permanent!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 

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This is for the letter “R” Story Challenge by Frizztext, to share a short story or reflection, even an aphorism using a word tagged with each letter of the alphabet.
Kim Klassen texture used – Providence

 Linking up with:
MACRO MONDAY
TEXTURE TUESDAY
OUR WORLD TUESDAY
NATURE NOTES
RURAL THURSDAY

Continue reading

“Q” Challenge: Qigong

Scrub Jay Qigong
Scrub Jay Qigong, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  Click on photo to enlarge.

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focus…breathe…relax…
mastery of awareness
perfectly balanced
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Qi (or chi – pronounced “chee”) is frequently translated as life energy, life force, or energy flow.  Qi is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts.

Gong (or kung; gung – pronounced “gung”) is often translated as cultivation or work.

Qigong (pronounced “chee gung”) refers to the cultivation and balance of life energy, especially for health.  It focuses on breath, movement and awareness.

Qigong (and tai chi, with which you may be more familiar) is a traditional Chinese exercise.  It is a form of gentle exercise involving movements that are typically repeated, composed of strengthening and stretching the body, increasing fluid movement, enhancing balance and building awareness of how the body moves through space.  It is based on two ideas:

  • Qi flows through the body along “energy pathways” called meridians. If the flow of qi is blocked or unbalanced at any point along the pathway, it is thought that you may become ill. Doing qi gong (or tai chi) increases energy flow and improves health through gentle, graceful, repeated movements.
  • Nature, including the body, consists of opposing forces called yin and yang. Good health results when these forces are in balance. Qi gong (or tai chi) movements attempt to help restore the body’s balance of yin and yang.

Some believe that as a complement to Western medicine, qigong can help the body heal itself.

(Sources: WebMD and Wikipedia)

Notice the scrub jay in the photo above.  He is perfectly balanced at the top of a 35+ feet tall tree with his right leg, and is holding his left leg steady, as if he is doing a qigong movement!  He also has a deformed left foot, which doesn’t seem to hold him back much. (Click here to see another photo of this same bird.)

Also, seeing his pose reminded me of the original 1984 “Karate Kid” movie, when Daniel was learning an important life lesson about balance.  (See image at the Wikipedia link here.)  In reality, this bird was just waiting for me to put out some peanuts for his daily treat!

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Examples of qigong health benefits:

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Have you tried qigong (or tai chi)?  If so, what are your experiences?

Continue reading

“N” Challenge: Nectar, Nourishment

Nectar
Nectar, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  Click on photo to enlarge.

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calm reflection
sustains mind and body
emotional nectar
>>:::<<

We still have a few honeybees buzzing around drinking in the last few drops of nectar from our flowers before they are done for the season.

What nourishes you?  What is the nectar that feeds your mind, body, and/or spirit?

Continue reading

“M” Challenge: Macro

Copper Apricot Daisy
Copper Apricot Daisy, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  Click on photo to enlarge.

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blossoms reveal
bouquets within a bouquet
savor the beauty
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Have you ever noticed that the inside of many flowers seem to have their own separate bouquets?  You can see a small part of this bouquet in the copper apricot daisy above.  That’s one of the beauties of a macro lens, it helps us stop and notice detail that we may not see because of their small size.

What have you noticed around you with your own internal macro lens?  How do you stop or slow down in these busy lives we have and savor details.  Do you “take time to smell the roses?”  There is beauty all around us.  Slow down, even for a few minutes, to notice it.

Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

Violet Dreams
Violet Dreams, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Linking up with Camera Critters, Rural ThursdayWeekend Flowers, Photo Art Friday, Floral Friday Foto, Flower Art Friday

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open invitation
attracts a welcome friend
violet dreams
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This lupine blossom seems to be extending an invitation to be pollinated by its buzzing friend!  Also, the surrounding blossoms create a nice purple background, in line with this week’s theme (and one of my favorite colors).

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is to share a photo that means PURPLE to you!

“D” Challenge: Details, Dahlietta

Dahlietta macro
Dahlietta macro, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Linking up with Your Sunday BestMacro MondayTexture Tuesday,  Tuesday Tips and Pics, and Nature Notes.

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seemingly trivial
yet vital to the whole
notice the details
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This is a Dahlietta flower that we planted outside in our yard, which is a hybrid and smaller than a regular dahlia bloom.  For this macro image, I wanted to focus on the small, but important details of the center flower pistils.  (Also, the original color was a brighter orange, so I applied a texture to the photo to soften the overall colors.)
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This is for the letter “D” Story Challenge by Frizztext, to share a short story or reflection, even an aphorism using a word tagged with each letter of the alphabet.
Kim Klassen texture used is ‘pumpkin grunge’

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

Gladiolus Haven
Gladiolus Haven, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Linking up with Rural Thursday, Photo Art Friday, Camera CrittersFlower Art Friday, Weekend Flowers.

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a soothing nestle
inside silk walls and blankets
gladiolus bloom
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Gladiolus:  a widely cultivated plant of the iris family, with sword-shaped leaves and spikes of brightly colored flowers.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is to share a photo that means INSIDE to you!

“B” Challenge: Bees, Blue Orchard Bee, HoneyBee

Blue Orchard Bee
Blue Orchard Bee, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Linking up with Camera Critters, Your Sunday Best and Macro Monday.

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a speck in nature
tiny but not trivial
interdependence of life
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Bees, in general, are the major type of pollinator for flowering plants.  They are the “predominant and most economically important group of pollinators in most geographical regions….Pollination is not just a free service but one that requires investment and stewardship to protect and sustain it.”  (http://www.unep.org)

Recently, I noticed several of these dark-colored bees attracted to our lupine flowers and snapped this photo, among others.  What is the significance of this little Blue Orchard Bee?  Recent concerns about the decline of the honeybee population, along with the blue orchard bee’s highly efficient pollination, such as with tree fruits, have increased interest in the blue orchard bee as an alternative orchard pollinator to the honeybee.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), about one mouthful in three in the diet directly or indirectly benefits from honeybee pollination!  This includes nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables.  It’s amazing how we, and many things in nature, are dependent on such small yet important insects.

There are various reasons for the decline of the important honeybee colonies, but a couple of suggestions that the public can take to help the honeybees and other bees is to:

  • Not use pesticides indiscriminately, especially during mid-day when they are foraging for nectar, and
  • Plant, and encourage the planting of good nectar sources

I saw a quote that read, “Everything in the world, no matter what it is, depends on something else for its existence.”  Can you think of a case where this is not true?  So far, I haven’t been able to.
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This is for the letter “B” story challenge by Frizztext, to share a short story or reflection, even an aphorism using a word tagged with each letter of the alphabet.

References:

Z! Challenge: Zygomorphic Flower

Peach Iris
Peach Iris, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Linking up with Macro Monday, Texture Tuesday, Nature Notes and Our World Tuesday

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soft, silken scarf
offers gentle cradling
a blossom’s grand entrance
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Zygomorphic flower:   A flower that can be divided into equal halves along only one line; bilaterally symmetrical. The flowers of the iris, orchid and the snapdragon are zygomorphic

This post is for the “Z” Challenge by Frizztext.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

Closeness
Closeness, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (Click on image to enlarge).
Linking up with Camera Critters and Macro Monday.

Here is another close-up photo from the ladybird world.  How does the saying go?…oh yeah…”two’s company, three’s a crowd!”
My response when I saw this was…”REALLY??!!??!!” Continue reading

Happiness Is…

Hummingbird Peek-a-boo
Hummingbird Peek-a-boo, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Linking up with Nature Notes and Rural Thursday.
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…playing peek-a-boo with a hummingbird!

I am submitting this photo for the weekly photography challenge at the Digital Photography School website.  The theme for this week is “movement” (the hummingbird wing represents movement).

If you happen to have an image or posting with your own interpretation of “Happiness Is…”, feel free to include the link in the comments below.

X! Challenge: Xerophyte

Xerophyte
Xerophyte, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Linking up with Our World Tuesday

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Lovely luring blooms
thrust an agonizing bite
beautifully painful
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Xerophyte:  a plant adapted for life and growth with a limited water supply; a desert plant (like cactus).

This plant is called Opuntia, or Prickly Pear, which is in the cactus family.  They are low growing with red, purple or yellow flowers, and have two types of spines – large, smooth, fixed spines, and small bunches of hairlike prickles called glochids, which distinguish prickly pear from other cacti.  This photo was taken last month along the La Sal Mountain Loop Road near Moab, Utah.  In this area, the blooms occur in May and June.

This post is for the “X” Challenge by Frizztext (“X” is for Xerophyte) Continue reading

V! Challenge: Voracious

Voracious
Voracious, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (Click on image to enlarge).
Linking up with Macro Monday.

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a splendid banquet
satisfies the ravenous
nature’s pest control
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Photo taken in our garden today.  This is the first year I’ve seen aphids on one of our lupine plants.  This ladybird was apparently famished.  I’ve seen most of the ladybirds go after the smaller aphids, but this one went after a large juicy one…and then ate several smaller ones afterwards!

This post is for the “V” Challenge by Frizztext (“V” is for Voracious – also Victor and Victim)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today

Meet LITTLE MISS OUTGOING…


“Hello, pleased to meet you!  Wanna Play?”

…and LITTLE MISS SHY…


“Please don’t take my picture.  I’m very, very shy.”
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…two different ladybugs, yet two different personalities captured today!

This week’s WordPress photo challenge theme is “today” – it’s about TODAY. This day. The day you’re reading and reacting to this post. No rules or guidance on what to post other than the photo must be taken today.

T! Challenge: Tulip, Tenacious, Texture

Aging Tulip
Aging Tulip, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (Click on image to enlarge).
Linking up with Texture Tuesday and Flower Art Friday

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tenacious beauty
unyielding compassion
tulip life-cycle
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The tulips in our yard are at the end of their blooms.  The leaves are tired, withered and falling off, yet some of the plants seem to be holding onto compassion as long as possible.  The stamens in this image appear to be in compassionate speech with each other, forming a heart shape at the same time.  What I see here is an example of beauty in aging.

(I applied a background “texture” to this photo, as another interpretation of the “T” theme.)

How do you interpret this image?

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This post is for the “T” Challenge by Frizztext (“T” is for Tulip, Tenacious, Tired, Texture)