Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Big Tree :: Ever Wonder What A 1000+ Year Old Tree Looks Like?

photo: Big'un © Biologie.

"The Big Tree" at Goose Island State Park in Texas is said to be the oldest living coastal live oak tree in the Nation. To give you an idea of it's "gorgeous oakiness of grandeur" (as I like to call it), you may use my family and other visitors on the far side of the tree as a size reference in the above photo! Wow!

The tree is a hop, skip and a jump from the coast of Aransas Bay and "he" is part of a family called Coastal Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana). These trees don't have the typical large, lobed oak leaves of the big oaks found further North. Rather, the leaves are small and ovoid.

In addition to allowing visitors to gaze happily at the wonderful mighty oak, Goose Island State Park also offers camping, birding, and fishing. You can sign up to borrow fishing gear through their "Loan A Tackle Program" if you forget your own equipment.

It's also a nice park for picnicking, nature study, wildlife observation, and photography. If you are a boater you'll be happy to note that the park even allows boats with motors! Also, there are guided nature hikes year round and guided birding tours are held from January through April. Unfortunately our visit was too short to take full advantage of all the activities offered, but we did enjoy the drive to see the handsome oak with it's gnarly branches and wonderful shade!

The Big Tree's girth is around 35 feet and it's branches make up a 90 foot canopy! Even though it's surrounded by a protective fence, you can check out the behemoth of a tree from all angles by following a circular paved pathway all the way around. When you walk up to the tree along the path you will pass it's offspring in the grove.

While my family was in Rockport for vacation my niece, Ahlyssa, picked up a list of "51 Things To Do" while we were there and that big ole beautiful tree was on the list, I'm so happy to have seen it and what a great time we all had that afternoon!

We visited The Big Tree in early April and found it surrounded by pretty Texas wildflowers of Orange Globe Mallow and Pointed Phlox. This photo (below) reflects my mood today, bright and shiny!

Orange Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea munroana) and Pointed Phlox (Phlox cuspidata) Wildflowers
photo: © Biologie-me. FLICKR

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In Remembrance Of. :: And, What's a Treasury on Etsy?

Photo: Cherry blossoms / Sakura / 桜 by Tanaka-san

Definition of The Treasury from the Etsy Blog:
"Satisfy your inner curator — Treasury to the rescue! The Treasury is an ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery of handpicked items. Members can feature their favorite items, items selected on a theme or just whatever they like. The Treasury is not intended for self-promotion, but instead to acknowledge and share the many cool things for sale on Etsy. Etsy’s staff (“Admin”) often choose whole or partial exceptional Treasury lists to promote to the featured, handpicked items on Etsy’s home page. Treasury lists are temporary and limited in number, so there is some competition involved in creating a list of your own."
In addition to the Treasury on Etsy, there are places to find "anti-Treasuries". An "anti-Treasury" is an off-site collection, usually posted on personal blogs, put together by members of Etsy who didn't get a chance to grab a treasury spot on the Etsy website. Anti-Treasuries are also a kind of protest to the fact that Treasury lists on Etsy are temporary and limited in number! Showing up in a Treasury or an anti-Treasury is a wonderful compliment!

To help all the starving artists at Etsy promote their wares, the hamsters have been running the wheels a lot lately to crank out a beta version of the Treasury called Treasury East and Treasury West. My Cherry Blossoms Necklace is featured in a Treasury West list curated by Linn of EarCandyArts: Quiet Cherry Orchard. For Cat.

Linn of EarCandyArts is a fellow Etsian and makes beautiful earrings that are so yummy-pretty her friend said they look like candy. That's how she got her shop name! Not only that, but her gorgeous earrings come as a pair with a spare so when you lose one (it's inevitable) it's mate won't end up a lonely earring at the bottom of the jewelry box. Also, Linn is part of a team called Etsy Project Embrace (EPE) "whose main purpose is to create awareness and support for people who have been diagnosed with Cancer, whatever kind it may be. " The Quiet Cherry Orchard Treasury is in honor and remembrance of a fellow member of the EPE Team, Cat, a photographer and jewelry designer who passed away Monday, April 19th.

May Cat be in the peaceful orchard of Heaven's Garden.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Wildflowers Bringing Hope

My mom has Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. We learned about the diagnosis this past weekend. All the days are running together and it has been (and still is) extremely hard news to swallow for me and my family. While the world kept turning and the wildflowers kept blooming and the sun kept shining, I found myself looking out in a haze of gray, as if seeing everything through a dark veil across my eyes.

My mom is a very strong, optimistic lady with incredible faith. She's doing okay, as a matter of fact she's doing amazing under the circumstances. She's not as much afraid for herself as she is for what this is doing to her family. Because of her, I'm starting to see the light again. I think we are all slowly coming out of our initial shock. Her doctors are starting her on an aggressive therapy to suppress her immune system so she can receive an allogeneic stem cell transplant. Our hope is that everything will go smoothly without complication so we can get her back to "normal" within the next 6 to 8 months.

Therefore, in the name of Hope and Love, I share with you these photos of the recent wildflowers I've found growing in my backyard:

The blue flower is Prairie Spiderwort and I was very surprised to see it growing along my back fence! The pretty orange-red with yellow borders is Indian Blanket, one of my favorite Texas wildflowers. Lastly is a little red flower with feathery leaves that I have yet to identify. If you know what is it, please let me know because I love to identify wildflowers, especially the ones growing spontaneously in my backyard!

Here's a list by date of the Spring 2010 wildflowers I've documented in my backyard:

Spring 2010 Backyard Wildflowers

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Think you can read me like a book?

Maybe! But you can definitely read me like a blog post at the Raige Creations blog where I'm honored to say I am a Featured Creator!

Read more: Biologie In Art - Featured Creator

Rebecca @ Raige recently awarded me with the Sunshine Award. I'm feeling the love. Everyone needs sunshine and all the blogs I follow deserve this award so I nominate them all! To see a list of the blogs I follow please see my Profile.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rockport Sunrise On A Cloudy Day

Rockport is a great little town on the Texas Gulf Coast. We took a little vacation there with family this past week. It was nice to get away for awhile and I think we needed a change of scenery! Nothing better than waking up and throwing open the curtains to a waterfront view of the sunrise over Aransas Bay!

Our trip included BBQ's and a crab boil at the picnic spot right off the water, fishing on the 1000 foot long pier, crabbing and eating the freshest seafood, including the best oysters on the half shell I've ever had plus lots of walks down the bay front road with our two dogs and family.

We also visited The Big Tree at Goose Island State Park, the Lamar Cemetery, Rockport Beach Park, and a beautiful place named Schoenstatt!

Here's a photo I took while we road the Ferry Boat to Port Aransas:

I have a lot more pictures to share plus suggestions on what to do if you ever find yourself in the charming Rockport-Fulton area. More to come!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

My natural brown eggs don their Sunday Best!

I bought these adorable Egg Cozies from Raige Creations' shop on Etsy.

Aren't they too cute for words?

Drop by her blog and say hello, here.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bluebonnets Tell Bees Which Flower To Pollinate :: Nature In Harmony!

Last month I mentioned bluebonnets are the state flower of Texas:
The very first bluebonnet I photographed in my backyard this year was very young and none of the flowers on the spike had been pollinated yet. You can see my blog post about the "baby" bluebonnet, here.

How do I know if the blossom has been pollinated?
When the bees pollinate the bloom, the white section in the center of the little "bonnet shaped" flower turns a pinkish-red. My blogger friend, Hali, mentioned she'd like to see the color change and I promised a photograph so today it's time to deliver!

Here we go:

Why the color change?
Bees don't interpret colors the same way humans see colors. They see the world in colors of blues, greens, and ultra-violet light. They can also see oranges and yellows. They can't see the color red.

Since bees can't detect the color red the flowers of the Bluebonnet have adapted to save energy and time for both the bees and the flower. The flowers want to be pollinated so they can produce a seed and continue the cycle of life. They bloom and present a pleasing flower of blue with a white (or yellow) center to attract pollinators. The bees can see the bloom no matter what the color, however, that center of white or yellow is the key attractant. As far as the bluebonnets are concerned, they want the bees to ignore a flower that has already been fertilized and move up to a flower on the spike with a white or yellow center (colors bees are attracted to and can "see").

In a nutshell, the reason the center of the bloom changes color is to encourage the pollinators to move to a flower on the bluebonnet spike that still needs pollination.

Nature in harmony!
The way bees and flowers work together is called symbiosis. Symbiosis is a relationship between two organisms of different kinds which benefits both organisms. Yay!

Go forth and bloom! :)