Columbine #219A, 220BR, 233BR & 222BR

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September 26, 2015

Columbine, whose scientific name is Aquilegia, which is derived from the Latin word aquila which translates as eagle, is so named because the spurred shape of the plant’s sepals on many of the sixty to seventy species of the flower resemble an eagle’s talons. This easy to grow, hardy perennial blooms from late spring through early summer. Though not particularly a long-lived plant, most die off after only two or three years. However, the plant does grow easily from seed, and if seed pods are allowed to develop annually will reseed themselves. The long spurs of the flower produces a nectar that is a favored by hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.

Native to Asia, the plant is now found growing in the wild in meadows, woodlands and at higher altitudes throughout North America and Europe. Columbine, which come in many colors ranging from red, pink and white to purple and blue, are propagated by seed, growing to a height of fifteen to twenty inches. The plant will grow in full sun, however it prefers partial shade and a moist, rich, well-drained soil. Having a long taproot, which allows it to survive periods of drought, this same taproot does make transplanting the plant somewhat difficult.

Columbine, the state flower of Colorado (Rocky Mountain Columbine), were consumed in moderation by Native Americans as a condiment and are said to be very sweet. However, the seeds and root of the plant are very poisonous and if consumed can be fatal.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

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Orchids #31AR, 42AR, 38AR, 39AR, 26BR, 33AR, 41AR & 44BR

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September 19, 2015

Orchids, whose botanical name is Orchidaceae, has more than thirty-five thousand species and as many as three hundred thousand hybrids in its family, making it one of the two largest plant families along with the Asteraceae family, which includes such flowers as Asters, Chrysanthemums, Dahlias, Daisies, Marigolds and Zinnias. In addition to being one of the largest flowering plant families, evidence suggest that Orchids first appeared more than one hundred and twenty million years ago, making this elegant flower also one of the oldest.

Because of the exotic appearance of this flower, I always assumed that the plant had its origins in the tropical regions of the world. However, since getting my first Orchid, I have learned this assumption cannot be any further from the truth. Though many species do grow in the tropics, in locales such as Central and South America, Africa and the Indo-China region, other species are found in our planet’s temperate regions along both sides of the Equator in regions such as the United States, Europe, Russia, China and Australia. Even more interesting is the fact that Orchids are also found growing in rather cold regions of the planet, in places such as Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and northern Russia. In fact, there are only a few countries in the world in which Orchids do not originate, such as the desert countries of northern Africa and the Mid East, and also the continent of frigid Antarctica. In an interesting note, forty-eight species have been found in the state of Maine, while Hawaii only has three.

All Orchids are considered perennials, and grow via two different methods, monopodial and sympodial. Monopodial Orchids has a central stem, which grows upward on top of its prior growth. The plant’s roots and flower stalks all begin life from that same central stem. Sympodials, in which most Orchids are members of, new growth originates at the base of the prior year’s growing season, resulting in the plant growing laterally.

Due to the immense number of different plants in this family, the blooms of Orchids come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Some Orchids produce just a single flower, while other varieties produce multiple blooms. The flowers range in size from a pinhead up to nearly twelve inches wide. They come in all colors except true black, although the most dominant colors are white, yellow, pink, lavender and red, although green and brown are very common as well. Typically, Orchids consist of three sepals, three petals. One of the petals is greatly modified, which forms the flower’s throat and lip. The plant has simple leaves with parallel veins, and they normally alternate on the stem and are often folded lengthwise. The leaves may be either ovate, lanceolate or orbiculate in shape. As far as soil types go, this to me is what makes Orchids very unique from most, if not all other flowers. Some grow in soil; some grow on trees, some on rocks, while others survive on decaying plant matter. One more interesting note is that vanilla favoring comes from the Vanilla Orchid.

The particular type of Orchid shown in these photographs is a Phalaenopsis, which are commonly referred to as a Moth Orchid. If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

Sunset Over Plattsburg Road #56B

Sunset Over Plattsburg Road #56BSeptember 12, 2015

This photograph was shot about fifteen years ago, at my old farmhouse.  Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, the old farm sure was a long way from home, not only in actual distance, but life in the fast lane as well.  One thing I loved about living so far out was that I never had to worry about neighbors complaining about playing the stereo too loud, although I did have a sheriff’s deputy come out to the house on two separate occasions.  They could not believe they were reporting a noise complaint.  I did have two speakers, each with a fifteen-inch woofer, on the back porch, sitting up against the windows, facing out, as to be able to rock while gardening.

After my divorce, I bought my first Fender Stratocaster on my fortieth birthday, in pursuit of a life-long dream of one day learning to play the guitar.  Every other Saturday, two brothers (ok, one was technically an ex-brother-in-law, both were divorced, thus the every other Saturday) would come out for the day to pick a little, cook a big meal and partake in some of mother nature’s finer spirits.  We used to rock the old farmhouse.  It is my love of music, and playing the guitar that gives me the will to live to this day.  Oh yeah, I also get a little pleasure in dabbling a little in photography as well.

Taken that long ago, needless to say, these photos were shot on film, and the 4×6 prints were scanned onto my computer, where they were tweaked just a little, adjusting both the color and brightness/darkness levels, before matting and framing them.  As such, looking at this photo online does not do justice to the original 4×6 photographs, as some of the sharpness was lost.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

I sure do miss that old farmhouse!

Steven H. Spring

Have The Cleveland Browns Ever Won An NFL Championship?

September 12, 2015

As the NFL kicked off its 96th season Thursday night with a game between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers, it is rather absurd that the league will also celebrate its 50th Super Bowl at the end of the year. Did the league not have a championship game during its first fifty seasons?

Well, of course they did. It was only called the NFL Championship, which is exactly what the Super Bowl represents. And, as a matter of fact, the Cleveland Browns have won four championships. Yet, they never receive the proper credit, because they all occurred prior to the championship game being called the Super Bowl.

During the Browns first decade in the league, after winning all four All-America Football Conference championships, the team played in the championship game seven times, winning three, including a championship their first year in the league. Not only did the Browns dominate the All-America Football Conference during their first four years of existence, they continued their dominant play during their first decade in the NFL. The team won its last championship after the 1964 season.

Yet, not one football talking head on television mentions these historical feats, only that the Browns are one of only four teams that have never played in a Super Bowl. Granted, those championships were a long, long time ago, but I am old enough to remember the last one.

Steven H. Spring

Twin Towers #112B

Twin Towers #112BfmSeptember 11, 2015

The Twin Towers was the name most people referred to 1 World Trade Center (the North Tower) and 2 World Trade Center (the South Tower).  These two buildings, along with 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 World Trade Center, comprised the World Trade Center complex, which stood in lower Manhattan, in New York City until September 11, 2001.  The total cost of the complex was $400 million.  When the Twin Towers, designed by Minoru Yamasaki and Emery Roth, were opened on April 4, 1973, they were the tallest buildings in the world, standing 110 stories.

On September 11, 2001, in arguably the most horrific act of terrorism ever committed in a single day, members of al-Qaeda, an Islamist militant group that was founded by Osama bin Laden, flew a Boeing 767 jetliner into each tower.  One hour later, the South Tower had collapsed followed a half hour later by the North Tower.  By the end of this ghastly day, 7 World Trade Center had also collapsed, leaving 2,753 people dead and many more injured.  All other World Trade Center buildings were later demolished due to being damaged beyond repair.

In the coordinated terrorist attack on that fateful Tuesday morning fourteen years ago, nineteen members al-Qaeda hijacked a total of four planes.  One of the four crashed into the Pentagon, located in Washington, D.C., the fourth plane crashed in a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers, who learned of the other hijackings via cellphones, attempted to retake control of the plane.  All told, nearly three thousand innocent people lost their lives that horrendous day.

Steven H. Spring

Is It Legal To Sell Alcohol Only To Rich People?

September 9, 2015

An open letter to Gene Smith, Athletic Director at The Ohio State University, regarding its new policy of selling alcoholic beverages only to the wealthy elite;

September 8, 2015

Mr. Gene Smith
Director of Athletics
The Ohio State University
Room 224, St. John Arena
410 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1166

Dear Gene,

I was surprised to read in last week’s Columbus Dispatch that alcohol will now be sold in Ohio Stadium. That is, only to rich folks. It was only a few years ago that alcoholic advertising was banned from all NCAA events. I guess the organization decided that, despite multi-billion dollar television contracts, it was no longer making enough money and caved in to the almighty dollar. I was also shocked to learn that alcohol was being sold to patrons in the Schottenstein Center ever since it first opened. Again, being sold only to those fans who pay top dollar for their seats.

I assume the rationale for this decision is the supposition that rich folks are much better behaved, especially when consuming alcoholic beverages. Even if true, you are punishing the masses for the behavior of only a few. I think there is no dispute that the working man and woman are far more zealous fans than their wealthy counterparts. This is why Value City Arena, for most games is a dead arena. Selling seat licenses for prime seats and seating students up in the rafters led to no home court advantage for Coach Matta and his BasketBucks. I will give you credit for moving some students down behind both benches. However, the huge eyesore of a black ribbon behind several rows of students, roping off three or four rows of prime seats is an insult to the great job that Matta has done. The reasoning given for this black ribbon is that fans in those seats might actually have to stand to watch the game.

This new policy does not affect me, as I gave up drinking some thirty-five years ago and I stopped buying alumni football tickets a decade ago not only because of the cost of a ticket but also your asinine policy of not informing alumni what game you are purchasing tickets to. I have far better things to do with $150 than waste it watching the Buckeyes beat up on Podunk U. I find it astonishing that it is much cheaper to go to a professional game than it is to a college game, played supposedly by amateurs.

College sports long ago sold its soul to the devil that Big Money is. Selling alcohol to rich people is just the latest example. The lust of money is leading to the demise of capitalism, and thus America itself. Your policy of selling alcohol only to the wealthy elite reeks of elitism. The Ohio State University should be embarrassed by this act of discrimination.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

Iris #156CR, 158D, 157CR, 159BR & 160CR

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September 5, 2015

Irises are a genus of three hundred species of flowering perennials named after the Greek goddess who was said to have rode rainbows, so named because of the rainbow of colors the plant is famous for. Irises, whose scientific name is Iris, is the largest genus of the Iridaceae family. Many of the three hundred species are natural hybrids. Once commonly called Flags, Irises are native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, especially Asia and Eurasia.

Irises like full sun and will grow in nearly every soil type, although they prefer a neutral to slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Without enough sun, typically requiring at least six hours a day, the flower will not bloom. It is said that Irises can withstand drought that would kill most all other flowers. If the soil is too sandy, or clayish, organic matter such as compost should be added. In addition to being drought-tolerant, this flower is also deer-resistant, however the plant is vulnerable to borers, which can eat its roots.

Growing to a height of one to three feet, depending on the species, the flowers of this plant sit atop long, erect stems and appears fan-shaped with symmetrical six-lobed blooms. Three sepals drop downwards, while the three petals stand upright, although some smaller species have all six lobes pointing directly outward. Most Irises bloom in early summer, although some hybrids will re-bloom again later in the growing season. Though purple is its predominate color, the blooms also come in pink, orange, yellow, blue, white and a multi-color. Besides humans, these flowers also attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

What make the Iris somewhat unusual in a typical garden in my neck of the woods, is its rhizomes, which are fleshy, root-like stems of the plant from which it roots. The rhizomes should be exposed, unlike that of bulbs, because they need some sun and air to help keep them somewhat dry. If covered by dirt, or crowded out by other plants, the rhizomes will rot. If the rhizomes appear rotten and/or diseased, let them dry out in the sun for a few days, and any healthy looking piece can be replanted.

Clusters of the plant should be divided every three or four years to keep the plant vigorous. The plant should be divided in late summer or early fall. Do not trim the leaves back during the summer, as they carry on the photosynthesis process until late fall. Brown tips should be cut off, and the stalks of the deadheads should be cut down to the rhizomes to discourage rotting. Irises should not be mulched, as mulching retains moisture and too much moisture will rot the rhizomes.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring