Lilies #1475ER, 1518BR & 1475GR

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April 15, 2017

Easter Lilies are known primarily as a potted plant given as a gift or bought for oneself during the Easter holiday. This plant is considered the traditional Easter flower because it is said to symbolize goodness, purity, life, hope and innocence. Most people who buy the plant for themselves or who receive it as a gift throw it out after the blooms have all died, however this need not be. Although it is not known as a hardy houseplant, it can be transplanted outdoors, where it can bloom for many years.

Ironically, this lily does not bloom outdoors during the Easter season. In your garden, they bloom during June or July. Greenhouse growers pot the bulbs in the fall and force them to bloom for the holiday by turning up the heat in their greenhouses. Easter Lilies spout a straight stalk, which grows to a height of about two feet, and bear large, elongated buds that open into pure white flowers with yellow anthers. The large trumpet shape flowers produce a tremendous fragrance.

After the plant’s last bloom has died, it can be planted outdoors after the last frost. Its bulbs should be planted three inches deep, and if planting more than one, they should be spaced twelve to eighteen inches apart. This lily likes a somewhat rich, moist but well-drained soil. It likes the cool morning sun and not a hot afternoon one. It is hardy even in cold climates, but should be mulched. In colder regions, the bulbs should be dug up and stored indoors during the winter months. If left outdoors, the mulch needs to be removed in the spring to allow the new shoots to grow.

Easter Lilies, whose botanical name is Lilium Longiflorum, are native to the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan. Its U.S. popularity is due to that of one American soldier. At the end of World War I, Louis Houghton bought home a suitcase full of these bulbs. He just happened to live in a region of the southern coast of Oregon, whose climate is very similar to that of the Ryukyu Islands. Before World War II, nearly all bulbs came from Japan, however that all changed when importing them was banned during the war. Ten farms along the California-Oregon border now produce ninety-five percent of all bulbs sold to U.S. growers, where they are grown in greenhouses around the country in time for the holiday. Easter Lilies are the fourth largest potted plant crop sold in the U.S. behind only that of Poinsettias, Mums and Azaleas.

Nearly all Easter Lilies have the Lily Symptomless Virus that could spread to other Lilies in your garden. However, the virus may or may not cause problems. One other issue with this plant is that it is highly toxic to cats and other animals.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too great 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
Earth

The Best Christmas Present Ever

December 25, 2016

Driving home a barren country road early in the evening twenty-one years ago from the local village market, it was a cold, clear night. Rounding a sharp curve, one very bright star caught my eye. Knowing very well that this star was a planet, most likely Venus, however I could not help but be reminded of the Star of Bethlehem, lighting the way for the three Wise Men to find their way to Bethlehem, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It was Christmas Eve after all.

Two months earlier, life as I knew it ended quite suddenly, an accumulation of related events that cost me both my promising career and marriage. When you combine that with the medical crisis that nearly cost me my life, suffering still from several side effects to this day, I paid dearly for my youthful indiscretion. A payment I make every single day, and will until the day I die. Having renovated the farmhouse prior to moving in five years earlier, the first thing I did when the family moved out was to redecorate, removing any signs that a very troubled marriage once lived there.

I had spent Christmas Eve hanging new mini blinds, after recently painting the two front rooms, color coordinating both living rooms, one a light green, the other light blue. I had no problem hanging the blinds in the green room, however, when I got to the blue room, I needed a really small drill bit, but could not find one. By the time I realized I did not have the bit needed to finish the job, I knew the local hardware store (different village in the opposite direction, but the same five-mile distance away) would be closed on a normal workday, let alone Christmas Eve.

After renovating the farmhouse before moving in, and during the entire twelve years I lived there, I ended up with a small stockpile of nuts and bolts and odds and ends down in the basement, my own mini hardware store. However, being a life-long neat-freak, a perfectionist, and in the throes of becoming very obsessive-compulsive, I knew very well where all my drill bits were; in the metal case the DeWalt cordless drill came in. But knowing very well where all my bits were did not keep me from searching out that elusive bit all night long.

As the evening was nearing midnight, I’m thinking to myself, talking to God, wishing that I had just one small drill bit. I probably bought that drill when I first started working on the house, so I had owned it at least for five years. By 11:30, I’m thinking I would give anything to have one very small drill bit. Then, at 11:45, fifteen minutes before Christmas officially began, I had the bright idea of looking underneath the cardboard backing that came inside the DeWalt metal case. I owned that drill for many years, but never removed the cardboard packaging.

Underneath that cardboard, what did I found? No, it was not one very small drill bit. It was three very small drill bits, two shiny silver, and the other black. Were these newfound bits purely coincidental or someone’s present? Whenever I needed anything from the hardware store, I would buy extras. If I needed a couple of screws, I would buy a dozen or two. That’s how I built up my supply room in the basement. If I needed a small drill bit, I would buy three. I can understand how one bit might have fallen under the cardboard, but three of the same size. What are the odds on that happening?

What is somewhat peculiar about the bits were that they were two shiny silver, one black. What were the three gifts the Wise Men gave the baby Jesus? Gold, myrrh and frankincense. Myrrh is a natural gum that was used as perfume, incense and mixed as a drink, but was also as an embalming oil. John 19:38-39 tells us that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea brought a 100-pound mixture of myrrh and aloes to wrap Jesus’ body in after his crucifixion.

Two good, one bad. Two shiny, one black. Whatever the case, at that time and place in my life, when I had lost everything that meant anything to me, I could not have received a better Christmas present than those three drill bits.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Plattsburg Farm At Christmas #20D

Plattsburg Farm At Christmas #20DDecember 24, 2015

The original photograph was shot one Christmas between 1996 and 2001, down on the farm, with the key word being “original.” Any one who has viewed my photos over the years might say, “I’ve seen this one before,” however, they would be mistaken.

I must admit that thanks to a marvelous thing called digital photography, some drastic improvements to the original photograph were made. I’m no magician, but like one not giving away the secrets of his or her tricks, I will not disclose the changes that were performed. If someone were to speculate, I would confirm his or her guess. It’s not that I do not want to disclose any secrets, as I have already shown both before and after photos to several friends. Though the changes made were very simple to do, however, the end results were quite impressive.

I think the changes made would make Ansel Adams sit back and go, “Wow!” In no way am I comparing myself to Mr. Adams, I just think he would be amazed by the technology. Just imagine what the master could have done with digital photography.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Fireworks #202E

Fireworks #202EJuly 4, 2015

Earlier this week, when gathering some photographs together to post tonight, I originally had chosen some really neat shots of flowers.  However, when I noticed that today’s date was July 4th, I immediately knew that I just had to post some fireworks instead.

This photo was shot on film many years ago.  The 4×6 print was scanned onto my computer where some digital manipulation was done to enhance the original print.

Steven H. Spring

Plattsburg Farm At Christmas #17B

Plattsburg Farm At Christmas #17BDecember 24, 2014

Christmas time down on the farm.  This was taken around fifteen years ago, before I lost the proverbial farm.  I lived there maybe a dozen years, and to quote Dickens, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

The 4×6 print was scanned onto my computer, where some adjusting of the darkness level was done.

Steven H. Spring

 

Flowers #3350C, 3331G, 3348D, 3339B, 3336C, 3333B, 3342B & 3349C

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April 20, 2014

Easter Lilies are known primarily as a potted plant given as a gift or bought for oneself during the Easter holiday.  This plant is considered the traditional Easter flower because it is said to symbolize goodness, purity, life, hope and innocence.  Most people who buy the plant for themselves or who receive it as a gift throw it out after the blooms have all died, however this need not be.  Although it is not known as a hardy houseplant, it can be transplanted outdoors, where it can bloom for many years.

Ironically, this lily does not bloom outdoors during the Easter season.  In your garden, they bloom during June or July.  Greenhouse growers pot the bulbs in the fall and force them to bloom for the holiday by turning up the heat in their greenhouses.  Easter Lilies spout a straight stalk, which grows to a height of about two feet, and bear large, elongated buds that open into pure white flowers with yellow anthers.  The large trumpet shape flowers produce a tremendous fragrance.

After the plant’s last bloom has died, it can be planted outdoors after the last frost.  Its bulbs should be planted three inches deep, and if planting more than one, they should be spaced twelve to eighteen inches apart.  This lily likes a somewhat rich, moist but well-drained soil.  It likes the cool morning sun and not a hot afternoon one.  It is hardy even in cold climates, but should be mulched.  In colder regions, the bulbs should be dug up and stored indoors during the winter months.  If left outdoors, the mulch needs to be removed in the spring to allow the new shoots to grow.

Easter Lilies, whose botanical name is Lilium Longiflorum, are native to the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan.  Its U.S. popularity is due to that of one American soldier.  At the end of World War I, Louis Houghton bought home a suitcase full of these bulbs.  He just happened to live in a region of the southern coast of Oregon, whose climate is very similar to that of the Ryukyu Islands.  Before World War II, nearly all bulbs came from Japan, however that all changed when importing them was banned during the war.  Ten farms along the California-Oregon border now produce ninety-five percent of all bulbs sold to U.S. growers, where they are grown in greenhouses around the country in time for the holiday.  Easter Lilies are the fourth largest potted plant crop sold in the U.S. behind only that of Poinsettias, Mums and Azaleas.

Nearly all Easter Lilies have the Lily Symptomless Virus that could spread to other lilies in your garden.  However, the virus may or may not cause problems.  One other issue with this plant is that it is highly toxic to cats and other animals.

Steven H. Spring

Wilson Chapel At Christmas #22B.

Wilson Chapel At Christmas #22B

December 24, 2013

Wilson Chapel, located just down the road from the farmhouse in my Plattsburg Farm photos.  I shot a lot of photographs of the chapel, sometimes right after a blizzard, late at night.  I would shoot right outside my back porch, poking a zoom lens around the corner of the porch.

There would be complete silence, except of course for the howling of the wind.  Or maybe the girls, Dakota and Arizona, my two red Dobermans, playing in the snow.

If you liked this photograph, check out my two farmhouse shots, Plattsburg Farm At Christmas #19F & 23B.

Steven H. Spring