How was your Holiday Weekend?

How was your weekend?
I worked Saturday and Sunday.
It was a total madhouse, filled to the brim with pets.
Lots of big rowdy dogs and lots of special need animals.
A 15 year old Vizsla who wobbled as he walked so we have to lay down yoga mats for him so that he didn't slip on the floor.
Then there's the ancient Pugs.
The Chihuahua with a heart condition
and the diabetic cat that needs her insulin.
Yep, pretty much a typical weekend. LOL!

When I wasn't at work, I was at home working on the yard.
I got all my garden stuff out of storage.
My birdbath.

I LOVE that thing.
The glaze on it formed a "moon".
A wonderful accident. 
When I saw the birdbath a few years back at the Garden Center, I had to have it.
(the fact that it was marked down for an End of Summer Sale sealed the deal.)
But my astrological sign (if you believed that sort of thing) is ruled by the moon.
and then my name means Moon Goddess.
So yeah, I love it.

I also got this fountain at another End of Summer Sale.

So many people have walked by my house and commented on it.
I like the soft sound of water.

Last Fall I dug up my front yard that was a huge mass of perennial flowers and I put down grass seed.
This Spring I had to buy a lawnmower!
I haven't had one for years, I just got by with a weed-whacker.
I found this electric one on Amazon and yesterday it worked wonderfully!

It has a little grass catcher that attaches to the back and I had to empty it a couple of times but
I was in Heaven.
The smell of fresh cut grass is one of my favorite scents of all time.

I made two BIG flowerbeds that I will show later when the flowers have grown.
I dragged a big wood workbench out of the basement and up the cellar steps and across the patio.
I'm going to make it into a potting bench.
I hung up new line on my clothesline that I put in last Fall.
I was outside non-stop.
My neighbor (the nice one) came out several times each day to do yard things and commented about how I had to be exhausted.
He just doesn't know how I do it, he said.
I laughed and said that I just have to.
But then I got to thinking about a comment a mother of a friend of mine had said many many years ago.
She had shook her head at her daughter and me as we left to go work out.
She thought we were foolish and wasting our money.
She said she got her exercise taking care of the house.
She said cleaning and tending to her SEVEN kids kept her fit.
But her point was, keep busy and take care of what needs to be done
and it might just be all the exercise a person needs.
That's how I'm going to view it from now on.
It's my exercise.

Tonight, I'm exhausted
and HOT. 
The temperature shot up and it's muggy.
We are all hot.
Poor Ghost was laying in front of the window hoping to catch a breeze.

So, that's how my holiday weekend went.
How was yours?

I'm Back!....Let's talk about Online Dating.

I'm back to blogging.
I'm not done with my list but I'm to a point where I feel I can ease back
and write.
I have a lot of things to "talk" about.
But tonight I will just do a quick weird tale.

A woman I work with has started "online dating".
First she met this guy and they were exchanging texts and she would come back to my work area and have me read them.
She was gushing and giggling as I read what this guy had written to her.
My first response was to say - "Puke" but instead I just said -
"Ah huh, ok. I'm glad you're happy but be careful"
"What?" she looked disappointed. 
So I just said, "Don't you watch Dateline? This guy kinda sounds like someone off of that show".
She protested and I told her that she can do a background check online.
She just shook her head in protest.
She text me later that she might meet him and I said if she did and he tried to take her to a room covered in plastic, to turn and run.
She didn't think that was funny
and I told her I wasn't trying to be funny.
The next day she came back and read me more texts. 
I said to her "Have you ever seen Catfish?" 

So she rented to movie and it scared her but she still wouldn't listen to me.
Finally I said to her "Listen! if you call me from the trunk of a car, I will just scream I TOLD YOU SO! and hang up."
Ultimately she somehow got his drivers license number and found that the person he said he was, didn't exist.
I refrained from telling her, "I told you so!"

Now she's meet someone else. 
He's wonderful and they have talked marriage.
They've known each other for two weeks............

Today, after working all morning and into early afternoon at the kennel
I came home and dropped into a chair. 
The dogs ran around and played as I checked my Facebook page. 
On the sidebar was this dating site.
I thought, what the hell! and clicked on it.
It asked a few very random questions.
Mostly what is most important me in a "mate"
What makes for a good relationship.
Why I'm make a good partner
and what makes me not so good.
I was brief.
Mentioning the basics I'd want in a partner - kind, compassionate, hardworking and a dry sense of humor.
The not so good stuff about me - I hate Sports and I don't cook.
Then all these photos popped up with little blurbs.
I sat there sipping my pop and clicking through the images
and like most of my Internet searches about anything....
I got off track and went to another website.
Finally I found someone that seemed to meet my requirements.
I had drifted to Petfinder.
True Story.

The Beauties of Belle Isle

A colony of White Trout Lily
(Erythronium albidum)
As a Detroiter, Belle Isle is probably one of the most underrated resources we have here in the city. Almost a resort in its heyday, the island has fallen into disrepair, a circumstance exacerbated by the city's own woes. Recently, it has come under the aegis of state government, which will, hopefully, herald the island's resurgence as a go-to destination - not just for city folk but for all Michigan residents and beyond.

Native Violet (Viola) species
I first really started to get to know the island when my Master Gardener organization (the now-defunct Master Gardeners of Greater Detroit, or "MGGD") used to have their monthly meetings at what used to be referred to as The Belle Isle Nature Center (now known as the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, affiliated with the Detroit Zoo). I also volunteered there for the annual Belle Isle "HUG" ("Help Uncover the Gem") with The Greening of Detroit, planting trees - many of them young saplings grown from seed gathered on the island by naturalist Suzan Campbell.

Cut-leaf Toothwort
(Dentaria laciniata)
Through MGGD, I went on my first Spring Wildflower Walk in a small part of the island near the racquet ball courts - led by Terry Light - in 2005. Nine years later, I led my first wildflower walk for the Detroit Garden Center, in an event the non-profit organization plans to sponsor on an annual basis - and perhaps more frequently, to see the changing of the seasons in this unique habitat. A few days later, I enticed my photographer friend, Don Schulte, for a visit; these photographs are the fruits of that excursion.

Amongst the islands' residents is a small herd of European Fallow Deer - members of an introduced exotic species who had, over time, adapted to the 985-acre park by mutating into a smaller animal. The deer roamed freely over the island, leading to over-browsing and a significant reduction floral species health. In 2004, the deer were penned up; horticulturalists, naturalists and native plant enthusiasts were amazed come 2005 to see the plethora of native plant species that had survived the deers' depredations.

White Trout Lily
(Erythronium albidum)
Singularly, the rare White Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum) was - and continues to be - one of the stars of the show. Less common than its cousin, Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum), other common names include White Fawn Lily, Dog-tooth Violet and Adder's Tongue. The first two - "Trout Lily" and "Fawn Lily", refer to the speckled leaves, resembling the speckling on native trout or an immature deer. "Dog Tooth Violet" refers to the shape taken by the plant's bulb, which resembles a canine tooth. Finally, after the plant has gone to seed, the pistil still protrudes beyond the seed head, looking like a snake's head with the tongue sticking out.

The Trout Lilies are Spring ephemerals, as are our native Trillium (Trillium spp.), Bloodroot (Sanguinaria spp.), Shooting Star (Dodecatheon spp.) and other woodland natives. Like Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum), only plants with two leaves will flower; plants with only one leaf do not have sufficient photosynthesis potential to survive the expense of flowering and fruiting. These plants also have a tendency to pull themselves deeper into the ground over time, reducing their flowering potential as greater and greater energy is expended in simply getting above ground; this behavior can be overcome by setting a flat piece of stone eight to twelve inches below grade and then planting above it.

Spring Cress
(Cardamine bulbosa) flowers
Don and I weren't able to do the entire walk. In fact, all of these photos were taken within less than a 50-foot stretch of the entire walk. Other forbs (herbaceous plants that are neither grasses nor ferns) we found included Cutleaf Toothwort (Dentaria laciniata) and what was, at the time, a mystery plant which turned out to be Spring Cress
(Cardamine bulbosa), two members of the cabbage family.

Spring Cress
(Cardamine bulbosa) in situ
Both have delicate, pink, four-petaled flowers - more usually white in both species. The foliage is very different, however, with the Toothwort characterized by strongly dissected leaves arranged around the stem while the Cress has shallowly-palmate leaves arranged oppositely along the stem.

Interestingly, the Toothwort seems more tolerant of drier conditions, finding a home in high, dry areas of the woods, while the Cress prefers low places with Spring inundation. Belle Isle is part of a threatened environment known as "Lake Plain Prairie" - low areas characterized Spring flooding, or "vernal pooling", which dries out with the onset of summer. Plants have evolved various strategies to cope with these circumstances, from heavily-buttressed tree roots to maintain stability in soft Spring soils to ephemerality to take advantage of early season moisture, followed by dry-season dormancy. Many are able to tolerate low-moisture conditions for long periods of time as well.

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is particularly well suited to this environment, such that I often recommend it to clients who experience Spring flooding in their yards. This early season bloomer displays tiny yellow flowers. Like both native and exotic holly species, Spicebush is dioecious, meaning that there are female and male plants and both are required to obtain fruit. Unfortunately, as this plant is not as popular in the trade, it isn't always easy to tell which plants are which; your best bet is to shop in the fall and look for plants with fruit - as those are definitely female; as for those without fruit, you'll have a 50-50 chance it will be male. As with holly, you don't need a one-to-one ratio of male to female - one-to-four should be sufficient - but the plants cannot be too far from one another, so your pollinators can get the job done easily. Its common name derived from the plant's spicy scent (scratch a small area of the bark and take a breath), Spicebush is also one of the larval host plants of the beautiful Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio troilus), the other being Sassafras (Sassafras albidum).

American Black Currant
(Ribes americanum)
Other shrubs in the area include Drummond's Dogwood (Cornus drummondii), a small deciduous tree found on the Great Plains and along the Mississippi as well as the Midwest. Blooming in Summer with clusters of white flowers, similar to those found in the Spring-blooming Redtwig Dogwood (Cornus sericea), it bears small white fruits that ripen August to October, fruits that are utilized by at leasts 40 native bird species. When we visited, this plant was just starting to leaf out but a visit later in the season may favor us with the floral display.

Another important fruit-bearing plant is the American Black Currant (Ribes americanum), which was blooming when we visited the island. Like Spicebush, the flowers are quite tiny and greenish yellow. A member of the gooseberry family, these are small shrubs - up to 4-1/2' in height. The fruits - which make outstanding jams and jellies - are also utilized by native avian species as a desirable food source.

Native Violet (Viola) species
Scattered along the walk were numerous colonies of native violets, similarly-hued but much more desirable than the spreading invasions of Periwinkle (Vinca minor) we saw. Although violets aren't particularly popular with many gardeners, this is generally due to the aggressive, large-leaved, purple-flowering violet despaired of by so many of us. But there are numerous, lovely native violets, including Downy Yellow Violet (Voila pubescens), Canadian White Violet (Viola canadensis), Long-spurred Violet (Viola rostrata) and Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia), which provided a cheerful highlight along - and even in - the asphalt walkway. Despite our mixed reactions to them, Violets are important host plants for native Fritillary butterflies, so their value in the native garden should not be minimized.

(Arisaema triphyllum)
Finally, our perennial favorite - Jack-in-the-Pulpit. This native member of the Aroid family - like Eastern Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) and Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium) has been in decline along this stretch of the island; whereas nine years ago we saw numerous colonies of many individuals, this year they were much fewer and farther between. It is certain that, as the years pass and effects of the deer continue to abate, the environment will evolve. What used to be primarily large trees and open spaces now has a great deal of shrub cover, mitigating the amount of sunlight reaching the ground and these woodland plants. The effects of the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) are also visible, with many more snags and downed trees, making passage through parts of the area difficult if not treacherous.

Each year, the environment continues to change, with the ebb and flow of the seasons and the continuing impact of human activity on the island.

All photos copyright to Don Schulte and Notable Greetings.


Julia Fullerton Batten nace en Bremen (Alemania) en 1970. De padre inglés y madre alemana pasa la mayor parte de su infancia a caballo entre Alemania y Estados unidos, pero es a los 16 años cuando se establece definitivamente en UK, pais en el que se forma y recibe sus estudios en Arte y Diseño.

Tras su graduación pasa cinco años trabajando como asistente de varios fotógrafos con los que completa sus estudios académicos y practica diversos tipos de generos fotográficos, especialmente publicidad, bodegón y retrato. Perfecciona todas sus nociones sobre iluminación y también trabaja con cierta regularidad para la revista Vogue.

Tras este periodo, en 2005 se da a conocer en el mundo editorial y artístico con su proyecto Teenager Stories (2005) con el que narra la transición femenina de la adolescencia a la edad adulta con todos los reajustes que este cambio produce tanto en el cuerpo, la psicología y la vida social de las chicas de esta edad. Poco después con School Play (2007) sigue sondeando el mundo adolescente aunque desde una óptica ligeramente diferente, haciendo mayor hincapié en los comportamientos grupales y en cómo se manifiestan con fondos culturales distintos. Siguiendo con coherencia esta línea de trabajo, en 2009 muestra el siguiente estadio en la progresión de las adolescentes a su vida como mujeres adultas. Una zona inestable, una especie de terreno de nadie, un proyecto con el que se atreve a jugar con la gravedad y que bautiza como In Between.
El paso siguiente para la fotógrafa de origen alemán, transita por el ámbito de las relaciones con el sexo opuesto y supone un estudio de la sexualidad desde el prisma de la aún ausente madurez emocional y en 2011 publica Awkward.

Mothers and Daughters de 2012, es un proyecto en el que ilustra la complejidad e intensidad de las relaciones entre madres e hijas y va ampliando su visión a cerca del desarrollo femenino no solo mostrando el universo adolescente sino también el relativo al de la maternidad. Pero es a partir de 2013 y de su trabajo Unadorned, cuando entra mucho más de lleno en la crítica social mostrando la violencia que se ejerce constantemente sobre el cuerpo de la mujer, su forma, su talla, etc. Pone en relieve la presión a la que las mujeres se ven sometidas en cuanto a las modas, la alimentación y sus desordenes o la cirugía plástica. Visionando las fotografías de este proyecto una no puede dejar de pensar en lo absurdo de un mundo que constantemente manipula y crea el concepto de belleza.

Más recientemente con Blind o A Testament to Love (ambos en 2013) nos hace ponernos bajo la piel de personas invidentes o de mujeres que recientemente han sufrido una profunda decepción amorosa tratando sentimientos de soledad, miedo, arrepentimiento, resignación, invisibilidad, etc.

En el video sobre la obra de esta artista que te tengo preparado este mes, podrás ver e identificar rápidamente fotografías de estos proyectos, y ya al final varias correspondientes a su última obra que tiene que ver con las relaciones de clases sociales y que recibe el nombre de In Sevice.

Puedes ampliar mucho más esta información y visualizar casi al completo todos estos proyectos en la web personal de la autora haciendo clic aquí. También puedes seguir mi tablero de Pinterest Julia Fullerton Batten para seguir conectado a la obra de esta fantástica y joven fotógrafa inglesa.

Just an update for now.

I'm not really back from my break,
not really.
But, I thought I'd let you know what's been going on lately.

Lots of stuff going on at work.
Stress, tension, power battles
There's been job changes for several people, not me though, thank goodness.
A friend of mine got fired.
Very upset about that.
Yeah, lots of stuff I'd rather not think about.
Because of this, I l really look forward to coming home.
My safe haven.
I've been working outside non-stop.
Last Fall I cut down all the trees and brush in my lower backyard that was more of a ravine.

I cleared that out but there was still a lot of vegetation left down there.

I decided to tackle it NOW, before it got overgrown again.
Before there might be scary things like snakes down there.
So...I started on it and I kept finding "garbage" down there.
Last Fall I had picked up a ton of it. None of it was mine.
It was odd things like old cell phones and broken liquor bottles
and baseballs and hangers and water bottles and cans and 
lots and lots of glass.

I tried to just let it all go and not hold resentment towards my neighbors.
The twin boys who are probably about 13 now had to be the ones doing this.
Anyway, I've been clearing the hill and finding more stuff and getting more MAD.

I told myself that maybe it had all just blown over into my yard by accident
until one day I found a big casserole dish and not far from it, a pile of petrified noodles.
Way too heavy to blow into my yard.
Still I said nothing but just hurled it back over into their yard.

Then the other night I was awoken by my little poodle, barking furiously.
I sat up in the dark and looked at my alarm clock - 12:15.
I looked out my bedroom window and down into the darkness.
Between my neighbors garage and my fence I saw flashlights.
I could hear voices and then laughter as the twins made shadows on the garage wall.
I sat there in amazement and watched for a moment.
Then I saw them shake out a empty garbage bag and it appeared that they were picking up trash!
Why in the middle of the night, I had no clue.
I text my sister who is always up at that hour and told her about the insanity of this
and how I had to get up at 5 to get ready for work in the morning.
I could barely see them as they picked up a small bag and shriek and drop it.
Yeah, I had the same reaction when I originally found it in my own yard before I threw it back into theirs.
Then I saw them fling a hanger down into my yard 
and I lost it.
I screamed "I"M CALLING THE COPS!"
They must have been startled to hear a voice in the night but they yelled back towards the houses -
"It's the neighbors!"
and I screamed again 
"I'm SICK of you throwing trash into my yard!"
to which they yelled back, "Well it's not ours either!"
And I yelled "The hanger? the casserole dish? the GLASS!?"
"We don't even eat casserole!" they yelled but I saw their flashlights now bobbing down into the pitch blackness towards the bottom of my yard.
Suddenly I remembered my phone!
I ran downstairs and came back up and started to take a video of them.
(Oh! I got a new phone! I went crazy and splurged and got an iPhone! I'm on the Framily plan with a few people and I will seriously have to brown bag it every day from now on but OMG! I'm addicted! I'm in love with Instagram
and I like lurking and reading everyones blogs while I follow dogs around the yard.) anyway...
They were down in my yard for a few minutes and then I watched as they came back up and went inside their house.
I texted my sister and she said to call the cops but I told her that it was very late and that I had to be up in 4 hours and besides,
my dogs when go crazy and start barking insanely if cops came to the door.
So, that was that.

I got up in the morning, a Saturday and went to work and got home about 1:00.
I changed clothes and went down the hill to work on it and
there was STILL trash.
So I took some photos.
A little bit later I was talking to my niece Lily and told her what happened and she was furious.
She said she'd be over later and was going to tell them off.
I laughed and said "Whatever".
I worked for several more hours and when Lily showed up, she handed me her little dog and said she'd be right back.
Off she went, around the front yard and then I could hear her knocking on the neighbors back door.
The grandma who owns the home answered.
Now she's not a sweet little pushover grandma.
She can be one tough cookie so I was kinda worried for Lily.
But Lily told her that it had come to her attention that "The boys are throwing trash into my Aunt Cindi's yard".
She said she was very concerned, especially about the glass.
Lily came back and told me that grandma had called the boys into the room and they had denied it.
That's when Lily told them that one of the pieces of trash had their mothers name written on the top of it

AND that I had them on video.
The boys, she said kept denying it and even blurted out "She was yelling at us and we don't even eat casserole!"
Lily thought that the grandma was nice and apologetic but Lily didn't trust the boys.
I was so upset over the whole thing that I seriously started looking for houses on-line.

Now that I've settled down I have a new resolve not to let these brats drive me from my home.
I'm in a good neighborhood and I like my other neighbor
and I can afford THIS house and I can NOT afford what I found on-line.
Other stuff has happened too but that's enough for now,
just the tale of my yard.
Here's an updated photo of how much I have it cleared.

I also seeded the front yard and transplanted a zillion hostas with more to go.
Today at work I started a list of what else needs to be done JUST on the outside.
The things that need to be completed before I will be happy.
Here's my list.

I'm sure I forgot something.
and of course.... I still have so many other plans for inside and
other things.
So there's a long drawn out update!
......I'll be lurking on my phone!


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30x20 cm · 240ppp