holding on

i love the simultaneous sense of neediness and entitlement these vine tendrils give off as they grip the stems of plants around them. like a child on your hip, holding on tight, secure in the knowledge that she deserves all of your comfort and attention.

grape vine with tendrils

autignac, france

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party time!

one of the continuing delights of living in this strange corner of france is the prevalence of forgotten corners, and hedgerows, and abandoned gardens, where forgotten plants thrive that are either edible or uncommonly beautiful. this post-bloom iris was found behind a wooden plank against the stone wall of a neighbor’s house. it had hidden in the shadows for too long. i decided it deserved to celebrate its own beauty with an effervescent explosion of cherry red seeds. i hope you will give it a hand, well-earned, and long-deferred.

iris foetidissima (stinking iris fruits)

chateau pastre, autignac, france

  • Cyndee says:

    Thank you…it’s my birthday and your iris does look like a celebration…I’m glad it was found and brought out to the light.

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  • Susan says:

    Your work delights me. Thanks so much for sharing what you do on this blog!

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  • I saw your photo on IG and had to know more. What amazingly beautiful seeds and the colour contrast is wonderful.

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jigsaw puzzle

i’ve been trying to figure out where still blog goes, when it’s time to change direction. at the end of this year, it will have been 5 years of still blog against at white background every day. that is a kind of tradition, but also a kind of stagnation if it remains the same indefinitely. i am putting the pieces together slowly. i don’t have the puzzle completed. but there are fewer loose pieces than there were six months ago. stay tuned.

white poplar leaves (populus alba)

autignac, france

  • Whatever you come up with will be grand! Love following along on your journey!

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  • Dede says:

    Agree with @thegothamgirl. The inspiration you give me on a daily basis has made such an impact. Can’t wait to see where this take all of us: thank you MaryJo!

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  • lindsey says:

    I will not be mad if you leave it on a white background. Keeping with tradition is underrated; however, your classic + sophisticated taste will brew up something lovely no matter the change! enjoy following along all of your nature journeys.

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  • margie says:

    such a gorgeous image of curled leaves and i am excited to see where still blog will go in the next year

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this is not a snail

this poor guy got sold among a handful of sea snails by the local shellfish merchant. but he was not, in fact, an “escargot de mer.” he was a hermit crab squatter who had broken into someone else’s house and was living there in flagrant disregard. in theory, from a purely legal perspective, he had it coming. but i wish we’d found him earlier, before he’d been cooked in saltwater and a teaspoon of pastis, and could have set him free to continue¬† breaking the law in his stolen house.

hermit crab

mediterranean, france

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climatic correctness

this can’t be wild asparagus, i told jean-luc. wild asparagus ferns are feathery and soft. these are prickly and just drew blood from my middle finger. they must be some other plant. no, in fact, they are wild asparagus, and even this gentle plant has thorns here. or leaves so dense from intense sunlight that they act like thorns. it’s the equivalent of the woody, dense, brushy wild thyme we find in the garrigue here, compared to the soft feathery thyme of short, mostly mild, minnesota summers. there’s a reason everything tastes stronger here. the sun seems to pull extra flavor from almost everything.

wild asparagus (asparagus acutifolius)

autignac, france

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