joe’s recent deep dive into science, combined with our family’s weak spot for animals of all kinds, means that we currently have 14 pet snails which are fed wild thyme and lettuce daily. and we have had two successive pet prying mantises, which are fed live crickets and grasshoppers every 4 days. the first mantis was named april. the second was named may. this was may’s last meal. she liked every part of the grasshopper except the wings and drumsticks. joe is deciding whether or not to go out in the vines and look for june.
it’s such a great season, if strangers aren’t trying to sell you something. planning to stay as unplugged, and as authentically connected, as possible for the next 20 days.
laurier d’alexandrie (danae racemosa)
i tried to capture these leaves’ beautiful shiny upper surfaces while they were freshly picked. then i lost my usb transfer cord and in the three days it took to replace it, i lost all the images i’d taken of the beautiful freshly picked shiny leaves. in the meantime, they curled up into even more interesting shapes, to reveal even more beautiful white-veined underleaves. i wish i could say i had planned it this way.
unidentified vine leaves
olive trees are notoriously tenacious. in their home territory around the mediterranean basin, they will send up shoots and suckers all the way around the circumference of their trunks if they are not pruned annually. part of maintaining an olive tree is simply damping down its mediterranean enthusiasm for life: yes, i know, olive tree. life is a beautiful thing. i know. i want to grow in all directions too. yes, the sun feels wonderful. but listen. you have to just calm down. you have to . . . no listen. just take a deep breath, and calm. down.
p.s. i did successfully find a usb cord today in montpellier. but when i went to download my images, they were all gone. i must have inadvertently deleted them while trying to see if i had wi-fi or not. in any case, i am back up and running, and back at it tomorrow.
olive tree sucker
i keep a folder on the desktop of my laptop labeled “in case of emergency.” it has STILL outtakes that simply haven’t make the cut. they are there in case a day gets away from me, and i can’t get a STILL photo made before the sun goes down. it is quite amazing, but in almost five years of doing STILL, i have very rarely, if ever, had to use it. (i am inordinately grateful for the relative life stability and calm implied by this fact, but i digress.) every now and then, i go look at the contents of the folder, and decide that indeed none of them are STILL-worthy, and delete the whole lot. well, today i had to use that folder! somehow, we still can’t explain how, the usb cord that lets me download photos from my camera to my laptop went missing. we have turned the house upside down searching for it. i composed and shot a STILL photo this morning, but it is currently locked inside my camera like gold inside a vault. we are driving to montpellier tomorrow to search out a replacement cable. wish me luck, and enjoy this squirrel-gnawed parasol pine cone. i didn’t know this until we spent time in the mediterranean, but the pine nuts we are mostly familiar with in the u.s. come from this species of pine. they are hidden near the core, with one nut for every “leaf” of the pine cone. i just hope that i never have to work as hard as this squirrel to get a handful of pine nuts for dinner.
red squirrel eaten parasol pinecone