I shop at a very large farmer’s market in Gladden, “out in the middle of nowhere” as it were. It’s huge with 40 vendors at the height of the season and it’s open three nights a week from May until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
I sat in the back seat of one of my dad’s vast cars as we drove there when I was growing up, and the drive out there and the market, and my enjoyment of both, haven’t changed much since then. A glimpse of horses or cows or a farmhouse lit by the golden early evening sunlight and nestled on the gently rolling hillsides is still just as exciting. Even now, the crowds of people earnestly shopping for their produce, the conversations flying back and forth over the tables of produce and products between the farmers and the customers, the smells of the cooked food and the sound of the clanging kettle at the kettle korn stand are so familiar that I miss it when it’s over and long for it in the spring.
Even though the place is at a desolate intersection on a four-lane highway, beginning this year I’ve sat in line at the left-turn light for up to fifteen minutes to get in, even almost two hours after the market has opened for the evening. I don’t mind—in fact, I’m glad of it because it means more and more people are shopping there. For many years I couldn’t find any markets and couldn’t make it to this one very often at all, but now they’ve sprung up everywhere and seemingly every community has its market every week for most of the summer.
I’m glad to see people taking advantage of good food grown locally, and it seems they take the food more seriously when it’s sold to them by the very people who planned the crops in the winter, planted and tended the plants through unpredictable weather, harvested and cleaned and packaged and brought it to the place for sale. I sometimes wonder how farmers do it, especially when they often have day jobs to make ends meet, as if farming isn’t enough of a day job already. I like to look at the person who’s done all that work mostly for my benefit and smile and say “thank you”, and if they think the thanks is just the formality of a small business transaction, I know better. Read about two of the oldest farmers I know of who have been there for decades.
I’m back to that old white barn in my neighbor’s back yard. Each year morning glories grow at the corners and they always look fresh and new, no matter the color. The graceful vines and shapely bright green heart-shaped leaves along with the vibrant purple flowers look delicate and sweet clinging to the weathered boards with peeling white paint.
Another huge clump grows at the corner where the fence meets the building, and I’ve had my eye on that since it started twining on the fence, waiting for the flowers to bloom. I went there this morning to catch them in full sun but before the flowers closed for the day, but it’s been so dry they were wilted. I tossed my bottle of water on their roots and I’ll hope for a better outcome, a little earlier tomorrow morning.
I love finding an unassuming but lovely wildflower that managed to sneak into a little unkempt patch along the sidewalk.
On a still, hot afternoon, the time of day in the time of year when sensible wildlife take refuge in shade and rest, and even insects take a break in their brief but incessant calling for the continuation of their species, I encountered a trail off into time.
At first my ears rang with the silence of the afternoon and of my own stillness, accustomed to the noise of my daily life, the radio programs I listen to, the white noise of my computer, the sounds of my neighbors going about their summer days drifting into my windows, the thoughts that accompany my own daily activities.
Then, in the same way we let our eyes adjust to darkness and suddenly we can see all about us, I let my ears adjust to the silence and heard the slight rustle of a breeze in the very tops of the black willows, crickets in the grass, the occasional chirp or click of other insects, an occasional bird moving from one branch to another. My mind was momentarily as empty as the air with the resting of my senses.
This trail off the trail leading through woods to a field was so enticing but time was elusive.
I remember exploring the woods and fields that still existed when I was young, following a path just because it was there, soaking up the sun and heat of a summer afternoon and filling my senses with all it offered.
Because our daily lives are so full of activity we rarely experience silence, or at least the quiet that generations of people heard before us, before we had so many ingenious motorized things and methods of transportation, then there are those cell phones ringing everywhere and one-sided conversations. Even once we escape all these noisemakers our silence today is rarely complete. It is, however, restful to the ears and to the soul, as I find in an afternoon outing on the trail, in the woods, out in a field somewhere.
A few minutes into my trek onto the trail, no matter the season or the weather, and the reduction of sounds has an impact on me that nothing else ever does. I don’t realize until then how I’m often breathing shallowly or even holding my breath, gritting my teeth, holding my shoulders rigid, even when I think I’m relaxed and happy and ready to stay all day, or forever.
Those old-fashioned street fairs are fun in the daytime, rides turning in the heat of August, too much cotton candy and pop taking their toll…but for all their fun in the day, they are magical at night, the lighted rides turning against a starry sky, the attractions an oasis of colorful neon and incandescent in the midst of an inky darkness of streets, then just as suddenly as it sprung from nothing in a parking lot, it’s gone, leaving only darkness and cool September nights.
In this photo, a couple on a date wanders toward the rides.
From back in my first year of photo blogging! This event is coming up again, and I hope they have the rides for great night photos.
Only two things money can’t buy, and that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes (thanks Guy Clark).
From my garden. September tomatoes are the best, even if it’s only September 1.
A few more photos from Rock the Quarry yesterday, and two young ladies in pink waiting for their rainbow snowcone.
The making of snowcones is a family affair for the woman in charge here; I didn’t realize when I ran out to the snowcone truck when it came around my neighborhood I’d meet those same people again one day as an adult.
A fairly large flag hangs on the highwall of the old limestone quarry, above the quarry pond, along the Panhandle Trail in Walker’s Mill, near Pittsburgh, PA. Today the event was “Rock the Quarry XII”, an annual two-day community event that also raises funds for the trail development and maintenance. The trail runs along an abandoned railway line and through the older part of a limestone quarry (part of it is still quite active), and the festival has music and food vendors and games for visitors.
It doesn’t get much redder than a scarlet runner bean flower.
Hummingbirds are frantic, still need to catch a photo of them.
The view out my basement door as I did laundry today, the garden in the morning sun, flowers blooming, some dishtowels on the line, the brick patio, the trees in shadow behind. Some of the colors could be brighter, but it’s such a welcome sight nonetheless.
Part of the glory of summer is the flowers that show off their brilliant colors, and while we think it’s for our enjoyment, it’s actually for their own purposes.
Here are deep pink impatiens seen from behind like an umbrella turned inside out, with late morning sun shining through the petals and leaves, varied shadows and color changes in the overlaps, but a moment in the beauty they bring to the world.
I love a field of Queen Anne’s Lace, so common yet beautiful this time of year, but somehow it’s much more mysterious in black and white, especially the dappled sun highlighting a flower umbel here and there making it look like an iced cookie.
And then I went back to that photo and did a few more variations on it–back to the color version, and then another filter to create an abstract pattern. Really, I often see all these things when I look at the scene, before I even photograph it.
More Queen Anne’s Lace. I have more photos of it than I know what to do with, but the pattern of tiny flowers in wheels and clusters that creates the umbels has always fascinated me with its intricacy. Taken to an abstract it does look like a lacy pattern. Below is a modified, filtered version of the same photo, reminding me of a set of draperies printed in that particular three- or four-color flower style from the late 1950s.
I post a lot of photos of, and I take even more of, Queen Anne’s Lace, out in the field in the country, sprouting from the space between a building and the street in the city, and in a vase in various places around my home. It is the wild carrot, and many legends of its name and medicinal powers have followed it through the centuries. It’s one of my favorite flowers and its delicate beauty combined with plenitude makes me love it even more.
We finally had some rain, and here it is in the vase in my front yard, refreshed by a storm with the sun just beginning to show through the soil.
A perfect summer day in an alfalfa field.
I just couldn’t believe the beauty in its near infinity and the peace at standing in among all those quietly, gently, growing plants under the big blue sky with its capricious clouds.
A field this flat and this big is unusual for hilly Western Pennsylvania where farmers often plant around ravines and big rocks or on an angle that must be difficult to drive a tractor. This area, though, was at the end of the last glacier, ground down pretty flat by its front edge and left with glacial lakes, long since evaporated.
This was an eye-catcher, a lysimachia flower on my blue-stained picnic bench. Especially sitting next to that knot. It looks so intentional; perhaps it is.
Oh, I can’t stop looking at all the feverfew
in my garden,
I just keep running from one cluster to another
those tiny perfect daisies
in umbels as if floating without stems
on waves of bright green leaves
the dots of dew flashing, sparkling
in the day’s new sun
just arrived over the horizon
its color still warm and yellow
as if it’s a cookie just taken out of the oven
and I have to look at all the feverfew
from every angle
until I’m done looking
and I discover I’ve forgotten all the problems of yesterday
and all the ills of the world that I feel the need to carry
and I’m laughing
and dripping with dew myself
and visualizing stunning works of art
and amazing poetry and prose
most of which will ever be realized
nor do they need to be
the inspiration only needs to settle into my soul in this early morning in June
and its glow will warm heart
and keep me laughing with joy
through the day
and the next
and the next.
Poem “Feverfew” © 2008 B.E. Kazmarski
I have a lot of feverfew all over my yard, so I have a lot of photos and a lot of inspiration. The top photo was taken with black and white film and scanned. The color photo below was taken with my digital camera.
Truly stunning, showing through the trees, the first light was vivid red. I thought for sure it meant it would rain today, but just a welcome overcast and cool.
Today’s flower is a geranium! I keep geraniums from year to year, jokingly saying it’s the only thing my damp basement is good for. I used to try to coddle them with newspapers and peat moss or hanging upside down, but it’s come down to just carrying them inside and having them upstairs for a while, then pushing most of them into the dark corner of the basement as they don’t seem to want or need the extra care, they just want to sleep. After the new year they begin to sprout new leaves, even in the dark, and I take them out, water them, take cuttings to trim them back, and make more geraniums. Most of them survive this treatment, and I sell or give away the new plants made from the cuttings.
But they change color slightly each year. This lovely coral color developed from a group of mixed pink geraniums a friend gave me, evolving over about six years from a medium pink to this vibrant, warm color. Another shade of paler pink has grown so pale it’s difficult to tell there is any color, and another has darkened toward a magenta.
Normally geraniums can open nearly all the blossoms at once, but the heat has made some of the earlier florets wither before some of the buds have opened.
Today’s flower is phlox! This is the time of year when so many things are blooming at once, and when I think of my yard in summer, this is what I think of. And though I’ve been photographing my flowers for years, each year is a new experience. Here I’ve caught just a frame full of rich violet-pink flowers touched my morning sun.
They share many shapes and qualities, and after all the heat and haze these were simply very interesting over on the eastern horizon.
This daylily faces directly east and welcomes the sunrise, opening quickly after the sun is over the horizon.
It’s a very old daylily, older than me. I moved it from my mother’s yard when I sold her house almost ten years ago, and I remember watching the clusters of buds form on the plant, reminiscent of small bananas until one by one the popped open on a summer morning. My mother dug it up from the yard of a friend’s mother before I was born, so who knows how old this daylily really is, or how many other yards it graced on summer mornings before my mother’s. That’s another reason I call it the Sunrise Lily. It blooms each year right around her birthday.