Thursday, July 30, 2015

What Next.

Quite a few years ago now, I used to keep and also breed tropical fish. Always providing that you kept catfish in a fish tank and no other variety you could nearly always keep a few tropical snails. Ideal for an aquarist because they kept the inside glass of a fish tank clean.

The snails lived in the water never coming out except to lay their eggs. This they did in the cover of the fish tank, then promptly returned to the water. The young snails as soon as they had hatched made their way back down into the tank water. The snails grew to about the size of a golf ball when adult, care had to be taken because a dead snail could very quickly contaminate even a 20 gallon tank. Apart from that it was easy to see that all was good. But it was important to check every time you fed the fish that the snails were fit and healthy.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Striking Lucky.
Having finished scanning Joe Ruddy's negatives to JPG photographs I had decided to take them back to Jane on Tuesday. I changed my mind though and having to get another loaf set off for Jane's with Joe's photo work in a bag to leave for her together with a DVD disc.

I noticed on my way in, a strange - to me - little plant growing; just a scatter of perhaps 5 or six. I hadn't noticed them last year so when I was getting back to the car I very quickly pulled up one to take back and photograph. It was Vervain, Verbena officionalis, 
The tiny flowers only about 4-5mm in size  ran up though a spike of buds.
I must keep my eyes open to see if I can later on get pictures of the seed growth. 

Leaves had a rather ragged appearance so I took only a couple of shots of them.

The flowers on closer examination were very pretty white centred turning to a rather delicate shade of pinky-red at the petal tips. 
Of this plant Culpeper says:---
Government and Virtues]

This is an herb of Venus, and excellent for the womb to strengthen and remedy all the cold griefs of it as Plantain doth the hot. Vervain is hot and dry, opening obstructions, cleansing and healing. It helps the yellow jaundice, the dropsy and the gout; it kills and expels worms in the belly, and causes a good colour in the face and body, strengthens as well as corrects the diseases of the stomach, liver, and spleen; helps the cough, wheezings, and shortness of breath, and all the detects of the reins and bladder, expelling the gravel and stone. It is held to be good against the biting of serpents, and other venomous beasts, against the plague, and both tertian and quartan agues. It consolidates and heals also all wounds, both inward and outward, stays bleedings, and used with some honey, heals all old ulcers and fistulas in the legs or other parts of the body; as also those ulcers that happen in the mouth; or used with hog's grease, it helps the swellings and pains in the secret parts in man or woman, also for the piles or haemorrhoids; applied with some oil of roses and vinegar unto the forehead and temples, it eases the inveterate pains and ache of the head, and is good for those that are frantic. The leaves bruised, or the juice of them mixed with some vinegar, doth wonderfully cleanse the skin, and takes away morphew, freckles, fistulas, and other such like inflammations and deformities of the skin in any parts of the body. The distilled water of the herb when it is in full strength, dropped into the eyes, cleanses them from films, clouds, or mists, that darken the sight, and wonderfully strengthens the optic nerves. The said water is very powerful in all the diseases aforesaid, either inward or outward, whether they be old corroding sores, or green wounds. The dried root, and peeled, is known to be excellently good against all scrophulous and scorbutic habits of body, by being tied to the pit of the stomach, by a piece of white ribband round the neck.

So there you have it . If you suffer from "Wheezings", "Morphew" or are "Frantic" according to Culpeper here is your cure. As he also says that it is a help against the bitings of serpents though I reckon a lot of the cures were in the minds of the patients rather than in fact.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Catch it; or; Lose it.
Well one thing I did right any-way. I saw that the Black Medick had blossomed and the seeds were beginning to show.

So I snipped off a little bit of the stalk. This shot shows part black and part green seed heads.
This one has all black heads and ready to disperse ready for next years plants.
Culpeper has nothing to say about Black Medick.
So called because the seed when fully matured is a black colour.
So minuscule are they that they do not show  when they have changed from the green of the standard head.

These full green heads are from a flower and will gradually change to a black colour.

As will these that take the part of the flower cluster on the little plant. Miniature in size the flower is only around 4 to 5 mm yet has a simple beauty, brilliant yellow in colour and when it has matured and turned into a green shadow of itself is is hardly noticeable. I was lucky in that although I have a scatter of flowers growing on the lawn this little plant was isolated by itself on the cement by the side of the car parking spaces. I swooped and took a sample to add to my clamp and photograph.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

And only just in time.
Last week I noticed an unusual plant growing along the side of the pathway. It was Yarrow, AKA Nose Bleed, Millfoil, or Thousand Leal. Latin name Achillea mellifolium, Of this plant Culpeper says :---

[ Government and virtues.]
 It is under the influence or Venus. An ointment of them cures wounds, and is most fit for such as have inflammations, it being an herb of Dame Venus; it stops the terms in women, being boiled in white wine, and the decoction drank; as also the bloody flux; the ointment of it is not only good for green wounds, but also for ulcers and fistulas, especially such as abound with moisture. It stays the shedding of hair, the head being bathed with the decoction of it; inwardly taken it helps the retentive faculty of the stomach: it helps the gonorrhea in men, and the whites in women, and helps such as cannot hold their water; and the leaves chewed in the mouth eases the tooth-ache, and these virtues being put together, shew the herb to be drying and binding. Achilles is supposed to be the first that left the virtues of this herb to posterity, having learned them of this master Chiron, the Centaur; and certainly a very profitable herb it is in cramps, and therefore called Militaris.

A veritable panacea if we believe all. In any case I kept my eyes upon it because it was getting close to the time the contractors were due to cut the grass again. Finally I decided to cut and take photographs although the flower heads were not fully developed.

I took a series of pictures reasoning to myself that I could always cut a flower head again later. BUT when I got back from getting my pension and making an appointment for a 'starvation' blood test together with a follow up for the doctor a week later; I found that the contractors had been. No more Yarrow, The lawns were bare - no clover showing, no daisies, no creeping buttercups; just grass  I had won one, but lost half a point. Now I will need to wait until next year I expect unless by some chance it grows out again and the flowers set, before the next visit of the contractor's team.

Monday, July 13, 2015

No-one likes death.
I came across these pictures that were taken well over 25 years ago. I don't like death, nor do I care for useless killing. Those folks that are against breeding mink and carry on by letting them loose out into the countryside, are not considering what they do to the balance of nature.

Mink by their very nature are killers. Far be-it as far as I am concerned to let the animals loose. They can't feed themselves and by the time that some of them can survive they become a pest to local farmers.
In this instance they had started to raid a duck rearing pond. If I had a choice I would rather see ducks and ducklings swimming around than not see the mink - because they would hide from view - when I was walking in the countryside.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Blatant Theft.

For some years now I have been a contributor to a website called . It was started by two brothers in America as a memorial to their parents who were ‘special needs’ teachers. Pictures on the site can be used royalty free for almost any purpose except as stand alone images for sale.
I liked the idea and have put JPGs over when I can, my thought being that when I am gone, there will still be little bits of me floating around all over the world. I am now getting closer to half a million downloads of my work, and hope that by the end of the year I might reach that figure.
Now let me tell you a little tip. If you contribute pictures to a website and wish to know about their use, right click on a picture and then select “Search Google for this image”
Within moments Google will return to you with a reply. Such is the wonder of the ‘net’. It won’t tell you every use but only the ones that are on the internet itself.
I often look like that to see what is going on. Agents on other sites that sell pictures frequently copy over free work from Morguefile as tempters to get folk to dig into the site for work they must pay for. This is fair enough they are nor charging for the free ones. I was amazed though to find on a website called  that one of their contributors had stolen many of my JPGs and loaded them there as his own work. As far as I am concerned this is downright theft and that contributor is a liar.
I have made comments on his page but can find no way to contact the site owners, there is no Email address link. All I can do is to put comments on any of my pictures that the thief has posted as his own. Like the following one that alerted me in the first place. I have now by looking through his pages found almost 20 stolen pictures and I am less than a quarter way through. The picture used as the header on this blog, was one of them.

To other contributors to any photo site I would say – examine this man's work pages and see if he has stolen from you as well..

This has now been settled by the owner of the website. The offender has been kicked off of the site and all his - and other folks - pictures removed.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Make that thirteen & a half
Whilst filling in an odd moment by browsing via Google I came upon a suggested use for one of my pictures.
A firm had put together a series of proposed book covers for sale.
One of them used a picture posted on of the New Blind Yeo that I had taken when the sunrise was particularly red. 
It is always a favourite spot for me as the light continually changes from one moment to the next. I learnt that if I took a picture then went to manual mode and varied the exposure I could create mood pix. Something I have not done so far this year.   I must try to get out early before folk are about and see what I can do.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Almost overlooked.

Coming back from shopping as I stepped out of the car I looked down as always to make sure of my footing. The stump of the old fence post pushing above the car park surface can catch the unwary.

A scatter of green leaves and little yellow blobs caught my eye. When I had had the original hard drive breakdown I had lost the content - in March 2011 - of my JPG folder of over 10,000 images. I was bemoaning my loss to a friend and said, in general, that because I had re-formatted my hard drive I had lost the lot.
They said "Don't be daft you can rescue them as long as the re-loading of your Windows driver didn't over-write them"
I pointed out that the charge was quite a bit for each file but they told me of this Australian firm run by a John Hunter, that sold a programme called GetData.
This permitted me to recover many of my lost JPG's The only problem was whilst it was easy to rename my Steam train pix from their loco number, my flower pic collection were similarly designated Lostfile 948732579 etc. with a sequence of numbers. It was just too long a job to hunt back through my book pictures to re-name them
Now needless to say, I have 2 auxiliary 500 GB drives mounted on Novatech caddies, on which I keep my files and the only stuff on my C drive is programme files.  However !
One series I had lost was the pictures of Black Medick

It was only now that I fully realised I had never re-photographed it. Tiny and unobtrusive I had walked past it for 4 years and never noticed it until then. 

About 4 or 5 mm in size it is easily overlooked. The name Medick comes not from association with medicine but from the eastern Mediterranean and was named originally by the Greeks linking it to the Medes
Although very similar to the Hop Trefoil; Black Medick, Medicago lupulina, is distinguished from that by the tiny 'spike' on the end of the leaf as shows in pictures 3 & 4.  
Now back in the fold again it makes me wonder how many of my other images are lost or over-looked.