Thursday, August 28, 2008

Skywatch Friday - 8/29/08

I recently took this picture one morning as I was leaving for work. I walked out of my house and noticed the beautiful sunrise colors above the tree line. I had to run back into the house and grab the camera...




Visit the Skywatch homepage.


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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday / Face- Off!!

Who do you think will win the battle?

Hawk Photo taken by my friend Roy Lewis.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Photo Walk 2008

As previously posted, today was the day I joined Scott Kelby's worldwide photo walk. The group I met with was in Newport News, VA. The weather was great as well as the company. There was about 30 of us and a good time was had by all. There were some great photographs taken. Here are a few of mine that I hope you enjoy!


Pink Roses


More Pink Roses...



Overlooking the James River




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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Skywatch Friday - 8/22/08


I took this picture from my backyard a couple weeks ago after a cool front moved through, creating these awesome thunderhead clouds.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - 8/20/08

Coneflowers Purple Coneflower; Photo by Alan Pulley - 2008

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Upside-down Tomatoes - Give Them a Try!


I've always been skeptical of new garden gadgets and ideas that differ from the ordinary. Maybe it was because of my dad, who instilled in me the basics of gardening, and always questioned anything "outside the box". But as I get older and experiment in my own garden I have become open to new practices and ideas that once sounded ridiculous to me.

One of those ideas is the upside-down tomato planter. These planters have gained more popularity throughout the years but I figured they were just for people who didn't have room on their own property to grow tomatoes the "right" way. I have to admit that they have definitely aroused my curiosity, but I really never thought of trying them until recently. What got me thinking was a recent article in my local paper about an older gentleman (who probably knows more about growing tomatoes than anybody) growing them with great success, and even admitting that they tasted better than his soil grown traditional ones. Who would have figured? Also, what's even more interesting is the contraption that he made to hold the tomatoes up. He rigged up a pulley system on a framed structure made of pvc pipe so he could easily raise the tomatoes plants as they grew.

The article goes on to mention several advantages of growing tomatoes this way which include: no staking, no weeding, and less disease and pest problems. I think I may break my tradition and give these upside-down tomato planters a try next spring!

If interested, check-out the article here: ttp://

Also check-out:

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Thursday, August 14, 2008


  I wanted to promote an event that's taken place on August 23rd-- Any and everyone who enjoys photography, whether your a pro or just a beginner, is invited to join Scott Kelby and his friends around the world for the first ever "Worldwide Photo Walk." This is a free, social photography event where people come together to share photo tips and take lots of pictures during a short scenic hike.  This event is to celebrate the upcoming release of Kelby's new book titled, "The Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers". The book is based off the new release of Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom 2. It will be taken place in various cities all over the world. I will be attending the one in Newport News, VA. Here is a list of all the cities: 

For more info and to sign up, see link below:

Note: One participant selected by the host of each city will receive a free copy of The Lightroom 2 for Digital Photographers book.


Here is another event that a reader recently brought to my attention.

She writes...

We have a wonderful event called the Hummer/Bird Celebration, Sept. 11-14 in Rockport and Fulton, TX where we focus on learning about hummingbirds and the fall migration. Please help us get the word out at
Thanks, Diane


Thanks Diane for alerting me and others to this event.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More About Hummingbirds...

In response to my last post titled Hummers Coming in for a Nightcap, I received a comment from a reader that included additional information that I found very informative. Instead of it getting lost in the comments, I decided to make it more visible for others to see and learn.

Thanks Zoe Ann for stopping by and providing this detailed information...

Zoe Ann Hinds said...

Yes, hummingbirds do sleep. They do so at night by entering into a state known as torpor, which is a state similar to hibernation. Hummingbirds must enter this state to ensure that the birds won't actually starve to death before down. Torpor is a type of deep sleep where an animal lowers its hart and metabolic rate. In a state of torpor the hummingbird lowers its metabolic rate by as much as 95%. A torpid hummingbird consumes up to 50 times less energy than when awake. The lowered metabolic rate also causes a cooled body temperature. A hummingbird's night time body temperature is maintained at a level which is barely sufficient to maintain life. This level is known as their set point and it is far below the normal daytime body temperature of 104°F or 40°C known for other birds of similar size.
There are many reasons why the hummingbird must enter into a state of torpor. Hummingbirds are among the smallest of all warm-blooded animals, and they also lack the insulating downy feathers that are typical for many other bird species. Due to their small body size and lack of insulation, hummingbirds rapidly lose body heat to their surroundings. Even sleeping hummingbirds have huge metabolic demands that must be met in order for them to simply survive the night when they cannot forage. By entering into a state of torpor, a hummingbird is able to save enough energy to survive cold nights by lowering their internal thermostat.
It takes approximately 20 minutes for a hummingbird to awaken from a state of torpor. When awakening, the hummingbird's heart and breathing rates increase and they vibrate their wing muscles. The bird's blood supply will be warmed by heat being generated by their vibrating muscles or from shivering. Shivering helps to warm the hummingbird's body temperature by several degrees each minute and the bird awakens with enough energy reserves to see him through to his first feeding of the morning. Hummingbirds reliably awaken from torpor one or two hours before dawn without any known cues from the environment. It appears that the bird's internal circadian clock is responsible for signaling when it is time to awaken from the state of torpor.
Also, here is a link to a blog post I recently wrote about the metabolism of the hummingbird. Hope you like what you find there.

I have been learning about and developing articles on the subject of hummingbirds for the past year or or so. I operate two websites on the subject of hummingbirds. If you would like much more information about hummingbirds, please click the links below. The sites contain many articles about hummingbirds, video clips about hummingbirds, an informative tips booklet on hummingbirds, and much more.

Click Here To Visit About Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds For Mom

Thanks again Zoe Ann!

RT Hummingbird Photo by Alan Pulley

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hummers Coming in for a Nightcap


  With a variety of flowers and a couple nectar feeders on display, I've had the privilege of having lots of ruby-throated humming birds visit in my yard this summer. They are a real joy to watch. They are usually the first birds that I see in the morning and the last ones that I see before dark. I'm guessing this has to do a lot with there high energy and super-fast metabolism that requires them to be almost constantly on the move. Hummingbirds in flight have the highest metabolism of all animals (with the exception of insects), a necessity in order to support the rapid beating of their wings. Their heart rate can reach as high as 1,000+ beats per minute. They typically consume more than their own weight in nectar each day, and to do so they must visit several hundred flowers daily. At night, hummingbirds are capable of slowing down their metabolism. They enter a hibernation-like state known as torpor. During torpor, the heart rate and breathing are slowed dramatically, reducing their need for food.


I once believed the old thought that you must remove your humming bird feeder(s) before the fall of the year so the hummingbirds would migrate on time. Now I know that is not the case. Actually, the opposite is true - they will often fatten up in order to survive the long journey, and thus appreciate your feeder up until they leave. Hummingbirds migrate in response to hormonal changes triggered by the decreasing day length; nothing you can do will make them stay too long, so it's not necessary to stop feeding. So, enjoy them as long as you can!

One of the hummingbirds favorite plants in my landscape this year is the 'Alabama Crimson Honeysuckle'. It's an easy to grow (zones 4 - 7) flowering vine that blooms most of the summer here in SE Virginia.

One of my favorite sites for reading / learning about hummingbirds is


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