Sunday, January 23, 2022

A Manual Bird, a Frozen Orchid and a Spotted Dog


This little robin was perched in our Philadelphus yesterday morning, singing its heart out. Taking the picture proved a challenge: the white sky confused the camera's auto-exposure function, and auto-focus wouldn't work because of all the branches and twigs between me and the bird. I had to turn everything off and take it manually, just like the old days.

(I usually use program mode with auto-focus, which allows me to set the focal points but does everything else automatically.)

Olga and I stayed indoors most of yesterday. We went for a morning walk, and I found some discarded plants by the curb that had obviously fallen out of someone's garden waste bag. There were a pot of daffodils and this:


Let me say outright, saving this plant is going to be a long shot. It's an orchid, and it was obviously sitting outside in the waste bag when we had our below-freezing temperatures a few nights ago. The leaves are limp and mushy. But the roots and the crown of the plant look like they might be OK. I need another orchid like I need a hole in the head, but I'm motivated by the challenge. So I put it in that pot and brought it inside.

The daffodils, sadly, will have to be thrown out because I think they got run over by a car. The bulbs are all broken.


About a week ago I showed you the portrait that blog pal Vivian painted of Olga. Well, Vivian actually did two paintings -- she also wanted the challenge of painting Olga's entire body with its intriguing spots. So I sent her a photo of Olga "splooting" in the grass -- that's what it's called when a dog lies with its belly flat on the ground, back legs out to the sides -- and she came up with this fabulous image. Once again, on her blog she discusses her process and decision making. (She actually tweaked the painting after she sent me this photo, adjusting the shading of the Kong a bit more.) I'm so happy to have these portraits. Or I will be, when the Royal Mail delivers them.

Last night, Dave and I watched "Munich: The Edge of War" on Netflix. It was a good movie, featuring a talented cast including the ridiculously handsome Jannis Niewöhner, and we also ordered some take-away hamburgers which thrilled Olga to no end. While looking over the menu before ordering I exclaimed, "Three pounds for apple and beetroot slaw? That seems crazy to me."

Dave laughed and said, "I love it when your mom comes to visit." (My mother is known for her parsimonious nature.)

I said, "Well, it's going to happen for the rest of your life, so enjoy it."

56 comments:

Andrew said...

It's a nice photo of the robin.
The orchid will survive. I am less sure about it blooming this year.
I did not pick up my parsimonious from my mother or father. It developed within me. I can spend thousands without batting an eyelid, but tell my partner he owes me a dollar for parking. At least I don't calculate to the cents. I round up or down at 50 cents.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Your kindness to forlorn plants warms my heart. I hope it warms the heart of that orchid, which you need like a hole in the head. Vivian is an exceptional artist. Another beautiful painting. “I love it when your mom comes to visit” is not a safe statement to be made at our house. But my mother was obviously nothing like yours. (I can, however, make that statement with SG and he’ll puff up with pride.)

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Dave's remark was so droll - it made me chuckle. As for the dead orchid - Come on dude, prove you really are Jesus! And Vivian - wonderful, patient artistry once more!

Tasker Dunham said...

Don't over-water it and it'll be fine.

Boud said...

It will be interesting to see what the orchid does. Some are forced, produce blossom for a single year, then are exhausted. If it didn't come from a big box store, you have a better chance.

Wilma said...

Nicely done with the robin! I wouldn't have been able to pass by that orchid, either. In a year or so, you will be showing us its flowers.
Splooting - so that's what you call it! I love to see our dogs do that. Olga seems so very happy in that lovely watercolor.

Colette said...

The exchange between you and Dave (and his comment to you) made me laugh. I'm going to have to use that one.

Marcia LaRue said...

Love Olga's picture! She's a happy girl!
I have a pretty little orchid a friend gave me a few years ago and it blooms every February and March and I just water it about once a month. For some reason they don't require a lot of water. Once the purple blooms show up, they stay for a long time ... months!

Sharon said...

That painting of Olga is beautiful. What talent!
I ate out last night at actually had the same thought about a $9.00 salad. I'm wishing you luck with the orchid. If anyone can revive it, it's you.

Ms. Moon said...

Vivian has honored Olga with that beautiful portrait! It really captures her smile! Just beautiful!
I can absolutely hear you in that response you made to Dave. We are who we are!
Good luck with your new patient.

robin andrea said...

That painting is beautiful. Vivian is such a fine artist. I love this!
Apple and beetroot slaw? I've never heard of such a thing. I'm going to have to google that and take a look.

ellen abbott said...

Good luck with the orchid. I couldn't keep one alive that wasn't frozen. Though in my defense it was one of those small pot grocery store orchids that are probably so stressed by the time someone buys them that there's no chance of survival. and a very nice painting of Olga.

Pixie said...

You and your plants. You should have been a social worker or a nurse. You love saving living things. I would have more plants if my &%*($% cat didn't destroy them all, although people don't leave plants outdoors here, too cold.

I love that painting of Olga. Wow!

Bob said...

That's a beautiful portrait of Olga "splooting"--a term I'd never heard, or used, before.

Ellen D. said...

I chuckled over the witty banter between you and Dave. :)
I want to read Munich before I watch it and I have the book from the library in my pile to start soon.
I wonder what you will read now that you can read anything you want??

37paddington said...

You nailed the manual settings on the bird photo, so you've definitely still got "it" from the old days of photography. And what a fabulous painting of Olga! Does your friend do commissions? I would absolutely love to send her a photo of my daughter's dog and hire her paint him as a surprise gift for her. Please let me know is this is a possibility. And that little exchange with you and Dave and the cost of ordering in, it's actually rather romantic.

37paddington said...

Also thank you for the movie recommendation. I am running out of things to watch!

The Padre said...

Amazing Art Work Of Our Favorite Old Gal - You'll Cherish That Piece For The Rest Of Your Life - Go Team Human

Cheers

Mary said...

Saw Olga's painting on Vivian's blog yesterday. Love reading about her thought process and methods. Gorgeous painting.

As for Dave's comment, when my DH uses a certain dumb-downed tone to mansplain something, I call him by his father's name (was a military officer). The tone (and content) of my response comes across like a threat...because it is. He doesn't make that mistake very often. Still has all his limbs.

Edna B said...

That's a wonderful painting of Olga. Your friend did an awesome job. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

The Bug said...

Lovely painting of Olga! Vivian is so talented. And so are you - the Plant Whisperer.

Mike and I laugh about how he married his mother (except I have his dad's trashy eating habits - ha!). I apparently rebelled though because he doesn't really remind me of either of his parents.

Kelly said...

I love the new Olga portrait. I love that it includes her Kong AND I love that she's doing "frog legs". Not all dogs can pull off that position and I like seeing it... especially in big dogs. Sweet girlie.

Catalyst said...

My wife and I apparently share the same relationship that you and Dave have. When I took some books back to the library yesterday she chided me for wasting gas just to do that. I actually also wanted to get out of the house for a bit.

Allison said...

I always thought orchid were annuals - they'd bloom and die. I have the black hand of death for many plants. Good luck with saving it. Olga's portrait is really amazing, such talent.

Beth Reed said...

Awesome image of Olga and I know that you will be very happy to have the portraits. Do you have any idea where you will hang them?
I want a hamburger really bad! The greasy all the way with mayo on one side and mustard on the other. Inn and Out makes great burgers but so does Sonic. Hmmm that is a thought!
Have a wonderful day!

Margaret said...

That's a magnificent painting of Olga! Love it. Your comment to Dave is priceless. We know our loved ones well, don't we?

Janie Junebug said...

What a great painting of Olga! That's something to enjoy forever.

Love,
Janie

Bindu said...

Olga is very pretty. Beautiful portrait. Hopefully, that orchid will survive

Steve Reed said...

I'm SURE that orchid will not bloom this year!

Steve Reed said...

Oh, I freely admit that I take after my mom in many respects.

Steve Reed said...

It's going to take some divine intervention to pull this plant through, I think.

Steve Reed said...

Well, we'll see. It all depends whether the crown of the plant has been damaged or not. Time will tell. But you're right about over-watering -- that is death for orchids.

Steve Reed said...

I haven't had one yet that I haven't been able to coax into blooming a second time, although sometimes it takes a while. (Like, years!)

Steve Reed said...

Splooting is a good word! Apparently corgis are known for their sploot, but staffies do it too.

Steve Reed said...

Dave always teases me for my cynical pronouncements, which sound like my mom.

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, people think orchids like a lot of water but they really don't. They're tree dwellers so they get rained on but then all the water runs away. I water mine once a week but always let the water drain away.

Steve Reed said...

Ha! Yeah, I'd definitely have had the same reaction to a $9 salad. LOL

Steve Reed said...

Didn't she do a great job with that painting? It definitely captures Olga's personality!

Steve Reed said...

I didn't order it (obviously) so I can't tell you what it tastes like, but it sounds good!

Steve Reed said...

The trick with orchids, I think, is to let them alone. They die from over-watering more than anything.

Steve Reed said...

I definitely do have the "rescue impulse," as did my dad.

Steve Reed said...

It's a great term, though not particularly useful if you're not a dog owner. :)

Steve Reed said...

I'm curious what the book is like! I've never read any Robert Harris. Let me know!

Steve Reed said...

It was fun to take a manual photo for a change. (And I had to work quickly before that bird flew off!) I'll contact Vivian and ask her about commissions.

Steve Reed said...

I will indeed cherish both of these paintings.

Steve Reed said...

Ha! We all absorb something of our parents, I suppose!

Steve Reed said...

She did, didn't she?!

Steve Reed said...

We'll see in a couple of weeks how well I whisper to this plant. I think it may be mortally wounded but as I said to Tasker above, time will tell.

Steve Reed said...

"Frog legs" -- LOL! I haven't heard it called that before but that's an apt description.

Steve Reed said...

Well, the librarian appreciated it, I can promise you that!

Steve Reed said...

They will live for years with proper care, but the key is patience -- it can take them a long time to bloom again.

Steve Reed said...

I'm not sure where they'll go! Once I get them framed and see how they look I'll have a better idea.

Steve Reed said...

Indeed we do!

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, Vivian did an amazing job.

Steve Reed said...

She is a "striking" dog, as one of my co-workers said. :)

Jeanie said...

I loved watching Vivian paint Olga. She's a wonderful subject. And the other thing I love is the British robins -- so different from ours.