July 2 – Biggest flower in the world

I’m issuing this on an off date because we are leaving on vacation tomorrow and I wanted to create a break point.  Furthermore, I have a big backlog of photos to share.  I went fishing three days in a row this week.  Monday I took the kayak out for it’s first voyage of the year.  At Wakonda Park I wasn’t expecting a huge day of fishing, but I was nearly skunked.  Fortunately, I caught a small crappie while trolling in deep water.  Tuesday evening I went to John B’s again.  Fish were not biting much, though it was a beautiful evening.  I caught maybe three small bass.  Right at sunset, John caught a big one that went about 5 1/4 lb.  It was a serious fish. 

This lake is surrounded by forest primeval.

Wednesday morning Savannah and I took the kayak out to Lowell’s, but not to fish…to take Gretchen for her first swimming lesson!  I don’t think she understood that the water did not have a firm footing under it like the ponds she’s used to playing in around the edges.  She jumped straight in and seemed surprised.  She did surface and swim on her own.  Her technique is not very graceful though. 

The kayak dog. Swimming lesson: beating the water to a froth.
Looks nearly hairless when wet. Learning to spot fish.

After the swimming lessons, we fished one and one-half circuits of the lake.  At one point Gretchen became interested in a piece of algae and tried to jump off the pontoon boat.  I grabbed her with one and and with the other dropped my rod into the lake.  That was my favorite outfit too.  It was only 5 feet deep so I took my shoes off and felt around in the muck until I came up with the rod.  It was a yucky experience, but I was glad to have the rod and reel back.  Lowell caught a few, and Savannah none.  She didn’t swim in the lake either!

I caught 7 bass, including this 17-incher.

That afternoon I went over to Nancy’s to look at her flower gardens.  I took the camera.

Unknown hemipteran. Blue-tailed flies.

Splashes of color. One of her lilies.  Click through for many more.

Thursday I took a motorcycle ride to Macomb.  It was a beautiful day for a ride: cool, no wind and little traffic.  My purpose though, was to see a titan arum in bloom at WIU’s greenhouse.    When I first saw it I’m sure an expletive left my mouth.  It was twice as big as I thought.  I took many photos.  Though known as the Corpse Flower, it didn’t really smell like a dead thing; more like poo.  The flower was past its peak, so the smell wasn’t very powerful unless I put my head in it.

Feed me, Seymour! Here I am for scale.  The flower is about 7 feet tall.

The spadix is hollow, relatively thin-walled…. …and tall.

That night the fire department was needed to stand by at the nursing home while the fireworks were set off.  It was easy duty, and I was able to take my camera.  I looked up the settings I had used last year, and got some really good results.  Click through for a bunch more images.

Orange glow. Multicolored splash.

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