A Well Designed Weed

I am a fan of great design. When something has a beautiful aesthetic design that is also completely functional – for me that’s the pinnacle of design. I know that to most homeowners, this weed is the bane of their existence, requiring bags of chemicals and funny-looking tools to tame. I have come to appreciate their amazing design – to see that from not only follows function, but that functionality can be truly beautiful.

It begins like this…

I have always marveled at the intricate detail of it's flower's structure.

I have always marveled at the intricate detail of it’s flower’s structure. So much geometry.

…and transforms into this…

The symmetrical seed ball is also filled with structure and geometry,

The symmetrical seed ball is also filled with structure and geometry, a nearly perfect circle made mostly of air.

To really appreciate the beauty and the geometry of the dandelion, you must get closer…

As you get closer you can see the almost engineered structure that holds the whole seed system together.

As you get closer you can see the almost engineered structure that holds the whole seed system together. Dimples as perfectly spaced as any man-made golf ball.

As you get even closer the structure of the seeds themselves becomes much more intricate than you might imagine…

Here you can begin to make out the structure of the seeds - quite intricate with symmetrical barbs holding seeds to center.

Here you can begin to make out the structure of the seeds – quite intricate with symmetrical barbs holding seeds to center.

Getting still closer, the center is revealed to be less like a golf ball with dimples and more like the ports of a futuristic space station…

Now we see that the holes in the center actually have structure too - they have small "latches" that hold onto those seeds until just the right gust of wind comes along.

Now we see that the holes in the center actually have structure too – they have small “latches” that hold onto those seeds until just the right gust of wind comes along.

Of course the flower is just the opening act. The seed itself has an ingenious design…

The seed of the dandelion suspended from the center of a pinwheel of very fine parachute. It not only keeps the seed airborne to scatter in the wind - it makes for a perfect landing with the seed down.

The seed of the dandelion suspended from the center of a pin wheel of very fine parachute. It not only keeps the seed airborne to scatter in the wind – it makes for a perfect landing with the seed down.

When I lived in the city I fought the good fight with the weed. I would even treat my lazy next-door-neighbor’s lawn to prevent more from invading my little green space. After all, if I failed to take care of my lawn I would be bringing a pestilence upon my neighborhood.¬†When I moved to the woods I recall that my neighbors chuckled when they saw me unloading a bag of “weed-n-feed”. They gently told me that what I was calling a lawn was really about 10% bluegrass filled in with wild clover, dandelions and any other ground cover that would grow out in the open. Over the course of the next few days I thought about the deer and birds and finally about my own well water and decided to embrace the idea of a wild lawn with no chemicals added. That first summer I learned to appreciate the dandelion and over the years I have explored it with better and better glass.

The dandelion in all it's glory.

The dandelion in all it’s glory.

I have come to see the majesty in that well designed weed.

Random Stream of Consciousness – with pictures.

Random musings in no particular order…
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Have you noticed how many people post photos of their bare feet on Facebook? Odd. Feet are typically not your most attractive feature and if you post it as your profile photo every time you comment, post, or even play Words with Friends your friends are confronted with your funny looking feet. This is as close to bare feet that you will see from me online. My boss thinks they look like “bear feet”. I took this photo because I thought it was silly to wear leather five fingers while standing on a fake fur rug.

Squeegee
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This is one of my Jack Russell Terriers – Squeegee. She rarely lets me take her photo. I was trying out a new zoom one day and got this shot of her. I cropped in on her eye and saw my reflection as well as my whole front yard I her eyes. Spooky.

Weeds
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I often walk around looking for something to take photos of. Sometimes I find weeds. I think dandelions are fascinating. The daisies are coming up through cracks in the sidewalk. I love their symmetry. I think the leftover stem of the dandelion looks like a primitive golf ball.

Sparkles
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I have been putting together a kit for shooting macro for a couple of years now. I know that you probably expect to see bugs eyes or flower centers when you think “macro” – I like to use my gear for getting close to just about anything. The second shot is my Mom’s class ring. I shot this with an antique bellows – when you shoot tight with shiny things in the background you get those cool circles – in all honesty, I was more interested in making those circles that the objects I was shooting.

Feathers
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Feathers are amazing. Luminous, textured, shaping. We all know what a chicken looks like with no feathers. Birds are not so majestic naked. Sometimes I think people would look better with feathers. Kind of smooths things out.

Characters
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Characters – Eureka Springs is full of them. We have lots of parades and festivals – these are events that characters just cannot resist. The woman in the clown make-up is a staple of this scene. I could probably pass her on the street without her makeup and never know her even though I have taken dozens of shots of her. The last shot is my pal Judy, we like to take shots of each other taking shots of each other.

Velcro

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This is Velcro, she’s a 14 year old Rat Terrier mix. I rescued her about 8 years ago. She likes to dig – a lot. When I first brought her home I twisted my ankle in one of her many holes while walking across the lawn, so had some top soil trucked in to level things out. It took less than a month before she destroyed the lawn again. I have re-leveled the lawn at least a dozen times. I am at the point that I have decided to let her dig to her hearts content until she crosses the Rainbow Bridge. Then I’ll fix the lawn. The upside? No grubs, no moles, no wasps.

Baby animals

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I read once that all mammals experience a serotonin release when they look at other baby mammals. I think that’s true and I think it answers the question as to why we would willingly bring home an animal that will poop in our house and eat our favorite shoes. Baby animals are like crack. They make us feel good. I’m hoping that this good feeling makes for a good place to sign off. Look closely into the kittens eyes. You’ll feel great.