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27 May 2018 @ 02:06 am
That interesting moment when you discover that you have written down the key combination* for the upper-case Russian letter Э in your Hebrew practice notebook of all places.

*because you use... well, I use a Bulgarian Cyrillic layout that doesn't have the strictly Russian letters.
Current Mood: amusedamused
10 May 2018 @ 01:15 am
As I was photographic random plants on my way back home along my usual walking route last evening, my eyes fell on this chamomile plant growing thereon its own:

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And then, as I looked closer (maybe it was good that I had put on my spare reading glasses to see better what I was photographing), I suddenly noticed this tiny crab spider on it. I think it would be perfectly camouflaged if it sat on the petals instead of the yellow centre. It was definitely not amused with my attempts to take closeup photos, but I still managed one in focus as best I could in the already fading evening light:

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I then had the spider identified as Thomisus onustus in a Bulgarian entomology group on Facebook. When I searched for its common name, it amused me that it's called "pink crab spider" in English and "yellow crab spider" in Bulgarian - but of course each individual's colour more or less depends on the colour of the plant it sits on while waiting for its prey.
21 April 2018 @ 01:35 am
I know who planted this one, for a change. :)

It was very pretty while it lasted (photo from 15 April).

Spring ha been advancing so fast that I can't keep up with it, although I keep taking hundreds of photos (many of which are of the same object from different angles, with different camera settings and different degrees of getting ruined by the wind) ... but selecting and editing the best ones is another matter altogether.

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19 April 2018 @ 12:47 am

There was just one flower on the small young magnolia tree along my walking route this year (its record so far was three flowers, I think). But that one flower was huge, as usual.

9 April
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10 April:
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12 April, showing some minimal sun damage (or just natural fading), but otherwise still at its best and most open:
(Sorry, I passed by when it was already a little too dark and it shows in the quality of the photo).
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When it was no longer so prettyCollapse )
10 April 2018 @ 02:55 am
I can't believe I captured a honeybee (or any bee) so clearly in focus with my camera. :)

It's a Norway maple (Acer platanoides).

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A better view of the flowers (and a worse view of the bee, alas). It looks like an old worker bee whose wings have seen better days.
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Just the flowers and a fir tree in the background:
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This is a school building with its yard, by the way.

08 April 2018 @ 02:05 am

No, I have no "legitimate" reason to study Hebrew; it's just my linguistic curiosity and admiration. I can only hope this doesn't end just as badly as my adventures with other foreign languages of no practical use to me.

It started with some joke in my Russian-speaking Facebook company about how somebody should start singing Hava Nagila to freak out some antisemitic guy he met somewhere... so I googled Hava Nagila (it isn't so well-known here in Bulgaria). And then I found a video that used it as background music on a Bulgarian site... and there was the beginning of some other song at the end of the video, and I loved the sound of it, but I didn't know what it was until I started googling the first words as I heard them (in the Roman alphabet)... and it turned out to be Shalom Aleichem, of which there were plenty of different performances of YouTube, and the language itself sounded to me just as melodious as the music. And then the autoplay of YouTube "decided" that the next right thing for me would be Jerusalem of Gold in Ofra Haza's performance... and I was doomed. :)

So, after many attempts to decipher the lyrics of all of the above songs from various translations into English and occasionally Bulgarian and actually beginning to recognize repeated simple words in the process, I finally got a craving to actually start studying the language and see where it gets me. So I did some more googling... and before I knew it, I actually started studying that scary mysterious alphabet, which is now much less mysterious for me, but still very scary - and the spelling conventions are even scarier. :)

And one of the most frustrating things is how I can recognize more and more letters... only in this particular font in the subtitles to Ofra Haza's performance:

And this is the first video of a series I'm using to learn the alphabet (along with random written materials):

I'm even trying some hand-writing (ouch, that left-to-right thing is a serious challenge), but I'm not sure if it really looks like Hebrew letters. :) Well, time will show if I'll end up learning the whole alphabet.. and then maybe something more than song lyrics. :)
Current Mood: curiouscurious
02 April 2018 @ 02:39 am
Photos form 1 April

Common chickweed (Stellaria media). I've been fascinated with these tiny white flowers since my earliest childhood. Now that it's in bloom, maybe that's a sign that it's really spring, after all the "usual suspects" have been in bloom since late January if not last year.
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Red dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum), another old-time favourite of mine.  With some more chickweed to show how tiny its flowers really are, but I didn't do that on purpose.
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The sunniest dandelion on a cloudy afternoon:
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27 March 2018 @ 05:12 am
22 March
This was the sight I would have loved to see through my window... in January, or at most during the first serious snowfall in Late January/early March.
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Just beginning to look at the fruit treesCollapse )

The same cherry fruit tree when I went out:
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A closer view of the whole tree:
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And of the nearest almond tree:
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My hand holding a twig of that almond tree in the wind:
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More fruit trees and other plants, many photosCollapse )

Another tough survivor, in the trolleybus stop garden.
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No, I didn’t go anywhere by public transport that day and I didn’t walk far either.

Slightly melting ice detaching itself from the branches of a linden tree on my way back home. It felt surreal to see that.

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I was surprised to discover that I still had some unsatisfied craving for snow on that day (until I got completely disgusted with the next snowfall in the evening), but I was very worried about the fruit trees and the garden flowers and the house martins that would have no insects to eat in that snow. And now that we are slowly heading into real spring again, I ca nonly hope it lasts this time.
27 March 2018 @ 03:25 am
23 March, after it had snowed on the day before (ouch!).

An almond flower on a Thuja plant. I was impressed with the distance the flower had travelled in the air to land there.
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A patch of surviving snow on the grass (the yellowish dust on top of it came from Sahara, we were told):
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The story of my favourite daffodil in the garden next to the trolleybus stop:

It got a little muddy, but survived the rain on 21 March:
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And then it survived the first round of snow of 22 March:
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But it didn’t make it through the next round of snow and then rain and maybe pieces of ice falling from the trees, so this is how I found it on 23 March.
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I decided to wait for any hypothetical owner to pick it up (I have no idea who planted them, the Municipality or some private person) and then pick it up myself on my way back from the town centre if it was still there… and then I forgot about it. It was still there on the next day (Saturday), but there were so many people waiting at the stop that I was ashamed to pick it up, in case they couldn’t see that it was already broken off (it was a cold rainy day, so the broken-off flowers were still fresh). And then it was gone on Sunday.

More daffodilsCollapse )
26 March 2018 @ 05:08 am
And now here come the male cones (or at least what I think are the male cones). In case you find the term "male cones" confusing, these are the parts of the plant that produce pollen. The best photos I managed today in spite of the wind that kept moving the branches so it was difficult to get aything in focus.

This tree in the first photos is not exactly in the same place with the others, but still in the same area and definitely of the same kind that is very likely some ornamental cultivar of Thuja plicata. Those blue things at the tips of its twigs may be yet unopened male cones.

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Back to the little garden  that is my "outdoor knitting spot". These hypothetical male cones are darker, but still bluish.DSC01660 LJ

And the blue-tipped things in the middle of the photo below look very definitely like male Thuja cones, but I think the blue is specific to this species.
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