Tag Archives: summer

On “The Beauty of Eating Outdoors”

Good morning Everyone!

I noticed today that one of the postings that made “Freshly Pressed” yesterday was entitled “The Beauty of Eating Outdoors.”   I didn’t read the post, but the phrase did make me think.

Paris, cafe, eiffel tower

At A Paris Cafe, from Print Shop Professional 2.0

I am sure that to many of you, the idea of eating outdoors brings  pleasurable, vague feelings involving sidewalk cafes, family picnics and sunshine with a slight breeze.


Beetles and Spiders and Bees, Oh My!

Not me.  The thought of eating outdoors brings two words to mind – bugs and heat.  Picnics are especially prone to invasion by members of the insect family, and I am an equal opportunity insect hater – I care not whether the invader is a mosquito, an ant, a bee, a wasp or even one of the almost infinite number of species of beetles.  I don’t like them.  At all.  Especially around my food or anywhere were the insect might, heaven forbid, actually touch me.  My sisters and I were so bad about the uninvited guests that come to picnics that my parents ditched the idea of family picnics except in the most exigent circumstances from the time I was 8.

heat, desert

Too Hot!

The association of heat with eating outdoors is a later addition.  The association arises because I live in the Southeast United States.  During those summer days when people in the Northeast are enjoying balmy days somewhere in the low 80’s with pleasantly light winds, we are sweltering in the 90’s with 100% or higher humidity.  This weather starts in Alabama in May and won’t really depart for good until mid-October.  When the only way to survive the heat and humidity is to run from the air-conditioned house to the air-conditioned car to the air-conditioned store to the air-conditioned office and back again, FN.  the idea of eating outside is unthinkable.   (We had a car salesman once tell my mother and sisters and I that he wouldn’t consider buying even a bicycle down here without air conditioning.)

velocipede, aerial

A bicycle with air conditioning?

So, without regret or even a second thought, I will respectfully decline the chance to experience “The Beauty of Eating Outdoors.”

Have a great day everyone!


FN.  I firmly believe that the inventor of air conditioning deserves a national holiday every bit as much as our President’s do!  Those Presidents who came from the Southeast would agree with me.

Mimosas and Magnolias: Trees That Get Around

Hi Everyone!

It’s been awhile since I took a minute to speak about the flowering trees and shrubs in season in Alabama, and although in Alabama we have felt like summer started a while ago, we still have a few last flowering trees making an appearance, including mimosas and magnolias. 

I always thought of the mimosa tree as being from South Africa for some reason, but it is native to Asia and the Middle East.  It was introduced into the United States in 1745, and grown as an ornamental plant throughout the 18th century.  It grows prolifically, usually at the edge of woods that are facing open clearings or water.  The USDA classifies mimosa as an invasive species.

I am torn as to whether I like the mimosa tree, and its flowers.  The foliage is delicate and fern like. 

Leaves of the Mimosa Tree

However, the flowers sometimes remind me of that shade of pink I think of as “pepto-bismol” pink.  A close-up look reminds me how delicate the flowers are, but sometimes it also reminds me of a Phyllis Diller haircut.  I’ll let you judge for yourself in the following pictures.

Mimosa Flowers 1

Mimosa Flowers 2

Mimosa Flowers 3

Noxious weed, or pretty flower?  You decide!

The next tree is the stately magnolia.  I like magnolias.  They get around:  their natural range is east and southeast Asia, eastern North America, Central America, the West Indies and South America!  When you see a magnolia, no matter how hot it is at that moment, you feel just a little bit cooler.  The foliage is a smooth dark green, and the white flowers are unsurpassed.  I have even, in years past, picked up a few silk magnolia flowers at Christmas time to place on the Christmas tree and they were stunning.  Since the magnolias appeared before bees did, their flowers are designed to be pollinated by beetles, and therefore are more hardy than other flowers.  I found a pretty specimen out in the City Sportplex, by Kayla’s day camp, and got a chance to take some pictures.

Magnolia Tree

I walked underneath it and looked up towards the foliage, something I had never done before:

Although this tree was not in full flower, there were some blooms.  This flower was about mid-way up the tree and as I snapped the picture, the sun came out from behind the clouds, making the leaves and the flower luminous.

Magnolia Flower 1

The other bloom I could reach with my camera (I forgot my regular camera, so was using my cell phone instead) was both closer to the ground and further along in its opening, so I photographed it at different magnifications and angles.

I wasn’t able to find a bloom in full flower on this tree, but rest assured that once the petals are completely open, the flower is equally as spectacular.

Do you have flowering trees where you are this time of the year and if so, which are your favorites?  I would love to hear from you.

Have a great day everyone!