In the Dark – Stay Outside and Play

Ramp

“In the Dark” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA

I am but a tiny being on this massive rock… I am a rock…
I am but an observant soul… Lost… Looking for a way to be found…
Looking for a way to ask for something I can’t define…
Looking for that elusive sign… Looking for myself…
Searching through the darkness…
Realizing I am of the darkness…

All is well… Everything is just peachy…
My lie of a smile denies you the real me…
Blue skies combined with yellow clouds in gray…
Evenings approach ushers in another orange day…
Another day of labor… Another day in the heat…
Another day I didn’t wave the white flag of defeat…

Ninebark

“Ninebark at Night” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA

I am a fighter… I am on the outside one-percent…
And I have no desire to come inside…
I have no desires because my addictions took them away…
Fingerprint ID and the mug shot to display…
That is why I garden… That is why I plant seeds…
That is why I consider you when figuring for my needs…

I am not equal to anyone… I am six-feet below you…
I am staring up at the ground looking for a new view…
Looking for a way to erase these horrid memories…
Looking for a way to find peace with my enemies…
Looking for a way to find peace with myself…
With my memories… With my past… With you…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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Composition in Scraps – Composing Me

EarthDay

“Composition in Scraps” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – As the name implies… Scraps from a day at work… It was either this or the garbage can… Almost a self-portrait in a way…

Put me in a group of people… And I crumble…
I stutter… Shake… And ultimately stumble…
Nature is my saving grace… My constant drive…
Put me in the forest and watch me come alive…

Know where I’m going… I’m just not sure how to start…
Looking for my salvation in the form of natural art…
Stop for a moment below a twisted mulberry tree…
Every part of which can heal… From root to canopy…

Shattered glass outlines brick like shiny gemstones…
Naked trees against the sky resemble broken bones…
Moments in time always shape our inner perception…
Shadows in our lives lead to shadows in our reception…

Towering grey clouds rise from the distant horizon…
Thunder rumbles as the afternoon humidity rises…
Towering Maple trees sway as the steady breeze blows…
As this moment progresses my tattered spirit grows…

Right here… Right now… I am among the poorest…
The most I have to offer is some pictures of the forest…
Sitting here watching the sun rise over rotten homes…
Sitting here watching the sunrise… While my soul roams…

I never know where my mind will take me… I never know what I will find… But as long as I slow down and pay attention to the world around me… I always find something beautiful… I always find something grand…

Someday… I will find you…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 54 – Tansy

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“Not-so-Common Tansy” – Summer 2013 – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Tansy is one of those plants that we all know exists… We have all seen it… But I’d be willing to bet none of us have paid much attention to it… I never have… And then last summer I was watching a red-tailed hawk try to steal a cooper hawks nest… During the course of this I caught a black object moving in my peripheral vision… It turned out to be a dog… A big ass dog… I got a little nervous at first… Then he saw me… As my tail crept between my legs… His tail shot straight up in the air… He ran at me full speed… I have to admit I almost ran… But I didn’t… When the dog got close… He threw himself on the ground at my feet… With his tongue out he started  howling… I had a new friend…

The human attached to this dog was close behind… She was a little old lady with a thick British accent… At first I joked in my head that the dog was obviously walking her… Then she shook my hand… She had a grip like a navy seal… I’d be willing to bet she was 70 years old… And could probably kick my ass blindfolded… Anyway…

This lady knew her stuff… We talked at length about flora and fauna as we walked through the woods… I taught her a little… And she taught me a lot… One of the plants we came across on our walk was Common Tansy… Her face lit up and I could see the wheels of reflection turning in her head… I knew I was about to receive something very special… And believe me… She did not disappoint,..

Apparently… As a young girl growing up in England (wish I could be more specific – I want to say Cornwall – But I don’t even know if that’s really a place) they did not have much money… Or as she put it “pot-less”… Sanitary conditions in her neighborhood were apparently not the greatest and as a result… Flies were everywhere…

Now… It is well-known that Tansy is a powerful insect repellent… Many of todays organic insecticides contain its oils..

Every autumn her and her grandmother would go to the countryside in search of Tansy… They would harvest as much as they could carry… Bring it home and dry it… It was then placed on the sill of every window in the house… The windows could then be cracked in the hot summer months without letting flies into the house…

I have run into a lot of interesting people while walking in the local park… But I have only run into this individual once… I gave her my blogs address… And if she is reading this right now… Please email me…

Tansy is also used as a medicine… Though it borders on poison… I wouldn’t recommend using it… And I wouldn’t ingest this plant…

And I will eat just about anything… Especially tasty treats I find in the forest… Never-the-less… I gathered some Tansy seeds and will be germinating them this spring…

I was looking through my seeds the other day and realized I had gathered elderberry seeds… I forgot about them… I have actually secured permission to transplant some from private property this spring… But I plan on germinating the seeds anyway… I may try to write about Elderberry tomorrow… I know I have photographs of the plant and flowers… I just have to go find them…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tansy

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

Get your own wallet at CoinBase.com

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Ashes to Ashes – In God I Trust

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“Ashes to Ashes” – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA – Summer 2013

Set out across the winter landscape…
Among the skeletons of sleeping trees…
Gracefully striding in leaps and bounds…
Silent night among the sleepy sounds…

Steady mind for the journey ahead…
Better things to do than lay in bed…
The evening shadows creep and crawl…
Occasional bursts of white snowfall…

Grace the path to promised lands…
Take a breath and raise your hands…
Heaven is the land in front of our eyes…
Expect the unexpected occasional surprise…

To creep on up when you think your down…
Raindrop flood and we eventually drown…
These same drops make my garden grow…
Combine with sun to get a full rainbow…

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“Dust to Dust” – Tennis Way – Wilkinsburg, PA – Fall 2013

Another week back to the steady grind…
Take a day off and see what you find…
Works not meant to consume our life…
Shouldn’t be the object of constant strife…

The days get shorter than the night is long…
A lack of birds means a lack of song…
Too many clothes to feel the cold air…
Not enough sunlight to really even care…

Waiting for spring so my gardens grow…
Flowers bloom and sunshine flows…
With our hands we draw and render…
Garden dreams and paradise splendor…

Heaven is a garden on physical land…
Sown in our minds but created by hand…
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust…
God and nature are the only things I trust…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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The Guerrilla Gardening Guidebook – Sunlight

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“First Rays of Sunlight” – Stone Cairn – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA – Another renegade activity I take part in… Natural sculptures made of stones found on site…

Sunlight

This post is part of a larger body of work titled ”The Guerrilla Gardening Guidebook”. For the introduction and table of contents please click here

Urban environments can be thought of as a collection of microclimates, one of the greatest determining factors of these is the sun. Plants require sunlight to survive, so gardening often becomes a hunt for the best sunlight. Knowing a few little facts about the sun can help you determine where the best light in an area will be.

The earth spins around the sun in a counterclockwise motion. If the earth was straight up and down the sun would be 90 degrees to the earth at all times, the result of which would be no seasons. Because the earth tilts 23.5 degrees, in the winter we are tilted away from the sun, and in the summer we lean towards the sun. The sun rises in the eastern sky, and sets in the west. During the summer months, the sun passes directly overhead. During the winter months, the sun will be much lower in the sky and to the South. March 23rd and September 23rd are known as the vernal and Autumnal equinox, this is the day the vertical sun crosses the equator.

Walls that face to the south will act as heat traps, the reflected sunlight heats the ground, and in turn will heat the area at the foot of the wall. North facing walls on the other hand can experience nothing more than indirect light most of the year, this side of a building will stay frozen much longer than the south facing wall during the spring thaw. The effects of this can raise your USDA hardiness rating a zone or two on the south facing wall, and possibly lower it on the north wall. The reflection of solar energy is known as albedo and can be harnessed for use in the garden, this is a subject I have already explored in a previous post… You can find my post here- Albedo and Absorption of Solar Energy

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“Sunlight Through Pineapple Sage” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – The first peaks of sunlight photographed through my pineapple sage… This salvia is photosensitive… Meaning it blooms only after we reach a certain amount of hours of sunlight… In this case around 12 hours of light and 12 of dark… AKA – Fall…

East and west facing walls are a little more complicated, even if both walls get the exact same amount of direct sunlight. The first thing you will notice through observation is that the soil at an east facing wall is always drier than the west. The wall to the east has the benefit of warming throughout the course of the entire morning, although the west wall is also warming, it is happening much slower. By the time the sun starts warming the west wall, the ambient temperature is up, and the east wall does not loose heat as fast as the west after nightfall. Because of this, you can often get away with plants typically suited for full sun on the east side of a building, and plants suited for full shade on the west.

I have published several other articles about shade gardening, for that reason I will not be writing about it now… Instead you can check them out from these two little links – Gardening in the Shade – Woodland Mimicry in the Urban Garden

Determining the type of sunlight you are working with will not take all day. Now that you understand how the sun moves across the sky relative to the current season, you will be able to map your gardens sunlight without even being on site. Just remember the sun rises in the east and sets to the west… The sun will be high in the sky in the summer… And low and to the south in the winter… Eastern sunlight is always better than west, and south facing walls create a warmer microclimate than walls facing other directions… Easy as pie…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

This site… And all the photographs and information presented within are provided free of charge by the author… I am not affiliated with any product or business… Only myself… Writing this blog takes a ton of time… If you find any of this information helpful, please consider purchasing a print from my online store… It is obviously not a requirement… But it helps…

I sell prints of my photography here – http://www.society6.com/chriscondello Or you can contact me directly at c.condello@hotmail.com for commissions or locally/personally produced prints… Thank you for reading…

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Rainy Day Memories

"Cold Blue" - © chriscondello 2013 - Wilkinsburg,PA

“Cold Blue” – © chriscondello 2013 – Wilkinsburg,PA

May eleventh… Two thousand thirteen…
Cold rainy day in the month of may…
But the birds still sing…
And the ground is green…
Tomorrow this rain will be but a dream…

A memory… A memory from the month of may…

Suddenly it seams… Someone forgot to tell the trees…
The rain has already passed…
Maybe my dreams… Coupled with sunshine beams…
Will take these clouds away…

And send them to someone who needs them…

I have had more than enough…
I’ve run out of places to put it…
My rain barrel doth flow…
My plants got enough to grow…
My basement is the last place…
The water tends to go…

Then right on down that drain…
Eventually to my favorite park…
If we get much more of this…
I’ll need Noah’s fucking ark…

To float on down the highway…
Beer in one hand… And the other a hoe…
Tossing seeds out the window…
Then watching them grow…

Right on up to heaven… That garden in the sky…
I’m sure when you read this… You’ll think I was high…

I prefer lifted… Or vertically gifted…
I’m sorry but my mind seems to have drifted…

For now…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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