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Monday, April 23, 2012

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

And the rest of the line is "how does your garden grow?"  It's getting on towards the end of April and the success of my gardens depend on the amount of work I get done between now and the middle of May.


This is the first Columbine of the season for me and I took this shot while laying flat on my back and shooting upwards. The neighbors are now certain that I am indeed a crazy foreigner.


This is a macro shot of the same flower.  Macro is my favorite way of shooting a flower. And I prefer it  for several reasons. The character of the flower, it's personality if you will, shows up more clearly if you get up close and personal. Also, this is where the "action" is. A plant produces a flower for the purposes of reproduction. This takes an enormous amount of energy and from an evolutionary perspective, reproduction is paramount, hence the value in the expenditure of the energy.


This is a macro of another flower. Can you guess which one?


You were right. It's the common dandelion and it's going about the business of reproducing. Now this is asexual reproduction and is hardly fodder for this blog.


This is a picture of me with a 700 gram Long Evans Hooded rat taken while I was an undergraduate. Now you might be asking yourself "Anne, what does this picture have to do with the pictures of the flowers?"  And I would answer "Everything"  As an undergraduate I studied the effects of sex on inter-male aggression using the resident-intruder paradigm.

And if you're really interested in rat sex just let me know in the comments and I just might do a post about it someday.

I'll be in off an on today as I have to work in my gardens and I'm burning daylight.


70 comments:

  1. Your neighbors may think you are crazy for laying on your back taking pictures but that is one magnificent shot of the flower! You take some amazing photos!

    I wouldn't mind seeing a rat sex post...in comic form of course!

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    1. If I do the rat sex post, it will be done seriously. That's code for "dry, boring and sciency"

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  2. I was right about the dandelion. Woohooo. I love flowers, I really do, but every time I try to grow them myself they just die :(

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    1. The Hubby has the same problem. If he breathes on a plant it dies. He killed all my house plants within 6 months of our marriage. I threw out the plants and kept the Hubby.

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  3. Another vote for a rat sex post. Oe at the very least, I'd like you to explain "the effects of sex on inter-male aggression using the resident-intruder paradigm."
    When I saw the title, I immediately got the Run DMC song, "Mary Mary, Why You Buggin?" in my head.
    Garden's looking good!

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    1. If I do the post I'll explain the paradigm. For me it was really cool and fun, but a lot of people may find it boring. I'm giving them a way to get out of my writing that post.

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  4. Your effort is truly shown in pictures. Skill in photography as well as love and dedication in gardening. That flower looks fresh, rich and awesome.
    rat sex? Why not, instead of same lame not funny but pointless posts I had been reading lately, this could be interesting. ;)
    can you throw in some more of cute Irsh men photos? ;)

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    1. Thank you. I love gardening and taking pictures of the flowers and talking endlessly about said flowers. There is a link between Irish men and why I studied sex and aggression. There was a phenomenon I wanted to explore and my advisor gave me carte blanche with the colony so I chose this paradigm and got my answer.

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  5. dandelions are one of my fav flowers....i know they are a weed but....so you researched rat sex...that is kinda weird...smiles.....

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    1. I studied the connection between sex and aggression in male rats and related that to behavior in human males. The neural pathway for both of these behaviors is almost identical in humans and in rats. Almost everything we know about male and female sexuality as it pertains to neuroendocrinology was derived from studies using rats.

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    2. It all came from rats? Geez doesn't say much for us humans huh?..haha

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    3. Rats mainly, but what we know about the pathway from the vagina to the hypothalamus we learned from studying female cats. Did you know that the number of intramissions by a male has a direct affect on the release of progesterone in the female hypothalamus? I bet you didn't. And that this increase in progesterone is directly proportional to the likelihood of a successful pregnancy. You can ask Lord Google what I'm talking about but I'm pretty sure he doesn't know.

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    4. Ummm hmmmm sureeee, I knew that. Lord Google it is for the cat, but he lies quite a bit, so I will believe your big words.

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    5. Intromissions is a polite term for number of strokes. So if you want to make a baby, go long and deep.

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  6. My garden is growing too - out of control!!!

    We've had so much rain over the last fortnight that the grass is taking on tropical rainforest proportions and until the ground dries out I can't get the lawnmower to it (house sits on a slight down slope so the ground tends to get a bit soggy).

    Alas I don't have any pretty flowers in the garden either, just weeds. To be honest if I had my way I would slab the whole area but Mrs K says no!

    Think I'll pass on the details of the Rat Sex though

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    1. I have to mow every 2 days to keep it my lawn under control. It's been raining here as well. The weeds do seem to grow quicker than the flowers don't they.

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    2. Every 2 days??!!! Our grass is lucky to see the mower once a week even when it's been dry.

      Here's wishing you success with your flower cultivation, grass cutting, weed killing and beetle squashing!

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    3. That's because it's mainly crabgrass and that stuff grows really fast. It also "lays down" when you mow it, making it nearly impossible to get a good low cut. That's one of the reasons I'm hauling the lawn up and putting down clover seed.

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  7. dahling, you and your golden elven hair just don't go well with the rats. Leave those to that treacherous cat!
    Loving the flower! My lilacs are currently ready to bloom, both the bluish and the white ones :)
    And I'm also loving the titles of your last few posts :)

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    1. I loved those rats. They were gorgeous and very tame until after they'd mated. And then they became vicious. I had to wear steel gloves to handle them, even after they got the scent of a female in estrous. Science and sex go together darling and you can't legally do what I did with humans.

      Your season is behind mine then. My whites are finished blooming and the blues are nearing the end of their season. It's so brief for them, but so beautiful.

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    2. Hmm can't legally do it with humans. Do I sense some super secret pre-alliance experiments going on in your basement?..hahaha

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    3. I never worked with anything but rats. One of the top researchers in the field of auditory function used cats exclusively to study the superior olivary nucleus. You don't want to know how he went about mapping out that pathway cat. I rung him up and told him I knew where I could get my hands on a talking cat and he really wants to meet you.

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    4. oh, my, the cat could become a lab star! Could I watch the experiments on him behind a glass panel? Please, please, please.....

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    5. Of course you can darling and we'll film it, set it to music and post it on Youtube. Millions will tune in to see the singing cat taking part in an experiment to benefit humanity.

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    6. Pffft no way. The cat would never ever do that. Snip snip was bad enough. He's paid his debt to society and Bob Barker, that is enough for one life time..haha

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    7. I think you should do more cat. Just think of the advancement in cochlear implants that could be made if you volunteer for this. I will naturally receive a rather large "finders fee" for getting a talking cat into the lab, but the Alliance will put it to good use. We'll feed starving kitties with it. We are devious in our methods but you can;t make an omelet without breaking an egg or harming a cat.

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  8. I knew you were laying on your back when you did that. Great pictures and a lovely female of the species. Humans I find...are quite interesting creatures.

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    1. I know you take macro photo's as well Bama. Myself and my flowers thank you for the compliment.

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  9. I, for one, am willing to forgo the rat sex post. However, the picture of the flower is awesome. Colorado gardens are getting a huge head start this year. Although actually planting anything would still be hit or miss, there is potential for snow through mid-May. But I have been helping getting the raised beds in shape and the strawberry plants already have blossoms.

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  10. You have raised beds? I envy you those as I don't have any here and not time to build one. My strawberries are in bloom too, but we've a frost warning tonight so I may go out and cover them. I've been putting out flower seeds since April 1st. The seedlings that come up and survive a freeze will be "hardened" and will make it through anything the weather throws at them. I sow every 2 weeks so I'm certain that I'll get the flowers I want.

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  11. Your flowers are beautiful! What I found even more beautiful was the smile on your face when you had the rat in your hand. I am almost afraid to ask for the rat sex post because of the results and what may have happened to that poor rat. Although, seeing what my particular situation is, I am curious about the study (if it relates and if it's in kindergarden terms lol).

    Enjoy your day in the sunshine! I'm off to the doctor! =)

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    1. These rats had great lives. They lived in a colony, had regular sex and fought with one another. All normal things for a rat to do. And they died of old age. You'd be very surprised at how well animals are really treated in a lab. Much better than humans in a hospital.

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    2. Oh, no, that's not what I meant...I meant, did he get neutered as a result of the experiment in order to calm him down from his aggression. I didn't mean to imply that they were treated poorly at all.

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    3. No they didn't get neutered. The way they calmed down was by introducing the odor of a novel female. One whiff of a new possible conquest and they forgot all about the last female they mated with and the aggression dropped off.

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    4. "Novel"; meaning a new female? I can't believe I'm admitting this, but, I'm finding this interesting, Anne. Why would the aggression drop off? Wouldn't they want to show off for the female?

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    5. Spreading their seed is the primary drive of a male. It's behind almost every damn thing they do. And if they manage to copulate with multiple females they have a better chance of producing viable offspring.

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    6. So, if they "behave" and not become aggressive, they have a better chance at mating, correct? That's the problem with me, Anne, I try to make everything so black and white when there is always a gray area.....

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    7. The aggression I'm measuring is between 2 male rats. The rat who has mated is fighting to prevent another male rat from getting to "his woman". But when he smells a new woman he stops fighting with his rival and becomes interested in the new female. Men have the attention span and the loyalty of rats!

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  12. I love dandelions, weed or not. As for the rat sex, I've dated, I mean studied that extensively.

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    1. Me too Jamie and that's why I did the study. There had to be a reason for men being such arses. I found one of them in my study and how to stop it.

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  13. Show the rats! The cat would like to lick his lips on that. Plus it would bug Dez, so yes it has to done! Rats away here at your bay.

    Great shots too, if you have to look like a loon to get them, go for it. I mean you're already crazy anyway, who cares if people know it for sure..haha

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    1. I can't show any pictures of rats during an experiment. That's a very huuuuge no no. The most I would do is explain what I did and what I learned. It's the link between the sex and the aggression that is interesting.

      And you lick your arse and collect your own poo in Pringles cans. Whos's calling who crazy?

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    2. he told me that he even collects it when it's liquid.... don't even wanna think about that.....

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    3. Our spy cams have photo's of him doing this. It's disgusting as it involves a siphon that he has to suck on to get the liquid going into the tube. Just horrid.

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    4. Oh big no no. Well just find some pics of rats to annoy Dez then, that has to be done.

      Of course there is liquid in there too, but it is clumped up in the litter. Not all runny or anything like that. Not that bad of a cat. And I am crazy forsooth.

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    5. I just sicked up a bit on that visual cat. Runny clumps of poo coated in kitty litter. Maybe you could open an eatery, deep fry the poo and sell it. The wealthy are pretty stupid, call it a delicacy and you'll start a trend.

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  14. "And you lick your arse and collect your own poo in Pringles cans. Whos's calling who crazy?"
    Just sounds like Fran, out on a night on the tiles.....so he told me anyway????

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    1. The poo in the Pringles can is a long running joke between me, Dez and the cat. Oh Fran would kill you for that one Ray. We'll keep that comment secret in the interest of extending your lifespan.

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    2. LMAO poo in the pringle cans is catching on. It will sweep the world!

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    3. I told you people were reading and following the story of the Alliance and the Arse Licking Cat. My pageviews from Russia now greatly exceed those from the US and I'm pretty sure it's due to our crazy rivalry.

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  15. Rats and Irish men and aggression, I am all the more intrigued now.
    But above comment about Pringles can, Pringles just lost a couch potato & potato can - customer. Thanks Annie :)

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    1. I was interested in what you call "mate guarding" behavior in the Irish male. Some of them can be aggressively possessive of their women and I wanted to look at the neural underpinnings of that behavior. I also wanted to add alcohol as a variable, but rats can't get drunk.

      Cat and his Pringle cans, it's just disgusting isn't it?

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  16. Have fun in your garden! (and the flower erotica was a bit much for your blog!)

    Great photos, I can't wait to see your garden once its in full bloom!

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    1. It was much more outrageous than Boobies wasn't it. Sometimes I find it difficult to top myself in the bawdiness of my blog. I can't wait to see it in full bloom either.

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  17. I love the photos as usual Anne, your garden is beginning to turn out very snazzy looking indeed. If you'd like to make a post about rats sexual workings I wouldn't mind reading it, while weird it would still be interesting!

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    1. It's not at all weird, the experiment was well-designed to study the behavior in question. The question is a valid one and is applicable to human behavior.

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  18. I came here expecting to read a confession about murders and burying bodies in your flowerbed... still, great photos of the flowers. the close up of the columbine almost looks like a sea creature.

    Add me to the list of interested people in the rat results. Sounds more in depth than my post on Rats recently, but you can see I'm interested. Any new insight into what makes people do what they do I'd like to know.

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    1. Macro is wonderful for many reasons. In part because when taken out of context, the image can look completely different from the original source.

      I did see your rat post and I figured you might be interested in my work. The Long Evan Hooded rat was my favorite to work with. Hated the Sprague Dawley (white coat) as they don't occur in nature.

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  19. Oh, I can't get to see your rats! :(
    Your garden is beautiful though...mine is full of dandelions and I've just been reading the benefits of them...remember the Dandelion and Burdock fizzy drink? They are actually good for you!
    My rhododendron is in bloom, as are my tiny "Forget-me-Nots", and my Clematis is full of buds just about to open...roll on Summer!

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    1. Dandelions are a green and like collards are very healthy. I never could develop a taste for them though. The Clematis here is in full bloom and my roses are budding. My phlox just opened up today and they're gorgeous and the fragrance is gorgeous.

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  20. There's people out there that can just say "Oh because it's pretty lol" when they take pictures. Your reasons are amazing, they draw me in and make me think a bit more, I love it.

    Also yes, do a rat sex post. I don't think you even have to try and make it funny for it to be a cool read.

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    1. I love flowers, they're such good subjects for photography and pose so prettily just sitting there in their natural environment.

      I could make it funny. There are always those males who don't know how to mate and those guys could ruin a study for me. I used to joke about taking romantic music into the colony room to get them in the mood.

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  21. Beautiful pic's Anne - you have a gift for them

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    1. Thank you Dave. They're my favorite thing to photograph.

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  22. You are gorgeous!! Even when holding a rat :) Which I happen to think rats and mice are cute. Weird, I know...lol

    I totally agree on the zoomed in pics showing a flower's personality. I never took much to gardening, but your beautiful pictures makes me want to start!

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    1. Thank you Jax and ditto to you. No it's not weird rats make great pets. They're so easy to train. The only drawback is that they don't live much beyond three years.

      If you've the space for it gardening is great therapy and flowers make people happy with their beauty and their fragrance.

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  23. I'd love to see pictures of it Marco. You're growing season is so long there and the flowers have time to grow large and have such bright vivid colors. I can't match those here.

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  24. I like the vibrant color on the first flower

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