July storm-Storm clouds

Finally, the storm is here, how much I love these clouds.
It started slowly and these black clouds just wanted to be taken seriously. The storm was not so bad but the insupportable summer heat is gone.
Sky before storm
Storm clouds
July storm

Inspecting the vegetable garden

My neighbor was complaining about the cucumbers in her garden. She has two species from different seeds; one full of flowers, bees and foliage but no cucumbers on it and the other, just the stem with a few leave but full of cucumbers.
As I have no idea of growing vegetables, I couldn't comment much on the subject.
To be honest, my main concern was to take some photos of those bees and vegetables (shame on me).
Bee on cucumber flower
Cucumber flowers
Looking at the garden, I couldn't understand why are all these flowers planted among vegetables? I thought it's a leak of her imagination that vegetables and flowers are not planted in separate areas. I was wrong, of course, and I've learned a very complicated lesson about companion planting.
Companion plants
"Companion planting is the planting of different crops in proximity (in gardening and agriculture), on the theory that they assist each other in nutrient uptake, pest control, pollination, and other factors necessary to increasing crop productivity."
They are beautiful companions, indeed.
Snapdragon-Antirrhinum macro
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Life along the mill race-flowers-small animals-insects

Here goes the mill race, an artificial channel that was the fuel for 12 watermills beginning from the 14 century. As there are no mills any more, nobody cares to clean the channel and its water is stinky and dirty but a perfect place for many wildflower, small animals and insects.
Just behind this small pension house the channel passes near a small park, a perfect place for me to take photos.
Small pension house in Cluj
Meet the first hosts; the Mallard ducks are in the spa cleaning their plumage and they don't look stresses by the visitors. I don't know if they are girls or boys but they have beautiful colors.
All juvenile Mallards look more or less like hens for their entire first year.
Mallard drakes don't get their nuptial plumage (green heads, red chest, etc) until they are one year old.
Mallard ducksThe well known chicory (Cichorium intybus) with its bright blue flowers and a busy little bee.
Bee on chicory flower-macroThese tall, pink and red flowers grow wild, in big colonies.
The light pink and dark pink (reddish) ones are very beautiful, orchid-like flowers and there are hundreds of bumblebees all over the place. Does anyone know the name of these flowers?

Update:Rosie, my good blogy friend identified this flower as being the Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) aka:Indian Balsam, Policeman's helmet, Poor man's orchid.
Rosie is a great gardener and has a wonderful blog. I was hoping she will help me out with the name and she did.
Red wildflowers along the creek
The Centaurea is just opening and it is full of small pests already.
But the cleaners, like this lovely black ladybug and the red one will clean all these pests.
Black ladybug on a Centaurea flowerHelp is on the way from this red ladybug too.
Ladybug on a leaf
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Sun rays after the rain-sunshower

Yesterday, it was a beautiful, sunny afternoon with no gray rain clouds on the sky.
Suddenly, a sun-shower started, out of nowhere; that's when we say that "the devil is beating his wife".
Beautiful sky
I had no umbrella, so I was looking for shelter under a honeysuckle, bad idea.
Honeysuckle in the rain
Raindrop on a honeysuckle
As I was all wet already, I decided to take some rain picture and puddle shots. A little warm rain can't hurt anyone and I ended up with these puddle bubble shots.
Puddle bubble
Here is a macro bubble reflecting the sky an trees.
Reflection in a puddle bubble-macro
Sun rays after the rain, passing through the water saturated air.
Sun rays after rain
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Flying object above the Hoia-Baciu forest-part 3 storm photos

It's show time above the Hoia-Baciu forest. It's sunset and the storm just started.
The hill this famous, haunted forest is located on is right in front of my window.
Almost each storm is a spectacular show of color or most often of lightning, especially at night.
Often I witness fascinating scenes but not always I have my camera handy. This time though, I was on the spot.
Look at the photo bellow, there is a shiny spot in the black circle. Is that an UFO or just a raindrop on my lens?

Flying object above the Hoia-Baciu forest during storm.

I took several photos in a continuous sequence and stitched them together for the panorama you see bellow.
Storm above the Hoia-Baciu forest at sunset

If that shinny object on the sky was just a raindrop on my lens, it should be visible on the same spot at the next photos as well, but as you see bellow, there's nothing there. Besides, that object in the sky has such a perfect spherical shape.

Fire in the sky 

This is the third photo from the series, no shinny object here either.
I can' believe I've captured something that interesting on photo.

Storm at sunset

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Hoia-Baciu forest is considered one of the most active spots in the world regarding apparitions and various unexplained phenomena like light observations of various shapes and colors, strange shadows, voices and human faces.

Here is another storm; see this amazing sunbeam sent just for the haunted forest.
These are just crepuscular rays, nothing paranormal but still captivating.
Beams of light penetrating the thick clouds above the Hoia_baciu forest
Read about my adventures in this mysterious forest in the first part of this series or watch the video recorded by Josh Gates, the host of the reality show "Destination Truth" and his ghost hunter team during their adventures in the forest, last autumn (on sept, 2009).

Walk in the Hoia forest-part 2

In my previous post, as I was talking about my last trip to the Hoia-Baciu forest, the "Haunted Forest" in the outskirts of Cluj-Napoca (my town). Most readers could think that was just a story.
Well, we use the world "haunted" each time we don't understand thing and science is not able to give an explanation either.

Though it's a very beautiful forest (at first), everything is very unnatural is this place.
Hoia forest
Once inside the Hoia Baciu forest or even traveling near the forest's edge, you have the feeling of being watched behind every tree, a sensation of unexplained anxiety. That's the first thing that happens to everyone and happened to me too, on this beautiful Sunday, when I took these pictures.
The Hoia forest
I just wanted to take some photos, so I entered the forest. The strange things around me like uprooted trees, just amplified the unusual feeling I've described in my previous post.
Of course, it could have been the storm that put these old trees to the ground, though in that case there should be many broken branches and leaves on the ground too.
There is nothing here but three other giant trees downed on my right.
Uprooted tree after stormI was insisting to capture this strange looking mushroom but I was afraid to even look in the viewfinder. I was shooting blind with many other occasions, when I forgot my glasses at home, still with a good result. But not this time, I was not able to take a good shot of the mushrooms, as you can see in the picture.
Strange mushroomsAnd than, here is this animal footprint, just one. I am looking to find the other three but there is none.
At this moment my hands were trembling and all I could think about is to get out of the forest. So, I gave up looking for interesting photo opps.

The Hoia-Baciu forest is the sight of strange paranormal phenomena which have been recorded and researched for nearly 50 years.
Several theories have been promoted to explain the strange things that appear at times: from unusual electromagnetic readings, magnetic anomalies having strange biological effects on plants and vegetation, burns and necrosis of stems and leaves of certain forest areas to a so-called portal to another world.
Trees grow in weird shapes, some have no leaves, not a single spot of green on them.
People have been known to disappear, the wind seems to whisper, strange shadows, mysterious lights and orbs have been seen amongst the trees and in the sky as well, not to mention the burns of the skin, vomiting, irritation, headaches, amplified thirst, anxiety, faint.
Strange shadows, voices, human faces and infra-sound emissions have been recorded. Occurrences that cause the worst fears are curious humanoids that can be seen on tourists' family photos made in the forest.

Last autumn (on sept, 9, 2009), Josh Gates, the host of the reality show "Destination Truth" and his ghost hunter team visited the forest.
In a series of three videos uploaded to Youtube, they pretend to have spent a night in the forest, though nothing proves that they really did that.
The first video of the series is a mockery of the inhabitants of the village named Baciu, containing unrecognizable street scenes for me and for other people from our parts.
This video is preparing the setup for the main scene. By pushing the background and the lifestyle of the population in this area way back in the past they try to emphasize their discoveries, which are none. Nothing that we didn't already know about.
The second video contains the peak of their research during the night spent in the forest but all they have is a few minutes of video footage and no hard evidence or explanation. You can watch a shot Youtube version bellow.

The forest managed to scare off Josh's arrogant smile when the cameraman was knocked to the ground in the so called "round field" by an invisible power. The "round field" is a circular plateau deep in the forest which is devoid of trees but surrounded by dense forest. This place is believed to be a landing spot for UFOs and and scene of the most intense unexplained phenomena ( like ghosts) . These things have been experienced by the local residents for at least five decades.

Dr. Adrian Patrut, president of the Romanian Society of Parapsychology , has been studying occurrences in the forest since the early seventies. He has devoted a good part of his life studying and investigating the paranormal phenomenology of forest.

I would never, ever doubt that these things are really happening and I'm ready to accept explanations coming from scientists or even from mediums but not from ghost hunters (or money hunters). They have no explanation anyway.
Here is a short video with "Destination Truth" team's adventures:

See the first part of the story and see some colorful storm photos in the third part too.

Purple aster bouquet-New England Aster

Asters are next in summer's flower show.
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, the New England Aster, is a very common aster that many people are familiar with. They make a beautiful bouquet though.
Purple aster bouquet
New England Aster
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae-New England Aster
The flower color is variable, ranging from violet-purple to lavender to blue to white.
Purple aster-macro
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