Woohoo! Just reached 10,000 visits on the blog!
Wow, here we are after all the years of remodeling, gardening, crafting and taking pictures. What a joyful ride this has been!
Thanks to all of you who read and comment on this blog, I couldn't have done it without you!!!
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
I'm probably dating myself to bring up Alvin and the Chipmunks, but it was one of those shows that you just never forgot - or the silly songs. I loved it all!
I have nicknamed my friendliest chipmunk Alvin, although I think it's really a girl. It's usually busy gathering nesting materials and dashing off to the nearby brush, while the others are stuffing their cheeks with sunflower seeds in the bird feeding area.
There's never a dull moment on the decks as an occasional pitter-patter of little scampering feet runs under your deck chair. I'm not sure if they know I'm there or just don't care. Sometimes if I move suddenly they'll leap into the air and run the other way.
Fortunately this year there are no stray cats hanging around! Knock on wood, as it is usually the case that about the time the wildlife area gets stocked, something bigger on the food chain will come along. One year it was a young black bear, last year a coyote and a cat. So we'll see how long I get to enjoy all of them.
I couldn't help but catch this chipmunk in action yesterday as it nibbled on some apple peels I threw out after using the apple-peeler-corer, making for one long string of peel, pretty cute.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
I love learning new things! I also love returning to refresh my mind and skills at things I haven't done in a while.
Recently I took an online course in Nature Photography. I know, you wonder why someone with a college degree and years of experience in photography even needs to do this. Well, it's fun, for one thing. I love the classroom environment - in this case the virtual classroom. The students are always interesting and eager to learn, curious and open minded.
The course was challenging and I learned new skills with my digital camera. I admit, there are just some things about digital photography that have eluded me until now. When I was in school it was all film!
So this was great fun and a great step to better understanding.
One of the things I most loved about my early photography education was the challenge of light and time. With a little time exposure and the right aperture, you could make water look like this. That was one of our assignments in this class. I have to say that I haven't really experimented that much with my manual settings on this camera, but with a tripod and using the timer it worked out!
We were also asked to find something abstract in nature. It's not as easy as you'd think! I am attracted to abstract patterns everywhere, but they are usually buildings, rocks, and fabrics, to name a few. So for this assignment I chose this log. I was surprised by the perfection of circles here and how it blended so easily with the cross lines from the saw.
This one I used in my previous post. We were supposed to go out and find something in nature to use the macro lens on. Another of my favorite pastimes here at my place that borders on the forest.
These tiny mushrooms were growing all over a stump. The sun was just coming up over the hill and this angle allowed me to get the light to almost illuminate them. These little guys were only about one to two inches tall.
So if you ever get to thinking you're getting too old to learn new things, think again, go out and do something you've already done!
Have you done anything like this recently? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
You know it's Spring when...... you have to wash your car three times just to get the grime off - and - that it's even warm enough to wash your car.
....when the dish water runs over because you're too busy trying to photograph a flock of pine siskens who just flew in for a drink. (Nope, I didn't get the shot.)
.....when it's dry enough out to fix that gutter that's been bothering you all winter.
.....when you can't get through a meal without picking up your binoculars three or four times to see what new birds are at the bird feeder.
.....when there are enough returning Rufus hummingbirds to put out a second feeder.
And lastly, but not least important, you know it's Spring when it finally hits 60 degrees!!!!
How about you?
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Spring is almost upon us here in the northern hemisphere. The birds are busy preparing nests for families and the dormant plants are waking up and popping through the earth.
I have been busy as well just trying to keep up with the impending arrival of Spring. Getting the new trees planted has been a bigger project than I anticipated, but it is getting done.
It's time to get the wooden deck chairs out of storage and start putting potted plants back on the front porch.
What are you doing for Spring?
Sunday, February 24, 2013
15 trees to be exact.
I am delighted to finally bring home my new trees from the native plant sale through our county conservation district. What a wonderful program this is! They send out a lovely order form a couple of months ahead of time (mine is via email) and the selection is varied, from native brush to fifty foot trees!
This year I purchased five Pacific Dogwood, five Red Osier Dogwood and five Pacific Crabapple. They come in packs of five, which seemed like a lot to me, but the prices couldn't be beat.
|photo courtesy freepicturesweb.com|
First up is the Pacific Dogwood. Best (free) photo I could find on the web (tree trunk not included!) It can grow to fifty feet!! These are native to the Pacific Northwest as well as many other places. The flower is sweet and intoxicating in spring.
They like their solitude so will do nicely on my hill with good drainage.
Next up is the Red Osier Dogwood. It's a bush that is bright red in winter - which is stunning against the snow! It will be a nice screen for the hot sun come summer when they are full of leaves. They can grow to fifteen feet and spread their roots underground.
I couldn't find a definition for a "Pacific" crabapple, as there are possibly thirty species of crabapple. But since it too is a native for here, it will only need northwest sunshine and rain.
Now all of these are tasty delights for deer, but will be protected with fencing while they mature. Meanwhile the blossoms will draw even more hummingbirds and butterflies to my yard!
Yesterday I walked the lot (less than an acre) to scope out good planting spots. I took plant stakes with little flags on them to pound in the ground for markers. This way as the next few days go by I can look out my windows at the stakes and decide if they are indeed good places.
My goal is more than just planting trees for the environment. That is a wonderful goal, and everyone should do it, but I also am thinking about the future of my home; it's value, and the benefits of having trees, for both myself and the wildlife.
Deciduous trees provide wonderful shade in the summer, but allow the much needed (and sparse) sunshine in winter. So the large dogwood trees will live on the hill behind my house - between me and the southern sunshine.
The other two species will dot the landscape and just add a more northwest feel here.
While it will take some years before they provide that shade, it will still be a joy to know they are there.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updating the kitchen has been a long process for me, my followers have been very patient as I very slowly make progress and I thank you!!! I am happy to say that I have finally reached what I would say is 98% completion. With only one small wall to paint and shelve, I am relieved to report that the main part of the kitchen is FINISHED!!!
The two big projects seem so small now, in retrospect. The wall shelves and window trim and sill. But deciding on wood, hardware, style and budgeting for it seemed to drag on.
The back-splash is also done! I decided on simple 3.5 inch pine for the window trim and 4 inch for the sill. I still need to insert inner trim around the edges.
I think it all came together rather nicely - but mostly how I wanted it. Here is a before and after view.
It's finally got a "finished" look! I wold say that the total cost for paint, shelves, hardware, and curtains was under $200.
It's a wonderful feeling when you complete something all on your own. Pride of ownership, pride of workmanship.
You're not seeing the left side of the kitchen just yet as that is the last small wall to paint and shelve. But just to the left of the cabinet in the picture above, is a counter and wall space - I'm eager to get this done!
So now the "look" is complete. What do you think?
You can click on any of the images and scroll through them for a larger view.