Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blue Sky

Yesterday I visited a friend at her lake house north of town. We spent our time visiting and catching up, plus one errand and a lunch in town. I couldn't resist this photo of a small town street...the sky was so blue. A cold front came through and knocked off about 10 degrees from the day before and pushed out the humidity.

We had lunch in a diner run by the local Mennonites. I don't know if it was a family operation or a community or church operation, but it was good. And see the chalkboard? Free dessert because it was their 3rd anniversary.

It was a great day. I've never wanted a house on the coast, but I can totally see myself in a lake house (in my dreams!).

Monday, June 29, 2009

'Mater Watch, Part Dieux

The walk on, the grape tomato vine, is making up for lost time. Aren't they cute? The big vines have about 10-12 tomatoes, and two have begun adding some orange color. It won't be long now!


These pepper plants, in the primo sun spot, are all hat, no cattle. They have loads of foliage and height, but no peppers.


These pepper plants, in the make do spots, each have a bell pepper well on it's way to the table. Can you spot them?
Off to the lake for the day! Hopefully I'll pass some farm stands and stock up on produce until my crops come in (ROFL!).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Smooth Criminal

Michael Jackson burst onto the scene my junior year in high school with Off the Wall. Then came Thriller.

Over the years there were so many hits and the dancing, oh the dancing. Everyone wanted to move like that. I think Smooth Criminal, the video, captures it all. This is long, about 9 1/2 minutes. If you don't have time for the whole thing, go to about 6:40 and you will see my favorite part. Oddly, you can't buy this version on iTunes.

Whatever you may think about the man, the musician made an imprint on music that will live on.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

North Facing Window

One thing there hasn't been much of in my photo portfolio is portraits. So when a friend needed some informal candids, I jumped at the chance.

I put her in a chair in front of a north facing window.

Tried to make her comfortable and used my fake photographer's laugh. Or did I? Maybe I just said something goofy.

Things were going well.

Then she asked "do you know what you're doing?"

Then I showed her the shots in the camera.

But really, it wasn't me, it was the subject.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Right Now

Tonight I read a blog post that encouraged documenting your "right now". it was at Ali Edwards' site (she is the queen of celebrating your everyday). So, in that spirit, I took a photo of the dogs sleeping by my chair. What is remarkable about it is that these two have been biting, licking, rolling and begging for me to scratch them for days. I finally called the vet for some relief, and fed them their pills at 8 pm with their supper. At 10 pm it was quiet for the first time in days, poor things.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


The dogs love to lay on the air vents in the summertime. When Gus gets there first, he puts as much of himself over the vent as possible. And the rest of him sprawls along the wall (there's a lot of Gus to sprawl).

When it's Cotton's turn, she is much more precise in where she places her feet and her nose.

Sometimes, she turns her head to the side like this and I imagine it's because her nose got cold. But always those two front feet are placed side-by-side.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cooking Therapy

When the going gets tough, the tough get...cooking? Yep, that's right. It's the therapy of choice when work gets a little much. So tonight, a recipe I've been imagining ever since I read about it. But let's go back to the beginning, shall we?

I am reading the book by Molly Wizenberg who posts the blog Orangette. And I read the blog called Smitten Kitchen. So in SK's blog she posted about a recent obsession with grapes. That she got from a Molly Wizenberg/Orangette recipe.

Oh-ho, not just any grapes. Red, seedless grapes combined with peppercorns. Cinnamon. Mustard seeds.

Interested yet? Read on.

White wine vinegar. Sugar.

Does anyone else see the Rorshach test below?

Pour brine over grapes in two pint jars.

Refrigerate for 8 hours at least.

Then, Yum.

I'll let you know about the grapes tomorrow.

Update: ohyesohyesohyes! The pickles are delicious and would be great with cheese...of course, they are good on their own. I will be taking a sample to the office tomorrow to get opinions.

Out of Focus


This morning I woke up before my alarm went off, and decided to try some photos of the altheas. These are not altheas because everyone of those photos was so blurry I was not going to show anyone. As it turned out, everything I took this morning was out of focus, this was just the best of the lot and can be called "artistic" if one is feeling charitable.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Excuse Me, Can You Help?

There seems to be something in my eye.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Fungus

Another afternoon in the back yard...wait. What is that at the foot of the pine beetle infested pine tree?

It kind of looks like insulation...

Ack! What kind of growth is that thing?

Maybe it's better not to know.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Petunia, the pot and the pachysandra

I have neglected the flower gardening in favor of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Update: something, probably the squirrels, have eaten my chives right down to the roots.

Take heart, I do have some flowers besides my beloved hydrangeas. Meet the petunia - first bloom.

This is the petunia pot. I like this photo despite it's mundane subject, probably because it says Italy, and I saw lots of terracotta in Italy. This is also the pot that I picked up on the side of the street that someone was throwing away. There were a stack of pots, as a matter of fact, and I had to carry them and handle two robust golden retrievers. My shoulder may never be the same.


The petunia is in it's pot on the iron table to the left below. But the point of this photo is to show you the odd growing pattern of the pachysandra. I've puzzled over that, and had a sneaking suspicion. And, the other night, I was validated: We walked to the back yard and Gus made a beeline for this spot, flopped down and began to roll. I was just in time to save the hosta.

Tim the Landscaper will not be pleased.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fireflies and the blue egg series

I've been trying to figure out how to take a photo of the fireflies. That encompasses a number of things I have no experience at: time lapse photography, patience, using a tripod, patience...below is my first effort, and I thought it was a bust except that I liked the light coming through the lattice at the neighbors. Then I saw that little light dot in the middle left of the large shrub--I got one!

These are eggs from an area farmer...I've been shopping at the farmer's markets and am thinking of joining a CSA group. Anyway, these eggs were all sizes and colors. I saved my favorite blue one for last because it was so pretty.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Anybody Home?

The feral cat had kittens in the brush pile that is in my neighbor's yard. When Gus discovered them, he stood at the fence and waited for any twitch of dead leaves or the slightest mewing sound. The kittens, in the safety of their den, didn't understand what monster they were creating. By the time they made their debut, Gus was beside himself. Shortly after their debut, the mother cat started moving them around the neighboring back and front yards.

Gus, always hopeful, peers at the brush pile from his perch on the deck to see if they are back.

So he can run over and bark his brains out.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Counter-Downer

Today I felt a need to make something. It's summer, so I guess the summer camp arts-n-crafts bug has bitten.

Cut, glue, tape, staple, mess up improvise. Isn't it satisfying?

Here's my project - it's a count down thingy. I call it the counter-downer. From 14 days out, you can tick off the days to a birthday, holiday, trip, getting a new puppy, or taking delivery of a new car/house/loan (hehe, as if).

Because anticipation is part of the fun of all those things, right? The original that I followed is here.

It was fun trying to make it look like the real one without having all the stuff. I used tools I had never tried before. I dug out stickers I've had for eons. I made my own wings with transparencies I had on hand (one wonders why one had them on hand if today was the first day one opened the package, but one digresses). I think my artsy-crafty is rekindled.

This one is designated for a family I know with 4 kids, three cats, a dog, and a gerbil. Keep an eye on the mail this week, peeps.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It was a Frog-Strangler


Last night we had a fierce thunderstorm with a lot of lightning and heavy rain. From my office desk I can see the outdoor patio lights at my neighbor's, but they were much more subdued than this photo shows. The dogs, Gus in particular, stuck close once the thunder started.

In the paper this week was a headline proclaiming the drought over as the ground water levels were replenished and area lakes are full or near full pool...but the drought went on for so many years that it's still pleasant to spend an evening inside while the rain falls outside.
And that green flash in the lower center of the picture? I have no landscaping lights...that's the porch light from across the street refracting in a droplet of water hitting a very sensitive light sensor in the camera.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

'mater watch 2009

You knew when I started this first time in-town, front yard, vegetable gardening thing I was going to inflict it on you, didn't you? Well, I didn't want to let you down.



These tomatoes are surprisingly attractive in a sci-fi kind of way, aren't they?

This next one is not technically part of 'mater watch...it's the first vegetable to have formed, though and I thought that got it a place in today's post. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...

the baby jalapeno! (and it's siblings)


I know, it'll be over soon. Just be glad it isn't vacation slides. Here's the first bell pepper ( I planted green, red and yellow).


Here's a reward for hanging in all this way. A lovely lace cap hydrangea blossom...you know, I could've called this the blue and green post.


Check back next week for the update to 'mater watch 2009: will a cutworm attack the vines? will Molly remember to fertilize? and what about those passing dogs? oh, the drama!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Color Commentary



My favorite color is red, but I seem to be fascinated by blue in my photography. And while I'm at it, my favorite color combination is aqua and red, especially the vintage combinations. My house has aqua colored walls with dark brown in a couple of places, another favorite combination. The front bedroom/office/clutter-catcher is a blue color, maybe a shade or two darker than sky blue. And I've recently taken a shine to orange, but for furniture, I'm all about painting things cream, off white, pearl or some other variation of white. On the other hand, I recently painted the outside bench tomato, which was really coral and now we're back to red again.


The spin on the color wheel made me dizzy.

What color do you like to see and where?

Monday, June 8, 2009

View to a...View?


Here you have my latest design challenge...the view to their view. Yes, the window in my bathroom looks into the neighbor's dining room. Either end of the spectrum, I suppose.


Anyway, with the blinds open the hall has light. I love light. However, window, next to well, you know, so blinds can't be open that often.

Until I actually applied my brain and remembered one can buy window film, like this:

light effects film

What do you think, internets?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cat Photoshoot

Here's a slideshow of my first photoshoot. I guess. For the record, my favorite is the last one.

Any feedback is welcome...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Urban Garden Lite

Growing up, both sets of grandparents had vegetable gardens. One set also had strawberries, the other set also had asparagus and blueberries. They both had the standards: corn, tomatoes, okra, peas, beans, a variety of greens, broccoli, eggplant.

I come by it honestly. Does anyone else have the memory of loving the "chore" of collecting the vegetables each day?

Have I explained that my yard is quite shady?

Except for the front, that is. So all the space in the back is in shade but the front has a fair amount of sun.

This year the pull was irresistible. I needed to grow some vegetables.

I have 3 bell peppers: green, red and yellow. They are blooming right now._MG_0706

I have 2 jalapenos and 1 pimento (hello home made pimento cheese).
And there are already little peppers on the jalapeno!

4 tomato plants: Mortgage Lifter, Amish Paste, Brandywine and a grape tomato.

1 eggplant, chives, basil, rosemary, parsley...and that's all I thought I could cram in among the flowers.

All that bright green at the bottom is the oregano...I step on it to water the raised bed and it smells soooooo good.

The mailbox planting is picturesque with clematis, verbena and daylilies...but productive with rosemary and basil.


Speaking of flowers, aren't these beautiful?



Why is the simple act of growing something so thrilling? One of my retirement daydreams is a small farm. 1 garden, 1 cow, 1 barn cat, a few chickens...maybe one day :)


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