Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Little things (and it’s not too late to enter the Giveaway)

One of my favorite things to do on a beautiful weekend day is to sit outside with my zoom lens and try to capture photos of birds.

I love feeling the sun on my skin while I listen to their little chatter and the fluttering of wings, while the little birds swoop to perching places or to glean some seed from the feeders.

Sometimes I have a book with me but yesterday, it was just me and the camera and a cup of tea.

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Ok. It was a glass of chardonnay. But the tea sounded much more proper, didn’t it?

I’ve always wanted to be proper . . .

Above we have a tufted titmouse.

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We all know what this is. Cardinals are rather shy, I think.

These photos aren’t all that, really. I was sitting as close as I could to the feeder without spooking the birds, but it still isn’t close enough and my Nikon 70-300mm lens was fully extended to take these shots.

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A female . . .

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and a male house finch enjoying a beautiful day in our backyard.

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I believe my husband’s got the right idea here with this shot he took today. He cleaned the windows of the breakfast nook and took this with the Quantaray 70-300mm lens, which he prefers over the Nikon. (I think if he had used the Nikon, the photo would have been sharper).

:: ~ ::

It’s not too late to enter my Giveaway. It will run until Wednesday, December 1 at 6 pm.

Thanks for coming by. Hope you have a great day.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Because I want to ~ a Giveaway for you

Because I love you, and because I’ve reached another milestone in my blogging (ahem) career, I’m hosting a Giveaway. The winner will be selected randomly at Random.org and first prize will a standout print of your choice.

Second and third place will each receive an 8 x 12 or an 8 x 10 print of their choice. Each prize will be shipped directly from the online lab to your home.

A standout print is an excellent way to decorate in your home, as it can be moved from place to place or hung directly on a wall.

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Here, you can see three of them on my mantle. I labeled them because those other framed prints are also there. I move the standouts around the house all the time.

The two on the end are both 8 x 12 standout prints and the tulip standout is an 8 x 10. I always choose the black trim vs. the white offered because I think it looks better.

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Prints are mounted on 1 1/2-inch thick Gatorfoam. On the back, there are four holes drilled, one in each corner. I think it would be easier to use an adhesive wall mount sticker for the back, however.


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This is one of my favorites. It also makes a nice addition to holiday decorating which I’ll be starting soon.


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That last print in the frame is my dragonfly. You might wonder why I have a photo of a bug in a frame on my mantle.

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It’s because I like looking at it.

This is a 4 x 6 print in a frame I found at WalMart.

Ok, let’s get to the nitty gritty here with the Giveaway.

:: ~ ::    :: ~ ::    :: ~ ::    :: ~ ::


1. You need to be a follower of this blog.

This is not a blatant attempt to attract more followers. If you want to follow in order to enter the contest, fine. If you already follow, more power to ya.

2. You need to visit my etsy site.

It’s the one place where all the choices are stored together.

3. You then need to answer this question:

If you win, which of the photos would you choose to have mounted on a Standout Print?

And most importantly, make sure I can link to you to contact you. I can’t stress this enough. I need to be able to e-mail you or link to your blog. See THIS POST if you’re still not sure.


The giveaway will continue until this Wednesday, December 1 at 6 PM (EST). Winner will be announced some time that evening.

So which do you choose?

Good luck!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

One of my favorite Saturdays

For some reason, I was terribly happy today. I woke up early, and when I opened my eyes, I saw the sun shining – something I hadn’t seen for several days.

I smiled.

Then I closed them again, fell back to sleep and had a wonderful dream. I couldn’t remember it when I woke up again at 8, but I knew it was wonderful. I’d watched Alice in Wonderland on Netflix right before I fell asleep, so maybe that had something to do with my good mood.

I didn’t think I’d like the movie, but ended up enjoying it immensely.

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I got the urge to spend some time in the kitchen today. This rarely happens, so when it does, it’s best to take advantage of it. I made two contributions to dinner tonight. Using the leftover green beans, I made another green bean casserole for just the two of us, using the recipe below.

Green Bean Casserole

Then I made maple pecan pie bites for dessert, using the leftover pecans from my Thanksgiving offerings. And oh, my stinking heck, are they ever good.

Maple Pecan Pie Bites

I also took a walk on this beautiful day.


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This young goldfinch was caught with my macro lens, surprising the heck out of me. It’s rare to catch a bird with a macro lens.


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I love curlyques and squiggles.


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And tiny little leaves, like this one which is stuck between two twigs.


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My friend, Mary, at Little Red House sent me a link to some new actions, and I spent some time this afternoon playing with them.

Red Leaf Studios – Photographer Boutique

Check them out. Get inspired.

They’re really quite beautiful.


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I find bare branches beautiful as well. These are the black walnuts in our yard. They’re quite tall. And when I say ‘our yard’, I mean the yard of the manor house, where we caretake. Just clarifying there.

Psst ~ Look for the Giveaway tomorrow night for Monday’s post. It will be for Followers only in celebration of another hundred followers to my site. I’m not trying to toot my own horn with the that whole thing. I just think it’s as good an excuse as any to have a Giveaway. This time around, I’m offering another standout print from my etsy site. I’ll be adding some new additions tonight. (So this is your head’s up, if you’re a regular reader of this blog).

:: ~ ::


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:: ~ ::

Ok. Gotta go. Somebody wants in. And I don’t wanna keep him waiting.

Until tomorrow, then . . .

PS ~ Saw ‘Due Date’ with Robert Downey, Jr. yesterday. Pretty hilarious. (Especially seen with several good-natured friends who enjoy raunchy humor!) I highly recommend, in that case.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The day after

For the record, yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner was fabulous. There were a lot of people there this year. A lot.

Our youngest son played the piano and his new guitar and it was the best thing I’ve heard in a while.

My green bean casserole was a huge hit. The flavors were wonderful, if I must say so. And I must. I also made my traditional apple/pumpkin pie and this year, tried a new dessert as well. I made a chocolate chip pecan pie and it was . . . oh, my stars, was it ever good. I used Ghirardelli’s 60% cacao bittersweet pieces. Pecan pie isn’t usually my cup of tea, but the addition of chocolate takes it to a whole new level.


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It’s raining this morning and I think it’s a perfect day to see a movie. With family in NJ. I think I’ll head back over soon.

And maybe I’ll have some of that pie for lunch . . .


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If you’ve gotten this far, I noticed this morning that I’ve reached 700 followers and that means it’s time for another Giveaway. I’ll host one later this weekend, so stay tuned.

Until later, my friends . . .

Enjoy your loved ones. Because that’s what it’s all about.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness

I’ve overslept this morning and it’s gorgeous and I want to get outside in it. I picked up our eldest son at the train station late last night. He’d travelled from NYC into Philly and called to tell me his bus was late and he’d missed the train by only six minutes. The next train would get him here at 10:23.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, or what I was thinking but at 10:28, as I was sitting in the local train station, my phone rang and it was my son asking where I was. I told him I was at the train station waiting for him! Apparently, I was at the wrong train station. D-oh! As I raced north on I-95 to get to the big station in Wilmington, I wondered if I'd misread his e-mail and what the hell was wrong with me that I couldn’t remember which station to meet him. Is there already too much information in my head and some of it’s leaking out?

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Regardless, all was well. And with Thanksgiving travellers on the road, traffic was backed up, and we didn’t get home until 11:30. And then, of course, it was impossible to just fall asleep after all that.

I think Chelsea Handler is hilarious. And raunchy.

And I think I will just laugh at myself rather than worry.

Later today, it’s my husband’s appointment time in the city so we’ll be travelling. And I’m sure George will be glad to have someone staying home with him while we’re gone.

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I hope you have the time to check out the public service announcement below and make a pledge to stop childhood hunger in our country. And if you can, please help spread the word.

I am so thankful for all I have. To all of my readers in the States, I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving.

Amen and Love,

O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
~~William Shakespeare

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nothing gold can stay

Over the weekend, I took some photographs in what’s left of the garden, and working on them tonight to share them with you, I was feeling a little poetic about the time of year.

Since I don’t possess any talent at all when it comes to writing poetry, I’ll share a few of my favorite lines with you.

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November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

-  Elizabeth Coatsworth

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We finished what was left of this lettuce.  And it was good.

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I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. 
So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
-  Nathaniel Hawthorne

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I cannot agree more with Mr. Hawthorne. A beautiful day is meant to be spent out in it.

Here, basil gone to seed. And below, a lone leaf from the grapevine.

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I love it here at the old manor house on the hill.


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Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

:: ~ :: ~ :: ~ ::

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Monday, November 22, 2010

Finally, George has his own calendar

Well, I did it. I’ve published a calendar full of George photos. It’s called 365 Days of George the Border Collie and is available from Lulu.com for 19.99 plus a little s&h.

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George the Border Collie 2011 Calendar

My family has been encouraging me for the past couple of years to create greeting cards or a calendar of some kind and I kept looking for the method that would suit me best. I wanted a quality product with excellent photo processing and I wanted customers to be able to order it directly from the site where I created it, leaving me out of the mailing process or processing orders. Affordability was another big factor.

It wasn’t until this weekend, when my husband urged me to do it, telling me that people might actually want a calendar full of George photos that I finally took the plunge and began in earnest. I found Lulu on a search. And then realized I already had an account with them. D-oh!

In it, you’ll find my favorite guy in his element: the outdoors. The finished size is 11” x 17” and it’s just in time for you-know-what.

You can check it out on the link above.



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday afternoon vignette

So there I was, knitting in the sunlit backyard and marveling at the beauty of November, one of my favorite months of the year. The weather can go from the warmth of an Indian summer day to crisp autumnal splendor to a wintry mix and I enjoy the variety.

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I listened to the steady drum of a woodpecker and then spied him at the top of one of the black walnuts at the edge of the property. I could hear the hum of distant traffic as the world goes about its business. But here, on the property of the manor house on the hill that has been in this same spot since 1769, it feels far removed from the rest of the world.

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Miss Blackie tiptoes through the soaker hoses that my husband has spread across the lawn. He’s slowly taking down the garden as he readies it for the winter nap.

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George is doing much better on his medication for the dermatitis he’d developed. No more itching and he’s happy again.


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A lone leaf on the dogwood tree. Within just a few short days, the dogwood has completely shed its leaves. Only a few stragglers remain.

Kim Klassen’s ‘framed’ texture applied. But I don’t remember what else I did although I’m sure it involved one of the vintage Florabella actions.

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I made chicken salad for lunch, adding apples, red grapes and walnuts and serving it on toasted rustic bread slices.

One half would probably have been enough. But I ate the second half anyway.

:: ~ ::

So how’re things in your neck of the woods?

Respectfully submitted,

Moonlight, candles and crazy love

I promised myself I wouldn’t whine on this blog and I certainly don’t intend to start. But it’s a fact that sometimes my husband’s moods are more than I can handle.

Sometimes it’s a roller coaster, man.

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So imagine my surprise tonight, when after a slew of rough days, I dined by moonlight and candlelight with my husband while we listened to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass on that website he found. He’d made roasted chicken, baked yams, and carrots and peas. And oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

I can’t believe how happy this simple meal made me feel. It almost made up for all the bullshit I put up with this week.

Apologies for cursing. It’s not something you’ll normally see here. But it was the best word I could think of for what I’m trying to convey.

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Love hurts.

But it’s so darn worth it, isn’t it?

And now for the candles. Oh yes, there’s more candles.

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And they’re on sale, just in time for you-know-what.

I first saw Jimmy Belasco candles last year on the Pioneer Woman’s website and I ordered a couple of them just to check them out. And I fell in love. The soy candles have the most wonderful scents and they last a long time. The company’s goal is “to make the most fragrant candles on the planet, using the finest ingredients on the planet.” I also love that $5 of each purchase goes to a charity of your choice.

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I got an e-mail from the company today, offering some of their best sellers on sale. And it’s quite the sale, too. Nine different scents are reduced plus there’s free shipping when you purchase three or more candles. But it won’t last long.

On sale are

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Please note that I get no compensation from Jimmy Belasco. I just know a good candle when I see one and I like sharing a good deal with my friends.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Friday, November 19, 2010

A rediscovered day

It was a beautiful spring day when I took these photos.


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We were in Great Smoky Mountains National Park when we came across this beautiful little stream.


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When I caught up to them, my husband was smiling and George was doing this.


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And staring at this.


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This Canada goose was all by himself, seemingly enjoying the warmth of the spring day and getting his feet wet. Although they’re herbivores, a Canada goose will sometimes eat insects and fish. Perhaps we had interrupted his lunch.


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George continues to do the stare-down, border collie style.


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That bird isn’t going anywhere.


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The sound of the water rushing by was loud and the waves were like mini-rapids.


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Eventually, we left the goose to his own devices and traveled downstream a bit, to a quieter place. You can still see the waterfall in the center of the photo.


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Much quieter down here.


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I love how the water has made an interesting shelf along the shoreline in this peaceful little spot on a beautiful spring afternoon.

::  ~  ::

I didn’t have any fresh photos for today’s post, so I did what I often do, and delved into my files only to find these pictures that I’d completely forgotten to share with you. They were taken last April, over Easter Break, when my husband and I visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park on our way to the Gulf Coast.

Thanks to all who answered the question on their signature dish (or lack thereof!) for the Thanksgiving meal. I always enjoy reading your answers. Until tomorrow, my friends . . .