Thursday, March 31, 2011

Conversation at the manor house

Before I begin, I just want to say that our cat can be annoying. The dog is never a bother as far as I’m concerned, but it’s an entirely different matter with the cat.

You see, the cat enjoys toying with us. For example, she will go to one of the doors and she’ll meow until someone comes to open the door for her.

And the moment the door is open, she often runs the other way.

We both find this very annoying.

The dog would never do this.

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The conversation that I had with my husband yesterday went like this:

HIM: You wouldn’t believe what your cat did today.

ME: If I can believe that you hung a bird feeder from a fishing rod in our backyard today, I can believe anything that the cat did, Andrew.

HIM: Well, I went upstairs after lunch like I always do, to take a nap. And do you know what happened?

ME: I can only guess.

HIM: Well, just as I was about to fall asleep, just at the moment I was almost sound asleep, I felt something land on the bed. And then, I heard something right in my ear. It was her and she was meowing loudly. RIGHT IN MY EAR.

ME: So, did you throw something at her?

HIM: No. She wanted out. And I was just about to fall asleep, and I had to go all the way downstairs and open the door for her to go out. And then, do you know what the little &*^$%er did?

ME: She ran away, didn’t she?

HIM: Yes!

ME: Why don’t you just throw something at her next time? That’s what I do.

HIM: What? I’m not going to throw things at the cat.

ME: I throw pillows at her. They don’t hurt her. And then I yell t little. If you notice, she never asks me to go out, if I’m lying there falling asleep. If she does, she’ll get a pillow in the face.

HIM: What happens if you run out of pillows?

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I never run out of pillows. All it takes is one. Or two, if I miss the first time.

Honestly, I love my kitty cat. But I am not letting a kitty cat get the best of me.

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No cats were hurt in the making of this post.

And I really am not mean.

But I will throw pillows if necessary.

Respectfully submitted,
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Photos processed using Nelly Nero’s Shabby Suitcase action and a Kim Klassen texture. The Nelly Nero actions are free, as are many of Kim Klassen’s textures.

Free Nelly Nero actions

Kim Klassen Café

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stylin’ in the backyard

I’m just going to come right out and say it rather than beat around the bush.

Today I came home to this.

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Yes, this is what you think it is. It’s a fishing rod with a birdfeeder attached at the end – and it’s the newest weapon in my husband’s ongoing war against the squirrel population in our backyard.

He has foiled them completely with the feeders that he strung on the wiring. See {this post} if you’re new here.

But the feeder that hangs from the house has been an ongoing issue. Sometimes I cannot believe how adept the little critters can be when it comes to getting the seed from the feeders. It doesn’t matter how slippery something is, they will keep at it until one of them figures it out.

And then they’re all over it.

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This used to be a nice rod that my husband used mainly to surf fish. But it’s about 25 years old, and the cork on the handle is wearing and oh what the hey – let’s use it as a pole and attach the bird feeder to it.

I’ll tell you what . . . I secretly think it looks a heck of a lot better than the mop handle that was previously in its spot.

Don’t you?

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George agrees. At least I think he does.

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Another photography assignment over at Pioneer Woman’s site. This time it’s ‘Horses’, a subject near and dear to my heart. But a subject I haven’t photographed for nearly three years, since my husband stopped being able to work. He was in equestrian management all of his adult life, specifically in Thoroughbred horse breeding and we lived on horse farms since our early 20’s.

Here’s the link to the assignment: Photography Assignment: Horses

And, for what it’s worth, my first entry.

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Taken in the paddock off our side yard in March 2008, I could usually go right up to the mares and foals as long as I was quiet.

Of course, the competition is crazy fierce on the Flickr group, as it always is in PW’s assignments. But I enjoy looking at the entries. And I’m especially looking forward to seeing all of them in this particular category.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Home again

You know, as exciting as it is to get away sometimes, the feeling of coming home had me positively beaming today. I don’t know, maybe it’s this peaceful place that has me mesmerized – or maybe it’s Spring itself. Stepping out of the car at 9 am, I could hear the song of the birds, and then the black & white greeted me.

What a beautiful morning it was here in Maryland. Although it was cold enough outside for a sweater and my Carhart vest, the sun was such a pleasure.

I picked up some pansies to plant in containers.

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My sister is recovering nicely and it was good to see her and some of the family.

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Shallow depth of field here, which might really bother some people. (Hi, Ray). But I like the little ruffles.

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I sat outside in the sun this afternoon, in a spot protected from the wind and read books l received from {her} in the mail. Thank you, my friend. It was such a beautiful surprise.

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Progress on the lilac bush is always interesting. These shoots will grow into branches.

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All of the trees are budding and soon the dogwood will bloom.

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This is what the dogwood buds look like.

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There are two white dogwood trees by the house.

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I added a texture to this one just because.

SophieG* Handwriting Texture

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I was overwhelmed to see so many comments when I opened my e-mail today. I’m still reading your interesting answers to the questions I asked in the last post. Have a beautiful day, all.

Until tomorrow, then . . .
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Friday, March 25, 2011

A long week

I was angry this afternoon. Things happened that I couldn’t foresee, like having to cancel my credit card after having my account compromised. Luckily, it was caught in time, but not before several charges had occured. I felt too busy, like things were spinning out of control and I found myself driving fast, too fast.
I knew I had to slow down. So after dinner, for which I was late, I folded some paper cranes. I thought they would help me relax.

But they really didn’t.

I just got pissed off even more.

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It’s probably because I’m not completely adept at making them. So what I did was to visit my blog friends to see what they were all up to. And that helped.

Hey, see the photo above? That’s not the moon. But doesn’t it sort of look like it could be? Just a little . . .

I knew every bird here and only had to look one of them up. It’s because I don’t see it here that often. Above we have a tufted titmouse with a seed in its beak.

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Black capped chickadee.

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The one that I had to look up - it’s a Northern Mockingbird.

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Downy woodpecker, female. And she’s got her fuzz going on. A few seconds later, it was flat again.
My husband says that the way he remembers which is smaller, the downy or the hairy woodpecker, is because down is short. And something hairy would be longer. So the downy woodpecker would be the smaller of the two.

It makes sense to me.

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Carolina wren.

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I’m going to take the weekend off from blogging. I’ve cancelled the car appointment so that I can spend some time with my sister, Char.

And while I’m gone, I have a few questions for you ~
1. What is something you’re really good at doing?
2. What’s your best physical attribute?
3. What is your favorite section of the newspaper?
4. Do you often feel limited by your financial state with how you spend your free time?
5. How much junk food is in your cupboards?

Inquiring minds want to know. So I’ll see you in the comment section, my friends.

~ : : ~

Your answers always surprise me and I love reading them, as well as responding to them. If you don’t have your e-mail enabled, however, I won’t be able to respond. If you have a blog, go to your Dashboard>Edit Profile>Show My E-Mail Address. Or, if you prefer, just leave your e-mail address at the end of your comment.

Cheers ~

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Checking in

I’m just checking in and it’s late as I write this. I said it would be a busy week and by jove, it truly has been. Home very late tonight after a visit to get the taxes done and running some errands – but my dinner was waiting for me. I love that. Tomorrow after work - another errand to run, and then Friday another late arrival home. I’m dropping off the trusty Element at the car dealer and picking up a loaner for overnight so they can address an issue that requires extra time.

I’m sure you’re finding all of this drivel fascinating . . .

Thanks for your response on the 1000 Cranes for Japan post below. It’s very soothing making the little cranes and my niece had a lovely idea to decorate my brother’s hospital room with them. I love it! So today, I made it a point to find a craft store that sold Origami paper and I hit the mother lode at Michael’s Crafts.

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Another offering from my ‘in flight’ attempts during last weekend. I posted this to Flickr last night and someone wrote that it looked like an angel. How sweet!

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I added a texture to one of the moon shots I took over the weekend. This one is from SkeletalMess and it’s called Hellbound.

Maybe I’ll use it in my Halloween decor at the school office next year.

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And I thought this one looked cool with the moon peeking through the branches of the trees on the property.

For the past several days, I have been remiss at visiting my favorite blogs. And for this, I apologize. I will catch up as soon as I am able. I miss you ~

Respectfully submitted,
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

1000 Cranes for Japan

Hello, my friends. When last I wrote, I told you that I fell in love with not one, but two photos over the weekend. This is the second one, by Nowordz Photography. And it has a lovely sentiment that surrounds it.

I found the beautiful photograph below and a post about the crane project for Japan on a blog that I often visit, Constantly Evolving.

Crane Nowordz

Photo courtesy Nowordz Photography

This is a beautiful and simple way to show support for Japan and its people, and from what I can see, the Flickr group has been flooded with photographic offerings ever since damiec, the group administrator, initiated this project.

She says, ”The crane is a mystical, holy creature in Japan - it represents luck, good fortune, and long-life. The act of folding cranes, specifically, 1000 cranes, is said to make the folder's wish come true.
Strings of one thousand paper cranes are often sent to places where tragedy has struck as a symbol of hope & healing. Sometimes groups will fold 1000 cranes for an ailing friend in hopes of speeding her recovery.

Whether you believe in the power of the crane, or simply in the gentle act of beauty and kindness, there is something uplifting about this tradition”.

1000 Cranes for Japan – Flickr Group

And The Miya Company is donating $5 for every image of a paper crane it receives up to $5000 to Save the Children Japan. Visit this link to find out more:

Miya Company - Save the Children Japan

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These are just a few of the beautiful images on Flickr that are pouring in from all parts of the world. Many of damiec’s Japanese contacts have told her how moved they are by the beautiful images in the pool and the knowledge that so many people in this world are holding the people of Japan in their hearts.

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This was my offering. I didn’t have any of the beautiful origami paper on hand, so I used some wrapping paper, and followed the easy instructions below.

Origami Crane Instructions

And this just in from Damiec’s Flickr photostream:
The organization Students Rebuilding is collecting 100,000 actual cranes. If you get a group together and fold more than 50 they will even send you pre--paid postage. The cranes are being woven into a sculpture and the Bezos Family Foundation has pledged $2/crane up to $200,000! The money will support Architecture for Humanity's rebuilding efforts in Japan.

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Now that sounds pretty darn good to me.


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Monday, March 21, 2011

Birds on the wing

I fell in love with a couple of photos I saw over the weekend, one of which was a finalist at Pioneer Woman’s ‘Beauty’ assignment. It’s a chickadee with its wings fully spread in flight, with a slightly out-of-focus, almost Japanese type of look. And it’s beautifully processed in black & white.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I love it.

Whispers of Spring on Flickr

It is extremely difficult to photograph birds in flight, and some day I hope to capture something good enough to hang in my home. Because it was such a beautiful weekend, I decided that my goal was to ATTEMPT to get a photo of a bird in flight.

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And, for what it’s worth, this is my best effort. This was a very difficult assignment I set for myself, and other than visiting my brother in the hospital, cleaning out the birdbath, going to the dump and doing some laundry, this was my only goal for the weekend.

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Please don’t think I’m lazy. I work all week and there’s nothing I love more than relaxing on a beautiful spring weekend. And it’s finally spring here. I took many photos this weekend and am eager to share them with you.

But today, it’s just birds and wings.

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You see how difficult this is?

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Not one of my favorites, but I really liked the transparency of the wings.

These little birds move CRAZY fast.

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I do like this one, especially because the little nuthatch has a seed in its mouth.

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And I may like it better in black & white.

I know this is going to sound crazy, but I took nearly a thousand photos of birds, holding down the continuous shutter in an attempt to catch them in flight. I deleted around 700 of the photos because I don’t need 50 images of the same bird in different poses.

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I have so many things I need to accomplish this week, and it’s going to be super busy at work. I’m glad I had the weekend to kick back and sit under the dogwood tree for a spell with my camera.

So how was your weekend?

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

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PS ~ I mentioned that I fell in love with a couple of photos over the weekend. Tomorrow, I'll share the second one and the lovely sentiment that goes along with it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Perigee moon 2011

It’s midnight and I'm still awake and excited because I’ve finally captured the moon in my camera lens. I found instructions and then I googled how to work a couple of the settings on my camera (I lost the manual a long time ago).

And it worked. Here are the tips I used:

Moon Photography: How To Take Photos of the Moon

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I shot on Shutter Priority mode 1/640 sec, ISO 400. Sharpened in PS.

I read somewhere that it’s more effective to photograph the moon when it’s not full. This way, you get the shadows from the craters at little bit better. I may have to keep at this.

Have a beautiful Sunday, all.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011


It’s early Saturday morning as I write this. My husband wanted me to be up early so that he could pack the car and we could go to the dump. What? You thought I was going to say pack the car and go on a trip, right? Nah. Maybe next weekend.

So I got up early. In my world, 7:20 is early for a Saturday morning. In my husband’s world, however, it is not.

For those that may be thinking ‘well, why can’t husband pack the car and go to the dump himself?’ well, believe me . . . I’m thinking this too.

But I refuse to let any of this bother me today. Because it feels like spring.

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I took these photos yesterday afternoon after my walk. I made myself a Friday night cocktail and took the camera outside to sit by the lilac bush.

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If you’re new to this blog, I wrote about this beloved bush two years ago, when a tree came down and split it in half.

If a tree falls in the forest . . .

I have always adored the scent of lilac and was thrilled to have moved to a home that had a wonderful old bush in the yard. And when the tree came down and split it in half, I thought the bush would never recover.

But it is – slowly.

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These shots are SOOC (Straight Out of Camera), with a slight texture added.

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There are shoots coming from the damaged area of the bush.

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It’s beautiful.

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And I’m so glad to see that it’s going to produce some blooms again this year. Last year we had so few.

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This is the dogwood tree by the house. Its beautiful white flowers will be out soon, but I like how the bare branches look against the house.

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Miss Blackie was taking a sunbath and says hello.

Wishing you all a beautiful weekend.


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