Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
In honor of the show, I’m going to share a poem that I wrote when I worked for Best Friends Animal Society (I wrote it for me, not for work). The photos are all of dogs that were there when I was there. If all you know about Pit Bulls are the negative stereotypes, then I hope someday you will have reason to change your beliefs. I have so many memories of the Pitties at Best Friends wanting just to love on people. They were some of the hardest dogs to photograph because I couldn’t get far enough away - they were so eager to meet me:-) They want to attach themselves to you and just give kisses. More than any other breed, Pit Bulls want to please humans. They are full of joy and energy, and their sole purpose is to make us happy. It’s only when we take that loyalty and exploit that we have problems. Yes, a Pit Bull would die for you, but why should s/he have to? Why not make a friend for life?
American Pit Bull Terrier
Full of muscle and power.
So awesomely strong,
Yet some force you to cower.
We put you in rings,
And say you must fight.
We exploit your magnificence,
What gives us the right?
If we looked instead
At your wonderful grin,
We’d see your true heart,
And we both would win.
If we worked with you,
And our purpose was pure,
We’d have a dog
That we’d never fear.
It’s the American way
To give all a chance.
Let’s remove our prejudices,
And take a positive Pit Bull stance!
The very cool Spuds! And, yes, his head really was that big:-)
Friday, February 26, 2010
Anyways, just going to add some photos from today. It was still overcast, as a big storm was incoming (and is now here). We've seen so many orchards that have been destroyed this year. I don't know if it's because of the drought, or because the older trees don't produce as much, but it's a sad sight to see full grown orchards bulldozed over. One of my favorite orchards from last year has been left to die out, which isn't much better than the bulldozing. However, another favorite is just getting started, so I hope these photos will brighten my so far rather depressing post!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
We needed to get some groceries today, and went to a store that's a little farther away, so I brought my camera. I wasn't sure if I'd get anything, because this morning was super foggy, and even by the time we went, it was still dreary. However, I know overcast conditions can also provide some of the best lighting, and it really does make for beautiful flower photos. Tonight, I'm just sharing a few. I'll probably make you sick of fruit tree blossoms by the time I'm done, lol!
The robin was a wonderful surprise! I know they're a fairly common sight, but they're so handsome and this is actually my first photo of one:-)
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
It’s about time I started posting some art again! This is my mom’s (Nancy’s) latest sculpture to be added to our Nature Visions' shop, a Beagle named Tippy (named after a Beagle her grandparents had when she was a kid:-) I wanted to share him, because he’s so life-like – I can’t believe the things my mom does with polymer clay! She started sculpting back when we were still in Oregon, so it really hasn’t been that long. When we were in southern Utah, she started sculpting more, and it’s now a full-fledged passion.
She’s self-taught, and each sculpture is one-of-a-kind – there are no molds. She decides on a subject, researches positions and such, makes her armature then sculpts some amazing animals! After they’re baked, she paints them with acrylic paints, and gives a polycrylic coating for sheen and protection. Her two favorite clays are Fimo Puppen and Super Sculpey. Someday, I’ll do a work-in-progress post.
There was a bit of worry last summer when our oven died (after the a/c had already had to be repaired twice - a necessity here). Forget about cooking! How would Nancy bake sculptures? Well, we were very fortunate to be able to sell a scooter my late grandfather had, and used part of it to purchase a Deni 10400 Quick-n-Easy 10-4-Quart Convection Oven. She’d learned about this oven during her research, and it’s been a wonderful investment. We both still miss the real oven, but it’s amazing how you can adapt (I’ve found some yummy microwave dessert recipes I’ll have to share at some point).
In closing, I want to share a photo of one of my other new favorites, this carousel horse. This is the first horse of any kind that Nancy has sculpted, and I think it’s so beautiful:-) There are many more pieces in our shop, and I hope you’ll take a little visit.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Well, not together, but I promised to share a regular photo of the bull we met recently. I thought I'd throw in a few flower photos, and make it today's post:-) The bull needs a good grooming/cleaning, but I can't imagine who would get that task, lol! He sure was handsome - this photo shows his color a little better than the others.
Fiddlenecks totally cover the foothills this time of year. I think they're beautiful, but imagine the ranchers don't like them since they're almost too profuse. Better than star thistle, though!
One of the seasons first lupine - I love these flowers! They're hard to get photos of sometimes, though, because they can get so tall it's hard to get the whole flower. There will be white ones and more purply ones soon:-)
And this little white beauty is the Popcorn Flower... honest! It has a much longer Latin name that I'm too lazy to type. Plus, "Popcorn Flower" sounds like more fun, doesn't it?
Hope you've enjoyed this little bull and wildflower journey. I remembered while typing this that I actually do think I have a photo of bull in wildflowers. We'll save that for another day...
Sunday, February 21, 2010
First up is this beautiful little bird, a Lark Sparrow. This was a first for us. It looks like they live in some parts of Cali year-round, and migrate through others - couldn't quite tell where the map cut-off was with our area. Also, it's not only taken from inside the car, but he was on the other side of the road; I was stretched across trying to focus and hoping he wouldn't fly off, lol!
The next is this little Western Bluebird. He was still a ways down the road when we spotted him, but this is as close as we could get. I think bluebirds are so gorgeous, I had to share him, anyways:-)
And last, but not least, for tonight - I forgot that I'd taken this Western Meadowlark photo on the drive before the photo taken in last night's post. He was up on a little hill, and I just happened to spot him as we were going past, so my mom did a quick stop and reverse. He knew something was up, but he didn't leave right away - yay! They always seem so much larger than I expect - very interesting birds. Well, face it, I find almost all birds fascinating:-)
It's pouring down rain right now, and supposed to continue for a bit. I looked at my photos from last year, though, and see that I started taking fruit tree blossom photos around the 25th. Crossing my fingers that I'll be able to start soon! If you knew how many blossom photos I already had, you might wonder why I'd want more. It's an addiction, okay? I confess, and I don't want to be cured, lol!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
I'm going to draw tonight, so I'm just posting one of my new favorite flower photos:-) In fact, I've already added it to our shop, I like it that much! I love the translucent quality of the California Poppy, and that vibrant, cheerful orange.
Friday, February 19, 2010
As we were coming down from the foothills yesterday, we came around the bend and happened to see this Western Meadowlark on the rocks above. These rocks were out in a fenced pasture, with visibility all around, so no way to sneak up on him. I did get out of the car, though, and aimed up at him for fun:-) May I just say that the Meadowlark really does have one of the most beautiful, glorious birdsongs?! Listening to him sing was magical!
As I turned away from him, I saw the California Quail on the rocks to the right. He was even farther out, but I thought it was cool that he was there, too.
And if these two mighty males weren't enough, I realized that there was a third bird on the rocks behind the Meadowlark. I believe this is a Mockingbird, though it's kind of hard to tell, I know, lol!
Each of these birds was King of their spot on the rocks, and rightfully so... Well, until the next came along, right? It was certainly an unusual sight, but a joyful one, for sure!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
When taking our drives, we always hope that the birds will land on the fence, stay for a moment, and be on the right side of the light. Got lucky with the first two for these American Goldfinches:-) I took these from inside the car, and only had a couple of seconds before they disappeared. First I saw Mr. Goldfinch, then Mrs. Goldfinch landed (at least I think they're male and female...). According to the All About Birds website, American Goldfinches are only here in winter/the non-breeding season. You can see they're still in winter plumage here. I suppose they'll be gone soon, but it's sure a treat to see them! And, hey, I got a little closer than my last photo Goldfinch in fall. They're such beautiful little birds, aren't they?
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
This morning I heard a bird outside, realized it was close, so grabbed my camera as I got up to look. It was a Flicker. It was out where the hawk was the other day, but flew away as I was focusing through the window. As I started to put the camera down, I saw this little hummingbird approaching the feeder. I was trying to adjust my settings, because this spot was much brighter than where the Flicker had been, but just went ahead and took the photo for fun.
I thought the results were kind of cool! I believe this little guy is going for the drops on the underside that you can see. Last year, we had a pair of Hooded Orioles show up at our feeders, so I started leaving 2 holes open on this feeder. It drips some from those holes. The reasons that they're still uncovered are not only because we're hoping the Orioles return, but also because we've discovered that the hummingbirds with the deformed beaks can drink more easily from them. Sadly, we do still see a lot of sick hummingbirds, and it's a topic I need to delve into more. I've never seen this anywhere else, and it's heartbreaking. I was going to link the photos that are elsewhere on this blog, but don't want to make this a sad post.
For now, we'll celebrate the healthy hummingbirds - I believe that more are starting to come around again, yay!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Maybe not the most exciting photo, but I just love these cows that we see on our drives. I think they're the prettiest cows around:-) They sure have it a lot better up in the foothills than the poor dairy cows down here. This young gal was too cute! She was very unsure, but didn't really want to leave her little spot. She looks like she's related to this Cool Cow photo that's in our shop. I don't know if there's a market for cow photos, but what the heck! I like them, and I know I'll keep taking them whenever we see these beauties - they mooooove me;-)
Monday, February 15, 2010
I was taking some product photos for our stores late this afternoon, when I realized the Phoebe was up on the old antenna again. So, in my continuing quest for the perfect Black Phoebe photo, I changed my camera settings before I moved, went over to the step, and aimed up. I caught a couple of cute shots I thought I'd share for tonight's post. I love how I caught him staring at me, beak open, lol! Such a funny little bird - sing, sing, sing, swoop:-)
Sunday, February 14, 2010
If you're celebrating, I hope it's been a wonderfully romantic day! As for me, George Clooney still hasn't shown up on my doorstep... ;-)
This was taken on Friday, from inside the car, so the little mischief-makers were a little ways away. They were scampering all about:-) I made this for a forum I participate on, and then thought it would be the perfect post for here today!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
So, in yesterday's silly bull post, I mentioned a bird that took my attention away from Mr. Bull. This little Savannah Sparrow was the culprit:-) S/he flew up out of the grass, and landed on this post. I was standing out in the open, but decided to see how close I could get. Considering that there was a lot of dry brush crackling under my feet, I did better than I thought. In fact, the sparrow was happily preening and cleaning itself until I got too close. So, was this worth turning away from the indignant bull? I think so;-)
Friday, February 12, 2010
Taken today, I had a little fun and put two shots together. Not sure if this bull was upset at me, or if he liked me - the red hair;-) I'd been taking his photo, when I noticed a bird fly up near me and land on a fence post. So, I was busily taking the bird's photo when the bull started mooing LOUDLY! He got my attention for sure, lol! I was kind of wondering if the barbed wire fence was enough to stop him if he decided he didn't like me there. He was a hunk, though, so I took my chances. I'll post a normal portrait of him soon, but just wanted to share this for tonight. Enjoy:-)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
If you’re a member of Etsy, you already know all about Treasuries:-) If you aren’t, Treasuries are a way to honor the other sellers on Etsy. There are so many beautiful items for sale on Etsy, from handmade to vintage to supplies to make your own creations. Creating a Treasury allows a way to share your favorites with others. Once you have your Treasury up, it’s a bit of a popularity contest, too, as the clicks and comments move it up on the "Hot" scale. The ultimate prize is making Etsy’s Front Page. The only time I’ve had that happen was way back when we first started, and there was a group effort to make Front Page Treasuries for Christmas. At that time, I barely knew what a Treasury was, but it was exciting, and I did it. I soon became hooked, and have made many Treasuries in the past two years – it’s fun! This latest Treasury is to celebrate all of the teams we’re involved with: CCCOE Team, Whoa Team, Etsy for Animals, and our newest team, Will Craft for Food. Each team features a great group of members (some I need to get to know better!) – they’re a talented bunch, and it was easy to create this fun Valentine’s Treasury. My only problem was that I ran out of spaces too soon!
I hope you enjoy my Treasury, please click on the photo and take a moment to visit the wonderful shops featured! You’ll find plenty more terrific items beyond the Valentine ones featured here:-)
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
So, I was walking past a window, and as I looked out, saw a bird flying past. I waited to see if I could tell what it was, and when it landed, realized it was a hawk. I ran back to my room, grabbed my camera, and aimed through my window (I knew he wouldn't stay if I tried to go outside, and he did fly off when he saw the motion of my curtains). This photo is as good as it gets, lol! Between the window and the distance, I’m surprised I got anything. We don’t often see hawks perch down here, so it was a great sighting!
I believe this is a Cooper’s Hawk. However, if it’s a Sharp-shinned, please let me know:-) We’ve been hearing him a lot, and seeing him fly around. Way across the field behind us, there’s a house where we’ve been hearing guinea fowl, and this is where he seems to be the most. The oranges are on the other side here. The white on the oranges and leaves is from the spraying. As I’ve mentioned before, oranges get sprayed a lot! Anyways, I hope he sticks around a while, although the people with the guinea might feel differently… Last year, we had a kestrel hang around for a bit – would love to see him again, too!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
In autumn of 2008, we noticed a cute, noisy, and very active little bird flitting around our home. We researched, and quickly learned that our visitor was a Black Phoebe. They’re a type of flycatcher, and according to All About Birds, they’re most common in the southwest. I’m including the link to All About Birds, because it’s an awesome site! Anyways, the Black Phoebe stayed for several months. We learned that s/he (males and females seem to be marked the same) was only after the insects, and had no interest in the feeders or suet we had up at the time. I also learned that Black Phoebes are very fast little flitterers:-)
S/he returned this autumn, and I have yet to get that one really “Wow!” photo. This little bird is constantly on the go, even if it’s just singing all along the wall surrounding us. S/he is always chirping away – it’s a loud and cheerful call. When not singing, the Phoebe is on the hunt, flying from the wall to the field out back over and over again.
If the Phoebe isn’t on the go from hunting, s/he is quick to fly off if I try to go outside and get photos. So, I’ve taken them through the windows, which at least provides a record of our visitor. The one shot on the weed is all the way out on my 55-250mm lens, and was taken outside. The antenna photo was also taken outside as I stood on the steps we have next to the wall, and angled my body and camera around our shed to see up there. As you may have noticed, there’s an interesting cross on the Phoebe’s chest. This is from the actual old antenna, which is just above the Phoebe here.
These photos are the best I’ve taken so far of our fun little seasonal visitor. However, I haven’t given up on getting something better (to my eyes, at least:-). I love the challenge, and I also love the joy that having this unique seasonal bird brings to us!
What seasonal birds do you have? We have different hummingbird species that pass through later on, though some Anna’s stay all year. I’m also crossing my fingers that our Hooded Orioles come back this spring, and I get better photos of them, too. I love birds, and these special visitors liven up a location that really needs all the beauty it can get!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
It's late, and we just spent 2 1/2 hours watching an Oscar-winning foreign film that we kept hoping we'd find as wonderful as the rating and Oscar suggested it should be. I'll share the movie another time, but for now, I'm putting up a link to one of my most favorite music videos. I'm not a big country fan, and I'm not particularly religious, but both the images and the song really struck a chord within me the first time I saw it. It's not very happy, but it just gets me everytime I watch - the words, the music, the images... What can I say? Johnny Cash knows how to make music and magic:-)
Saturday, February 6, 2010
But is it real?
Within a nation
How do we heal?
The way they feel.
Starts to steal.
To break the seal.
Begin to peel.
What some want to conceal.
Can start to reveal.
Power to appeal.
A new gestation
Fills us with zeal.
Of our creation
Is the only deal.
Only we can make it real!
Originally written January 17, 2002, and this is its first web appearance. I wrote it in part because of the way the world had become after 09/11, and it still seems pertinent to today's world.
Friday, February 5, 2010
3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
2 sticks of butter (softened slightly)
1 cup of buttermilk*
½ cup + of dried apricots, or other dried fruit (cranberries, cherries…)
Extra sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together dry ingredients, then crumble in butter until blended into coarse, small crumbs. Stir in buttermilk until dough sticks together – fruit can be added while stirring. Then knead gently and place on floured board (kneading should also distribute fruit better). Pat out to about ½-inch thickness, and use either a round cookie cutter or the top of a glass to cut out individual scones. Place about 1 inch apart in greased or non-stick cookie sheet, and sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake at 425 for 10 - 12 minutes, until tops are light golden/bottoms darker. Best served warm!
Makes approx. 15 scones, and they can also be frozen.
Please note that in my haste to eat these this evening, I didn’t take the fanciest photo. And, no, I didn’t eat all three on the plate;-)
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Recently, I was scrolling through my Facebook stream when I spotted my name and the mention of a prize. I hastily went back to the entry, and sure enough I’d won! What I’d won, I had no idea, since I hadn’t entered anything. Turns out Jennifer, of Jenjie’s Stuff, was celebrating the fact that they’d reached over 200 fans on their Facebook Fan Page. They’d held a random drawing, and my name was selected – yay!
I was allowed my choice of anything in their store, $25 or less. I fell in love with their “Dream Pillow”! Not only was it really cute, but the concept just hit a chord within me. It was actually meant for a younger audience, but as I told Jennifer when I wrote to her that I really loved the idea of the pocket to store your dream list:-) I said that we adults needed to hold on to our dreams, too, and the pocket was a great idea! I also thought these pillows would be awesome with other inspirational words, which Jennifer was kind enough to say she might use.
I love my little pillow, and also think it would be a wonderful gift idea, so decided to feature it on my blog. Jennifer doesn’t know yet that I’m doing this. I promised her photos, but thought a much bigger thank you was in order! It’s not every day you win something, and not only that, get to pick the something you want:-) Winning my Dream Pillow from Jenjie’s Stuff was a definite day brightener, and a terrific prize! If you’re interested in a pillow of your own, please don’t hesitate to contact Jennifer – I know she’d be happy to make you one:-)
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Nothing much to say tonight,
So I guess I’ll write a poem.
The words are staying out of sight –
This will be no lengthy tome.
What to say, what to say?
My mind has drawn a blank.
I have nothing to convey,
Yet don’t want my blog to tank!
So forgive me for now,
And please come again.
I promise to add some “wow”
On this blog I must maintain!
Monday, February 1, 2010
Just finished watching what I will say was probably the most unique animated film I’ve ever seen! My review gets to be tonight's blog post. If you haven't seen it, check out the trailer to get a taste...:)
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” finally arrived from Netflix the other day, and we wound up watching it tonight. I love these types of films – there’s usually enough adult humor to keep me entertained, and “Cloudy…” was no exception. It was far from the best animated film I’ve seen, but definitely good enough to recommend. The concept is so strange; I mean raining food? A little nutty! Ha, ha. When the food first started falling, it was actually making me hungry – it was a virtual smorgasbord. However, as it went on, the food became a bit less than appetizing, to say the least. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is a quirky movie with a few laughs, a few bad jokes, and enough entertainment value for kids and adults (yeah, yeah, I know, I’m easily entertained;-). If you’ve seen it already, or have read the book, I’d love to hear your opinion! I didn’t actually know there was a book till now, so I’m curious as to know if the movie remained true.
P.S. The publish time on this actually before I watched the movie, because I found the trailer and saved it here first. Blogger seems to count the time you start your draft rather than the time it's published.