Monday, April 27, 2015

Another week on the hill

Oh, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? It’s chilly here in Maryland as I write on this Monday evening while watching the news. The local news has been on an extended version due to the looting and rioting going on in Baltimore. It is disgusting and I am finally changing the channel.

Our weather here began taking a turn for the cold over a week ago after several days of quite warm weather that forced all the blooms to burst forth on redbuds, dogwoods, lavender, and spring bulbs. It’s been kind of interesting because all these blooms have stayed lovely and not wilted in the heat.

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The fountain at Logan Square in Philadelphia.

Last weekend, I attended a National Geographic photography workshop that was sponsored by B&H Photo. It was held at the Museum of Art & Sciences in Philadelphia, on Logan Square. The one thing I took from this workshop is that I basically suck as a photographer. But I’m sure that wasn’t the presenter’s intention. It sure as hell isn’t going to stop me taking pictures and editing them using my archaic knowledge that doesn’t include Lightroom and/or advanced methods of photo storage. A lot of what was discussed went over my head and I sat in the front row, taking notes, and wondering at one point if I was the stupidest person in the room. And then someone raised their hand and asked a question and I realized that I was not. Thank God – a kindred spirit, and probably many more who were also in that room but afraid to raise their hand and speak.


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I came out of it with some good advice however, some good tips, and a few things I already knew. Met some friends for lunch (read: drinks) afterward on that warm and beautiful day in Philly.


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I shot this from the back seat of my friend’s car window within the split second that I saw it. I want to go back and find this place again and while I’m there, to find other really old structures like this. Buildings were formed around this tiny old place. Look at the brick and the slates on the roof. It’s got to date from the 1700’s.

Sounds like a photo expedition to me. Could be fun, too.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .


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My best friend sits at the edge of the patio.


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A black-capped chickadee waits its turn at the feeders.


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A robin gathers nesting material.

This was a rare capture for me, and my favorite of all the images here.

I took several of this bird as it came back and forth with different colored grasses but it was this one that had all the right colors, the best bokeh, and that distinctive spotted red breast.


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A white-throated sparrow at my pretty pottery feeder.


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And a mockingbird alights in the dogwood tree.

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A work crew showed up this weekend to take down the old and dilapidated fence line that runs all around the old paddock area in front of the red barn at the edge of the woods. Although I’m glad to see that old fence gone, in a way I’m going to miss it. When we moved here, my husband did his best to shore it back up and he’d erected several bluebird boxes along its length. I am going to miss this.

But things change. And that’s all there is to it.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

You friend that hasn’t forgotten you ~

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife

I am not here to tell you my sins. I often use song lyrics as post titles and this one comes from a tune I heard last week over Spring Break. It’s by Hozier, called Take Me to Church. I was driving around in NJ with a girlfriend, listening to a station I like on Pandora and she asked me if I had Hozier on my playlist. So at the next red light, I quickly added it and before I knew it, this song came on. I’ve tried to load it onto this post but despite my best efforts wasn’t able to it through Windows Live Writer, so here’s a link to it:

Groovy tune. Weird lyrics. But what the hey. I do like a good tune.



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I have been so absent but offer no apologies. I think that blogging was a lifeline for me for so long. It was comforting - to write every night, sitting in the living room with my husband while he did his thing and I edited photos and worked on a post. It made me feel connected to the outside world and gave me a creative outlet. I am so thankful for it and for the friends I made through this blog.


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I have been busy and trying to do new things. I took eight framed prints to the gallery and after they saw them, they asked for four more. My sister, Char, came to visit over the break last week and I took her up to show her where my photography is being shown. She was very complimentary.


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We had fairly lousy weather last week and I was wearing my winter coat and scarf again. But on Saturday, the blessed sun finally came out and the air was soft and mild and so I spent the day cleaning up the bird feeding station out by the patio and planting some pansies in planters. I did several loads of laundry, hanging them on the line to dry and fell asleep that night with the scent of fresh sheets that smelled of springtime.


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After I got done my chores, I sat outside in the sunshine with a cocktail, a book, and my best buddy.


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If anyone knows of a way to get rid of weeds between the bricks of a patio, please let me know. My husband used to use Roundup but I refuse to use the stuff. Last year, I did a section at a time and hand-pulled each weed. I would almost resort to chemicals before I did that again . . . ugh.


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Kitten Kitten loves to sit by the open window and look outside at the birds.


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And life is ok.

I hope it is with you, as well.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away

Oh my gosh, it’s been so long since I’ve posted. And for that, I apologize. I could give you some excuse of my being overly busy, but it wouldn’t be true. No truer than it always is. I just haven’t had much to say. Although this has never stopped me before, right?!

It has been quiet here on the hill. I get up every day and go to work and on the weekends, I open my eyes on Saturday morning and revel in the fact that it is the weekend and I can sleep longer and relax. This morning was lovely when I woke up, because I woke to a very clean house. I do love me a clean house.

It would be nice to have someone to clean it for me, however. Although in reality, it is satisfying to take something messy and turn it into a source of pride by cleaning it well.


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Enough of domesticity, though. I’m sharing photos (because this is what I do) taken from my cell phone over the past several days. The above is from the west window in the dining room of this old manor house. I cut the pussy willow from a bush outside and brought it in.


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I pack a lunch and a breakfast every day when I go to work. I have cereal with blueberries. The milk is in the little glass jar. I just hope that the phone doesn’t ring while I am chewing.


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Driving home from somewhere – probably the tax people in nearby Newark, DE.

This is part of University of Delaware, shot through the window in the rain.


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My best buddy.


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The pussy willow branches again.


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This sweet little scamp.

The new kitten (as yet, unnamed) is settling in quite nicely.

My son wants to name him something dreadful, although I didn’t say as much.

It’s his cat. I mean, I acquired the cat for him.


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I think he looks more like a William.

Or Winston.

Wee Willie.

I just call him Kitten.


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He is so very soft.


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I am on the 7th book of the Outlander series. I still love it, have always loved historical fiction. We are up to the Revolutionary War, in 1778. I am learning so much. It is a good escape.

In other news, my work is pretty much ready to go to the gallery. I just have to do pricing.

Hope all is well in everyone’s world ~

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Heard this tune by The Sundays today. Very pretty, imho ~

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Clad with radiance are the woods

It has been snowing all day and the schools are closed again. I figure this is probably the last significant snowfall we’ll have because next week things are supposed to warm up considerably. Through my window in the living room, I can see that it’s practically blowing sideways. The DirecTV dish has been out for hours and the only thing working on it are a few of the music stations. For some reason, they’re the last to go.


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I stood at my front door earlier today and took the few photos you see below. At the base of these three trees, I could hear what sounded like animals screaming. There were more than one, and I’m wondering if it’s a fox den. I was going to upload it to Vimeo so that you could hear it, but unfortunately, it will suck down way too much of my data plan as I still don’t have the internet going at my house (am using my mobile hotspot on the cell phone to upload this post).

I miss it, but not nearly as much as I thought I would.

And I’m reading a lot more. I’m in the 5th book of the Outlander series, the Fiery Cross. It’s as good as the first and second books.


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When it snows like this, I really miss my husband. He loved a good snow and when he was well, he would spend much time plowing and clearing it on the horse farms where we lived. And when he became disabled and we moved here, he still loved it. He enjoyed having me home on snow days and when he could still cook, he would spend time in the kitchen and the whole house smelled wonderful.

I’m not sad. It would just be nice to have someone to share a snow day with is all. I’m fine by myself, though.


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This spruce has gotten even taller since we moved here in 2008.


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As has this hickory (to the right) and the holly (to the left).


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I shot a few bird photos from the kitchen window but nothing was really worth sharing here.


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Sometimes I’ll sit by the window and read, knocking it on it now and then to make the flocks of starlings go away.

They are so annoying. They scatter the regular visitors, like this little juncoe (above).


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George is at my feet, resting. He’s been trying to make friends with the new kitten, but Kitten is having nothing to do with him just yet. At least there is no more hissing, which is very promising.

And so, back to my book and the soothing music coming from the television. For supper tonight, I’m making Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake, garden salad, and maybe some garlic bread. Yum.

Hope things are well in your neck of the woods ~

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There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance. ~William Sharp