Saturday, August 30, 2008

Photo Challenge #6: Things That Fly

How many things can you think of that can fly? Leigh Ann came up with this challenge. I was just sure that since she and Kathy have spent what seems like the entire summer basking in the warm sun of the beaches in NC, they would have chosen seagulls or pelicans. But oh no, they surprised me with the entries you see below. You all are too good. Some of you might be wondering where Emmy has been. Well, her camera battery refuses to charge. She hopes to be able to replace it this weekend.

Another point of information...it has been suggested that since school's back in session, that we do these little challenges once a month instead of every two weeks. I gave in and said okay...didn't really want to but I felt for all of them. I'm just some old Wife/Mom/Wammy/ChildCare provider that has nothing to do all day. Those young whipper snappers just can't keep up the with old mighty one.

This just in...We have a new member to our group...JP...hope we all will be able to learn something from you in the blogs to come. Welcome.

Blessed Bees

Since this is my first time contributing to God's Abundant Gifts, I thought I'd pull some "bee" shots from my files. Without these industrious little guys, our flowers wouldn't be as beautiful as they are. I live in a retirement community in California, and have a small backyard, but I have a nice garden with tons of roses and many other plants.

The sunflowers and hollyhocks that come up, in my garden, are all "volunteers". Seeds brought from birds, the wind, or my birdfeeder. I'm very blessed.


Thank you for letting me join.

Lesson Two


Last weekend a friend called to see if I had an empty bed where he could crash. Of course I do...as always...our front door is a revolving door for company of all kinds. I can't remember for how long we have know Jay and his family...years and years let's just say. Jay comes about once a year to take cool pictures of old buildings and stuff and maybe to tromp around in haunted houses. His pictures are amazing. Last year when he was here he told me about the ' thirds' rule. "You don't always have to have your subject in the center of your photo." This year I asked him to show me how my camera works. He did that and more. We were out in the garden looking for cool things to shoot and all of a sudden Jay yanks my camera out of my hand and starts taking pictures of a butterfly that has landed on, what else, but the butterfly bush. He took some shots and I took some shots so I can't actually tell which ones I took. But I think they are really nice so I will share them all.

The butterfly is a flying flower... ~Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun

Baby Bluejays

I love flying things. Isn't that one wish we'd all like to have is to be able to fly and see that awesome view? I love bluejays. Although they are fiesty and can kick my cat's butt on any given day...they are one of my favorite birds. Their beauty, confidence and famous harsh "jeer" vocals always capture my attention. This particular day I photographed the babies that exited the nest and the Mom stayed close by watching her young. Birds have got to be the neatest creature out there that God has given us. For something so tiny, with no arms & minimal defense ability-they sure know how to live amongst the wild-soaring in the air, feeding their young, building their nests and caring for them until they learn how to fly--it is just amazing. They are tough. I challenge you to sit and do a little "bird watching". Its not just an old-people hobby-and you may find you really enjoy them. Sitting and watching birds also enables you to sit in nature and be still...and get close to God.

things that fly...

I know that jan is expecting sea gulls from me this time. so I'm intentionally NOT sending sea gulls, even though I do have some pretty great pictures of them from this year's time at the ocean. while we were on vacation we went to play putt-putt golf a few times. we went to a hawaiian themed place this particular time. these pink flowered bushes were everywhere (yeah, jan...I have almost zero knowledge in the plant area). whatever they are they really are beautiful. this butterfly seemed to like it too. he/she/it made a quick flutter near us when I was juggling golf ball/golf club/camera so I think I probably came pretty close to missing the whole thing. I took it quickly and got ready to take another - looked through the view finder and the butterfly had already flown away. brief opportunity to glimpse something beautiful. glad I was paying attention.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Photo Challenge #5: God's Abundant Creatures

I just couldn't help myself. I had to pictures these darn cicadas just one more time. Especially since Kathychose this challenge...God's Abundant Creatures. I have to confess that these stupid things went way beyond abundant! Thank heavens they are the 17 year cycle ones! Now I am sure that she has peeked you interest. Come and see what we have for you this week. I am going to bet the ranch that Leigh Ann and Kathy both have some sort of sea creature...they have been on vacation at the beach for about a month it seems. While the rest of us just keep plugging no where near the fun in the sun.

Backyard Critters

All week I have had my eyes opened to the creatures that live in our yard...mainly the backyard because it seems that I spend most of my time there.I seem to attract bees which is not a good thing. I was really careful when taking this spot...again risking my life for this blog...Bees were all over the place this day. I honestly didn't spend too much time out in the yard that morning. But I thought this been on the black-eyed Susan's. I have never noticed how symmetrical God is in some of his creations.This is a jar fly. It is a cousin to those lovely cicadas. I can remember as a kid catching these and tying a string to their back leg. They fly all over the place. It is like having a kite with ADHD. Emmy wants to try it but seems that we can only find ones that have flown their last fight.I was burning sticks and stumps lat week. I was taking a break sitting on the bench talking to one of the girls on the phone when I saw movement out the corner of my eye. I thought it was a mole. What ever it was, it went straight into the fire pit. I jumped up and tried to catch it. This crazy toad went all over the fire pit. Even into the hot coals. Again I risk life and limb for this blog...I reached into the coals and grabbed the toad. I'm thinking that his feet are blistering so I quickly put him in the fountain. He sat there for a really long time. I am figuring that he was either in shock or that cold water was taking away some of the sting. It lookslike he got the begabbers scared out of him...if you know what I mean!I almost grabbed this little winged wonder this morning while weeding. Liked to scared me to death! You can't tell but the wings of this creature are a very very light green and transparent. If I was guessing, I'd have to say that it is either a jar fly or some other relation to the cicada. YUCK! I'm still searching for more creatures. So be sure to check out Leigh Ann, Kathy and Emmy to see what amazing creatures they came up with.

Little Green Frog

This category was hard for me because I LOVE God's creatures. And being at the beach there are oodles of them that I have captured but Jan would kill me if she had to upload them all. Seagulls, sand pipers, turtles, praying mantis, pelicans, dragonflies, jellyfish...I could go on and on. So I had to pick my favorite & its these darn cute little green frogs hanging out by the pool. And they make such beautiful singing at night! God is ever present in so many aspects of my life but he seems to speak to me personally the most through his creatures. I have a soft spot for them & I just see so much of his handi-work when I see them. The patterns on the turtle's face or even the idea of his shell on his back. The way a bird or a crab travels through the sand and leaves its own travel design behind...the way the pelican glides over the air way better than any man-made air craft can soar. It is amazing. Sometimes I wonder why God put all the creatures here. I know there's a chain of command there-that "circle of life" which in itself is bewildering but I also think he uses these little animals to grab the human's attention of His constant presence in our lives...even if through the eyes or sounds of a critter.

Pete, The Good Crab

God's amazing creatures..I've got a lot of pictures for this but I'm on vacation and taking the easy way out. I barely have time or inclination to maintain my own blog! we were on the beach the other morning and on the walk over some of the kids found a crab which they named pete (I think). pete was a good crab, they said. upon his release, I took his picture for them. pete was either winking at me or he was a little camera shy in the first one. but I got him after all.


and here's another one I'm including just because I just like it. it's a little risky to stand underneath a bunch of seagulls in flight, but I did anyway. I'm a little envious of birds sometimes. I think it would be so amazing to be able to soar.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Photo Challenge #4: Everything Old Is New Again


This is a real challenge. It comes from Emmy this time...something that you use for a different purpose then it was made for. Emmy is known far and wide for being our resident "tree hugger". I actually think she is one the right tract... reduce (she reduced her electric bill something like $125). Recycle...and for this challenge...Reuse. Why now give it a try...can't hurt.

In case you can't tell...the picture is of an old broken bird cage that has an old crow in it.

Hisbiscus


Okay this was a difficult category for me. I'm not one to take something old and make it new again for some other purpose. I've never really had the eye for vintage. I can't creatively turn spoons into windchimes. I was stumped. Maybe because my brain is already on vacation this week. Anyway, I really love this beautiful Hibiscus. I think its neat that at the same given time the plant is blooming in all of these different stages. Soon parts have old blooms falling off, some are in buds and others are full bloom. All in different stages of constantly renewing itself to be beautiful at all times. And the Hibiscus has lots of uses-an antifungal & emollient . The bark has strong fibers that Hawaiian chicks make grass skirts with! It can also be used to make wigs. The medicinal properties contain cures for ailments. And its extracts are good for making protective hair oils-making a natural shampoo. Dried hisbiscus is an edible delicacy! And we've all seen the Hawaiian women wear the single flower tucked behind their ear...which ear is used to indicate the wearer's availability for marriage. So this pretty hibiscus definately has uses from old to new. I wouldn't be surprised if Jan's next feat finds her soaking hibiscus leaves and flowers in water and using a wet grinder to make a thick paste to make that natural shampoo.

Right Up My Alley

Thank you Emmy! I'm all about the three R's....reduce, recycle, and reuse. Flea Markets and other people's garbage are my favorite places to find things to give new life to. I had so many to choose from...a quick walk around the yard and house and look what I found...
This is the newest treasure to come through the front door. I have had the electricity conductor (the glass thing)for years. Last weekend we found a holder for it at Lehman's Hardware in Amish Country (a later log blog, so get ready). In the conductor there is a bees wax candle. The bench once was in my Mom and Dad's house. The clock face once was in a really nice clock that Mark and I have had for hundreds of years...that is until it fell off the wall a few years and broke into a million pieces. This once was an old milk crate that milk was delivered to the grocery store in. Now, at our house, it hold all the plastic garden shoes right outside the backdoor...easy access for all the gardeners. Then we have several things in this shot. The watering can is now a fountain. The old buckets is now a planter. The stool used to be in Ms Renee's backyard. The clay pot used to belong to my other neighbors grandmother. And then there is the ever so popular bottle tree. The trunk is a old log that was in the yard at one point. The bottles are from my neighbors, and some are from Bryce at work. I'm still collecting wine bottles for other projects that I have planned for the yard. We just made two wine bottle candles. The actual anme is winelights (the pictures were blurry so they aren't making the blog...maybe at a later date over on the side.) I found this fork hiding in the newly blooming hydrangea bush. I remember setting it in a bucket of concrete and then burying it in the yard in WI in the garden gate bed right next door to Ms Yvonne's. We have been looking for more because we actually need a new one to us for use in the compost bin.( Hey that's another one...used leaves and table scraps to make compost for the yard). This is one of my favorite uses for old windows. This one holds some old ivy from years and years ago. The brass this is a piece from the old clock that broke, remember...it is the pendulum. This frame is on the kitchen wall. Then we have this one with all the Ellis Family family photos. I switch these up and sometimes it will be old pictures of the Meadows side and other times it will be of the Ellis's. Who knows it just might turn into the Ellis and Alaire Gallery one day.
This is all that I have time for right now...I got a million of them...took lots of pictures last weekend in Amish Country of projects that we are planning for the yard in the years to come.

Little Red Plastic Thingies

what's old is new again...when jan told me that I thought "what in the world is emmy thinking??"...then I remembered emmy's our favorite tree-hugger and I thought I figured out what I was supposed to do. after it was confirmed by emmy, I realized I probably wouldn't have much trouble doing this particular challenge. I'm on vacation, so that could present a problem. but I'm staying at my mom and dad's. they were born in 1931 and 1929. and my dad is a depression boy, no doubt about it. he saves almost everything. ("never know when that might come in handy..") I told him he was the subject of my entry this time and told him what examples I planned to use. he's good with it. and he gave me some other examples of stuff he saves to reuse. like the big box of spare parts screws and washers and so forth that he's saved from other things. he used some of that just the other day to fix the toilet seat. "they make that stuff like that so I'll go out and buy a new seat." whoever "they" are, they don't know my dad. and emmy, he does want me to make sure you know his love of (obsession with) reusing things has nothing to do with the environment. =)

this is a bucket full to overflowing of the little red plastic ties from the garbage bags dad uses. he ties the bag shut then trims off the ends to use those little parts later. he said the garbage guy wouldn't know what to think if his bags were tied in pretty little bows.
this is one of the many uses for the little garbage ties. sturdy little things.
dad bought some new beach chairs this year, some of the older ones were giving up the ghost so we were in need. first or second day out, one of the new ones busted. the little white dealie popped off the back and the chair fell over on one side. instead of scrapping the chair, dad knew what to do. he went to the hardware store and bought a turnbuckle. actually he just told me "I needed one so I bought four." (did I not say he was a depression boy?) anyway, he used the new turnbuckle and an old wire coathanger and fashioned a dandy little fix for the chair. and the chair seems even sturdier than when it was new. and do you see the little splash of red in the second chair picture? that's a garbage bag tie. it lets us know that this is the chair that's been doctored up. so many uses...