Friday, August 17, 2012

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Bird House & Barn

...a Farm Report
Even though we turned our Barn into a summer house, for people, sometimes it still gets visited by bunnies, and chickens, and goats!

Trust me, the Barn really was designed and built with our animals in mind, right down to this chicken door! Now that we've moved in, and barred the hens, we need to add a little door here. In the mean time we block it with a scrap of wood, which the goats pushed out of the way...

Do you know what Tasha thinks of my scrap-wood-door block?

That's right: Pffttttt!!


They're into everything!

Ada tries the password, and Tasha says, "Mehhhhhh-eh!"

I don't know that they actually do eat everything, but they are certainly willing to try.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Shade and Sensibility

Thank goodness, we found shade and a light breeze. Resisting the urge to hide-out from the heat, another day sweating it out at home, William persuaded us to pack a picnic and take it to a park. Sensible young man.

I admit, when I think of picnics, I envision a Regency era hillside, Empire waist dresses, parasols, everything pastoral, idyllic, quaint... the servants, cooks, butler, upstairs maid, coachman, and gardeners just out of view.

I have no problem conjuring the most romantic Austen inspired scenes, witty discourse, and refined grace, all in the dappled light... but the whole picture is not quite so shiny... searching for ice packs, trying to match a lid to the plastic tub, forgetting the apples I washed, dreading the yellow jackets, avoiding the muddy spots, feeling less than graceful and accomplished. Feeling a hot mess. And you know what? Jane had these moments, too... were she here, in this heat, I would nod in sympathy when she might repeat:

"What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance."

Romantic ideals are well and fine, for daydreaming, for inspiration. I think I fare better with a little commiseration and realism, sensibility, which is why I loved discovering Jane Austen's heated quote at Audrey Finch.

Our picnic was tasty, healthy, plentiful. We found lids, we found dry ground, we evaded bugs. I even got to recline, and read, to gaze at green leaves beneath a blue sky. Blissful luxury, I know.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Maria's Big Year

Recently, we saw a sweet, and funny, movie about birding. The Big Year follows three bird enthusiasts through a calendar year of trying to sight as many bird species, in North America, as possible. For some this is a personal challenge, and for others a more intense obsession.

Guess who got inspired...

As the end credits rolled, Maria was already drumming up our support for doing our own big year! "We should totally do that," she declared. And we nodded, sleepily, amusedly.

The next morning, armed with three bird reference books, Maria began her quest... for binoculars. She was in earnest. She couldn't find any of those, but I agreed to let her use my Little Blue Camera, and thus prepared, she set off on her big year.

Ten minutes later she came in, describing the particular song, of a particular yellow bird singing in our jacaranda trees. We studied the pictures she took, she searched her little birding book, then another. I got out the Audubon guide. She opened up Google images, and sat with her two books, comparing tail sizes, beak shapes, and geographic ranges of yellow bird species. I sat there and marveled at this child, this little wonder of curiosity and dedication. Oh my.

But we could not (cannot!) figure this one out. So, I grabbed my Big Black Beautiful Camera, joined her in the garden, and she said, in the awed, hushed tone of a birder, "Listen. That's our bird. Do you hear them?"

Here is one. A bright, buttery yellow beneath. A dark mask. The almost downyness of the breast feathers made us suspect that these may be juveniles. You cannot ask me to describe their song, because I cannot describe their song, or any bird song... how do people do this? Read "pttt-twee-ahwoo-ahwoo," then whistle those same words and determine they are hearing a rust rumped warbler? (Not a real bird, I don't think.)

Gosh, something about this makes me want to guess young cedar waxwings. That would be pretty amazing! What do you think? Do you recognize this species?

Yesterday we saw mallard ducks, and western bluebirds, mourning doves, and chickens. Technically, I suppose, the chickens don't count. They're wild, and free range, but not wild and free.

Maria just now walked into my office, wearing a bird print skirt and a T-shirt with an owl. Guess who wants to go birding...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

{42 summer moments}

Beach moments.
Family moments.
Sand, surf, and sun moments.
These are forty-two good moments, spent with my cousin, Gabe, Ashlie, Katalina, Austin, Alex, Max and Maria, and a really handy, waterproof Canon.

Austin, with his board: it's business time.

A little coaching from Uncle Gabe, cheering from Katalina, and Maria rides into the beach. Gray skies didn't slow us down.

We were all smiles.

Having peace lovin' fun.

Grapes, crackers, cheese, and water in a cooler, some sunblock, a few towels... we grabbed goodies from our sandbox, and pointed ourselves south and west.

The riptide was respectable, the waves were fun, and even the marine layer decided to cooperate. Blue sky began peeking through.

They seem to never tire... the waves, or the children.

They were sweet... the children, and the waves.

All her efforts to learn how to swim really paid off. She was under water quite a bit... sometimes deliberately! Only one wave beat her up too much, but she was back in the mix, in no time.

Max, in water. He could not be happier. Unless... I wonder if anyone teaches algebra, or physics, in the surf?
Summer is for water, adventure, new boundaries, no boundaries, natural elements.

Wet lens. Still a great moment. Max anticipating the next ride. Gabe and Ashlie, loving their family vacation.

Summer is for playing, for reunions, for new experiences.

Such a cutie, Katalina.

In a month, they'll be seeing snow on the mountaintops, where they live.

Max, is getting an awesome ride. He's a bit out of focus, but I love the shot anyway, and also, this wave hammered me, as I stood there, hoping to capture his success.

On the beach, Maria found an emerald green, and iridescent, beetle.

Ashlie's getting the shot with her phone. Love this!

I guess I don't have to explain how much I love taking loads of pictures, especially on vacation. These shots are sure to bring many happy memories.
These beetles fly. I wonder if he got lost, or chose to hit the beach this fine day.

Two cutie sand-bugs and their beetle buddy.

I still can't believe it's been two years since they were here. The time is moving way too fast.


Will she hold?


Ashlie, I am not going to watch "Shark Week,"and neither should you! Let's just enjoy our happy sunshine memories and make believe only dolphins and shrimp are under those waves!

I love my Little Blue Water Baby.

It's a blast, for a shutterbug, like me, because I don't have to choose: water, or photography? Both, please!
Alex chose a beach run, then a walk into town, and finally... body surfing!

Fish cousins.

Summer is for blue skies, and white surf, and sunshine.

Surf's up!

The water's fine.