Saturday, May 07, 2016

Undertones :: One Hundred Twenty Seven

Both of Alex's submissions to his school's art show can be seen... the landscape watercolor painting of a cypress tree at sunset, and his sculpture Raenah. Raenah was awarded the blue ribbon for sculpture. There were about a thousand entries submitted for the all-media juried student art awards show, and only _______ accepted into the show. Janece and I enjoyed seeing all of the art. I was especially happy to be there for the awards ceremony.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Sending Mothers' Day Love :: One Hundred Twenty Six

It's not the same as being with our beloved mothers and grandmothers, but we are happy to connect with them, to remind them that we love them. Sealed with kisses, sent with hugs.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Jacaranda Season in Bloom :: One Hundred Twenty Five

The purple snow is falling and drifting, and looking undeniably festive. We love our jacaranda trees.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Cat In The Garden :: One Hundred Twenty Four

Mister Washburn Foo, possibly the only one handsome enough to compare with the hollyhocks growing in our garden. Grown from seed, I've waited a couple of years to see them looking this amazing.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Buds, Blossoms, Flowers and Other Musings

Weeks ago, a bud on my hollyhocks began to show signs of blooming. This is not it's first season, and it might be its third, but it's definitely it's first dazzling display... noteworthy and breathtaking. I have been watching, daily, sometimes almost hourly. I have been a faithful, hopeful, devotee. It was Maria who gently prodded me, "You should take pictures." And so I did. Almost everyday, but I never posted them; I kept waiting, thinking not yet, it's too soon. I was waiting for their peak.

I have to admit that a very small part of me was vexed by this glacial pace... two growing seasons, and only a small stalk and very few flowers to show for it? And now, when it finally looks as though it's going to be everything I hoped for, it seemed to be moving even slower than ever before. One flower opening at a time, over the course of days... was it toying with me? But, no. I've fallen more in love with this old fashioned garden darling, with it's late bloomer attitude, and no hurries timing.

Relax, she reminds me, there is no prize in haste, no finish line to cross.

When it was finally time to harvest the artichokes, I knew who would appreciate the expired stalks and leaves. Ada and Tasha goat feasted on the fibrous greens. Excellent mulchers, those goats are.

Only April and the jacarandas are already dropping petals. Their flowers are like purple snow, but something I usually look for in June.

After four days, fully open. Double flowered, lush layers of petals that look almost like silk or fine crepe paper. And everyday, since this first one opened, I smell them, and sigh. They have no fragrance. It doesn't seem possible, and so I cannot seem to give up hoping I'll find a sweet fragrance one day. I can be patient.

Our Foo. Our Mister Washburn Foo. And now he is three years old, which seems odd because we always think of him as the new cat, the kitten.

Since I began posting A Picture a Day, I like to be careful not post only pictures of Foo, flowers, chickens, and crafts. Some subjects just avail themselves more than others.

April 21...

Everything seems to have thrived in the rainfall we've had. Poppies, and other wildflowers popped up. The fruit trees bloomed. Our pomegranate looks dressed for Christmas, with evergreen leaves and red flowers for ornaments.

The feijoa have always been generous with flowers and fruit, and we love sharing both. This year looks like twice the blossoms of last year. We really must learn how to make fruit preserves!

We eat the plump, pink petals which feel soft, a bit spongy and taste slightly sweet, like a delicate marshmallow.

Happy ceanothus.

Crazy hat day, and a favor for Maria's friend, Tatiana, who was Jane Goodall in the Wax Musuem. Maria lent her the pith helmet, khaki shorts and a shirt. True, we haven't seen Ms Goodall pictured in a pith helmet, but somehow it gave an authentic air, especially with the spot-on shorts and shirt.

This is Emma's diatom inspired art for Open House. Their teacher shared lessons on diatoms and plankton, and the Victorian pastime of collecting, then arranging these microscopic forms for display. Here is a video that inspired the project...

Maria is working on her diatom arrangement. They were done with pencil, ink, then watercolors. All of them together made a beautiful display when hung up for the Open House art show. The theme was In The Ocean. Every class did something different, something meaningful, so that the entire room felt inspired, and creative.

Sometimes Grant brings his dogs, Tioga, and Curry. This was the visit Ti waded into the pool, paddling, and lapping up water as he went. I wish I had video of that!

I am enjoying doing A Picture a Day, but sometimes it's hard. Can you guess why? Well, it's not because I cannot get one picture every day, but because I have so many more than one a day! I have been publishing a lot less, than I could. That's fine, probably... as I've said before, I am always struggling with finding the right balance in blogging. After fourteen years of blogging {Yup... the Chickenblog anniversary is this month, and I am officially One Old Blogging Bird!} Yeah, so after fourteen years, and 3,177 posts, you might think I have this figured out. Nope. Somedays it feels like I am right back at day one... clueless, self-conscious, eager, anxious, hopeful, apologetic. Happily, in all this time, I have also come to appreciate the archives, the story that is unfolding, the laughs and life's details. It's a special treat to look back, to be reminded of successes, of where we've been {physically and figuratively}, to see our changing-growing-evolving family, to appreciate our friends and other blessings. I am verbose. I know. Where was I? Pictures? Right.

What I was trying to say is... I have all these pictures I love, and I cannot resist sharing a few of them. And even though I am shy, I still blog. And I really cannot explain why without writing scads and scads, and then I worry that I am talking to myself, but in blog-form, which is largely the reason I often think of quitting. Ok. So. More pictures?

William, at play. And those hollyhocks. {And really, why would I ever regret posting scads and scads of these?}

I titled this picture abundance. Carol brought them with her from the florist's shop where she works. Did I mention, already? They were destined for the rubbish bin, to be tossed out because they were past their prime. But Carol knew better, and she shared them with me and Janece, and we made bouquets, arrangements, tussie mussies. It was the dearest pastime. Company and occupation, and a table full of beloved flowers.

Even faded flowers have their charms, perhaps most especially. Too pretty to be dismissed, when a moment's pleasure is a gift.

Alex has been enrolled in a watercolor painting class. I like seeing the works he brings in when he's been out practicing, dabbling. I would like to walk into this forest, and sit in its dappled light.

And sculpting is the other class he's taking, and I've shared some of that work he's been at. Here, he's getting Bambi's help to prepare lumber for another wood carving.

They make a good team.

Maria, Max, Grant, and Amira... some of our Young Makers, and mentors, at play.

April 24... maybe by now, I should have posted a picture of the hollyhocks. Seriously! They're bodacious, full, frothy, at a sumptuous blossoming peak! But I held back. Maybe a bit enchanted into quiet reflection, smitten into shy contemplation.

And now for the rest of the story... Emma and Maria with their Fifth Grade Egg Drop vehicles, after the first round: Dropped from the library roof. Both engineers were successful, real crowd pleasers, with their totally unique designs and applications. Once the vehicle landed, they each had thirty seconds to pull out the (hopefully) un-cracked egg, proving it had survived. Every entry and drop was awesome, suspenseful. You could feel the vestment of the participants, their eagerness to succeed.

Later, the same day, the fire truck with a 100' ladder came, and the firefighters extended the ladder high and far out over the playing field. All the surviving vehicles from the library drop were carried to the top of the ladder, and one by one were dropped. The parachute style vehicles really had a chance to excel from the height, especially because of the strong breeze off the ocean. Emma's Box of Noodles carried its egg to a safe landing. Nathalie's parachuted styrofoam capsule landed safely, too. The egg missile fell swiftly, with supersonic grace, and when it hit the ground it bounced half again as high, above the cafeteria! Then landed, and bounced again. Maybe if it had been a Bird House Egg it would have survived the impact(s)! Maria said not ungraciously, "I might be sadder about my egg cracking, but really, I feel so happy about seeing my idea work, that I think it was totally worth it! I wouldn't change it." The she went on to describe the pleasure of hearing her school mates' enthusiasm for the missile, and how she might pack the egg differently next time. She's definitely saving it for other eggsperiments!

Art and form, design and function. I am happy for Maria.

Open House with Maria and William... waiting for Geoff, and for the Wax Museum to open.

Emily Dickinson baked. Maria, as Emily Dickinson, offered her visitors her own home baked refreshments.

My carnations. Any thoughts? One pink among all those white flowers? They smell wonderful.

May 1... and more to look forward to.

Home :: One Hundred Twenty Three

Just about bedtime... a fire outside, where Alex, Max and Bambi are talking. William sanding parts for the scabbard he's making, Geoff developing an accessory for Oculus Rift, Maria absorbed in the new manga Bambi brought her, and me setting down my crochet, so I can take this picture. A picture to remind me of home, family, comfort, and love.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Cat Rounds :: One Hundred Twenty One

Chango El Cubano, 16 years old, speaks, loves milk, tuna flakes, and his spot on the bed. Mister Washburn Foo, 3 years old, prone to falling butt first, loves feet, socks, shoes, and eating wool.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.