Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Tennessee Icicles

Tennessee Icicles

The ice, while a bit of a pain, does make for fun photography. Ice encased rose limb? A bird pondering his decision to stay in Tennessee versus better weather?

Stay safe, and stay warm!

Fa la la la la la la la la

I finally sent out this year’s Christmas cards – digitally. We’re goin’ greener (and cheaper) this year. We used Hallmark’s Smilebox and I was pretty pleased. Every year I want to include pictures of the boys in our cards, but by the time I get the pics made, I end up not printing enough or not printing them at all…I guess I’m not very organized about the holidays! But Smilebox was great – you can include anywhere from 1 to 100s of pictures, and there are a lot of designs to choose from. For a small fee, you can print them and send without ads – but I am cheap, so I sent the free version (sorry, friends and family!). Plus – no paper! I hate mailing cards that will likely be trashed, so everyone gets a nice holiday greeting from us, and my conscience is clear.

We’ve been doing other homey/green stuff for the holidays too. The boys and I made ornaments out of Baker’s Clay, which I highly recommend. It makes a ton of ornaments! We didn’t paint ours, as was done in the linked example. Instead, I used expired food coloring (which I keep around for crafty things like this). When mixed in the dough, it produced a marbled effect that I liked very much. We made all kinds of shapes – my favorites were the stars, but I also liked the sharks and turtles (done with Playdough cutters)! If you do this, don’t let the kids or canine members of your family eat any of this stuff – the ingredients might be edible on their own, but there’s way to much salt in here to be safe for consumption.

Make Your Own

We also made ornaments out of pipe cleaners – mainly candy canes, but a few hearts and snowflakes too. Really easy and fun, and if you have extremely mischievious boys like ours, who disassembled the tree tonight (not kidding), then you don’t have to worry about anything breaking – these can take a beating, and if they break, you can just make more next year!

I am also doing some homemade gifting, but I can’t blog that – it will spoil the surprise!

We’ve also been playing a lot of Christmas music. The Monkey knows (most of) the words to Jingle Bells, so I finally have someone to sing while I play the piano! I have such wonderful memories of my mom playing Christmas music on the piano when my brother and I were young – Jingle Bells, Silver Bells, Silent Night, Winter Wonderland, and many more. I think, to me, that has always stuck as our biggest holiday tradition from my early childhood. She hasn’t played in years, so now I have her books, and I love playing the songs for the boys now.

How are you celebrating the holidays?

Would you like some pasta with your veggies?

So, I am officially in like with allrecipes.com. BHE has a liking for fettuccine alfredo, but since it’s fat-laden goodness is not exactly in tune with a healthy lifestyle, I tend not to make it. Enter Smarter Fettuccine Alfredo:

Green is Good.

This is a good base recipe for a light fettuccine alfredo, but I made several adjustments. I used wheat fettuccine – we always use whole wheat pasta; it’s good for you and we actually like the taste. During the last 3 minutes of pasta boiling, I threw in broccoli (a whole bunch). As I was cooking the pasta, I sauteed baby bella mushrooms and a small onion (sliced, of course) – olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder on that. Next time I will add some red pepper flakes because that just makes everything better, doesn’t it? If you don’t like heat, don’t put those babies in. Finally, I put some chicken tenderloins on the Foreman – salt, pepper, garlic powder again – and cut that up once they were cooked (note – I probably could have sauteed the chicken too, but I hate cutting up raw chicken, and the Foreman and I are good friends. We have history.)

I think this initial effort came out a little bland. Part of the guilt here falls on the amount of sauce – I added all these ingredients, but did not make extra sauce. Next time, I will make more sauce, and use those red pepper flakes.

The Leaf Perspective

For the superhero photo challenge at Shutter Sisters:

Leaves, Moss, & Light

Shot this while on a nature walk with BHE and the boys. Love the way the light hit the moss. I’m a sucker for moss.

If you haven’t taken a good nature walk this fall, GO before the leaves are all gone. Here in Tennessee, it’s looking beautiful – there is a big tree beside our house that is totally yellow – gorgeous. I love fall.

Summer Beauty

OK, I have been a blog slacker. So sorry to the two of you who read this. But I have taken a slew of pictures and I’m sharing:

Life on the Sunflower, Backlit

One of the best things we did this summer was to plant flowers.

We did it for the boys, especially for the Monkey since he loves science and green things and seeing how things work, so seeing a seed turn into a plant and then to bloom was a nice educational treat for him. And believe me, the beauties I photographed are BIG ya’ll.

We planted sunflowers (three varieties, I think), zinnias, marigolds, poppies and asters (all have bloomed but the asters). BHE also bought a hibiscus for me for Mother’s Day (fully grown, not from a seed) – Monkey helped choose that one. Throughout the summer I have seen all manner of butterflies and moths, bees, bumblebees, and hummingbirds. Our backyard might not be landscaped in the traditional sense, but I think it’s beautiful. And it has been such a pleasure to photograph. If you’re going to garden for photography, definitely go with the sunflowers and larger wildflowers. Zinnias work rather well too, and I can’t say enough about the hibiscus – don’t know how well it’s going to do inside this winter, but it’s gorgeous.

And gardening for kids? Again, you can’t beat the sunflowers – they get HUGE! And the marigolds have been hearty, prolific, and have a nice variety of color.

Inside the Flame

Inside the Flame II

Posted a few like this in my Flickr…I really enjoyed taking these.

The Green Thumb Gene Passed Me but I’ll Try Anyway

OK, if you’re wanting to do a little gardening this spring, this is fabulous (mine is significantly smaller and was only a couple of bucks from Walmart, but it’s the same thing). On Friday, Monkey and I started with seeds; today we have this:

New Life

Aren’t they cute? I am just ecstatic because I apparently lack the “green thumb” gene possessed by my Dad, brother and cousin. Actually, right now we have rather lofty (for us) landscaping plans. I have seeds for an ornamental bean vine from my mom that I’d like to plant in the corner of our fence – this corner would be a flower bed. I’d also like to plant some herbs this year – basil and parsley at least, maybe some rosemary per Mom’s recommendation and some chives. Monkey wants an apple tree – I’m lobbying for Granny Smith.

Monkey loves planting things, and just learning about plants and animals and nature period. We also planted some zinnia seeds outside in a pot (we had too many seeds for our Jiffy greenhouse, and rather than waste them I put them in some dirt – call it an experiment if you will – that’s what Monkey and I are calling it). Unfortunately, I did not Bear-proof the pot and he knocked it over this morning while I was trying the get more shots of that redbird that hangs around our house (I’m fairly sure that he and his lady friend have a nest in the brush behind our house). Bear knocked every bit of dirt out. I found several seedlings that had burst from the seed but not made nearly as much progress as our Jiffy seeds. Monkey was elated to see a worm in the pot, because “that worm sure does like dirt!”. He held the seedlings while I scooped as much dirt as possible back into the pot – we’re hoping they made it through the Bear attack. The pot is now outside the fence, which will offer it a little more protection from the Bear.

Lil’ stinker.

So, global warming…

Green

I should go to bed but since I’m actually inspired to write now I’m going to roll with it.

While browsing my bloggy links, I found (via Nashville is Talking – I’m too lazy to link, so look to your right) a post or two on global waming – you know, the “global warming is some big, bad, nasty commie hoax” type of viewpoint.

Now, I’m no scientist – my last science class was AP Biology my senior year of high school, back in 1996 (but, I should add, I did score a 4 of 5 on that AP exam) – but the global warming thing makes sense to me. If we’re pumping chemicals and Lord knows what else into our air – stuff that God never intended to be there – I don’t know, but it seems that the effects would take a toll.

If you don’t buy global warming, fine. But a lot of the anti-global warming crowd seem to think the whole “clean up the air, take care of the Earth” thing is wrong. What’s the harm in cleaning up house, guys? Seriously. Do you want to turn your neighborhood into a landfill? No? Then recycle your plastics, your newspapers – it doesn’t take a lot of time, heck, some of you people probably have a recycling pickup as part of your trash pickup and just don’t take advantage of it! And it doesn’t even have to be expensive to be a little green – my husband last mopped our floors with a vinegar solution vs. going to the store and getting your chemical-laden mop mix – we both swear our kitchen floor has never looked so good, and it’s cheaper to boot!

Anyway, rant over. Happy Belated Earth Day, ya’ll.

Bird Huntin’

This redbird has been hanging out at our house for quite a while. Redbirds always stand out to me – aside from being so very pretty, they remind me of my grandmother, who loved redbirds. I think I first noticed him in January. When it snowed, I’d see him – those bright red feathers against the clean white snow. Of course, do I ever have my camera during those moments? No, of course not.

I had my camera out a few days ago though, and I captured the little bugger:

Redbird

I wanted to get a closer shot, but I had to take this quick and I was across the yard. Thank goodness I bought that Sigma Telephoto/Macro lens (70-300mm) last year.

Now I’m after a new bird. I’ve discovered one that likes to hang out on our roof. He sings AND dances. However, the boys and I were taking advantage of the lovely morning, blowing bubbles and planting seeds (zinnias, wish us luck. I lack a green thumb). Hopefully I’ll catch him next week.

Honoring the Dead?

Honor The Dead?

I took the above last spring in Franklin, Tennessee, at a historic cemetery. The scene above – the random, aged gravestone against the stone wall – struck me at the time, and when it came across the screensaver today and it struck me again. I’m not sure what the cause was for the location of the gravestone – remodeling the cemetery, perhaps?