Friday, August 23, 2013

Moving Earth

There is something very satisfying about raking dirt around. Slow, methodical smoothing.

 

Duck Update: The Great Escape

Time for more gratuitous duck photos? I thought so.

Squackers and Buttons have become quite the little Houdinis. They have now escaped from the temporary fence around their kiddie pool twice.

Both times I found them sitting just outside the fence looking back in.escape from cage

As if they're thinking, "Oops... uh... How do we get back in?"

So I go out to help them and they quack out, "Human! She's coming for us! Is she coming for us? I think she's coming for us! RUN!" (Surely, that's what they're saying. Don't you think?)

And they waddle this way...

Photo Aug 22, 12 04 57 PM

...and that way...

Photo Aug 22, 12 11 43 PM

...until I corral them back to their kiddie pool and safe house. Then they primp and clean to wash off the stress of it all.

Photo Aug 21, 10 41 14 AM

I can't wait to get the real fence put in so they have more room to explore. Maybe then they won't look so worried about breaking back in.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer May Be Redeemable

Photo Aug 21, 9 47 44 PM

Continuing with August Break 2013 and my own personal challenge to take at least one photo per day, this collage gives a little slice of my life over the past week.

Looks summery, doesn't it? Considering the craptastic summer I have had, this photo challenge is helping me pay attention to and appreciate the little things: a watermelon growing in my garden, a bright color display of gladiolas, a walk around the neighborhood, and an anniversary celebration.

I find that looking back over a week's worth of photos, there is a lot to be grateful for.

This season may yet be redeemable.

Happy August, everyone!

The August Break 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

Because Sometimes

Photo Aug 07, 4 08 51 PM

Because sometimes a few minutes of quiet is what you need.

Because sometimes the world throws you too much too fast.

Because sometimes you accomplish a heck of a lot while a toddler interrupts and makes messes and tries to "help."

Because sometimes a good book and an open window can restore the soul.

And sometimes that's good enough.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What Greeted Me by the Door

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This greeted me by my door yesterday. It was about the size of the palm of my hand.

Not that I'd want it to be there.

And that's all I have to say about this August Break photo.

The August Break 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sherri, Sherri, Quite Contrary: A Garden Update

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Sherri, Sherri, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
The stems are slow, the food too early
Then animals chomp it all.

I know, I know. It didn't rhyme. But this year's garden is disappointing.

The herbs are doing really well. The strawberries were great. Then the birds got the blueberries and cherries. The vegetables were suspiciously flat. The sunflowers were pruned by some sort of creature when their stems reached knee height. The bell peppers were eaten. The serranos were not. (Apparently the wildlife shares my love of fresh foods, but not of hot peppers.)

The peaches were flourishing. Small, but many. We probably had a hundred peaches on the tree nearing ripeness, then the next day there were two. As in one... two. Two peaches. Most of the branches were broken and a bunch of pits were on the ground. I thought maybe deer had gotten to them.

The number of plums also seemed to be shrinking and a couple of that tree's branches were broken, too.

We just planted those trees last year and this was the first time the fruit was edible, so we were really excited. Until the fruit started disappearing and the branches turned up broken. Now we're hoping we can keep the trees alive and get them protected better before next year's harvest.

Well, we've spotted the culprit. And it wasn't deer.

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This first photo is a little blurry because I took it through a closed window and screen. So, let me explain what you're seeing. A woodchuck under the tree with a plum. And... oh, wait... what's that? Another woodchuck in the tree.

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When I opened the door, they each grabbed one more plum and ran off.

Woodchucks.

I didn't see that coming. Later yesterday, I caught one eating the squash flowers. Guess I won't be getting squash either.

So, yeah. The garden in the back of the yard hasn't been much of a success. Next year we need a fence and maybe some other creature deterrents.

The plants we have in retaining walls closer to the house of done better (except where the birds swooped in). One of those plants is watermelon. I had a watermelon plant on the retaining wall last year and apparently a seed was left behind and grew into a brand new plant this year.

Yesterday, I saw a few teeny tiny watermelons starting, like this one:

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I've never spotted watermelon at such an early stage. The flower is still there, though it has closed up, and the melon has fuzz on it, yet you can still see the tell-tale green stripes. This one is about the size of my thumbnail.

You go, little watermelon. Beware of woodchucks.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Photograph Every Day

As part of August Break 2013 (with the lovely Susannah Conway), I'm posting photographs to my blog this month. Her rules are that there aren't any real rules. We are to do what feels right- post daily or once in a while.

I may not be able to post every day, however, I am using this project as an opportunity to challenge myself to take one new photograph every day. So, here are my photos from Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (today)...

Saturday: The Little One got his very first bike. A hand-me-down from his big brother who outgrow it many, many years ago, it also spent a few years with our friend's son.

Photo Aug 03, 8 33 54 PM

Sunday: We accomplished a lot of nagging tasks on our to do list like cleaning out the garage and making a repair to my car, the latter of which looked something like this in the middle of the whole endeavor.

Photo Aug 05, 9 41 28 AM

Monday (today): The weather is gorgeous- a real blessing after a summer alternating between thunder storms and extreme heat and humidity. After lunch The Little One and I played outside for while. We even played a little whiffle ball. I've set a goal for the remainder of the summer to go outside everyday for as long as possible.

Photo Aug 05, 2 12 45 PM

P.S. As I wrote this post, I needed a little refresher on "everyday" vs. "every day" because it was one of those times where no matter how I typed it, it still looked wrong. Yes, even a writer and editor like me needs a reminder now and then. If you're confused, too, check out this helpful (and short!) explanation.

The August Break 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013

First Blooms

Photo Aug 01, 5 58 43 PM

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm taking a cue from Susannah Conway and going on a little photographic adventure for the month of August. (Susannah calls it August Break 2013.)

This spring, one of my best friends sent me a box filled with bulbs. I've never worked with bulbs before, but I was excited to give it a try. My husband helped me clear a space for them and I dug and planted, dug and planted, until they were all in the ground.

Within a few weeks several little shoots of green started poking through the mulch. Over the past two months they've grown into tall spikes of green.

This week, we got our first bloom. Yesterday the first flowers were fully open, so I snapped this picture in the rain.

I love the pop of vibrant orangey-red. It's a great reminder that there is life outside, even if my vegetable garden thinks otherwise.

The August Break 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Grandma

I can't believe it's the first of August already. Where has this year gone?

Looking out my window, you'd never know it was summer. The sky is dark and rain has been alternating between drizzle and downpour. I like it, though. It has cooled things off a bit, but more than that, it matches my mood.

I'm quiet these days. I mentioned the rough summer I've been experiencing with annoying little trials and tribulations- nothing like the big losses felt by other people I know.

Until last week.

Last week, my grandma died. She had been having a number of medical troubles for the past few months, so it almost seems a blessing she won't be suffering anymore.

But...

Everything feels different now. My grandpa passed away a few years ago, so this latest news means a generation in our family is gone.

We've all bumped up in line. My father and his brothers are now the head of the family. My cousins and I are now the second generation.

Considering I was the fourth generation until well into my teens, this feels huge.

It's also just plain weird to think Grandma won't be there to visit anymore. She won't be eagerly awaiting new photos of my family. She won't be making any new flower arrangements or telling me about the Florida Gators' football record. She won't be sending a Christmas card, nor will she be awaiting one.

And just what am I to do with the contact in my phone listed as "Gma Gpa Martin"? I left Grandpa in there after his death because it made me happy to see him there. I suppose I'll be keeping the whole contact for the same reason.

Over the weekend my family gathered to honor her. This photo sat framed next to her casket.

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It is one of my favorite pictures of her. A copy of this photo used to sit in the corner of my great-grandparents' living room. I used to stare at it and think how beautiful my grandma was.

Another favorite photo is this one which I keep on my bookshelf.

Photo Jul 26, 11 19 28 AM

My grandmother is that sweet, happy, little girl holding what looks like a doll. The mobster looking guy next to her is my great-grandfather. And no, he wasn't a mobster. Also, when I knew him, he was generally fairly smiley. But that's why I like this photo. It looks like a whole different world.

A couple of days before the funeral, my cousins (the female ones, anyhow) passed around a box of Grandma's jewelry that my aunt had saved. We each chose a few things to bring home. I chose three pins: a navy blue jeweled circle with flowers and two butterflies.

I hadn't realized my grandma and I shared a love for butterflies until I saw her pin collection. There were quite a few butterflies (and even more flowers, which I expected).

Before going to her funeral, I fastened one to my dress. It was comforting to know a little piece of her was touching me as we said goodbye.

Photo Jul 29, 8 57 35 AM

I'm sharing these photos with you for two reasons. The first is that sharing them is helping me heal. You will never have the chance to meet my grandma and, yet, now a small piece of her is with you.

Second, I've decided to join Susannah Conway as she turns to photography for the month of August. She calls it the August Break and explains it this way:
Each day, for the whole of August, take a photo and share it on your blog. You can add words if you want — or not. You can use any camera. You could share a series of photos, or miss a day out, or just post on weekends. There are no real rules, basically. This is all about being present and enjoying taking photos just for the hell of it.

So, these are my photos for today, August 1st. I didn't take them today, but they were from the past week and they are special to me right now.

I'll continue sharing little snippets of my life as seen through my camera lens. If you would like to do the same, stop by Susannah's August Break page to see how it works.

One more thing. Maybe today you can hug someone you love. Or call them if they are too far away to hug.

Share love now. Because now is all we have.