Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

July 30, 2012

As Summer Wears On

Hard to believe it is nearly August.  Summer is passing too quickly!  A friend posted this on Facebook recently and I couldn’t agree more:

Four weeks from today I will be back in school, so I’m trying to remind myself to enjoy every moment.  Here are some moments I’ve recently enjoyed:

IMG_8616

We celebrated my younger daughter’s 15th birthday with family and friends.  Her actual birthday is this Thursday, so I can’t help thinking about how 15 years ago at this time I was so huge and uncomfortable.  It was a nasty hot summer – kind of like how it has been around here recently – and nothing I did seemed to feel better.  15 years ago!  Wow!

Then:

And now:

Sarah1

We got some much needed rain this past weekend – unfortunately during Sarah’s birthday party.  I think the absolute heaviest was exactly when my husband was cooking at the grill:

Police department issued rain gear came in really handy!  Photo credit to Meghan and her iPod – she was more on the ball that I was.

In the quiet moments between shopping and cleaning and otherwise preparing for the party, the butterfly bushes provided more photography opportunities.  A couple of yellow tiger swallowtails have been happily cavorting:

yellow swallowtail 1

yellow swallowtail 2

yellow swallowtail 3

I found this species very interesting too:
Butterfly Bush collie

I think its Latin name is “collius buddlejollius”  😉 (okay who remembers that obscure reference from an earlier post?)

July has been pretty full of good summer fun – check my archives if you’d like to see what I’ve been up to – and August has plenty more to offer.  Meghan is going to have her senior portraits taken next week (YIKES!  I’m having a really hard time wrapping my head around the fact that my older daughter will be a senior in high school in 4 weeks!  How the heck did that happen?) and our family vacation to Maine comes up in less than 2 weeks.  And don’t forget – the “Ends of the Earth” photo hunt is in August too.

July 24, 2012

Photo Hunt Inspiration and Early Announcement

Provincetown Harbor

I wasn’t even sure I was going to do a photo hunt for August, when WHAM, inspiration struck.  I know it isn’t August yet, but this post needed to be written while the inspiration was with me, and I started thinking that a little heads up on this one could probably be helpful.

Let me back up and explain my inspiration.  I was over at Dawn’s blog this morning and I read this post.  She referred to Point Pelee in Canada as “the end of the earth.”  I immediately thought of the area that I have always thought of as “the end of the earth” – Provincetown, Massachuesetts.  It is the very tip of Cape Cod sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean.  That got me thinking about geography and whether there is a place that other people consider “the end of the earth” and wouldn’t that be a cool thing for a photo hunt?

Sure it would, but that might not make it easy for a lot of folks to participate in a photo hunt – and that of course is what I like best about photo hunts, having lots of participation.  So how could I tweak this “end of the earth” idea to fit a photo hunt?

Here’s what I’ve come up with.  Show me the place that is “the end of the earth” for you OR show me some of the “extremes” of your city, town, area, state, province or favorite vacation spot.  Take a photo at the highest spot, the lowest spot, the northernmost, southernmost, westernmost or easternmost point.  If you can think of another “extreme” that I haven’t included here, please share it in the comments.  You choose how many photos you would like to share.

Because of the nature of this assignment and the fact that you may have already traveled to somewhere that you’d like to feature for your photo hunt, please feel free to use archived photos for your post.  Assignment due date will be the very end of August, Friday the 31st.  As usual, leave me the link to your post in the comments of this post. I should be able to get the round up posted over Labor Day weekend.

I’d love to have lots of participation in this assignment, so if you’d do me the favor of helping to spread the word I’d be very appreciative!

July 22, 2012

Things with Wings

When Scott Thomas recently commented on my “Camping Critters” post about how my ruffled grouse appeared to be moving quickly, I was inspired about what to shoot for his assignment this month about motion photography.

The hummingbird moths have reappeared at the butterfly bushes and their tiny wings are always in rapid motion:
hummingbird moth

hummingbird moth

The monarch butterflies are always in frenetic motion around the yard and bushes.  I tried to capture a crazy escapade of a monarch around my yard, but the photos didn’t portray motion all that well to me.  Here it is when it finally came to rest on a bloom, but with wings still ready to go:

monarch1

While I was watching the butterfly bushes yesterday, so full of frantic motion of moths and bees and butterflies, I heard that tell-tale call of a raptor up above.  It is a different view of motion:

hawk1

Remember my “conducting duck” from the Camping Critters post? I realized that another shot that I took of him or her had another view of motion:
duck3

This is my submission to Scott’s motion assignment.  There is still time to get involved in this assignment if you would like – posts aren’t due until Wednesday, the 25th at midnight your time.

July 20, 2012

Thinking about Birding

Filed under: For the Birds — Karma @ 12:58 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been giving birds a lot of thought recently. I’ve got a photo set on Flickr with 83 pictures of birds in it, and I’ve got a category here on the blog called “For the Birds”.  I recenty watched a movie called “The Big Year” with Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin about a competition to see the highest number of bird species in one year.  That movie got me thinking about my “life list” – meaning, I’m wondering just how many different species of birds I’ve seen.

I contacted Bob Zeller over at Texas Tweeties for some advice about getting my list going.  He kindly gave me some ideas.  I’ve also been over to Ebird.org to have a look at their bird checklists.  I spent some time on Flickr going through my bird photos – the collage above was created from my Flickr set.  And now, I’m sharing my thoughts with you.

My plan is to spend some time getting a list of what I’ve already seen started.  I’ve saved a list of Massachusetts birds and I thought I could start by going through that list and checking off what I already know for sure that I’ve seen.  With the help of my go-to bird identification website, Cornell’s All About Birds, I figure I can tackle identifying birds that I’ve seen, but wasn’t quite sure exactly what they were.  Then, eventually, I hope to be able to add to my list and to my photo collection – like when I saw that ruffled grouse this past weekend.

My hope is now that I’ve put my plans here in the blogosphere for you all to see, I will follow through.  I hope to be back soon with what I believe to be my “life list” number.  Have you ever given any thought to just how many species of birds you’ve seen?

July 17, 2012

Camping Critters

No, the critters didn’t go camping, but I did see quite a variety on our camping trip to Goshen, MA last weekend.
dar

A morning hike to a fire-tower brought me my first dragonfly shot of the season:
dfly

as well as an encounter with a bird that I’d never seen before:

grouse

We wondered at first if it was a quail, but the members of our group believed this nearly chicken-sized bird to be too large to be a quail.  Later in the day, the word for this bird just popped into my head, unbidden: grouse!

When I came home, I double checked my thought on the computer and the description of this bird seems to match that of a ruffled grouse.

An afternoon walk to the small lake beach provided a couple more interesting creature encounters.  This creature was of a very familiar type, but I’d never seen one quite doing this before:

dogswim

I know many dogs, especially retrievers (not MY retriever of course!), enjoy swimming, but I’d never seen one swimming along side a cayak.

A pair of ducks made their way into the swimming area too.  They were unafraid of the people in the area.  I took a few pictures out of habit, but then I was happily surprised to capture this one:

duck2

I don’t know if this was the he or the she of the pair, as both ducks looked virtually identical.  I think he/she looks ready to conduct a symphony!

A far less symphonic critter was the next to slither by my lens:

snake

I’m not generally bothered all that much by snakes, not that I’d like to have one for a pet or anything mind you, so getting this photo didn’t require much bravery on my part.  Later, however, my friends at the campsite looked at this picture zoomed in and believe we were in the company of a small copperhead snake – a venomous, but not overly dangerous or agressive snake.

There were also the usual chattering, curious red squirrels and chipmunks that ran around our campsite, but I somehow didn’t manage any photos of those.  One brave chipmunk that chose to come a little closer to us was rewarded with a treat of peanuts – I wish I had gotten a picture of those stuffed up cheeks.

Heat and humidity have taken over this region once again; upper 90’s are forecast and we are under a heat advisory.  Hope you are keeping cool today, whatever you are doing.

July 10, 2012

A Few Firsts of the Summer Season

Filed under: What's Blooming — Karma @ 9:47 am
Tags: , , , ,

Summer, summer, summer; I love it so.  And not just because I still have 7 more weeks before I have to go back to work!  The days are long and seem to pass slowly with no particular place to be.  It is warm and green and lush.  Some of my favorite things about summer are also starting to appear around me, a bit early I believe.

On July 4th, I harvested my first cucumber and summer squash from my garden.
first harvest

Zucchini quickly followed and I already have a few over-sized specimen.  Meghan and I ate the first zucchini like this:

Breaded and shallow-fried, delicious.

Like many flowers in my yard and gardens, my daylilies seem to make later appearances than others I’ve seen around town.  My first opened on July 5th this year.

first daylily

And now that the butterfly bushes are in full bloom, the butterflies have returned to my yard.  Surprisingly, the monarchs were the first I saw this year.

First monarch spotting

King of butterflies

The swallowtails, hummingbird moths and a great spangled frillitary have all made subsequent appearances.

Another of my favorites of the summer season happens this weekend – the annual camping trip.  I know that camping is not for everyone, but you can read about what makes this tradition with my group of friends pretty great right here.

Now that the heat wave that has had so much of this county in its grips for a while has started to ease back, I hope you are getting out and enjoying summer too.

July 6, 2012

Cape Cod Sand Sculpting

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 10:28 am
Tags: , , , , ,

On our visit to Cape Cod last week, we were lucky to witness the professional sand sculpting going on during the town of Yarmouth’s Summer Celebration Kick-Off.  There were three professional sculptors working over a few days in a roped-off area of Bass River or Smugglers Beach.

One creation was a breaching whale:

whale in sand

Another was slightly open to interpretation.  My daughters and I thought this one showed perhaps a Chinese Junk:

Whimsical ship

The reverse of this one did not offer more definition:
reverse of ship

We puzzled over whether this was a stone wall with cracks or maybe storm clouds with lightning; either choice seems to threaten the small sail boats below.  This sculptor went on to add a mermaid at the base:
Mermaid in sand

Perhaps this sculptor wanted to leave some thoughts to the imagination?  Or maybe there is a myth or story that is being portrayed here.

By far the most impressive of the three was the London Tower Bridge, bedecked for the Summer Olympics:
London Tower Bridge

Olympic Rings

The reverse side of the bridge harkens back to the town bringing us the fun sculptures to enjoy:
Yarmouth, Cape Cod

While these three sculptures were created by professional sand sculptors (can you believe there is such a job?  Must be nice!), it appeared that other folks with some sand talent were invited to get in on the fun.  I didn’t see these being worked on, and they didn’t have the staying power of the professional works, but these adorable smaller sculptures were also on display:

Snoopy
Everyone’s favorite beagle

Yoda with broken ear
“Broken my ear is!”

Fireman's hat
Yarmouth F.D.

Shark
Fish are friends, not food!

Lizard

Crabby

I remember the days when my favorite little sculptors used make their creations on the beach:

 sandcastle1

Sandcastle

Do you have memories of these temporary works of art?

July 3, 2012

It’s a Wrap

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 7:51 pm
Tags: ,

IMG_2706

No, not that kind of wrap! I kid, I kid! I stole this picture from my sister the foodie blogger because that’s the way I roll. Ha, ha – get it? Wrap? Roll? *Ahem*, well moving on…

I haven’t heard from any more bloggers taking advantage of the extension on the photo hunt deadline, so it looks like it is time to wrap it up.  It will be a quick wrap this time around because I only had 4 participants in addition to my own.  Was it too hard this time out?  Do we need to take a break from photo hunting for a little while?  I hope those of you who didn’t participate will let me know in the comments.

Scott was the first one in with a partial submission.  He included a photo of a proud grandma for “proud” here  and then went on to complete the rest of his photo hunt with this post.  “Aplomb” really threw Scott for a loop, so like a student worried about his grade on a test, he went for a bonus to use as a substitution!  You know I don’t really grade you, right Scott?  But I’ll give you an “A” for effort, LOL!  Grandma gets a really fantastic shot in the second post, so I hope you’ll go have a look.

Robin was the first blogger in with a complete photo hunt.  Robin won me over with her beautiful photos from Maine, my “home away from home” and some Canadian moose poop!  No really!  You have to go see for yourself.

Next in was Dawn.  Apparently I made Dawn work for her photo hunt this time around and she really came through with some great shots.  I awarded Dawn double-bonus points for one of her shots for tickling my funny bone.

Our fourth photo-hunter was Carol.  Carol’s hunt gave us a very sweet peek into her world and taught me a lesson in synonyms!

If you happened to miss my own (kinda sorta) photo hunt, you can see it here.

P.S.  Would you like the recipe for those chicken wraps whose photo I pilfered at the beginning of this post?  Pop over to my sister’s place and get it here.

P.P.S. Do you want a photo hunt in August or would you like a summer vacation?  Let me know!

July 1, 2012

My Own,..uh, kinda, well, sort of… Photo Hunt

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 3:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve never been one for strict adherence to the rules.  Rules are more like “guidelines” especially when it comes to the photo hunt around here.  I’ve been known to bend, dance around and completely disregard the so-called “rules” I set forth in my photo hunts in the name of encouraging fun with photos.

This month, I was befuddled in even figuring out what the photo hunt would consist of.  Then some of you fine folks chimed in with some thoughts, and this month’s hunt came to be.  I set a June 30th deadline – something else I’ve never been very strict about.  Then I announced it would only be fair to allow you some more time.

So now, confession time.  I didn’t do very well taking pictures for my own photo hunt!  Was my photo hunt in the back of my mind while I took photos over the past couple weeks?  Sure.  Did I, in reality, take photos specifically for my photo hunt? Uh, no, not really!

However, I do have a collection of six new-to-you photos to share for this month’s photo hunt.  Some of the photos were even taken this month!

Peace:

peaceful

I’ve just returned from a lovely few days on Cape Cod.  The weather was warm, sunny and breezy.  While relaxing on the beach in South Yarmouth, I was able to gaze across Bass River to dozens of colorful para-surfers.  The warmth on my face, the just-right salty breeze and these dancing rainbows made for an extremely peaceful feeling.

Joy:

joyful

When we went on our cruise back in April, I told you about the wonderful experience we had swimming with a dolphin.  In addition to the obvious pleasure of being able to be so close to one of this planet’s most endearing creatures, one of the best parts of this experience was seeing the absolutely pure, unadulterated joy on my daughters’ faces.

Pride:

Untitled

This photo is real rule-breaker because I didn’t even take this one (er, whoops, I didn’t take the last one either!  Hubby took that one!).  Dear friend Renae took this one at her daughter’s first communion party.  But I have a lot of maternal pride in this photo.  Sarah, for reasons unexplained, is a favorite person to younger children everywhere.  Wherever we go to spend time with friends with children younger than ours, the little ones almost immediately glom on to her.  It must be her sweet, approachable nature but I feel proud of the way accepts the children and makes them feel so very comfortable in her presence.  This photo was also taken shortly after she got her braces off, and I love the pride in her new smile.

Aplomb:

aplomb

To me, dancing on pointe is the very definition of the word “aplomb.”  Meghan exudes confidence with each step of her pointe dance.

For my bonuses this month, I actually did take photos specifically for the hunt!

Strewn:

strewn

Little flowers in the grass caught my attention one day.  I wondered why they appeared to be growing in the lawn, then I realized they were the little blossoms falling from my hanging plants! Duh!

Toast:
a toast

Because who needs a good reason for a margarita toast?

So my dear readers, there is my rule-breaking, almost-mine, not-really-photo-hunted-unless-you-count-hunting-in-my-archives photo hunt!

Geez, I wonder what will happen in August?