Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

March 31, 2013

Spring’s Arrival

Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate it today. Easter is a day that is low key for me. We celebrated secularly, more so in the past when the girls were little and believed in the Easter Bunny. Now that they are nearly grown up, I still buy them a chocolate bunny, and I saw these donuts that I thought would amuse them, so I bought them too:
Easter donut
but that is about the extent of our Easter celebrations.
In the spirit of a lovely, long spring weekend Mama Nature has been fairly cooperative in that respect. Yesterday was a sunny day with temperatures in the 50’s so the dogs and I went out for a nice walk.
Daphne had her first “swim” in the little creek that crosses our path:
Daphne's first "swim" of the year
I only had my 75-300mm lens with me, so with the dogs on their leash, I couldn’t get far enough away to fit all of her into one shot. This shot, taken while I was trying, amuses me:
relaxing in the water
In addition to Daphne’s little swim, I had another first of the year. I heard peepers for the first time! Here’s a short video I took with my phone so that you could hear them too:

While we ambled by this small spring time swamp (it dries up come summertime), I saw a cute little couple:

 swampy ducks
I don’t know if this is their temporary home or just a stopover on their way elsewhere.

As we continued on our way, a hawk lazily soared in circles above our heads:
soaring hawk
The blue and the warmth and the peepers and the birds and Daphne’s swim: it all added up to a peaceful feeling of spring really being on the way. I may not celebrate Easter religiously, but this was my own little feeling of the rebirth of springtime.

I could easily end this post right here, but I have two other bits of news I wanted to share. First of all, Meghan has made her decision about where she will attend college in the fall: Clark University.

Clark is in Worcester, MA, a medium-sized city about 45 miles away from here. It is far enough away for her to live on campus, but close enough to come home when she would like. This decision is kick-starting the excitement of the end of senior year and planning for the future. Plenty more about all that in the days to come!

The other little bit I have for you is a rare “selfie”. I went to get my hair done yesterday, and at the last minute decided to have it highlighted. I decided I wanted a little change for spring, and I’m very happy with the results. I worked very hard yesterday afternoon trying to take a self-portrait of myself that I didn’t hate, and finally came up with this one that I like:
highlights3

However you spend this day, celebrating Easter or not, I hope it is warm and wonderful where you are.

March 26, 2013

The Snow Menagerie

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:00 am
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Did you see my post the other day about looking for signs of spring? If you didn’t, you should go back and look at that one before you read this one. It’s okay, I can wait. All set now? Good!
In that post, I asked you to leave your guesses about the shapes I saw in the snow. To show you how I saw them, I went into Paint and just used simple pencil drawings to bring out the critters that were hanging out on my lawn.
Cat
Cat
Fish
Fish
Heart
I tried desperately to find an animal on this one, but it really just looked like a heart to me.

squirrel
Squirrel

Turtle and Easter Bunny
A turtle and a chocolate Easter Bunny

Thanks for playing along!

March 24, 2013

Desperately Seeking Springtime

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:44 pm
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Like so many of us in the northern parts of this country, I am more than ready for springtime warmth to take over. The sun actually came out today, but the beautiful blue skies might fool one into believing that it was warmer outside than the thermometer displayed.
reaching for spring
Those blue skies and visible sunshine lured me outside with my camera in a hunt for any possible signs of spring around my yard. I was surprised to find a few.
The snow is thankfully melting and I’m hoping we are done with accumulating snow for the season.
melting snow
At the edge of my yard, where the snow banks were, I noticed an array of shapes were left behind.
snow remains
The more I looked, the more I noticed a little menagerie lined up at the edge of my lawn. Can you guess what I saw? Leave your guesses in the comment section and I’ll tell you what I saw in my next post.
snow shape 1

snow shape 2

snow shape 3

snow shape 4

snow shape 5

In addition to the melting snow, I found
daffodil shoots
daffodil shoots in snow
lilac buds
lilac bud
iris sprouts
iris growth
rhododendron buds
rhododendron buds
new chives
spring chives
and tree buds
red buds on blue sky
I’m trying very hard to convince myself that weather that feels like spring isn’t too far away. The birds that were singing while I was outside today seem to believe it is true. It is time, Old Man Winter, to release us from your clutches!

March 18, 2013

Stripping Away the Color

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 6:00 am
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When Scott announced his photography assignment for this month, I wasn’t sure I would participate. Black and white photography!I thought to myself, oh dear, not a favorite for me.
For me photography is all about color – yes, composition and subject are huge parts too, but I just didn’t know if I could find any of my photos that would be interesting enough to present in black and white. I don’t react well to black and white photography as a general rule. I’ve had this pre-conceived notion in my head that black and white is always moody.
However, to show my support of Scott’s tenacity for bringing us new assignments every other month ( I know how much work it is to write those wrap-ups from when I did the photo hunts), I decided to peruse my archives to see if I could find some shots of interest. I believe I still like these photos better in color, but I can see some appreciation of the subtleties of black and white as well.
In this first picture, Meghan had asked me to take a picture of her in an arebesque on pointe so that she could use it for an art project.
b&wmeg
In removing the color from this photo, I noticed shadows both on the walls and in the mirrors that I hadn’t seen in the color version. I think that adds some interesting movement to the shot that wasn’t in the color one. The Christmas decorations still hanging on the walls are little less emphasized in the black and white version as well.

For this photo, it occurred to me that Teddy could make a good subject for black and white photography since he is really a study in contrasts to begin with.
b&wteddy
Teddy has a truly expressive face, and at times it is quite comical, but black and white seems to bring an unusually sorrowful look to his usually clown-like face.

I chose to include this last shot in the black and white assignment because when I originally posted it in color in the “What Winter Means to Me” assignment, my mother happened to comment on how much she liked the “black and white” photo of my backyard! There was very little color in the original, so I decided to see what it would look like completely stripped away.
b&wyard
The photos don’t look extremely different, but I think the black and white looks more like bad weather is imminent.

For a transitional month, so lacking in natural color, this black and white assignment turned out to be one that I could work with afterall! I am, however, very much looking forward to the colors of spring!

Scott’s assignment isn’t due until this Wednesday the 20th if you think you’d like to join in!

March 17, 2013

A Little Luck o’the Irish

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 8:59 am
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green carnations
My very own leprechaun brought me these green carnations! The leprechaun’s name is actually Meghan and one of the clubs at school was selling them on Friday. She purchased them with the intention of passing them out to friends, then changed her mind and decided to surprise her mom with them.
Thank you Sweetie!
green carnations 2
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! :mrgreen:

March 16, 2013

What a strange sight

Filed under: For the Birds — Karma @ 9:40 am
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It was one of those days when I really wished I had my “real” camera with me, but only had my cell phone (Blackberry). I was driving home from work, along the same path I always take, when something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. I glimpsed a strangely shaped, darkly colored bird. Only the week before, when Meghan and I were coming home from a doctor’s appointment along the same road, we saw a vulture eating a dead skunk on the side of the road. Two very unphotogenic creatures, yet a little fascinating in a morbid sort of way.

So when I glimpsed the large, dark bird this time, my eyes were drawn over to that side of the road. As I came closer, I realized it was not just one strange, large bird – there were two and a magnificent hawk!
Big Birds

I pulled over to the side of the road and got out of my car to have a closer look.  I was so surprised by the sight of these birds in someone’s backyard!
I was truly stunned by the size of the hawk. I have never actually seen one on the ground. Birds of prey of various types regularly soar through the skies above my head and occasionally I have been lucky enough to capture a couple on tree branches. Something about seeing this amazing bird standing on the ground was a real moment for me. I estimated the bird to be approximately up to my knee in height. I stepped as near as I dared and took the picture you see above. The turkey vultures continued to walk in circles around the hawk and his catch, waiting for their turn to pick at the remains.

When I came home, I measured the length of my leg up to my knee and found it to be 20 inches. I then consulted my favorite birding site, Cornell’s All About Birds, and looked into the “length” of certain types of hawks. The male red-tail is approximately 18 to 22 inches – so I am thinking that is probably the correct identification of the bird above.

What do you think about these large birds?  Do you see them fairly regularly?  Have you ever encountered a large bird of prey standing on the ground?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

March 9, 2013

Peeling Away the Layers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 3:44 pm
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>peeling layers
Hi there! I took a little blogging break without even really meaning to. Did you miss me? I did my best to still pop in on all of you.
The blogging muse in my mind has been quiet for a while. She has a tendency to do that when it is gray outside. That’s how it has been around here for a couple weeks. Gray, snowy, rainy, drizzly, wintery-mixy. Until today. The sun came out and it is 50° outside.
Snow is melting.
drip, drip, drip
Water is flowing.
the brook is back
Sap is running.
the sap is running
And I feel like peeling away the layers. The layers of warm winter clothing. The layers of dry winter skin. The layers of the few extra pounds that I probably put on this winter. The layers of cabin-fever cobwebs building up in my mind. A sunny 50° day in March can do that.
As a life-long New Englander, I’m not naive enough to believe that Old Man Winter is done with us BUT I’m finally starting to feel that spring is around the corner. A colleague and I were discussing how the birdsong has changed recently, as though the birds know that spring’s arrival is imminent.
While the dogs and I were walking today, I was stopped in our path by the sounds of many red-winged blackbirds cavorting in the trees above the stream. I was unable to get any pictures of them, but I did find this video on YouTube providing the sound that I heard:

Surely that’s a sign of spring.
Cedric enjoyed the sunshine today as well.
sunbeam Cedric
Several blogger friends have me contemplating for days ahead of us.
Scott has announced his photo assignment for the month of March: Black and White Photography. I told Scott he’d chosen my personal bugaboo when it comes to photography. I don’t have confidence in my choices for black and white photos, and often, I don’t react well to black and white photography. It is a challenge for sure.
Kate has me aching to find a wildlife sanctuary within day-trip driving distance of my home with her adorable photos of otters and ducks and other wonderful creatures.
Kathy has me thinking about thinking. She asks a wonderful question: What am I alive to discover? I’ve been asking myself similar questions recently, but Kathy asks it most poignantly. I’m definitely going to need to peel away some layers in my mind and soul to search for the answer(s) to that one.