Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

July 5, 2014

Quiet, Rainy 4th

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 9:31 am
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As I think it was for most of the east coast, the 4th of July (Day 15 of my 66 days), was a rainy day. Something about rain seems to bring a sense of calmness. We moved around the house quietly and kept things low key. It was also a perfect day to bring back a recipe I hadn’t made for several years: mixed berry pie.

4th of July pie

It is not easy to get the “perfect” timing for all the berries being their freshest and most local! Strawberries are the first to arrive here -usually around Father’s Day and petering out around the 4th of July. My raspberries usually start to get going at the beginning of July. Local blueberries seem to appear mid-July. I decided to go for this pie yesterday because I had what might be my last batch of local strawberries and the blueberries were from New Jersey – not so very far geographically! Plus this pie just happens to be red, white and blue!

Slice of pie

July 4, 2014

Simple Day #14

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 9:40 am
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Happy 4th of July everyone! I was hoping to have some fireworks photos to share with you today, but the weather around here is not cooperating. The next-door town of East Longmeadow had its fireworks in a thunderstorm last night! I was not willing to trek out to see them. The next near-by fireworks, in the city of Springfield, are postponed to tomorrow due to bad weather expected here – heavy rain and wind backlashing from Hurricane Arthur’s ride up the coast.

Yesterday, day 14 of my 66 days of summer, was a simple easy-going kind of day. I started the day with some yoga. My lower back is acting up for the first time in a long time, disappointingly, and the yoga seemed to help loosen up what feels like tight, knotted muscles. I found this video some months ago that works well for me.

Later in the afternoon, my girls and I treated ourselves to some homemade ice cream at Elsie’s Creamery. Wish I had thought to take a picture of that for this summer journal. It seems the time that I get with both my girls is few and far between these days, even with Meghan home for the summer.

My pool is finally full,
Finally filled
but I don’t know when I will actually get in it. Not before tomorrow at the earliest with the weather forecast.

We are trying something new with this pool.
Saltwater pool
My sister installed one of these in her pool a couple years ago and loves it. No need to add chlorine with this. Salt and copper in this system work together to form a chlorine effect, if I understand correctly.

Since I’m not expecting to have any new fireworks shots to share with you, here is a link to my little slideshow from 3 years ago.

July 4, 2011

First Fireworks Try with the Rebel

Ever since I bought my first DSLR last summer (can you believe it has been almost a year already?), I’ve been wanting to try to take some fireworks pictures.  Since I bought it a week after July 4th last year, this weekend was my first opportunity.  I remembered that Scott did a blog post with some advice on how to take fireworks photos, which was great since I had no idea where to start.  I emailed Scott and he kindly found the link for me and invited me to ask questions if I had any – which I did!  I ended up purchasing a shutter release cable, and I am glad that I did. 

 I hadn’t been to a near-by town’s fireworks in many years, so I asked a few people for viewing and parking advice.  It turned out I couldn’t park exactly where was suggested, but we found a big open field which turned out to be a great spot for viewing.  My two daughters and older daughter’s boyfriend came along for the ride.  We had time to spare waiting for the show.  I tried to get a cute shot of three teenagers plugged in to their electronics while they waited:

 Waiting for the fireworks

I already had the camera on the tripod so I was trying to sneakily take the picture with no flash.  On “P” mode the camera selected a 13 sec. shutter speed, so I wasn’t so sneaky afterall!  I ended up with a ghostly vision of Meghan looking up from her iPod as if to say, “Really, Mother?”

Meghan was definitely in the spirit of the holiday though:
Patriotic toes

After the first firework went off, I did my best to position my camera for the part of the sky where the fireworks were coming up (over a stand of trees from our view) and focus for that general area.  I left the focus on manual so AF wasn’t trying to constantly adjust, set the shutter for Bulb and the aperture to f16, and connected my shutter release cable.  I remembered Scott saying to open the shutter when you hear the launching boom and hold it open for several seconds to catch several explosions.  I think I did most of mine at 3 to 5 seconds.  I couldn’t remember what Scott said to do when we got to the finale, so I ended up with WAY blown out shots when I tried.  I think my reaction time, thought process and instincts are still a little slow in the world of DSLR’s but I am mostly happy with my results for the Rebel’s first try at fireworks.  Here’s a little slide show of 16 (out of 138!) of my favorites:

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Happy Independence Day everyone!

July 5, 2010

A Spahkaling 4th

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:56 am
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The “voted-upon” posts will be coming shortly, but in order to be timely, I wanted to share a few fun photos today.

On Saturday night, I decided I finally had saved up enough raspberries to make something delicious with them.  My sister recently blogged about using the Pioneer Woman’s blackberry cobbler recipe.  I substituted my homegrown raspberries in this recipe, plus added some store-bought blueberries to fill it out and ended up with something quite patriotic and Independence Day-appropriate looking.  It was so pretty I snapped its picture before I put it in the oven:

As Jennifer mentioned, it was very easy to do.  I was so anxious to try it, I forgot to take the “cooked” picture before I had a sample.

P’Dub suggests having it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  I didn’t have either in the house but it was quite yummy on its own straight out of the oven.

On the 4th, poor hubby had to work, of course (seems he always does when the holidays roll around).  I invited Jennifer and Ozzie over for a cookout.  We had simple but tasty fare: Jordan’s red hot dogs, corn-on-the-cob, watermelon, cherries, chips, and broccoli-raisin salad.  Due to his fear of fireworks and the need for him to be cozily inside his home on this noisy night, Jennifer and Ozzie departed at dusk before any neighbors started lighting anything up.  And they did; while we did not attend any official fireworks shows, the neighborhood was alight with the site and sounds of pyrotechnics, likely purchased in near-by Connecticut where it is legal to do so.

Instead of attending the fireworks display in downtown Springfield, MA and dealing with the awful traffic,  the girls and I set up a little campfire in the backyard.

We toasted marshmallows

and made s’mores.  Here’s Sarah with the supplies to the right:

We lit up a few sparklers


I have a funny little side-story to go with these sparklers.  I’m reminded of it each time I see them.  A few years ago, while attending a summertime party at a dear friend’s house, the friend’s brother-in-law asked me a question.  He said, “Is it alright if your kids have spahklas?” 

“What?” I asked.

“Spahklas.  You know spahklas,” he explained.

I still wasn’t understanding.  This gentleman has a very thick Boston accent.  Many folks from other parts think it is a “Massachusetts” accent, but in fact it is not.  The Worcester area, Boston and Maine all have that unusual way of speaking, but not here in western Mass.  Finally it dawned on me.

“Oh! Sparklers!  Yes, sure, the kids can have them.  I wasn’t sure what you were asking because in western Mass. we pronounce our R’s!”  I replied with a smile.  We all had a good laugh about that one.

Hope your 4th was happy!

(Other posts coming soon!)