Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 7, 2014

Vacation Count-down

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 8:39 am
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Yesterday(Wednesday) was day 48 of summer and my count-down to my week’s vacation in Maine began. We leave Saturday morning, bright and early. Preparations are underway. It seems there are always never-ending errands in the days before a vacation, doesn’t it? I did some of them yesterday. I also recently learned that our suitcases were in pretty poor condition, so a new set was purchased.
Time to travel

I did have some time to relax in the afternoon. I started reading The Wrong Right Man by Pamela Wight of Roughwighting, as I sat outside on the deck.

The hummingbirds were active at the feeder again, but a close-up shot was not to be. This little one zipped over to the small trees along the side of my yard and I was able to get this photo of him at rest.
hummingbird at rest

I imagine today will be a day much like yesterday- errands and checking things off my list as I get them done.
What are all of you getting done these days?

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May 11, 2014

Slowly but Surely…

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 8:23 am
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…spring is arriving.
Some evidence:
Thunderstorm remains
We had a thunderstorm yesterday. I didn’t think to take any pictures during the storm, but here are remains on the grill. The grill has happily been getting much use lately, another sign of the season.

First mowing of the year
I mowed the lawn for the first time this year yesterday as well (before the storm, thankfully!) and the trees are finally starting to leaf out.

Feeder filled
I made hummingbird food and hung the feeder. I’m not 100% positive, but I think I saw a hummingbird speed by my window a couple days ago, so it seemed like time to get it out there.

Just a few lilacs
Some of the very few lilacs I seem to have this year are opening up. Remember in this post I lamented not seeing lilac buds yet? I was mistaken. There are very few buds out there to be seen. I think this harsh winter unfortunately did a number on lilacs around here. Lilac trees line the side of my driveway and I have several more trees around my house and there are precious few buds and many dead looking branches. My neighbor’s shrubs seem to be suffering the same fate. Anyone else in the northern climes noticing anything like this?

New bird bath
Hubby got me a new birdbath for my little perennial garden. My old one broke in the winter – my own fault for forgetting to put it away. I love this shiny new one though. It will hold more water and add a nice touch of color to the yard.

To all the mothers out there, including mine, I hope you are having a wonderful Mothers Day. I’m planning to spend mine having a little brunch with my family (I enjoyed the Easter one so much I decided to have a similar one today), which I am going to start working on soon, then I’m hoping to soak up a bit of sun and Vitamin D, (forecast here is for sunny skies and 75 degrees) and perhaps do a bit of shopping with my home-from-college girl. Even though I’ll cook most of the brunch food myself, my daughters have promised to clean up! That’s a good Mothers Day treat.

August 8, 2013

Sometimes It’s the Little Things

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:56 am
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You can feel it in the air. You can see it in the light. You can hear it in the heat bugs. Summer is in its downward spiral.
zinnia

Kate was saying it too. It seems strange to be thinking this way when we are still in the single digits of August, but the end is much nearer than I’d like it to be.

We leave for Maine for our annual week’s vacation on Hills Beach this Saturday. When we return, time is going to fly. Meghan moves into her dorm only 2 weeks from today. School begins again for me on Monday the 26th.

In the little time that I have left, I’m trying to remember to enjoy the little things, like the little visitors to the area of my backyard deck.

All of these little ones appeared just yesterday.
A great spangled frillitary
great spangled frillitary

What I believe to be a juvenile ruby throated hummingbird(according to what I’ve read it is difficult to tell the females from the juveniles)
tiny hummingbird

Can you see him (or her) sitting on the other side of the feeder? Here’s another shot with the head tipped back and a wing out for balance.
having a sip
I thought the bee in the background was kind of neat too.

While I sat with my current summer read (Under the Dome by Stephen King – have you read this one? Excellent so far!) I noticed a hopping motion out of the corner of my eye.
This tiny visitor was making its way across my deck:
frog visitor

It occured to me that there was no frame of reference for just how tiny this little guy is in the photo, so I grabbed a dime and quietly slid it over to where it was sitting, hoping it wouldn’t decide to hop away before I took this picture:
tiny frog

This will likely be my last post before we leave for Maine. I’ve got my fingers crossed for nice weather. We may have wi-fi available during this trip, so I may check in with you from time to time during the week and on Facebook if we are friends there.

“..you feel it in the air, summer’s (not quite!) out of reach…” Extra points if you can name the song I’m paraphrasing in the comments without googling it! ūüėČ

May 22, 2013

A Plethora of Photographic Passion

Contrary to how it may seem, I really have been thinking about Scott Thomas’s current photography assignment “Your Photography Passion”. Scott posted some interesting articles concerning the subject and mentioned that there are really two ways interpret this idea: what you are passionate about photographing or representing your passions with photography. Two really different ideas, that I think could also overlap. Hmmm, a challenge if I ever heard one.

I believe the first interpretation of the idea is the simpler one for me. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you have probably noticed that I love photographing the details of nature. Flowers are usually a very congenial photography subject, and I love taking their pictures, and if at all possible, taking the pictures to a different level either literally or figuratively. Let me try to show you what I mean with some of my favorite photos from the past.
Fuschia
crazy poppy
sunny sunflowers (2)
IMG_8033

More recently, I’ve become more passionate about improving my bird photography. Last year, I started attempting to keep a “life list” of the birds I’ve seen, and I’m always trying to identify the birds I may not know or get a picture of one I’ve never photographed before. I’ve been especially passionate about getting pictures of the tiniest and largest birds in my area: hummingbirds and hawks.
hummingbird edit
hawk1
And I sure spend a lot of time taking bird photos on vacation too:
Blue Heron 4
snowy plover
But what if “passion” is defined as those things that we choose to find or make the time in our lives for? Of course I am passionate about my family, but I believe that is natural and not necessarily definable as a “passion” in this instance. So what else do I make the time for in my life because it is important to me?
In this sense of the word, I think dance would qualify.
Picture Fall, Day 12
I make the time for those few hours a week of exercise and socialization and learning and fun.
My garden would qualify too, I think, since it certainly isn’t a necessity in today’s world and why the heck would we gardeners go to all this trouble if we weren’t passionate about it?
P5292323
I am perhaps most passionate about one of the more elusive facets of my life:
Hills Beach Mosiac
The beach and the ocean are the place where I find myself most at peace. Breathing the air and feeling the sand and the salt and the sun bring me to a special place within myself, in all likelihood, the closest I will ever find myself to a zen-like place if I am using that term correctly.

Thank you, Scott, for a very thought-provoking photo assignment!

May 22, 2012

Happenings

Filed under: For the Birds,What's Blooming — Karma @ 4:42 pm
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It has been more than a week since I posted – I’ve been a bit of a slacker, I suppose, but then this tends to be the “When I Feel Like It” way.¬† It has been a busy week as we approach the end of the school year (16 days of school left for me!), recital around the corner and spring in full bloom.¬† In addition to all the good, a drop of the bad had to rear its ugly head as well.¬† On my way home from work yesterday I was the victim of a motor vehicle accident.¬† While I was stopped behind several cars waiting to take a left turn, a very young and newly licensed driver hit my car from behind.¬† I am fine, but my poor car is damaged yet again and having a reunion with the body shop it has already visited 3 times in its past (none of those incidents my fault, by the way!)¬† So how about the photos of the nice stuff that happened this week?

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Mandaville hanging flower basket from my daughter for Mother’s Day

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Peonies, ready to bust open

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My little lupin, in light and shadow

ducks
Mr. & Mrs. Duck, stopping by my still covered pool – the water on the cover is sure to contain a variety of tasty insects

A pair of hummingbirds has returned to my yard. I was distracted getting ready for work one morning in my attempt to take these pictures:
humming1

humming2

My dearly loved bearded irises have started to bloom:
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While sitting outside hoping to find a nice shot for Scott’s Blue Hour assignment, due this week, I was thrilled to come up with this iris photo:
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I’m particularly happy with how that one came out.

I’m not as happy with how my blue hour attempts came out. I’m still deciding whether I will choose to post them tomorrow for Scott’s deadline.

What’s been happening with you?

November 11, 2011

Best of, Part 1

Filed under: For the Birds,Photo assignments — Karma @ 6:08 pm
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Scott’s assignment for this month is to show off your “best” photos of the last year (from Nov.1, 2010 to Oct. 31, 2011).¬† Like Kathy of Lake Superior Spirit, I think I’m going to have to be a bit of a rule-breaker this time around.¬† I’ve spent quite¬†a bit of time going through my archives from the¬†last twelve months, trying my best to narrow down.¬† Scott said he was looking for a minimum of 3 photos, but that we could share as many as we wished.¬† So maybe I’m not really rule-breaking all that much, but like Kathy, I’ve decided to do a¬†few posts on the subject.¬† To keep it interesting, I’ve categorized my favorites and will do a post for each category.¬† I believe I’ve shared the majority of these with you already, but maybe some will be new to some of you, and at the very least forgotten about by some of you regular readers.

My first category I’m sharing is Birds.¬† Through the various feeders in my yard, and birding opportunities in the woods and on vacation, I’ve gotten very interested in trying to get decent photos of these fast-moving creatures.¬† I actually took one of my favorites just a few days ago, but that doesn’t count for Scott’s assignment!

I was absolutely thrilled to get my first pictures of a hummingbird this year.¬† I had a pair that seemed to make their home very close to my yard this past summer and I was lucky enough to get some unique photos of which I’m proud.
My first hummingbird picture!

hummingbird edit

humbird1

hum3

The photo-elusive male cardinal finally stayed around long enough for me to get some nice pictures this year.  Suet cakes turned out to be the key to getting Mr. C to hang around!

Male cardinal

On a visit to Cape Cod a pair of mallard ducks were quietly swimming in a small creek near my mother’s house, and I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them in the pretty afternoon light.
Mrs. Duck

Mr. Duck

A return visit to the Cape in July provided me with my first photo of an osprey.
osprey

Seeing this bird of prey and getting this photo gave me a thrill.

I believe the above to be my best avian photos of 2011.  Out of all photos I plan to share over the next few days, these shots gave me my strongest sense of accomplishment due to the challenging nature of the subjects, and the way they forced me to learn more about using my camera.

By the way, I just realized that this assignment will reflect a year of growth in learning to use my Rebel; I bought the Canon in July of 2010, and the time period for the assignment begins four months later.  Kinda cool, huh?

You still have plenty of time to participate in Scott’s assignment – it isn’t due until November 16th!¬† I hope many of you will jump in and show off your best!

ETA: I forgot to mention that I had some bird photo goals for this year that went unfulfilled.  I had been hoping to also photograph an oriole, a clear shot of a red-winged blackbird (the only one I got this year can be seen here) and Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal together in one shot.  Bob or Tracy, any advice for fulfilling those goals?

September 9, 2011

Have they flown the coop?

Filed under: For the Birds — Karma @ 8:30 pm
Tags: , , ,

hum1

Can you see her?

hum2

How about now?

This is the female of the pair of ruby-throated hummingbirds that have been partaking of my hummingbird feeder and bee balm this summer.¬† She alighted in the oak tree in my backyard while I happened to be sitting outside one afternoon on my deck with my camera at my side.¬† She wasn’t easy to spot among the leaves, but I had been following her swoopy flight.¬† The male had been making large loops above my rhododendrons a few days ago while she watched.¬† Both birds spent a lot of time¬†at my feeder over Labor Day weekend; I can’t help but think they were getting ready¬†for their long flight south to Mexico for the winter.¬† Perhaps they hoped to gain a good tenth of an ounce in weight in preparation!

I was able to get one more shot of the tiny cutie…
hum3

…and then she was gone!

IMG_6425

July 24, 2011

Portrait of a Summer Evening

I don’t have to tell you it is hot.¬† Seems most of the country has been experiencing a heat wave over the last few days.¬† Thankfully, at least around here, it seems to be breaking today.¬† Highs should only be in the¬†upper 80’s and we have a chance for showers throughout the day.¬† Due to the heat of the day, evening has been the more pleasant time to head outside, and it is a nice time for taking pictures.

The girls came outside for a swim and hand-stand practice:

swim1

The day lillies glow in the evening:

IMG_5634

One of my dahlias showed a deep red that I have difficulty capturing in the daytime:
IMG_5610

The sky was painted with swirly clouds:

IMG_5649

And some of my favorite summer creatures came around for a photo session:

tiger1

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

hummoth1

Hummingbird moth

humbird1

and my hummingbird took his evening post.

daph1

Daphne says, “I don’t care what you think, Mom, it is still too hot!”

June 27, 2011

A Good Day

Filed under: What's Blooming — Karma @ 10:16 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

School got out last week.¬† I felt like I’ve been in a flurry of activity every day since.¬† Today was the first day I really felt like I was out for summer break.¬† With the exception of my older daughter going to driving school (at her high school), I didn’t have to go anywhere.¬† Today, I did summery things!

I worked in my garden, which looked so cheerful in the morning summer sunshine:
IMG_5104

Everything seems healthy and happily growing.  I added tomato cages to the sprawling vines today. I also noticed my hydrangea is starting to bloom:

 IMG_5105

¬†I am delighted with all of the buds it has this year.¬† I have often lamented my lack of luck with hydrangea.¬† I don’t remember this hydrangea always being pink either; I know that soil pH can affect their color, but I haven’t moved this plant in probably 10 years. It has never been a great bloomer for me, so maybe I just don’t remember!¬† Lots of buds still to come:
IMG_5107

After the garden I picked up the yard for lawn mowing.¬† I got to use a little chain saw to chop up a large branch that had fallen into the yard – that was kind of cool!¬† After mowing the lawn, I vacuumed the pool.¬† It looked nice and sparkly.¬† I should’ve taken a picture.

My bird feeder has been extremely active since I refilled it a couple days ago.  I also learned today that my squirrel-proof feeder is no longer squirrel-proof:
IMG_5113

Industrious little thing, huh?¬† I couldn’t understand just how the squirrels were getting at the seed.¬† The feeder is set up so that if something heavier than birds lands on the feeder, that wire covering with the perches on it slides down and covers the opening to the seed.¬† I went out to investigate.¬† One of the openings had the plastic chewed away so that the opening was not completely covered when it slides down!¬† That is the opening our little friend here is jamming his or her head into!¬† The squirrels broke the other feeder I had put up for them in a near-by tree in the hopes of keeping them away from the bird feeder, so I’m not sure what I’ll do next.

At the end of my busy day, I landed in my second-favorite summer place Рmy deck with a good book (first favorite would be the beach, but that is a few hours drive away).  And my little hummingbird took what seems to be one of his favorite places these days too:

hummingbird silhouette

That is a skinny little branch at the top of a small tree at the side of my property.  I look for him there now when I am outside in the evening.  I thought this made for a pretty cool shot of a hummingbird at rest; not a sight you see all that often.

Let me know about a good summer day for you in the comments if you’d like!¬† June Photo Hunt re-cap coming soon – I’m waiting on a couple folks taking advantage of the extension.¬† In the meantime, there are plenty of links to check out in the comment section of that post, so please go check out the submissions when you have the chance and leave them some love in their own comment sections.

May 25, 2011

What kept me so busy that I…

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 9:40 pm
Tags: , , ,

…forgot to do Scott’s assignment this month, which was due today!

As I was griping last week, it has been rather rainy here recently, but the sun poked out this weekend.¬† I was going to do Scott’s assignment (really!), but as happens to us all, life got in the way.¬† Spent Saturday morning running errands with hubby, getting those peppers we wanted, and while we were at the garden center, treated myself to this:
Fuschia

It is a big, beautiful fuschia plant!¬† I hung it near my hummingbird feeder, in the hopes of attracting more hummingbirds.¬† My hummingbird has been visibly absent lately – I hope I didn’t offend him or her when I let the feeder go a wee bit too long before cleaning it out.¬† Hey Mr. Hummingbird! It is clean now, I promise!¬† And I bought you a fuschia too!¬† Please come back.

After all the errands, I had to do what I am sure many of us had to do after all that rain – mow the lawn!¬† Saturday evening I spent working, working, working on a project I’m feeling pretty good about, but unfortunately cannot share with you all just yet.¬† There is an extremely, ridiculously slim chance the recipient of said project could happen to read this blog post, and I can’t have that!¬† I’ll fill you in on the mystery in a couple weeks.

Sunday was a practically-all-day-long-annual-affair for this dancing family.¬† The girls and I had picture day at the dance studio.¬† On this day, we go to the studio with all our costumes for recital to have professional photos done.¬† Doesn’t sound like it should be practically-all-day, does it?¬† It is when one purchases 15 costumes for recital!¬† Eight for Meghan, five for Sarah and two for me!¬† Ay-yi-yi!¬† Of course I took a few shots of my own too.¬† Here’s a little slide show sampler¬†(please excuse the squinty eyes – not much shade to be found in the parking lot of the studio!):

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What do you think, Scott?¬† Are you buying my excuse? ūüėČ

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