Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

May 17, 2015

A Quick Hello

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 3:53 pm
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Hi there! I unexpectedly have taken almost a month off from blogging. My intentions have been good but my follow-through has been bad! It has been a busy spring, once it finally arrived here in New England. Much to do with never enough time to do it. So many photos and ideas. Here’s a little peek, via my iPhone photos, of just a bit of what I’ve been enjoying this spring.

First soft serve of season
Sarah and I made our first visit to Mountain View in Hampden for soft serve on a wonderfully warm early May evening; seemed a worthy event for a selfie.

Lilacs full bloom
My lilacs are in full bloom right now perfuming the air with their wonderful scent. I take a deep lungful each time I get in or out of my car since they line my driveway.

Mother's Day dinner
On Mother’s Day, my two daughters went shopping for, cooked and cleaned up after this delicious meal. Those are grilled chicken thighs and a salad with spinach, strawberries, mandarin oranges and toasted pine nuts. It was delicious!

Work surprise
The day after Mother’s Day, the treats continued. Meghan showed up at my school and brought me these flowers and an iced coffee at lunch time. I was touched by her thoughtfulness.

Last home track meet
After school that day, I went to Sarah’s final track meet at her high school. Since it was the last home meet of the season, this was the meet for the celebration of the track team members who are seniors.

Filling the lawn
Traditionally, I mow the lawn for the first time each year during the first week of May. Spring was slow to start this year, and so was I! I finally did it for the first time this past Thursday. By the time I got to it, all these pretty weeds were filling the back corner of my yard like wildflowers. I felt kind of bad mowing them down, but I really couldn’t let the lawn get to a height where it would be difficult to deal with it.

Visitors to the pool
Due to the heavy amounts of snow we received this winter, my husband made the determination to release the edges of our pool cover while there was still heavy snow on top of it in order to prevent any chance of the walls collapsing under the weight. He decided to completely remove the cover a few weeks ago. It won’t be actively taken care of on a daily basis for a couple more weeks and in the meantime, this pair of ducks has been stopping by for a swim! I guess it does kind of look like a pond right now.

The days of school are winding down – 22 more for me, only 9 for Sarah, my graduating senior. I hope it won’t be another month before I post again, but busy days are ahead. I hope your spring is treating you well!

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May 11, 2014

Slowly but Surely…

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 8:23 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

…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.

May 7, 2013

Springtime, Lovely Springtime!

I love this time of year. This part of the world is coming alive with green grass and leaves and the bloomers of spring. We’ve had a string of 17 days in a row with no rain, and while I know we need the rain (coming soon according to the local forecast), I’ve even thoroughly been enjoying my rides to work in the morning: the sunshine at that time of day is gentle and beautiful and lights the flowering trees and greening lawns in a way that makes me remember to breathe deep and appreciate the moment.

When I walk out to my car, the air is perfumed with these:
lilac
Lilacs – mmmmm, is there a better spring time smell? And I’m going to have an abundant amount of blooms this year. The tops of my trees all look like this:
abundant lilac
They haven’t quite opened yet, that’s why the dark color, but they are beginning.

During all this lovely weather, I’ve been outside when time allows (mostly weekends) working on my yard. I did a lot of cleaning up and pruning during the April break from school. In addition to all the usual work, I made a decision to rip out a perennial bed that had not been looking overly healthy for the past few years:
periennial bed -before
I kept only what remains of my bearded irises, – they are yet to bloom this year and I don’t know how many blooms I will get – the bleeding heart
bleeding heart and my “crazy poppy”- click here for the story of that moniker.

On Saturday morning, I made a visit to my favorite local garden center, 16 Acres Gardens. (They are called that because they are in a part of Springfield known as “16 Acres” not because there are 16 acres of gardens)
garden center 1

garden center 2

It is still just a little too early around here for planting tender annuals and vegetables (unless you’re a bit of a daredevil and willing to watch the weather each night for frost warnings!) but I was more than ready to go spend the generous gift card I received from my dad for my birthday to replant that perennial bed. I came home with 9 new perennials of varying sizes and heights ranging in colors from pinks to purple to purplish-blue and planted them that afternoon:
perrenial bed - after
(I’m rather proud of myself for installing that new border around the bed too, even if it is a less than perfect circle!)

My latest-to-bloom-in-the-neighborhood daffodils are in full bloom now:
daffodil

daffodils

daffodil

as well as the giant rhodo-azalea:
full bloom rhodo-azaleas

I’ve seen two butterflies in the past few days – can the hummingbirds be far behind? I’m excited to hang up two new, unique hummingbird feeders I received for my birthday – I haven’t taken pictures of those yet but I’m sure I will do that soon.

I finally cleaned the vegetable garden patch of last year’s debris and removed the decrepit fence surrounding it. Next outdoor projects: put up a new fence and mulch my perennial bed. I’m also trying to grow some new grass in an area the dogs have ruined. There’s so much going on in the yard! But I do love this time of year!

May 7, 2012

Hearts ‘n’ Flowers

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I was working outside this past weekend, trying to get caught up on some of my outdoor “spring cleaning” chores that have been neglected this year.  You might remember a little adventure I mentioned a time or two that caused me not to be at home during our spring break from school – the time that I normally take care of these things.

I worked on cleaning the flower bed in my front yard, and felt satisfied with that work for the day.  There was much bending, pulling, pushing and such, and rather than have my back go out from trying to do too much, I decided one flower bed spruce-up was enough for one day.  The sun was out and at a lovely angle for taking photos, so I decided to grab my camera and spend some well deserved time behind the lens instead of the wheelbarrow.

Problem was when I tried to take a picture of those white bleeding hearts.  I noticed all sorts of leftover winter debris invading my pictures.  “I’ll just move a twig or two out of the way,” I said to myself.  It wasn’t working.  But I was determined for pictures of the cute little hearts.
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Rip, prune, yank, rake, pile, push.  Those were my next actions.  You see, my butterfly bushes surround this particular bleeding heart plant.  Once I started, I couldn’t stop until it was done.  That ever happen to you?  You make the decision to do one thing, and then find yourself completely involved in a task you hadn’t planned on?  I suppose it is a bit similar to my HCDD, that I’ve mentioned before.

Now the butterfly bushes lean up against my deck and they unfortunately littered their leavings all over, so not only did I find I need to clean up that whole bed, I then found it necessary to sweep up the deck too.  **SIGH**

I did, however, eventually get around to taking pictures of what I found in bloom in the yard.
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Many of my blooms seem less bountiful this year.  I’m thinking it has to do with that crazy streak of crazy-warm weather we had in March that started everything growing and budding ahead of time.  That was followed by cooler, more “normal” temps and everything seemed to stall out a bit.

These azaleas are an exception to that observation, however:
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I don’t think I’ve ever seen this particular shrub looking so full and lush.

The “true” rhododendrons (as opposed to my early-blooming “rhodo-azaleas”) are starting to bloom now.  I found this one nestled away in the shadows:
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Now that I’ve confessed my YWDD (yard work distraction disorder), I have one more comment on this spring that I feel the need to express.  I wish Mama Nature could get us a little more regularly into the 70° range.  We’ve been hovering with highs in the 60’s, but the mornings are still chilly and I’m getting really tired of my current wardrobe!  Anyone else having this problem getting ready for work?  I only have so many “transitional season” outfits, and I’ve worn them to death over the last month or so!

I realize that last paragraph was extremely random.  I apologize if you are still reading at this point.  Welcome to my train-of-thought.  Sometimes it is a bumpy ride!

April 5, 2012

Poking Around

Filed under: What's Blooming — Karma @ 9:32 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

It happened today!  My first daffy bloomed!
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My lastest-blooming-in-the-neighborhood daffodils started to bloom today.  There’s yet more proof of the crazy mild winter we had.

I found myself in the unusual position of having an unrushed period of time to myself this afternoon.  There’s no school tomorrow, the girls were at their respective activities, the temperature was relatively mild, and the sun was shining at a lovely angle in the sky.  I finally poked around my yard and neighborhood, camera in hand.  Here’s some of what I found, in addition to the daffodil:
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Lilac buds

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The “rhodo-azalea” still waiting to bloom

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The neighbor’s forsythia, alight in the sunshine
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I’m not sure what type of flowering tree this is (dogwood maybe?) but I loved the way the blooms looked against the blue sky:
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To avoid being too photo-heavy in one post, I narrowed down to 7 shots from the 38 that I took this afternoon!  It felt really nice to be outside with some of my favorite subjects again.

We are off on an adventure in Boston on our day off from school tomorrow.  I hope to have some fun pictures to share with you this weekend.  I hope you’ll be enjoying a long weekend too!

May 12, 2011

Full o’Flowers

Thank goodness April showers do indeed bring May flowers.  It really feels like spring here today and my yard is fully perfumed with the scent of what seems to be a prodigious amount of lilac blooms this year.  I have lilac trees lining my driveway and on two corners of my house.  The trees seems to have outdone themselves this year.  I take a deep breath every time I step out my front door:

lots o' lilacs

lilacs

lilacs

My actual azalea (as opposed to my “rhodo-azalea”) is now blooming…

azaelea

…as well as the very beginning of lilies of the valley:
Lily of the valley

While I scoured the yard investigating what might be in bloom, I found these along the edge of my neighbor’s and my property, along with a fat, fuzzy, bumble bee:
bumble bee

Anyone know what these tiny blooms could be ?

The bleeding hearts continue growing and blooming steadily, and I couldn’t resist the pretty light on this stem:
bleeding hearts

Coming soon….
peony bud

peonies!  Love me some peonies.

Hope spring is busting out where you are too!

May 7, 2011

Earth and Efflorescence

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 8:52 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been rather alliterative this week! Well, okay, I only wrote three posts this week, but still! 

I spent this Saturday morning as I spend most Saturday mornings –  drinking coffee and reading Twitter on my iPod while I eat my breakfast.  My usual M.O. after finishing breakfast is to bring the cup of coffee to the computer and catch up on the blogs.  This particular morning, the sunshine was calling me outside… for yardwork.  I did do some blog reading this morning, but by 10:30, I found myself outside to deal with this:
Before

This is the area for my veggie garden, untouched since last fall when I plucked the last tomatoes and peppers.  Some years I have left the entire ordeal of cleaning and prepping the garden for the same weekend as planting.  And I have paid dearly with back pain.  I am trying to be a smarter 40-something-year-old this year.  Two and a half hours later, this is what it looked like:
After

Raked, pulled, weeded, hoed.  Not completely ready for veggies in a few weeks – I’ll still need to amend my soil – but much better. 

After a quick thundershower and some doing of other errands, I remembered there were more spring arrivals outside to share.  First, the ones I love to fill my lungs with each time I go to my car, lilacs:

Lilacs

I wish someone would hurry up and invent smell-o-net for beauties like these!  I was a little disappointed with the light outside; at the hour I was out there it should have been lovely.  All of a sudden, it seemed like the universe was listening to me:

Hello! It's me!

Hi there!  It’s me! The sun peeped out under the clouds, just enough for this pretty light to show:
lilacs

Newly arrived in the yard this week, in addition to the lilacs, are the sweet little bleeding hearts.

pink bleeding hearts

white bleeding hearts

I think these could be my next extension tube subjects if I get a sunny day with not too much wind soon.

Now that it finally looks like spring outside, Scott’s 4-season assignment has been on my mind too!  I’m hoping to get over to the location I selected for that tomorrow; be sure to get your shot soon too! 32 school days until summer!

April 15, 2011

Pleased as Punch

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 7:54 pm
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I know I said I wasn’t going to blog again before the weekend was over, but as I turned down my street last evening, I was taken with the color of the sky.  I decided I wanted to get outside and try to capture it.  My nifty-fifty did a nice job of recording just how the sky looked:

IMG_4166

That’s SOOC.  Since the light was so beautiful, I decided to poke around the yard for signs of spring.  I found one that really pleased me.  I was going to save this for my photo hunt, but it was just so pretty and I was so happy with how it came out, I just had to share:

IMG_4178

I normally don’t like to toot my own horn, but I just love this picture.  It was mostly a happy accident.  I was, as I said, poking for signs of spring when I noticed the lilac buds had turned purple.  I was having issues focusing on these sweet little buds, so I decided to grab my tripod to see if I could get a sharp picture in the fading light.  As I moved the lens around looking for a pretty angle, I caught sight of the lovely orangy-pinky glow of the fading sun behind this bud.  Auto-focus was arguing with me again, probably due to all the greenery around, so I took my chances with manual focus.

Settings for those who like that info: 1/25, f5.6, ISO 800, 250mm focal length, 0 EV.

May 8, 2010

What’s Blooming – Early May Edition

Filed under: What's Blooming — Karma @ 4:53 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Here in Western Massachusetts at the end of the first week of May, the greenery is ahead of its usual pace due to some early, very warm weather in April.  Normally, I mow my lawn for the first time during the first week of May; I’ll be doing it for the third time this year sometime this weekend if the thunderstorms we’ve been having end soon.  The trees in my backyard that usually leaf out and block the view of the neighbors this week, have been fully green for a few weeks already.  And here at the end of the first week of May, some of my favorite flowers are almost gone already.  Luckily I took their picture earlier in the week:
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If any flower ever needed “smell-o-net” it’s definitely lilacs.

A brief shower earlier this week provided an opportunity to take some pretty shots with rain droplets on them:
azalea

Pink Azalea (did I spell that right? I always feel like I spell that wrong.)

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I liked the way this shot came out.  I thought the tiny droplets on this delicate lily of the valley gave it a nice touch – similar to Tracy’s “sprinkles” a few days ago.

While we are looking at a pretty white flower, here’s another:
white bleeding heart

I find the shape of bleeding hearts charming.

Continuing the white theme, this next shot is not so much a “traditional” bloom.  I actually got the idea to take this picture from Michaela.  Hers were blackberry blooms, and this raspberry bud is far less spectacular looking, but I still wanted to show this picture.  I liked the star shape.
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This next picture comes with a question: does anyone have any idea what this is?
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There are hundreds of these in my lawn, near the back of my yard where its a bit shadier.  They are only as tall as blades of grass and I run them over with the lawnmower.  They don’t bother me, so I don’t try to get rid of them.

In the last edition of What’s Blooming, I promised to share a shot of the full-sized red bleeding heart plant.  I can’t remember now if this is as big as it gets for the year, but this is what I’ve got so far:
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The promise of another of my favorite flowers appears in this shot as well.  Toward the back you see irises.  I have some bearded irises that I really love which are usually in bloom later in May.  Happily, there are many buds visible out there, so be sure to come back for the next edition of What’s Blooming!