Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

November 17, 2013

Big job complete…for now

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:34 am
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I finished the big job of cleaning up after the awful sycamore tree yesterday.
clean yard

I really should have taken a “before” picture to show you, but I gave you a small idea of what the job is like last week in this post. That tree is nearly done dropping all its leaves, but some still cling to the branches:
sycamore, almost done

I believe I’ve done enough work on the front yard for this fall. More leaves will certainly fall before we are covered in snow, but I’ve cleared away enough (10 tarp loads including last week!) so that I won’t have a horrible clean-up of giant, soggy, 8-inch wide, slimy leaves in the spring.

After spending my day cleaning up the yard (by myself, by the way!) I rested my tired self in the hot tub and admired the sky, brightly illuminated by the full moon. As my eyes adjusted, it almost seemed close to day light it was so bright, and I got the idea in my head that maybe I could show you some pictures of my lovely view.

Still wearing my bathing suit and terry robe, I grabbed my camera and put on the nifty-fifty lens, then kneeled down next to the hot tub. I was too lazy to get the tri-pod out. Thinking back now, that would have been the intelligent thing to do! The shots I have to share are quite blurry, of course, since it wasn’t really daylight. But maybe I can still give you a glimpse into my view last night:
night sky 1

night sky 2

I played with different shutter speeds and apertures, and holding my breath and firmly gripping the camera as my elbows rested on the side of the tub, and in the little LCD of the camera screen the shots didn’t look too bad. Really did need the tripod though!

night sky 3

night sky 4

I would try again tonight, but a steady rain is in our forecast. We’re still enjoying warm-for-November temperatures around here, so at least it is rain and not snow! How is your autumn progressing? Cleaning up? Looking forward to Thanksgiving? Tell me in the comments.

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November 9, 2013

Just wanted to share…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:33 pm
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One evening this week I was taken aback by the beautiful light and color I saw in the sky.  After running an errand to the grocery store, on what had been an unremarkable, cloudy sort of day, I saw the trees across the street from the store lit up by a gorgeous light, but the light was almost “cut off” at the top if you can imagine what I mean.  Looking toward the west, a dark cloud cut a horizontal line across the sky, but the great, golden orb of the sun was sinking just below that line.  I admired the amazing, golden color before me as I drove home from the market and hoped there would still be some nice color for me to photograph when I got home.

When I got home, color had changed but it was still beautiful.  Surrounded as I am by the things of suburbia, I have no clear view of sunset and the horizon, but I was able to capture these shots.  I haven’t adjusted anything in Photoshop; these are SOOC using my 50mm 1.8 lens.

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I’ve never been a big fan of November: no leaves, no flowers, No-vember; however, this colorful sky was a lovely exception to a normally colorless month!

September 15, 2012

Transition

Hello there bloggers, readers, family and friends.  I’ve missed you!  This blog has been quiet for almost two weeks.  It wasn’t really on purpose or a blogging break; I think the blogging muse in my head has simply been silent.  I’m honestly not sure if other parts of my brain tied her up and took her hostage or if she just stepped out for a while.  Either way, she’s back this morning.  I have such a mix of feelings and thoughts and photos to share, I’m not sure how this blog post will eventually come out, but if you’re ready for what will likely be a bumpy ride, join me for a spell.

This time of year is generally a rollercoaster ride of emotions for me.  I feel a deep sadness at the passing of summer.  (By the way, Scott has a new photo assignment posted about just this subject – be sure to have a look!)  I’m not ready to let the heat and bright sunshine and lazy days go just yet.
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Memories of summer vacation are still fresh in my mind, but that place seems so very far away right now.

the cottage

However, I can’t live in the past, so I do try to appreciate the beauty of the season to come.  I do admit that fading summer/early autumn does present some beautiful light, and I was drawn outside with my 50mm lens the other afternoon.  I’m not sure why, but I’ve found the 50mm often does a lovely job of capturing true colors and a soft-but-sharp-at-the-same-time focus (if any photog-types have a reason for this that you can explain, feel free to do so in the comments).  These dahlias I planted in my whiskey barrel planter have been gorgeous all summer, but I never felt quite able to capture them until I took the nifty-fifty to them:

Dahlias #1

Dahlias #2

Dahlias #3

It is hard to deny that autumn is on the way when the goldenrod appears.

Goldenrod

This monarch butterfly kind of looks like how I feel: it seems to be trying to take in the last that summer has to offer, while surrounded by encroaching fall.

monarch in butterfly bushes

(Perhaps I should have saved this one for Scott’s assignment?)

I know that fans of autumn will remind me of all the goodness fall has to offer.  Warm, golden afternoons, crisp nights, crunchy apples, hot cider, rainbows of foliage.  I do enjoy them all.  But for now, allow me to mourn and maybe wallow just a bit in my sadness about, the passing of my favorite season.

 

November 23, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Goodness

As I told you last year, with my somewhat silly take on the Lydia Maria Child classic, I go to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. (I host the family for Christmas, so it works out nicely)  I have some dishes that I make every year to bring to her house, which I’ve just completed at the time of this blog post, and you can see pictures of in my link up there to last year’s post if you are interested.  This year I’ve made a tasty addition.  While flipping through my current issue of Fine Cooking magazine, I was inspired by this recipe.  There were several variations suggested for this simple cookie.  My choice?  Chocolate-dipped chocoalate chip shortbread cookies.

It is a pretty simple recipe, and it would be easy to customize to your liking.  When you make the dough, you just press it into a pan, slice ’em up (before baking) and perforate:
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After they cooled, I melted the extra chocolate chips and dipped:
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Look delicious, don’t they?

Whatever you will be eating tomorrow, have a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

July 6, 2011

Morning and Afternoon

Blooms are busting out again here in my little corner of suburbia, and I thought I’d share them with you in a slightly different way.  I took some of these pictures around 5:00 in the afternoon yesterday and some of them this morning around 9:00.  I was curious to see how the light at different times of the day affected the color and look of the blooms.

It is turning out to be a banner year for hydrangea (Yay!!!!!).  I have two different varieties planted in my yard – forgive me for not knowing the names.
hydrangea

Purple hydrangea, 5pm

hydrangea

Purple hydrangea, 9 am.

hydrangea

Blue hydrangea, 5pm

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Blue hydrangea, 9 am

bee balm beginning to bloom

Bee balm, 5pm

bee balm

Bee balm, 9 am

Any thoughts on which you like better?  I think the morning light shows a “truer” view of the color.  I didn’t retouch any of these shots – all SOOC.

While I was playing, I tried the nifty-fifty on a few shots:
hydrangea

Hydrangea again – f4.5 with 50mm lens

fuchsia

Fuchsia – f3.2 with 50 mm

I mentioned in my Fireworks post, that I purchased a shutter release cable.  That seemed like a good excuse to bring the extension tubes out to play, no?

hydrangea macro

just-opening hydrangea with extension tubes
bee balm macro

Bee balm with extension tubes – kind of alienlike isn’t it?  Maybe it is really a triffid, Gerry!

Oh!  And it is assignment time over at Scott’s place again!  Click here to read about this month’s challenge to show scale (no not slimy alien scale! 😉 ) in your photos.

July 2, 2011

STRAWBERRIES!

Filed under: Recipes — Karma @ 10:28 am
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This past Wednesday, my younger daughter and I went strawberry picking at a local farm.  I wasn’t sure we’d still be able to pick since I thought the peak season was probably done, but we had no trouble filling this large tray.  I’d say we picked somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 pounds.  It was a great deal – an end of the season special.  They gave us the tray and said fill it as much as we could for $15. 

Beautiful and fresh, there is nothing like a just-picked strawberry:
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By Wednesday night, however, some of those berries were starting to smell not-so-fresh.  Probably one of the dangers of end-of-the-season picking.  I enlisted the help of both my girls, and we set to work “processing.”  I picked through the tray and set aside two containers of the biggest, firmest berries to keep for fresh eating.  Then, we took the rest and hulled and sliced.  I ended up with 3 containers of berries that I needed to decide how to use. 

Last night we had this again, and yesterday I decided to try jam making.  Do you remember when I made grape jelly in the fall?  It was quite the messy and complicated process.  I am happy to report that strawberry jam is much easier!

Mash the berries:
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(5 mashed cups – used up probably 10 fresh cups?)

Add 7 cups of sugar and one box of Sure Jell. Cook to a rolling boil.
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Fill 4 pint jars with wicked hot strawberry goo:
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Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool for 24 hours:
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I think that nifty-fifty lens did a lovely job with the late afternoon light on these jars, didn’t it?

24 hours later will be this afternoon, so I still haven’t tried my jam.  I’ll be happy to provide you with an update later.

  I’ve got one more container of sliced berries in the fridge – I’ve got another strawberry recipe I’m hoping to get to today that should help use some of them up.  I hope that you are enjoying your Fourth of July weekend and eating something delicious too.

June 24, 2011

I can’t think of a title for this blog post

Remember the 124 pictures I told you I took at dress rehearsal last week?  I finally got around to editing yesterday.  I cropped and brightened and un-red-eyed 23 of my favorites and posted them in an album on Facebook.  Are we friends on Facebook?  If we are, you can see those pictures here if you’d like.  If we are not, maybe we should be!

With recital, also comes flowers, and we received many lovely ones.  On one of the few afternoons that wasn’t rainy this week, I took the flowers outside on my deck and placed them on the table for a little photo session.  I found that late afternoon with my umbrella in place made for lovely picture-taking lighting for these very willing and cooperative subjects.  First I played with my extension tubes.  I was too lazy to get the tripod out, so I sat and used my elbows on the table to gain some steadiness:

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Next I decided to try the 50mm 1.8.  It turned out to be a nice choice for showing off pretty color with that sharp-but-soft-at-the-same-time focus:

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I hope that your summer is off to a wonderful start.  Today is the first day that neither the girls nor I have to go to school.  So far it hasn’t been the lazy non-schedule that I usually look forward to at this time of year.  Yesterday was the girls’ last day, but it was Sarah’s “Final Assembly” at middle school – or 8th grade graduation as we used to call it when I was a kid.  Sarah received two certificates for academic achievement – the President’s Education Award for being in the top 10% of her class and an excellence award for achieving all A’s for her final grades of 8th grade.

Forgive me for bragging a wee bit!  I’m very proud of my little girl – who isn’t so little any more!

After Sarah’s ceremony, we all went out to lunch in celebration.  Yesterday afternoon and today too, I will continue to wear my invisible “Mom’s Taxi” cap, which I’m sure will remain in place for the summer. 

 In between, I’m hoping to have plenty of reading time out on my deck.  I’m looking for reading suggestions for the summer too!  Please leave any suggestions you may have in the comments.  The next book I am planning to read is book 3 in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.  Have you read those?  That is my suggestion to you if you haven’t.

I’ll be back with other rambling blog posts soon.  Don’t forget about the photo hunt!