Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 3, 2011

Flowers of Linden Hill

Gorgeous arrangement #1
On Saturday of my weekend in Pennsylvania for Big Summer Potluck, we were taken to a place called Linden Hill Gardens.  This was where all the main events of the day took place.

My first shots were of the lovely flower arrangements placed in the windows of the barn.

Gorgeous arrangement #2

When we had the chance to tour the grounds, I was fascinated by the jumbo-sized flowers on huge lily pads at the pond:
Giant Lily pad flower

They were enormous, and had these unusual centers that reminded me of shower heads:

Strange centers too!

It is hard to see the scale of these flowers in these shots.  The closest I got to showing their size is in this shot with my sister in the background:
Jennifer and lily pad flowers

I should have taken a picture with Jennifer’s head right next to a bloom, because that is about how big they were!

This next shot isn’t a flower, or perfectly focused (autofocus was arguing with me again about where to focus, so I shut him off) but I love the sparkle of the dragonfly’s wings:
Dragonfly visitor

Black-eyed susans provided a great opportunity for a fill-the-frame shot:
Endless Black-Eyed Susans

After dinner, I took an chance to slip back down toward the pond for a few more pictures in early evening light:
Dahlias in the evening

Lilac-y hydrangeas?

And one more of those unusual lily pad flowers, this time a bud:
Lily pad flower bud

but a bud the size of a large man’s fist!

A few more shots that I took of the flowers are posted in this set on Flicker.

I loved having the opportunity to take these photos, especially since the recent harsh weather in this area has done a number on my plants.  In addition to the damage done to my veggie garden that I showed you in this post, my hanging baskets of flowers are not looking very healthy either 😦 .  Sadly I will not have lots of lush flowers decorating my deck for Sarah’s birthday party this weekend.  We had another hail storm this past Monday (thankfully no power outage this time around) and I just don’t know if the flowers will be able to recover this time.  Thank goodness the tomatoes are relatively unharmed!

ETA: Michaela of The Daily Click correctly identified those lily pad flowers as lotus!  Thanks Michaela!

August 1, 2011

Big Summer Potluck from the Non-Food Blogger’s View

Last summer, my sister went to a food bloggers’ event called the Big Summer Potluck.   She asked me if I wanted to go with her, since it was a 4 1/2 hour drive to Buck’s County, PA.  I was relatively new to blogging at the time, and definitely not a food blogger, so I declined.  She found a friend to accompany her and came back raving about all the wonderful food, wonderful presentations and wonderful people.  When she learned that the event was to take place again this year, she again asked me if I’d like to go along.  I hesitated at first, still not sure with not being a food blogger, but she reassured me that it would be fine since I do write a blog mostly dedicated to photography, and hey – I do  throw a food post out there every now and again.  This time, I accepted.

What was a one day event with about 40 people last year, expanded to a full weekend with about 70 people this year.  Our weekend began with our arrival at the beautful home of Three Many Cooks:
IMG_5782

One of the nicest parts of the evening for me was finally meeting Erika of the Ivoryhut in person.  My interaction with Erika goes back to the days of the small photo community that formed around the now seemingly defunct Shrew’s Daily Shutters and when the Ivory Hut was still a little WordPress blog like mine!  She gave me a nice warm hug. I don’t know if it was 8 seconds or not but it definitely helped raise my seratonin levels! **wink to the BSP-ers**  Erika and Maggy, from Three Many Cooks, were the main organizers of the event.  I snuck a little photo of the two of them from the windows while they were having a little photo shoot :

IMG_5689

Speaking of windows, I think it is impossible to take a bad photo at this house due to all the huge windows and the amazing light.    For example, here is the appetizer spread from Friday night:
IMG_5683

I’m having difficulty keeping all the names and faces and blogs straight of the people I met this weekend, but I am pretty sure I recognize Karen from The Peche and Tracy from Sugarcrafter in this shot.  If any other BSP-ers are reading this post and find yourself in this or any of my other pictures, please leave me a comment to let me know.

Colleen from Souffle Bombay made these for Friday night:

IMG_5684

Individual frozen chambord margaritas! LOVED!

For dinner we had chicken or veggie enchiladas:
IMG_5691

One of several fabulous desserts was my sister’s Raspberry Mojito Sorbet!

The full day of events on Saturday took place at Linden Hill Gardens.  The morning was already warm and sunny when we arrived for breakfast:
IMG_5696

The names that I think I have correct in this shot are Ethan from Tastes Better with Friends, Ken from Hungry Rabbit NYC, Brian from A Thought for Food and Amber from Bluebonnets & Brownies.

Our scheduled events for the day included keynote speakers Shauna Ahern, Gluten-Free Girl, who spoke about writing blogs and not being afraid of being real, and award-winning photographer Penny de los Santos, who spoke with beautiful emotion about finding the moment in photography and regaled us with amazing stories of her photography assignments.  Additionally, we had time to explore the lovely grounds of Linden Hill (I will have an entire separate post with many of my pictures from the gardens), and a chat with Pam Anderson, cook-book author and one of the Three Many Cooks and Justin Schwartz, an editor who has published many books by famous chefs.

The days’ events took place in this large barn on Linden Hill’s grounds:
IMG_5695

We were treated to cocktails and munchies later outside the barn:
IMG_5767

Wendi, of Bon Appetit Hon figures prominently in the middle of this shot as she seems to contemplate what she should eat next!  The next thing most of us ate was paella with chicken and sausage cooked in an enormous pan over a fire:
IMG_5768

While we waited for dinner to finish cooking, I amused myself taking pictures of the unusual chickens in the coops behind the barn.  Unlike Brian and Ken, I chose to stay outside of the coops while taking my pictures, so the slight blur you see in these shots is from shooting through the chicken wire:

IMG_5757

IMG_5764

After dinner, there was more time for picture-taking and socializing before we headed back to the hotel for the evening.

For breakfast on Sunday, we were invited back to the beautiful Anderson home. After good-byes and hugs, Jennifer and I began our trek back home.

It occured to me that it was a very rare occurance for me to be west of the Berkshire Mountains, so I pulled out my camera and took a few shots as Jennifer drove, and we approached our home state:
IMG_5787

IMG_5786

So, my impressions as a non-food blogger at a food blogger event? Wonderful presentations – check!  Wonderful people – absolutely.  Wonderful food – yes, with this caveat: it was a gluten-free event, most likely due to the fact of having Shauna as our guest speaker, plus the additional gluten-free bloggers who were probably attracted by this fact.  I did feel that much of the wonderful creativity of food blogger baked goods that were raved about from last year were stifled by the gluten-free approach.  It was a kind-hearted attempt to allow everyone to partake in the food offerings, when in reality there were still people who could not nosh on many of the main foods, due to other allergies.

Am I happy that I attended?  For sure.  It was a wonderful opportunity to go to a place I’d never been, meet new people, try new foods, pick up some blogging tips, spend time with my sister and take, or in Penny’s words, make lots of pictures.  Thank you for this experience to the wonderful folks of BSP2!  (And no this blog post is not SEO optimized, under 250 words or monetized! 😉 )