Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 18, 2014

Coming Home

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 8:24 pm
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Day 58 of summer was that most bittersweet of days, the day to go home after vacation. I was up early and took pictures of the sun rising on what looked to be a beautiful day at the beach (of course!)
Sunrise between the islands

Sunrise at Hills Beach

Just me and the fishermen and the seagulls were awake at that hour. Shortly thereafter, the car was packed, the family piled in and we made our way back home.

The return home means chores to do – unpacking, laundry, mowing the lawn. Mowing the lawn, however, brought me a sweet surprise! While mowing under the various small trees and shrubs that surround my house, I saw a group of dark berries on the ground, and not those yucky weedy things I call “bird berries” because only birds like to eat them. I looked up and saw this:
Surprise find!
Black raspberries that I had not planted! I’m not sure where they came from – I grow red raspberries in my backyard. I’m sure birds must be responsible for the appearance of these vines, but I have no idea where they originated.

When I finished the lawn I went back with a bowl and happily picked a sweet treat.
Black raspberries

Yesterday, day 59 of summer, was the return to routine.
Meal planning and grocery shopping,
Meal planning

and back to blogging about my rapidly diminishing days of summer!
Blogging with a snack
(with a snack!)

July 3, 2014

Berryfull – Summer Day 13

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 7:59 am
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Berry-full

Mmmmmmm! Fresh strawberries. I am addicted to them. The local strawberry season for this area is approximately Father’s Day to the 4th of July. I have to get them while I can. July usually begins raspberry season in my back yard. My raspberries are not super-bountiful but my bushes tend to produce a good sized handful per day for a couple weeks. That is just enough. Raspberries have a tendency to go soft and squishy rather quickly, and I prefer not to refrigerate if I can get away with it in order to preserve the really fresh flavor.

While the berries are in season, I have the tendency to pop them in my mouth each time I pass through the kitchen. On one of my pass-throughs last night, I discovered this:
Mutant berry (top view)

A mutant! LOL!

Mutant berry

The mutant tasted just as good as the rest of them. ūüėČ

June 27, 2012

Buddleja and a Peninsula

I’m here with a little announcement this morning: feel free to take an extra day or two to finish up your photo hunt this month if need be.¬† Reason?¬† I have a last minute trip to Cape Cod planned for tomorrow through Saturday.¬† Saturday was the date the photo hunt was due, but now since I won’t be home until Saturday night, it is unlikely I will post my own hunt before Sunday since I’m not done taking my photos yet.

I didn’t want to head off to the Cape without leaving you with a few new pictures though.

I haven’t seen many butterflies yet this summer – but some lovely photos over at Robin’s place have me hoping I will see them soon.¬† My butterfly bushes are just beginning to bloom..
butterfly bush budding

and the milkweed is out too.¬† I’ve left some stalks here and there around the yard especially to entice the monarchs.

milkweed

I thought butterflies, and maybe the hummingbirds too, would find these lantana attractive but so far they don’t seem to be of much interest.

lantana

I’ve been enjoying watching the color-changing that the blooms go through as they mature.

fresh raspberries

The raspberries are ripening regularly now, and I’ve been enjoying eating a daily handful.¬† I suspect we will have quite a few to pick when we get back.

Our weather forecast for the Cape over the next few days couldn’t be nicer: upper 70’s to low 80’s with mostly sunny skies.¬† My mom tells me the summer kick-off sand sculpture event in her town¬†is happening over the next few days, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing that.¬† Last year I saw what was left of the sculptures after a couple weeks had passed.
sand sculpture

It looks like we have a nice few days to look forward to – I hope you have something nice to look forward to too. I’ll be back in the blogosphere on Sunday, and also looking forward to seeing your photo hunts. (Gee, that’s a lot of looking forward! ūüėČ )

Are you wondering at all about my blog post title?¬† I was having trouble coming up with a title for this post even though I knew what I was going to write about, so I decided to wait until I was finished writing to title it.¬† I thought of “Down the Cape” or “Capeward Bound” as possible titles but they seemed blah to me.¬† I googled “butterfly bush” for possible inspiration and that’s where I found “Buddleja.”¬† According to Wikipedia (and I know you have to take information found on Wikipedia with a grain of salt), Buddleja is :

commonly known as the Butterfly Bush,[4] is a genus of flowering plants. The generic name bestowed by Linnaeus posthumously honoured the Reverend Adam Buddle (1662‚Äď1715), a botanist and rector in Essex, England, at the suggestion of Dr William Houstoun. Houstoun sent the first plants to become known to science as buddleja (B. americana) to England from the Caribbean about 15 years after Buddle’s death.[1]

The peninsula, of course, is Cape Cod.¬† Buddleja, peninsula – they kind of rhyme, no?¬†¬† If that title doesn’t get me noticed by WordPress, I’ll never be “Freshly Pressed,”¬†lol!

July 19, 2011

Showing Scale

Scott’s assignment is due tomorrow – did you finish yours yet?¬† Here’s my contribution.

We have been picking raspberries in my backyard for the past couple of weeks.¬† My younger daughter Sarah has been going out and picking them faithfully, despite the fact that she doesn’t like them herself ( I know! Weird, huh?).¬† One morning she brought in a huge berry, and it happened to be the day after Scott announced this assignment.¬† I wondered if it would make a good showing scale photo.¬† I compared it to a “normal” sized berry figuring most folks could probably make that connection:
IMG_5378

(This shot was harder to get than I orginally thought!¬† I ended up placing my camera on my deck railing, setting the self-timer, and using live view tried to arrange my hands in front of the lens.¬† Even though I was out in bright sunshine, I needed a fill-flash so that the berries’ color looked right and so that my hands did not look like gray zombie hands!)

I wasn’t content with just this shot however.¬† A new-to-me flower this year is bee balm.¬† I’m doing my best to make my little hummingbird happy this year, so I planted this perennial this spring.¬† I’ve been fascinated taking its photo as it blooms.¬† I showed you its early stages in this post a couple weeks ago.¬† Yesterday, I took this shot:

IMG_5560

If you aren’t familiar with this flower, you really have no idea how big it is from this shot.¬† I thought I could show some scale with this bloom:
IMG_5565

Here it is with a dime in the center of the bloom.  While I was setting up this shot, another idea occurred to me for a way to show scale:

IMG_5568

And it gave me an excuse to show my handsome boy Teddy too!

Thanks, Scott, for another good assignment!

January 14, 2011

Picture Winter Day 14

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 5:34 pm
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“Beyond the Chill”

Our prompt today seemed vaguely familiar, although worded differently: “Today, no matter what the wintery weather, walk outside and scour your landscape for a bit of forgotten beauty. Then pull the focus in tight and see what you find.”¬† I played along anyway and stepped out once again into my snowy backyard.¬†

Meghan had been outside playing with the dogs while I wandered, when she said, “Hey, look at this!¬† There are still some raspberries on the bush all dried out.”¬† The¬†starting-to-set¬†sun and a large aperture helped me create this interpretation of today’s prompt:

                                             settings: 1/100,  f5.0, Av +2/3

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:
P7032698

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.
P7032701

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.
P7042704

We toasted marshmallows
P7042707

and made s’mores.¬† Here’s Sarah with the supplies to the¬†right:
P7042715

We lit up a few sparklers
P7042710

P7042714

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!)

June 27, 2010

Persistence

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:34 pm
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P6272545

Remember how I told you yesterday about those raspberry vines that persist in growing up through my deck despite being cut back?¬† I took those pictures yesterday, yet somehow I missed the picture I’m showing you now.¬† Actual berries now growing on the deck!¬† Missing the picture, however, seems to be my theme-of-the-day.¬† Today I missed taking pictures of subjects I’ve been coveting:

  1. a near-by male cardinal, singing in my butterfly bush
  2. the red squirrel, scampering along my fence
  3. a ruby throated hummingbird at my fuchsia plant
  4. a bat circling my pool hunting tasty mosquitoes ( I wasn’t coveting this one, but I missed it none-the-less)

I’d like to blame missing these shots on my camera, but I can’t, it was me.

This morning as I leisurely drank my coffee and read all of you folks’ latest blog entries, I sat in my kitchen with the sliding glass door to the deck open enjoying the sounds of morning.¬† I suddenly realized the song of a cardinal was awfully¬†close by sounding.¬† I got up just in time to see the lovely red bird flitting away from my deck-side¬† butterfly bush where he’d been happily trilling away.

This afternoon I was leisurely reading a book in the reclining chair I received for my birthday¬†when I dozed off for a little bit.¬† I awoke to the sound of Teddy¬†happily running along the stockade fence, chasing the red squirrel as it scampered away along the top of the fence.¬†¬† I quickly ran inside for peanut butter crackers, which I placed on top of two posts of the¬†fence,¬†in an attempt to entice him back, and brought my camera with me, but he was gone.¬† I sat for a while waiting, but finally decided to go inside and make dinner.¬† Sometime after dinner, the crackers were gone.¬† I don’t know if Red got them or one of the many gray squirrels that hang around here did, but someone got themselves a little snack tonight.

This evening, as I was leisurely (Its been a leisurely kind of day!) watering my hanging plants, I was surprised and thrilled when a ruby-throated humming bird approached my fuchsia plant.  My soft cry of surprise was enough to send him darting away.  Once again, I went back inside for my camera.  I sat quiet and still outside in the hopes that the hummingbird really wanted that fuchsia nectar.  Alas, he did not return. 

While leisurely waiting for the hummingbird to return, I spotted the bat, first in my neighbor’s yard, then in mine as it swooped around my swimming pool.¬† I had my camera at the ready, but this time I simply could not follow the wild path of the flying, diving rodent.¬† The light was fading quickly and my chance disappeared into the woods.

I stayed outside tonight until about 8:45  pm hoping to have an exciting picture to share with you.  I came up empty handed today, but I will persist.

June 26, 2010

Berries Abound…and not

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 11:37 am
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P6262538

There!¬† Those beauties got your attention, didn’t they? ūüėČ

This is a story of another love/hate relationship (my camera, my hydrangeas..etc) ¬†in my life.¬† Well, hate may be a bit too strong of a word, but it sounds better than love/strong dislike.¬† I love berries.¬† I can’t think of a berry I don’t like as I sit here typing.¬† Years ago, my husband came home from Home Depot or Lowe’s or some manly place like that with a very innocent looking little 6-pack of raspberry plants.¬† Hubby not being much of a fruit-eater, I was pleased he wanted to make this addition to my backyard garden.¬† I had already planted some seedless concord grape vines on the side of our house, and there was some space left between the grapes and our deck where I thought the raspberries would fit nicely.¬† I don’t think we got many berries that first year, but the plants did nicely and continued to grow each year.¬† Now this is what they look like:
P6192461

That innocent little 6-pack has turned into a ginormous, roving, monster of a berry beast!¬† Those are my grapevines in the background of the shot, climbing the house.¬† The raspberries have invaded the grapes’ space, my lawn ( I run over small shoots each time I mow) and my deck:
P6242533
P6242534

Each year I cut them back, but each year they keep coming!¬† Their invasive nature is the “strong dislike” part of this story, but every year, I forgive them because I get this:
P6242521

Aren’t they beautiful?¬† Like everything else this year, the raspberries are early, robust and bountiful.¬† Back in the beginning of the month, I took this shot:
P6052357

I was very excited about what was coming.¬† I normally don’t pick raspberries until July.¬† For at least the past week or so, my daughter has been picking a bowlful like this on a daily basis:
P6262536
P6262537

(I included the shot with “Blue’s Clues” on the bowl because I think its kinda funny.¬† My daughters are teenagers now, but we still have this bowl from one of their favorite shows when they were little.)

And now for the “not” part of the story.¬† Two years ago my sister gave me some strawberry plants from her huge patch, which also began with an innocent little 6-pack brought home from the store by her husband ( I think – correct me if I’m wrong, Jennifer).¬† The patch has come to be known as “Larry’s Berries” over the years.¬† But I digress.¬† With my vegetable garden taking up all the space to one side of my deck and raspberries and grapes on the other, I needed a place for the strawberries.¬† I didn’t want to add them to the end of my veggie garden because Larry’s Berries have ended up taking up a prodigious amount of space in Jennifer’s garden.¬† The space near the back of my house and deck is the sunniest in my yard, so I wished to reserve it for my veggies.¬† The next sunniest space is where our above ground pool is
Sparkley pool

..so I decided to create a small space to the side of it to create what I was sure would be my very own bountiful strawberry patch
Strawberry fields forever?

The plants grew pretty well.  This is  our third year with the plants and it was looking good this spring, with lots of blossoms and tiny berries:
P5232284

This area is a bit further away from the house, closer to the wooded area of the yard.¬† Last year, the few berries we got were eaten by critters, I’m thinking chipmunks, despite the bird netting we protected them with.¬† We tried a new strategy with the netting this year, but didn’t have enough to cover the whole patch because it had indeed grown in size.¬† Hubby promised to get me some more and finish covering it over while I was at work.¬† Well, things happen, and the netting was never fully put in place.¬† I’m not sure this netting would have even saved our little patch.¬† Critters can be fairly industrious and this is what we ended up with for strawberries this year:
P6192462

I’m thinking maybe I should find a new place for my strawberry patch next year!

Oh well, I’ll enjoy my raspberries for as long as we can pick them.¬† Because of their delicate nature, raspberries don’t seem to keep long enough for me to gather enough to cook something wonderful from them.¬† I just have to eat them! Bummer, huh?