June 12, 2011

Sunday Stills: Yellow

This past weeks Sunday Stills focus was to find and photograph the color yellow.

I caught Paris in a tender moment and decided to take the opportunity to practice. It is so hard to get good photographs of my girls, even when they are sleeping. They wiggle too much and nearly always blur part of the picture. And even when they are sleeping, the bouncing of the truck rolling down the road presents its own challenges.
As a puppy, Paris had many toys, but Ducky was always her favorite, and still is.

This week we had a half day layover at the house while en route to Minnesota. Since it was raining and I didn't have time to start a project at home, my neighbor and I teamed up and went out for an abbreviated "girl's shopping day." We had so much fun visiting, and saw so many pretty and unique items.
this pig bowl made us chuckle, along with the matching platter. Who thinks up these things?

a close up of the pattern on some pretty dishes

And this one was my favorite. These were wine glasses made with yellow tinted glass. I really liked the way this picture came out.

Thanks, Julie, for not being too embarrassed to walk around with the crazy camera lady. I'm sure I got some strange looks from other shoppers. You were a real trooper and I enjoyed our excursion very much!

To see more lovely and creative pictures of "yellow," visit this link. You can click on the name of any commenter and be taken to their blogs to see their take on the subject. The color weeks are always interesting because there always ends up being a real kaleidoscope of subjects that get photographed.

June 8, 2011

Monday to Wednesday to HOME!

We delivered our load of organic (reeking stinky) fertilizer Monday morning on a farm near the Columbia River. On the way we passed the John Day dam, where the gates were open and the water was flowing. 
And from there it was time to start working our way home. Time for another break, a long one this time. We grabbed the last load of sunflower seed from the shipper in Alicel, OR. There won't be anymore sunflower seed going to Minnesota till August.  :(

The road home took us across US12 again through the mountains of Idaho and along the Clearwater River. I do love that drive. Have I mentioned that before? (uh, yeah Sarah, like 100 times!)

However, I have to say, its ever so slightly creepy after dark, surrounded by trees, in the mist. It was patchy mist, and actually rather scenic as dusk fell, but also had the effect of hiding the curves and the edge of the road, so that there were a handful of times when I suddenly had the fear that I was going to be in the Clearwater River instead of along side it.

 Lolo Pass never looked so good, and after that I dropped down into Missoula and Malcolm took over.

We pulled into Billings at 6:00am, and knowing there wasn't time to get to Minnesota before the receiver closed for the day, we stopped at the house for the morning and afternoon. We found we were suddenly in desperate need of new steer tires, and just in time for the annual CVSA Road Check! So we went into town and had that problem fixed before DOT had a chance to put us out of service.

After that, it was home to shower, and relax a little. Malcolm went to run some errands, and after a short visit with my neighbor at her kitchen table, she and I decided to go to the book store and a couple other fun stores together. It was so fun to go shopping together, and we talked so much I ended up with a little bit of a sore throat. This girl needs to get more chat time to keep her voice chords in shape!

One of our stops was Pier One, always a dangerous place to go, dangerous for your purse strings anyway. I was doing good till I spotted a really pretty bookmark with a bird charm on it. That was my only indulgence...at that store....but I spotted these nifty finds and thought of my sister with her adoration of tulips and obsession with watermelon (which I hear has become overwhelming with her recent pregnancy)!

 On the way back home, Julie (the neighbor) and I parked in the road to admire another neighbors new foal. The gentleman who owns this property is an amazingly nice guy who trains horses and does horse clinics. I love when he rides his trainees by the house and stops to visit. He specializes in Tennessee Walkers, which makes my heart smile. A little connection to my home state, right on my own street in Montana!
 The mare had one incredible tale and mane, not that you can tell in the pictures. And I don't know exactly what color you call that colt, but he's adorable and going to be one handsome fellow!
That evening we headed out again to finish our trek to Minnesota. We delivered this morning, and are now reloaded with sunflower "screenings" which are going to a feedlot near Beach, ND. And after that....

As usual, its going to be an action packed, not very restful, trip home. I can't promise really frequent posts because of all that has to be done, but I do intend to keep you up to date as best I can, and to try to keep up with all of you!

An acquaintance of mine told me yesterday that whenever he tries to visit my blog, blogger asks him to take a survey and he can't get to my blog. Is anyone else experiencing this, or heard of this? I'm baffled, but definitely want to put a stop to it if possible because I don't want anyone to stop coming to my blog out of irritation.

June 5, 2011

Sunday Stills: Potluck

My mom, over at A Garden of Thoughts, was asking me about the weekly photography posts I used to do, and wanted to start participating. She also wanted me to pick it back up so we could do it together. I was thrilled!

I can't say what prompted my letting Sunday Stills fall to the wayside. I think it was round about the time I was in my blogging slump. But listening to Mom talk about it and seeing her post last week, I realized I kind of missed playing with the Sunday Stills crowd. And it will be fun to do it together with Mom. So I'm joining back in, if you all will have me back.  Sometimes a person just need a break to regain their inspiration and motivation I guess.

This weeks challenge was "Potluck" meaning you could bring anything to the table as long as it wasn't from your archives. My goal is to never use archives because the whole idea for me is to stretch my imagination and improve my photography skills.

I don't have anything really impressive or exciting this week. The non-specific challenges have always been more challenging for me, which seems backwards from how it should be, but that's just how it is. I spend most of the week trying to figure out what to photograph, and by last night, I still didn't have anything specific in mind and time was up.

So, I decided to post some pictures I took this week that proved to be a challenge for me. I was trying to photograph smoke from a forest fire near Flagstaff, AZ. I was frustrated because I was trying to capture the intensity of the smoke, the emotions I was feeling as I watched the column of smoke climb into the air and obscure the mountains nearby. But I just couldn't get the pictures to have the right feeling. Photographing smoke is not easy, as it turns out. I kept ending up with pictures that looked like clouds, which wasn't at all what I was going for. I wasn't satisfied with the outcome, but I'll post the best ones anyway.

When we first spotted the smoke, we were still quite a ways from Flagstaff.
Getting closer in towards Flagstafff, it was clear that this was a forest fire and not a range fire as I originally suspected.
Past Flagstaff and going back downhill, around a curve and suddenly we were in the smoke. In a picture it looks more like a cloudy day. What I wanted to capture was the brown/orange tint of the smoke in the sky, but it didn't come through "on film."
And a few moments later we were back under blue skies, leaving the smoke behind and heading on to California.

Carlie Jean wanted me to share this one, since its one of the best pictures I have gotten of her. It really portrays her "what are you looking at" attitude. She didn't really care about the smoke. She was just enjoying lounging in her man's arms with the sunshining in on her.
What am I looking at? Your face my dear! Its time for a shave! Past time!
That's all I have to bring to the table this week. A weak start for my re-entry into the world of Sunday Stills. We'll try for better next week. To see more, and better, Sunday Stills contributions, visit this link and click on any name in the comments section to view their pictures.

And for any of you Sunday Still-ers visiting here, do you have suggestions or tips on photographing smoke? Any camera settings or ideas on the topic?

June 4, 2011

A Blog Resource Worth Sharing

Recently I was prowling around in the blog world, trying to kill some time while waiting to load, and I stumbled across

Have you ever been to this blogger resource? Its great! Not only do they have tips for blogging success, but all sorts of other resources, not to mention give aways. In fact right now they are in the middle of 30 Days of Giveaways and there is some really neat stuff getting passed out!

If you are looking for blogs on a particular subject, they have a blog listing that's categorized by topic, and you can have YOUR blog listed on it for free! (or get extra special treatment for a little extra charge) If your doing a give away on your blog, they will feature it on their giveaway page. The excitement just goes on and on. I bookmarked them, liked them on Facebook, and intend to do more exploring as time allows. In the mean time, I just thought I'd share the wealth! Its a resource worth sharing!

June 3, 2011

Arkansas Traveler

On Wednesday morning, I had the pleasure of driving through Arkansas' Ozark Mountains on a two lane highway. It's a road we've taken only once or twice, cutting south from Springfield, MO down to the interstate west of Little Rock, and I didn't remember much about it. Its kind of nice when that happens, because its like driving a road for the first time.

I love early morning drives, when the sun is just making its appearance and the world is waking to a new day. There is something about this time of day that lifts my spirits and makes my heart smile. I turn the radio off and just soak up the morning and time with God in His beautiful world.

Arkansas is one of those states that kind of falls to the wayside in our minds. Its neighbors, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee...they are all famous for something and bring certain images to our minds when we hear their names. But what is Arkansas known for? What do you think of when you hear its name? These were some of the things I was pondering while I drove south towards our destination.

Well I was bothered that my mind came up with nothing significant about Arkansas other than that the state provided a president I was not very fond of. And I figured I needed to have something more positive in my mind about the state since it was so lovely. So I had to look some things up to see what I could find out about Arkansas.

Here are some things I learned:
  • About 50% of the rice grown in the United States is grown in eastern Arkansas
  • Wal-Mart was established and is headquartered in Arkansas (I knew this but had forgotten)
  • Arkansas leads the nation in production of bauxite (providing over 80% of this ore) which is used in the production of aluminum
  • the state leads in production of bromine, accounting for about half of the WORLD's output
  • Arkansas is home to the only diamond mine open to the public in the world
  • Hot Springs, AR is home to natural hot springs that have attracted people for over 200 years for healing and relaxation. Drawing rich and poor alike, the area is nick named "The American Spa," and is now a national park
I think I should start looking up things about the states I travel in. Even states like Arkansas that aren't exactly famous in our minds have lots to share with us, if we just pay attention.

This morning we are in California almost to our delivery sight. We brought another load of that smelly Texas feather meal out here for the organic fertilizer place. Its been so unpleasant to smell it every time we step out of the truck, especially after several weeks of hauling onions and grain. The onions really weren't that strong in odor and even so, I would tolerate that a lot better than this feather meal. But it pays, so we haul.

I've been completing my morning routine, while Malcolm drives. Feed the dogs, catch up on my farm in Farmville (there, I made it publicly official...I'm an addict), check for new blog posts to read...and this morning I discovered that Mom had posted some much anticipated news.

A few weeks ago, Mom began a series of blog posts that were inspired by a question another blogger asked her on another post. Mom had been sharing some of her gardening and mentioned her Lemon Balm and someone asked her about the uses of Lemon Balm. Mom got curious and started researching. What she's learned and shared has been really interesting. I've been inspired and I also want the book she featured in her first post because I'm really interested in herbs. But the most exciting part for me was the home made bug repellent recipe she shared in her first Lemon Balm post.

Mom and I are both bug magnets, to the point that its hard to enjoy being outside sometimes. Not that we let that stop us, but we're usually covered in welts and scabs from being bitten. And I HATE bug spray, the smell, the greasy feeling, and the coating myself in chemicals. Ick! So I usually suffer the bites instead of spraying myself down. But now! After two weeks of "steeping," Mom was able to put her Lemon Balm bug spray to the test...and it WORKED! For details on the results, you can read her third Lemon Balm post. This is a significant discovery for us both! I am really excited about the potential of having an herbal, home grown, home made bug spray...that works! Now I just have to find out if Lemon Balm can grow in Montana. But if it does, and if it's as hardy as it is in Tennessee, then I'll be set! Too bad I didn't have some in the ground already, because with all our rain this year, the mosquitoes are going to be horrible! I might have to have her ship me some of her bug spray until I can get my own batch going.