Monday, September 29, 2008

Hunting Season is Drawing Near



Hunting Season is Drawing Near



a teen boy aiming a hunting rifle




The leaves have turned and many have began to fall and dry on the ground.

The boys have been talking about hunting and are on the computer checking the dates for the various game seasons.

Bow season has already opened, and we have done some walking in the woods around our home to check for tracks.

This early season is my favorite as the weather is still gorgeous and we are not all bundled up in layers to keep warm.

For the boys, the bow is also a lot lighter to carry than their rifles. All the accessories they need to carry that goes along with their black powder weapons is included in belt packs and vest pockets.

They still carry their knives and other hunting gear, but the bows and arrows are lighter to lug around.

Of course all the shooting I do is with my camera and I don't bring any extra lenses with me - the woods are too dark for my longer, slower ones. I am so used to carrying my camera with me everywhere I go that I hardy even feel the weight of it any more.

As soon as the black powder season opens, the boys will be retrieving their weapons from the gun safes and readying them for their morning hunts.

They are very meticulous about their rifles. They thoroughly clean them after each time they are used, and at the end of the season, they are oiled and stored safely away.

They go through them again at the beginning of the season. They also prepare their bullets, as they use black powder which needs to be measured and packed correctly.

Then there is the sighting to make sure the scope is aligned correctly with the barrel. Any bumping or even just leaning against the scope can throw it off.

I always look forward to these hikes with my boys in the woods. Nobody seems to mind that they do not find anything when I'm with them.

Of course I find a lot to shoot - the trees, the mushrooms, and the woods with it's unique light.












Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pink Morning Glories for Green Thumb Sunday


Pink Morning Glories for Green Thumb Sunday







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This image shows a set of two pink Morning Glory flowers.

They are known for their beautiful trumpet or funnel shape, their petals open wide, revealing a glowing center.

This photo was taken in the afternoon as the blooms began to fade.

By evening, the blooms will be totally spent as they only last for a day.

The whole process begins anew the next morning as new blooms open to greet the new day.

I was a couple hours too late to capture them in their full beauty, but even as they fade their colors are still beautiful.










Friday, September 26, 2008

In Need of an Upgrade



In Need of an Upgrade



a straw seat texture image




The above image is a macro of an antique straw seat.

And what does that have to do with needing an upgrade?

Well, I can only tell you that that is what my current office chair is feeling like right about now.

No comfort whatsoever and absolutely no support to be found either.

I am in search of a new office chair - after all, I only spend twelve of my waking hours in it each day.

This has been a big task - we check out them out in all the office stores we stop in, and it is really hard to find just the right one.

My legs bother me if I leave them hanging down too long. So in addition to many walks around the house to stretch them out, I also like to sit on them in my seat.

Not all chairs can handle that particular need. The seat has to made just right to accommodate legs as well as a rear end.

I keep running into these little mesh chairs that will certainly not hold up to all my hours in it.

I prefer a more stable, supportive chair with all the adjustments for height, angle, swivel, and tilt - and it also needs arms.

I figure if I am going to invest the money, it might as well be a good one.

I found one I liked online, and it also offered a coupon for Yahoo web site hosting with free domain registration with it.

It sounds like a really good deal, but since I cannot try it out, and I have no need for the web site hosting, I will have to keep looking.

Wish me luck!









Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ABC Wednesday - J is for Junk



J is for Junk.............



a motorcycle wreck in a salvage yard




There really is no hope for this one.

Even as parts it would be considered a long shot.

It can be truly classified as Junk, and will most likely be sold as scrap metal.

Not too many vehicles in the salvage yard are classified as junk - even though they look like it to the majority of people.

There is value in the smallest of pieces, and it takes experience and knowledge to know the difference.

As the economy gets tighter, and people begin to repair their vehicles instead of buying new, these "junks" will began to be seen in a new light.

It can also be thought of as another form of recycling - so it's good for the Earth too!


This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Monday, September 22, 2008

Summer Dragonflies



Summer Dragonflies



a dragonfly perched on a finger




I just love to look up into the sky towards the evening and see all the dragonflies flying and enjoying the warm air currents.

They are at all different levels - some right above our heads, and others are way up there - instinctively missing each other as they dart around.

I was quite intrigued one evening when I went out to see the dragonflies all concentrated in one area above the rock wall along the driveway.

They were making sharp turns in small circles, and there had to be about fifty of them - all in this one area.

Well, come to find out, there had been a hatching of flying ants, and the dragonflies were devouring them as soon as they took flight from their underground nest.

I was awfully glad to see them having such a feast - these ants are such pests to us.

Although our ants are not as vicious as the fireant species that invades my aunt's yard in Texas, they are quite invasive in our house - especially in the spring.

Mother Nature has a way of balancing things and it is always an experience to see it in action.

Glad to have these little dragonflies on our side!











Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yellow Daisy Flower for Green Thumb Sunday


Yellow Daisy Flower for Green Thumb Sunday


macro of a yellow daisy flower




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I believe this flower is from the Daisy family, but I am not a hundred percent certain.

The asteraceae family covers a wide variety of blooms such as the daisies, sunflowers, and asters.

It was in a public garden, so it is a cultivated flower not a wild one.

I found the center of this bloom to be quite unique, and I was pleased that it came out as nicely as it did.

This image was taken with my point and shoot Sony, not the DSLR that I usually use. The quality that this camera produces has always surprised me - I think the Carl Zeiss lens on it has a lot to do with that.

If you click on the image, it will bring you to the gallery where you can view it in a larger size.












Saturday, September 20, 2008

Extreme Makeover



Extreme Makeover



a fire damaged truck




This one is going to take an expert to fix - it needs an extreme body makeover.

A bit more than the backyard fixer-upper can handle - my husband wouldn't even take a look at it.

He's used to dealing with these salvage vehicles, but if someone had a mind to fix this one, it would have to be sent to an expert auto body shop for it's repairs.

He could only see the parts value of it, but my son, on the other hand, was dreaming of lifts and a full makeover from the ground up for this one.

Good thing it sold for more than he was willing to pay!










Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ABC Wednesday - I is for Intricate



I is for Intricate.............



a macro of a pink lady slipper wildflower




This sweet little Lady Slipper Wildflower is one of my favorites.

They are actually part of the orchid family and it is the state wildflower for my state.

Their unique shape is said to resemble a lady's slipper, hence the name.

This image was taken last spring. I rarely see them as we walk in the woods, but last year they were quite prolific and I was overjoyed by this beautiful gift.

This past spring was late and very wet, and there were only a few that bloomed. Their colors were very dull - so pale they were almost white.

If you click on the picture to view the larger one, all the intricate details in this little beauty will be visible - all the veins and the fine hairs.

There was a fine thread of a spider's web that needed to be cloned out of the leaves above the bloom. I never noticed it when I took the photo, but it was quite evident during the processing.

That Mother Nature - she really outdoes herself sometimes!


This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Preventing Turmoil



Preventing Turmoil



a net with snow on it




There is a great resource online that I believe every parent should have bookmarked in their sidebar.

It is the list of registered convicted Child Molesters that can be searched by state.

I remember when Megan's Law was passed back in 1995, and these lists were made public.

We had a very hard time finding any information about the registered individuals in our area.

When they finally put them online, it was very limited and hard to find for our area, but enough digging and searching finally brought us to info for our state only.

It is good to see this central database for the whole country. Parents need to use all the resources in their possession to keep their children safe.

This is a great tool that should be reviewed frequently as these people move around constantly.

Let's keep our children safe!












Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rose Hips


Rose Hips for Green Thumb Sunday


silky milkweed seeds in a dried pod




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Rose Hips - the fruit of the rose.

These hips are from a very hardy wild rose plant - notice the rich, thick green leaves. The leaves on the hybrid and cultivated roses are much thinner and the vein patterns are not as vivid.

These hips are green which means they are unripe. When they are fully mature, they will turn a bright or deep red, and they will then be ready to harvest.

They are used mostly in herbal teas, and are valued for their high vitamin C content.

The lady that first told me about rose hips mentioned that she liked to make jelly with them.

For many years I have made apple jelly, and various jams, and I know it takes a lot of fruit and sugar to make them.

I can only imagine the amount of hips it must take to make Rose Hip Jelly. I have never tasted it either, and I wonder if it has the flavor of the roses it comes from.

I would love to know anyone's experience with this jelly - how is it made, and most of all, how does it taste?











Thursday, September 11, 2008

Published Posts



Published Work on the 'Net



a net with snow on it




I joined a syndicated network for blogs back at the beginning of July.

Since joining, I have had several posts published in a couple of major online newspapers.

As of this date, the Chicago Sun Times has published 8 of my posts on their site.

Reuters has published 4, and Computer Shopper has published 1.

I have posted a link in my sidebar that takes you to a page that lists the sites and articles.

I am quite excited and pleased to have been included on these publisher's sites.

Hopefully it brings increased exposure for my blog and website, and it's not too shabby for my portfolio credentials either.














Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ABC Wednesday - H is for Hoop



H is for Hoop.............



a basketball hoop against a setting sun




The court had just been cleared for the upcoming fire works, and I sneaked in around the back to grab this shot.

There had been a steady game of basketball going on since we arrived at the park, and I didn't think I would have an opportunity to take any photos of the hoop.

As the clouds parted, the sun peeked through the opening, and I just couldn't resist going back in around the fence and snapping a few frames.

Even though we were being told to clear the area, nobody said anything to me, and I quickly left before they had a chance to.

The fireworks shots came out really lousy. I was later surprised by this image when I saw the effect of the sun looking like a ball that had gone through the hoop.

I was hoping for a nice silhouette shot, and was pleased to end up with this one instead.





This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Sunday, September 7, 2008

Silky Milkweed for Green Thumb Sunday


Silky Milkweed for Green Thumb Sunday


silky milkweed seeds in a dried pod




Green Thumb Sunday Blogroll

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As I mentioned last week, this photo is the final one in the series of Milkweeds and Thistles.

It shows how that cushy green pod in last week's post has dried up and become hard and brown.

The silky fluff inside has also become dried and each seed waits to catch a ride on the wind.

This image was taken with the 35-80mm kit lens that came with my camera.

It was before I had purchased my macro lens, so this was as close as I could get to it and still have the focus sharp.

The details of this plant were just beautiful in the afternoon sun, and I can just imagine how the macro lens would have captured the fine silky hairs with even more definition.

It is one of my favorite shots.

I remember, it was one of those perfect, warm, fall afternoons, and we had slipped out for a quick ride on the motorcycle before the kids came home from school.

This photo was an unexpected surprise on an impromptu ride - one reason my camera comes with me everywhere I go!












Wednesday, September 3, 2008

ABC Wednesday - G is for Gingham



G is for Gingham.............



blue and white checkered gingham cloth




This blue and white checkered piece of cloth is also referred to as gingham.

Gingham comes in many colors - most people are familiar with the red and white checkered tablecloths that get used for picnicking in the summertime.

It is made of cotton and there is no right or wrong side to this fabric - both are identical.

The stitching that is done on this cloth is known as Chicken Scratching and it is only done on gingham cloth.

The design pattern is embroidered only on the very dark and very light squares. The stitches are embroidered in the opposite color of the square.

It sounds confusing, but if you look closely you can see the white stitches on the dark blue square, and the dark blue stitches are on the white squares.

Check out the in-between hues - they look almost solid against the stitches.

I like the effect - and you only get it from gingham cloth!



This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










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