Friday, August 7, 2009

OK, I Caved ~

Ok, I give up. I truly gave it a good try. Almost a week. I had planned on making it until the end of August, but every time I logged onto my blog, I cringed. Maybe I subconsciously set myself up to fail.

It isn't that I don't like pink, because I do. It is a lovely color for some flowers, and it looks great on some people. Just not on me, nor most anything that I own. Right now, the only things that I can think of that I own, that even has any pink in it, is a patchwork comforter that my Mom gave to me, in the mistaken idea that things pink in color equate to Victorian decor.

I don't know how that idea came about, because Victorians counterpointed their laces and textiles with dark, rich colors. But her gift keeps us warm on winter nights, no matter the color!

In our home, usually starting in September, I start changing things, and adding Autumn & Halloween bits and bobs, here and there, until one morning you wake up discover that the whole house is decorated!

It is a little more difficult to morph a slow change on a blog without it seeming out of kilter, but I was spurred on by the change in the air that we've noticed, and little things here and there, like my mums are starting to bloom, and the geese are flocking together. Transitory birds are starting to show up, and are standing in line at the feeders daily. Locusts have been singing for a few weeks now. And the daylight is noticeably growing shorter.

Whatever the cause, I've learned that once I get that Autumn "itch", it cannot be ignored. It will keep pecking away at me, until I fully acknowledge it and not only accept that it has arrived, but revel in it as well.

I tried tempering it this year, playing around with adding a few more Halloween appropriate or related songs onto my blog every day or so, and maaaaybe would have made it until the end of the month. . oh, who am I kidding. .maybe another week, BUT, I was unceremoniously shoved right off the edge today, thanks to Mrs. B , and her Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom, Blog.

If you love the fun of Halloween, and haven't checked out her blog yet, then you should do so immediately! There is so much going on, and so much to read, she will keep you entertained for a good long while!

Just today, she started a new feature, where she goes to visit a blog that she thinks her readers will enjoy, providing the link, and some highlights of the blog. Today, she featured The Play of Light And Shadow, which, I found out, has some free backgrounds that are VERY attractive, among a LOT of other things! I love vintage Halloween, so I quickly made my choice.

On my screen, it is a little challenging to read against that background, so please bear with me. Now that I've opened up this can of worms all of the way, I may be changing it weekly for a while!

I don't like posting without giving you at least one visual to look at. I have an oldie, that was taken back in the 80's, by a photo buddy of mine. My wild furry friend first came out to see what I was doing, then proceeded to climb up on top of my tripod, and camera, then started up my arm. By the time he settled in, he had knocked off my hat, felt in all of the back pockets on my vest, curled himself over my shoulders and had settled in, closing his eyes, for a nice nap. There is a whole series of photos on a contact sheet, and I don't have an enlarger anymore. But I do have this one photo. Don't adjust the color on your monitor. .it is in black and white!

Before you all start sharing your concerns with encountering wildlife, I am well aware of them all, and always am non-aggressive, which is probably why they always come out to see what I'm doing. And when I've been in prime bear country, I've always taken all of the precautions that I can to let them know where I am, and I give them a wide berth. I have a great respect for all living things.

This is something that has happened to me over and over again, since I was able to walk, and is just a part of my life. And not just with raccoons. My greater concern is that they will then trust humans who are not so kind hearted, so have been relieved to see the animal(s) retreat into the woods whenever I've been with another human, and they get too close to the critter.

Whether you are able to explore the wild wildernesses, or the wilds of your backyard, I hope that your discoveries delight you as much as mine have provided for me!

And now that I have been the first to crumble, I expect to see some more at least Autumnal decorations popping up on more blogs, if not pure Halloween! The season is SO short, it is nice to stretch it out as much as we can! (Yeah, I can hear the moaning from the Summer lovers out there!)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Changes Afoot

I am SO itching to switch my blog decor to Autumn/Halloween, I can taste it! It is not for lack of "decorations", that I don't. I could change it daily from now until the big day, and still not run out.

It is a more of not wanting to rush into it. .anticipation is almost as much fun as the actual doing. For me, that is why THE recognized holiday, day is anticlimactic. *Poof* It is all over and done with, within hours! While the growing excitement, the slow decorating, begun early, and finished at the end of a week, stretches out the delight, and creates an atmosphere for the candy making, baking, card making, etc. What fun that is!!

But on a blog, it is rather hard to do that! So I'm making myself use great restraint, and compromising by changing the look for a bit. .a softening, before the big punch of the vibrant oranges, dramatic blacks, earthy browns, and haunting purples.

And my relatives deserved a rest. They have been posing on the top of my blog for a couple of months now, and in some very hot weather, too! I felt the temperature rise, just looking at those wonderful women, doing their best to stay cool, while fighting the heat rash that was no doubt creeping into uncomfortable places under all of those skirts and corsets.

My Grampa probably could have stood there a while longer, since he had a short sleeve shirt on, but he said that he would have felt so alone, so I let him go take a rest too. I told him that I will bring him back sometime, maybe with his baseball team that he played on locally.

One of my past passions, that consumed almost all of my time, was nature photography. I spent hundreds of hours outdoors, in all kinds of weather, capturing whatever caught my eye on film, then came home and developed it. Unfortunately, it is all on slide film, so I can't share those images until I get some sort of converter. And then I'll probably reject most of them!

I have a tendency to get more critical of my work as time goes on. I think I inherited that from my Dad who was an artist. He would throw away drawing and sketches, that I'd then rescue from the trash can, and try to smooth the wrinkles out. I'm now in the throwing role, and the rest of my family scolds me. I can't break with tradition though!

Another one of my passions has been planting native plant gardens, or more precisely now, to avoid invasive species, and to continue to replace as much turf grass as possible, with some plant that will benefit wildlife in some way, whether by shelter, food, nesting places, and safe habitats to raise their young.

We used to own an apartment complex, and we did replace almost all of the turf grasses there with native trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers, both in shade loving and sun loving plants. It was wonderful!! When we sold the apartments, the one thing that was breaking my heart, was having to say goodbye to my gardens. The new owner assured me that he was going to keep everything in place, and signed an agreement to let me have seeds, cuttings, or whatever was appropriate, in the right season to do so, so that I could start anew here. He didn't honor it. Within weeks, when we had to drive back by on the way to an appointment, he had already removed most of the vegetation. If you go by there today, it is all turf grass again, or I should say weeds, and the whole complex looks like a dump. I admit. I cried.

Just today, 6 years later, I was finally able to look at some of the digital images of some of the plants that were blooming there. They were taken with a digital camera that didn't have a lot of features, let alone my favored macro lens, so they are more the floral images, than the artsy ones that I love to do.

The one in the header is of Michigan native roses, that are native to the area, not to be confused with the multiflora rose, which is a horrible invasive. I had two rose bushes that climbed up two trellises, and then continued on up onto the rooftop of the service building on the property. They put out the most wonderful fragrances, that attracted multitudes of bees and butterflies, produced huge rose hips that made the most flavorful tea and jelly. As soon as I am able, I want to find some more of these bushes, and plant some here, on the west side of our home.

Here is another little gem that grew like crazy. Who knew that there was a native cactus in Michigan!! Well there is! It is a Prickly Pear, and produces the most gorgeous blooms, that are only fully open for a day.

I love the delicateness of the petals, contrasting with the vibrant color!

I really miss taking photos like I used to do, and hope to be able to do so again, to some extent. I realize that not everyone looking at my blog is going to be interested in photos, like not everyone is interested in needlework, my paper cuttings, or anything else that I should turn out, so I truly appreciate the time that you use, to take a glance!

Wishing everyone a peaceful weekend!