Archive for February, 2014

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Fine Art Studio

February 27, 2014

The “Fine Art Studio” (see sidebar) is now open for orders. Proceeds will go toward a new and better camera. I am excited about the possibilities and sharing this journey with you. More image options will be added from time to time. Nine of the eleven images for sale were photographed in and around my home.

If you have any questions please contact me via email, inthegarden@softcom.net or leave a comment.

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This image was taken early this morning after last night’s rainfall.

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Going to the Henhouse to Prove Husband Wrong

February 26, 2014

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HENHOUSE:

Every morning, when I approach the pasture gate I can hear fifteen chickens and their male mate, Pretty Boy, cluck as they pace inside the pen. When I pull the metal gate the handle squeals and clatters. The chickens quiet and stretch their necks to peer over the short wall and look my way.

By the time I have reached the running pen the hens have clustered by the little hatch door. I get a kick out of their eagerness to wander the pasture for GRUB. What a life. And it is a good life for domestic fowl. Unlike chicken farms where layers are confined to a tiny wire cage or overcrowded “grower houses,” my chickens free range from sunup to sundown.

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YIELD:

As it happens every winter, the older hens went through the normal molting period. This is when they lose their feathers, grow new ones, and stop producing. (The young hens will experience their first molting next winter.) I should explain that hens need 14 hours of daylight to lay eggs. When the days become warmer and longer, they start lying again.

I have one young, white Leghorn, a breed that produces 280 – 320 eggs per year. While daylight was still short, the Leghorn started producing for the first time. All winter, I gathered one or two eggs per week. When my husband, Joe, saw how few eggs I had gathered, he complained the chickens were useless. I knew better. I also knew better when Joe said the Leghorn would never be a good layer because she has a limp. I had faith in the little gal. One flaw doesn’t mean two flaws. Now that the days are longer, my young Leghorn is producing nearly every day.

 

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PROVING HUSBAND WRONG:

I waited through the molting phase, short wintry days, for the old hens to start producing and the young hens to begin their first egg lying season. I waited to prove Joe wrong. I was like a fox in the shadows, watching and anticipating the right moment. When the hens started lying, I waved the basket filled with eggs in front of my husband and told him to never criticize my hens again. “Everyone needs a vacation,” I said. “And the young hens hadn’t earned theirs yet. But they are now. SEE!”

Lately, after I have let the hens out of the running pen and opened the coop door at least one hen is eager to settle into a nesting box, usually a first-year layer. They are doing a good job. For six weeks now, I have gathered seven to eight eggs a day. One day, Joe gathered nine! Another day, I gathered eleven! The hens will be more consistent as the weather gets warmer and the sun shines down on my flock.

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When I wake

February 23, 2014

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The slow morning sun appears to lift up a dark gloomy sky.

I see a cross in the distant land, a dim image of the sacrificial lamb,

a sign of good times and of great days to come.

I watch the cross.

I imagine the earth rotating silently around the sun.

When all is revealed, supportive lines come into view.

Communication is open through prayerful hearts and man-made wires,

both linked day and night to a symbolic wooden cross.

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Pushing Towards the New Goal and Finding the Past

February 20, 2014

The past two days I have looked through digital photographs, selecting the finest images to sell right here at inandaroundthegarden.net. The funds will go toward the new camera.

It was fun opening file folders, via CDs, then unexpectedly come across forgotten images from when my perennial garden was first established. So much has changed. The images you are about to view are not anything special as far as photography goes but I thought you would like to see how my garden has evolved.

The front of the garden had a variety of plants, most of which had to be cut to the ground come late-fall through early winter. During the blooming season, I had a lot of deadheading to do. It was an enormous job, inside the garden as well. As the snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) ground cover spread, I removed plants requiring too much work. Now, the bed has a beautiful display of silver green year round with white spring blossoms.

 

Instead of herbs and a picket fence leading into a tiny vegetable garden, I now have Santa Barbara Daisies (Erigeron Karvinskianus) along the path and a garden house in place of the fence and vegetable area.

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The potato vines behind the bench arbor was removed last fall to repair the fence. We planted new potato vines about a month ago. Soon, the fence will be completely covered again. It doesn’t take long for potato vines to take over. A few years ago, the arbor posts rotted so my husband replaced them. Then the seat rotted. I don’t think my husband is going to replace the wooden seat. A new arch, probably wrought iron, will most likely be a better solution.

In the garden’s early years, yellow columbines bordered the inside beds. It was stunning. Each spring they grew three feet tall. Then as soon as the temperatures heated up, the columbines died back and were cut to the ground. This left empty spaces until the following spring. There was too much pruning and too many empty spaces for my preference, so out they went.

Gardens and lifestyles have to marry or it just doesn’t work.

 

More later on photographs for sale and fundraising for a new camera.

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Challenges | Photographers input needed

February 18, 2014

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Dianne Poinski Photography

This picture reminds me of a time, twenty-one years ago, when I had completed cancer treatments and decided I would take on any activity that sounded like fun. That decision led me to a creative writing course, getting published in major magazines, and earning an honorary college degree in journalism. BIG! REAL BIG! For a girl who had struggled academically in elementary grades and high school.

I came upon this picture the same day Photographer Dianne Poinski posted it on Facebook; two hours after finding out I have papillary thyroid cancer. What I saw and still see in this photograph is dense fog slowly drifting AWAY from strong upright trees that have most likely endured many storms. Immediately, the image took me back twenty-one years. I don’t know why. But it did. A half second later I decided once again to do whatever sounds like fun. The difference this time is that I know what the activity will be—to pursue my love of photography, my passion for landscape, macro, and still life.

Thyroid cancer is not a death sentence and easily curable. But I also learned a few months ago that I have two conditions requiring a difficult life-changing diet, and I have glaucoma. Fortunately this disease progresses very slowly. I have faith the fog will not overcome me, that these health issues are merely placing me on an extraordinary path.

I don’t share this with slouched shoulders. (Okay, slightly slouched.) There are worse health conditions and people far worse off than me. I don’t know where this new venture will lead. But I know where I need to begin and now that I have cranked up my nerve and shared the bad stuff, it is time to move on to the next step—a new camera.

I’ve done a little online research, but there is so much information it leaves one confused. Most readers are nervous about commenting and I understand. Still, I hope a few photographers will share their knowledge. I already received one suggestion, from Dianne Poinski,  “. . . lenses are where you want to get the best you can afford.”

If there are any other professional photographers willing to comment, I would love to hear from you.

(Thank you Dianne Poinski for allowing me to share your beautiful work.)

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No Words Sunday | Time to Rest

February 16, 2014

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(This photo was posted on the recently updated “Home” page.)

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New Look

February 13, 2014

It was time for an update, so I composed a few words and added new (and  favorite) photos on the “Home” page. Check it out. Go to the sidebar, under “Page” click on “Home”. There’s even a place toward the bottom to leave a comment.

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