Beauty

I bought these carnations to add some beauty to our table when we had some friends coming over for lunch. They lasted a full two weeks before they started to wilt. The thing is, I really liked the way they looked when they wilted, so they are still on my kitchen windowsill. Best $2 I’ve spent in a while.

I thought I would share the beauty.

Lightning Round Two…Sort of

Last week we had a couple storms roll through that had major lightning. One was around midnight and I just did not have the energy to get out of bed to capture it. The next one blew in in the middle of the day. I grabbed my camera and shot over 700 frames before the sky opened up and dumped very. cold. rain on me. For the record, I had taken the camera back inside already and was closing up barn doors and chicken coops. Everyone was fine.

I almost didn’t unload them from the camera because I thought I had nothing, but I was glad I did when I found this gem:

I do believe I have discovered a new obsession.

You can see my previous shots here.

Around Our Little Homestead – July 2012

Around here, we try to grow more food each year than the year prior. Here’s why. You can see my ambitious list of seedling started last year on this post. You should also check out this post because my chickens make me smile.

I’ll get this out of the way first:

Dead Zucchini Plant

There are not enough words in the English language to encompass the whole of my loathing of squash bugs. Thank you, fair zucchini plant, for the half dozen zucchini you blessed us with before those hideous beasts got the best of you.

Now, on to better things.

This is Zane:

Zane

Zane curled up to sleep in a pallet in the barn. Commence oohing and awing.

Bell Pepper Plants

Our bell pepper plants are doing significantly better than the zucchini plant.

Tomato Plants All in a Row

So are our tomato plants (all 75ish of them).

Tomatillos

Our volunteer tomatillo plants are already providing fruit.

Leek Blossoms

And I saved the best for last, the leek blossoms. These things are huge and they just make me happy.

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Who Said They Could Get Big?

meg-oliver

She’s turning out to be a great big sister. I never doubted her. Oh and she’s now SIX!

oliver-eyes

Big eyes.

gage

We celebrated his 8th birthday with a Lego party.

oliver

Happiness.

julia-oliver

I’m so happy I caught this one.

oliver-red-hat

Check out those yummy cheeks and that cute little chin dimple. He’s now 3 months old. And he sprouted a tooth at 11 weeks. He’s a cute little drool bucket.

Commercial Eggs…

commercial-eggs

are boring compared to homestead fresh eggs.

eggshells

5 Books I Just Checked Out From My Library

DSC_0083

I love books. I love free books. I love my library. I use the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. There are about 40 branches to this library system, it’s just awesome. We regularly have 50-100 items checked out, currently we have 72 of their items in our family’s possession. Here are five of the ones I picked up for me:

1.  Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson – I heard about this one when it came out and was interested but never got around to reading it.

2.  A Little House Traveler by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I was standing in an aisle talking to my son when I glanced over and saw this book. I’m teaching a co-op class on Little House on the Prairie and this looked like an interesting addition to my resources.

3.  The Quarter Acre Farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn, and Fed My Family for a Year by Spring Warren – I’ve been on hold for this one for a while now. I love books on homesteading and people’s experiences doing it. This will be the first to read since it will likely not be renewable.

4.  The Joy of Hobby Farming by Michael and Audrey Levatino – This one was sitting on the endcap of an aisle, just waiting for me to grab it.

5.  What Your Pediatrician Doesn’t Know Can Hurt Your Child: A More Natural Approach to Parenting by Susan Markel, MD with Linda F. Palmer – Natural parenting interests me greatly. A quote from the back of the book:

“In an age of “modern medicine,” where there’s a pill for every malady and a name for every human condition, we need to make sure we don’t lose the ability to take care of ourselves and our families. Some aspects of contemporary medicine have done more harm than good, and while it can be daunting to even think about doubting the advice of a medical professional or any expert, ultimately you are the one in control.”

Apparently, Dr. Markel is a proponent of attachment parenting with an impressive little resume in her bio. I’m looking forward to reading her book. This was another one that was sitting in the “New” section, waiting for moi.

So that’s what is on my reading table, what about you?

Photographing Lightning is Fun!

Last night my husband walked past our back door and saw this:

beautiful-sunset-sky
1/30 second f2.8 ISO 1400

In addition to lovely clouds, we had a lightening storm all around. I’ve always wanted (and tried several times) to get photos of lightening. Never could do it.

Last night I grabbed the tripod and started trying to get some shots. Setting the camera to Auto mode gave me a shot that was like grainy daylight:

test-shot
1/4 second f1.8 ISO 1600

Not exactly producing stellar results. So I switched to manual, closed the aperture down to f10.0 and slowed the shutter speed way down to 5 seconds. I didn’t set the ISO (mostly because I forget about that setting) and it was set at 400 from previous shooting.

Then, I just kept clicking hoping for a “lucky” shot. This was the first shot that made me squeal:

lightening1
5 seconds f10.0 ISO 400

After that I didn’t mess too much with the settings, just kept snapping.

lightening2
5 seconds f10.0 ISO 400

lightening3
5 seconds f10.0 ISO 400

I wish I was positioned better for this one, the lightening bolts were AWESOME, but the lit up cloud is pretty, too.

lightening-in-cloud
5 seconds f10.0 ISO 400

After 80 shots, I had these 6, plus 3 other cloud shots that were decent. I was ecstatic, which is nice considering the last few times I’ve picked up my camera, I’ve set it back down without taking a single shot.

All that was done for editing on these shots was some cropping & resizing, that is about the extent of my Photoshopping most of the time. I tried learning all the different, awesome tools in PSE 8, but found I would just rather get it right in the camera than mess with it after. So it’s been a long haul with lots of cruddy photos and a few gems, but worth it to me.

What is something you’ve always wanted to take a good photo of?

Around My Yard In Photos

soon-to-be-a-bloom

tiny-peaches

lone-lilac-bloom

evergreen-berried

silver-penciled-rock-rooster

All photos taken Sunday, May 22, 2011.