Tomatoes Make Me Happy


Wrinkly Tomato

I’m going through some older photos from the past years. No tomatoes this year. But, they make me happy. They are the perfect plant, I think. They smell divine, their fruit is delicious and they are just so pretty.

Cherry Ranch 204

We still have tomato sauce from last year. Not a jar of spaghetti sauce bought in this house all year!

My mind is wound up these days.

I follow Chris Guillebeau in my email and have been for awhile. He said something in a recent blog post that stuck with me:

“The road not taken.
The destination not explored.
The adventure not pursued.
The life unlived.

If we’re going to lose sleep over something, it seems to me that those are the things that should keep us awake.

Life is dangerous. It’s risky. It’s worth it. ” via this post.

And a little Rilo Kiley helps, too.

Meh Monday


My mind isn’t here, for various reasons but one of them is because my sister in law, Stephanie, is in the hospital right now. I’m getting my information second hand from my parents, but from what I understand she went in for a check up and found out the baby hadn’t grown in the past three weeks. She’s 26 weeks. After some tests they found out not enough blood was getting to the baby and well, there are various things going on, but the important thing is that it is possible this baby may be premature. Possibly as early as the next few weeks or six weeks from now, that is unless they can get everything on track and keep on a good progress.

So, my thoughts are over in Texas at the moment and if you are so inclined, send good thoughts and prayers their way. We don’t want little Ashleigh to be born too early! And we need her momma to rest up and stay healthy.

Think about the Samson, too, he went to the vet for a dental cleaning and he’s still all woozy and funny acting. I’ve gotta play nurse with him and shoot him up with pain meds and antibiotics. They had to extract an infected tooth. Poor fella.

I think this is a chocolate in bed while watching tv kind a night.

Ashleigh’s Blanket


I’ve been procrastinating making a blanket for my new niece who is due sometime in April. I was going to crochet something but sometimes my heart just isn’t into crochet, especially blankets these days. They’ve worn out their welcome after years of being on a blanket making frenzy. So, this time I went with a quilt first. Now, I am not a great sewer by any means so there are tiny blemishes on this that I wish I could fix but it will have to do. It turned out pretty good, but I am still in love with the one I made Zoe for her first Christmas last year, seen here…and can you believe she was ever that small?

Ashleigh's Blanket
This is the front, though either side could really be the front. I bought this fabric at Joann’s and went back and forth with the pattern and settled on this. I liked the variety of colors.

Ashleigh's Blanket
The back. I had the blue satin already in my stash and decided it was great to start with, soft and very bright. I ended up hand sewing the ribbon on because, again, my sewing isn’t perfect and the thread was sticking occasionally, probably my machine needs to be aligned somehow.

Ashleigh's Blanket
On the nine corner on the front I put a bit of embroider thread for accents.

Ashleigh's Blanket
Close up of the edging.

Working on cleaning up around here today.

I’m thinking of doing some TTV experimenting even though I lambasted is a few months ago. I was/am mostly annoyed the insane amounts of posts of only TTV on blogs. But, it has grown on me a bit and I am interested in trying it out at least once. My only question is that I wonder if I need one of the types of cameras that they are talking about or if I can use a regular 35mm type camera and build my light blocker differently?

I still need to take my Stranger Photo Challenge photo, but I am being a big weenie and don’t know how to approach it. Oh, I should mention—it was my idea to make strangers the subject! Go figure…see, I’m a weenie.

Off to listen to Pandora and hit the chores…fun!

Beachcombers


I was Marc and Eliana’s last night for dinner and was lamenting to Eliana that we needed to have spent more time at Cayo Costa State Park while we were there over Christmas weekend. It was truly a beautiful and magical little place.

To get there you have to drive north of Cape Coral to Pine Island and nearly to the tip of that island and then catch a ferry over. We thought there wouldn’t be too many people two days after Christmas, but the ferry was packed. The downside is that the ride costs, I think $50 a person, to get over there unless you have your own boat. We figured that the $50 a person wasn’t too bad considering that we didn’t know when we’d ever get back over there. Plus, once you are there, you could stay almost as long as you wanted to camp. If you figure that into the cost, it isn’t nearly that bad. The ride over is an hour long, though the two islands are not that far apart from each other. The problem is that the area has very narrow channels and you can’t speed through in a ferry boat!

This will be the first post of probably three of this little excursion. Too many great photos to share and I don’t want to overload it all at one time.

Oh, I will also preface to say this is an excellent shelling beach.

e 1

c1

e m 1

eliana 4

eliana 3

chris and marc

chris beach

chris sandollar

eliana 5

eliana log

I want to go back.

Garden Bits—in Reverse


I had the day off for a doctors appointment and spent the morning mowing the back yard. It was seriously over grown, weeds had over taken half the yard. I also surveyed the frost damage from last week. It always takes two to three days for the damage to be known and sure enough the tell-tale signs of browning and curling were beginning. The ylang ylang took a hit as did the tropical almond and other tenders. I once had a starfruit seedling that bit the dust after a 45* night. Very tender tropicals. I think most everything will recover now that it has warmed up, but I will keep a close eye on things for awhile.

We had two iguanas take up a roost in a hanging basket about a month ago and I haven’t seen hide nor hair of them in awhile. We also had a black racer snake chilling in our front flower bed but I haven’t seen it in awhile either. I was nervous about running them over in the tall weeds, but I didn’t see anything. *phew*. We’ve hit a few snakes before that haven’t moved from the mower; I always feel bad about that.

After all of that I brought my camera out and did the reverse lens technique out there. This time it was sunny and I could set the ISO to 100 and all was well. Ok, minus the wind, which makes this even tougher without a mount! I had the tripod, just no mount. I think my endeavors turned out pretty well!

bidens
This little weed is what has taken over the yard. Bidens alba. It’s a great plant for butterflies and I do keep some of it around, but it seeds itself everywhere and has a tendency to become, well, weedy!

bberrylily
Blackberry lily berries…love this plant!

amaranth
Amaranth…I got a plant from someone at a garden swap a few years ago because it is an edible grain and I thought I’d try it out. But man, does it seed itself everywhere. I haven’t been in the yard in awhile and the containers are full of little seedlings. Not to mention they have spikes on them so you have to be careful how you pull them out.

sophora
Sophora tomentosa, necklace pod, pods…a native to Florida.

herb
Basil flowers…I should go collect the seeds.

white b berry
White beauty berry. I transplanted this a few months ago from the tiny pot it was in to a much bigger pot and it hasn’t quite recovered. I think the rainy season will see it to better days.

cypress
I think I’m going to try this shot again because I couldn’t get the white in focus as much as I wanted. I am not sure what little egg sac that is, spiders maybe?

As for the frost and freezing temperatures, Saturday was bad, but Sunday seemed to be worse. I had ice on my windshield that morning and I found frozen puddles in the center part of the state on Monday morning. I’m actually very nervous for Little Slough and all of the ghost orchids. I’m hoping the water kept the area warm enough, but the wind was pretty bad and since it is winter the trees have defoliated. We’re going to go out and check in a few weekends to see how things fared.

Don’t forget the photo challenge!.

Battle of the Bulls


We were at Dinner Island WMA on Sunday afternoon, driving around with our friends Randy and Kathy, when through the cattle pasture we heard this high pitched noise. Eventually we came up to the two bulls making the noise, in the midst of what seemed like a territory war of some sort, or maybe one was miffed the other took his gal. Who knows, but it was hilarious to watch them! Check out the puffs of steam coming out of his mouth—see it was cold here! Lots of throwing of dirt…it was great entertainment!

The photo challenge is up over at Meghan’s blog: Strangers on the Street. I know there are at least two people who read that I could persuade to participate….Robin and Eliana. ooh, and Shelly. There really aren’t any rules other than to break out of a rut and try something new. I’d say use whatever camera you’ve got and try being creative. We’re trying to put together something weekly, so hopefully it’ll work out.

I’ve got more reverse lens stuff to post later today…stay tuned!

Sewing—Up Close


sewing machine
I got a wild hair last night. I decided to try reversing my lens. Chris actually bought a mount for this awhile back and has played around with it, but I never did. I wasn’t even taking photos last night, was actually working on an uber large quilt (more on that in a minute), but I saw these…

pins
And decided I had to give it a whirl. I mean, itty, bitty quilting pins??? Perfect!

pins 2
You really need a lot of light for this so I put some lights on it and turned my ISO to 1600. If you have a mount, you could probably get away with it being lower or if you had a tripod, but the depth of field is so tight in this, you really can’t shake all that much.

What I did:Used this link on MCP Actions, that I saw a few months ago. It’s like instant macro without a good macro lens. And the bokeh is groovy, too. I tried it on the cats but they moved too much, but the ones that I did get showed some awesome, tiny hairs! My goal is to get a closeup of one of their eyes.

Good Things for Today
Meghan is going to be hosting a little photo critique/contest of sorts very, very soon. In fact, you should actually subscribe to her blog because I have a feeling it will be a great up and coming photography blog. She’s got a fire lit under her—good things are coming her way! She also has a little giveaway that is super simple to enter. Try it!

-More photographic experimentation over at Kern Photo. Excellent bokeh!

An interview with a photographer that is new to me, Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir. Yeah, I can’t pronounce that, but it is a great 30 minute bit.

As for the sewing thing, I am on a mission to finish a massive t-shirt quilt of all of my college shirts. Or the ones I salvaged. Sewing large quilts is probably not the best idea; I don’t know why I came up with it. It’s going to be hard! I also have to work on another quilt for the new niece, who’s new name I am resisting because she was Abigail in my head for almost two months before I was told they changed it. The tiny, unborn person already had a name and identity and now I’m having a hard time thinking of her any other way. I wonder if the only aunt has any persuasion in that matter? I doubt it! hah! Don’t forget—->only aunt!!! The one who will spoil her rotten and let her stay up late and eat all the junk food in the world and go on shopping sprees…!!! 😉

Still working through others photos but I am in the midst of some things around here, too, so here’s to hoping for more writing this week.

Chris & his Handmade Frame


Chris had found some old wood during a hike awhile back, probably at least a year ago if not more, and it had been laying around. Before Christmas we decided we were going to buy ourselves a Christmas present in the form of a photograph from a local photographer we both like, Paul Marcellini. We ordered the photo and he picked it up from him on Christmas Day, but we didn’t have the frame yet.

The past few weeks Chris has been working away, making a mess, too, and made a really awesome frame for the photo. He bought some acrylic and foam board from our friend Kathy who works at a framing shop and finished up the frame the other night.

Fence Post Frame w/ Marcellini Photo
It isn’t the best photo, but you get the idea. He says it weighs about 40 lbs…we’re gonna need some heavy wire to hang it!

On Thursday we went to the dentist and while Chris was in the chair I ran to the post office to mail something. On the way back I was listening to NPR and the Diane Rehm show, which I don’t usually get to catch because I’m in the office, but she had Elizabeth Gilbert on the air. If you haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love, you should. She has a new book out Committed a follow up to EPL about her second marriage and about marriage in general. Anyway, I found the whole Diane Rehm show fascinating because of everything they were talking about around the culture of marriage.

It was on par with a discussion I had with my carpool the other day after we heard something on the radio where a listener was upset that his fiance didn’t want to take his name. I carpool with two guys so I’m the lone voice in that argument, but I could see the fiance’s side of things. When I got married I didn’t want to change my name. I did and it doesn’t seem like as big of a deal now, but it was an identity change of sorts. I don’t know if men could even understand that; maybe some do. The whole tradition of changing the name—it’s just weird.

Alas, the hour long talk can be found here and scroll down to Elizabeth Gilbert “Committed” and hit play. I’m excited to read her book. She had a lot of good insight into marriage failures and the culture of thinking someone completes them, ie: the Jerry Maguire syndrome, she called it.

Listen to it while you are making dinner or surfing the ‘net. I’m up for a discussion if you are.

I figured out the comments…they are back up! WOO!

BRRRRR!


My brother asked me last night how I liked the cold weather. I replied that I was ready for it to go away. He’s in Texas where they’ve had more snow than I can remember this past month.

A month ago I would have enjoyed it, the holiday season, etc. But, it’s just too cold for me now! Yes, living in gardening zone 10B, where we push the tropical zone limits and enjoy all sorts of beautiful plants that love warmth and humidity, has made my blood too thin.

I’m the iguana that hangs onto the tree, hoping not to fall off when it gets too cold.

I’ve almost gone through all of my winter clothes already, they’ve been in the wash already this week.

We warmed up to a beautiful temperature of around 72 yesterday afternoon and even last night I slept warmer. Today, it has gotten progressively colder, rainy and grey the entire day. Perfect for sipping cider and hot tea.

But, not so perfect for sea turtles who are getting cold stunned, and manatees hitting canals and warmer waters near power plants to keep the frost from nipping their noses.

More information on Jamie Drake’s blog about how you can help if you are in Florida.

Weather.com says we may brush 33* tonight in South Florida. I wonder if I will find an icicle in the morning from the rain???

I think Hawaii is looking to be the best place to live at right about now.

Sanibel Sunset


Until I get the comments working again, I’ve put in my old commenting system that you can use.

I’m finally trying to finish up our Christmas weekend trip to Sanibel. Here are the sunset photos from the day after Christmas. All but the last were taken at Blind Pass, the pass between Sanibel and Captiva islands. The last was taken at the last public access beach on Captiva.

sanibel sunset 1

sanibel sunset 3

sanibel sunset 4

captiva sunset

Sanibel Sunset
This one is Chris’. I like it…very wild and untamed look to it.

I always feel a little reluctant to leave the beach after a sunset like that—a sad goodbye to a great day.

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