I keep staring

All I’ve done is keep staring at the photos of Ashleigh. It’s surreal to call my mom up and hear Zoe talking and carrying on in the background. And then there’s 10 and 3/4″ long Ashleigh. The whole thing is magical in a way. She’s here, she’s alive and as tiny as she may be, she’s already a fighter. I already envision her sitting in her room with her big sis, playing dress up or house and then getting into some sort of mischief.

I get to meet Ashleigh in about three weeks for an already planned visit at home. Until then I am looking at photos and calling in throughout the day. I’ve been going through some nicknames for her, two-ton tiny, Smurfette, little giant….I haven’t found a good fit yet. And with her name being Ashleigh I keep putting on a Scarlett O’Hara voice and saying it how she did–maybe her nickname should be Belle (as in Southern Belle). Belle also means beautiful—and that she is.

And now—video!! You can bet I’ll be reloading these in the days to come.

Regularly scheduled blogging will return soon, sprinkled with Ashleigh updates.


Just quick update and I will write more later, but my brother has some photos up on his Flickr here. Check out the one with his hand at her feet—that gives you some scale!

A teeny, tiny little blessing—she’s going to be an astronaut…or maybe President. 😉

1 pound 1 ounce

Ashleigh Ryon has arrived….3 months early but she’s doing good so far. Mom and baby made it through everything well. I got to see a text message photo of her—tiny but she looks like Zoe!

My brother is going to put a post up with photos and video later tonight so I will link to that when he does.

Until then, they still need thoughts and prayers—they have at least two months of NICU time ahead of them.

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!


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


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!

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!

Blackberry lily berries…love this plant!

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

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.

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!

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