Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Creeps Closer!




Yesterday my sister Beth and I went tramping through the woods -- we get to do this rarely, sometimes once a month ... sometimes once a year. We found so many cool things! Faces in trees, unusual mosses and mushrooms, delicate springtime flowers. Most of all, we found peace and serenity and enjoyment in each others' presence. And lots of humor! At one point we were taking pictures of mushrooms at the same time, crouched down on the damp forest floor, bums in the air ... and laughing hysterically at the picture it would have made. It was a wonderful day.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Newt!


This poor little guy somehow wandered away from the safety of the pond or creek where he usually lives and ended up near the front door step. When I picked him up to move him away from the obvious danger of being in that particular spot (Squish!), he was so cold he didn't even blink an eye. I cradled him in my warm hands until he started fussing. When I put him down, he wasted no time in running off to a more hospitable environment.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Indian Plum




Spring is very, very late this year. The Indian Plum is usually the first spring bloom around here (sometimes as early as the end of January!), and it's just now coming into it's own. I've always loved these plucky little flowers, so delicate yet so strong.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Aging Beautifully


I found this mushroom on an old piece of plywood, forgotten and left to the elements. The mushroom is clearly past it's prime and won't be around very much longer ... but still a remarkably beautiful creation.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scar of Good and Evil


This is a tree scar we found while walking along a curvy country road ... the scene of many car accidents over the years. As we looked closer, we saw many images in this scar.

One of them was ...


An evil troll!!! with his hooked nose and beady eye, looking off to the left.

He is directly opposite of ...


The maiden! We call her Mary. She faces to the right and seems to be praying or meditating.

It is very interesting and unique that both of these faces are exactly opposite each other on this huge tree scar .... Good and evil at at opposition with each other, yet inextricably bound together by the scars of life.

De Story of De Pants Part 2



I'd been working on the pants (see Part 1) off and on for over a week ... Yesterday afternoon I was finally able to say "They're Done!". All the little patches are back in place (the ones I could find anyway) and held there by miles of thread pulled through with needle and much help of thimble ...

They turned out as good as I hoped; much better than I feared. My daughter loves them and that's the best part!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

De Story of De Pants Part 1


Okay, so my daughter hands me this page from a fashion mag - 'these are the pants I'd like to have mom'. I look and nearly choke at the price tag - from $125 to $300! 'Well I could make something like that for way cheaper than that!" I should have bit my tongue. Fast forward a few days ... 1 trip to Michaels to get super duper "washable" iron-on adhesive; 3 pairs of old jeans cut into little pieces; 1 pair of new scissors which can actually cut through denim. Fast forward a few more days ... all pieces cut, and backed with super duper "washable" iron-on adhesive, ironed onto pants. Looks great! Just as good as the one in the magazine! Fast forward 1 wash cycle later ........ jeans inside out as instructed. Picture 200 little scraps of frayed fabric barely holding onto the jeans, some fallen off, some lost forever in the plumbing ... arrrrrrrrgh ... Must now re-attach and hand sew every. little. patch. back. on.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tree With Character!


I found this tree near the road I was strolling down this afternoon. It was obviously in the last stages of its life. It's bark was peeled showing the wood and burls beneath. I feel like this tree is still laughing - no matter what.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Graveyard Tree


With some time to pass in Oregon City, I decided to venture out to one of the local cemeteries. I was prepared to encounter doom and gloom, sadness and despair. Much to my surprise, the atmosphere was serene and beautiful. I found this flowering white tree that seemed to capture how I felt to be here at this place of peace.

My Office


Now THIS is the perfect location for a real office! It's actually an old kids' fort deep in the woods ... looks like it's been a while since it's been played in.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More Mushrooms


I found these tiny little beauties at Memorial Park, tucked up on a hillside near one of the picnicking areas. I love their color.


If you look closely you can see 3 mushrooms in this picture. They were in a straight row going from largest to smallest.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mushroom Flower


Doesn't this mushroom look like a beautiful flower?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sit With Me A While ...

video

This is a tongue-in-cheek slide show of photos I took during a walk at an abandoned megachurch. My daughter Georgia helped put it together, because I didn't have a clue!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Angels Rock!


Mom has been working in the garden(s) again, moving around the rocks she and dad have collected over the years, setting out plants to be planted later when she decides she likes where they are ... The angel I see in this rock has probably been there a long, long time. It's just that I've never seen her before ... maybe I didn't look hard enough!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Weather Vane


I found this gorgeous weather vane atop our new Gleaners site -- at an old farm house. Shortly after I took this picture, that huge cloud came overhead and "hailed" us but good!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rainbow at Dusk

I was finally on my way home from a long stormy day going back and forth, here and there ... longing to just be home and sit for a while. Suddenly the clouds parted and the sun blazed forth, sharing it's beauty with the clouds to form this token of promise -- the rainbow. It was, in fact, a double rainbow, and you can just barely make out the second one off to the right.

I had to get a picture, and nearly came to a dead stop in the middle of the street. I pulled over into a car dealership and, leaving a car full of open-mouthed and stunned family (I'm not usually an impulsive driver) -- I jumped out and started snapping pictures of this beauty. I didn't have time to try to find the perfect spot (without power lines, lamp posts, etc.); the rainbow was perfect and that's all that mattered.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunrise

I caught this sunrise on an otherwise dreary day.
It gives me hope for tomorrow!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Artist Well in Hand!


I was lucky enough to catch my sister Beth's hands and camera. She was so intent on what she was trying to capture that I don't think she even knew I took this! A true artist at work!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mushroom Stays Warm


We have been experiencing some extremely cold nights here lately. I found that mushrooms don't like the cold, and disappear as quickly as they spring up. This delightful little guy has certainly picked the right place to grow -- shrouded and kept warm by fallen fir twigs and battered blackberry leaves ...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Walking with My Sister


Walking in the snow with my sister Beth, trying to capture a mood.
I was fascinated by the study of green on red, with the light snowfall in the background.


Okay, so wouldn't you kill to have hair like this? Rasssspberry to you, sissie!
(Clytie turns green with envy)

This is a shot of the old 'lodge' part of the abandoned church. I was standing in the middle of a once beautiful rose garden circle. Nothing is left but rubble and weeds ... except for this gorgeous red bush ... which I thought brightened up the otherwise gloomy picture.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tale of the Flying Frog


The frogs in the nearby wetlands and ponds are starting to wake up from their long winter naps. I've noticed for the first few days of being awake, they have trouble with their Ribb-it's, and it comes out more like R-a-a-a-a-a.

I heard the distinctive R-a-a-a-a-a of a sleepy frog one morning, only something was wrong. It seemed to be coming from high atop a fir tree in the woods. Then it stopped. A few minutes later, I heard another R-a-a-a-a-a, only this time it was from a fir tree near the road, on the other side of the property. A flying frog? I had to find out more!

I crept closer and closer, the flying frog kept croaking. I stealthily made my way to the tree and looked up. My flying frog was blue! With feathers! Oh no, it was a Stellar Jay ... happily mimicking the waking frogs. In my disappointment, I yelled at him -- "Yeah, RIGHT!" With the cry of a seagull, he flew away -- Then he laughed at me.

I feel old

I guess I should have expected this ...
After all, it HAS been 30 years ...
It's just that I don't want to admit ...
That it doesn't feel ...
A day over 29!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Have a Nice Day!


It speaks for itself!

Moon Over Trees


I took this yesterday afternoon ... right after Father Winter's face blended back into just another pretty sunset cloud.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Father Winter Says Goodbye


What a wild weather day we had today. Sleet, rain, sunshine, cold, and a few very heavy snow showers. As the day wound down, I decided to capture some of the beautiful clouds, now turning pink and gold. That's when I found Father Winter on the edge of a snow storm just passed through. I hope he is gone for good this year ... I am ready for Lady Spring. Besides, he kind of scares me!

Butterfly Flutter By


Thank you Cheryl for honoring me with this Butterfly Award. I am overwhelmed! I am at a loss for words, and that in itself is quite unusual ... just ask my family! So I will just say thank you and bless you.

I would like to, in turn, present this beautiful award to the following blogs:

http://paintedgarden.blogspot.com/ to Deann (AKA Grannie Annie) for her wonderful sense of humor and amazing view of the world.

http://unexpectedspotsofbeauty.blogspot.com/ to Beth (sissie!) because we all need to keep our eyes open for those unexpected spots of beauty in our lives.

http://www.minetothine.com/ to Rachel for her passion to teach art to the children of the world. And because of the beautiful artwork she creates.

http://imagineinkonpaper.blogspot.com/
to Sharon for her sometimes funny sometimes poignant view of the world. And because of the mechanical chicken story which I adore.

Early Morning Wakeup



It sounded like someone outside banging on metal. Already awake but still groggy, I went to investigate ... and soon found the culprit -- a red breasted sapsucker busily banging on an upturned coffee can! The pictures turned out a little fuzzy, but beautiful still. This is the kind of alarm clock I could get used to.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Look up!


There are times when I forget to look up. This is changing, thanks in part to my sister Beth's Cloud Paintings. There is something so peaceful and childlike in kicking back and watching the cloud formations come and go -- especially on a day like today, which the weatherman said this morning would be "unsettled". To me that's a rather bland word for "spectacular".

I didn't see any faces or shapes in these clouds. Maybe I just haven't looked hard enough? Or maybe I was too overwhelmed by the charcoal and white distracting patterns before me ... that and the fact that I was running for cover to keep my camera from getting wet in the downpour!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Nature's Jewels - Amber


The sun shone briefly on a bit of root near the road. I enjoyed the sparkle of the pitch seeping out from it's bark. Then I saw the lone amber drop, highlighted for the moment just for me. This picture is but a pale imitation of the amazing jewel this really was.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More Church Rules



Yet again I went rambling at the abandoned megachurch ... and found this list of security and lockup rules.

As I read through it, I noticed a sentence that gave my imagination a word picture so strong I sat down. Or maybe I was laughing too hard to stand up! Anyway, it's the part that talks about "if you observe an unfamiliar face that is wandering around". What does your imagination do? Well, mine immediately started picturing bodiless faces floating around being accosted by church members in their finery ... oooooh how precious is that?

New on Old


There are many fir trees in the woods behind the house. This one had an odd tilt to its base that made me curious. As I rounded the other side of the tree, I saw why! This beautiful fir grew out of the stump of an old growth log ... which is now rotting away. This has to be a place where fairies come out to play "castle", don't you think?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Face in the Clouds


The challenge is answered! I searched far and wide, high and low. I almost didn't see him ... do you?

RIP Douglas Fir


I walked down the road to where our local nature conservationists (AKA "Metro") are busily clear cutting the property they recently purchased. It seems they want the area to be an "oak savannah", so they cut down all of the fir trees, underbrush and everything else in their path. They are now in the process of chipping said trees into sawdust. I found this sawn-off stump of a once beautiful fir (probably 40 or so years old) cut to the ground.

Then I noticed the cross. I am not the only one to mourn ... mother nature is crying right along with me.

Underage Drinking??


Question: What do you get when you drink a bottle of wine while sucking on a Pop Ring (while driving)?

Answer: I doubt very seriously if they remember.

Pet Peeves to Mention: Underage drinking; Drinking and driving - at any age; littering

Monday, March 2, 2009

An Open Challenge!


Do you see the profile in this stump?


A fir needle heart on cement slab

Calling all "Loonies" - no offense Grannie Annie!

I hereby, on behalf of Random Stuff/Random Hearts and Beth Niquette Fine Art, issue this open challenge ...

The gauntlet has been flung far and wide! Thou must hereby sally forth into the world and capture either a heart or a face ... caught in nature (or other unexpected place) that would otherwise have gone unnoticed and unheralded.

You have until nightfall Wednesday, March 4, 2009 (in honor of inclement weather, you have until Sunday!) to capture said image(s), post them on your blog, and leave a comment on any of the three blogs mentioned above. Be sure to include a link to your blog!

Off ye go!

Another Challenge!





The gauntlet has again been flung - this time by Beth -- accepted by me. By Wednesday, she will find a heart and I will find a face. So challenged, so accepted. On Wednesday the results shall be revealed!

Any Minute Now ...


If I hold my breath and watch, this first daffodil of Spring will burst open! How I welcome the first signs of Spring ... it has been a long cold winter.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Phoenix He Ain't!


This picture came as a result of a challenge with my sister Beth. We agreed to find something today (or in her case -- truly awesome artist that she is -- draw something!) and post it to our blog.

Off I went in search of inspiration in my usual haunt -- the abandoned megachurch across the street. But the muse had abandoned me. Nothing caught my eye.

Then the banging and crashing began, and I soon found the culprits. Four young males were busy bashing in a door. I escorted them off the property, then chased off three teenage males just making their way toward the building.

So by now thoroughly disgusted, I decided to give up and head back home.

Then I saw it ... the Fire Bird -- created when Matt cut down the old metal gate with a cutting torch. Forgetting the exasperation of young men these days, I snapped shot after shot. Funny thing, though ... I would have missed this bird if I had walked in the direction I had originally intended!

Though made by fire, Phoenix he ain't! But he is soooooo darn cute, so comical ... so random. So perfect!

Okay Beth, my gauntlet is thrown!!! Better duck!