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Posts tagged “macro





It’s easy to tell it’s almost full-fledged fall. I get three distinct reminders:


  1. The horses start shedding their summer coats
  2. The dinner plate-size hibiscus burst into bloom
  3. The skunks make their dusk or dawn presence known

Twice in the last week I’ve been jarred out of sleep by the pungent scent of Peppy LePew wafting through my open bedroom window.  The first time it happened I could hear the low rumble of Gus growling in his crate. Gus typically doesn’t make a peep during the night, but his highly tuned nose put him on full alert. The scent wasn’t too horribly strong, but there was no mistaking that a skunk had wandered across our property. When this happens in the spring it’s usually the young skunks who don’t have full control over their scent glands yet. But when it happens in the fall it’s more likely a full-fledged adult, which is a little more worrisome. It’s been years since I’ve had a dog get skunked, but it’s something you never forget. The smell that you usually associate with a skunk meandering through the area is nothing like the full force stench of them using their smell for defense. It’s got to be one of the most gagging, God-awful, eye-watering smells on earth. And it’s dangerous too. The dog who got skunked took a close-range shot to the face and I’m still not convinced that didn’t contribute to his blindness just a year or two later. With that episode in mind I’m not taking any chances. At the first indication that a skunk might be nearby the dogs get leashed and walked and there’s no running about freely until we’re sure the coast is clear. The pups are a little put out by that, but it’s far better than the alternative!

There are other signs of the approaching fall. The hummingbird feeder has transitioned from a dull roar to the occasional passer-by. We’re on the migration route so I’ll continue to fill the feeder until a couple of days pass with no visitors. The cardinals are getting very vocal. I’m not sure why because they’re here all summer, but every fall they become more active and noticeable. Could it be one of their food staples has come into season and they get more competitive over that? I don’t know, but I enjoy seeing the colorful pairs. Crickets are louder. I always end up with a few that get into my basement looking for what, I’m not sure! And the days have grown noticeably shorter. Our mornings stay dark now until almost 6:30 and the late afternoon sun slips over the ridge across the road by a little after 7 PM. The changing of seasons happens so fast that if I didn’t have nature to remind me I might miss it altogether.

Moving On

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Psalm 77 by David Nevue


I generally don’t make a fuss over New Year resolutions. I may reflect a bit on events that occurred over the last year and think a bit about some things that I might want to strive to change. But I don’t get too worked up about the stuff that didn’t live up to my expectations or make any grandiose announcements.

I made some good progress with Dharla this year. I’m very glad that I decided to bite the bullet and get some professional training for her. While I miss having her at home, she’s not far away and I still see (and often ride) her every day. It’s been a great experience being at a bigger barn. I’ve met some very nice people and I’m learning a lot of really good stuff. Sometimes I feel a bit pulled in different directions.  I still have the responsibility of caring for the animals here at home, but so far I’ve been managing to divide my time and attention equally. And it’s not forever. I expect I’ll bring Dharla back home come early spring.

I fulfilled a year’s commitment with an online nutrition program. While it’s sad to see that come to a close, I’m anxious to get back to doing things on my own. I’ve never been much of a group joiner, though I made an exception for this program because I felt it was important to experience the program from the inside before I recommend it to others. I got some good ideas and tips on food prep and meal planning that I’ll probably continue to use on my own. I can’t say enough about Precision Nutrition’s Lean Eating program. It’s not cheap to do, but I saw firsthand via my own group of 150 or so members that it’s a life-altering approach to exercise and nutrition. Now I need to get cracking and get my own Precision Nutrition certification done. This winter should be a good time to hit the books and do it!

This year was a (fairly) healthy one. No eye surgeries or other major health issues, which was certainly  a welcome change. We started the year off with the loss of my father in-law, but as sad as that was we’ve  managed to get through all the “firsts” without Pop and survive. In early spring I had a very dear friend lose his home and entire life belongings in the Colorado Black Forest fire, and I experienced the helplessness of not being able to offer much more than an ear to bend when the burden became too heavy.

The animals have stayed healthy and grown a year older. Gus continues to tickle my funny bone daily, and at age 9 the cow dogs are still as energetic as ever! I closed the year by adding another horse to our small herd of horses. Rascal continues to impress with his easy-going nature, and I’m eagerly looking forward to getting out on the trail with him this spring. After all, it IS the year of the Horse!

Word has it we’re supposed to get socked in with another snow storm tomorrow. Time to hunker down and knit!

I hope everyone has a healthy, safe New Year!


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Like most things in life, nature has many layers. Sometimes things seem straightforward and uncomplicated while at other times more like a mosaic of twists and turns. This fungus, with it’s many layers of color and texture, was quite an interesting discovery. It appeared soft and velvety, slightly fuzzy from a distance, but upon closer inspection I found it  rather slimy, and not nearly as inviting to touch as it looked.


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It seems my car has been in a bit of a downward spiral lately. It doesn’t have overly high mileage, but it’s fifteen, almost sixteen years old and certain things are starting to wear out. In the last few months I’ve replaced the brakes and a drive shaft, repaired the exhaust, and last week I bought a new battery when it wouldn’t start.


Today Gus and I had an early morning appointment at the vet and guess what? The car wouldn’t start. Last week when I got the new battery there was some talk about the starter being the problem, but it was easier to replace the battery and hope for the best. Besides, the old battery was, well … old. So it’s not like that was just a wild guess, but I was hoping it was the problem. Apparently not.


So today, and until further notice, I’m grounded. All errands and appointments must come to a halt. Once I get past the inconvenience of not being able to drive anywhere I’ll just focus on getting some chores done around the house.

Hanging Out


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This was quite possibly one of the largest webs I’ve ever shot, and it was a bonus that the architect happened to be home. The weather has switched back to hot and humid. That means some early morning fog, which can make for some interesting photos.



Up, Up and Away




It was a great summer for some of my flowers. This balloon flower is now several seasons old and it produced an abundance of beautiful purple-blue blossoms. This is the first year I’ve noticed that it’s starting to spread a bit by casting seeds. That excites me! I look forward to moving some of the new plants to fill in a gap here or there in other gardens. I have other perennials that have fully matured and need to be split and relocated. Not an easy task, but it keeps me on my toes. Thinking about what can be moved where and fantasizing about how things will look in the future is something all gardening geeks do!




The only thing brave enough to be out in this heat and humidity are the insects. Well, and the birds. I spend most of my time gazing at my gardens from the picture window. That’s kind of sad. I work like a dog to maintain things only to be forced to hunker down in the house between 9 AM. and 6 PM. I can only hope this crazy weather pattern isn’t the new norm.

Fly Away

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It’s that time of year again when I drag out the macro lens and try to shoot stuff in and around the property. It’s so humid outdoors now that I have to give the camera and lens about fifteen minutes to de-fog before I can shoot anything. Meanwhile, the bugs attack like I’m fresh meat. It isn’t the best of conditions for taking macro shots today. There’s a pretty good breeze and the light isn’t the best. But I’m getting antsy waiting for the conditions to improve, so I decided to take some photos in spite of it being against my better judgement. The way things are going, the gardens will have gone by before the weather starts to cooperate. It’s been that kind of year so far. It’s been so miserable that I’d like to just up and fly away myself: some place where it’s cooler and a lot less humid. I simply don’t know how people live in the south during the summer. I’m thinking mid-seventies would be just about perfect for me right now.

New Point of View



It’s been a long time since I’ve taken any pictures. Life has been …. complicated. My Father-in-law died in February. As sad as it is to have to say this, his death was a blessing. That’s really just another way of saying he lingered too long and suffered too much. In spite of knowing Pop would never recover, getting him and my poor mother-in-law to the point where they were able to let go was difficult. So while most of the family was feeling relief at his passing, it’s been anti-climatic and an enormous adjustment for Mom. My sister-in-law stayed with Mom for about three weeks beyond the funeral, but now that all the fanfare has ended the dust is starting to settle. There isn’t much I can do but call and visit often. Only time will ease the sorrow of Mom’s loss. It’s been very hard to weather this storm with her. In many ways, much harder than losing my own parents more than a decade ago.

Directly on the heels of our family crisis I went in for my seventh (and hopefully last) eye surgery. This procedure was totally painless and easy except for the requirement to be at the surgical center at the crack of dawn. Apparently they don’t make allowances for animal care or distance. No, you must be there to “register” and then sit, sit, sit and wait for an hour or more until it’s your turn. The whole procedure took about ten minutes from start to finish, but for that I had to get up before dark and drive on ice slicked roads. Yeah. I’m pretty done dealing with eye specialists.

From a medical standpoint the surgery was a “success.” Apparently that means they haven’t caused further damage and they’ve managed to correct some of the damage done previously. However, I’m still struggling to see 20/20 and upon my last followup appointment I was informed that I’ll need a new (another) prescription change. Ahem. I just HAD a prescription change two months ago ….. to the tune of $700+ … and at that time I was under the impression it was going to be the last change for awhile. Apparently not. Cha-ching! It never ends! Let’s hope that I can get this prescription filled for less than the previous one (going elsewhere for sure) and it greatly improves my acuity.

Spring has been rainy, windy and quite cold. I’ve been looking for that perfect day to get back out and ride my horse, but it hasn’t presented until last week. Naturally, my response was to immediately develop a whopper of a cold  … as in flat-out, can’t-do-squat-for-three-days kind of cold. To make matters worse, my husband took Good Friday off, which he NEVER does, but I was unable to partake in any of the weekend activities.  I was not a happy camper.

That said, today my cold is getting better and the weather is still nice. Things are looking up!

In Memory




For the children …






Caught, between letting go and drifting off on a breeze.






Frost on sage.

Purple Passion





A throwback from summer.



Hard to believe something so light and delicate can produce such amazing feats of strength.



This is a pretty good representation of how I see the world. Some things are crystal clear, while others are very fuzzy. After awhile, It makes your brain hurt. Think about the time you put on your (very nearsighted) friend’s glasses and the world spun. Yeah. That’s it. That’s how it feels. Good times  … as long as it’s not forever!

So here we go with another potentially disastrous weather event.  Odd, to be prepping for it half blind. When it comes to severe storms I’m a chronic worrier. I worry about my horses the most, but I also worry about the dogs, the house, the property and so on and so forth. I try not to obsess, but that usually fails.This time around I didn’t mince words with my hubby. Since the worst of the storm is slated to hit us early Monday morning I simply announced that he wasn’t going to go in to work and leave me here (half blind) to fend for myself.

He stared at me for a very brief moment while I took a deep breath and continued. No way was he leaving me here alone to worry about (and deal with) the horses. I reasoned that if one of the big ancient oaks that line our property drops on the fence  and gives them an escape route, there’s nothing I can do to help. I can’t even SEE the fence, little own go chasing after loose horses by myself. In all the years we’ve had horses and weathered storms this has never happened, but I’ve pictured it a thousand times and I worry about it becoming a reality. Our horses don’t do stall confinement well and the truth of the matter is, when the shit hits the fan I tend to think they know better than humans where their safe zone is. And I can tell you right now, that ain’t the barn. So our horses will ride this storm out unfettered. I’ve braided their ID tags into their manes and whispered words of wisdom into their ears. The rest is up to God.

Who would think I’d be facing a second major hurricane in just 12 months? Now there’s gotta be something wrong with that picture!





It wasn’t a spectacular fall this year. That makes two years in a row that we’ve had a less than stunning seasonal display of color. And I have to admit, I’m not exactly grieving over it since I’m still not back to normal vision yet. If anyone told me back in March that it might take eight months to get my vision straightened out I probably would have postponed the surgery. But they didn’t. In fact, when I specifically asked about side effects and complications they more or less pooh-poohed my asking. “We do this all the time with great success. We’ll cross that bridge when … no, IF we get to it.” Well that bridge came up awful damn fast.

Most people don’t understand what it’s like to have screwed up vision. We’ve had major advancements in glasses and contacts so those who suffer from myopia seldom have to struggle for very long after a problem has been detected. When I was in grade school every child received a vision and hearing test at school, as well as a dental cleaning and exam. In addition, we were marched off to the nurses office every spring for a remedial physical exam.

The eye test was pretty basic: the students were asked to read an eye chart using first one eye, then the other. Next, the tester would give the child a red, green, white and black marble, and they would hold a picture card in front of you and ask you to place a specific color marble at different spots on the picture. This tested for depth perception and color blindness. I usually nailed the color and depth perception of this test, but after second grade I struggled to read the eye chart.

After the eye test was finished the student was ushered to another room where an audio tester waited with a big black or blue square box. The box had lots of dials on it and a chord with large, clunky headphone attached. The tester adjusted the headset to fit your head, then had you sit on a stool with your back to them as they worked the different dials that made the tone sounds. You were supposed to raise the hand that correlated with the ear that heard the tone. The pitch and intensity of the tone jumped all over the scale from very high to low and super soft or moderately loud. There never seemed to be a pattern for the tones, though like my father I always tried to find one. I was never very good with this test either, but my mother said that was because I had inherited her tiny ear canals and I was prone to inner ear infections.

I hated the dental cleaning and never understood why I had to have it done since our family saw our regular dentist every six months like clockwork. The dental hygiene chair was big and uncomfortable and the water that swirled continuously in the cuspidor made me have to pee. The hygienist would start by asking us to chew a chalky, bright red disclosing tablet, then she would hand us a hand-held mirror so we could see all the “dirty places” the pink stain revealed. I always thought this was kind of unfair since it had either been hours since I’d brushed my teeth or my visit came after lunch. What did she expect? Anyhow, she’d get out her big set of plastic teeth and gums, an over-sized demo toothbrush and would patiently explain how I was supposed to brush my teeth, after which she’d polish my teeth with her oily, belt driven prophy brush. I knew I was almost done when the hygienist shoved a gooey, overflowing tray of orange flavored fluoride in my mouth. The only good thing about visiting the school hygienist was that we got a kit that had a new toothbrush, a slim tube of Pepsident (Mom only bought Crest) and a strip of a dozen or so disclosing tablets.

In the spring  our teacher divided us into two groups (one boys, one girls) and escorted us up to the nurses office for our annual physical exam. During my grade school years we had a delightful school nurse who looked  just like Meryl Streep and had Meryl’s compassion and witty sense of humor. Sometimes I faked feeling sick just so I could be fussed over by Mrs. Hatfield. I adored her. I think all the children did. Anyhow, Mrs. Hatfield didn’t do the exam, a real doctor did it. I felt kind of cheated by that. I mean, I went willingly because I like Mrs. Hatfield, but I wasn’t crazy about having some old man I didn’t know see me in my underpants and undershirt. He looked a little like Harry Morgan, who played Col. Sherman T. Potter in the TV. show MASH.  The doctor tried to make small talk as he placed a cold stethoscope on my scrawny chest and back. Then they weighed us and measured our height, before checking each child for something called scoliosis. Last, but not least, they handed us a little paper cup that held a clear, sweet tasting liquid that was going to protect us from something called Polio.

Back when I was in grade school there were lots of kids who relied on school health services such as these. For many, it was probably the only time they ever saw a doctor or a dental hygienist and for others, it may have been the only time they had toothpaste or a toothbrush. Not that I lived in an overly poor neighborhood. I didn’t. But you always knew there were one or two kids in every class who just didn’t get the simple basic necessities we took for granted.



Morning sun pokes through the white pines, hitting the hydrangea leaves and lighting them up for a few brief moments.

Last Bloom



My repeat blooming lilac is in the throes of last bloom. I’m always pleasantly surprised when this shrub blossoms so late into the fall, it’s faint scent mixing with the dusky smell of autumn leaves and spicy chrysanthemums.



The architect of this beautiful dreamcatcher wasn’t home. She was probably watching me from a safe distance.

Nature’s Pearls


It never ceases to amaze me how much work goes into making a web. I may not be all that fond of the engineers, but their handiwork is impressive. Especially when you consider that each web either has to be remade every day or undergo extensive repairs. Some webs are small, but this web was quite large. I’ll have to check and see if it’s still up and in good working condition tomorrow morning.


Fairy Dust



Bees have been hard at work pollinating the fall Sedum blossoms.



No shortage of water here! Not only has the morning dew been heavy, we’ve had frequent rain this summer along with weeks of  high humidity. It’s hard to believe large areas of the United States are suffering from horrible drought. Is it my imagination or does it seem like it’s always feast or famine lately? With all the extreme weather events this summer I’ve forgotten what a “normal” storm is like. We don’t get gentle breezes with our storms anymore, we get property damaging winds. And when it rains we have flash floods, where anything that isn’t anchored down gets swept away. I’m not sure what the reason is, but I feel like the older I get the more it seems like our world is being battered by Mother Nature. As a photographer I try to find the beauty in certain weather events and how they affect our landscape, but at times it’s hard to stay detached. Especially when I know so many people and animals have been adversely affected by them. So I’ll try to count my blessings as I shoot the lush greenery that surrounds my farm in the damp, mid-August heat.




I was out early this morning and happened to catch a dragonfly in one of my pictures. I had no idea it was on the flower I was shooting until after I processed the photos. An added perk I guess, of using a macro lens!




Grape tomatoes ripen in the morning fog.


I’m actually starting to get waves of ripe cherry and grape tomatoes, but for awhile I didn’t think I would get any. The weather this summer has been abominable. We’ve had five weeks of  record-breaking heat and humidity and a good amount of rain. By that I mean to say that I have clumps of mushrooms growing in my yard. Anything that doesn’t thrive in the wet, hot humidity is starting to rot and flowers and veggies that have long since gone by are turning into a slimy black mess. I’ve tried my best to keep up with the chore of cleaning and clearing up beds that have stopped flowering or producing, but it’s kind of hard to get the job done in this heat, humidity and rain. The last few weeks I’ve been in an almost perpetual state of wet-to-the-knees and I think I’m going to develop a nasty case of foot rot if this nonsense keeps up. (Just kidding …. sorta) Needless to say, it hasn’t been the best of summers for anything, unless you’re crazy enough to count taking pictures in the fog a big plus! (Yes!)