Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Colors of Spring!

The beautiful goldfinches, resplendent in their spring colors are frequent visitors to my neighbor's many bird feeders. Here are two males and a slightly duller female.

Here is a closeup of the many Jack-in-the-Pulpits that are in the woods in back of our house.

Here is the beginning of another fern, also numerous in our backyard woods -- a fiddlehead.

Colors and textures are what most attract me in the wild. For some reason, I rarely see form where line and form are what seems to attract most people. Learning to capture line and form, important components to a good composition, has been a constant challenge for me. My camera and Photoshop have provided the best learning tools because of the immediate feedback. I took note of this squirrel because he and another one both had bushy brown tales which I hadn't seen before in our everpresent grey squirrels. They must be siblings.

Here are a goldfinch and a New York finch feeding at the bird feeder.

Here is one of the fragile cranberry colored trillium in the back. They are smaller and have more delicate petals than the white ones which look more hardy.

This is the white trillium, one of many in the yard this spring. The front yard is now almost covered with forget-me-nots in blue and white and now violets as well. The grass has just about given up everywhere except in the direct sun. The pear trees and cherry tree are also in full bloom now -- we may even get a cherry pie this year!

Our magnolia in front is in full bloom now and I always love the juxtaposition of the pink and brown against the bright blue sky.

One lone goldfinch partaking of a drink at my neighbor's fountain.


This is Cheney's nemesis. This chipmunk insists upon teasing Cheney by sitting outside the door to the family room. I wonder if he wants Cheney to come out and play .

Monday, April 27, 2009

Back from Seattle!

Well, it took 12 hours of flying time, but I arrived safely back to a beautiful spring in Rochester!! Despite the long flying time, the flights (3) were uneventful and I did manage a little sleep (the first was a red eye). I bid adieu to little Amelia yesterday evening but thanks to the power of computers, I will be able to see her live via Gmail "phone" calls. She gave her first real smiles yesterday and what a treat!! Dad and mom were giving her bath which she LOVES and she looked over at Dad and just beamed -- totally ignoring mom I might add!! Alas, no camera was around and there was quite a crowd in their small bathroom already!!

Her eyes no longer have that goofy baby eyes look about them. She now spends long times just watching her toys that hang over her tummy mat or her vibrating chair!

Here Dad is playing rocket ship with her which she thinks is a great deal of fun!

We finished up the two weeks with another walk down the beach (on the Puget Sound) and I was treated with some new bird sightings to add to my non-existent list!
This is looking down the Puget Sound beach -- a very popular place when there is a low tide and nice weather like there was on Sunday!

These are Brants, which are relatives of the Canada Goose. They migrate through the area and there was a very large flock sitting on the Sound water. They are a large bird!

This is a Gadwall which is a relative of the mallard. There were lots of mallards on the ponds and these looked a lot like the mallards, but different...
This seems to be my year for identifying a lot of duck species!! My friend Debi's husband Bill says that there are lots of wood ducks up here on the ponds in NY. I will set my sights on seeing some of these in the wild this year! There are certainly lots of places to see birds around here!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Seattle Sightings with Amelia!

When weather is good in Seattle, it is very, very good!! The past few days have been beautiful -- warm temps, sunny skies and cool breezes! It was imperative to get out and visit some of the local sights in Ballard where Zanne and Justin live. They live about a mile from the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks which provide the transportation from the Puget Sound to Lake Washington. I think everyone is Seattle owns a boat from the number of marinas and boats I have seen! At the same site are the Carl S. English Botannical Gardens which gently surround the locks -- it is just beautiful this time of year with everything in bloom. This was the view later in the evening from our hotel balconey looking to Mt. Ranier.

Like many things in the park, an unnamed flowering tree.

A view into the Locks but no ships were passing through at the time. This is the view toward Lake Washington.

These are some of the brilliant lavender azaleas I have seen all over.

These are more of the flowering trees and shrubs at the park -- note the azure blue sky!

Here is Zanne and Amelia with the locks in the background. Amelia clearly did not like her stroller and was only happy when mom picked her up for awhile. She responded with rage most of the way home when she was back in the stroller!!

Sunday, while Ann was still here, we visited the beach along the Puget Sound which is a short drive from Zanne's. A special treat there is the duck pond and there were all sorts of newborn ducks there this day as well.

I got to hold a very calm happy baby in the morning yesterday while her mother got a shower and cleaned up!

I couldn't resist this picture of Frig, their 30 lb orange tabby who rules his domain and likes to wander the hallway of the apartment building!

This was one of the many ducks at the duck pond.

I have no idea what this tree is but it was very interesting with these flowers handing off it all over!

This is ma mallard with her 11 chicks close behind. They are about the youngest I have seen out in the water! They almost ran across the top of the water and mom had to keep corraling them in.

I thought this was a beautiful flowering shrub growing wild in the area.

It has been a treat the last few mornings to drive down the road from the hotel to Zanne's. From the first hill I view the Olympic Mountains rising out of the city, all snow covered. Later as I get closer to her apartment, Mt. Rainier rises out of the landscape with the Seattle skyline in the foreground. I swear Mt. Rainier looks larger with this perspective than it did from on top of the Space Needle!! From our hotel we also get the view to the Cascades and Mount Rainier as well all snow covered. Justin went snowboarding this weekend. They would keep the resort open except it is elk calfing time so they close for that but will reopen later if there is still snow!

You can see from this picture how neglectful her parents are (not)!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Visiting with My New Granddaughter!!

Well, posting will be sparse as I am in Seattle visiting my granddaughter for the first time!! It doesn't seem fair that she is such a good baby when both of her grandmother's can attest to the fact that her parents were not such good babies!! They are very laid back and loving parents which is very rewarding to watch.

She is getting more alert by the day and is inspecting all her surroundings very intensely. She is even trying to turn over!

She is beginning to focus on things around her -- sometimes better than others. She has a silly look on her face here!

Here she is in a "milk stupor" with her mom .

She now loves her tummy mat and especially is entralled with the moose hanging on the side!

Here she is with a nice clean diaper and a new outfit! Look at those pudgy little legs!

Here she is with her other grandmother who is sharing the hotel with me!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring is Here!

This is Cheney sitting where our beloved kitty Mickey used to spend his days. Cheney is very much at home here and hasn't even tried to hide under a bed!! He is a very nice kitty!

These are the crocus which have popped up all over the front lawn. Warren adds to the population each fall with the intent of covering the whole lawn at some point.

This is a close up of some of the very pretty variegated crocus.

Again a grouping of very dark purple crocus which was a fairly recent addition.

Well, Thursday was the April meeting of RAFA and of course there was show and tell!

This is a piece that Pat F. did using some hand painted fabrics and lots of stitching. It was inspired from pictures of the southwest taken on her trip last year.

These next two pieces were done by Marcia E. They are just wonderful in person as photos don't do them justice. They both have won prizes at major exhibitions. The second one contains a photograph done on fabric in the background. Marcia does extensive applique using fusibles and then tons of machine stitching and thread painting.

This is a piece that Julie B designed using rug canvas and a crochet hook. I will have to look into this technique some more as it is a variation on rug hooking.

This is a piece Caren did in a Nancy Murty class. She added some paint to her flowers to give them more definition.

This was a piece inspired by the Esterita Austin class. Caren chose very different colors.

It was nice to see Brenda back in the group with such good humor. Her chemo and bone marrow transplant have gone well and she has her head of hair back. She looks terrific and I loved her piece which she insisted had some problems but I didn't know what!

The crocus are out and beautiful as the weather is cool which keeps them in peak bloom for more than a few days.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Last Days at Kure Beach for Awhile

We spent our last full day at the beach house exploring again. This time we took a trip to Southport and then Bald Head Island which is only accessible by ferry -- in fact to get from our house to the island, the quickest way involved two ferries going and two ferries coming back. Bald Head Island has no cars on it and people get around on foot, by bicycle or in electric golf carts! This is the lighthouse which was close to the ferry terminal but which time prohibited us from visiting!

This is a view out to the shoals at the end of the island. This is one of the three places designated as the graveyard of the Atlantic because of the number of shipwrecks on the 150 sandbars there are here.

This is a view mid-island from the back of the moving golf cart where I was sitting with Debi.

This was the view out to the sandy beach -- very peaceful here and beautiful beaches.

This is the broken down golf cart! This was no major inconvenience except for waiting for them to bring another cart. Luckily we were on our way back and not at the opposite end of the island. Our two resident mechanics couldn't fix it as it was a broken switch.