Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cute Little Guy

I was heading into town to pick up some Ortega burgers for dinner last night from Martin's on Main in Templeton.   I was just pulling out when I saw this sweet bird sitting on the fence.   I had taken my camera along, just in case I saw something pretty to stop for, in the few miles between home and town. So I put down the window and started taking photos of him.   Of course he flew off a couple times, but then landed back on the fence.   I was able to get a few shots of this adorable little posing bird.   I believe he is a Warbling Vireo.   How cute is he?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Themes

 Google + has many many theme days.   It seems the favorite of so many is the Friday Floral theme.   I also like the Buggy Friday theme.   So I have combined the two.   

I have a massage appointment today and I really need it.   I have a chronic sore shoulder that needs a great deal of attention.   It was doing much better.   Then I unloaded two 50-lb bags of feed and eight 35-lb bags of bedding.   I think that's 380 pounds.   It was a little too much and I think I should have stopped at 280.   That's life on a little farm.   You just do what needs to be done.   Thank goodness I have a great massage therapist who helps me with my soreness.   

I just heard the dogs announce that the day has begun.   So off I go!   Enjoy your Friday.

Can you see the bug in this one, climbing over the top?   Sneaky.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dove Update??

Is this her?   Could it be Walking Dove?   I like to think so.

March Evening

The lighting last evening was so beautiful, after a really pretty day with gorgeous blue skies.   As routine, our dogs go out to run around the property every morning and late afternoon.   I took them out a third time because I was finishing up with the horses and chickens and it was just so nice outside.   Zoey enjoyed it, but her energy is a little off because she's on antibiotics for hot spots.   Zach was absolutely energized and in heaven.   We were out for about an hour and it was a great way to end the day.   

I haven't adjusted the colors on these at all.   I did a little cropping on some, but no other editing.   The hills are quickly turning brown this year so we have to enjoy this view while we can.   For those of you still waiting for Spring, enjoy my green.   I will soon be enjoying yours.

And my favorite of the evening....

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Maybe Today

I haven't had enough time to make a date with my camera in the past several days.   I need to remedy that because the wildflowers won't last long this year.    Fortunately these little guys are always hanging around so I can play hide-and-seek with them as they tuck behind the branches.   Soon all the leaves will be out and I won't be able to see them at all.   Then it will just be me and my band of chickens, always happy to let me take their photo.   Will work for treats.

It's Wednesday and it looks like a cloudy morning.   Maybe today I will have time with my camera.

On a side note, I bought my first strawberries of the season at Trader Joe's.   I wondered if it was too soon, but they are sweet!!  California strawberries are in my refrigerator.   Go get yourself some.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Muse

We planted a second lilac bush last year because our original one just isn't enough for me.   I love lilacs in all phases of blooming, but this new one has me more than a little happy with its beautiful deep color.   We didn't plant anything this year but I'm already thinking another lilac is going to be in order next time we head to the nursery.

This photo is fun to play with using textures and other edit features in PicMonkey.   The one thing that challenged me is the water spots on the leaves that I could NOT clone out, try as I might.   Beth, help!!!   I shall try again.

Enjoy your Tuesday.

P.S.   I was reading blogs today and a photographer whom I admire has an offer on his website if anyone is interested.   His photos are amazing, even if you aren't interested in his tutorial.   But if you are, he offers $20 off if you order now.   Because I love landscape photos, I am quite interested in his editing techniques.

Sharing today with

Monday, March 25, 2013

Peace Interrupted

On a much lighter note today, I took some videos of the critters yesterday.   I love listening to the horses eating grass.   It was so peaceful, just hanging out with Cooper and Henry.   And then....what's that in the distance?   It's a little bit of our Sunday choir interrupting our moment.  

That's all I have time for this morning.   Have a good Monday!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I Have a Friend

.... who is going to be a grandma for the first time this Summer.

.... who has been out of work over a year and is hoping his recent interview will work out.

.... whose husband was in a serious accident this month and just woke up after 15 days in a coma.

.... whose mother passed away this week, peacefully in her sleep at the age of 93.

.... whose son is finishing a one-year rehab program in April.

.... who is spending these nights on foal watch, waiting for a new life to be born.

We all have friends like these.   Some are very close to us and others are people we have known and liked and perhaps don't see very often.   But we are all connected.   And hopefully we make some effort to let them know we care, that we celebrate the good and give support over the bad.   I have been touched deeply by the woman I know whose husband nearly didn't survive.   They still don't know the extent of the brain damage and he is showing some paralysis.   This young couple has been together for 15 years, they have two young sons, they work hard and enjoy lots of fun times as a family.   He was driving home from work and crashed very close to home.   Their lives are changed forever in that split second.    

These are the important things in life.   Some are not so dramatic, some are not big events, some are just a cup of coffee or a phone call or shopping for a new purse.   The angst and grumbling and complaining and blaming and wasting our precious time on being upset with others is not how we should be spending our lives.   I have purposefully stripped away chaos and negativity in my life, as much as I am able.   I don't allow toxic people in my life.   I try to think about my words so I don't hurt someone with a sharp wit.   And as I have gotten older, I can say that I like who I am and generally how I treat others.   

Imagine if someone you care about was suddenly gone from your life.   I have been there and there are no do-overs, no next chance to say what you feel, no resolution for regrets.   

Take care with your friends and loved ones.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's Thursday - Time for Chickens

No words of wisdom today, mostly just photos of chickens.   Toby and four of my hens are now four years old.   Toby's daughters, aka The Black Girls, are three years old this year.   And the others are two years old.   We are not getting anymore chicks because for us, sixteen is definitely enough.

Toby is always interested in the camera and is a great portrait subject.   And so I took one of his recent portraits into PicMonkey and added a texture so it looks a bit more like an oil painting.   LOL!!!   Really, do you think I gave it that much thought?   No, I was just playing with textures and it turned out that way.   

And our funny little Clarabelle who is very brave and always has been.

One of our two Wellsummers.

The lovely Chicken Little with her fabulous comb.

My sweet Hannah who always follows me around.

And the rather scrappy little Swirly.   

Last but not least, many of the members of the flock hoping for a handout of whatever is in the bowl.       

Sharing with
Rurality Blog Hop #7

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Everybody needs one.   Someone who has your back in every situation.   Life is just a little easier if you have someone at your side.   Maybe not all the time, 24/7, but who is there when you really need them. All of us have difficult times in our lives and we just want to know that we don't walk alone.   I read of many trials on people's blogs and try to remember, these are people with real issues, good times and bad.   They are not just cyber robots sitting behind a computer.  Be sensitive to that, bloggers.   Someone may need you to be supportive.   Someone may just need to know that you care.   Someone may not have their own wingman.

It's Wednesday and it's going to be a fine day.   Enjoy it.

Linking to

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Some Texture Fun

I must drive out to Creston again to get more photos of these buildings.   For this one, I applied a texture available with the Royale features in PicMonkey.   With the free textures from Nancy, as well as some free textures from Kim Klassen, I am now having fun working with my small collection and the ease of PicMonkey in applying them.   I think it may challenge me to step out of my box and look for new photo opportunities that may lend themselves well to textures.

Enjoy your day!

Monday, March 18, 2013

I Can't Stop

As long as there is a blossom left on my peach tree, I will be taking photos.   Hundreds and hundreds of photos.   I think, however, that this is the last week they will be in full bloom.   But hey!   What's that I see?   Do you see it too?   It's my crabapple tree, my Asian pear tree, and my lilac bushes.   They are all starting to bloom for me too.   Remember, because we only have rain in the Winter, our blossoms will be gone after the Spring, the grasses will be brown, and there will be no vibrant colors to draw my camera's lens.   Because we have too many critters around here, we don't plant flowering bushes or annuals or a vegetable garden.   Munch munch munch and it would all be gone.   Not wanting to build a fortress around each plant, we simply do without.   It's sad, I know.   But that's life in this part of California.   Thank goodness for farmers markets.

One of my last photos (well, maybe) of our glorious peach blossoms.   I haven't done much to this photo, the colors are just that vibrant.  

And what's this I see?   Lilacs!   Yay!

And my crabapple tree is starting to show little blossoms.   Last year was a sad one for this former favorite of mine.   I hope this is a rebound to its former glory.   I fear the Sapsuckers have done quite a number on the branches and it may have seen its better days.   Time will tell.

It's a beautiful Spring day, a lovely way to start the week.   My own battery is recharged and we shall see what the week brings.   Have a great Monday!

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Need a Day

I've been quite busy this week and I need a day.   My sweet man offered to do the early morning "take care of the animals" shift and I said, Yes!   And Thanks!   I just need a day.   And probably a Western salad from the Guest House Grill in Atascadero.   With steak.   Yes, that's what I need today.   Have a great Friday, friends.

Here's another busy bee shot for you.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Playing with Photos

PicMonkey is fun for playing with photos.   I just upgraded to their Royale plan which gives me access to more editing options for $33 a year.   I think that's a good deal, considering how many times I am certain I'll be playing with my photos.   I am also practicing with their Cloning tool which Beth was kind enough to show everyone how to use.   Thanks, Beth!   It does get easier as I practice more.

I've been having some concerns that my Auto Focus on my D7000 isn't working as it should 100% of the time.   It's a complex focus system and has many different settings.   I have been reading online at different forums about this being an issue for some.   I'm trying to sort out whether it's a camera issue or whether I've reset something incorrectly.   The last thing I want to do is send my camera in for repairs for "who knows how long" and be without it.   Has anyone else worked with their Auto Focus settings on this camera?

Our poppies are blooming on the hills.   This was a great subject for playing in PicMonkey, using different effects and adding sweet little butterflies.   This editing site is so very easy to use if you aren't able to buy something like Lightroom.   It also has some features that are easier to use than the ones LR offers.   

How are you doing with Daylight Savings Time?   I'm doing okay in the evenings, but the mornings are just too dark for me.   Here it is, almost 7:00AM, and it's still too dark to go out and tend to the animals.   I'm not liking it so much.   

I'm happy for those of you who have been suffering from a long Winter and are finally beginning to see signs of Spring.   I look forward to your pretty photos of flowers and green grass.   Have a nice Thursday!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Flowers and Bees

I woke up way too early this morning with my mind busy.   It doesn't happen to me very often so it's not a big deal.   The culprit?   Trying to figure out the logistics of something on my schedule TOMORROW afternoon.   Isn't it strange, the things we try to sort out when we should be sleeping?   Hopefully I will catch a little nap, but I'm not sure because the heating/ac guy is coming this afternoon for regularly scheduled maintenance.   Yes, between 1 and 5, which means I just wait....and can't leave home.   

It's supposed to be 84 degrees here this afternoon.   It feels pretty hot and I noticed the horses sweating a little when I brought them in yesterday afternoon.   I like to leave them out at night when the days are hot, but it doesn't work right now until they get used to more hours on the grass.   If you were able to watch the video yesterday without getting motion sickness, you can see how much grass we have right now.   It won't last long so it's nice to let the equines eat as much as possible without them getting sick.

I've been spending some time this week, before the peach blossoms are gone, trying to get some photos of the bees on the flowers.   Yesterday there were six, I think, and it's not easy trying to capture one in mid-air or sitting on a blossom.   I risk life and limb (sure, Denise) trying to focus on one before it moves to another spot.   Fortunately I'm not allergic to bee stings and they don't concern me too much.   Still, hearing that bzzzzzz getting closer to my head makes the job that much harder.   I captured a few shots that I like so I will be sharing them with you.   I also stopped for some wildflower photos the other day, again risking the pesky bees following a little too closely.   What's up with them anyway?   I don't want the pollen, I just want the shot!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chasing Donkeys

I cleaned the stalls and put the horses in so they don't overeat on the grass.   Then I thought I'd go ahead and get the donkeys in so their bellies don't get any fatter.   And here we go.   (Excuse the nose sniffling....being out in the grass does that to me and I don't know how to edit that out.)

A day in the life at Autumn Sky Ranch.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Busy Weekend

We had a great weekend.   All my plans for Saturday morning were delayed when I was asked by my sweetie to head to Morro Bay for a nice long walk on the beach.   It was delightful.   The surf was up and there was a small competition going on.   The beach had very few people walking, it was sunny with no wind, and we enjoyed it a bunch and a lot and very much.

We bought hay and alfalfa, set up the paddocks, and on Sunday we brought Henry and Cooper home so they can help the donkeys eat down the grass before it dries up and goes away.   I think the donkeys were happy to have their big brothers back, as long as they don't eat all the food.   Because donkeys are all about the food.   The dogs enjoyed their romps out on the property.   As usual, Zoey is always looking for a job and Zach already has a job....looking for ground squirrels.   The chickens are loving the post-rain ground that is rich with...well, whatever.   They always find something to scratch up and eat.   

Lots of outdoor time leaves us feeling very satisfied at the end of the weekend.   The wildflowers are growing on the hillsides so I need to find a place to take photographs that doesn't involve pulling over on the side of the road with cars passing by.   That could be hazardous to my health.

So here are a few photos from the weekend.   You can see, it was just gorgeous Spring weather.   It's Monday and hopefully you are having some Spring weather too.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Around Here

Our neighbor's pasture is filled with green and yellow right now.   I would love to have this view year round rather than the brown that settles in once our grass is gone for the year.   One of the other places I have enjoyed taking wildflower photos is a hill at the end of our main road.   Last year the wildflowers were hard to find because of the way the rains came so heavy in the Fall.   This year remains to be seen, although I'm more hopeful.   But my lovely hill with poppies starting to show has cattle grazing.   Granted, the rancher has every right to graze his cattle wherever he wants.   But could he wait until I get my Spring photos?   It's a bit disheartening for me.   Cattle shmattle, I need my photos!

I have quite a few Saturday things to get done today and hopefully will get to at least half of them.   I need a new desk chair and found one yesterday at Staples that felt like a winner.   I'm using one of the dining chairs which, of course, has no rollers.   So to move it back, I kind of lift and push with my legs. Besides that, the arms are too low which contributes to my shoulder problems.   I have also decided to bring Henry and Cooper home for a while to help eat down the grass on our property.   The donkeys would like to do it themselves, but it's a bit much for their little tubby selves.   I had planned to send Henry to a sanctuary in northern California, but the plans didn't work out as we'd hoped.   So the two boys will be home for a while.   That means I have to get some hay and set up their rooms with shavings and water buckets.   And we need a few groceries.   And so on.   The rain has ended and it's supposed to be near 80 degrees next week.   That will be delightful for riding Beau and going in search of wildflowers.   Yay!

Enjoy your weekend.

What Have They Done?

Blogger made some changes this week.   I didn't dig in enough to understand them because most, I'm sure, don't apply to my needs...