Sunday, September 29, 2013

Staking A Claim

We have two little hummers buzzing around here daily since they found the feeder and decided it's really good.   We just came home from running errands and were doing a few things outside for about fifteen minutes.   The two little cuties were zooming around the entire time, from one tree to another, over to the feeder, making their little buzzing wing noises.   I tried to get a photo from outside but they are moving around too fast for me to capture them.   They land in the pine tree, the redwood tree, and atop the browning lilac bush, but still elude my lens.   So back inside I went to take some "through the window" shots.   I just love these little birds!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pick A Color

It's going to be another beautiful Autumn day here on the Central Coast.   So many possibilities for this day with no obligations other than to feed our animals and tend to their needs.   Having a day like this is similar to having colors from which to choose, or a delicious buffet spread out before you.   


Drive to the coast and walk along taking photos, a favorite.

Spend a little time at the farmers market.

Give my horses a spa treatment that includes baths and clipping bridle paths, etc.

Do some garage cleaning and take a trip to the AmVets donation drop-off location.

Wash windows....nah!   Although, maybe it would bring on the rain?

Give my truck a thorough cleaning....again, maybe the rain?

It's only 6AM and I'm drinking my coffee before there is any sign of a sunrise.   I still have time to make a choice.   And even then, I could change my mind.

I hope you have a great Saturday.   Just pick a color, you can't go wrong.




Thursday, September 26, 2013

Yes, It's All Random

Those of you who know my sister, Di, probably know she is selling Lilla Rose products.   I purchased one and have been trying to take photos of the back of my head.   Not an easy thing to do.   Sitting on the bathroom vanity, contorting my arms, turning my head every way imaginable, and this is the best I can do.   Anyway, I don't buy products just for the sake of trying them.   This is a nice clip and I will definitely purchase more.


I captured one photo of the recent harvest moon that looked remotely like a moon and not some bright white light in the sky.   I just don't do well at all with moon shots.   But once in a while, I try.


I'm going to the eye doctor for my annual exam and will likely buy new glasses.   I have to wear glasses all the time and contacts are really difficult for me.   I have a prescription that includes astigmatism and I also have very dry eyes.   I've tried different types of contacts, they just don't work very well.   My current glasses are a plum color.   I have no idea what I'll choose this time, but this shape seems to be the best for me.


I've been having really good rides/lessons on Beau the past couple of weeks.   There are things I want to do well and I find that I have to set my mind to it, then really push myself to push myself harder.   The rewards always feel so good.   

I often take photos that include people at the beach.   I don't share photos of children unless I've asked their parents' permission.   But when I see adults who add a splash of color to the beach, I will take their photo without concern.   I smile when I see people who add a little uniqueness to the beach.



Lastly, before I head outside on this cool morning to release the chickens, I have hydrangeas on my mind lately.   I saw some at Trader Joe's yesterday and almost bought some.   Maybe next time.   I took this photo recently and don't even remember where.   Dang, getting older is hard on the mind.   Ha!


Have a terrific Thursday, whether planned or random.   


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Night Moves

Strange how the night moves, with Autumn closing in.


From the lyrics of "Night Moves" by Bob Seger.   One of my all time favorite artists on road trips.







Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Muse


At the end of Summer, it's easy to lose my muse.   As I wait for the colors of Autumn, I find my muse again.   She seems to have taken up residence along the coast, enjoying all the beauty of the ocean and shore, and the experiences of others.   



Giving special thanks to a young lady named Lexie who kindly let me take a few photos of her adorable daughter playing on the beach.


Sharing with Nancy


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Morning Stroll


There are perfect days.    They sometimes look like this.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Welcome Autumn

My absolute favorite time of the year....notice the name of my little ranch?   Now is the time to start looking for signs of the changing season.   We have clouds in our sky this morning that might drop a little rain later today.   I can hear more birds singing in the distance when I go out early in the morning or in the evening.   The temperature was only 77 yesterday which was 10-20 degrees cooler than it's been.   My horse is getting quite hairy with the darker coat that is soft and feels good under my fingers.  The chickens are going through their molt and leaving feathers everywhere.   And I am looking at my fleece and sweatshirts with eager eyes.    It's all good, my friends, it's all good.   

Are you feeling Autumn in your area?   Does it make you happy or are you one of those Summer people who is feeling wistful at the signs of the changing season?    Whatever your preference, don't blink or you will miss the changes.   

Have a great weekend.   


Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Trip to Montana

I moved from Arizona to California in 1990 and soon after, became bestest friends with Jacque.   We were together all the time and shared everything with one another.   She was born and raised in Montana, part of a cattle ranching family.   They were very close and she visited them a couple times a year.   I went along a few times and loved the experience of being on the ranch.   In the summers, around the 4th of July, they moved the cattle up to the higher ground for the rest of the season.   I was able to ride along one year and have always remembered the experience.   Of course, it also involved my passion for riding horses.   

The family had built a cabin at the end of the trail which was also accessible by a road down to the ranch.   Jacque's mom and others prepared a meal for all the riders which they brought up to the cabin.   I don't remember everything we ate, but I do recall a peach cobbler for dessert.   




I guess I didn't own a cowboy hat at the time, but Jacque said I was a good enough cowgirl that I didn't really need the hat.


As I look back at these photos now, the only thing that would have made the experience better would have been an iPhone with video to capture the sights and sounds and voices in greater detail.   Still, it's good to have a few photos to remind me of something that was a very fun time in my life.

Cowgirl up, my friends.   Have a good Thursday.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Life Stories

I guess I started this blog to share my photos and a few tales from our little ranch.   Showing the lives of little donkeys, chickens, dogs and horses is so light hearted and fun.   I always enjoy the farm and animal stories of other bloggers.   I also love reading blogs where people tell a little more about their own life stories, the joy and deep thoughts they have.   I have considered writing more about some of mine, but the ones that I think about are from the previous chapter in my life, and involve others who are grown and living their lives out in the world.   Telling their life stories through mine could be an intrusion.   And so maybe writing life stories and calling them fiction would make sense.    Or would recalling those times end up bringing on too many memories better left alone?   That is what I think.

For example, they might include a stepson who drained the trust accounts of younger siblings for his own selfish purposes.   They could include irresponsible, arrogant actions of that same someone that led to a chain of events resulting in the tragic death of a young man, his own brother....at least in some opinions.   That young man had been a Marine and returned so very broken.   Such life stories might include a first time mom raising two needy stepchildren, both with diagnoses that make the days much more difficult than she would like.   She tried so hard to make a difference in their lives, to teach them things they would need to know in order to live as productive adults.   She took on more than she could handle at times, having made the choice to leave her career and let her husband work the long stressful hours to support the family.   She wondered about her future, not realizing that in ten years time, that family would be gone.   

And she would begin a new chapter in her life, and paint it on a canvas through a blog.   

 Remember the joy, leave the past where it belongs.   I think it's a good choice.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Keep Your Place in Line

What to do when you have a series of photos like this?   Make a collage!   And then?  Change it up a little.   You have to love these relatively simple editing programs that give you so many choices.   If we'd had these as children, do you think we would have been more or less creative?   I personally think I would have been more creative because I can't draw.   I got my first camera at age 10 and loved taking photos, but you had to buy the film and then have the photos developed.   I am sure my parents wouldn't have appreciated me going out and shooting 200 photos in one day, only to decide that I liked a handful and planned to throw the others away.   And making a collage would have meant taking the originals and using glue to attach them to a piece of construction paper.   Or sending away for duplicates, waiting for those to be returned, then making the collage.   It all sounds quite tedious and takes away the fun of creating something on a whim.

Yes, you might say that in some ways it was the good old days.   In other ways, these days are much better.




Monday, September 16, 2013

For Kate

Thinking of Kate, a much loved blogger and sweet lady,  whose husband left this earth today.   It is such a sad and lonely feeling when a loved one passes.   You wonder how life can just keep going on, but then it does.   The sun rises, the birds sing, and one day....someday....you will find yourself smiling again.   Until then, I hope that your family and friends bring you much comfort.   


They Make Me Smile

I had 2 hummingbirds show up yesterday morning after I changed the water in the new feeder.   I took some....okay, several....photos through the window.   It's not easy capturing their adorable-ness through the window, but I'm working on it every chance I get.   




I believe this is a male Anna's Hummingbird which are very common along the Pacific Coast.   

I finally forced myself to leave the window and took off for a walk on the beach in Morro Bay.   I'm hoping the little hummer will show up again this morning.   Maybe I should give him a name.

I hope you have something that makes you smile today, no matter how small.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Little Treasures

One of the other things to do when you go to Cambria is look for pretty pebbles on the beach.   This is Moonstone Beach and it is well known for its little treasures.   I have found a handful that sit on my desk, waiting for a little dish and many more to make a pretty collection.   Walking along, once the fog lifts, you see the water.  


If you walk along the upper part of the beach, it's pebbles.   Lots and lots of pretty pebbles.   I don't have a photo of of them, but there are many photos on flickr that people have shared.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stars4esther/6725172049/

I enjoy looking for little treasures.   I have found 2 very very small pieces of sea glass, both in green.   And I will continue to look every time I walk along this beach.   If you delight in finding pretty little pebbles, it's worth taking your eyes off the water...at least for a little while.

Enjoy your Sunday.   I hope you're seeing signs of Autumn.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lightroom and Split Tone

This is a photo I took yesterday on the beach at Cambria.   This is completely unedited.


Our walk started out in the fog, as can often be the case at the Coast.   I am enjoying taking the fog photos but sometimes they look a little flat to me.    I might mention, you can easily see the spots I've mentioned before.   These are taking a while to clone and they are starting to get on my nerves.   I think we've found a place to take my camera where I won't have to ship.

Since I've been shooting again in RAW these past few weeks, it opens up my options in Lightroom to make adjustments.   And for someone like me, that just means more fun!   You don't need to shoot in RAW to take advantage of most of the LR features.   One of the things I've started using is the Split Tone editing.   This photo shows an example of how to more selectively change the color tones in a photo.   This one in particular....and I'm still working on it....is more pleasing to my eye if it's not so yellow throughout the entire photo.   Changing the Hue and Saturation in the areas of highlight and shadow also helps show more detail in some areas.  In this case, I want more detail in the rocks to show how they really look when you're standing there.  

I'm going to keep playing with the tones in this photo until it looks more like I remember.   It's all a matter of personal preference.   And if it's your photo, you can do whatever you want, right?   It doesn't really matter if anyone/everyone else likes it.   If you have Lightroom, try this feature and see if you like it.   You can always hit the Delete, right?


Enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Random 5 Friday

1.   Erik is home this week so he did a big project in the family room/office, which of course leads to thoughts of another big project, namely painting the room and deciding on new flooring.   We're not ready to go forward with it, but hopefully soon.

2.   We decided to get out and enjoy the day and get some exercise, so we drove to the coast yesterday. It's past the main tourist season so it's a wonderful time of year to enjoy the beauty and the fresh ocean air.   And take photos.   Of course.   Erik wants to go back again today.


3.    The Moonstone Grill in Cambria has big quilts hanging on a couple of their walls.   This one would be so cute in the bedroom of a beach house...if I had a beach house.   Anyone out there have a beach house?   You can have this quilt for $300.



4.    Technical troubleshooting is exhausting.   This week, Dish Network and AT&T.   All is well again.

5.    I haven't been fishing in many many years.   Growing up, we went fishing in Iowa and Minnesota. We caught a lot of bullheads, a type of catfish.   Those little fish, on the grill, were very tasty.   If you like fish, there's nothing better than a fresh catch.   Can I get an Amen?



It's Friday!   Have a good day and a great weekend.



Sharing with Nancy


Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Nikon Is Dirty

My camera is in need of a professional cleaning.   *sigh*   I will be making arrangements to either take it or ship it somewhere since we have no true camera stores within a few hours of here.   Meanwhile, I can continue editing photos I have already taken.   But what if I miss something really good?   Better get out my good little point and shoot so I can start practicing.

Last night's pretty sky was especially nice because our weather was cool.   I needed long sleeves when I went out to tuck in the chickens and donkeys.  Then I took my camera out for an evening stroll.    As I was standing outside capturing the sunset, the neighbor's son drove by.   So I put on my lens cap and stood there to avoid the dust on my camera.   He asked if everything was okay.   I said, Yes, but I'm dreaming of taking down this fence.   Of course I meant because it's always in my way when I'm shooting photos in that direction.   He kind of smiled at me like he didn't understand at all.   Crazy neighbor lady, right?   Ha!



Have a great Thursday.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Rural Scene

I looked back to my files from 2011 because I wanted to see what September looked like through my lens.   I found this photo, taken down our road, and did some editing in PicMonkey using one of Nancy's  (http://www.aruraljournal.com) textures.






I am sharing today with Rurality Blog Hop.


Rurality Blog Hop #31

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Muse

The beautiful coast provides enough inspiration to last a lifetime.   It can be the waves, the sand, the critters, the fog, or the plants that find a small space of their own.   This one's going on my wall.







Sharing today with Nancy


Monday, September 9, 2013

Lions and Tigers and....Seals and Zebras

I told you, more elephant seals.   




But I didn't mention that there were also zebras.   Hearst Ranch has had zebras for a long long time and sometimes you see the herd very near Highway 1.   Everyone stops to look and take photos.   Kind of amazing, isn't it?   To see them just living their zebra lives, not in a zoo?   Back in the day, there was quite a menagerie of animals.   Now, only the zebra herd is left to roam the hillsides.



I need to take my camera in for a good cleaning.   Oh dear, I hate the thought of being without it.   Better get out my point and shoot in case the hummingbirds show up at my new feeder.   Yes, my sister's photos have caused me to purchase one and hang it outside the kitchen window.   I hope we have at least one show up.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Waiting on Lunch?

Everyone was enjoying watching the elephant seals on the beach.   But some may have had ulterior motives...and hopes that one might not really be sleeping.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

O Sole Mio

This is just the start, my friends, of elephant seal photos.   Don't these gals look like they're singing on the beach?   Or telling jokes and laughing?   They have a tough life, these elephant seal gals, so they deserve a little fun when they can.



There are more....so many many more.   

Friday, September 6, 2013

Go Have Some Fun

Today is my birthday.   Please go have some fun.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Piedras Blancas

When Suzanne was here recently, she wanted to see the elephant seal viewing area.   We weren't entirely sure how far north it was and the afternoon was getting away from us.   Also, it was very foggy so it wouldn't have been the best day for seeing much.   I had a 100% free day yesterday, aside from taking care of the animals, so I took a drive to Cambria and north to San Simeon, in hopes of finding a pretty day.   I could not have been more satisfied.   I not only found the elephant seals, I found the most gorgeous spot for walking and taking photos.   Truly gorgeous!   This is the Piedras Blancas lighthouse just north of the viewing area.    I am definitely going to return....one day I might have that wide angle lens that I have on my mind.   






Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kelp Art

I have so many photos to share, I don't know where to begin.   So I am going to begin with these because I just think they're cool.   I was at San Simeon today and walked out on the pier.   As I got to the end, I looked over the south side and saw kelp growing out from underneath.   It was growing sideways rather than up from the bottom.   And it wasn't growing on the north side because it was reaching for the light.   Leaning over the side of the pier and looking straight down, it looked like art on a wall.   And so I am playing with the photos, as I like to do.   The white spots are from sunshine on the water.   I'm wondering what else I can come up with.   




I hope all is well with you!