The garden is just beginning to bring forth what will be many blooming shrubs and flowers. One of my favorites is the Black Lace Elderberry. This shrub is best in a corner because it spreads up and sideways. In the spring it has these lovely light pink flowers amid the dark leaves. It requires light, but otherwise is a no maintenance addition to the garden. It thrives in heat and drought and looks good all season. Love it!
While traveling the backroads recently, I happened upon this cute little farm area. It sent me back many years to when my grandparents lived on a farm in the small town of Springer, Oklahoma.
My siblings and I were raised in the city and going to the farm was like leaving the country, even though it was only 100 miles away. This was a working farm where there were cows, horses, sheep, chickens and other assorted critters. My grandmother could go outside, find the right chicken and in a matter of moments, grab it, ring its neck and take inside to prepare for the freshest, best fried chicken ever.
We had fresh eggs, milk, butter and cream. Today all those food items would be deemed very unhealthy for us, but back then that is what people, and especially people on the farm, ate….and it was really good.
I remember one day I wandered down to where Gran was milking a cow. I was barefoot and managed to step into a big pile of cow poop. Fresh and warm it oozed between my toes and over my foot and I was aghast! I was hopping around and shaking my foot trying hard to get that stuff off. My grandmother, as calmly as possible without missing a beat, turned her milking towards me and sprayed my foot with warm milk fresh from the cow. Well, that just made it worse. I can still hear her laughing as I quickly made my way back to the farmhouse yelling for my mom to come and rescue me from this terrible fate.
Visits to the farm helped shape my life and reflecting on them gave me cause to ponder. It is a shame my children will never experience life on the farm. My grandparents are long gone and so is the farm.
I wish my children could experience the nights that were pitch black, but when looking up at the stars you could clearly see the constellations and an occasional falling star. The city is so bright one cannot appreciate how beautiful the heavens really are.
The nights are so quiet and yet terribly loud with the sounds of crickets, cicadas, frogs, coyotes howling and general rustlings. However, there are not cars, trucks, or sirens. It is a loud quiet that goes deep inside you.
We could go to the well and pump water, and it was the best tasting water. I can still taste how truly fresh and clean that water was.
Then there was always the outhouse. I was not a fan of using those facilities, but my grandparents did not have indoor plumbing for many years. My poor mom had to take me, no matter what time it was, because there was no way I was going out there by myself. There was that ever-present danger of the boogieman coming to get me, not to mention what might pop up out of the water and bite my butt.
I wish my children could experience life without all the bells and whistles. Our senses are bombarded all the time with something that glows in the dark. We have our phones, pads, laptops. My children have no idea how when a phone would ring, and you had no idea who it was until you answered it – and it was not a telemarketer.
I never felt safe, as my mother did, telling my children to go outside and not to come home until they heard her whistle. And when we heard that her whistle, we better get home fast. It is not safe for children to play up and down the block as we did as children.
We were city slickers and my children are city slickers and the farm is no longer an option. Very sad, because I wish my children had experienced life at a calmer, less frantic pace. There is not a chance they can even begin to realize that lifestyle, which is unfortunate because farm life is all but disappearing.
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow, what a ride!'”
This quote is taken from a Nissan commercial, but I don’t think they ever made a car quite like this.
This is probably our last snow for the year, but you never know. Now we are moving into tornado weather – ugh. When it snows I can snuggle up in the house and stay by the fire drinking hot cocoa. During tornado season, there is no relaxing.
In the woods behind the house the neighbor puts out encouragement for the deer to come. They come, of course, just never when we can see them.
We moved our blog from thebeautyofsisters.wordpress.com to our new website, thebeautyofsisters.com. Please excuse our mess while we are under construction, I am struggling with designing the new site to be a regular website as well as a blog.
We moved for more accessibility. WordPress.com seemed very restrictive both in using it and in trying to find other blogs we would be interested in following. It was not that intuitive. I hope designing this website proves a little easier and offers more options for designing and sharing content.
This is a creative project for Laura and I. We are trying to challenge ourselves to be more creative. We are constantly designing projects to help us improve our photography, be more conscious about food selection and creating great menus, and learning to be in the moment.
It would be great to have a ton of followers, but it is the process that I am getting the most out of.
So, it is about 20 degrees here and it has been snowing all day. I have yet to get out of my pajamas. I did finally get everything out of the dining room because a friend invited me to the “red carpet” opening of the a Denver Film Festival film and so I invited her to dinner here first.
I love a reason to finally get something accomplished that I have stalled and procrastinated with. So today, I was forced to find a home for everything in the dining room that was put there when the kitchen was painted. It felt good to get that room back. I now have the table set for Cream of Asparagus soup, a great loaf of bread with garlic I am roasting and the Basil Infused Olive Oil that Laura and I bought during an olive oil tasting while in Napa, plus some of the Domaine Chandon bubbly we had shipped home. Fortunately, I could spend the day cleaning and de-cluttering because I made the soup a week or so ago and froze it for a day like today. My daughter does not like this particular soup, so this is the perfect night to use it.
I am just very pleased with the clean house and the evening ahead. It will be a nice, warm dinner with a good friend followed by The Imitation Game about the man who cracked the code used by the Germans in World War 2. These kind of spontaneous get-togethers make me happy. I love having my friends over and wish I did it more often, but sadly, my house is almost always in some sort of disarray and all of my friends’ houses always appear to be in perfect condition.
But for now, the kitchen is clean, a cool new sign hangs on the wall that I found just yesterday on Antique Row, dinner was made ahead of time, the dining room is clear of clutter and looks welcoming and I have a nice evening ahead. I am going to need to bundle and layer up, but am still looking forward to it.
So last year as I walked into a Home Depot, an idea came to me about how Laura and I could work on our photography. We would take at least one photo every day for a year and post one and only one photo from every day onto Flickr accounts that only she and I could see. We started on November 1, 2013 and started taking photographs every day and then posting one of them to the Flickr account. Initially we were very good about taking the photo for each day and posting it the same day, but as time passed, we would get a few days behind on posting, but still had to take at least one photo every day. Some days were very challenging and given that it was fall/winter, we were stuck in our homes looking for something to take a picture of. There were a lot of holiday themed photos. My daughter would laugh at me wondering around the house at 9:30pm looking for something to take a photo of. Some of those photos had the look and feel of desperation, but some of them proved to be a great exercise in really finding creativity.
Over the 12 months we committed to this project, we tweaked the rules a little. After probably 3 months of “photo every day”, we started to add themes or exercises to each week. We worked with color, motion, textures and patterns, water, etc., in order to 1) give us something to focus on so we weren’t walking around aimlessly looking for a shot and 2) to force us to think about what would represent the theme well and how to work with our camera to capture a shot. We had some weeks that we got behind and then made new rules for how to get caught up, but we ended the year-long project on October 31st of this year with 365 photos in our Flickr Daily Photo Album. I am really proud of how we stayed committed and stuck with the project for a full 365 days. I learned a lot about my camera, I learned a lot about how to find an interesting photo; it was a good project and I am glad I had a sister who was willing to go along with the idea.
At the end of that first year’s project, we decided to also start this blog as a way of continuing with our photography, but expanding it to our other areas of interest that would add some variety to what we think about every day. I love the blog so far. We do not have any rules, we just blog whenever the moment hits us and we can post photos as well as other content.
However, we are supposed to be starting another year-long project centered on photography and I am finding it hard to get motivated to start. I need a fresh idea, I need inspiration, I need something to get me going. I am considering asking Laura if we should take a 2 month break and start the year on Jan 1. I need a creative breakthrough, I have photographer’s block. I’m tired of my house, I’m tired of my yard, I need a new perspective…Send help!
The great thing about photography is that I can see Laura and I continuing with it for many, many years to come. We plan on traveling together just so we can take photographs that we have time to plan and think about and work until we get a perfect photo. Non-photographers do NOT want to travel with you when you slow down for every possible photo and thus the photographer never really gets to work with their camera, the setting and the light to get that really awesome shot. I look forward to trips when we just park ourselves in a place that we will make a thorough photographic study of.
Now if creative inspiration would just float down and settle into the right side of my brain so I could get going on the current project….