Thursday, March 27, 2014

The good, the random . . . and a side of scary

Its been a busy week so far, what about you?
After the boy and I spent the day at the hospital for his infusion we got back
with just enough time for me to make a run to the nursery. I find on those days it's
always a good idea if I can go clear my head afterwards with the aid of my camera.

But, I got to talking to a teacher buying milkweed for herself and nearly 10 other
teachers. And then I ended up finding some black swallowtail caterpillar eggs on some fennel,
which I talked her into taking with her as well. Yeah!

So, I took my camera and decided to walk the birding trail real quick as the sun was going
to set soon. Note to self, don't go at dusk!

1. It was just going to be a short walk, down one side, over "the bridge" and back up the other side.
Of course I had to stop and take pictures of the bridge, and of course every person who went by
turned in the direction of the bridge to see what exactly I was photographing, even glancing several
times in case they missed something. Always makes me chuckle to myself.

 And while on the "other" side, I had to stop and get some pictures of the reflections in the water.

And on the other side of the tree I heard some splish splashing and at the same time I can hear rustling in the bushes on the path next to me. Squirrel, birds, maybe even the deer . . . 

2. And as I preceded to walk again I hear a very loud snorty grunt kind of sound coming from the rustling in the bushes . . . not the kind that comes from a squirrel or a deer, but the kind that comes from a very large 
wild hog. The ones that will chase you with razor sharp tusks and lightening speed. I'm not afraid of much, but friends, you have never seen me walk so fast. Yes, note to self, no more walks on the birding trail at dusk!

Of course I would have missed this had I not had to turn and go back the other way.

3. This is very random, but it's a pet peeve of mine when I see people throw their cigarette butts out of the car window. I've seen a lot of that this week....THEY ARE NOT BIODEGRADABLE. They wash down the sewers, make their way into streams and rivers and even into bird nests....they contain toxins.

4. It has officially been a week, there are now over 100 monarch eggs, and because the weather has been cooler they are taking a little longer to hatch, but it should be really soon! 

5. I had a Facebook friend post the best thing to my timeline yesterday, something related to #4. Since it's a cartoon and copyrighted I didn't feel right posting the actual picture here, so I'm sending you HERE to the picture on Facebook. I'm still laughing.... :)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend,
Love, Kim

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

awake in silence . . .

"In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light,
and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.
Our life is a long and arduous quest after truth."

- Mahatma Gandhi

{kk 2710}

"Silent Contemplation"

It doesn't need to be written
its song is unspoken

but it can be heard
in the keen observing

and felt
in deep contemplation

held in space
a moment at a time

it is a symphony
that lifts the veil between us and the truth

so that we can see
the world beneath the surface

without labels
or judgement

that we may be
awakened to life

We went to Victoria, TX for a day trip during spring break. It was anything but quiet, as it was lunch time in this Italian, family owned and operated, 120 year old cafe. We went because my daughter had located, in her genealogy research, the headstone of my great, great grandfather in a church cemetery. After his wife died, he accompanied his daughter and family to Texas where he lived his last 10 or so years before he died. It was just so surreal to stand there, gazing downward at the name of a virtual stranger to whom I was related. A tangible piece of my history.

And as my girl reminded me . . . since they most likely lived outside the city limits of Victoria, it would have been a treat for them to go into town, to eat at a restaurant no less. As we sat eating our lunch, I tried to take in all that was around me, wondering what it would have been like back "in the day" when they would have lived there. My camera sat on the edge of the small table, and I waited.

And then in that room full of people, among the chatter . . . I heard the silence. The image of the table may not be a glamorous shot, but in my quest for openness and intention it fully reflects the quiet of being completely present and receptive in matters of the heart. It became more than just a souvenir to take home with me, I was transported.

I feel awake in silence...what about you?

Love, Kim xo

sharing with Texture Tuesday, Sweet Shot Tuesday

Friday, March 21, 2014

Shouting from the rooftop . . .

She's here,
She's here,
She is here!

Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness in the truth
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do

And, sometimes when you are so happy you might even find a tear or two flowing down your cheeks.
Anyone who really knows me, knows that I have a lot of passion in my heart, and along with that
often comes passionate emotion. I feel things very deeply. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

But, I even surprised myself yesterday afternoon when I spotted my first monarch, a female, on a mission
to lay every single one of her (almost 300-400) eggs in my front yard, on the milkweed yet to be planted.
I hadn't expected to feel so much emotion about the returning of the monarch on their journey north.

It's a bit hard to tell from the photographs but she has some definite wear on her wings, and loss of scales
and is quite faded compared to a freshly emerged monarch.

She would rest in between laying eggs,

and then back to work she went, and you know what? I was in just the right spot and for the first time ever
as I watched her lay an egg I saw it come right out on to the leaf! Sigh.....

before I left for my son's track meet I roughly counted 40 eggs! And I know there were all from her,
since I've been checking for eggs daily.

Oddly, I never once saw her drink any nectar. They will lay only one egg per leaf (at a time) but, and sadly as I watched her circle my cul de sac looking for more milkweed and not finding any, she came right back to the 4 one gallon, and flat of 20 4 inch pots I had on my sidewalk. I haven't gone out to count yet this morning
but I did see last night when I got home more eggs in places they weren't before.

** Update: I have just finished my official counting**

98 eggs!

I officially DO NOT now have enough milkweed...must get seeds planted and in the meantime go get more milkweed...when I'm done with this in fact before the weekend rush!

Yes, shouting from the rooftop ....I'm clapping and singing Happy.....

Go forth my friends and plant milkweed, they are on their way!!!!

Love, Kim xo

sharing with Friday Finds

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A little of this and that . . .

"And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Happy first day of Spring!!
Not only do I love this time of year, but I LoVe this time of year.
I think our early Spring in Texas is to make up for such a late fall and hot, hot summer. 

1. Yesterday, when I was on the front porch a mockingbird flew in to a bush and then closer
to me, and then I took a step closer and started to whistle (if you can call it that) and he mirrored
it back exactly. And he would whistle and I would try to do the same back, and this went on
for at least five minutes. It was the most incredible, but strangest thing ever.

(click to see it larger on Flickr)

2. Well, what do ya know, I have my first caterpillar of the season...a black swallowtail. It hatched on
Tuesday on my fennel and it measured a whopping 2 mm!! I had to use a magnifying glass to measure it. And by yesterday it had already grown to 3 mm. Today it is nearly 4.5 mm! Happy dance.....

3. Is this not the craziest looking stuff...I found this hair cap moss growing and sprouting on the rocks that
border my flower beds. Yep, it's that time of year when the crazy lady with her camera takes pictures
of Lord knows what laying in the most peculiar of positions in her front yard. Let the fun begin (and the puzzling looks) lol!

4. The last time I was at the nursery I decided to take a little rest in one of the Adirondack rockers
and as soon as I sat down I noticed there on the arm, this cute little blue metallic beetle. Boy can these things walk fast!! It would be safe to say I didn't get that rest. ;)

5. As I've been watching the bees again, I wonder how DO they know exactly where to go on each flower
to find the nectar? There are some that just don't make it easy... I love how the buds are all pointing towards
the bee.

I'm still waiting patiently for the monarchs to show up, but haven't seen a one yet. When I check the migration map I see that people have spotted them along the coast of Texas and as far north as the Hill country. I have such anticipation I can hardly stand it and I'm checking daily for eggs. 

Well, that's a wrap on my random news this week- what have you been up to?

Oh my friends, I have a monarch update, click ------> here !

Love, Kim

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Texture Tuesday . . . color

"Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature." - Gerard de Nerval

Flowers are not only beautiful, but they serve a role in our ecosystem that is so very
important. They attract birds and insects that act not only as pollinators but they also keep away
predators so that the plants themselves can aid the birds and insects in their own growth.
A win, win in my book.

Did you know that in a bees lifetime she will make only 1/12th teaspoon of honey and
that it takes about 60lbs. of honey to sustain a bee hive through the winter months. a lot of flower visits to be sure.

So go forth my friends, and plant lots and lots of flowers!! ;)
That's a win, win for us too!

You can join me over at Focusing on Life today, sharing signs of Spring.

Love, Kim

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Abstract flower art . . . and random stuff

It's Photo Art Friday this week, the monthly theme is . . . abstract flowers!
And well, abstract just happens to be my fancy right now.

Rather than working with textures to make the photos abstract, I chose to
abstract the flowers and then add textures to enhance the photo.
All three of these photos are ICM (in camera movement) in combination with
slow shutter speed and manual focus. Yes, there is a lot of practice needed
with this technique and a lot of clicks to get the right one.

{I used Bonnie's texture creative canvas}

I hope you don't fall off your chair from the exciting things I have to share with you . . . it's been a rather slow week.

1. It was nearly 80 degrees this weekend, and we got quite a lot of garden clean up done. Trimmed 2 oak trees, 2 palm trees (okay, I watched), and I trimmed nearly 30 bushes. On Sunday night, we dropped down to 20 degrees....WHAT?

2. Yep, I've got another sinus and double ear infection. I think this is number 5 since last November and
it's getting really old. But, the steroid shot I got has really helped my wrist after all that trimming, bonus!

{This is a combination of three very similar ICM photos also with her textures creative canvas, vintage craquelure and antique me}

3. It would be safe to say that we have a huge, gigantic, enormous problem in this country with health care costs when the cost of your son's ongoing treatment (for one day and before "insurance adjustments") are the same as a new car, let's say a Hyundai Accent. And since I don't have anything else nice to say about that, I'll just leave it ... at that.

4. I was extremely happy to see all my lizard friends this weekend sunning themselves. I had to relocate some of them that my husband found still in the palm fronds that had been trimmed off and set out for
the garbage. This time of year they seem to especially love sitting on my hand or arm because of the warmth.

{Bonnie's textures meadow grasses, flowering texture and sunset supreme}

5. This is the best one of all - Spring break is next week so you know what that means . . . my girl is coming home. We will just be spending it at home and hopefully we can make it to the Houston Livestock and Rodeo while she is here. Turkey legs and funnel cake, yum!

You may not see me here next week as I think I'm going to take a blog Spring break with my kids.
One of the things I would love to do is drive down to Victoria to see the head stone of someone (of whom I can't remember, lol) that my daughter found in our family tree! :)

So, until next time....
Love, Kim xo

sharing with Little Things Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Photo Art Friday
Random Five Friday

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Photo Heart Connection, February

Why, oh why, oh why....
do we not, until we can't,
 ask those questions,
about the things we didn't know
we would want to know until now.

Answers to the questions
we didn't know to ask, until we couldn't.
Because we didn't know we would want to know
until later.

{KK textures 1216 and Anna}

I was drawn in by the gold edges on the pages that reflected back on the table.

This was my grandfather's bible, the leather cover around the edges quite worn and tattered. But the all pages and binding are still in really great condition. On the front of the bible it has his name imprinted in gold lettering and on the side it says that it's a teacher's edition . . . I can't help but wonder if it might have been a gift. And on the occasions that I went to church with my grandparents on sleepover weekends, I do vaguely remember him carrying this bible with him.

You know, when we're young we just have no earthly idea how important family legend is. Story, with all the connections, and traditions that will eventually give shape to who we are and where we came from. A unique sense of who we are through history, through a span of generations.

When I see the reflection of those gold pages, it just reminds me of all the questions I wish I had known to ask. Even the simplest of things like what life was like when they grew up, advice on marriage and raising kids, to writing down how my grandpa made his vegetable soup and their best gardening tips. I am fortunate enough to have my grandmothers 5 year dairy which gives insight to their dating years. You can read an excerpt of it here. (Patience is a virtue, a love story)

Within the last year or so, after receiving some ancestral information on my dad's side my daughter became quite interested and has done extensive research on my moms side specifically my grandfather's {"Poppy"}. And much to our surprise she found a book on Amazon about my 6x great grandfather Adam Spach, which includes a short autobiography and memoirs of he and his wife and 170 pages worth of his descendants through a span of six generations. That's 2,488 in total of direct descendants and another 1,699 people who married into the family.

That's a lot of people from one couple and it certainly makes one think considering everyone we meet has a past and connections and a story. You can't help but wonder if you have ever unknowingly met someone that you have a real connection with and then wonder if you might be part of their story too. 

And speaking of reflections, its our new theme over at Focusing on Life, and I'm continuing the muse over there today with a slightly different twist. I would love for you to join me over there today as well. 

Happy Tuesday all-
Love, Kim

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