Tuesday, April 21, 2015

To marvel at . . .

. . . everything!

"All God's creations great and small,
the Golden Gate and the Taj Mahal..."

- The Miracle by Queen

"The Golden garden gate"

"We're having a miracle on earth, mother nature does it all for us. . . 
The wonders of the world go on . . ."

. . . and on and on whether or not we are paying attention.
Slow down and observe.

"If every leaf on every tree, could tell a story that would be a miracle. . . "

I would be the first one in line to buy that book!
And what a story it would tell about photosynthesis...a miracle all by itself.
So much going on inside that leaf, a life force.
Slow down and appreciate.


"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is." - Albert Einstein

So often we (I), associate miracles with being on a grand scale...like when our kids were born, or someone survives a really horrible car crash. Or when a tornado wipes out a town and there are no fatalities. 

But the reality is, a million little miracles happen to each of us every single day and probably go unnoticed as such. Maybe, or more likely, a lot of them are things we might associate with as mere annoyances (like hitting every red light). Things that put us in the right place at the right time, that connects us with someone else, that keeps us from harms way. Because timing is everything.

We probably even think of them as more of a coincidence rather than miracles.

But you know, I imagine something really incredible, even miraculous perhaps, would happen if we chose to live all our moments as if they were miracles. Maybe even something called gratitude, because gratitude changes the heart for sure, and it doubles that thing called joy.

Love, Kim

Friday, April 17, 2015

A new adventure . . .

. . . with lego girl!

Call me a bit of a nerd, but I have always wanted a lego person, with a camera!

So, ta da, meet lego girl (she is a Nikon gal too)  ;)
I probably should give her a name (and pink highlights), any good ideas?

She has already had quite the adventure and I will be sharing here as
well as on instagram (kimatpickingpoppies).

So earlier in the week I found this fella at the gas pump. All excited, I ran into the gas station and asked the attendant if I could have an empty cup or anything to take this guy home in for a photo op. I was pretty sure it was a type of tussock moth caterpillar, just wasn't sure which kind.

Well, it's not exactly the kind you want to run into because those are urticating (or stinging) hairs. They have a venom (they aren't really poisonous) that can cause some pain and irritation depending on individual reactions. I believe this is a fir tussock moth caterpillar, and they love oak trees.

Now, later in the week, I stopped to get some soup at La Madeleine and when I came back out the side entrance, I spotted another one, and another one, and then I noticed they were all over the table, and on the building and well, they were crawling everywhere. There were even some dangling by a silk thread from the overhang over the exit door I just walked out of. Then I found it, the host tree on the corner, an oak. I walked back to my car and they were crawling on my car, and the cars next to me, and they were dropping from the tree I parked under! I have to say I was a little freaked out to get in my car, and I don't get that way often. But it was a caterpillar apocalypse.

I had my camera in the car, so I tried to get a picture (hard through a slanted and tinted window). You can see some of the bigger ones, but there are smaller ones that are harder to see, and those blobs in between the bark, those are cocoons. And just in the last day or so, I've found two of these guys on my front porch and I'm a little nervous because we have two live oaks in our front yard....I keep checking them and haven't see any on the tree so far, but I have noticed the wasps are quite interested in something up there. And while I'm not fond of wasps because they eat my monarch caterpillars, I might just add them to my friends list if they help keep this one out of my trees.  

I love to photograph water, any kind, fast, slow, from an ocean or a fountain it doesn't matter. And the other day while at my favorite nursery I found a fountain where the light was hitting just right and as the water was drip, drip, dripping....it shared some wisdom with me. I will share that snippet with you in a later blog post.

On the caterpillar front, I have some monarchs, but things haven't exactly started out so great. Two stalled in the middle of their pupation, and some have died in various instars. I can't seem to keep up with the chalcid wasps who find the eggs before I do and parasitize them. And yeah, back to those wasps....I took a plant outside and I had only been out for 5-10 minutes when I was distracted by something and came back to find one of the caterpillars had met a horrible death.

sigh.....being a caterpillar mom is hard, and heartbreaking, and frustrating.

But on a fun note, I saw a polydamas butterfly visiting my pipevine and was so hoping she would stop and lay some eggs....and she did....almost 50 of them! I love raising those guys, so much easier. So since it's still early, my pipevine hasn't grown back that much yet and I ran to get a few more of the smaller one, the fimbriata and I only hope it will be enough!

I'm hoping for good weather tomorrow, even though it says 80% rain, since my son
who is coaching 6th grade 7 on 7 football has their state championship tournament tomorrow.
Cross your fingers, we have three games.

That's my random finds for the week and I hope you have a stellar weekend!

Love, Kim

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Soak up the sun . . .

"I"m gonna soak up the sun
while it's still free
I'm gonna soak up the sun
before it goes out on me."

-Soak up the Sun (by Cheryl Crow)

It seems lately, all the sun does is go out under the cloud cover.
And it's certainly not been the shining star (get it) of the sunrise these days either. :)

So I had to go back a few months, to last year really, 
for a sunrise where the sun wasn't so shy, or lost.

I've heard rumors that people like to wake up to Folgers in their cups,
me, I like to wake up to sunshine in my day....everyday.

[KK 1216]

And at least, when the sun can't get around all that cloud cover, there is always the blanket flower to act as an understudy!

Hope this finds you in a sun shiny day (we have a 10 day forecast of mostly rain),

*P.S. -  I almost forgot, I am over at Focusing on Life today musing about our {Flower Theme}. We are like flowers....Music of the Earth.

Love, Kim

sharing with Texture Tuesday, Song-ography, Sweet Shot Tuesday, Roses of Inspiration

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

You see, I've been through the desert . . .

. . . on a horse with no name

On the first part of the our journey #2500mi
I was looking at all the life #frommycarwindow
There were plants and birds and rocks and things #mostlyrocks
There was sand and hills and rings #norings

-A Horse With No Name by America

The thing about vacations is, that when you haven't been on one in a while (a long, long while), you might try to cram too much into your allotted time frame. The downside to that is you just don't get enough time in any one place, but the bonus to that (and thankfully there is one), is that you get to see many things and then you can decide where you want to go back and spend more time. 

This is one of those places for me....

This was our last day in Arizona before heading back home and we had just finished a tour through a slot canyon and this place was only 10 minutes from there. And I'm SO glad we didn't decide to skip this!

Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon

When we arrived at the parking lot, we were at the bottom of a large hill.  Once we climbed the hill (thank you new hiking shoes) we quickly realized there would be some more walking involved until we reached the awe-inspiring bend in the Colorado River. About 1.5 miles round trip to be exact, up and down a very sandy hill and across a sandstone incline.

So away we went....and if you look really, really closely (you might need a magnifying glass) you can see dots of people way in the distance. There are some even sitting and standing that very large sandstone hill on the right. And beyond that are the Paria Plateau and Vermillion Cliffs. 

As we got closer to the bottom it got a little bumpier as it alternated between the sand and the slopping Navajo Sandstone. Now you can see those people a little better. Sure gives a perspective of how far away 3/4 of a mile is.

So, one thing you should know about me is that I'm deathly afraid of heights. I get chills up and down the backs of my legs and feel a bit disoriented, and just looking at a picture will do the same thing. And, you have to understand that there are NO railings here whatsoever...you are on your own, at the mercy of a gust of wind or someone else standing close to you. This explains why my son went on ahead of us...he was sparing me some stress, and he has heard the lecture of how NOT to stand too close to the edge. Really, the whole thing just freaks me out.

And the next thing I know, my daughter hands my son her phone and says take a picture of me laying within an inch of my life on a narrow strip of sandstone? Seriously?

So, I find a spot that gives me enough room to get this shot without (hopefully) rolling off the edge myself, 'cause I do get in the zone when I have that camera up to my eye! 

She says to me...mom, this view is amazing and very peaceful. And then I think to myself...I didn't come 2500 miles, and trudge all the way down here to be a coward.

So you know what? I said what the hell and I handed my girl my camera and starting about 5 feet away I laid down and crawled to edge. And you know what...it was so beautiful and peaceful, and awe-inspiring. And then I performed my biggest feat of all...she handed me my camera and I put the strap around my neck, and I leaned into the landscape...and I'm still here.

Because you can't get this view...unless you are within an inch of your life, or the edge. And the only thing I was wishing for at this point was a wider lens. But I was just in a canyon prior to this where they were throwing sand and I wasn't about to change my lens without a blower. And by the way, it's 1000 feet straight down to the bottom, to that gorgeous Colorado River. See that white fleck near the edge of the bank on the right side, that's a large boat.

It's almost mind blowing to know that after the Colorado Plateau uplifted 5 million years ago that the river after being trapped, cut through this rock, and not only that but it created a 270 degree bend in the canyon.

And somewhere on the river below the dam, there is a panel of petroglyph left by Ancestral Puebloans over 800 years ago. Putting that on the checklist for next time.

On our way back up, and as an excuse to catch my breath, I tried to take in as many details as I could.

I was fascinated by these rock sculptures that were very meditative. I couldn't help but wonder who had put them there.

And how they don't blow over in the strong winds, or get knocked over by wildlife.

And then we finally made it back up to the top, and I sat under this gazebo to rest. 

I have to admit, going back up sorta felt like a stress test!

It had also been a long, busy week and we were all tired.

(KK 1217 music)

And as I was sitting there, and getting one last view of where I had just been, it hit me all of a sudden. And I know this is chronologically out of vacation order, but the whole trip even though it was amazing and fun, was a little hurried for me...the wanderer. I just didn't feel like I had the time to explore and discover, and even though I personally would have loved to stay here a little longer, this is where I finally found that moment of peace and tranquility. 

The place where I reached out and conquered a real fear, and it felt powerful. But just to be clear, I'm still afraid of heights.

"Take risks. Ask big questions.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes;
if you don't make mistakes, you're
not reaching far enough." - David Packard

Have a great day!
Love, Kim

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