Image

Photogenic Flowers and Photography 101

macro photo of dark red lily flower with orange pollen

The lilies are so beautiful this week in my yard, now that the rain has let up for several days in a row.  As I was loading these flower photos onto my computer and looking through posts in my blog reader, I noticed an announcement from WordPress that their Photography 101 class will be starting in a few days.  So, I talked myself into signing up…again.

Wordpress I participated in the class in March and enjoyed it, though it was a little too time-consuming since I was a freshly-budded photography enthusiast.  I’ve learned a lot since then about how to wield my Canon Power Shot S3 IS camera, so I thought I’d give Photo 101 another go.

I’m not expecting my images to be of better quality than last time.  I do believe, however, that I will be more efficient at taking satisfactory photos since I know more about which camera settings to choose for different situations.

Thank you to all those who gave me photography advice and answered my questions the last few months!  Over the next four weeks, you can be the judge of whether your time and effort spent on me was worth it.  🙂  Either way, please keep the tips and critiques coming!

macro photo of orange and yellow daylily bloom

Image

Seedlings in the Mulch — a spring garden photo gallery

Our garden is pretty bare for this time of year, due to unusually cold spring weather, but hope for a bountiful harvest grows with every seedling that sprouts.

In order to share my happy anticipation with you, I ran outside this evening, camera in hand, and captured these images during the precious “golden hour” that photographers love.  (Scroll over or click on the photos for more info.)

Two more photos from today are on the Scripture page of this blog.  One picture is, I think, the best macro photo I have ever taken of a honeybee!

~~~~~

You may have noticed that all our plants are growing in different types of mulch.  Our 40-foot-square garden has dedicated planting beds and paths.  I do not till, and since starting a new gardening method a year ago, I do not do much else either, other than plant and harvest!

Near the end of 2013, someone told me about a movie called the “Back to Eden: Simple Sustainable Solutions.”  It explains gardening methods that basically involve burying your garden under heavy layers of wood chip mulch and natural fertilizers to slowly improve soil quality over several years.

Here’s a link to the movie if you’re interested in watching.  Just scroll to the bottom of the page on their web site and click play.  The movie lasts a little over an hour and a half.

Here’s another link to a written version, if you’d like just the basic info on how to get started with this low-maintenance type of garden.

One important tip about growing a no-till, heavily-mulched garden:  BERMUDA GRASS is your worst enemy!

Bermuda loves the mulch even more than your veggies do and will spread through it like wildfire.  You cannot put mulch deeply enough to smother it.  I’ve seen it climb up through five-foot-tall round hay bales and happily spread out across the top.  When I first started making our raised beds, I actually buried long pieces of vinyl siding around the edges of my garden, which took care of 99% of the problem.  That was hard work, but looking back years later, I’d say it was well worth it.

With the bermuda blocked and the 6-inch layer of wood chip mulch on my garden (dumped into my yard for free by the city’s chipper truck), I rarely pulled a weed or watered all last season.  No sweltering in the summer heat and no weeds smothering the watermelon vines — beautiful!

no-till raised-bed garden with paths, covered in mulch, siding buried around edges

Here’s our garden earlier this spring with a fresh layer of aged horse manure and hay on the planting beds. The light brown stripes are the walking paths.  Along the front, you can see part of the white siding that is attached to the wooden edging.

Image

Critters and Varmints

critter

/ˈkrɪtər/

noun

1.  (US & Canadian) a dialect word for creature

— Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition

Having family in the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks, I’ve learned various “countryfied” words to add to my vocabulary.  Not that I actually use all of these words, but I do know a few funny ones such as:

  • “poke” (n. a sack or bag.  “Hand me that there poke and I’ll stick these taters in it fer ya so you can tote ’em home.”)
  • “sumpin” (n. something.  “Ma, I’m bored!  I need sumpin to do!”)
  • “ain’t”  (v. is not, are not, has not, have not…you get the idea.  “Ain’t you got supper ready yet?”)
  • “reckon” (v. think.  “You reckon we oughta head home?  It’s gettin’ purty late!”)
  • “feller” (n. a man.  “BillyBob?  Ain’t he that feller that bought BettySue’s old place down at Turkey Creek holler?”)
  • “purt-near” and “plumb” (adv. almost & adv. completely.  “I heard you was feelin’ puny.  You back to your old self yet?”  …  “Well, purt-near, but not plumb.”)

The list could go on for miles, but I’ll only mention one more one for you to enjoy:

varmint

[vahr-muh nt]
noun

Chiefly Southern and South Midland U.S.

  1. vermin.
  2. an objectionable or undesirable animal, usually predatory, as coyote or bobcat.

— Dictionary.com Unabridged (Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.)

Today I’d like to share recent photos of creatures that those in the Ozarks might label as “springtime critters and varmints“:

~~~~~POST SCRIPT~~~~~

After fencing in the garden to allow us to enjoy the bunnies AND fresh produce, I found out why she hung around the garden so often:  she had five babies hidden right in the center of my garden!  It’s crazy to me how wild rabbits make their nests in open areas; it makes me wonder how many I may have injured while using the riding mower in the yard.

Image

Spring Macro Photo Gallery

As I’ve said before, observing and interacting with nature adds joy to my life.  I’m in awe of the complex patterns and relationships in nature, the efficient recycling through stages of decay and regrowth, the balance of interaction between each member of a local ecosystem, and the ebb and flow of the seasons.

Spring is the season currently budding out in my neck of the woods!  Let’s get up close and personal with the beauty of this wonderful season…

When I’m attempting to capture such natural beauty with my camera, I often think about how the hand of our Great Designer can be seen in His intricate creations.