- The weirdo cat who likes roasted nori.
- My perfect little pretty little early morning sliver moon.
- Three straight days of running. And running the entire distances (2.2 miles, 1.5 miles, 2.2 miles respectively). Booyah!
- Also, puppy breaks at the end of good runs. What a wonderful way to end a run than to be loved all over by puppies!
- Curious cows
- Going out to breakfast, a rare joy and something that is just so fantastic. The early morning coolness, a cup of hot tea, bacon, eggs (over medium) and toast with jelly. Perfection!
- This article is helpful when I find myself feeling disconnected from others and feeling angry/annoyed/hateful at others. It’s *SO* hard sometimes to make that space, but feeling that lovingkindness and connection is better most times than that angry hatefulness and disconnection that I feel probably too much of the time. Disconnection bad. Connection good.
- How to make friends when you’re ‘old.’ Making friends out in the middle of the boonies adds an extra level of challenge seeing as there aren’t so many conveyor belts out here, but thankfully I’ve managed to find a couple people that I enjoy spending time with out here too. It’s definitely different now, older and distance challenged.
- Manon Wethly’s Instagram photographs of airborne beverages (in Europe)
- I really enjoyed the movie Oblivion, but it was the M83 score and Susanne Sundfør that really tore me up (in a good way). I’m a sucker for electronic shoegaze, for sure.
- Anticipation of The Great Gatsby feast and movie!
- I’ve come across this sign on the Internet several times lately, and it makes me laugh til I snort every single time.
- Zach Braff screwing around. *snort*
- Cool storm cloud exhaust wind and seeing the rain column heading straight for us. I’ll take that any day of the week!
- A perfect weekend ended by a perfect day. Gardening, community BBQs and auctions (where I picked up really awesome stuff), feed run, gorgeous thunderstorms, beautifully misty sunrise, hay replenishment, the redneck engineering of fixing the center hitch in the truck (I will likely never complain about redneck engineering again!), a really awesome farmer’s tan, a bunch of sunshine and getting good and stinky from good, hard work.
- Someone on the Internet mentioned cutting open glow sticks and pouring them in bubble solution, but I’ve heard that it doesn’t work as well as you want it to. Still, the concept sounds absolutely fantastic.
- One of the things that I got at the auction I am so pleased with I cannot wait to get more. Vanilla scented wax flameless LED candles. And the best part is that you turn them on, they stay on for 5 hours, then turn themselves off. Then 19 hours later, they turn themselves back on for another 5 hours! They flicker, give a nice soft light and it’s just perfect for around the tub, or as a nightlight, or just wherever you need more ambiance.
- 55 Gentle ways to take care of yourself when you’re busy. I make time to take care of myself: take my vitamins, brush my teeth, listen to some good Spotty stations while I’m working, make myself a fresh green smoothie for breakfast, make a to-do list so I don’t forget things, take a half hour to sit and meditate, and go for a run.
- I need to remember to speak kindly to myself. Some days things just seem to pile up, but it’s all in my head, making things out to be bigger deals than they are. Bit by bit, I am working to retrain my brain for more helpful ways of thinking than just flailingly bashing things about.
- The most amazing latte art
- 3 years of the sun in 3 minutes
And a composite image of 25 images spanning a year:
- Since May 2008 this dad has been drawing on his kids’ sandwich bags with a Sharpie marker.
- Fresh, perfectly ripe raspberries, covered in chocolate sauce as a post lunch dessert on any given Tuesday.
- Riding around the neighbor’s 300 acres for a purpose (looking for my cows) and while returning several hours later beat up, scratched up, sore and filthy, still having had a pretty good ride despite all of it. It was somewhat exciting thinking I might get lost, but then again, all I’d really have to do is head for a fence line and follow it home. I did get to see a lot of wildlife, deer, turkeys, buzzards, rabbits, mice, lizards and armadillos.
- Four tiny baby armadillos, curious and sniffing (and licking my boot?!)
- Happy list!
- San Andreas Fault – Palmdale Road Cut
- Bluebonnet Festival street fair in Ennis.
- Wine tastings, getting drunk in the afternoon, then going back to the B&B to sit and watch the sun set. My camera battery ran out of juice, so I got to watch it through my own two lenses instead of my camera’s.
- Catching bubblegum pink skies at sunrise, then watching it kiss the bluebonnet-filled hillsides.
- Lounging on the hanging day-bed reading magazines and drinking tea for several hours.
- Driving the bluebonnet trails, grilling steaks for dinner, sitting out with fire TV and taking a dip in the hottub before bed. A great evening!
- Bastrop’s wildflower and pine tree perfume is heady and wonderful. Mix in burgers on the grill as we passed The Roadhouse, and I’m so in love.
- Studies to prove the theory of hanging out with people who you’d like to be like, as opposed to people you do not want to be like.
- If an armadillo crosses my path as I’m finishing up my first full 20 minute run (as in I ran the entire time) since last summer, does that mean good luck? I’m just going to go ahead and call it that, I suppose I don’t really care if it is or not.
- Feeding three calves at a time by The Pioneer Woman. This made me laugh so much, mostly because I know what tiny baby calf tongues are like.
- You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. Simply beautiful.
- I keep seeing gorgeous photos of the Canyonlands and Arches National Parks show up in my facebook feed and I love them so. I’m looking forward to someday getting there and being able to hike and see it for myself.
- I also keep seeing photos of the Oregon coast that make me want to make it a destination sometime soon.
And after a really good weekend this weekend, very satisfying, very restoring-my-faith-in-everything, very productive, I present my favorite pictures from the bluebonnets last weekend (which are also photos that restore my faith in the fact that perhaps I CAN take good photos sometimes).
I love bluebonnet season so much. And we’ve started a regular yearly event of going to Ennis to drive the trails and take pictures of the bluebonnets. Funny enough, I never did get any pictures of me or the family in the bluebonnets this year, I was too busy either enjoying them, or being behind the camera to get any.
Hailing from up north, bluebonnets are such a treat to me, such a very special lupine. Once you wander through acres of them and can actually *smell* them wafting towards you, the yearly trek is something that I so look forward to, especially now that I’ve got the best place to stay in Ennis!
When combined with the oranges of the Indian Paintbrush, the pinks of the Evening Primrose, the purples of the purple prairie verbena, yellow of coreopsis, it’s a sea of color right along the sides of every road!
This year, I spent much more time just laying in the fields, on my belly, watching the wind make them dance, watching the kids and the dogs and the adults frolic through the flowers just basking in their ephermera.
Yesterday morning, I walk outside to milk the cow like every morning – a little late because I was sleepy – and happen to glance over at the horse pasture to see what the commotion was about and lo and behold if there weren’t more cows in the pasture than I left last night! I knew that at least one, possibly two of the Dexter’s were carrying after their rendevous last summer with the Longhorn bull that bust through the fence to get to the girls repeatedly, but I wasn’t sure when they were bred or when they might be due – just thumb-in-the-air guessing of potentially last week for the first one. So it was an unexpected surprise when just like that, there was a baby calf running around.
Everyone was running around, including the baby calf who was being shepherded by the very watchful and protective donkeys. They kicked out at anything that tried to get close, including the momma cow. So we separated all the rest of the cows and the donkeys out to the freshly fixed side pasture, put the horses in the pen to be fed and then I bodily carried the calf up to the trap at the top of the pasture with momma cow Dixie hot on my heels. As a newsflash, baby calves are *heavy*. Even newborns. He felt heavier than carrying a 50 pound bag of feed, that’s for sure. A lot more wiggly too. And I’m paying for it today.
I haven’t been able to determine if he was nursing, I hadn’t seen him nurse effectively, so I met up with the vet to get a bag of colostrum to bottle feed him and went out there to sit on him and teach him to use a bottle.
When it was all said and done, an hour later I was covered head to toe in colostrum replacer, calf spit, poop and mud and dirt. He only got maybe a couple cups of it actually IN him, but would suckle my fingers, albeit lazily. After we finished, I did see him go up to his momma and root around and suckle a couple of teats but only for four or five sucks, then he would lose interest. We had the vet come and tube him last night to get colostrum in him, and I tried to bottle feed again today with no luck. Dixie is getting restless and he still doesn’t seem to be nursing well, we’ll have to see how things go with him over the next couple of days.
I got an email early last week as I was sitting at my desk working that said that the B&B that I had tried to book for my family a month ago had a last minute cancellation and was anyone interested in 2 nights for that very weekend. Well, having checked out their webpage previously, knowing the amazing location of the place and the fact that it was peak bluebonnet peeping season, I jumped on that email like it was on fire. And then I called and left a message just to be sure that I covered all my bases.
You see, Winding Ridge Bed and Breakfast is situated right along one of the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails, right along my favorite stretch of road, beautiful rolling hills with vast sweeping views of countryside and spectacular acres of blues. The Bed and Breakfast itself is situated on 20 or so acres, a long windy driveway up to the house up on a ridge, acres of grassy fields dotted with giant swaths of bluebonnet clusters and a draw down at the bottom full of frogs that peep at you as soon at the sun starts going down. The sun comes up and lilts it way through the windows into the bedrooms and lights the kitchen up and living room up with honey colored light on the leather couches and rustic furniture as it sets. Two bedrooms and two full baths, both with claw footed tubs, and everything you could want. A swinging daybed on the back porch to spend all day reading while lounging, or to swing slowly while you watch the sun slip down the sky.
As you walk in from the garage, the living room and kitchen stretch out. Everything so perfectly appointed, the high ceilings and rafters making the space seem huge. The kitchen so inviting – the island looked to be made out of reclaimed wood – it had a farmhouse feel, but with a Keurig coffee maker and modern convenience.
The bathrooms were dreamy. I brought with me a Lush goodie box and lay in that tub for hours late the one night. So, also…check out the floor in all these pictures. Looks like wood, right? It’s concrete! They pressed the board forms into the concrete to make it look (and feel) like an old wood board floor, but it’s not. Absolutely amazing!
Light poured into the guest bedroom especially when the sun rose.
The master bedroom was just as inviting. The sheets and comforters were soft and felt so deliciously decadent. The fireplace had little glowing candles that automatically turned on via a timer and ran through the night while we fell asleep. The tin ceiling tiles on the walls were great decoration – very clever!
The entire weekend was wonderfully lazy. We unloaded all of our stuff, then we went to the winery up the road and got tipsy on wine tasting only to come home to grill ourselves some dinner and drink some more wine and watch the sunset. Sunday, I woke early to watch the sun rise, then went back to sleep til 10 (decadence!) After a late breakfast al fresco, I laid on the hanging daybed on the back porch and caught up on my magazines while drinking hot tea, and eventually we went to check out the bluebonnet trails. That evening was perfect with grilled steaks, watching fire TV in the firepit and hot-tubbing under the moon before bed.
Sunrise was stunning Sunday morning. Little pink clouds, slow, soft light creeping over everything. I was sleepy and ended up spending most of my time just sitting, watching the light creep over everything.
Later that evening, I sat and watched the sun set through the trees, filtering the light in a most pleasing way onto the patch of bluebonnets down the hill from the house.
I cannot wait to go back again to stay there. So much so that I called her and booked for next year already. And any time I have reason to escape and need an out-of-town break, I’m going to stay there if possible.
- Even as this has been one of the hardest months (or three or four), there is always, ALWAYS little good things that abound. Tiny moments, little things every single day that bouy me back up. And for each and every one of these, and for the ones that don’t get documented and the people that help make some of them happen for me, I am ever so thankful every single day.
- I just watched this tiny little finch fly down within 10 feet of me, shred apart a stray tuft of Tex’s shaved hair that blew over here and fill her beak with it. It was the most hilarious thing I’ve seen today, with all that hair sticking out of her beak, she had this big, bushy, red, walrus-like mustache!
- More adventures with Faintly the Goat. Is she bigger than a village?
- Rodeo! Piglet races, bottomless mugs of root beer, fried everything, spin-and-puke rides, cotton candy sticking to my fingertips, dancing charros, jumping dogs, and screaming “SPUR! SPUR! SPUR!” to the bronc busters and bull riders (and the look on my sister’s face like, “who the hell are you?!”) I like the closeness of the Austin rodeo. I felt like I was *right there.*
I choose Joy every day.
- Watching the other work (Jess Lee – Western Photographers)
- Make a toy out of a drawing! (A company called Child’s Own) – I wish they had this when I was a kid!
- Somehow, I knew that a walk in the brisk air, down my sweet country road, past a giant field of bluebonnets, evening primrose, red phlox and the light of the evening sun and the rising moon would set everything right. There is nothing that I don’t absolutely love about all of this. The Texas spring in the slanting golden light is a balm to my soul, my mind and body.
- After a really hard day, fresh salsa and tortilla chips and an avocado margarita was seriously the best thing I had put in my face all week.
- Wind Draperies in Namibia by Paul Godard
- Durango made the Smithsonian’s list of 20 Best Small Towns of American 2012. I *love* Durango. I would so move there. Though maybe soon I won’t have to go all the way to Durango to get my steam train fix.
- Puzzle night with the family. Yes, I realize that’s fairly common, but not for me and I really enjoyed having all of us around the table poring over it.
- An easter full of hot tea, fancy brunch and family.
- There is nothing, absolutely nothing better than coming home to our house, our property, my sweet cows lowing at me, a fantastic drink in my hand, the evening settling in after an amazing sunset and the stars peeking out. It is home. Unabashed, unparalleled, unbelievably comforting and healing and absolutely and unquestioningly where I belong.
- Our new farm babies, four bourbon red turkeys.
- A list of things that make me happy after a really rough day.
- My favorite songs turned up LOUD in the car.
- A warm wind when I’m chilled, a cool one when I’m warm.
- The smell of flowers in the air.
- The smell of rain and ozone.
- A turkey dinner in April, put on by the lovely ladies of our community.
- Bearing witness to the happy legal joining of two lives, and being able to give them the gift of photos to remember it by.
- Feeling like part of something bigger, part of the community.
- Knowing that I’ve got people to help me when I stumble and help pick me up when I fall, who love me even when I’m crazy and impossible.
- Relaxation plans.
- My moon, she is so loverly. My sweet, sweet moon.
- Handmade holster bags that are awesome.
- “May you always do what you are afraid to do.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (and I have been doing so many things that I am afraid of, I keep pushing myself to grow and learn and face those things that I am afraid of.)
- 21 tips to keep your shit together when you’re depressed
- How to find the way – “This spectrum … doesn’t quite equate with mood, or with happiness even. It has more to do with how reactive you are, how self-absorbed your view, how much you are in your own way, in any given moment.”
- Working late with homemade gatorade and tortilla chips (a far cry from the Mountain Dew and Doritos of my old all-nighters).
- Speaking of, 8 homemade vitamin water recipes.
- Make your own aromatic cocktail bitters. Don’t mind if I do!
- The cure for what ails you,homemade honey, lemon, ginger cold remedy
- Three dimensional paintings.
- Tips for photographing the night sky.
- Fly spray recipe from my friend at Star Creek Country.
- Homemade tallow hard lotion bars from my friend Wardeh.
- That moment, that exact minute that the cold front swoops through and the temperature drops 15 degrees, the wind picks up and it starts to rain.
- It was one of the hardest classes I’ve ever taken, mostly due to my inherent fear of drowning (I had a lot of mental talking-down-from-the-edge all weekend), but I took and passed the Swiftwater Rescue Technician class.
- “I brought my own PFD to class. Well, I guess they’d be PFDDDs to be honest.”
- Finishing the class, then going out for steak, mojitos and key lime pie, then going home to sleep for 12 hours to make everything better.
- Whirling and swirling clouds, tornado skies and the biggest hailstorm I’ve ever seen. (And having a structure fire call ten minutes after the storm blew through!) The hail missed us (my garden is thankful), but tore about the small town about 4 miles up the road.
- A Jake on a tractor.
- I love The Postal Service so hard, and NPR had a great spot on them.
- Take a virtual tour of the Grand Canyon with Google Imagery. Also, underwater Street View.
- Absolute perfection looks (and sounds) like me sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair with a glass of amaretto while a thunderstorm rolls in surrounded by chickens and the peal of all the wind chimes.
- World’s Quietest Room – anechoic chamber
- Moonrise test shot timelapse, so pretty.
- To the person who added a little something to my packaging of the book they sent me from Alaska off of paperbackswap.com, thank you.
- The Science of How Your Mind-Wandering Is Robbing You Of Happiness.
- Photographic height/weight chart which is unexpected and very interesting.
- Earl Grey Almond Yogurt Cake
- I’m endlessly amused when I’m in town and people look at my dirt and shit covered boots and say, “Oh! Your boots look so authentic!”
-“A desire arises in the mind. It is satisfied immediately and another comes. In the interval which separates two desires a perfect calm reigns in the mind. It is at this moment freed from all thought, love or hate. Complete peace equally reigns between two mental waves.” ~ Swami Sivananda
- Scary and beautiful.
- The blissful, amazing, visually stunning, amazing Sigur Ros concert. Left me absolutely agog.
- Amazing numbers of simply magnificent sunsets and sunrises.
- As I was directing traffic around the major collision, the clouds parted a bit to reveal a cerulean patch of sky and the quarter moon shown down on me bringing me an instant feeling of peace and calm amid the chaos. Also, the wind blowing through my sweat soaked hair after I took my helmet off.
- Lunch with a friend when I needed some good company.
- My sweet sleepy cows when I get home late.
- A 24 hour pecan vending machine just outside of Bastrop. I’m not sure who it is that would think, “Well hell. Where can I get a pecan cluster and a pound of nuts at 3:30am?!”
- T Rex making a bed (origin unknown – it’s all over the Internet now though)
- Sometimes there is nothing better than coming home and climbing into your own bed.
- A usable training round pen!
- The other day, in the midst of all the stress, I witnessed some really great clouds with virga (rain that doesn’t reach the ground) that was caught by the wind and blown almost horizontal. It was really fascinating. A couple of the rain columns got caught in some turbulence and made squiggly lines in the sky. (you can’t tell very well from the picture, but those are low cumulus cloud with a definite rain column getting swept sideways – they look like cirrus clouds but aren’t)
- Country traffic: having to stop for a flock of turkeys or a herd of pigs crossing the road.
- Taking Tex out for ranch working on a windy Sunday with friends and feeling useful while working cows.
- Faintly the goat. Is she bigger than…?
- I had a piece of cooked bacon wrapped up in my pocket all day.
- The absolutely fantastic hot bath I had when I got home (it filled slowly, which actually improved my appreciation of it all the more).
- Found another clutch of eggs on the hay bales.
- Feeding cookies to the cows.
- Lots of good hugs throughout the day (and evening).
- How to smile naturally for photos (funny).
- Abigail the baby cow: I love cow stories so much.
- The best onion rings ever.
- My kind of heaven: Red dirt, puffy little clouds and windmills as far as the eye can see.
- The first bluebonnets of the season!
- Photograph the position of the Sun in the sky every day, at the same time (for example 2pm) from the same place (for example a hilltop on Earth). If you do this for one complete year, you will have 365 positions recorded. If you superimpose these positions onto one image, you will notice a pattern. An obscure figure 8. This pattern is referred to as a Solar Analemma! The reason for this pattern can be attributed to the fact that the orbital path of Earth around the Sun is elliptical and that the Earth is tilted on its axis with respect to its orbit (or its plane of orbit).
The size and shape of the analemma is influenced by three variables:
1. Axial tilt
2. Orbital Eccentricity
3. Angle between the apse line (imaginary line defined by the orbit’s eccentricity vector) and the line of solstices.
Due to the aforementioned variables, different planets have different analemmas . Mars, for example, has a tear drop shaped analemma. This shape is attributed to the fact that the orbital eccentricity of Mars “outweighs” the tilt of its axis. Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and dwarf planet Pluto all have an analemma in the general shape of a figure 8. Mercury’s analemma (an approximate straight line) is determined by calculating the equation of time. This method is used as a single day on Mercury last two years. Therefore, plotting the position of the Sun each day at the same time will result in unusable data. Venus faces a similar problem as a single year lasts almost two days. If a planet had a circular orbit with no axial tilt the Sun would be in the same position, at the same time, everyday for the whole year. The resulting analemma would be a single point. Dennis di Cicco was the first person to create an analemma photograph. He did this in 1978-1979 in New England, USA. Using a solar filter he made 44 exposures on a single frame. (taken from facebook’s “The Earth Story” from March 1, 2013)
- My “find good parking” and “find the best place to eat in any given place” fu still in full effect.
- There is something beautiful and haunting about the sound of a windmill, either the huge turbines or the metal creaky ones. They are so soothing and relaxing to me, like giant wind chimes.
- Slow motion syncronized air swimming. Or cartweels across the land in unison.
- I’m not sure how you can be sad looking a picture of such a happy, smiling baby goat:
For the past three nights I’ve been going out at sunset, trying various high-places in the county to sit and watch the sunset and the night come on to see if I could see the comet PanSTARRS. Alas, the first two nights I came up snake eyes, but tonight, I knew it would be right near the disc of the barely-lit moon in the sky, so I just had to wait and find it.
I sat up on one of the county roads high on the hill, from 7:15, past 7:37 when the sun set, then all the way until 8pm, scanning the sky with my eyes and binoculars. I saw a bunch of planes and contrails, mistook one for the comet at one point, only to have it disappear a few minutes later, I figured that couldn’t be it.
I threw in the towel and headed towards home.
As I was five minutes from home driving down the back country road, I spotted the tiniest sliver of moon through the trees and slammed on the brakes, did a U in the middle of the road and headed back up to the highest point on the road, right in front of a friend’s house on the hill. I scanned the sky, saw the disc of the moon, but saw no comet.
I figured, “well, it’s a pretty moon, I should get a shot of that at the least” and set up my rig to get a shot of it. The first few pictures, snap snap snap. Then I chimped them to see what it looked like, make sure my focus was good and …say WHAT is that? *zoom zoom* HOLY CRAP it’s the comet! That I caught on my camera, but could not see with my eyes and when I scanned with binoculars could just *barely* see.
I snapped until the moon set and my friend came home from work wondering who had parked their car in front of their driveway.
And these pictures are what I ended up with. I’m so pleased!