Thursday, April 30, 2009

Digital Scrapbooking

My latest obsession is digital scrapbooking. Of course, as with any new endeavor, my librarian training kicks in and I start with books.

My interest is less in scrapbooking for its own sake and more that it's an easy path to making art with my photos and my new Photoshop Elements software. Here's my first work.

I'm putting new pieces up in my gallery at Scrap Orchard.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Transcendentalist Quote

From "Sermon CXXI" by Ralph Waldo Emerson as printed in Transcendentalism: A Reader, edited by Joel Myerson.
The true heaven is, in the raising of this poor sinful soul to His love, knowledge, and likeness; to purity, to humility, -- to kindness, to truth, to trust; to the possession of the treasures of unbounded truth; the fellowship and cooperation with all good minds in all works of love; and the enlargement of this soul to the great and increasing capacity for virtue. This is heaven.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Here's what the earth is giving me today:




Monday, April 20, 2009

The Garden

We went to the Missouri Botanical Garden today with my brother and J. I took just my small camera -- but it doesn't take much of a camera to make a pretty picture from blooming bulbs, azaleas, and phlox. I even managed a leading S curve that would make my photography teacher proud.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The case for a freezer

It looks likely that I'll buy a small freezer next week during the Show-Me Green Sales Tax Holiday. Among other things, I'll freeze applesauce and pastured butter, two important ingredients in one of my favorite treats: applesauce bread. I mostly follow the recipe, but find that I can make it more of a whole wheat bread with 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 3/4 cup of bread flour. I also use Grade B maple syrup instead of the sugar.

This is the last of the applesauce I made from locally grown apples in the last six months. This container is from apples I bought about a month ago. They were #2 apples, with a few extra bruises and worm holes. But I got a 1/2 peck bag for only $3. That made enough applesauce for half a dozen loaves of bread.

I buy the butter from Whole Foods. The cows live in Wisconsin, so they only eat grass seasonally and thus pastured butter is only available from May through September. Last September, I bought five pounds and froze four of them. This is my last pound, so that worked out about right. But given the health benefits of grass-fed animal fats, I'm starting to find more ways to use this butter like biscuits for special occasion breakfasts. So, I may want more butter in the freezer by the end of September 2009.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Missing Brush Pile

For some reason my two-year-old picture on flickr of our brush pile was viewed five times the other day. I don't know what that was about, but it reminded me that I should probably take an "after" picture because that brush pile is completely gone!

So, here is Rick where the brush pile used to be.
Most of the brush pile went through the chipper/shredder. We've been really happy with the chips for making paths. The pieces that were too big to chip went to St. Louis Composting. They have pictures of some of their really big machines on their website.

If you want rabbits, one of the things you do is build brush piles. Since we don't want rabbits (see this post where I planted lettuce seeds), we were hoping the elimination of the brush pile would discourage their presence. It may have worked -- we haven't seen a single bunny in the yard all year.

When I took the picture below, I thought the whole rabbit thing might be a moot point, because it didn't seem that any of the seeds were sprouting. But, later, when I looked closer as I watered the bed, I discovered some very tiny sprouts. I would have to get my macro lens out to get a picture of them, but they are there!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The first azalea blossoms opened up on the bushes north of the garage.

Here's a close-up view.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring again

We've had a string of rainy, gloomy days, but let's forget all that -- today was beautiful! We celebrated by going to the Garden.

Rick had an illuminating conversation with a gardener about pruning.

There are still a few cherry trees blooming.

A few tree peonies have just started blooming and some of the regular peonies have big fat buds ready for May.
More photos on my flickr page.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Planting seeds

We planted annual flowers in this bed two summers ago and vegetables last summer. I don't have a full plan for it this summer, but I planted seeds for salad and cooking greens in the back half today.

I have never successfully planted seeds directly in the garden. My failure began at the tender age of 7 when I helped a neighbor girl plant Bachelor's Buttons. I still don't know what Bachelor's Buttons look like because they never sprouted. The soil of this bed and my gardening skills are both only slightly improved over the conditions when I was 7, but I'm hopeful for some better results.

Rick laughed at my ruler, but, really, it was the only gardening tool I used with some sense of confidence today!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hard freeze

My blueberry plants are blooming! I brought them indoors this afternoon because we're expecting a hard freeze tonight -- and maybe two more nights after that. Sending warm thoughts to all of my farmer friends!

Sunday Transcendentalist Quote

From "The Transcendentalist" by Ralph Waldo Emerson as printed in American Transcendentalism by Philip F. Gura.

Amidst the downward tendency and proneness of things, when every voice is raised for a new road or another statue, or a subscription of stock, for an improvement in dress, or in dentistry, for a new house or a larger business, for a political party, or the division of an estate -- will you not tolerate one or two solitary voices in the land, speaking for thoughts and principles not marketable and perishable?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Field trip

For our second field trip, my photography class went to the Missouri Botanical Garden. In spite of the fact that I've been there several times recently, including earlier this week, it was useful to go there for no other reason except to take photographs. In three hours, I took 561 pictures! A lot of those were experiments, though. In some cases, I took four or more photos of one composition just to see what different apertures did.

Here, one of my classmates demonstrates how people look when they get serious about photography. I get into equally strange positions -- but she looks more graceful doing it! I've decided that yoga is vital to my long-term success in photography.

The tulips are blooming!

And so are the apple trees.
Many more photos on my flickr page.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rick's birthday

We went to the Missouri Botanical Garden yesterday in celebration of Rick's birthday. Yeah, I know, we go there a lot -- but he really wanted that to be his birthday event and the birthday boy gets to choose!

The cherries are blooming.

The peonies are emerging.

Many more photos on my flickr page.