Friday, May 22, 2015

Spring Flowers, Pretty Birds and Yarn

Hello my friends, welcome!  Our DIL Kristi captured a new photo of our rare bird visitor - the Lazuli Bunting.  She didn't even know she'd also captured a Goldfinch in the same image.  Isn't this neat?


When I came home from swimming on Wednesday I pulled in and asked Kristi if she wanted to drive up and see if the Columbia Tiger Lily wildflower was in bloom near Vista House.  She said sure, so she and Caleb jumped in the car and off we went.  The lilies were only in bud, but we did find some nice colorful Columbine.


Oh the lovely Columbine, how do I love thee.. let me count the ways...


This was the scene behind our flowers.. :-)  That is the Columbia River flowing West to Portland, Oregon on it's way to join the Pacific Ocean.



When they built the Historic Columbia River Highway they built these "crow's nests" for people to rest and enjoy the view down the river.  Caleb is enjoying himself with his mom and grandma.



We then headed to Portland Women's Forum.. because I never pass the chance to see the view from there UP the river and to see Vista House.



I'm still amazed that I can get this quality of an image of Vista House by zooming on my LUMIX from Portland Women's Forum!



Rooster Rock seems to have sprouted a new green hairdo.  :-)


There is Rooster Rock in the bottom left hand corner and Washington State across the river.  I love the big green pastures there.  The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area was passed in order to protect the gorge from being over developed - had it not passed, you would be seeing massive residential developments spreading across the farmland.



Rooster Rock's "Mohawk" hairdo.  :-)



Across the parking lot were masses of Queen Anne's Lace.. I'd been wanting to capture an image of them close up... 


And even closer - each round bunch is a perfect posy.


Back home - this Calla Lily has bloomed for the first time since I planted it as many as 8 + years ago!  



I did some bird photographing, too.  Love me some Goldfinches.  They love thistle seed.



On the deck I thought it was fun to see a Fuchsia as the little round bud was just opening.


They open to these pretty ballerina flowers.


I walked near the Hummingbird feeder hoping to capture an image.. snap.. snap.. snap - finally one good enough to use.


I asked my dear husband to help me roll up my huge skein of natural white alpaca so I could start my new project - a Summer Shawl using the Elise pattern.  


My friends, this was a LOT of rolling of yarn!  600 yards!  The Elise pattern calls for 400 yards, so I will have enough for a lacy edge, I hope.  I got this yarn when we visited the Alpaca farm above Hood River.


This ball is bigger than a large grapefruit.  And so soft!


I needed the pattern and chart to get started but soon got into the rhythm of it and don't need to look at the chart.


Here is what I have so far.  I'm so pleased to have a nice project to work on.


I wanted to show you some great photos that Kristi got on our gorge drive.  I love this one of the top of a Columbine.


She also found this unusual red fern.  



And she also got a close up of the red fern frond.. cool!



When we arrived back at the farm, she hopped out of the car and got a shot of the Poppies being grown in the pasture across from us.  Several Laotian families share a rented pasture and grow flowers for the farmers markets that serve the Portland area.



I am happy that Gracie is back from her trip to California and will be meeting me at the pool in a few hours.  Yay!  I hope you have a nice weekend!  ((hugs)), Teresa :-)  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Watercolors, Wildflowers and Wildlife

Hello!  How is your week going?  We're doing well here in our little corner of the world.  My blog friend Janine from Crafty Tokyo Mama blog suggested I transform the Goldfinch photo that my DIL Kristi took into a watercolor using the app "Waterlogue".  So, I did and also used it on a few other photos - I thought you might enjoy seeing them.  I am constantly amazed at what this app does to a photo!  As a watercolorist I can see how authentically it makes it look like a hand made watercolor painting!  This one is my new Dahlia.


And here is the Goldfinch image - isn't it neat?


You can download that app on your iPhone or iPad and then open it, you then open to your photo file and you can transform your favorite photos into a watercolor - there is a heart icon that you click to save the image, and you can also post on Facebook, Instagram, email or text it, etc.  This is another Goldfinch image.


I think my Japanese Iris came out lovely, also.


I mentioned to Kristi that I would like to trim some of the dead fern fronds off our Sword ferns in the yard - next thing I know she is out there trimming them for me!  How nice!  This is the "after" photo.  They look so much better now!


This Rhododendron is now blooming.  We have one more to go.  It's a pretty one, but it's just budding.  The Rhodies are funny how they take turns blooming.



I had a meeting to attend at Multnomah Falls Lodge yesterday and on the way I spotted some Indian Paintbrush in bloom.. so driving home I pulled over and walked down the Historic Columbia River Highway to snap some photos of this pretty orange/red wildflower.


Do you have this wildflower near you?  Have you heard of them?


I also spotted some wild Columbine in bloom.. screech.. pull over.. walking down the side of the road.. snap snap...



I tried to snap an image of the bottom without holding it in my hand, but this came out the best.. isn't the underside of this flower amazing?



Although I would have liked an unsullied image, I also like how you can see the filaments of the Cottonwood tree "cotton" that blows around in the gorge on the flower.


Home again, I spy from the kitchen garden window the orange Honeysuckle vine I planted under the window is doing just what I'd hoped.. blooming outside the window.  Oh pretty.  My African Violet continues to bloom beautifully, it loves that spot.  And my Orchid is also amazing to me that it re-bloomed.  And the little Jade plant is growing.. my little survivor.  



Pretty Honeysuckle.


Last evening Kristi exclaimed from the dining room.. "THERE'S A COYOTE UP ON THE HILL!"  So, I grabbed my camera and went to look.. it's a fuzzy photo but look at that critter!  Now do you see why we have to have our chickens protected inside an enclosure like Fort Knox?  No free roaming hens for us.  Or we wouldn't have any left.  He's up there looking for mice after Dayle mowed the field.



What wildlife do you have visit your back yard?  :-)  ((hugs)), Teresa :-) 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Birds, a Surprise, DAR Ladies & Flowers

Hello friends!  I'm glad you stopped by.  Our bird feeder has been busy lately which makes me so happy.  My daughter-in-law Kristi is a real outdoors girl and has taken to enjoying the different birds.  She snapped this photo and we tried to find it in our bird books.. I actually found it, but sent the image to my "birder" friend Shirley and she confirmed that it is a Lazuli Bunting!  She said it's very scarce to see one here.  Isn't it pretty?


She also got another neat shot of a Goldfinch.  I love the pine needles and the tree branch with all the lichen in this shot.  Pretty!!


Dayle brought in the mail the other day and there was an envelope from my blog friend Kathy from Running With Rocket blog - what could this be?  I admired the lace bag and cute tape on it.. 


When we were visiting with Kathy after she dug some Irises for us - in her lovely home where the walls were adorned with many wonderful art images of airplanes.. and I saw this print on the wall of some jets flying over Vista House and the gorge.. and I ooohed and ahhhed over it.  WELL.. she found a small print she'd had matted of the painting and sent it to us!  Isn't that generous and sweet of her?  I love it!  Thanks, Kathy!


On Saturday I got dressed up and donned my pins and headed to the Oregon State Society Daughters of the American Revolution State Conference - it was held in Wilsonville, just south of Portland, OR.  Every other year the President General attends - which is a big deal.  In this photo our Regent-Elect of Portland Chapter, Diane (far left) is giving our chapter report - the President General, Lynn Fornay Young is the lovely lady on the dais with the big ribbon across her chest.  She is the leader of the entire DAR - the entire USA plus chapters located in many other countries, called Units Overseas.  Click HERE to learn more about DAR.  Encompassing an entire city block, DAR Headquarters is one of the worlds's largest buildings of it's kind owned and maintained exclusively by women. :-)  Please click HERE and scroll down and watch the amazing video about our Memorial Continental Hall.



During the luncheon and dinner meetings we heard reports from all the chapters in Oregon, plus saw awards given to children and adults and my favorite part - hearing our President General tell her inspirational report.


There is my sister Roberta in the center in the aqua jacket.



They have a professional photographer taking group photos during the afternoon - I asked a fellow DAR friend to use my camera to sneak in a photo of us and this is the best one.  This is the Portland Chapter plus our Associate Members - front and center is our President General and our State Regent, Cynthia Parnell.



The Associate Members stepped aside while we got a shot of the members of our chapter.  We have 85 members, but these are the group who were there at the time of the photo.  :-)  


I'm not fond of seeing myself in photos, but this is my special chapter friend Susan F. who actually lives in Rome, Italy, and flew all the way to Oregon to attend our State Conference.  I've attended two Continental Congress (the huge national conference) held in WA DC each year - and was happy to get to know Susan there. 


I was the editor of a cookbook for the online DAR group called the "DARlings - and Susan did all the chapter illustrations for the book!  I drew the cover illustration.


I saw the PG nearby and asked if I could have a photo with her and she kindly agreed.  :-)  She's so sweet!


Yesterday I rested up from the busy day - it was a sunny and lovely day on the farm and the boys were having a fun time outside.  They sure do enjoy the play structure we bought and put together for them.


Kristi has been working away at cutting the blackberries that are getting out of hand behind the shed and woodshed.  Thanks, Kristi!


I looked out on the deck and saw that the boys had taken the blankets we bought them and had made a "fort" using the deck chairs.  :-)



Here they are in their hideout.  LOL!


Isn't this a cute flower?  I can't remember what it is though.


My "4th of July" rose is covered with blooms!


My Lantana continues to be one of my favorite flowers.. but I do have quite a list, don't I? :-)


Kristi found this "volunteer" plant near our barn a few years ago and I asked her to dig the plant and we planted it in an empty pot and it's given us a lot of joy - it's a Bellflower.


I was happy to find a new pot of "Cape Primrose" aka streptocarpus at a little plant nursery that Gracie showed me last year.  I've been trimming off the spent flower stems.  I went looking for a Maidenhair Fern which she did not have, but she had this - and it's where I got this plant last year.


Also a volunteer is a pot full of Forget-Me-Not is pleasing.



I planted a pot of these Sweet William years ago and every single year they come back and fill the pot with these gorgeous red/magenta flowers.


My mixed hanging pot grows more lush by the day.


The koi and pond fish continue to grow.  :-)



How are you spending your day?  I hope you are finding lovely things in your life to enjoy.  All you need to do is look!  ((hugs)), Teresa :-)