Finding the silver lining


All these many years later and I still remember something I heard
as a young student of photography ... 
Ansel Adams used to say - and I can't recall his exact words - that whatever you are focusing on,
 turn around, because the best picture might be what is behind you.

I still put those words into practice to this day
and that's what happened with this photo.
Riding the ferry, shooting the landscape from a rain spattered window
on an almost-empty passenger deck ... I turned around in my seat
and saw this sky.
Like I've done many times before, I thanked him and snapped this rear view.

And then I chuckled,
wondering what Ansel would have done with a phone camera.


You don't make a photograph just with a camera.
You bring to the act of photography
all the pictures you have seen,
the books you have read,
the music you have heard,
the people you have loved.

~ Ansel Adams ~


Linking with 'Friday Finds' over at Kim's place


Wearing her flouncy June dress ...


I really shouldn't be sitting here writing a post
when there is a mountain of work to be done out in the garden


it's a little rainy today and she was looking so nice in the subdued light,
I just had to make a record ... for posterity ... now, while the early summer blooms
are looking their best.
I'll want to remember the garden dressed up like this
when the January winds blow hard and long.

Hope for the future and all that ...

She's laden now, positively falling over with her big skirts,

spilling over the wall with self-seeded abandon,
filling every nook and cranny

offering up some feasting for the hummingbirds
and catmint landing platforms for the swallowtails.

I think there's still an arbor under there - but I dare you to try & make it through to the front door.
Gone a bit nutso, this shrub rose [when did THIS happen?] and she'll have to be
reined in for next season.  Still, something charming about 
this wild misbehavior ...

If you did make it through the arbor, you'd be be met with a frothy tangle  -  sweetly scented
Philadelphus scrambling through a purple-leaved Clematis recta ...

Oh June, you are a month of the sublime.
Thank you.

You are most definitely your own English rose

... no other month quite compares to you.

A few late afternoon rays help 'Night Owl' flaunt her petticoats.
And although I'm starting to feel terribly guilty about undone chores,
I feel so grateful for this abundance.

Sometimes you just have to stop and, well, you know ...


Unintentional pot of rust


The scrap bin at my local thrift store, holder of all manner of used metals, is stocked better on some days than others.  Trooped home with these recently and although caked up with goo, dirt, and who knows what else, they were a good find.  Stuck the whole lot in an acidic brew intended to eat away the whatevers, set the pot on the chest freezer in the pantry ... and then completely forgot about it.

Whoops.  Hadn't meant to create rust, but this could be advantageous.
Except that a very discernible sheen of mystery oil something-or-other is floating on the surface which doesn't look too promising.  Since all these bolts & washers were dunked with the purpose of a good scrub [covered in unknown industrial grease & grime], I'm tossing this liquid mess for now.  Dunno what it is and that makes me a tad nervous.  Luckily, this process is repeatable.  Here's the recipe for next time should anyone find the portions helpful:

two parts water
to one part vinegar.
add iron.
wait two weeks ...
[use a dye pot, or pail, etc. NOT a cooking pot from the kitchen]

... iron mordant.

Mordant = from the Latin verb 'mordre' which literally means 'to bite';
mordant helps the dye 'bite' into fiber.

A quick search on the internet has revealed that one can use iron liquor as a mordant by straining the solution into a stainless steel pot (that is, if one does not have an iron pot at hand to begin with) and after adding water, then add your pre-wetted fibers.  A short simmer of ten minutes or so, followed by a natural cool down in the solution and a thorough rinse at the end.  The fiber is "fixed" and both light-fastness and wash-fastness is improved when using most natural dyes.  Colors may well be altered - iron, also know as the great "sadden-er" produces quite beautiful results, turning some reds into deep Egyptian purples and some browns into shades of gray and brown-blacks.

HERE  is a quite interesting tale on the same subject.

And after all that, 
there's still the rusty bits to play with ...


Seeing double


The first autumn after moving to this island, I awoke in the middle of the night
to a strange crackling sound.  I jumped out of bed immediately, thinking something must be
definitely amiss - or worse, alight - only to find what was actually happening
was an extraordinary light show, outside, at the bottom of the property ...
the aurora borealis was making an appearance.

While I stood in awe shivering in the dewy grass that night, with nothing around me but
flannel pj's and a North Face jacket, I silently crossed this event off my 
Life List.  When three owls began to call, each from a different direction
(and I remember exactly: west, north & south) how entirely normal it seemed
for that kind of evening, standing alone in the dark watching such a symphony.
Why shouldn't there be owls singing to each other?
It's been nine years now and neither of these events have repeated in quite this way ...
or I should say, I was not there if they did.  As for the crackling, I've never found a definite answer
although others have reported hearing something similar.

Rainbows, on the other hand, are not quite so hard to come by and I've seen many of them
during my time on this land.  Still, I always stop, watch, admire ... 
Rain was pouring down when I took these shots (raindrops on my lens),
yet the light was magic as it usually is when these occur.

What I hadn't seen before was an arc like this across the entire garden.  I kept backing up
to fit everything in the frame and almost backed myself into the pond.
Those two wearing fur coats could care less about the downpour, while I irreverently
wiped off my lens with my jacket sleeve then shielded the front elements with an extended arm,
all the while proceeding to get fairly soaked myself.

After ten minutes or so and followed by some dramatic cloud movements, there it was ...
But I was out of lens width
and I was definitely out of backing-up room,
so you will just have to use your imagination, and perhaps trust me a little,
 to know there were two complete arcs over the garden.

And this was a first since moving onto this land.



Uncommon threads


"When you start to think of the arts as not this
thing that is going to get you somewhere in
terms of becoming an artist or becoming
famous or whatever it is that people do, but
rather a way of making being in the world not
just bearable, but fascinating, then it starts to
get interesting again."

These eyelashes sent me on a wild train of thought 
(aside from the little girl in me who wanted to play dress-up & would beg
to try these on just once) ...
I asked myself,
what if all of us who make things
were to change our perceptions about
materials ... the tried & true materials we use over and over?
What might happen?


Captions under each photo are clickable for the original websites