Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Kitty Games: How to help make a bed

If you have ever had a kitten and tried to make up a bed with kitten help; then you will totally get this post.
If you don't love cats (gasp!) then just go click on to another post.
Bernie was making up the bed last night when Tate joined in on the project. 
The camera was handy, and the rest...well...see for yourself.

Going wild!

But Tate wasn't the only one "helping" Bernie...

Bitsy: Oh my stars...what is THAT?????

"That" being Tate wiggling under the sheets.

A good romp ensued before it was all figured out.

Our bed is now officially safe from ghosts and goblins and who know what else the two of them managed to chase out.

Bitsy isn't totally relaxed though.
I think it will take awhile to get over this haunted bedsheet situation.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Lo the winter is least for a couple of days.

I am SO happy to have the opportunity to photograph flowers again, especially after six months of snow and white, white, white every where I looked. 
Last Thursday I shot crocus in my own garden, then drove over to Red Butte Garden to see what was bloom there now.
You might remember that last year Red Butte had 25,000 daffodils.
This year there are to be even more, but I knew the daffodil season was just beginning so I  wanted to see what was blooming there right now.

But first I took up a photo challenge: I wanted to see if I could capture light and shadow on the flowers in my own garden.

The clouds would erase the shadows as soon as I had focused on them, then the clouds would clear and back the shadows would come.
You probably are well aware that crocus are about four to six inches tall.
All these shots were taken while I was flat on my stomach in a flower bed thick with sequoia sticker branches.
Frenchie also was in the garden, checking me out, and wondering what on earth I was doing.
Thankfully I don't understand "cattish" or I am sure I would have had to answer a few of her questions!

But look!  Shadows! Little echos of the flower structure are seen on the petals!

(OK...I admit it, I get excited over the silliest things.)

Some of the blossoms were naturally shaded so artfully that shadow capture seemed unnecessary.

The tulips were budding along the steps to the lower garden. 
I got pretty stoked about seeing the first red buds getting ready to bloom.

Then just for the record: my fingers to show exactly how tiny is the miniature iris.

With the tulips, iris and tulips in my garden now duly photographed, I packed up my camera and headed to Red Butte Garden.
I was amazed to see the bees already working the flowers throughout the garden; we had snow just a few days earlier.

That more art than science stage of my macro skills allows me to feel good about shots like this one:  the blur gives a sensation of bee buzz.

Capturing the dusky elements found in budding petals...

and getting  the petals to look more like a painting than a photo...

And getting so up close that the glisten sheen and veins can be seen...
Absolutely worth getting my elbows soaked in mud and having my fleece jacket front covered with muck.

Occasionally I found things to photograph standing up...this particular early blooming bush had a steady bee buzz sound.
I was glad the bees were really intent on their task as I stuck my lens within an inch of their wings.

Now snow drops: There's a challenge for you.
I was flat on my back trying to get beneath the flower, wiggling to wedge myself closer in and under, while not disturbing any of the other plants.
The snowdrop was blooming right along an asphalt pathway, so at least I wasn't getting too dirty.
By-passers barely broke stride or conversational flow as they stepped around my recumbent form.

Finally I found a snow drop tall enough I could get the camera and my face under it to see inside.

Now I swore to myself I would remember what these little nickle sized flowers were called.
Should of taken a picture of the label.  When will I ever learn?

My home garden only has the dark blue mini iris; Red Butte had clumps of all the possible iris color variations.

Lenten Rose: I had never been much of a fan of this flower until I started going to Red Butte.  Now I am a bit nutty about all the interesting elements in the flower.

They are just so cool!  The more I look at them the more I see, and yet to see anything other than a rather bland downward facing cup shape requires reaching out and upturning the blossom.!  What an intricate design!

The pale baby blue iris surprised me the first time I saw one.

I wish I could say the Canada geese were back...but the truth is they never left.
They do photograph nice though.
The shadowing from the front and the light on the back is pretty.
For some reason this goose and the other Canada goose were determined to run off Mr. and Mrs. Mallard.
Huh...what's up with that?

The same scene that I had photographed in a frozen state just a couple of months ago.

Moss and shadows make this lovely pocket sized benched rest area.  Imagine the same view at your feet being just asphalt or concrete.

I would like to commend whomever thought to include this little six square design within the stone work.
Good job!  It looks great!

A penny sized flower that seemed to grow Seuss like in dots across a raised flower bed.  Don't you love how the hexagon shapes are exploding into blossoms and fuzz?

More irises that needed photographic up close and personal as I can get.

Veined, wrinkled and freckled spotted beauties all.
(Note to self: Veins, wrinkles and spots are beautiful.  Remember that next time you are dismayed by the same on one's self.)

Do you see the yellow bird flying from the throat of the flowers?

I readily admit that I am sometime using my camera to excuse my need to get my face just inches away from flower clusters like this.
If I tried to do put my face this close to the flowers without a camera in hand, I would probably have people thinking I was totally out of my mind.

Angel wings...descending doves...heavenly rays...sometimes I think if I could just listen closely I would finally be able to hear the flowers sing!

Another Lenten Rose...I know that this is just one of many variations of the Lenten Rose. I will be dropping by Red Butte regularly to be sure I don't miss the other varieties as they bloom in turn through Lent and even a bit past Easter.

(Totally love when stamen casts shadows!)

The tulip varieties also have a regular blooming pattern: very early, early, mid season, late season, late late season.
Just when I think I have finally found my favorite kind of tulip, then another variety blooms and I find I have changed my mind.

Daffodils...hi there first blooms.
Thanks for arriving early and for braving snow storms to bring your sunshine yellow again to our snowy world.

(The blurry daffodil with just the very tips of the outer petals in focus...what do you think?  I like it myself.)

How about rejoicing about seeing a gnat?
That gnat sized bug is hard at work spreading pollen unseen and unnoticed by all but me.
And now you as well...
Thank you gnat for your faithful unsung work.

Ha ha...fooled you for a moment didn't I?
The garden's newly expanded gift shop had these wonderful flower print umbrellas which would sure help one to believe that all that spring rain really will soon bring spring flowers.
Now to decide which one I No, yellow.  No, pink..  Definitely pink.  But maybe yellow. Or blue...
Which one would you pick?

Maybe I should have a cup of tea to sip while I make up my mind...
If only Red Butte had a tea room too I would never leave the grounds, but at least it now sells lot of interesting tea cups and teas.

Well, it was easy enough to head back to my own little garden and have a cup of tea with my own first blooming tulips.
So that's what I did.
It was just a grand way to finish off the day
Wish you could have been with me.
It was a lot of fun!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Last Day of Visit

One of the many things that I have learned from Gail over the years is to allow what makes one happy.
Gail has an ivy plant that is quite robust and it makes her happy to have a bathroom that is vine covered.
A few pins pushed into the bathroom walls and Ta-Dah! 
Instant vine covered bathroom without any vines actually clinging to the wall surfaces..

The dry climate of Colorado Springs makes inside plant growing a bit more challenging; a slightly more humid environment such as a bathroom is a great place to grow plants. 

Counter space is limited, but wall and ceiling space?  No problem.
Her kids think the ivy sprawling around the bathroom is a tad odd...I don't. In fact the ivy vines made me happy too!
Kids...what do they know?

(Now if we can just get a few butterflies to flutter around in there too....)

We awoke on Sunday morning to heavy fog, hoar frost and snow.  A few gently probing questions lead us to the conclusion that both of us wouldn't mind just lolling around in our jammies over breakfast and then chatting while watching the snow showers instead of dressing and dashing off to church.
I think God totally understood...and approved.
Around noon we finally pulled ourselves off the couch, got dressed and I packed up my suitcase.
We planned to go for another hike and didn't wish to worry about packing back home later before my flight time.
The Garden of the Gods awaited us! 

Each time I visit Gail we take a jaunt through the Gardens of the God; each time I think I have photographed everything and each time I notice something I had missed before.

I wondered if the first time I visited here some twenty years ago if *maybe* I could have squeezed through this narrow passage.
Sure ain't gonna happen this visit...

So we meandered a bit...the sun would break through the haze and it would feel warm, then the breeze would kick up and it would feel cool...

It really is a place of endless photo opportunities.
Before we got too far into the Gardens, we decided that we really did need an extra layer of jacket to stay warm and walked back to the car.

Funny how a scene we had just passed moments before struck us differently upon a second viewing: How marvelous and mysterious that so many colors were to be found in the earth in one elevation change.
The creamy white layer just suddenly shifted to brilliant rust red!

The blue jays were adding their own color to the scenes, plus their distinctive call tipped me off as to where to look to get a gander at their wonderful blueness.

The parking lot was filling up rapidly as more and more people arrived with their children and dogs; Gail suggested we drive to the other side of the Gardens and hike one of the more wild paths in the area.

We hiked a path alongside a dry stream bed where layer upon layer of sediment rippled artfully at every bend.

Gail surprised me by announcing that she actually hadn't hiked every trail in the Gardens; she had intended to but with one thing or another hadn't fulfilled her goal of doing so.

One trail marker announced the way to Siamese Twins.  It was a path she hadn't taken before so off we went to see what it was all about.

(I cautioned Gail that if there were actually real live Siamese twins at the end of the trail I would be rather disturbed....)

The Siamese Twins formation.
Gail was quite pleased that it had been left in a natural state; some of the balancing formations in the Gardens had been secured with a bit of cement. 

The hike up wasn't too bad; the view down was wonderful.  The mists broke and reformed so we could enjoy the distant views while blue jays taunted us with wonderful poses that they held only long enough for me to focus before they would fly off faster than I could click to record the image.

Getting a shot of Gail was not hard at all...

In fact I managed to take several.

The area had lots of interesting formations worth photographing, and I was soon on my belly lining up some really cool shots.  Gail found she wasn't quick enough to bag that kind of shot of me; maybe next time she will get one as I am finding my steadiest position for photo taking is being flat on my stomach with my elbows planted firmly on the ground.
Getting a shot of me getting up again could make for another interesting photo as well. 
Just sayin'....

Gail said she would love to get a picture of a full moon through this opening.  If I lived in Colorado Springs, I imagine we would be hiking up and waiting for such a moment some clear night.

A crisp autumn sunset would make a great picture too....the foggy mists really hampered capturing the distant view on this day, but it was still wonderful.

I wonder how old we will have to be before we outgrow the impulse to take a picture of each other taking a picture?
We will probably never mature to that state...knowing us.

Gail wanted me to see where Elizabeth and Bryce will be married.  The outdoor walled in space will be beautiful in June, and if the weather is iffy, the event can be held inside the room beyond the doors by the lower terrace.
Perfect.  Just PERFECT!

The walled garden is on the back side of the Garden of the Gods Trading Post gift shop and restaurant.
It was time for lunch; I got the bison chili while Gail got the bison burger.

(If you haven't ever had bison...quick...find some at your grocers and give it a try.  So much more delicious than even the best beef you have ever tasted. Really!)

We thought it would just be the two of us having lunch out in the restaurant patio; it wasn't long before we had a mooch wanting to join us.

There is a point when hospitality conflicts with concerns about having a squirrel run up one's pant leg.

Gail solved the conflict by tossing a french fry off the deck. was not our company that the squirrel was seeking after all.
Cupboard love; yes, I totally get it.

Whaat?  I really was interested in just being with you any more things you want to share with me, food wise?

And then just like that...the visit was over.  Gail drove me through old Colorado City on the way to the airport; we will explore that cute area some other visit for sure.

The flight home was uneventful; I read during the hour and 15 minute flight, and was glad that the cloud cover had thinned enough that I could enjoy seeing the edges of Great Salt Lake as the plane lowered for landing.

Every time I have flown over the Great Salt Lake, it has looked a bit different as the water color changes with temperature variations.
Some times the water is simply a bonanza of colors.

The mountain colors change too; SLC had had a lot of snow while I was gone; the mountains were welcoming me home this time in their finest shades of blue and white.

Gail, as always, thank you for being such a wonderful friend and excellent hostess.  Your new home is so bright and welcoming; I hope your joy there will continue to grow with each passing day and season.  Cameras and blogging can only do so much to record the special times that you have provided for me; please know that I cherish many more memories that we share between us; God willing we both will savor those blessing for many years to come and continue to experience His blessings on our lives and friendship as we make new memories in the future.