Monday, September 15, 2014

In which the Newest Camera takes better pictures of lots of stuff


I went riding today, and (of course) I took the camera.

Newest Camera:  a big improvement


That camera and I had been through a lot together, we knew each other.  And then...it was gone.

I got another camera when it became clear that my Old Camera had gone walkabout and probably got swallowed by an elk.  

Rebound relationships are never good.  The Rebound Camera was too fond of opiates.   I took it back.  

(Best Buy has a very good return policy, and excellent customer service, in case you ever need to know that.  Their extended warranty ain't cheap, but for somebody like me who puts a lot of rough-and-tumble mileage on a camera every year, it's worth it.)

Replacement #2, aka the Newest Camera, cost more money than I wanted to pay.   Also, it's red, not purple (or even pink).


Factory photo.  I actually forgot that the flash is manual until I found this picture
--I always set the programming to "permanently off"!
 And it's a little bit bigger and heavier than my old camera.  But...

Clarity at speed: we haz it.


Clarity in low light:  we haz dat, too

The blues are blue, the greens are green.  The Dragon is Draconic.

Of course, not all pictures turn out, uhh, picture-perfect.  This is not surprising, considering that I shoot almost everything from atop a moving platform, usually using only one hand.

Only one ear
However, the Newest Camera has a feature that the Lost Camera sorta had, and the Rebound Camera didn't have at all:  a rapid-fire setting.  

I usually leave the camera on rapid-fire, and delete most of the pictures when I download them to a computer.  
















This picture is a "keeper" -- no weird shadows, her ears are up,
and it's relatively balanced visually

This camera is easy in my hand, and fast to shoot--so I can drop the leadline to shoot a quick photo of somebody's big, lovely head.


Does this camera make my nose look big?

The Lost Camera had a crummy telephoto, but I'm pretty thrilled with this one.

To your horse, this is a pile of monsters.
To mine, it's a mounting block.
And yeah, ya gotta stand right next to it.

Here are some other recent photos from the Newest Camera:


Macro: sunflower, ready for harvest



Telephoto, shooting into the sun:  goats shaded by Dragon

Shot across the yard and cropped in:  Duana and Sirie by the garden

Telephoto from across the yard:  Connor, Sirie, and sunflowers

Telephoto closeup:  turkey

Indoors:  relishes and pickles made by Jim and Patty

Shooting into the sun:  Haiku Farm from the roof of the house

Back on the trail, Fee saw something suspicious by the side of the road.

Chainsaws, hatchets, a ladder, and bundles of cedar branches

The "scary" people associated with the chainsaws and stuff might have been serial killers looking for victims among miles of uninhabited tree farm.

They might have been zombies unaware of the doughnut shop in Spokane endorsed by little dogs and zombies.

Or they might have been persons with very little English language skills who have purchased a cheap firewood-claim from the tree farm in order to earn money to send to families elsewhere.

Newest Camera Does Video:

Fiddle voted for zombies (she does a "standardbred spook" at them in the bushes at around :30 on the video).

I was almost ready to believe her about undead entities when I was "attacked" an hour later.

Vampire?  Or tree branch?
This was the first time I've used a camera to view an
awkwardly-placed injury! 

But mostly, this camera takes nice pictures of my favorite view.



And that is Good.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In which a Swamplandic girl is ready for a Dry Sider's school year

My eldest niece is fledged and ready to fly!

Lexi and box #34

So the whole family loaded up rigs with boxes and bags  (and more boxes, and more boxes)


Cassidy and Randy hoist a bookshelf up three flights of stairs

and ferried the kid and all her worldly goods across the mountains 

Keys!

to the Dry Side of our Glorious State.

The only casualty during the transport eastbound:  a burnt boot!!!
Apparently the angle on the rearview mirror in Lexi's car was exactly right
to shoot a hot sunbeam onto a cardboard box, making a pinhole fire and
filling the car with smoke.  Exciting, but minimal damage.

Lexi will be a student at Spokane Community College, beginning in a week or so. 
Comforts of home

 The school doesn't have on-campus dorms; instead, most of the local students (including a lot students attending other local colleges) live in one gigantic apartment complex.

beach volleyball court in the central area of the complex

 The building staff were very friendly

Luna would like a cookie, please?

and Lexi's unit is very nice--a lot nicer than my first dorm rooms and apartments were!

common room - she will have two suite-mates

large private bedroom/private bathroom

 The clubhouse has plenty to occupy students on study breaks, including a rec room

I'm pretty sure the kayak is decorative, since it's bolted to the wall

and a fitness center

Going to trot off a few cookies, Luna?

Finally, with the kid moved in and boxes unpacked



The adults scampered away to visit friends.

We've known these folks since I was about two years old

It's not unfair or unkind to say that Carolyn and Dave's house is museum-like


and crammed to the corners with beautiful paintings, sculptures, and objets d'art.

The pileated woodpecker at photo right is made from a licence plate and bits of cutlery;
the feathered piece at photo left is ceramic and owl feathers.

I could spend months exploring the "exhibits" in each room, gathered from around the world.  But instead, we all gathered for a few games of laser tag


Cassidy, Lexi and Randy
and the next morning, headed back over the mountains for home.

But not without a cultural stop at Dawn of the Donut!

As I got back into the truck after a gas stop, it looked like Luna was bleeding--did she cut her gums on something?  That happens to her sometimes, because she has very few teeth left in her old mouth.

That isn't blood in her beard.

But no.

Jelly donut filling!

Guess which inattentive person left the little dog in the truck with the zombie donuts?

Sigh.

She was pretty happy about the whole thing, and then an hour later she fell asleep.

Sugar crash

The first public art you see after crossing the Columbia River is the Wild Horses Monument near Vantage.

Although the final horse in the piece "Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies"
was bolted into place in 1989, the sculpture is only half-finished
according to the artist's vision.  Details HERE.

So there:  a little bit of horsey-ness in an otherwise non-horsey post.

I'll return to horse gossip soon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In which it's never too warm to plan ahead for winter: fuel and food

It doesn't get really hot in the Swampland very often.

Tim called one morning and said, "We're taking down a bunch of alder trees
in Rachel's pasture.  Come  help buck the logs and we'll dump a load at your place."  
So, we did.

But even when the mercury tops 90 degrees, there's work to be done.  

Many hands, light work

Heat and humidity are hard on Swamplanders.  We work in shifts, taking breaks in the shade with bottles of ice water.


When Lisa came to Haiku Farm, she had no muscles.
Now she has muscles AND skills!
We're not afraid to resort to technology, either.

A rented splitter is loud, but much less strenuous

The machine doesn't do all the work--people still have to do the "pit pony" work

Monica and I are remarkably good pit ponies

of hauling split logs and stacking them in the woodshed to dry.

About three cords are split and stacked so far.

Stick the landing when the pile of wood is finally gone!

Of course, we had help.

Connor

Floofs.  It's a billion degrees, and they still sit on each other.

After dark, when the thermostat is no longer in the red zone, it's time to cope with the food situation.

The cucumber crop was enormous 

This year, Jim made 12 pints of sweet relish, 12 pints of savory bread-and-butter pickles with tumeric, and 13 quarts of special garlic dill pickles.

I completely admire Jim's inability to follow a recipe.
He read somewhere that grape leaves
can help the pickles stay crisp, and we have plenty of
grape vines in the backyard, so we threw a leaf in each jar.


We also threw in slivered red peppers


We grew a little bit of dill this year--next year, I'll plant more.

It's silly that I've never grown garlic--our town used to host an enormous
Garlic Festival, so I know it grows here.  Sigh.  Next year.

Everything is pretty going into the jar

Jim is the one who is careful about details, so he attends to
the actual "canning" part

Adding the hot brine and spices
Dogs are not allowed in the kitchen.

"There is no dog in the kitchen" 

Our garlic dill pickles will need to sit in the brine on a cool dark shelf until the end of October.

I love hearing the lids go plink!
Meanwhile, there are still blackberries ready to eat,

View from the kitchen window:
Fiddle eats the blackberries that the goats can't reach.

and pumpkins are on the way.

Summer is good. The Farm is good.  Harvest is good.  Our friends are good.

Mostly, it's just all GOOD.