Backyard Perseid

We watched what we could, but since the Perseid’s were on school nights, we had to let the camera do the work while we slept.

Here’s a quick grab of one, with the Milky Way behind, shot from our back deck.

Backyard Perseid
Backyard Perseid

Red, White and Blue

Goddess and I just returned from an eight day trip around the western US.

It was a trip of contrasts, from the garishness of Las Vegas to the pure silence of Death Valley.

From the heat of Death Valley to the relative frigidness of the north coast of California.

From the demoralizing crush of humanity in Yosemite to the blissful isolation in a Redwood grove.

But each experience was worthy of reflection.

Red, White & Blue

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Twin Poppies

It has been a while since the last post, longer than I had intended.  But quite a bit going on here that is keeping me pulled away.

All of it good.

Luckily I have some photos still in the queue.

The poppies are still going strong, which is a good thing, considering the weather lately.  We had over a week of 30C (upper 80’s F) dry weather.  Now the mountains around us have a beautiful blanket of fresh snow and Goddess and I have had to scramble to get the garden covered and the potted plants into the garage to protect them from frost.

These poppies thrive in both conditions.

And they certainly are beautiful.

Twin Poppies

We’re waiting for them to go to seed so we can spread more around the yard.

Shorebreak

I was going to follow up last night’s California poppy post with another view of the same bunch.  But that will have to wait.

The purple iris’ bloomed today.

I happened to notice with just a few minutes of sunlight left.

Good thing they make external flashes, since I was able to extend my shooting to past sunset and actually create the light that I wanted.

Shorebreak

Why the name?  I learned to surf at an early age and have been able to, off and on, over the decades.  It never leaves me, especially when I’m near water, mentally surfing waves and ripples of all sizes.  So seeing shapes like this take me back to those moments, looking at a wave as it curls over, rushing to the shore.  Also, the tones are reminiscent of sunsets and beaches and the tropics.

—————————

And for those of you interested in the lighting (Strobist) info: A single Canon 580EX II set on the ground ~24″ directly below, triggered by a Pocketwizard MiniTT1/AC3 combo on the camera and TT5 on the flash, using the AC3 to manually dial the flash down to 1/64th power.  There may have been a bit of natural light bleedover from the right, but it’s not apparent.  Sunset had been about 10 minutes prior, so the only available light was cool and failing rapidly.

CA Poppies

Goddess and I are quite thankful that the previous tenants of this house had a green thumb.  Since we’ve moved in, we’ve enjoyed the fruits of their labor, even while we’re working hard on the things that they neglected (parts of the lawn, an old raised worm bed, etc.).

First were the tulips, which have now all dropped their petals.

Then came the iris’.  We’ve got white and purple petals showing all over the yard.

And of course, there are the blasted dandelions.  Although I don’t enjoy those quite as much as the tulips and iris, even if they are pretty up close.

The surprise, which is a blow-over from the neighbors yard, are these California poppies.

Always one of my favorites.

California Poppies

These just happen to be next to our driveway.

We’re looking forward to these going to seed.  I’ll get as many as I can, then spread them in other areas.

Just because they are pretty.  And they catch the sunlight perfectly.

—————————

One of the reasons that we’ve moved out to Oregon is for the dry climate.  I’ve suffered with horrible sinus issues for the past 18 years, starting as soon as I moved out of the desert.  Trips back to different deserts over the years saw those issues all but disappear.  That has been true here, even though there is a blanket of pollen coating every outside surface.

It’s been great to feel human again!

Baby Momma

Goddess and I are slowly getting the house in order.  But right now we are more focused on the yard and the garden.

I was lucky to get this shot of what we call a “Baby Momma”, since this leads to a yard full of dandelions.  We will not win the war, but we fight the battle every day.

And joke about how attacking the dandelions is like an addiction.

Baby Momma

Early Morning

We’re still getting settled into our new home, spending a significant portion of our days outside, working the lawn and our large raised bed garden.  Last frost isn’t typically for another six weeks, but we’re doing everything we can now to make sure that we have a bountiful harvest this year.  It’s good fun.

Plus, chasing after all of the dandelions is addictive.  We call it our “crack addiction”.  It seems like every time we walk out the front or the back, there are 2 or 3 new blooms.  Which leads to the discovery of 20-30 new plants that we’ve walked over.  We’ve got ~40lbs of dandelions in our green bin, which goes to the landfill to make compost.  We keep the weeds out of our own compost bin, since we just won’t have the volume to generate the heat we’d need to kill off the seeds.

But I digress.

We are quite pleased with the house we found to rent, as it is within walking and cycling distance of all of the shops in town.  That means we are now on track to only need to fill the car up once a month.  If that.  Plus, since the front door faces due south and the back doors and deck face due north, we have great views of the mountains and hills in all directions.

In the morning, as I sip on my coffee and watch the professional cycling races in Europe, I can lean a bit to one side, look out the window and see this, looking towards the northeast.

Cloudy MorningCloudy morning

That was this (Thursday) morning.  This past Monday, there was a fresh blanket of snow on the furthest mountains, deep enough that it didn’t melt off until yesterday afternoon.

Luckily it’s still the cool season.  I am not looking forward to the leaves filling in that out of focus tree in the foreground.  It will block a fine view.

When that happens, I’ll just walk to the living room.  From there I can see the sun caressing the mountain peaks to the south, including the local ski mountain.  This time of year the mountain is only open a few days a week, but I can at least look and dream about carving turns.  And once the spring warmth melts the snow on the trails, I will look forward to riding my bicycle up to the summit.  And loving the payoff of the descent.

Wherever you are, hopefully the weather is comfortable and the views are good.

Ashland Trails

One of our favorite parts about this new town?

This is only 10 minutes from the house.

Ashland Trails

OK, 10 minutes by car.

More like 30 minutes by bike, since this spot is about 800′ above the town center.  But only four miles as the crow flies.

I’m looking forward to racing here, since they have both running and biking races up the mountain this summer.

Until then, these trails sure wipe out Skinny!