Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cows and Camping at Blackhawk

This last weekend, we took Sully out of storage and went camping.  Just my hubby and me!  To an equestrian campground called Blackhawk, up on the Mount Nebo scenic byway.

It was lovely to be in the tops of the mountains.  

You could see forever and the mountains, with their layers of diffusing colors reminded me of the Blue Ridge Mountains back home.

Since this was an equestrian campground, many people brought their horses with them.

Horse people are good people.  It was fun to watch as they brushed and saddled and cared for their animals.

It warmed my heart to hear the horses' soft whinnies in the early morning.  It felt like being at my grandfather's ranch when I was a little girl.

I can now hobble about 50 yards on my broken foot before it starts hurting.  Not exactly a hike, but I was happy to be able to do that.

We saw something we haven't seen in forever!  The morning sun!  Living next to a mountain means that the mountain blocks the sun until it is high in the sky.  But up on Mt. Nebo, we could look East and feel the morning rays.  It was wonderfully exhilarating!

I felt obligated to take pictures of our long shadows on the pavement....

Scott felt obligated to tease me in our long shadows on the pavement!

When you don't have the ability to go far, you learn to appreciate what is nearby.  And focus on things close-up and personal.

So, of course, I took photos of insects and flowers.  It's one of my favorite close-up activities.

I caught this picture just as a second butterfly was swooping in to land on the purple thistle.  

Apparently thistles were the sweet nectar spot of the day.

Everyone loved them!

Even the most delicate of flies.  (And I thought flies only liked gross things!)

There were other flowers that were tasty, too.

This bee was caught in motion coming in for a drink.

Weirdly, this bug wasn't with the nectar program.  It chose my white shirt as a favorite landing spot.  And it was quite persistent.  

Another prevalent bug was the grasshopper.  If you stepped off the road into the grass and weeds, hundreds of grasshoppers jumped to life!  Clicking and clacking as they re-positioned themselves.  It was rather a nice sound--even if a few had to be reminded that my pants and shirt and hair were not a place to rest!

These giant dandelion-like flowers were everywhere!

When gentle breezes blew, it was peaceful to watch their fluffy seeds scatter lazily across the open spaces.  Such a wonderfully fun way to reproduce oneself!

I'm not usually a fan of tree vandalism, but there was something quaint and historic about the human marks left on the trees in this high mountain meadow.

And it did feel like God was blessing this quiet little place.

The high mountain maples had already prepared their seeds to fall!  The pods were positively bursting and their "helicopter wings" were already drying out.  There isn't much summer time in the high mountains and trees must make the most of it as fast as they can.

We found some dry wood near our campsite and decided to try whittling.

It had been a while for both of us, but we got out pocketknives and did our best.

In this world of safety and TSA, no one really carries a pocketknife anymore.  But my grandfather always had one.  And he made sure my brother and I always had one.  I have fond memories of camping with my grandparents and whittling away at a stick.  It didn't matter that we didn't make anything.  We were just whittling away the hours.  And there is value in that alone.

As we were leaving, I saw this lovely sight.  A big sister leading a horse with 3 little children on it.  This is something my grandfather made sure that all the children in our extended family could experience.  I feel badly that my own children never got this.

They also never experienced this.  

Further down the road on the way home, our progress was halted for a little while.  Real cowboys (just like my grandpa) were herding real cows down the middle of the road.

I'm not sure these cows had ever seen a motor home before.  Some gave us dirty looks.  Others mooed right in our faces as they pushed their calves to cross the road.  It was a wonderful end to our short little camping trip!

Here is a video of the little roundup we got to be a part of for a few minutes.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fun with Photoshop!

When you are stuck home with a broken foot, you do a lot of reading.  A lot of playing on the computer.  And a lot of daydreaming.

Today I combined all these things into one.  Otherwise called "Playing with Photoshop."  

I read how-to articles.  I watched youtube videos.  I learned how to make my own watermark.  (To put on all my valuable photos that I share on the web.)  ; )  I found out how to "enhance photos."  I did a lot of cutting and pasting.  I had fun!

I dedicate these photos and my new found skills (if you can call them that) to my darling grandchildren.  Enjoy!

At first, I just played around with "eye enhancing."

But I really can't tell which one has the enhanced eyes and which one doesn't.  So perhaps that was a wasted skill.  ; )

Then I learned how to blur the background--so as to draw more attention to your subject.  Can you tell it's blurred?  Maybe.

Adding color and taking color away was a blast!  I decided to accentuate the red, white, and blue from our family 4th of July picnic.  How wonderful of Aunt Andi to dress up with her nephews!

But the most fun of all?

Yes, I did just put Charlie in a dandelion.  He loves them and so do I.  So it only seemed appropriate!  Perhaps if I blow hard, he will scatter in the wind and land somewhere fertile to grow!  (Notice that I'm not very good at cutting around his head or "dropping shadows" yet.)

Henry is just stopping and taking time to smell the roses.  I remember my mother doing this with a photo of me in my baby book.  She had to actually cut and paste a photo of me--peeking out of a gift card that had a rose on it.  So I did the same....but with some digital help!  (And I'm getting better at making it look real!)

Wouldn't you like to lay back on the soft center of a sunflower and take a nap?  I thought Charlie might.  So I let him.

This having time on my hands is great fun!

(Also, please notice my fabulous watermarks on each of these photos!  That was another skill I learned today.  Aren't you impressed?)