Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Recommendations for Best Photography Books

The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby is one of my top recommendations for anyone new to using a dSLR camera. For further information on this book and the others in my photography library, please see the newest post on my other blog, Best Quick Advice Photography Book.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Small Town Snapshot Sunday

Winter Wheat under a Blue Kansas Sky
Early Spring 2009

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more Small Town Snapshot Sunday related photos!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Maybe This Photo Will Help Cool Me Off

Sunset glow on hubby's rope
Photo from last fall - can't you just feel the crisp air?

Tomorrow should be a return to marginally better temperatures with a high of 91. After our week of 100 degrees plus every single day, I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I think the animals will be happier too.

Not that I want to rush summer, but autumn IS my favorite season. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wheat Harvest Time in Kansas!

I took these photos from our pasture; our neighbor farmer
across the dirt road was harvesting his fields. I would have
gotten closer for better photos, but I was being eaten alive
by mosquitoes and such. Bugs love me.

It's wheat harvest time here in southern Kansas, and our neighbor farmers all around us have been busy this past week with their big combines and trailers, harvesting as much as they can in between rain. Our normally uncrowded country road has become just a tad congested, with tractors and trailers and semis and pick-up trucks, everyone intent on getting the wheat harvest done. No more rain in the forecast now - it's very dry and very hot, so they should be able to finish up this week.

In the next few weeks, the night sky will be lit up from the fires, as they burn off the fields in preparation for next year's crops. My experience last year was that it's very cool, yet eerie at the same time... I always wonder, will any of these fires around me get out of control? As y'all know, my hubster had his own brand of fire excitement this past March while I was in Arizona visiting my mom. Yes, sometimes these fires DO get out of control! Yikes.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

The setting sun casts a golden glow over the horses
in the pasture while fluffy clouds hug the horizon.

Visit SkyWatch Friday for more stunning skies all over the world!

Monday, June 15, 2009

I Wanna Check You for Ticks...

So let's just say that when you need your fix of EWWWW for the day, come on over to my photo blog, k?

You really want to enlarge these photos to see the detail, it's amazing.
Trust Me. Enlarge 'em.

So this is an engorged tick, one that's filled himself with so much blood, he can't even escape from me. Oh yeah, he's still alive, evil lil b*stard. Yep, that's exactly how I feel about ticks. They are oh so gross and beyond disgusting. Hubby likes to squash them (a big blood splat, can you say EWWWW again?!); I prefer flushing them down the toilet, although it would appear they could clog the septic system.

See that little black dot between the tick and the penny? That's the size of a tick before he drinks all the blood from his host. Is that gross enough for ya?

I found this guy on our bedroom carpet as I was getting ready for bed. Preempted my bedtime strategy big-time; I really needed to share this with all my bloggy friends since they've enjoyed my spider and snakes thus far. I have learned not to pick up anything off the floor that a) looks like a rock (usually a tick) or b) looks like dog hair (could be a spider). So now I either look very closely before I pick something up with my bare hands, or I just go ahead and get a tissue to be safe.

Oh, and by the way, all our dogs get their monthly dose of Bio-Spot for fleas and ticks, but occasionally a tick will somehow manage to survive this poison. The ticks have been horrendous this year.

Before I close this post and flush him down the toilet, I did find the detail on his "face" interesting (do ticks have a face??) For a quick minute. I mean, he's oddly fascinating in the grossest of ways, isn't he?

So has anyone answered the question yet -- what exactly IS the purpose of blood-sucking mosquitoes and ticks, except to annoy the crap out of us and create huge welts that take weeks to go away?!

I'd like to walk you through a field of wildflowers,
and I'd like to check you for ticks.
~"Ticks" by Brad Paisley

Small Town Snapshot Sunday

abandoned barn

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Color Carnival Photo Meme

Several years ago, I went on a road trip with just Trixie Lou. We spent a few days in Bisbee, AZ, in a renovated miner's cabin high on a mountain. Seriously... high...on...a...mountain. I almost couldn't force myself to drive the last few yards to the cabin, it was that steep. Can you say "vertigo"?? Once there, the views were just breathtaking. I felt so relaxed sitting in the easy chair, looking out the large picture window at everything below me.

This was the iconic back door, rustic and homey as only an artist could create. You can just see Trixie peeking through the back screen door. I've made this photo into note cards; if you're interested, click here.

Click on the Color Carnival logo above to see
the other entries at Martha's Color Carnival blog.

Join us, we'd sure love to have you. :-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday "My Town" Shootout: The Letter M

blue Merle aussies

our Mare



Moss rose

Musk thistle, a noxious weed in KS and OK

country Mailbox

tabletop Mosaic

country Meadow


Me = this photo should give me Motivation!
(about a year and 30 lbs ago in Ohio!)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Just Another Snake on the Prairie

I noticed the cats messin' with something when I looked out the window, and I could tell from their reactions - jumping straight up in the air - that it wasn't the usual mouse, rat, or bird. So of course I went to investigate, and this is what I found! I've seen bigger ones around here; this one looked to be a juvenile, but he was still close to 3 feet long.

Probably just a bull snake, but they are not usually hangin' out in our back yard. They hang out in the pastures where there's water, and we almost always see them around the pond. So he was a little out of his element.

SkyWatch Friday

Kansas sunset in June

Visit SkyWatch Friday for more stunning skies all over the world!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Upland Sandpiper Makes Emergency Landing

I walked out to the pasture tonight to snap some pics, and this bird plopped down on the fencepost next to me -- he wasn't even 6 feet away! I guess he didn't realize I was HUMAN since I wasn't moving. So I managed to snap off a few shots before he flew away.

There were several flying overhead, and their call was very distinctive. I had a feeling that we (me, Ringo and the cats) could possibly be disturbing a nearby nest. I had no idea what kind of bird it was until I came in the house and did some research; there it was, prominently displayed in a flyer promoting Kansas wildlife and flora. The Upland Sandpiper!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Photos of My Phobia

I was cleaning stock tanks this afternoon and decided to move one that hadn't been used since wintertime to a different pasture area. Hubby had emptied it over a month ago and left it turned upside down. Now, I know better to be careful when I overturn anything out here on the wild plains of Kansas ... you never know what lovely variety of wildlife could be lurking underneath. Snakes are the common culprit, but they don't freak me out too much.

Anyway, as I grabbed the stock tank to overturn it, I gave it as large a berth as I could manage, just in case something decided to slither or run towards me. THIS is the last thing I imagined would RUN TOWARD ME. And yes, it ran TOWARD ME, not AWAY from me!!!! Before my photographer's brain clicked into place, I jumped 20 feet in the air and did the "OMG I think I just crapped myself" dance.

He (or most likely, she) immediately ran into the first crack that he came to -- so I ran to the house to get my camera, hoping he would stay in that crack. Huff huff puff puff... I am SO out of shape. This is the 2nd time I've RUN to the house to get my camera... the last time was the full moon several nights ago.

Here's a shot with my glove so you have an idea how big he/she was. I wanted it to come out of the crack so I could get a better picture, but at the same time I hesitated to agitate it... I had a quick vision of this thing running towards me and crawling up my pant leg and planting itself all over my face. I threw my glove several times and he didn't budge, so I picked up a pretty good size rock and rolled it towards him. As luck would have it, the rock ended up rolling right over him. I thought for sure that I had just squished him. Oops, sorry Mr. Spider. (but not really)

But no, he was fine... he just ran to another crack in the ground. (Can you see him just eyeballing me with those lil beady eyes?! Shudder!) Grrr, how was I going to get him to stay out in the open long enough for me to get some good pics of him??? I tried one more time with the big rock, rolling it towards him.... and finally, he ran out into the open and stayed there long enough for me to snap off two shots. That was it, and then he was back in another crack!

So, do we have any arachnologists out there? Can anyone tell me what kind of spider this was, aside from the uber-hairy and scary kind??!!

P.S. When I uploaded the photos to iPhoto and was looking at them (32 total), trying to decide which were the best to post, I kept feeling "things" on me, and wiping my arms, my back, etc....

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Color Carnival Photo Meme

Click on the Color Carnival logo above to see
the other entries at Martha's Color Carnival blog.

Join us, we'd sure love to have you. :-)

These are three separate paintings I own by Susan Rene; you are only seeing a partial of each painting here. I took a photo of each with my Nikon D60 and then created a collage of the three using Picnik.

If you like dogs (I do!) and you love bright, vibrant colors (I do!), then you'll love her paintings. Check out the Naked Horse gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona, for more of her paintings.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Color Carnival Photo Meme

Click on the Color Carnival logo above to see
the other entries at Martha's Color Carnival blog.

Join us, we'd sure love to have you. :-)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Animal Planet at the Ranch

Yep, there's been quite a bit of wildlife activity this week here on the Kansas plains. First the snake, now this pretty good sized turtle - about 10" or so in diameter. We think she was looking for a place to lay her eggs. Well, that's OUR guess, anyway.

As you can see, Ringo was not interested in the turtle. At. All. Nope, this dog prefers frogs... and rats... and mice. Things that MOVE.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Look What the Cat Dragged In!

Our cat Barack was playing with this poor snake...
I thought he was a goner, for sure.
(The snake, not Barack.)

Then as I stepped in to focus the camera for a closer shot, the snake's head shot out from under his body and about sent me running to the house. Oh, he was very much still alive, and as usual, I was only wearing my flip flops! Egads!

Here's a close-up of the scaly critter's forked tongue...

He wasn't a teeny lil snake either... he was a good 2 ft long.

Anyone out there know what kind of snake this might be? (We live in south central Kansas near the OK border, if that helps.)