Weekly photo challenge: Warmth

I seldom participate in the WordPress weekly photo challenge but I think about it just the same. The low last night was 10 degrees F. As I write this post at about noon it’s 20 degrees outside and 92 indoors. Breeze makes the chill factor feel lower. With three levels of windows facing south, on sunny days we turn off the heat and open windows. This morning I oiled 5 pairs of boots, some to wear in snow and with my snow shoes. They rest in the warmth at the windows while snow swirls off trees outdoors. The temperature differences indoors and out struck me. In one of the photos you can see some pine needles sticking out from beneath snow. Together the pine mulch and snow insulate tulips in the container, keeping them frozen until time to bloom. Maybe I should move them away from the sunny side of the deck to help prevent thaw and freeze. I have only one photo of a wind sweeping through the area, blowing snow off trees, creating a mysterious mood. I made the shot from our deck. The wind is only apparent on the ridge.


The Snow Fairy

The Snow Fairy

by Claude McKay

rose quarts in snow
“Throughout the afternoon I watched them there, Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky”


Throughout the afternoon I watched them there,
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky,
Whirling fantastic in the misty air,
Contending fierce for space supremacy.
And they flew down a mightier force at night,
As though in heaven there was revolt and riot,
And they, frail things had taken panic flight
Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet.
I went to bed and rose at early dawn
To see them huddled together in a heap,
Each merged into the other upon the lawn,
Worn out by the sharp struggle, fast asleep.
The sun shone brightly on them half the day,
By night they stealthily had stol’n away.

Rose quartz eye in snow
“When snow-sprites round my attic window flew, Your hair disheveled, eyes aglow with light.”


And suddenly my thoughts then turned to you
Who came to me upon a winter’s night,
When snow-sprites round my attic window flew,
Your hair disheveled, eyes aglow with light.
My heart was like the weather when you came,
The wanton winds were blowing loud and long;
But you, with joy and passion all aflame,
You danced and sang a lilting summer song.
I made room for you in my little bed,
Took covers from the closet fresh and warm,
A downfall pillow for your scented head,
And lay down with you resting in my arm.
You went with Dawn. You left me ere the day,
The lonely actor of a dreamy play.

About These Photos

This poem was in my e-mail today, so appropriate with last night’s new snow fall. The content inspired me to include the idea in one of https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/lawrynn-stories-fantasy-and-celtic-lore/ .

I looked for a scene to illustrate the poem, a small hill that could be “frail” snow fairies “huddled together in a heap.” Three large chunks of Montana Rose Quartz, each about the size of a football, rest on my deck rail, sending love energy to our home and surroundings. They appealed to me as a nurturing place for the fairies heaped upon them and I wanted to see how the pink would show against white in the overcast sky. One photo looks like an eye peering through the heaped up snow fairies. I got as close as I could with my Olympus E-10 for some shots, and I practiced using my new macro for others. They all turned out good enough. I liked these two for the post.

About This Poem

This poem inspires me to illustrate it and to use it in children’s theater for kids to choreograph creative movement with music.

“The Snow Fairy” was published in McKay’s book Harlem Shadows (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922). Claude McKay was born in Jamaica, on September 15, 1889. His debut collection, Songs of Jamaica (Augener Ltd., 1912), was published when McKay was only twenty years old. He died on May 22, 1948.

You can get a poem a day sent to your e-mail from  http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem-day?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Poem-a-Day++December+28+2014&utm_content=Poem-a-Day++December+28+2014+CID_3db5aadebcc44de8a6abdfe9f3b98bbe&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Poem-a-Day Poems in this site are in the public domain.

Filtered memory

B & W tree & gifts

I’ve been working on this vintage photo, late 1950s, for a couple of years to make a Christmas card. Haven’t settled on it yet. I decided I can’t eliminate the flash reflected in the window and that’s OK. It shows the technology and amateur nature of the moment. I’m trying some photo filters to see how they effect the mood of the photo. Our memories are filtered, coloring some pieces more than others and holding out unneeded or missing chunks, highlighting and projecting forward other ideas and feelings. Only some parts remain and we have to choose to keep them or modify them until our reality shifts and rests where it will, still pliable. Memories can change over time. Maybe that’s why I keep returning to this photo. It shows in black and white a moment in time.

My parents no doubt made this shot before we got up and discovered what Santa left. One of those sets of wooden skis is my first pair, just a strap over the boot, dangerous and exciting. They decorate my home now, one with a tip broken off. My grandfather made the doll bunk bed cribs for his daughter, my aunt, and now they were handed on to me. I handed them on to my daughter when the time was right. My uncle crafted the spotted horse for my little brother. Notice the springs that attach it to the frame; it bounced magnificently! We didn’t care that the paint ran on the spots. The giant shiny red wagon was for my older brother. In summer we caught multitudes of wiggly tadpoles and put them in it, with water and a great big toad. Mom called us to lunch and we pulled it home and parked it in the shade of a willow tree. When we came back to it only the toad was there. We always had maps on the wall and I still do. Living in a small rural town we were curious about the rest of the world. My grandparents brought the maracas for Dad when they went to Mexico. Mom played that huge upright grand piano. It’s in my music room now. Our living room was small, but the piano belonged there. We belonged there, cozy together in a time when everything was right for the children and we hadn’t a clue what our futures would be like, and it didn’t matter. We made our dreams and they evolved as we grew. We lived in the moment then. I try to live in the moment now, too. I realize many people don’t have pictures from their childhood and many did not have an extended family, active in their upbringing. I know I am lucky beyond measure.

Peace on the Range

Every year I torment myself for months trying to compose a unique card and print it to mail to family and friends for the winter holidays. For a couple of years I haven’t created a new holiday photo to mail. It might not happen this year either. December brings many traditional festivals to celebrate the season’s changes and religious events so I try not to get too tangled up with just one of them. Peace and love is the most important message I can think of. So today I share some photos I have used on cards in the past and wait for this season’s inspiration to strike. This is a good time to be a little goofy. I hope you get a chuckle and a moment or relaxed humor.

peace sing in field
Peace on the Range
peace sign on bare ground
Peas on Earth
line of crabs
Feeling a little crabby this year? Sandy Claws is coming to town.

The Peace symbol in the field is the most popular photo. Not really in the goofy category. People have framed it and keep it on their walls, they still talk about that card. Their visitors ask for a copy. As my husband stepped on the gas to gain momentum for the steep Midvale Hill I saw the shot and Brian slammed on the brakes. (He loves me!) Look closely and you will see the strands of barbed wire are not the same on both sides of the circle. The rancher hung the roll of wire on a corner post and hadn’t finished his fencing job. I like the irony of barbed wire creating a peace sign.

Peas on Earth came to me in desperation for a card. I grabbed a bag of frozen peas and ran out to my garden. I had already prepared the ground for the winter and I arranged the peas into the peace sign on the beautiful earth. Goofy and I like it. I used Photoshop Creative Suite to make the dry brush effect.

The poor Dungeness Crabs (oh how tasty!) were lined up for slaughter (boiling) at High Tides Seafood plant in Port Angeles where my husband worked. I photographed the whole process and this line generated silly ideas, too (among pathetic notions). I used the same Photoshop program to give it the water color effect.

Tree house, garden house, round house, out house, all at Lake Ozette

The tree house that sleeps four, the round house with 2 stories, the garden house, the outhouse. I love the little houses at Lake Ozette in the Olympic National Forest on the Washington state coast. My friend, Don who played bass in my husbands band in Port Angeles, arranged to be the caretaker for the only privately owned dwellings on the lake. He pays rent at $99.00 a year. The owner can never sell to anyone but the National Park. It’s a win-win for all. And I love to go there with him and the band for days at a time in late summer.

path to Lake Ozette from the tree house

I showed you in a previous post https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/edge/ part of the board walk,  about 20 feet above ground, that gets you from the tree house to the lake. In the rainy season, anytime except summer, the lake is up to the boards. Otherwise tall brush grows alongside. You can just see 2 canoes in the brush in the bottom of the photo. Here’s the tree house cabin. I stood on its porch to make the crooked path photo looking at Lake Ozette. tree house and canoestree house east side

The cute little bunny looking out the window at us was left there by Don’s niece. I love the bay windows that look out to the lake. Inside are two sets of bunk beds, a chair, a wood stove, and something sort of like a kitchen.

tree house back door

This is the back door to the tree house, the way we get in after a long trek. Standing at the lake you can see the big old Spruce that supports the cabin.

path through the forest

boardwalk to tree house

It takes about an hour to walk from the garden house, at the lake’s edge around a bay, and most of the walk is high above ground on narrow planks. Don and his brother reconstruct parts of the board walk every year, not an easy task. It’s sometimes more sensible to canoe from one house to the other. Once is rained so hard when they were sleeping in the garden house they had to canoe to their car on the dirt road.I don’t have a photo of the garden house. It’s called that because the garden grows there. Its easier to get to, being near the road and having a little lane to drive on. We have to pack our food and bedding into the tree house, balancing on the planks and snapping at my German Shepherd, named Ozette, to keep her from running an knocking into us. Sometimes she jumps off and runs beneath the boardwalk until the dense brush confuses her.

round house

From the garden house I can walk along a creek back to the bend in the road to the round house. That little house doesn’t belong to Don’s property. It’s quite imaginative, having 2 stories and only as big around as a giant ancient Red Wood tree. There is a bedroom upstairs with a double bed. Down stairs is a sweet round cabin room with a stove, chairs, table, and kitchen. I’d like to sleep here where I could hear the creek.

new out house

The round house has the best out house, the newest one in the community of little houses. Even here we use a board walk. The rain forest has so much decaying ground that it’s easy to fall through the forest floor and land knee deep or even 20 feet below where you were standing. And the ground is almost always wet, often running in small streams. Isn’t that a comforting dry porch outside the door?

If you visit the Washington coast in Olympic National Park, I hope you will drive to the Ozette trail head. You’ll pass these sweet little houses but you won’t see them from the road. At the trail head you can hike 3 miles to the beach and the site of Ozette village which was covered several times by mud slides and rebuilt in the same spot for centuries. Then you can turn around and hike back, or walk 3 miles down the beach and take a different trail back, making a nine mile hike, easy to do in a day. I’ll tell you more about that hike in another post.

I feel lucky and grateful to have a friend like Don who takes me to such interesting cabins.

Slow it down

The stage is set for open mic night every Wednesday at Crusty’s Pizza in McCall, Idaho. Last night I had the opportunity to slow my shutter and let my Olympus E-10 show me its stuff while professional and amateur musicians shredded the floor. A tripod wouldn’t help much here where feet tapping players keep the floor in constant motion. Given the slow shutter speed, my motion, and the bouncing floor, here’s what the E-10 put out.

The Leibster Award


Thanks so much http://photographywithwords.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/photographywithwords-the-leibster-award/ for nominating my blog for the Leibster Award! They thought my photography is awesome. Ah, gee. Goes to show you never know who is watching your blog and how your posts effect them. Leibster is German for lovely, appealing, nice, that sort of thing. I was asked to respond to 11 questions and then nominate other blogs for the award. Here are my responses and my nominations for more wonderful blogs.

1.) Why did you decide to start to blog?

I missed writing features articles for a newspaper and I wanted to share the culture and environments of both fabulous places where I lived, one in Idaho Rocky Mountains, and one on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula at the coast. I wanted to move beyond journal writing, notes. I have 45 or more journals. Like performing music, writing needs to have an audience some of the time.

2.)What is your favorite memory?

So many wonderful memories collage in my mind. I’m sure the outstanding ones place me outdoors skiing or at a lake or beach. Or maybe cruising the San Juan Islands on our boats. And doing everyday things with family like shucking huge open tubs of corn in my grandparents’ garage with my extended family.

3.) Who inspires you?

Uncle Clarence. He began writing letters when I moved away in 7th grade and we exchanged letters from then until he passed at age 90. He typed his letters on a Royal from the 1920s. I started keeping his letters in the late 80s and I have a wealth of his concise writing style and stories to share on my blog.

4.) What is your current goal in life?

I want to learn to say no to working except for small contracts that relate to my art and writing. I want to commit to stay focused on my art and writing. I want to clear out the clutter in my studio by using all the “found objects” and fabric until I have space to collect and use more. And to get some projects ready to sell.

5.) How would you describe yourself?

Calm, energetic, sincere, balanced.

6.)How much wood could a Woodchuck chuck if a Woodchuck could chuck wood?

Enough to stay warm all winter and share with others in need.

7.) What do you do for Fun?

Ski, kayak, hike, write, draw, photograph, lead kids in children’s theater, landscape and garden.

8.) What is your dream vacation?

I want to spend some weeks or months exploring Montana and really catching a fish with my fly outfit.

9.) What is your favorite Quote?

Anywhere you are, there you are.

10.) Do you enjoy running a blog?


11.) What do you plan to do now?

After I finish the post I will read some other blogs, knit a while on a scarf, organize my studio for a while, and write the next piece for the Cat Rock letters on my blog.

Now it’s time that I nominate blogs that I think are fantastic, but they must have less than 500 followers. I scoured the earth for the longest time and found these unique blogs:

http://thecraftyladyincombatboots.wordpress.com/ A retired Air Force lady, her blog really came alive for me when she took up the photo a day challenge. Wow!

https://dwaycrafts.wordpress.com/ His crisp photos always surprise me. He makes a point quickly in his writing and photos. He shows me an urban nature I had not expected to see in a huge city. He makes me think. He makes me feel.

http://whiteoakcottagedotcom.wordpress.com/ I love cottages and cottage gardens. Hers are beautiful, and her photos and posts appeal to me on a deep level. She writes about sensitive issues and enlightens me.

http://cookingwithawallflower.com You’ll like her professional photos of food and recipes, plus her down home talk about her travels and her life. Waiting for a job as a dental hygienist, she might as well write an on-line cook book. Yum.

http://thestorytellersabode.wordpress.com/     A Fairy Mind lives in this blog. Quite creative and a photographer who posts photos of intrigue.

 https://cartervail.wordpress.com/ says she’s one wicked writer, dark and twisted. She has a love for the strange and unusual, as well as a curiosity for the unknown. She believes anything is possible. She blogs about sci fi, macabre, and fantasy.

http://behindthewillows.com/ I connect with her posts and photos about rural life. She can tell a story efficiently with appeal.

Arise from decay

small drooping sunflowerbee on echinaceabee on big sunflowerwilted tulip

Gardening gives me opportunity to look closely at worlds around me. I like to watch the changes as plants and animals interact with the soil, air, and water. The declining stage fascinates me more even than the perkiest part of life. That’s when new life is beginning, That’s when everything begins. The old life generates and nurtures new growth. I need to ponder that process today, to let something new arise from decay. It’s the creative process.