before the storm

before the storm
The wind started to blow, which made me look out the window, which made me grab my camera, which made me run outside, which made me ever so grateful for our little home among the saguaros.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

shoot the moon...


There is a full moon tonight. Did you know it is a "blue moon"? There are actually two definitions of a blue moon. The more modern definition is the second full moon that occurs during a month. The Farmers' Almanac definition is an extra full moon that occurs during a season. One season normally has three full moons. If a season has four, the third full moon of that season is considered a blue moon. For 2010, the time between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice, will have four full moons. Tonight's is the third so it is called a blue moon.

If you are interested in learning more about photographing the moon, I was a guest writer with the Mortal Muses. You can find my article here.

Even if you don't plan to photograph the moon, take a step outside tonight to enjoy the view. It never gets old.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

thinking about Thanksgiving...

Just a quick post tonight. I am playing around with tables, planning for Thanksgiving. It is hard to pick a favorite holiday but Thanksgiving is right up there. It is such a pure holiday for me. It is all about being grateful, spending time with family and the food. Oh, how I love Thanksgiving food!
The pumpkins are resting on slices of a fallen aspen limb.

Playing around with placecards. I don't think this will make the final cut but it got me thinking.

Thank you to Sherry for reminding me last week that I had these plates. I bought them when it was a gazillion degrees out, thinking they would be perfect for fall and maybe Thanksgiving. Apparently, the heat got to me because I had forgotten all about them until I saw Sherry's post.





Our plan is to have Thanksgiving outside. The weather has been perfect so far this month but who knows what next Thursday will bring.

Whatever the weather, we have much to be thankful for.


Join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for many other tablescapes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

an unexpected visitor for dinner...

We are so happy to be eating outdoors again. The weather is perfect and we enjoy the visitors that join us. My first step was to cut some sage to use on the table. I was completely influenced by this lovely table that Jain shared. I have had this sage but for some reason have never cut some to enjoy on the table. As I was cutting it, there were others who were enjoying it even more.


I just took a little bit to enjoy on the table.



I wasn’t very happy with the light when I first photographed this table. When I decided to try again, I was surprised to see that we had an unexpected visitor. Can you spot her? (hint: look at the top of the flowers in the vase.)





We enjoyed this table after dark.

And during the blue hour.



And you would think this is the end of the story. It isn’t.

I brought in everything off the table except the vase of sage. I decided to leave it outside. Because we sometimes have bobcats that visit, I decided to put the vase on the table that was under the patio roof so it wouldn’t get bothered. Imagine my surprise the next morning to see a hummingbird at the vase enjoying her breakfast. I startled her a bit when I went outside with my camera but soon she was back allowing me to shoot as much as I wanted.
It was as if I set up a photo shoot with a hummingbird; perfect light, perfect distance and even a comfy place to sit. If I had only known it was this easy…


The sage was gathered on Saturday. It is still on the table four days later and the hummingbirds are still enjoying it. I can't get over their tiny little feet!

Please join Susan and the other tablescapers for some lovely tables at Between Naps on the Porch.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

we love soup...

I have a habit of tearing recipes out of magazines and putting them in a desk drawer to “try later”. They languish at the bottom of the drawer, never to be seen again. I finally needed to clean out my desk. I was determined to continue my purging of the unnecessary (goal for 2010, but obviously does not include important things like books, music, camera equipment and dishes). Many recipes were thrown out. I am so glad this wasn’t one of them. WB loves this soup. I love this soup. I must share. We make a lot of homemade soups but neither of us has tried tomato before. I am not sure why. Maybe it is because there is beef and barley, Manhattan clam chowder, albondigas, posole, tortilla soup – well, the list could go on and on. The weather turns cool and we are ready for soup. Actually WB could eat soup every single day, even during the heat of the summer. I first made this soup two weeks ago and the third batch is cooking right now. It is easy. It is cheap. It is fast. But most importantly, it really is good.
(I don’t know which magazine to attribute it to and for that, I apologize. It may be Cooking Light.)

Creamy Tomato Balsamic Soup

1 cup beef broth, divided
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
5 garlic cloves
2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes, drained
cooking spray
3/4 cup half and half
cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 500°.
Combine 1/2 cup broth, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce in a small bowl.
Place onion, garlic and tomatoes in a 13x9 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.
Pour broth mixture over tomato mixture.
Bake at 500° for 50 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned (don’t worry if there are some dark spots – the flavor is still wonderful).
Place tomato mixture in a blender (I used a food processor).
Add remaining 1/2 cup broth and half and half and process until smooth.
Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids (I didn't do this).
Garnish with cracked black pepper, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings





















First time, I added some homemade croutons. So good with a quesadilla on the side.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I can't get enough...

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
-George Eliot



Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.
-Stanley Horowitz





Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn. -
Elizabeth Lawrence


Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
-Albert Camus

Monday, November 1, 2010

picture fall, the end...

The last three days of Picture Fall.

As always, click on the photo to see a larger view.

"sweet"

"fantasy" No Halloween costumes around here.

"thankful" This was taken yesterday in the mountains near our home.