after the storm

after the storm
Welcome autumn!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

ahhhhh, peonies...

The peonies are here. I missed them last year. I have been pining for them for quite a while. They must be the most photogenic of all flowers. I have nothing more to say other than if you are like me and unable to grow them at home, check out Trader Joe's. I am already regretting not buying the white ones too.
Be still my heart.
I'll stop for now. Really.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

things go better with...

Make no mistake about it. I am a Pepsi fan. I don't drink much soda but when I am out, I am glad to see that Pepsi sign in the window. However, there is one exception, real Coke. If you are old enough, you know. Real Coke. Coke in bottles. Bottles that are in the back, the coldest part of the frig. Coke with caffeine. Coke with sugar. For some reason, Coke has a slightly different formula, depending which country is doing the bottling.

Our Costco carries Coke in bottles, bottled in Mexico. The first time I took a sip, it took me back to being a kid. I suspect that the formula changes a bit. There are boxes we buy that are perfection. Others are good but not quite with that familiar childhood taste.

We are among the mesquite trees again. It will probably be the last time until October. Summer has its joys but I will be looking forward to October.

I have no idea why I am saving these bottle caps. One of these days, I will know.

My brother and I liked to put the bottles in the freezer. You had to be careful about the timing though. We had it down. Whatever that magic timing was, I haven't been able to quite duplicate it. I guess as hard as you try, you can't quite get back to being a kid on a hot summer day hanging out with your brother.

Our deepest appreciation to all who have served and continue to serve. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!

Linking with Kathleen at Let's Dish, Susan at Between Naps on the Porch, Sherry at Home Sweet Home and Seasonal Sundays with The Tablescaper. Take a look!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

the desert blooms...

We have a garden, walled in the back. Every spring, I delight in the iris, lilies, roses, daffodils and whatever other treasures decide to make an appearance. I spend a lot of time there with my camera. Surrounding us is desert. It, too, has its own beauty in the spring. Most visitors, not familiar with the Sonoran Desert, are surprised at how lush and beautiful it can be. Trees of yellow (palo verde) and lavender (ironwood) catch my eye every single day. I never tire of it. Along with the blooms, we start to see some of the critters that have been hiding for part of the winter. Here is a glimpse but be reminded that despite my best efforts, I never really seem to capture its essence.

cholla blossoms

ocotillo blooms - The hummingbirds and even an oriole (on a migration path, I am sure) have been enjoying these.

desert marigolds

hedgehog cactus blossoms

Many lizards are out hibernation, looking for some sunshine. Their colors always surprise me.

The bunnies are finding more to eat these days. We see them all year round.

A white winged dove and Gila woodpecker sharing some saguaro blossoms with the bees. Doves and bats do most of the saguaro pollination.

This flying saucer cactus has huge blooms on it - about 8 inches in diameter.

This yellow prickly pear blossom will turn into fruit that the tortoises love. So do people.

Another prickly pear blossom, our version of a rose.

Ironwood blossoms are covering the trees. With the yellow palo verde (top picture) and the lavender ironwood, it sure looks like spring around here.

The doves are spending a lot of time near the saguaro flowers.

Another flying saucer flower. They don't last long but they are spectacular.

This was my favorite shot. I try and try to capture quail families. They are such a delight but they move so quickly, that my attempts haven't been very successful. This was Mother's Day morning, a delightful gift. Don't you love the little one on the right?

I love living among the saguaros.

Come see the fun at Seasonal Sundays, Your Sunday Best and Home Sweet Home.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

it is official, I am way beyond obsessed...

I started this post with the intention of talking about the photos that I had taken of a ladybug in a yellow poppy. I had fun taking the photos and wanted to share. As I sat down to write, I realized that the topic really isn't taking photos of ladybugs. It is about obsession.
This is the true story of the ladybug photo shoot.
On Saturday, I was at the nursery, looking for a special bougainvillea (first time not looking at how it is spelled and hoping it is correct). I didn't find it but I noticed that they were selling packages of ladybugs. Easy to justify because of the little bugs on my roses, my photographic heart started beating a little faster. The woman at the counter explained the process to me. Keep them in the frig until it is time to release them. Water your garden and release them at night.
As I went home, I realized photographing ladybugs at night was not exactly what I had in mind. I like natural light. So, I put them in the refrigerator. I decided that I needed to just release a few (I do not want to be accused of ladybug cruelty) in the early, cool morning, photograph them and release the rest in the garden, at night. I knew I needed early morning light and my "ladybug wrangler" to help. I took a few photos and released the rest that evening. To my delight, they stayed around. I didn't need my wrangler at all.
I was out first thing every morning, while it was cool and took hundreds of pictures (maybe more). I couldn't stop photographing them. There were different spot patterns, some with hardly any at all. They bunched together one night on a metal ornament in the garden. I loved watching them hang upside down, going up and down skinny stalks, crawling right over another if it was in the way. I think I am starting to understand why my daughter studied insects in college. Ladybugs, as it turns out, are photogenic, have great ideas for the perfect pose and do exactly what they want to do, at quite a pace. I grabbed my photos. They grabbed the bugs. The flowers were happy, the ladybugs were happy and so was I.
After hundreds of pictures (okay, definitely more), I decided there were perhaps other things I should be doing first thing in the morning.
Thank goodness for digital cameras.
Oh, yes, this is the one that started it all.

Linking to Seasonal Sundays and Your Sunday Best. What a great way to celebrate spring!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

al fresco...

We have two old mesquite trees on our property. They are beyond the wall of the backyard so we don't spend much time out there. M has always said that between the two big trees would be the perfect place to eat dinner. He was right. We moved a table back there and it just may stay.
The shade back there gives us a nice cool spot even as the temperature continues to climb.
We are lucky to have a lot of bougainvillea so I used it to give the table a bit of a pop.
The vintage silverplate is "Park Lane" by Oneida.
I like the look and feel of recycled glass.
Almost everything on this table is made in Mexico, a nod to Cinco de Mayo.
We will miss these al fresco days.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch and Kathleen at Let's Dish. So many pretty tables!

Tricia asked about the plates. They are made in Mexico by Anfora. They were sold at Pottery Barn a couple of years ago as blue and white Puebla. Because they are handpainted, the design and color varies a bit from plate to plate. It is now directly available from Anfora.