Monthly Archives: July 2010

I Love Flying Bugs

Standard

I would like to feature an elusive little rascal. They fly all over the place and never light. C-Man will attest to the amount of time I have scurried out the door, camera in hand, to wait for one these flighty creatures to stop flying long enough for me to capture it on film, or digital media card.

Today was the day! The patience I have practiced over the weeks has paid off! You just have to see these little guys. I finally figured out they like to land on narrow fence lines.

These are dragonflies! This species is the most abundant on our farm. I have countless shot of these as a blur against the lush summer green.

I don’t have any over the top shots because this fence is as high as I am tall.

There are two little guys on this fence. I hit the jackpot.

And while I was shooting the orange bug, this beautiful blue-green dragonfly showed up.

Then, in the middle of all this, this fellow shows up. I think he wanted some attention. We have myriads of these… green grasshoppers.

I just love the color of this bug!

I’m not finished yet. Here is another species. He looks like a Wright Brothers plane. When he lands, the wings notch down into a resting position.

Here is another species. He is a big one too.

And then, last but not least… The same guy, different surroundings.

And that my friends is today’s little piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

Advertisements

Flutter By

Standard

My first post in a couple of days.

I have to seriously look into getting a new dryer. The last twenty minutes in 100 degree heat just to hang the clothes, albeit they will dry beautifully in it, is too much. This, coming from the quintessential homemaker! I am the one who loves hanging clothes just to be outside. It’s just that hanging whites – all those socks and underwear – takes so long! I am OCDish and every sock must hang with its mate. Do you know how long it takes to sort through thirty pairs of white socks, stockings, sport socks? In this heat it is too long.

Today is the first day of RWA. For those of you unfamiliar with the romance world, RWA is the annual conference for romance writers. It has incredible workshops and gatherings. Fortunately there are some on-line alternatives these next three days. I have signed up for a symposium at Savvy Authors with some outstanding workshops. I will pretend I’m at the conference while I work at my little computer. These are some outstanding lessons.

So… now that the laundry is hung and dried and I have completed my little assignments, I pulled out my camera and followed a bunch of bugs around my yard. Between the dragonflies and the butterflies I kept myself mildly entertained. If you could see how many shots I downloaded you would say it was more than mild.

Here are the butterfly pictures. I have waited all summer to capture one of these and this was so much fun!

I found this critter the second we got in the car to drive into our town. That required my kids to sit in the car the ten or fifteen minutes it took to take fifty or so pictures of my flower garden.

Forgive the redundancy.

This butterfly sampled every flower in this bed. It was so much fun.

Aren’t the colors gorgeous?

This my little piece of heaven and I thank you for allowing me to share it with you.

Love, as always,
Jeannene

We Have Monkey Cats

Standard

This is an introduction to a new trend among our kittens.

I call it ‘Playing Monkey’.

On the west side of the house hang bamboo shades to ward off the western afternoon heat. The kittens have found a way to entertain themselves, when they aren’t overwhelmed by the heat.

This is a common day on our porch in this incessant, overbearing, completely mollifying heat. And this is only the feline population.

Anyway, back to the monkey business.

This one enjoys hanging as her claws dig into the bamboo.

Butterball is not to be outdone, though. Bella considers herself equally as agile.

She makes a bold attempt, but can’t seem to maintain the same tenacious hold as her sister.

Yes. That is a falling cat in the blur of fur.

I am proud to introduce the last member of our feline family. She is the sister of our newest litter and she is unmistakably ferrel. She bolts from every one of us, retreating to her lair under the house. We have coaxed and cajoled her brother to finally accept us as family, but this little thing will not be subdued easily.

She watched her cousins climbed and tried so hard to get up there, but no go. This little one is too short. The funny hue is due to taking this through the window. This is the only way to get any where near this little thing.

The final feat of the morning was preformed by Butterball. She deftly maneuvered her body to the inside of the shade and hung on for dear life.

So much for Monkey Cats.

Cat Boy calls this one Dr. Evil because she is so elusive. Through the window she is sweet and docile.

She sees me and remains put.

Hate the blue window hue, but she is so cute. She is gray.

This is brother.

He is black and fluffy and soft and scrumptious.

Cats are always a little piece of our heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

Just Blowing…

Standard

Today I need to vent, blow off some steam, just get it off my chest. Whew!

My summer vacation began last night. I have embarked on eleven days of summer frolic. (Is that what it is?) We have cleaning and tidying and errands to do. Mowing and laundry, weeding and canning, scrubbing and … I forget. Mixed in there are a few days of steamy hours at the pool and a refreshing afternoon tucked into the cool, dark fantasy of the movie theater. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get at least seventy-five pages edited of that WIP (which I really am liking now that the character arcs are taking shape).

Today, though, heralded something more horrifying than all that. I spent forty-five white knuckled minutes in the passenger seat of our car while our sixteen year old drove us into town. We are on a dead line for driver’s test day. The driving test in our town occurs only on Monday and Tuesdays. This means we have only three more days to bone up driving skills until the final hour of reckoning. The fact our car has not been available for his use for the past two weeks has not boded well for the momma. Cramming is what we are all about at this point. If he can’t do it now, it won’t work next week.

It isn’t that he can’t drive or doesn’t drive well. It’s just that he is young and I have no, none, nada control over the car should anything look like it might happen. Of course, his death grip on the steering wheel was a bit unnerving those first fifteen minutes. I’m not sure that was due to my nagging or his first experience on this particular road. He did finally relax completely. That was after he pulled into a parking lot and exchanged seats with me. It was a moment of sheer joy for the mom.

I pray he passes the test. This gets harder with each child and he is the third in the line of four. God help me when the last one starts driving!

Here is a mug shot of the dastardly driver.

Hope see this on a driver’s license next week.

Thanks for the ear while I rant. Just love the use of words. It’s so cathartic.

I changed the look of my website and I think I like it! I have so much more planned for the future so don’t be too shocked at the alterations through the rest of the year.

Happy summer everyone and this is my little piece of heaven today.

Love,
Jeannene

Too Hot to Do Anything Else

Standard

We live in Arkansas. Our location isn’t as far south as Mississippi or Alabama, but we are far enough south to be in the vapid heat of summer. This is not to say that I complain about the heat. On the contrary! I love summer. I love taking my child to the pool (I have always been a swim bunny). I love the sun and the clouds and the green and the grass. I love the mowing and the garden, (Even those darned weeds that love my garden aren’t that bad when I get a handle on them.) and I love the heat that makes it all possible.

Summer brings us closer to nature – the deer visit ever night and some even come in for dinner. Summer gives our bodies the necessary Vitamin D to maintain our excellent health. It also brings us closer together. Not only the humans are closer together, but how about those cats of ours.

We have a passel of cats this summer and they make me laugh. They hang out on our front porch. It is well shaded and the afternoon breeze wafts across it liberally. We also have wrought iron furniture with holes in the seats that allows the exchange of air whilst one sits in it. Or in this case, while a cat lies on it.

The concrete of our porch is inviting to all the felines. All of them languish and sprawl in the heat.

I can’t get them all in their somnambulant state because they consider the camera a curiosity. I have attempted to show you what I see every day.

Have you noticed the pattern?

This is CJ and he needed to eye me with at least one eye.

This is Pebbles, one of our kittens. He has learned the art of the sprawl.

And Bella, the kitty who almost died.

The kitten on the left is one of our newest kittens. Even he has studiously partaken in the past time of his relatives.

Buttercup is asleep like the rest.

The triple play, our kittens.

Did you notice the glaze over their eyes, if they were open at all. And how about the full body sprawl – front paws thrust to the front and back legs stretched out behind those hips. The body has full contact with the concrete. Our cats spend most of the warm day in this position, all an attempt to maintain a cool body heat.

Hope this gives you as much enjoyment as it gave me to show you.

I dedicate this blog to my dad who loves cats more than I.

This is my piece of heaven greeting me at the end of the day. I could just scoop them up and rub ’em to pieces.

Love,
Jeannene

Just Braggin’

Standard

Today is just a regular Sunday, except for me. I have spent the last three Sundays indoors at the day job, my weekend responsibility. Finally I have a weekend off. It was heaven waking up at 7am and preparing a breakfast at my leisure, drinking my tea while sitting down instead of as I dress for work. I can interact with those members of my family that might happen to be up that hour. Corvette Man is the only one up with me. The kids sleep in for the summer. I don’t wake them up, knowing first hand how wonderful it is to languish in bed. They will have a lifetime of getting up and doing ahead of them. I am spoiling them? Don’t answer that.

This Sunday, Corvette Man, the track coach of our children for the summer, had our kids doing sprints on the local school track. Of course this was relatively early in the day because the heat index began to climb well after 9am. I took my trusty camera and captured some treasured moments.

My kids will probably freak to know I am posting these pictures, but I am Momma and I will post!

Catboy is our first track dude. He loves to run and doesn’t do a bad job of it. He has pretty good form if you ask me. But of course, I’m Mom and I think they are great no matter what they do.

Please excuse the topless pixs. Dad needed the shirt as a visual aide. This kid spends his entire summer topless, though, so this is him ea natural.

I just like the way he fills the shot and I like watching him run… sorry.

And she will kill me when she finds out I have this in here. At least I didn’t post the other shot. She would have fainted. I just like way she looks and she is mine and like her stunning beauty and …. that is all.

She just finished her run here. The running shot looked a bit awkward.

Now the last brag of the week.

I have some beautiful tomatoes, if the rodents haven’t chewed on them and rendered them fly fodder. This tomato is the largest fruit ever pulled off a plant and I am darned proud of it. Unfortunately I did not place another object next to it to show its size relative to….

Here it is anyway.

If it helps any, it is sitting on 2inch squares. By the way, this was a delicious tomato.

You Could Call It Laziness

Standard

I haven’t visited my own home here on the web for a couple of days. I’ve been working like a wild woman on edits, more like rewrites. Thank God for rewrites, because without them my WIP would stink. It is shaping up admirably.

I entered one contest this week. It means I have to carefully and meticulously read and correct those pages I submit. Lazy person that I am, this is a feat of stupendous proportions, but I did it and it looks good. I also finished a short story today. Yeah!! I didn’t realize how much I liked the thing until I started working it again (after a two-week respite). It will be entered in a local contest.

Now to my favorite part of blogging… the pictures. I love capturing the world in tiny glimpses to reveal the imbedded treasures within.

Today we have my favorite bird. I thought this bird was only found in the southwest, but Arkansas has quite a thriving population of them.

It is a road-runner.

I love their coloring and their substantial size.

They are majestic in a birdy sort of way. They are sturdy and easy to spot. Their coloring is earthy and in the neutral palette. Perhaps that’s why they have such an appeal.

He poses for us. As if he knows he is the object of my lens.

He is wary, yet doesn’t flee.

And he always puts forth his best face

It has taken me three hours to write these paltry few words because I have been entranced by the movie The Book of Eli. I can usually write and watch, but this film was absolutely enthralling.

This little guy, though is today’s piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

I Missed It!

Standard

Today I begin the 100 days of 100 words over again as I neglected to write any words yesterday. I would love to use the excuse of working and critique weekend, but there are others with even more pressing events in their lives and they can manage with more diligence than myself.

I didn’t meet all my goals for the week. Editing is progressing well, if you call rewriting a large portion of the chapter, well. (The initial writing is atrocious. I remember some quote from a very renowned literary writer where he stated it didn’t matter how poorly you write as long as you can edit well.) I am a better editor than a writer, it seems. I still need to enter the book in that other contest. I put it off until next week as there is still plenty of time before the entry deadline. (Such a procrastinator!)

This evening the rain is falling and the kittens play outside my window. Such pleasant amenities to break the stifling heat of our summer (but, then there would be no tomatoes without the heat.) I should have some fantastic tomatoes this week with two days of rain!

Now, to entertain your sense of color and craving for the picturesque, perhaps unique. I include some shots of an astonishingly colorful fowl.

This is his dress in recess.

This blue is so incredible it is hard to believe it is on feathers and not manufactured.

This silly bird showed off for the goose on the other side of those feathers. He preened at her so I thought it interesting to show what he looks like under his skirts.

When he finally turned around, it was away from the sunlight. The intensity of the colors is severely lacking in this shot. Sorry.

He finally faced the morning sun to show you the intense natural color of those feathers. Couldn’t quite get him in full frame. He kept turning and walking closer.

This shot sucks because I couldn’t frame the entire plume. The silly bird approached me, shorting the distance in the shot. When I withdrew, the gate cut off the top of the plume.

These are some awesome colors though.

My little piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

Can You….Can?

Standard

Summer. Hot and humid. Perfect climate to grow all sorts of vegetables and healthy staples.

My garden, at this late date, is now over run with weeds, in most places, but the tomatoes are still coming in strong. I would have had a bumper crop of green beans and October beans had the doe in the neighboring wood not discovered the scrumptious eats in my yard. She has single-handedly obliterated those veggies. On a similar note, some rabbit or rodent has discovered the ever-present fruit of my beautiful tomatoes.

Today I found four, 4 (four), large ripe tomatoes half eaten and gnawed out. It is beginning to get irritating.

On a happier note, I have managed to scarf enough ripe tomatoes to can about seven quarts, a couple quarts at a time. I usually collect enough tomatoes at one picking at this date in the season to can at least a dozen or more quarts, but between that doe munching on the first six tomato plants and that bothersome rodent, I am happy to have managed these treasures. Canning two or three quarts is very simple compared to the production line of a dozen or so, though. I kind of like it this way. I have to state that my canning goal for the season was at least thirty-six quarts and I am not sure I will come any where close to that worthy aspiration.

I love tomatoes and I love cooking with them. Most of my winter dishes have some sort of tomato base and this is how I support my tomato habit. It gives me a very self satisfying feeling to accomplish canning anything.

I just wanted to share fruits of my labor in picture form.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the canning process, I did not take any shots of the process. I was asleep this afternoon. I will explain it briefly.

Take fresh tomatoes. Cut out the stem area, boil for three minutes, allow to cool to touch and remove the skin. Place the meat of the tomatoes in a boiled clean glass jar and seal with a boiled canning lid.

The filled jars are placed in a pot of water and covered with water.

I cook mine on the porch to minimize the heat build up in the house during the hottest part of the summer. One of these cookers perform admirably.

This is a small pot as I only canned three jars. I have larger pots for more jars.

The water boils for forty-five minutes, forcing air out of the jar and cooking the contents to kill any bacteria that would cause food poisoning.

Pull the jars out of the water and allow to cool.

The important thing about canning is that as the jars cool, the lid will suck in, indicating it has cooked properly and is sealed properly. Please don’t pay any attention to that fly on the side. Working outside has its draw backs and flies are one of them.

I think the red jars are beautiful.

Then of course there are the helpers. This is Fluffy. She just knows there is something to eat under that lid.

Thanks for letting me share this little piece of heaven. Tomatoes are heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

A View From the Top

Standard

I want to share a couple more pictures of our trip the other day. Arkansas is inundated with picturesque places and we visited one of them the other day. The photo opportunities abound and these are just a few.

I should also take this opportunity, since I am a writer and this is a blog for a writer, to make a couple of notes about my summer projects. I am now in the editing phase of my WIP. The first chapters were written over six months ago making the story fairly fresh as I review and refresh the scenes. I like the heroine and the hero even better second time around. I intend to enter the MS in one more summer contest and then I need to work on a couple of short stories for some local contests. As I put this into black and white, it seems like a lot to do. My full-time job in the city and my full-time job at home mean the remaining hours will be jam-packed. I think I’m up for the challenge.

Back to those awesome views. Check this out…
Petit Jean Mountain overlooking the Arkansas River. Breathtaking.

The farmlands in the valley.

This is a view from Winrock.

Another outlook..

And then there are these things…

We finally got that boy to crack a smile. Pretty nice look really.

And then there is this guy…

And a last parting look.

Just a magnificent piece of heaven today.

Love,
Jeannene