Good news or bad news first?

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*Seedling update*
(click here for some background)

Okay, let’s get the bad news over with: most of the lavender and viola seedlings turned brown and shriveled back into the peat. No doubt this had something to do with my failure to remove the tray’s clear plastic lid while the seeds baked beside a south-facing window. (I promise I’m not quite so neglectful with my other dependents.)

Good news: We re-seeded, doing away with the plastic lid, and the new violas sprouted today. No sign of lavender yet, but can you blame it? It’s probably terrified of us.

More news: the tomato and basil were indifferent to the life and death drama of the others. They’re up and at it, leaning into the light. I thought the developing leaves of the purple basil looked pretty in the soft glow of the window, so that’s my photo for today.

Mental notes:

1) remember to water seedlings.
2) do not bake, suffocate, drown, step on, or otherwise injure seedlings.
3) hide seedlings from the cats.
4) cheer for/plead with the lavender.

I’ll keep you posted!



They’re back.

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Two young, gleaming trumpeter swans have returned to our local pond. To better appreciate their spring makeover, have a look at the way they endured the bitter cold of early winter.

At some point, they must’ve gotten fed up with that business and made their exit – perhaps settling somewhere that didn’t necessitate hiding their beaks in their feathers to keep warm.

(I’d like to run away every winter, too, I just haven’t figured out how to make it work. No matter! Spring is here, and I have another six months to devise an escape plan.)




Pink magic.

A compelling study of contrasts: coarse, aged stone walls paired with fresh, silky magnolia petals. One will last for years and the other will be gone in a week.

Glad I made it there on time.

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Multiple personalities.

Yesterday the rain prevented me from strolling around my backyard, but look what I found hiding behind the shed this morning.

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Today I thought I’d share a few versions of my subject, since I’m having a lot of fun learning about post-processing techniques. Holy smokes, it’s easy to lose track of time while a) squinting at things in the backyard and b) playing around in Lightroom. This is bad if you have other tasks you’re supposed to be doing, such as working, eating, sleeping, etc. (I’m supposed to be vacuuming right now).

I tried all three of these shots with a soft, glow-y type of adjustment, then in a monochrome style. It’s amazing how changes in light, tone and focus can impact a photo.

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When I treated the shot below in the same monochrome look as the others, it was super dark and didn’t really preserve a lot of details. I tried an alternative and though it’s better, I still don’t think it really works. I guess sometimes colour just has more impact.

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I’m looking forward to all my backyard discoveries this season.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the house is not going to vacuum itself.

Into the blue.

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When you like making pictures with your camera, you won’t hesitate to lie prone in a roadside patch of wet woodland that has been flooded with a temporary sea of blue ground cover. You’ll hope the mud seeping through your jeans will wash out and also that passing motorists won’t mistake you for someone requiring medical attention.

In the end, even if the shots aren’t as compelling as the real thing, you’ll be glad you tried.

And you might even go back tomorrow.

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Our tomatoes, seen here, are awake and eager, reaching upwards from their tiny peat pots by the window. Basil isn’t far behind, but lavender’s going to make us wait.

I don’t know much about the garden except that I like puttering around in it. This is true especially in early spring, when tiny signs of life start emerging from earth that seemed as though it had been dark and dead for ages.

For the past couple of years, the kids have helped start a few seeds indoors. We have a small plastic planting tray with those peat pellets that swell when they’re watered. The kids use a toothpick to place the seeds, and label the rows so we know what we’re looking at (and which kid planted it) once they sprout.

I’d hoped that if the children would be involved in cultivating a few backyard vegetables, they’d actually eat some. (Nope. Not a chance.)

Whether they end up consuming our harvest or not, I’m glad to see the kids experiencing the wonder of a seed starting to realize its potential – a seed they held in their hand, a seed they personally placed in the right conditions for new life.

The kids check on the seeds’ progress daily. Her tomato plants are winning, and his basil’s in second place, but I’m pretty sure we’re all rooting for the underdog.

Come on out, lavender. No need to be afraid. I’m almost certain the kids won’t eat you.