Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life - made easier

When we put in our sprinkler system we maxed out our timer system at 16.  So the only option for my garden was a hose bib.  That first year was terrible.  I think I wasted way more water than necessary.  
This little contraption by Orbit in Salt Lake is heaven sent.  I designed my drip line and then attached the timer.  This one has a manual setting and an electronic setting.  So, the hose is hooked up to the one on the right.  I leave the one on the left open so I can use my water pail to mix up fertilizer.  I try to just use compost but sometimes a few plants need an extra boost.  This is so handy.  And can I use the term, GREEN?  I waste much less water thanks to the drip line and timer.  I can easily adjust times as I see the need.  I learned my lesson this year - don't place outside until after June 1st or even later.  They will crack and the batteries will leak if they freeze.  

My potatoes are doing quite well.  I guess I could dig up a few for new potatoes for tin foil dinners. I learned a trick for planting these.  Last year I did two rows.  This year I planted on each side of the drip line about 12 inches apart and alternated so they are in a zigzag if you drew lines between them.  One row and twice as many potatoes.  So far, so good.  I learned this technique from square foot gardening.
 Any idea what these are?  Onions going to seed.  Last year one went to seed and I harvested the seeds, planted the seeds, saw them sprout, grow, and placed them in the garden.  Leave one or two plants in the garden to go to seed next year.  My green bunching onions are doing the same thing.  Fewer seeds to buy equals money in my pocket!

And I'm learning to love clematis.  It's time to build a trellis to fill my back wall behind the garage.  These plants are taking off!  Last year I saw one bloom on this plant.  This year there are dozens of 6 inch blooms all over this vine.

Maybe I'll post my before and after pics next.  As in last week and this week.  It's amazing what a little heat will do.  

Adoption ... it's about family.

My dear friend and former mission companion has a family only because adoption made it possible.  I asked her if it was okay for me to share this on my blog.  Because I don't know any unwed mothers personally but maybe you do.  Maybe she is searching for a family for her child.  Maybe not.  But I hope that if you feel inspired to share this with her, that you will.  Mandee is one of my favorite people and one who I am grateful to have met.  We were roommates for quite a while in the mission field and we were companions twice!  We worked hard together in the humidity and she is an example of faith and determination regardless of crashing bikes while wearing dresses, or getting spit on, or attacked by dogs. Their contact information is below.  

Dear Friends,

            Our family is excited to take this opportunity for you to get to know us a little better. We can’t imagine the weight that has been placed upon your shoulders as you make this very important decision in your life.  Although we don’t know you personally we want to express our deep love and admiration for you and the sacrifice you are making.

            Dallan and I have been married for ten years now. We love traveling, going out to dinner and a movie, playing tennis, and spending time with our family and friends. We both come from large families and wanted very much to continue in that tradition. However, early in our marriage we quickly learned that sometimes even the best made plans aren’t always meant to be. Although, that was a difficult time for the both of us, never before had we felt God's love as abundantly as we did during those few tough years. However, in the end we were blessed with more than we had ever hoped for. Six years ago we were lucky enough to adopt our daughter Madelyn and three years later our son Jackson.  They along with their birthmothers have been our miracles

You - We want you to know you are important to us. We would very much like to meet you and together come up with an adoption plan that you feel comfortable with. We are open to visits, phone calls, emails, letters, and of course lots and lots of pictures.  We would love for you to meet our family and hopefully answer any questions you may have for us.
            Again, we can’t imagine the stress you are under at this time in your life. We hope you are surrounded by family and friends who love and support your decision. We want you to know that we pray for you and hope you will be blessed with peace of mind as to what decision is right for you. 

With much love,
Dallan, Mandee, Madelyn & Jackson

Contact Information:

Email:                        dallanandmandee@gmail.com
Phone:                        480-586-0379

Monday, June 28, 2010

Here it is ... my ABCs of summer!

Our ABC's of Summer
A – Airshow – check out our local airport.
B – Beading – Make bracelets and necklace.
C – Camping – up in the hills and/or in the backyard. County Fair.
D – Duck – Feed the ducks at the dam.  Go to the Dance Revue.
E – Eat anything for lunch. Evening Walks.
F – Fire pit for Father’s Day – backyard surprise for Daddy. Fishing
G – Grandparents Day – Make fun things and put them in the mail. Garage sale. Grilling. Gardening. Grocery Store
H – Harvest vegetables from the garden. Hiking up in the mountains.
I – Ice Treasure Hunt followed by Ice cream treats. Mommy will freeze special treasures in ice ahead of time.  Use toothbrushes to excavate treasures from the ice.
J – Junk Food. Jump Rope contest.
K – Kitchen Play – Teach the kids to wash dishes by hand – bubbles and all.  Kangaroo snack. Fly our Kites. Kool-Aide
L – Library, Library, Library. Lemonade
M – Mixes – Make homemade cookie mixes to have stored on the shelf ready to go. Manicures. 
N – Necklaces, needlework (finish cross-stitch for the fair)
O – Outside Play – Bike wash - sprinkler - Grandma's waterslide.
P – Make Play-do or Popsicles or visit the Park and Photography safari
Q – Quarter Game – dump out the piggy banks and sort our quarters by states.  Count them up to see how many we have of each state.
R – Rainy Day Reading Marathon –
S – Swimming pool  - time for a ride on the twirly slide
T – Make a Treat together.
U – Take a walk or drive and take pictures of things that look like the letter U – Building, windows etc.
V – Vacation! 
W – Water play, watercolor, watermelon (hopefully we can get some to grow!) Weed the garden. Waterfalls.
X – X marks the spot – Treasure hunt.
Y – Yellow - all things yellow.
Z – Zucchini – We’ll have some growing soon.  Visit our little local Zoo.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Camping in June

You can see here the start of a new tradition.  
That's me on the left side of the photo. I started out cooking the bacon.  Then I had to put the fire out.  Then when we got  it all figured out and the bacon cooked to perfection we tossed the hash browns in.  When they were nice and crispy we took them out and started eating.  Then we added the eggs into the skillet.  Tyler then added the cheese.  Then we ate some more. 

We enjoyed the beautiful morning and then headed home to work in the yard for several more hours. I slept perfectly that night!

Friday, June 25, 2010

harvest - kohlrabi

I should have started more.  They don't take up as much space as I thought they would.  And if you pick them when they are small enough they are perfect cut up and dipped in ranch dressing - or if they do get a bit big, cut them up and put them in stir fry.

It tastes like a mild broccoli without all the worms or caterpillars!

Photo Tip: f4 on my table by my south facing window - keep out of direct sunlight.
Use Aperture Priority.  ISO 400

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dance - taking photos in an auditorium

Okay moms, I set my camera at ISO 800 and sometimes ISO 1600 on manual mode at a 60th of a second up to 200th at f 2.8 - just test it out until it looks the way you like. Keep your f stop around 2.8 for the speed of the lens.  Everything else is adjustable.

Make sure your VR (vibration reduction) is ON on your lens.
I like how her feet are out of focus but her face is not.

Have a blast filling up that card.  Oh and swarovski crystals can be applied to the face with eyelash glue to add a little sparkle. And we love the new sparkling stage makeup they have available.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

perspective - change your angle

I had my first live chat today where I answered questions and those viewing my class were able to see my screen and see exactly what I was doing - with only a few second delay.  Technology is pretty amazing.  You can see my first attempt at this at ReneeTV - just click On-Demand.  I answered some questions in Photoshop and most in Photoshop Elements.  

Now - onto these photo.  Ignore the bulldozer in the background.  That belongs to Neil and he is taking the big dirt hill away for me - hooray! After over three years I will now be able to see the entire field behind my house and the deer, etc.  

What you see below are two photos of the same thing.  The second image was taken closer to the ground.  It really allows you to focus on the cabbage, which is what I want people to focus on when they see the image.  I love the wave of the leaves and the delicate texture of the veins.

 How do you do this yourself?  
Get closer to the ground.  Don't want to lay down in the dirt?  Put your camera close to the ground and angle it the way you think it needs to go and take a few shots (the blessings of digital).  Take a look and then try again if needs be.  

Not into cabbage or gardening of any kind? What do you love that you want to photograph but haven't? Apply this to your own situation.  And of course - go to ReneePearson.com to take an online video class from me to make your photos look better!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Quick and Easy - long lasting Trellis

Cattle Panels are very versatile - sometimes called wire panels.  You can see here that I've transformed this almost 5x16 foot panel into two pea trellises.  I cut off the bottom wire after I cut it in half - so 8 foot sections.  The reason for that is to give me some nice little spikes to stab into the ground, giving the trellis some balance and stability - sort of like the bottom of a tomato cage.  I purchased these at our local farm store and they even price matched with Cal Ranch saving me gas money too since it's clear in the middle of town.  My husband and a nice young man threw it onto our trailer for us.  Then Tyler used a tie down to keep it in place.

Now the spinach on the right side of the peas can get some more sun.  Which reminds me, I need to pick some more spinach. Anyway, we borrowed my husband's grandpa's bolt cutters for this project.  This panel is heavy duty.

I just put them out today so you can see the peas are not quite sure what to do.

To help with that I added natural twine to help hold the peas to the trellis.  I used about 8 pieces for each trellis.  We also get a lot of wind so this should help with that as well.

Because these are galvanized we will not have to worry about rusting.  They should last many many years without too many problems.  Of course with every new thing I add to my garden there is a learning curve.  So if I feel like they are bending over I will cut another wire off the bottom so the spikes can go deeper into the ground.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Air show

We recently went to the local air show. We have a small airport in our valley. One of my husband's clients allowed the kids to climb into their plane for a few photos. They were grinning ear to ear!

But my daughter was most interested in these ... All girl!

And my son was more interested in these ultra cool toys of theirs.

And last of all our local university has a fixed wing flight school so they got to climb in and check out the instrument panel.  You can see Tyler on the other side of the plane talking to the instructor about how much it would cost to get his pilot's license.  oh boy...

It couldn't have been a prettier day - just a bit on the warm side which made the breeze tolerable.  I've been trying to get my kids to wear hats to prevent sunburn on the tops of their heads - especially since melanoma runs in both families.  They did great.

And for aspiring photogs: I use a wide angle lens for all of these photos and I used aperture priority mode.  I knew it was going to be a fun day and I wanted photos took everything in in areas where space was limited.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

ABC'S of Summer

Well my internet is partially fixed.  So at least I can post to my blog.  I love the new Blogger designs.  So Fun! and the colors are fantastic looking with my blog (plus I've always wanted a three column blog).  

Anyway, my dear friend Krysta is so organized and such a good mom.  She is 100% dedicated to her family.  So I have decided to try the ABCs of summer with my children in an effort to give them more structure.  If they get all of their chores done on time, they get to pick out something from our list.  I've always want to create an ABC scrapbook too.  We are not doing this in order of any kind.  It's all about desire, need, weather, and what I can handle for the day.

So here we go - L - for Library

This means I have to get out of my comfort zone and take my camera with me to places I'd rather not - public places where people might look at me weird.  Don't get me wrong.  I love attention - just the right kind of attention. Daddy showed up to bring me my wallet that was in my car that he took to work that day.  So luckily he took this shot.

Interested in taking better photos?  Well, notice the leading lines from the book case and how I placed them in the right third of the image. That's one bit of photographic composition that can help you take a better photo.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Stop putting everyone in the middle of your image.  And also try taking some images vertical and some horizontal. you'll be happy you gave this a try.

I love this image of my son.  He couldn't decide which books to get this time.  And my daughter is so patient with him.  Is there a place you'd love to take photos of - every day things that are a part of your life?  I have one other place I am interested in taking my camera but not sure how I'll be perceived.  That's the good old grocery store.  Another part of our every day lives we take for granted.  

Monday, June 14, 2010

busy ... as usual

I have plenty of photos to post.  We've been busy.  I will get them up before the end of the week, I promise.  I've also been having internet problems.  Hopefully my online chat tomorrow will work.  We've replaced my router (thanks Tyler!).  My internet is really slow and hopefully the tech will figure it out on Thursday.  I can't even email the posters for the Figure Skating National Championships that I've done.  Ugh.  And no photos on my blog until this gets fixed.  Sorry - boring -  I KNOW!

I've also been busy trying to get the rest of my garden in.

Last week I planted the corn and it's sprouted already.

I transplanted 6 bell pepper plants and 3 jalapenos plants into my veggie garden.

I now have 12 tomato plants in my garden with plenty more I could plant (or give away). I only have 15 cages so I think I'm going to take some to the widow down the street. I always grow a few for her each year anyway.

Today I also planted the green bean seeds I purchased at Anderson's, cross my fingers the seeds don't rot this year but it should be dry enough now (I hope).

My mother in law also wanted to trim back some of her shade plants but I asked if I could have them instead.  They have gorgeous blue leaves and purple/pink flowers.  I have the florescent green version with purple flowers - which I'm not sure I like.

Tomorrow (as in June 15th) I have my LIVE online chat at ReneeTV and if my internet still stinks, I might have to drive to my husband's office and use his internet (comcast - it's screaming fast!). Join me at 3pm and 10 pm Eastern tomorrow at ReneeTV! I'll even answer your photoshop or photoshop elements questions by sharing my screen live - it'll be like looking over my shoulder!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

is it time to make a change?

Just wondering if anyone reads my blog or if it's just google bots or what have you.  If not, I think I'm just going to trade this time in for more time scrapbooking instead of blogging.

My garden facing West.  You can see a part of the back of my house in this photo.  You can kind of tell the garden is on the upper level.  I need to transplant more tomatoes.

My kohlrabi is starting to get bigger.  Soon we'll be having stir fry or eating it with a soybean free ranch dressing.

I know this doesn't look like much, but it's over 60 garlic plants.  I can't wait to see how well they do. I've never grown garlic before.  I'm feeling a little anxious. But they all sprouted so we are off to a good start.  You have to plant garlic in the fall.  Anderson's Seed and Garden has a great selection of different types of garlic.  Some of this is from the grocery store although I heard now they are treating them so they will not sprout.

Green bunching onions with the walls of water in the background.

Romaine Lettuce - you can see such a huge difference from the wimpy leaves that grew indoors and the gorgeous green leaves from outside.  Also, you can see my drip system.  Love it!  Although I learned the hard way to not put my timer on until the 2nd or 3rd week in June.  It cracked one night.  I have a new one - inside until I can trust it to stay warm enough.

wall of water - it's still so cold here - perfect for capturing the warmth of the sun

peas with spinach on the right of each row - need to go buy a trellis for these

Garden - facing East

Saturday, June 05, 2010

My flowers

So, I really have a lot of work to do in my yard, but it's not going to stop me from enjoying and sharing what's already there.  I took these photos on Wednesday evening.  Can you believe I still have tulips and most of my flox is still in bloom? Late spring for sure.

We've been clearing out the grass and making the edges look better.  Soon we'll be laying down weed mat (thanks to the morning glory - grrr) and rocks.  We tried mulch out front but the 60 mph gusts we had that weekend blew a lot of it away.  whoops!  I think we are looking at rounded river rock with the cools and warms mixed together.

Love these- no idea what the name is.  Transplanted some last year from this bundle and it's going pretty well.  

Mmmm, post cancer check up therapy.  I bought this rose columbine.  I should have purchased the red lilies I wanted too but wanted to stay on budget more.  

My first Day Lily bloom of the year.

No idea what this is but my neighbor gave it to me.  Gorgeous!!!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Memorial Day Activities

As a family, including some extended family, we hiked to this waterfall.  For those of you familiar with my area, you'll know this is a serious treat.  Waterfalls are not big in the high desert.  

This gives you a better idea of how big the falls are.  That's my little family to the right.

And here is my crazy brother in law having fun on the mountain side.  It was amazing to see him inch his way over there.

You can see from this photo just how steep this climb was.  It was killing my achilles tendon.  I found it better to run up hill.  My husband was in awe.  I have to thank Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred for getting me this far.  I haven't lost a pound (I only want to loose 5) but I think the strength I've gained is amazing and so I'm happy with that. Plus who can argue with only 20 minutes of exercise a day - I'm on week 7 and loving it. Anyway, it took us 50 minutes to reach the falls with little ones in tow.  My son did however walk down after the switch backs.

And here we are almost done for the day - our third river crossing on our way down.
I'd love to go there again someday!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

First Harvest - Spinach

Ok, so this is the second batch of spinach. I ate the first last night. I paired it with the poppy seed dressing and yum! 
It's correnta spinach or a flat leaf spinach.  This is from the plants that I plucked out of the ground in order to thin them.  I'm so excited to have fresh veggies around already.  There is nothing like picking it and eating it the same day.  No riding around in trucks or being touched by unknown hands. And no pesticides.

I placed the spinach east of the rows of peas.  That way they get more shade and are less likely to bolt.  I tried a curly leaf spinach last year but it was so much harder to get clean.

So what are you growing in your garden this year?

I'll be sharing photos of my entire garden and each of the plants I have going so far in a few days along with some tips - like walls of water.  Maybe even some photography tips too!

Oh and some of my flowers too.  They are looking so much better this year.  And we have so much space we need to fill up still.

transplanting and marshmallow roasting

My mother in law has these great lilies out in front of her house.  All of them need to be thinned.  I thinned 4 the other day and put them in the back of our garden.  My husband was awesome and helped me today.  We thinned 5 more and split them up into 14 more plants.  They will not be great this year but next year when they sprout again, they'll be beautiful and we'll actually get blooms. It's also nice to have something down by the road that the snow plows can't kill.  The local nursery said you can cut them up, throw them on the side walk for 2 weeks, drive over them a few times, and then they'll still grow - not sure how they found that one out.  But Day Lilies transplant quite easily.  On Tuesday night my husband was so awesome to plow this side hill and we planted 1 pound of wild flower seeds.  1/2 is a perennial mix and 1/2 is a butterfly mix (annuals and perennials) from Anderson's Seed and Garden.  That way we'll get a few blooms this year.  

And last weekend we purchased this great little fire pit for my husband as an early father's day gift.  We've already used it twice.  Great Uncle Budd who is in his 90's donate the firewood.

My daughter loved it so much that she has already written up a thank you card to send to Uncle Budd for his generosity.  And Trishelle - this photo is for you - can you see what my sweatshirt says? Yep, that's an original circa 1993 Dugway sweatshirt.  Go Mustangs!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Another dress

I sewed up another dress for my daughter.  I was at the fabric store the other day along with my 50% off coupon for one cut of fabric and I knew I had to make this dress for my daughter.  She loves lady bugs and looks great in black and red.  Besides who can argue with 20 minutes of sewing and a $5 dress perfect for summer?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Final Baby Robins Update

I am excited to say that our baby robins are all grown up and gone. You can see the mommy robin with her baby beeks in this top image - click on any of these to see them larger.  They were hungry little birds!

But one of them hopped the nest when he was too little.  Maybe he was the runt and was kicked out. Not sure.  My son spotted him.  We took him inside and put him under a large clothes basket on a towel and fed him worms for 3 days.  On the 4th and 5th day we let him out all day and he stayed on the front doorstep.  The momma robin came back and fed him worms.

This is our robin on the last night.  I became a little attached to him.  I grew up with birds - finches, parakeets, a most amazing and wonderful small parrot, and a mean cockatiel.  But I kept my eye on my goal - I wanted him strong enough to fly away.  And guess what ... he did!  On the last day, about the time I was totally sick of looking for worms, he flew away.  What a relief and I just felt really good inside.  And this is why we take photographs - to remember the fun and joyful moments of life!

Since then we have taken the wreath off the front door - removed the nest - and placed the wreath on the door into our garage.  I don't know if I'll even place another wreath on our front door.  But I'm grateful for these birds and the opportunity my children had to see them grow up and fly away!