Monday, November 30, 2015

Color Me November 30

Today sees the conclusion of my Color Me November  journey. I won't call it a monologue because there has been some feedback and I have appreciated the comments. If my public demands it I will  come up with a follow-on theme for December.

In the meantime what do I have for you today you might wonder. My initial thought was a reprise of the first November post. When you look back that was about the glorious color in my neck of the woods. Yesterday and today have been rain, rain and rain so, combined with the mostly lack lustre color in the woods now, coming up with this post has been a challenge. Above is a similar shot to the opening one in early November.

The under-story foliage  in the woods in the backyard is the last holdout to change color and drop it's leaves.
 Those big brown leaves are still drawing my eye.
 The view from above of the opening shot. Lots of bare branches to partially obscure the view.
 For some reason this shot reminds me of a Christmas Pudding!
 Yesterday, number 2 son was on duty at the Christmas Tree sale lot at our church.  I had requested the trimmings from the base of the trunk hoping I could do something creative with them.
Ordinarily we do not have a live/real tree but this year we decided to try one. Our plan is to install the tree on the front porch so it is not exposed to the drying out that happens inside the house because of the central heating. But, oh my, look at the color of the needles already!  Now I apologize if you are wondering why I would even include this photo (above) but I like the range of color of the individual needles. The "pickle van" was covered in needles after the short journey home.
 Yep, that is the tree in the background while I try for  a nature "still life" in the foreground.
 Just indulge me, one more close up. This setup was created on a chair set in the open doorway out to the back deck. I had to close the doors to the rest of the house and don my coat to do this inside shot!
 Meanwhile back in the rear garden it is clear Fall is on the way out. Or is it? Those under-story bushes are still green although I do know they will change color and lose all the leaves.
To close out I'm showing you the thought bubbles coming from the Christmas cake as it came out of the oven last night. It's thinking, hey, you weren't meant to strip off all my protective parchment paper. About ten minutes after this photo we discovered that in selecting what size pan to bake the fruit cake in we neglected to take into account the size of storage tin we had to keep it in while it matures. We also discovered that when you bake the cake at night it isn't cool enough to wrap before bedtime. sigh. But that might be an entire new story...

I hope you'll come back to see what December might bring to my blog.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Color Me November 28

As we get closer to the end of November the days begin to be colored by the foods of the season. Let's check out what's been happening in the kitchen.

 We were charged with bringing the vegetables and the dessert for the Thanksgiving meal. Since everyone always really fills up on turkey with all the trimmings it was thought that the dessert needed to be something small - a mouthful or two. There was still some pastry available from the big baking day last weekend as well as a little remaining pumpkin pie filling mixed and ready. I decided to make tartlets. Pastry was rolled out and cut to fit the pan to make these jam tarts, above, all ready to go in the oven.
The individual pumpkin pies gave the perfect bragging opportunity "how much pie did you have? I ate two entire pies!"
Back in September when I went to the photo workshop we spoke several times about "top down" shots. Apparently it is difficult to do properly so it needs practice. I kept practicing and it is only now as I relook at those photos that I realize I never did taste one of these rosemary shortbreads much less ask Barb for the recipe.
 So Barb, if you're reading this I'd really love the recipe. You were very kind and patient in demonstrating how to do the setups - as shown above - and I know you are equally talented in the kitchen.
 Getting back to current times...Friday is always good for turkey leftovers. I'd suggested "bubble and squeak" for the potato but it turns out the cook on duty on Friday didn't actually know the "recipe" for bubble and squeak. The salad, with dried cranberries and toasted pecans, is something I was really looking forward to repeating.
In September "we" had a sample session of making macarons. Could these be suitable for making as part of a Christmas cookie tray?
H'mm, they did have a little red food coloring added to make them pink but maybe a little more was needed.  They were delicious  although I am aggrieved to recall that I neglected to photograph them once they were filled with the buttercream and posing prettily on a plate.
This year number 2 son has decided it is time to make a Christmas Cake aka the fruit cake that is still loved in many other parts of the world, specifically the Commonwealth countries. The fruit has been sourced, cut up and doused with the appropriate liquid and ready to use in the next step.

But that may be a story for December...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Color Me November 26

This day, being Thanksgiving Day here in the USA, is colored by the turkey. I'm choosing to honor the bird by making today's post about ... feathers!

 I'm gonna stick my neck out and say this is all about me!
Turkey feathers foraged at Kidwell Farm in Frying Pan Park.
 Hedwig stopped by...
 Someone has a good collection of chicken related items.
 Why yes, we are stepping out together down here on Hidden Springs Farm.
 Which does come first then?
The guinea hens were roosting high up but with a little foraging I was able to collect some feathers. More treasure gleaned from Hidden Springs Farm.
 Hedwig again.  She and I had fun one morning this week.
Yes, I was keeping my eye on things. I still think I am the star of the day but the supporting cast has been more numerous than I expected.

I'm giving thanks today for good friends; the ones who share their Thanksgiving dinner with us, the one who lent me props from her chicken collection, the one who gave me the chance for free range roaming on her farm and for all my friends who are reading this.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Color Me November 24

For today I have chosen to focus on the "color" white. Theoretically that is maybe the absence of color but humor me and see where I venture with this.

 To open this series I show you Ben, Kim's wonderful companion in Rivers, Manitoba. He is such a patient fellow and oh so willing to pose for the camera.
 The texture on this old grain elevator was too good for me to miss even though it was a misty rainy day.
 But inside, all was one lovely potential after another with all that white as the backdrop.
 Swan Lake.
 Floral Serenade.
Pink Poses.
 The eggs are collected. I believe those hens are good layers.
 Feathered Friends.
 Can you tell I liked this chair?
 Three White Pumpkins.
 Popcorn Plants.
Halt! Who Goes There?

As you have likely guessed we jumped all over the map and the calendar today. The photos are seemingly in random order. My thought for this post was to share some photos I just liked that had in common...white.

Hope you enjoyed this and maybe, if I'm really, really lucky, you'll let me know your favorite.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Color Me November 22

Today I'm celebrating the color red!

Most particularly I am remembering how my late (American) husband and my late (New Zealand) sister used to enjoy a friendly sparring with each other over accents. "Red said Fred. Drop dead I said." was an oft used refrain to focus on a way they each would laugh at the other's pronunciation. Above I'm illustrating some red from my husband's story. He loved a red tie, the Fall season, riding the big red double decker buses in London (especially when they went to Beatties toy store where he liked to purchase little remembrances like this bus).
More red leaves brilliantly playing off the wonderful blue sky.
A shot from Laura's garden (see the Blue day, November 20).
A week or two ago my photo class homework for the week was to take photos using an old crate. At the time I had to first go find me an old crate!  I came home with this Coca Cola one and one old bottle. That tree from November 20? By yesterday afternoon  90% of the leaves were on the ground so I scooped up several handfuls as potential for still lifes.
Not content with the one shallow coke crate I had ventured out the second day and found this old one at the Chartreuse barn sale. Sure, I am stretching the "red" topic by including this one but I sorta like it (and check the small red flowers in the background - it qualifies!)
Class homework this week is to use the same prop in many different photos. I was loving those red leaves as you can see but I also discovered a new setting in Lightroom called "dehaze". I went into the negative side and liked the more moody approach for this shot.
When the light fades, it fades quickly. I try to get the last ounce of potential out of the natural light, and, as it turns out, of the red leaves before they turned too dry.
Trying for that last brilliant burst of foliage color highlighted by the sun...
Today I went to the open house hosted by my artist friend Jill Banks. Every room in her home was hung with her art but there were also many potential still life vignettes where-ever I looked, even downstairs in her studio. This cookie was apparently set aside to be a subject in a painting yet to be started. I was immediately attracted to the lovely old red work station - so many memories in all that paint splattered on the surface. Jill delights in using this hand-me down from an aunt (I might be corrected as to the original owner).

 I didn't have to search hard to find the red. But check out these two blue kittens who have appeared in more than one painting. Love the cow!

And when I pulled back from admiring the kittens you can see that they are posing underneath "Garden Girl" - who is sitting pretty among touches of red and between the two oriental gentlemen.  You can read more about Jill by going to her website
And as the sun goes down on my enjoyable artsy weekend it's a red sky at night for shepherd's delight. Here's hoping!