Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Son Is NOT Afraid of The Camera...

Imagine that.

My son, Wyatt, has no fear of the camera. Either operating it or being the subject of photographic composition.

I recently bought a small device to complement my camera arsenal called a remote shutter release. At a cost of 10 dollars I can not believe I did not buy it earlier and I can't see how I lived without it!

Basically, this little black remote control has one button and it makes the camera take pictures while you prance in front of the lens. Or rather pose in front of the lens.

Wyatt has become quite professional at setting up a tripod. And using the camera remote.

And taking photos of himself for his own personal entertainment.

This morning, while I did dishes and made breakfast Wyatt occupied himself with my photography equipment. And I truly was not paying the slightest attention to WHAT images he was capturing.

This afternoon, when I skimmed through the photos on the one inch view frame of the camera, I sputtered in delight.

He had obviously shot some real winners.

Here is the reason you should let your kids play with your camera . . .

I'm so proud of my little budding photographer. I think a career in entertainment may be in his future. Bwahhaahaaaa......

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Tragedy Has Befallen Our Compound. This Post is in Memory of an Intrepid Rooster...

I have sad news to report from the world of Our Simple Life.

Sometimes there are events that are beyond our control and we must forge on in the face of sadness and grief...

Last week we lost a valued member of our community.

While he only weighed 9 lbs and had a pea for a brain, but we loved him all the same.

Mr. D, the intrepid rooster, succumbed to an infection after being attacked by an unknown predator. He went quickly over the course of a week. I speculate that an aerial attacker such as a Cooper's hawk may have attacked him, but we shall never know.

Last Monday night Mike came to me and said, "Mr. D is not looking so good. Wyatt went in the chicken coop and told me he was going to pet Mr. D. I knew something was wrong . . ." You see, Mr. D was not a rooster who could be petted unless you wanted a spur in the arm or leg in exchange.

I thought quickly and replied, "I think must have got an infection from something that attacked him last week. It took off a hand full of feathers from his neck. Poor guy. I did not realize he was getting sick. He seemed fine during the week. I bet some bacteria settled into a few small scratches. And they did him in..."

And so it goes. Whatever wanted to kill and eat him earlier in the week, be it hawk or other predator, ended up still killing him in the end. We were all very sad with his passing.

In homage to Mr. D here are some photos of Mr. D doing what he did best.

Guarding the ladies. . .

Attacking Mike with reckless abandon.

Chasing Mike with the ferocity of a rottweiler.

Bingo loved Mr. D too. But for slightly different reasons. I am glad that Mr. D has been immortalized in the pages of Bingo's Big Adventure. His image and spirit will live on within the printed pages of the book.

Here the proud rooster was seen at his best!

Mr. D was a source of reliable entertainment for our kids and we adults alike. Many a blog post was written on behalf of his wonderful, yet ruthless behavior. Roosters can be bastards and Mr. D. was no exception to the rule.

I wrote seven posts on this blog over the past few years about Mr. D. Here are a few references to remind you how much we liked this rooster:

Why we wanted a rooster like Mr. D is HERE.
Mr. D shows off just how big his spurs are HERE.
Mr. D is my prop showing off a rooster inspired apron HERE.
Mr. D shows off his ninja style attacks HERE.
Mr. D in "When Roosters Attack" HERE.
Mr. D protects what is his HERE.
Why I loved Mr. D the most is HERE.

He was an awesome rooster and will be remembered with fondness.

Now for the 2nd half of the story. . .

Last Tuesday Ella began her first day of preschool and we drove off talking about how sad it was that Mr. D had died.

We entered the small building where Mrs. Cindy teaches her little class to cut and glue and color and were greeted with a warm welcome. We began talking and one of the first questions Mrs. Cindy asked was, "How is Mr. D?"

I explained, "Well, I've bad news. Mr. D. died last night. All the kids are pretty sad."

"Oh, that's awful," Mrs. Cindy responded, "But you know, I have his son out side."

My eyes brightened and I looked toward her chicken coop that I could not see through the preschool walls. Mrs. Cindy has a small coop on the north side of the school house. "Really? You hatched a rooster from those eggs we gave you? I can hardly believe it!"

I was thinking to my self "What luck! How fortuitous! Amazing! The son of Mr. D!"

Mrs. Cindy continued, "Yeah, he's starting to crow now too. I kind of need to find him a new home now since my neighbors complain about roosters."

"Oh we'll take him off you hands," I spoke with gratitude and then suggested, "Let's go check him out."

So we eagerly popped out to the chicken coop and low and behold there stood "Junior D." For that is what he had to be called. The posture and shape of Mr. D was incarnate in Junior D's body. It appears that the apple did not fall too far from the tree.

Junior has an orange colored body and is beginning to grow some dark colored tail feathers like his dad's. Making an educated guess based on body color, I think his mom is our Rhode Island red hen, thus the russet colored body feathers are explained.

Introducing . . . Junior D!

We brought him home today and put him in with the ladies. Then the boys, the human boys, had to pick him up because he must be immediately initiated into the hazing program that we have developed...

So with the departure of our beloved Mr. D we were consoled by the newly learned existence of his son, who we were so fortunate to be able to bring into our family.

Let's remember Mr. D with joy and welcome his long lost son with the same enthusiasm!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Fish Out of Water

I am not one for reposting stuff from the news but this one I just had to share. This fish was allegedly hooked in a lake in France and then released by the angler. It took 10 minutes to reel this 30 lb mass of a fish to shore.... Hmmmm. Is it really a fish? I am not sure.

But seeing this giant "real life" carp (if it is not a fake) sent me immediately to a book I can almost recite verbatum. I have probably read A Fish Out of Water ONE MILLION TIMES. It has swum after me from my childhood into my adult life since I now read it to my children. Thus in celebration of this fish...

"I called Mr Carp.
"Please, please help me!" I said.
"I fed Otto too much."

"Oh, dear! said Mr. Carp."
"So you fed him too much!
I knew you would.
I always say 'don't
but you boys always do.

Yes, I will come." - Helen Palmer, A Fish Out of Water.

This book is also illustrated by P.D. Eastman who's drawings most of us will recognize in an instant.

Sorry folks, I just could not help myself. Now I know where the concept for this book really came from. If you have not got it for your kids, go get it!

PS. I just can not believe how BLEEPING big that fish is!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

No Your Shoes are Still on Wrong, Yes I Can See You Hiding There and other Random Inert Observations

Let's start off with my daughter Ella today. She has been the source of much happiness in my life with her sense of humor, her quick wit and kind and loving ways. She really is an angel in disguise as a child.

However, if I can accurately see into the future there could be clouds of dissent brewing sometime in her teen years. Here's her best, "I'm an insolent 16 year old expression." She's just practicing for later.

But back to her good qualities... The other day Ella put on her shoes by herself. She is great about taking the initiative to care for her own human sphere. She shows a level of responsibility that is admirable for a 3.5 year old.

I looked down at Ella's feet and mentioned, "Hey Belle, your shoes are on backward."

Ella quickly says, "No Mom, Look!" And as I glanced up from my own feet to look at hers, I observed she had criss-crossed her legs at the knee. Then she said, "They are on the right way now! See!"

OK Smartie, now change your shoes please...

Then later I was looking for her, calling for her and wandering around the house only to find this amazing costume. . .

Clever, but I still can see your bare feet little lady.

I love her because she always makes me smile and I can never stay upset with her for more than a few moments. I wish I could absorb some of her good qualities and make them mine. I could learn a lot from her.

Moving on to Wyatt and Ella. Thank goodness these two can play together and have fun. Even when a black cat crosses their path.

Their joy is infectious.

Wyatt started 1st grade and has been a discombobulated ball of 6 year old boy lately. He flies off to school all day, comes home exhausted, cries at the drop of a rock, and crashes into bed promptly at 7. It's all in a days work for my little man.

While Wyatt is at school, Ella gets to help me with Bingo. She is the official cat chaser. Don't get the wrong idea about this. Bingo loves it and gets all dog-like crazy in the arena. He does his own share of chasing too.

Run Bingo, RUN!!!

I've had a preoccupation with photographing inert looking things lately. Things like wood and metal. And then those things which are really not inert like this lichen clinging to the fence on the back of our property. The back fence is truly in shambles, but it takes the best pictures.

My husband uses the term "inert" to describe some people. If a person neither irritates you or interests you he labels them "inert." It's like the person can't cause offense or inspire a strong likening.

I can't imagine what it is like to be an inert person. I've been known to cause a strong reaction from people in either the positive or negative direction. Generally, there is no two ways about it. What about you?

Well, I'm about all out of oomph tonight. It's been roasting in our part of CA. I'm cooked, I'm boiled, I'm fried, I'm roasted, I'm BBQ'ed, stick a fork in me I. AM. DONE!

And that's the end of my "tail."

The Day the Swallows Came Home

The tree swallows are here already.  They arrived January 30 much to my dismay.  Swooping and calling and chirping their merry song over my ...