I just met this instrument again for the first time at a Celtic concert at our library. I have seen Maggie and her step puppets before. This time the instrument made more sense and had more meaning. It’s just time, experience, and a little percolation. It’s all cool. Maggie’s gadget synchronizes the step puppets to her music. Yup, she literally steps on a board and the puppet move to the time of her dulcimer.
What does a Scotsman wear under his kilt? That is a classic question. More to the point is that it’s not natural for guys (to wear skirts). I’m not being sexist. This poor guy wears pants in normal life. His legs are naturally splayed. It’s a guy thing. Unfortunately, there was ample indication of what was under the kilt. A lady would never show. So I guess that part is sexist. I really don’t want to know the answer to this question. Nope, don’t. Please don’t tell me.
What’s felt? Well you have probably felt felt. It’s a soft material. The definition is more like: take some raw wool and put it under pressure and rub; the fibers will lock and form a sheet of material. Or you may use a needle to lock the material into shapes. How about a giraffe, or a dragon, or a heron? Yup, she did all of that and more. It was enormous 9as in more then 15 feet in size) and she demurred on how long it took to do the giraffe. I’d have lost interest long before the neck ever got done. Hey, it’s art! My (felt) hat’s off to you.
In order to get yarn you start with a sheared fleece. The fleece is washed. It’s turned into roving. Then, it’s spun. After that you knit or weave. If you skip the spinning, you can felt. Felt? The would be pressing the fibers together until they form a sheet of fiber all on their own. Like art, this is the raw material for creating a myriad of things. I’m more interested in the process than in creating art. People like came to buy the raw materials. Sometimes it’s the journey more than the destination. It’s all here. If you know fiber – ie spin and weave or knit – then you recognized the various states I mention. Otherwise, enjoy the patterns and color.
They’re cute. I think they are cute if you are sheep yourself. Otherwise, one looks the same to me as another. Except – I can tell you that the sheep with a haircut to its neck is a blue faced Leicester. Imagine that! They come that way – no wool on their head to the neck. At least I can recognize one! Ha ha, someone I know also thought a sheep was a sheep and that there was just one sheep. I have come to know that you have long and short hair, coarse and fine hair, and clean (coated) or dirty (uncoated). Yes, they really do keep the sheep covered in coats. They are pretty messy if they sleep in grass, straw, and dirt. I look at a sheep and see all the stuff (straw, dirt, shit) in the fleece and dream about cleaning (picking) it. Cute? Well, if you are the end user – scarf, sweater, blanket – well, yeah! Otherwise I can now appreciate why they can sell stuff for so much.
Cast of characters
There is an odd mix of craft that is accepted for entry at the fair. It’s not just sheep. Brooms, wood turning, music, there were vendors of all sorts from source to finished products. You could get elaborate finished wool and fresh off the lamb fleece. There was an odd booth which had products made from old silverware. Nice. The craftsman cut off the handles of spoons and forks and made napkin rings. We were short (only got six last year) and able to get the four more we needed. This year he made a one fingered salute of a pickle fork. Yeah, it kind of reflects the mood of the country right now. Use your imagination; this one doesn’t have a picture to explain. Just hold up your middle finger and look in the mirror.
MSW – lamb?
I told you there was a crowd. Cars covered the hillside. Get there late and you have a hike to the entrance. We got there early and found folks tailgating just like a football game. What was the rush? Aside from the sheep, there were llamas. And, there were angora rabbits. You can spin your yarn right off the rabbit. It’s just a neat trick to do that. Owner and rabbit were having a ‘chill’ moment.
Maryland Sheep and Wool – Festival. Say it and it’s an instant party. There was a huge crowd. The ominous weather forecast did nothing to lessen the attendance. Folks are a bit quirky. I don’t see knitting and sheep tattoos every day. Who spins in a dinosaur costume? Look closely. Bring your kids. The poor kid in the wagon was shivering. It’s a whole lot easier to carry your kid. There was no room to maneuver a stroller. Yes, it was that crowded.
From the NY Times. I’m frankly ashamed. We have sunk to the low of blaming infants and children for our immigration problems. We have separated children from their parents. We have made children political pawns. We have pulled out of the UN Human Rights Council. However you believe, it is not fair to blame and hold kids hostage. It’s a neat trick to blame the other side. The opposition is responsible when you (Donald Trump) have the power? You separated the families and have no plan to reunite them. You never had a plan. You don’t have one now. There is no evidence that any child has been in contact or reunited with their parent.
I will vote. And you will be gone. The sooner the better. Go live in a tent. You’re not living under a foil blanket. And to the rest of America: Whatever you believe whatever your politics, if you have a kid or know one, you can’t agree that kids should be treated this way. They are neither gang members or criminals. They are innocents.
PS – there are some (few) kids who have been reunited and others that were not taken from their parents. For the sake of clarity, I amend my post. Unlike our fearful leader, I do not try to tell lies. I’m not as low as he goes.
When do you see geese on a rooftop? It was unusual for us to comment. Backlit, I wasn’t getting a good shot. But there is the benefit of having one goose open his mouth and lift his leg. That at least added some interest. But, the original question remains. Why were they on the rooftop? The one on the left honked and his companion landed beside him. They flew off a few moments later. It was a nice little rendezvous.
What’s been working
It’s not so much that you take pictures. I take the same ones. Not really. Confused? What I’m trying to say is that I take pictures that work for me. The subject may change. But, there are poses that work. I experiment. Digital allows me to do this relatively easily. Lately, what I realize is that I zoom a little closer. I pay attention to distracting backgrounds. Mostly, what I have posted of late are images that are straight from the camera without too much manipulation. That’s pretty good. I kind of plan it out that way. It’s been working.
I get ‘hayfever.’ Spring and late summer. There are two seasons for it. Some folks get one or both. My eyes have been bothering me. Spring fever. This was pine pollen. There was even an alert about it. Go figure. The pollen covered the solar panels. It got all over the carnation so much so that it is an unmistakable detail of the flower. I bet you would never have guessed pine pollen could be so much in abundance. That’s a lot of pollen to make some little pine trees.
Look what I planted
I did container gardening in Manhattan for many years. A very nice flaky flute playing gardener planted our deck one year. He played ‘happy birthday’ on his flute for Dave. It was just before his birthday April 30. I never saw him again but the lesson took. The main thing I remember is, “Plants like to be crowded in containers.” So, I do it with whatever is available. What grows? From place to place and year to year it varies. Begonias were my bugaboo last year. All summer long I lamented that they were scrawny. But, this year is a whole new year. Too many fine shots, too little space. If you look closely the detail is good. Otherwise enjoy the color. I expect the containers will be the best ever this year.
What to plant? Whatever you like. Annuals are just one and done.. But they are showy. Perennials? They come back year after year. The cold may be too much for them to survive containers. And in the lawn beds, the rabbits and deer may find them to be a banquet. It’s a balance. Fox urine is overrated.
It’s always a guessing game. Plants don’t winter over. Or they fail to thrive. Roses: Ugh! Mine have been sickly. I tried fairy roses. They are ever blooming and get to be very large bushes. Nope. Lily? The rabbits loved them. Wisteria? They are a work in progress. I’ve got a balcony in the front of the house that only a mother could love. F-ugly. It’s always fun to experiment. You go to Lowe’s – (we don’t Home Depot (Republican) any more) – you pick your palette, and then you plant away.
That gardener so many years back – he planted a rhododendron that blooms every year on Dave’s birthday. As far as I know it survived the container for more than thirty years and is now living a fine life of retirement in the ground on Long Island…. I hope.
I plant tall ornamental grass in containers. The cats think it’s just for them. They eat it. I guess they need roughage. Chomp! They can’t seem to get enough. I’ve got newly mown grass. Ha! They won’t eat the chives. There is catnip. Nope. It’s the tall grass or nothin’
Red grass, green grass, no matter. They make me laugh. I shall depend upon something else to be the focal point in my containers. I’m so pleased they like my garden.
Focus – II
Okay! So, read your manual. Or my manual. Duh! Don’t laugh. I neglected to do so. I was lazy and haven’t refreshed myself since I got the camera. Digital is like a computer. You can unlock a lot of secrets by reading the built-in tricks in the software. Geez! I did some hand wringing recently. My images were not in sharp focus. So, after some adjustment I think I’ve got the problem less worse. I shot a bunch of tests. There were still a high percentage of duds. But I was trying to test the camera. Nikon D610. It’s spiffy and I am supposed to be able to make it do what I want. To that degree, it does. I’ve been shooting way more with my point and shoot Canon G7 so I got out of the habit of looking in a viewfinder.
I have an array of cameras at hand. The iPhone is always in my pocket. A point and shoot G7 goes with me wherever. The big Nikon and it’s big glass is available. The happy medium? I don’t like the tiny iPhone lens. Yes, it’s good but not as much as my Canon point and shoot. I have a smaller Canon S100 too. And a Canon G12. But I prefer the larger lens and image size on the G7. Underwater photography convinced me of the merit of a point and shoot over the potential for heart breaking loss of a big rig DSLR. Bottom line: My point and shoot Canon G7 is about 90% of my shooting these days. TMI!
Food photography eludes me. I take lots of images. But styling ain’t my deal. Here’s one more attempt. I’m not touting recipes. There isn’t any that I particularly follow. Instead I’m more Food Channel. Make it up on the fly. This is a casserole? What’s not to like? I layered potatoes, tomato, mushrooms, cheese, and spinach. Maybe there was more… oh and lots of pepper and salt. Yeah. If it tastes good, it’s bad for you. Add butter or cream and even some eggs, you got a whole ‘nother dish. Meanwhile, I got these shots. We ate it. It tastes way better than it looks. And, that! That’s what counts. Mmmm, the smell and taste. Yeah, it was good. You can’t take a picture of taste. For that you use your own experience.
It was a split second. Maybe it will be longer for you. It sank in and then joy! Oh happy day! I guess everyone knows now. I was the last in the family to know. It’s ok. I’m the dad. Jules called today to tell me she had sent me a Father’s Day gift. And it was delivered at about the same moment she rang up. She told me to wait till later to open it. She was traveling. Hours later she called, told me to Face Time her, and then to open it. Glass/Fragile stickers were on the box. “Grandpa Victor.” Hey, I’m old but….. oh! I’m gonna be a grandpa! Well, I was wondering if it would ever be the day? Wow! Elation! Worries! Cool! I guess you could agree it’s the nicest Father’s Day present I’m ever gonna get. If not, it ranks right up there! Hmmm …I can’t think of anything better.
Glassblowing. Scientific glass blowing. I didn’t know that this was an occupation. Two. Two in a row. Yup. Two in one day. Only yards apart and neither seemed to notice each other. Scientific? Well, that’s an Erlenmeyer flask getting an attachment. Why? Industrial manufacturing technique should be way more efficient. But this custom guy does repairs and specialty work. It’s a living. Notice: I was told to wear violet glasses. They work! The yellow color is removed. It helps to see the glass better while he’s working on it. To me it’s just a neat trick since I’m photographing. How? Just put the violet glass over my camera lens. Ha! I’ve done this before. Jules taught me the trick. We held a pair of binoculars up to the camera lens. Would you believe that?
We come to New Castle (est 1651) because it retains its colonial charm in its old homes and cobblestone streets. I shouldn’t say too much. It’s been our secret. Our favorite restaurant was mentioned in Delaware magazine. Fortunately, it didn’t work and we can still get a reservation with relative ease. And all of this explanation is just an excuse to show off more flower photos. It’s kind of like hiding the peas in the mashed potatoes.
I gave you the name of the town, not the restaurant. That’s for you to investigate. It’s still charming. We don’t have to try hard for a reservation.
Yellow magnolias. This time of the year we all see the pink ones. Yellow is definitely in the minority. Do you actually notice? I didn’t. Then, our guide pointed it out. Oh. Well, okay! And blues flowers are rare too. Why? They just are. …even though they look blue to me too?
The wise and wonderful internet says: There is no true blue pigment in plants, so plants don’t have a direct way of making a blue color. Blue is even more rare in foliage than it is in flowers.
I realize that I’m overstaying my welcome. And less is more. However, I’m also lazy. I can edit and cull the duds. After that there are still a lot of good images that are in danger of staying hidden on my hard drive forever. So…
Jules hated my early digital work. Well, she hated that the prints were distinct and she could tell what was computer printed and what got printed in the darkroom. My neighbor who hated the water running kind of put an end to running the water all night. Meanwhile digital got better. Ironically, both she and Dave now shoot mostly on their iPhone. Film is dead. Kodak’s gone. Real movies for commercial release are being shot with iPhone. Why? … ’cause they can. That tiny little lens does good. I like my “real” camera. It does good too. Better?
Another tree? How about some pansies? I think in color. Black and white is awesome. It’s just that I think in color. I shot black and white film, and I developed and printed it. Then I did the same with color slides. Phewf! That was hard. The Kodak instructions called for temperature tolerance of +/- .1 degree. That’s a tenth of a degree! I was a chem major and had the thermometers to measure. But a water bath? Ha! Try doing that in your bathroom tub and sink. Then I got the means to afford a real darkroom. That all worked until my neighbor complained about the water running at 3AM. Hey, I was a night owl! He was a grouch? Was it him or me? I guess I must credit him with ushering (shoving unwillingly) me into digital.
I’ve got so many flowers someone is sure to complain about it like the fish series I did while I was in the Middle East and diving. Meanwhile, I think I’m about done. Ha ha. I just finished an edit. But, I’m sure to start a round of summer blooms soon. Cats and flowers, that’s my life these days. It’s a sweet peaceful time.
To be sure there are lots of issues pending in my life. There’s always something to worry over. It seems I live my life with a low level of constant chaos. I keep thinking I should wake up and smell the daisies.
Down the Barrel
I got this shot years ago. I shot over a pot of tulips on a checked tile floor. Graphic! Since then this image has been a standard. Just substitute time and place. Of course, no two tulips are the same. Hmmm… a tongue twister of a thought.
But you get the idea. The focal point is the pistil or stamens. You are asking a lot from your depth of field. And then there is frequently a breeze to compensate for. It doesn’t always work. But, if you start with good composition, you have a higher percentage of success.