Thursday, July 30, 2009

A gift...the Desert Ghost


Today I got a call from my inter library loan librarian...she has the last book from my list waiting for me. It has been a few months ago that I gave her a list of Tony Hillerman audio books I wanted her to seek out for me, and we decided to get them one at a time...and tomorrow I'll pick up the last one...that makes me sad since Tony Hillerman passed away and there will be no more Sqt. Jim Chee and Lt. Joe Leaphorn novels. They are policemen for the Navajo Tribal Police Force on the Reservation. If you have never read, listened to, or seen one of the PBS Special Movies made from Tony's works you should check his work out! Since I'm partial to the Navajo culture his work is right up my alley- as they say.

His novels with Chee and Leaphorn always take place in the four corners area of the US. Sgt. Chee and Lt. Joe Leaphorn, now retired, solve various crimes that happen on the Rez.
The wonderful bit I enjoy is that Tony Hillerman always weaves into the crime/mystery the culture and lore of the Navajo Mythology, and it really makes for a great mystery..since many times the mystery will be because of a Navajo Myth, and many of the clues they have to follow have significance to a certain ritual or ceremony of tribal lore.

So in thanks to Kris my Librarian...I made up some postcards to give her-- featuring a design I call "Desert Ghost"from my collection -2007.--I figured she may enjoy sending these out to her friends and family. This design celebrates my own love of the Southwest.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

FLY EYES!


FLY, originally uploaded by dixxebell.

Its been so hot, I haven’t been out with my camera...sweat dripping onto the digital screen is not a good thing! So with the heat comes afternoon and evening showers, this fly found a few drops of rain to drink on the deck planking!

It’s funny how with our naked eye (always wondered about that term) we cant see the beauty of the fly! The camera shows all the loveliness about the fly....those wings are amazing too, with that swept back neatly tucked look, this guy must be very attractive to a mate-- I have no clue if this is a male or female! Look at those iridescent colors of the large compound eyes! Image the size of those lenses! How would it feel to have eyes like that? Not like I’m making a wish here…lol but wow—just imagine!

Hopefully my modem is going to work now Ive been out of commission for a couple of days-

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Elk Camp

I really need to lighten up my aura today and try to move away from the displeasure of trying to help the poor dog in my last post. I know that negative thinking brings negative results...so in thinking of many of the good things that come along here is a recent visitor to my yard!

The visitor

He or she is just a baby, but she had fun putting the doves and squirrels on the run! I made sure the Girlz (Annie n Flossie) were inside and when I went out I clapped my hands to send Bunny to the other side of the fence before the Girlz went out into the yard. I had to take this shot through the window...in order not to scare the bunny.

And you may notice I have placed a new photo at the top of my blog...I took that photo last year with my pocket P&S Konica Minolta the quality is not all that good but I love this view. It was taken when my sister and I stayed overnight in a back country log cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. That view is the meadow looking back toward the cabin, such a wonderful spot---it belongs to a friend of my sisters and they offered it to us while I was there visiting. The only way to get to the cabin is by 4wheel drive and Its a very rough road...the SUV's you see running around these days would not make it over this road...we went up in a 1965 Jeep Wrangler! What a trip...my spine got a good work out and so did my Right hand (holding on for dear life)...
Here is the cabin with a cozy fire burning in the iron stove inside. (this was last August, but that night it went down to 36 F)

The cabin and the surrounding 30 acres or so are used by the owner for hunting and for fun, they call it the elk camp. I am not a hunter and dont like hunting for sport..but the cabin sure was nice! There is no electric or running water unless you count the stream that runs nearby.

the cabin

The Jeep

AND a wonderful perk of this spot is there are 2 horses that summer up in the meadow and they are such great pets! Here they are thinking of taking a sip of our afternoon cocktails!

Elk camp 165

Seriously they tried!


Elk camp 166

Here's a bit of the inside of the cabin, its quite lovely and comfortable!

Elk camp 163

Yes we got into the man's whiskey, but he insisted!
So I can only dream that we get an opportunity like this again when I go back in September...On another trip we got the use of a Fisherman's Cabin on the banks of the Frying Pan River...we didnt fish but we had fun hand feeding chipmunks on the back porch! I dont have those photos in my PC, but Im going to look for them and see what I can do about getting them in so I can share!..Isnt this a great spot I never wanted to leave...If you click the title of this blog it takes you to an entire set of photos I took at this spot.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What on EARTH is going on here?

I am very distraught--and really dont know what to do but made a start. This is what has been happening- the owner of the land that borders mine has horses, goats, dogs and I'm not sure what all else. I can see he neglects his horses their tails have not been combed out in God knows how many years...this really BUGS me, I was a horse person for many years both an owner-rider- and was employed in the racing industry for several years too. A tail is a very important piece of equipment for a horse..without the use of a free flowing tail horses suffer from fly and mosquito bites! These neighbors are not friendly and they are in my opinion strange to say the least...They put on a huge pretence if you know what i mean of being Christians, of being upper middle classed they have 2 Harley Davidson motorcycles, a pool, they have cars, trucks, a big house, lots of land... and they have their flags flying in support of the war efforts orchestrated by the former USA regime.


Well thats fine and dandy...but then they have this poor bird dog! I dont for one minute understand this!!! I cant even get my mind around it, there is NO EXCUSE for this---not one, dont even try to excuse this is what I'm thinking!!!

This poor thing gets out of her "Pen" and she runs here to my house for FOOD! She is starving to death...Ive called them and told them something has to be done, and yet she got out yesterday came to my house and I fed her 3 bowls of dry food which she ate so fast I thought she would choke! I cant bear it. So I called the officials and reported it. I did not try to keep her here I want her to go home and them to be caught with this abused animal--red handed! I also reported the lack of proper care of the horses! WHY IS THIS DOG BEING TREATED THIS WAY?

So I'm waiting for animal control to do whatever they are going to do! IF they dont take steps to protect this animal Im going to call 10 on Your Side..its one of the local TV stations and if you send them a story they promise to do what they can to help rectify the problem! I know good fences make good neighbors, but could you stand by and allow this----I'm going to keep on until something is done for this animal!!!Last year I rescued 7 starving dogs and found homes for all of them I kept 2 myself...now this dog has a home, but what good is it? Im tempted to put this guys name address and phone number with these photos on FACEBOOK---if it comes to that--I will do it---I know good fences make good neighbors but!
Could you sit by and see this happen??? I cant either.....I dont want to piss the guy off to the point he kills the dog out of vengeance! This really makes me sad....:0( Please forgive me I had to vent!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Photo Editing

One thing I love to do is edit photographs to give them more visual interest and just to be more creative, considering my photographs as raw material to create further. I discovered I had a talent for using creative software by mistake! I've never had any formal training, but I have progressed as with most other areas of my life, self-teaching!

Im not just talking about lightening, contrast, color, although that is part of it, Im talking a complete transformation! The knowledge of using editing software is just as important as knowing how to use your camera! After all its only the beginning when that shutter is snapped!

You can download free trails of software, you can find "last years model" on ebay cheap--and you can find online editing sites such as Picnic a part of Flickr and Gimp. Just Google up a photo editing site. I personally cant use online sites because I'm on dial up, it would take an hour just to get it all opened up. So I purchased both the products I use from eBay. I use Paintshop Pro 9.0 and I also use Photoshop 7.0. I am still waiting for the creative suites to decline in price! I also have an older version of Illustrator.

Today I worked on this--I love HORSES!! I shot this one day while taking a bike ride there are horses near me I dont have any of my own anymore--and I took a few shots...they didnt scream masterpiece to me tho...so I wanted to increase the interest so here are some things I did with the photo.. the original

Original

He is a pretty horse, but there is so much shadow and I got only his face..so all in all it is not a good photo!...Although I could go into detail here are the steps I used.

  1. duplicated the photo
  2. cropped only the face
  3. enhanced the saturation
  4. increased the contrast & brightness
  5. added 5 layers blank
  6. erased the background around face
  7. added a layer of sky clouds
  8. framed behind the head
  9. framed in front of the head
  10. erased top frame to allow nose to stick out
  11. flattened layers

Escape

And why stop there? I have some shots of a field of sunflowers so I copied, pasted onto a new layer and now I've got my horse nosing out of the photo to sniff some sunflowers!

Sniffing

And lastly, why not let my horse enjoy the field of Sunflowers...and so he escapes entirely and joins the flowers.

Sunny Skies

Friday, July 17, 2009

Does this ever happen to YOU?

For a while there I felt this could be Friday 13th!
Wow...first off I was able to get all my mowing done before the ball bearings in one blade pulley went KAPLUNK! This is an old riding mower it has 2 blades under it....GEEZZZS what a sound metal grinding metal "It hurt my ears I'm tellin ya....and the belt started to burn so a nasty smell too." Then the--WORDs --yes--4 letter adult words flew from my normally gentle southern lips before I could control it I was using my entire adult language vocabulary....lol

Being a do-it your-selfer--(because I have no job and no money...ha) I parked it in the shade, grabbed my socket wrench set from the tool shed and began to disassemble the entire mowing deck!..I mean how hard could it be??? It is attached mostly by several angle irons and cotter pins...or is it Kotter pins? Either way it took me about an hour to remove the deck then remove the pulley. I did all this on an empty stomach with my head on the ground and my bum (thank you Keith for that word) in the air, whilst on my knees!
A few more adult phrases were added to my adult vocabulary!

Finally done I was exhausted, grimy, and greasy too--I will take the pulley to the repair shop and hope they have one like it tomorrow---so then like I said is this Friday 13th?
Once back inside after a double lather up and double rinse shower, I sat down to relax with a nice sweet tea at my computer desk and began to go through my emails, visit my favorite blogs etc. Right away I see it-- there is an email from Delta AirLines....the subject says:--VERY IMPORTANT ITINERARY CHANGES-- this looks like trouble to me. I open it and begin to read...first off I am using a SKY MILES TICKET for an upcoming trip in September. That alone should tell you how many hoops I've already jumped through just to get a free flight--right? It took me an entire afternoon on the computer to schedule those flights...Now they wont let you get a direct flight it has to be Multi-landing flights--if you were to trace the route I will fly onto a piece of paper it would look like a pentagram!

I take a look at the changes...THE ENTIRE SCHEDULE AND FLIGHTS both Departure and Return have been changed...the times are entirely different, the cities Im landing in-different, not even the same flight numbers...I was NOT a Happy Flier--to say the least...So I called---

Omg---you have no idea how I hate telephones--I have never liked them-- EVER--you can hardly get me to speak into one..they make my ear sweat and my hand usually goes numb...that's one reason I was thrilled when they invented the computer...I will never have to talk on a telephone again as long as I live...thank you Jesus...but that's not exactly how it has turned out...to say the least.

Normally-- I do all my business via the Internet! But I had to call... I dialed and after I played donkey bingo with the phone menu...and had this conversation with a COMPUTERIZED VOICE..lol-- I got this oh so polite gentleman who grew up in India..and I know he is speaking English, but--- It was difficult at best to understand him and he said..."I cant understand you..ha!"
Even I had held that comment back but I tried to contain myself...LOL he probably doesnt speak to many Southern Americans---yes we do have accents and sometimes we sound like ~Idgits...lol (what does he think I just fell of the tractor? LOL, nope I left it parked in the shade...grrrr ) so anyways back to my sad story {rant}---

I explain to him in my now slightly higher than normal tone...that my entire itinerary has been felonized by the DELTA FORCE--and now it's not even close to what I had originally arranged for myself. "Yes," he says politely, "let me help you with that!"...His politeness only made me more angry...it would have been better if we both had enjoyed a rant together!...Imagine this --- if he had turned against his employer and joined forces with me and my frustration __ThE ME FORCE---and he said something like (you have to imagine his voice here)

...."DANG--who do they think they are?...they cant do that...gee what a bunch of knucle heads...what gives them the authority to do such a stupid upside down thing--who do they think they are, they can't just jerk the rug out from under ya like that...gall dang?" and then he could continue..."Now little lady don't you get your panties in a twist, little ole' India-Man is gonna fix this here mistake...right now." If he had said that in that way...I would have know he was on my side, I could have relaxed..but instead he said..
"CAN YOU VERIFY YOUR FREQUENT FLYER NUMBER FOR ME."...I wanted to scream I tell you-- Scream!!!!

U 151

Its ok, everything is ok, deep breath, look up at the blue sky, see the leaves, life is good, you are fine, the India Man is fine, we are all fine.....mmmmmmmm
ZEN---mmmmmmmmm-ZEN-mmmmmmmm-ZEN-mmmmmmmmmm
all better now--ahhh would you like some tea?

I know this blog is susposed to be for my art, photography, & life, well this post goes to the Life part...lol

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cheraw State Park Visit

The summer drags on and the heat gets more intense! Yesterday although its nice to be in AC comfort one gets bored so I suggested a day trip to a neighboring county and state park. The dogs were not happy to have to wait out our absence in the yard, but they have a shady screen porch complete with doggie door, fresh water, a dry food decanter and a FAN!..It should be called Dog Heaven!

U 012

We packed up Mom's U-go which is a fantastic bit of equipment for people with mobility problems...it comes complete with a seat for resting, a hidden carry-all big wheels that roll smoothly over rocks and twigs and Brakes! I highly recommend one to anyone who refuses to give up being in the great outdoors! Here she is resting and holding my heavy bag to boot!

The Lake Cheraw State Park, SC

The boardwalk was fantastic also!

the Boardwalk


Breaking Glass

The water was so calm this boat appeared to be breaking glass to me...
The birds hung back in the deep shade we heard a few but got a look at only a couple of Eastern Kingbirds and a Blue Bird, I did see these really interesting Pitcher Plants--along with this really small turtle resting on a lily pad and some cool dragonflies!

Pitcher Plant


U 024


U 057

After the visit to the park we headed to a nearby spot for a grilled cheese w/Fries and a Coke! and visited this statue of Dizze Gillispie who was born in Cheraw, SC.

Dizzie Gillispie Statue in the Park

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Your Sign?

Yesterday it was a fun day we went to a near by MALL. Not something I'm into, but every now and then one must shop...I wanted to practice with some long exposures shots--I forgot the fountain is located smack dab in the middle of a round-a-bout...so cars were zipping all around, and it was 95 degrees in the shade!..SO I snapped a couple of quick shots and ran for cover, and the nearest ice cream palor!

Big Drops at the Fountain

Meanwhile back here in RFD America where I spend 99.9% of my time-- the thistles have procreated and now the young ones sit ready to be launched on a light breeze or brisk wind landing in places unknow where they will settle in a sandy spot and start life over again and give a perfect perching spot to the butterflies n bees in the fields!

On a Wing n a Prayer

Today I worked on a logo! The Carolina's Nature Photography Assn. is having a little competition for a new logo...I worked on it all morning...I like it! I love to create logos...so If you need your own personal logo for your blog, or a project, web page, anything--just drop me a line and I'll be happy to create one uniquely yours! Of course it should have meaning, or symbolize something you hold in high regard...I use mine at the bottom on my communications. Its sort of fun to have one...shouldn't we all have a logo? I change mine from time to time...So here it is, the logos are small about 1 inch by 1 inch.

-- the story my logo attempts to tell is the Circle of Life--our connection to the Planet, all the creatures on the Planet, the cycles of the natural world around us, and how these cycles are very much a part of US...we are each dancing the steps of life together. I used the 4 colors important in Navajo Legends of Creation, which are white, turquoise, abalone and jet. I placed it all on a background of my favorite ruddy Earth color. Do you remember when the singer Prince became a symbol? If you were a symbol what would you look like?




Friday, July 10, 2009

Expanding....my horizons

The Corn is high around here these days, and I had to take a photo. Im very much Lately into putting a letterbox border on my photos and...stretching them a bit in Photoshop or Paintshop Pro. I call this the Field of Corny Dreams-LoL

Field of Corny Dreams

I use the digital software to create the designs that I sell as a textile designer and an artist of greeting cards for family, friends, and whomever wants one! I really love this corn photo! It has mystery and the sky was especially nice that day. I'm also a big fan of HDR processing. I have been practicing with Aperture settings and setting my +/- ...I'm exploring the darker side... I guess you could say. Here is a shot from yesterday.


Chevy

I took my bike out for a ride, and about half way down the dirt road I heard and saw a Black and White Warbler! OF course I didnt bring my camera,,, so I went back later in the car and I pished and pished and he didnt show...Darn! So to amuse myself I started taking shots of various angles with bits of the car in it...I am sort of a car buff, but mostly vintage cars--
Speaking of cars...I sent my Calendar project to a publisher...so who knows if I dont try I wont get anywhere!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Weekend

The Long Walk

Today my car is in the "chevy" hospital and im sure when I get the bill I will faint--I think the trip to TN unplugged a hole in the radiator that was clogged with 184,000 miles of gunk buildup--so while I try to avoid the phone call by tying up the phone line, I'll post up a few photos of what I did on the 4th which was take my Mom to a quiet lake and we had a picnic. After the eating I went off with my camera and left her to enjoy the solitude and the dragonflies.

Winged Reflections

On the way home we saw this huge field of sunflowers I had to stop for that!

4th 122

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th--of July

Today its the 4th and the humidity has dropped quite a bit! So we have decided to take a picnic sort of to Sandhills Wildlife Sanctuary...I hope to see some wildlife, maybe since its not as hot as it has been something will venture out. There is always something close at hand to keep my interest here on the Homestead...like the sun streaming through the branches of one of the large Water Oaks in the back yard...

or maybe its a bee gathering pollen making his rounds,

or just some of the flowers

or the Girlz...the 2 dogs we rescued last yr. We figure they are now a year old!
The vet said they were about 4 months old when we found them in Oct. last yr..
so we call July 4th their B-day! They became independent from poverty!
This is Annie "Boo-Bear"

And this is Flossie "Long Hair" all stretched out in the mottled sunlight!
after a roll in the straw under which Im trying once again to grow grass.