Experimental – Snow Scenes

In this Experiment, I will coat the landscape with a heavy frost (duration: 2 days). Then, I will add a thick layer of snow (duration: 1 day). Next, I will illuminate the scene with approximately 32,000 (or maybe more) lumens per square meter of sunshine, and quickly photograph the results in sub-sub freezing temperatures.

I will run the photos through a ‘filter machine’ called Topaz Studio. The experimental results are as follows:

ice snow
Rose Hips coated with ice and snow – no filter
Rose Hips with a spikey (spiky) filter
Rose Hips with a painting filter
Rose hips with a flow filter

A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.
– Carl Reiner –

Tall Grass covered in ice and snow – no filter
Tall Grass with a spikey (spiky) filter
Tall Grass with a line filter

Experiment Conclusion:

  • Filters are a great way to alter a photo and spend time indoors – out of the cold.
  • Winter has arrived a bit early here in Alberta. It is warm and dry in Arizona. While I am glad I had the opportunity to experience this ice/snow storm, I’ll be glad to finally head south for a few months in the New Year…

There’s one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbor’s.
– Clyde Moore –

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Experimental.

8th Anniversary of Blogging, Laundry and Hair Cuts

It is my 8th Anniversary of Blogging. Is that long enough to say blogging isn’t a temporary pastime for me? My blog posts, on the other hand, are only of temporary interest to the blogging world!

Other temporary things in my life:

  • laundry – if I ever get ‘caught up’, it will only be for a few hours…
  • hair cut – if it is perfect, it won’t be for long; same with fingernail length
  • cuts, scrapes, bruises, a cold
  • weather, seasons
  • batteries
  • ripe fruit, ice cubes in a drink, gum flavour
  • shiny copper or silver, empty dishwasher
  • new car smell, full tank of gas
  • fresh-cut grass, perfect flowers
  • family vacations, Christmas Spirit
  • bubbles

  • Fall leaves and the berries from the Mountain Ash Tree

  • Snowflakes

What things would you put on your list of temporary things?

Eight Years of Blogging

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Temporary.

Bourton-on-the Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is a village in the Cotswolds Area of Gloucestershire, England. The houses and shops in the village are constructed of the yellow Oolitic limestone that is found in the surrounding hills. Cotswold stone is easily split into blocks and is quite weather-resistant.

The Cotswold hills cover an area that is about 40 miles across and 120 miles long. It is an extremely popular tourist destination.

thatch roof house

A peek over just about any hedge or stone wall will give you a glimpse of why at least 117 buildings within Bourton-on-the-Water have been listed as Grade II or higher. This designation means the building has ‘special architectural or historic interest’. The building’s owners have to apply for consent to do most types of work that affect their home.

hedge

A peek inside this wobbly hedge! I sure wouldn’t want to be the one who keeps it trimmed.

In old age, and having been sprained by the weight of snow over the decades, the hedges now wobble along, imperfect, but full of vegetable dignity…
– Description of Walmer Castle Hedges, Heritage Magazine Issue 48 –

Vine House

A peek at the house behind the Ivy. English Ivy is the most prevalent self-clinging climber found on walls in England, though some ornamental ivy types are also used.

In 2010, English Heritage released the results of a study to determine whether Ivy was beneficial or detrimental when it grew up the sides of buildings. Their research suggested that as long as ivy was not rooting into the wall, there were numerous positive benefits.

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Peek.

Pumpkin Meets Drill – Cårven Der Pümpkîn (Video)

A well-rounded and compact head – a good description of a cabbage, but it works for a pumpkin too!

drilled hole design

This year I used a drill to make almost perfect round holes in my jack-o’-lantern. (Did you know that the term jack-o’-lantern comes from an Irish folktale? Large turnips and potatoes were used by the Irish in Ireland, but they switched to the readily available pumpkins when they came to America.)

holes drilled zentangle design

‘Jack’ doesn’t look all that handsome in the daylight, but he really ‘shines’ in the dark!

When I was looking for a quotation about pumpkins, I found a musing by Alexander McCall Smith. It reminded me of transporting my pumpkins last year.  I secured them in the back seat of the Jeep and briefly thought about what quiet, friendly companions they were.

The pumpkin looked delicious—almost perfectly round and deep yellow in colour, it sat on the passenger seat beside her so comfortably as she drove out of the car park, so pleased to be what it was, that she imagined conducting a conversation with it… And the pumpkin would remain silent, of course, but would somehow indicate that it knew what she was talking about, that there were similar issues in the world of pumpkins.

There was no harm, she thought, in allowing your imagination to run away with you, as a child’s will do, because the thoughts that came in that way could be a comfort, a relief in a world that could be both sad and serious. Why not imagine a talk with a pumpkin? Why not imagine going off for a drive with a friendly pumpkin, a companion who would not, after all, answer back; who would agree with everything you said, and would at the end of the day appear on your plate as a final gesture of friendship?
– Alexander McCall Smith, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine –

Happy Halloween, all!

(Is it still called Halloween in your community schools, or has it been changed to Black and Orange Spirit Day?)

There is a growing list of Halloween costumes that have been described as inappropriate because they are negative representations. Lynda Davis, at BoomerBroadcast wonders: “If I answer the door dressed as myself, an aging baby boomer in a comfortable T-shirt and yoga pants will I offend my entire generation?”

Cårven Der Pümpkîn | Recipes with The Swedish Chef | The Muppets

This weeks’ WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Rounded.

On a Scale of Carousel to Roller Coaster, How Scary is this?

HDR filter Topaz Studio
Winged Creature

Sunrise this morning. It was quite spectacular and changing rapidly. I quickly took a picture, then retreated back into the warmth of my house. When I uploaded the photo and enhanced it with a light touch of HDR in Topaz Studio, I realized that I had captured something much more sinister than a typical Alberta sunrise.

It was a winged creature, with a skull like head and sunken eye sockets. It was covered with woolly dreads. It rode on bolts of fire…

Alberta orange yellow
Poodle

Without HDR, it looked more like a poodle, I suppose…

Do you see a safe ‘carousel’ sky, or a scary ‘roller coaster’ sky?

‘On a scale of’ usually has a range of one to ten – but here are some other ‘Scales’ to think about:
On a scale of Voldemort to Pinocchio, how Nosy are you?
On a scale of Mother Teresa to Adolf Hitler, how evil is your President?
On a scale of Under the Porch Mat to Osama Bin Laden how good was my hiding spot?
On a scale of Pennies to a Pool Filled With $1000 Bills, how much does this house cost?
On a scale of Sitting on a Stuffed Toy to Stepping on a LEGO, how much pain are you in?
On a scale of Qatar to Greece, how broke are we?
On a scale of Winter in Florida to Winter in Siberia how bad is your idea?

Can you think of some other non-traditional scales?

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Scale.

Windows – Watching a Fall Snow Storm

snow storm
A lacy pattern of ice on the window.

The first snow storm of the winter season, except it is supposed to be Fall…

Oh, the weather outside is frightful!
But furnace heat is delightful.
With the roads closed we can’t go,
Stop the wind, stop the cold, stop the snow!
– Margy, with help from the Christmas Carol ‘Let it Snow’ –

Photo altered in Topaz Studio with a crackly overlay and enhanced colours.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Windows (again).

Has the weather been unseasonably anything in your part of the world in the past few months?

Leaves in the Fall – When the Smoke Cleared

Smoke from wildfires in British Columbia settled into Alberta for much of the summer – but it finally cleared late last week – when it snowed… Today was the first day that more normal early fall weather arrived.

It was a perfect day, one you wish you could bottle and save for winter. Layers of clouds piled up all the way to the snow capped mountains (which you can just see along the horizon if you imagine hard enough.)  Mixed green and gold foliage contrasted with the changing colours just beyond the fence line.

Wild raspberry leaves are turning colour – they stand out in sharp contract to the layers of greenery that haven’t yet responded to the frosty nights.

The spider web layer – fortunately clearly visible or I would have walked right into it!

What is the first thought that pops into your mind when you hear the word ‘Layered’?

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Layered.

Layered Treats – S’mores and Rice Krispies

There are many layers of history for the ingredients in this  S’mores and Rice Krispies® recipe!

Chocolate has been around for more than 2000 years. Sweetened chocolate didn’t appear until Europeans discovered the Americas and sampled the native chocolate drink, which was bitter. They added sugar, and by the 17th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink.

Marshmallows were originally a plant based product that was used for centuries for medicinal purposes. When the plant sap was replaced by gelatin in the late 1800’s, today’s marshmallow was born. In 1927, the Girl Scouts Handbook came out with a recipe for ‘Some More’ which quickly became ‘Smores’.

Graham crackers are made from Graham flour, which is named after it’s inventor Sylvester Graham who began making them in the 1830’s.

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies® debuted in 1927. Their Rice Krispies Marshmallow Treats® recipe was first advertised in 1940. It became a popular food for mailing to service people abroad.

Here is how you put all these things together to make this layered treat! You’ll need:
* 10 oz miniature or regular size marshmallows (2 cups miniature Marshmallows or about 30 large Marshmallows)
* 1/4 cup butter
* 5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
* 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
* 7 oz jar marshmallow creme (To make your own marshmallow cream, melt 30 large marshmallows with 2 tbsp light corn syrup)
* enough chocolate chips or chocolate bars to make the final layer (and to eat while you are cooking).

You’ll preheat your oven to 200 degrees and line a 10X15 pan or tray with parchment paper.
In a pot, combine the marshmallows with the butter. Heat and stir until well blended. Stir in the cereal and graham cracker crumbs.
Press the mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the marshmallow creme on top with a spatula. Sprinkle the chocolate on top. (By licking all the spoons, spatulas, and pots, you can do your initial quality testing…)

Place the pan in the oven or about two minutes, or until the chocolate melts. Remove from the oven and spread the chocolate. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Starting at one end, carefully roll the layered concoction up like a cinnamon roll. Peel the parchment paper away as you roll. Pinch the seam when you finish rolling.
Place seam side down, and refrigerate for half an hour, or until the chocolate has set. Slice and serve!

My other S’mores recipes are at How to Make S’Mores – Traditional and Super Simple

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Layered

Cabbage White Butterfly

In a past post, White Butterflies Hiding in a Hay Field, I wasn’t able to actually get a photo of the White Butterflies. They never came to rest long enough, or if they did stop, it was on the low growing flowers that I couldn’t see! Later, the butterflies were feeding on some flowers that were easily visible, so I finally got to capture their image. They are very skittish butterflies, however, and I had to stand well back and use a zoom lens.

They are Cabbage White Butterflies. They are described as being white butterflies with dark dots on their upper wings. Their underwings can be various shades of yellow.

This cabbage white is showing its age. Note how weathered and ragged the wings are getting!

Alberta Canada

The Cabbage butterfly was introduced to Quebec, Canada, from Europe in the 1860’s and has since spread throughout the continent.

Alberta Canada

While they are a delight to watch, especially if there are a lot of them fluttering through your yard, their caterpillars are the bane of gardeners – they eat members of the mustard family and this includes cabbages, broccoli, brussels sprout and cauliflower.

Alberta Canada

The Flutter Files
Common Name: Small Cabbage White Butterfly
Scientific Name: Pieris rapae
Native to: It was originally only in Europe. It was accidentally introduced into China (in 1989), North America (in 1860), Australia (in 1937) and New Zealand (in 1930)
Date Seen:  September 2011, August and September, 2017
Location: North East of Calgary, Alberta
Notes: These butterflies have a dark body with white wings. The upper wings have a charcoal to black band at the tip and a dark spot in the center of each upper wing. Males have one spot on each wing and females have two. Adult butterflies feed on flower nectar from a very wide array of plants including mustards, dandelion, red clover, asters, and mints.

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Weathered.