Friday, November 22, 2013

A Few Thoughts and a Link Roundup

I have been busy changing my template within Blogger to include threaded and numbered comments. It is not as simple as clicking on a button within Blogger to include this feature. My template is my own with the help of external software and it is all in code. But, I think I have it now as it appears the numbering system is working and comments are threaded; but, I have yet to test the reply (threaded) button out. If any of you do test this out, please let me know if it blows up! Thank you in advance!

I have not had the time to go through the garage conversion pictures to post a DIY update; so, that will be coming later. Instead, today I am posting a few links I have been saving. Confession: I started saving links in WORD several weeks ago and then I accidentally overwrote those links with a cut and paste recipe from facebook and then saved it absentmindedly. So, I had to start all over again about a week ago. Sheesh.

In the meantime, I will be busy from here on out due to the fact that the weekend is here and a holiday is approaching. It will soon be Thanksgiving here in the states. If you do not hear from me within the next week or so, you know why. I hope all of you will have a great weekend and a wonderful week! For those of you who live in the states, be safe at this holiday time!

  • Organization
    • Free Printable Calendar for 2014

      Monthly Calendar you can use in a binder. Perfect for die hard Flyladies who use a notebook for their routines and more. FYI: I am no longer a diehard Flylady. However, I am still into routines and flying along with chores.

  • Photography
    • Start to See Photographically in Six Easy Steps
    • We are living in a time of unlimited free shutter clicks. This is both an advantage, and a disadvantage for you as a photographer. On one hand, the learning curve is faster, easier and definitely a lot cheaper. On the other hand, many photographers have a tendency to shoot without taking much care in their composition and rely on the occasional lucky shot.

      Stop shooting randomly and start photographing with intent. Before you click that shutter, ask yourself: “What do I want to convey? What story do I want to tell?” There are many ways to achieve this, here are few easy steps to help you step up your game, no matter what camera or lens you use.

  • Landscaping and Gardening
    • Why Prairies Matter and Lawns Don’t
    • The carelessness of the American people’s obsessive compulsion for such silly and lowly turfgrass goals extends far beyond the failure they are set up for in regards to their quest for the unsustainable and unattainable “perfect lawn”. As noted before, lawns are suicidal – we are poisoning ourselves, our children, and our water for something that is wholly obtuse and unneeded. Why not be productive and grow a garden instead?

  • Food and Holiday
    • Thanksgivukkah

      A rare convergence of the American holiday of Thanksgiving and the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah on November 28, 2013. The last time this happened was 1888 and the next time will be in the year of 79811 (providing the Jewish calendar does not change). Here is an article in Chicago Tribune about this: Thanksgivukkah 101.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wordy Wednesday {Pantry}

After Dan read my last post on the pantry, he said I should have included a picture with the shelves stocked. I was like no way! Who wants to show off the mess? But, in the face of keeping it real, I decided to take a picture today and post it. Don't judge.

Can goods are in the back behind the swinging door. The swinging door currently holds our snacks and chips. This may change in the future. Baking goods, cereal, drinks, and whatnot are on the right. And, of course, you've seen the messy storage bag organization on the door.

So far, I am loving the changes!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Macro Monday {Fluffy Seeds}

On the first of November, I was outside with Dan messing around. I believe this was during the time work on the garage conversion was halfway done and I was out there taking a few pictures of the progress. In the midst of taking pictures, I looked down and discovered this:

{To see a larger image, go here.}

Needless to say, I was puzzled. I initially thought it was clumps of fur that a dog or some critter had lost due to an injury or such. I called Dan over because I was not sure about exploring what this was and he is braver, much braver, than I. In the meantime, I switched to using my macro (lens).

By the way, I had to shield these from the harsh sun with my own body or otherwise they would look like this:

{To see a larger image, go here.}

I kept this image because I thought it was a cool looking macro in spite of the strands looking like nylon and fake. Anyway, Dan was helping me out by holding seeds for me. This is what the seed really looked like:

{To see a larger image, go here.}

After pawing and digging around in the ground, much to our amazement, this was found underneath the clusters of seeds:

{To see a larger image, go here.}

The fluffy seed dispersal system.

This is fairly big -- about three to four inches in length. I have absolutely no clue to what this plant is. I have already used up my bandwidth allocation for this period; so, I did not go deep into research. Hopefully, someone else can identify this for me.

Once pictures were taken, we put it back in the ground where it was found. I have always been the one who tries to leave nature alone with the exception of the Black Widows.

Edited to Add: Dan found out that they are milkweed seeds. When I learned of this, I immediately went out to see if I can find some seeds to plant and found a total of seven! Hurray! I now will need to seek how and where to plant them here not to mention protecting them. The Monarch Butterflies relies upon these for a source of food AND a place of laying their eggs. To read more about this, go here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

DIY (Remodeling) Pantry II

I last left off with this post.

All the shelves went up. I realize that the vertical bar over the shelves looks odd; but, there is a reason for the piece. Wednesday’s post was a continuation of the work for the pantry. The next three pictures show exactly what it is.

It’s a swinging pantry shelf / cabinet door!

This completes the pantry. We do have a tiny cupboard to make to hide the brooms and mops along with some baseboard work. But, other than those things, the pantry is finished. To be honest, nothing ever really gets finish. Or, does it? It seems like there is always something minor that never gets completed. *sigh*

Monday, November 11, 2013

Macro Monday {Shades of Gray}

Abby Gail, 8/8/2013

{To see a larger image, go here.}

I crashed briefly early Friday morning (before getting up) with a double whammy which included a migraine. I had plans of posting more DIY pictures of the pantry and processing more pictures last Friday; but, due to the fact I had crashed and was busy over the weekend, I never got the chance to do what I wanted to do.

So, I am using an oldie but a goodie for today's macro. I just never published it (until now) because other macros I liked better. Also, I believe that not many people like to see macros of pets/animals. So, I try not to showcase them often.

I will work on the DIY pictures of the pantry and post them sooner or later this week as long as things goes well with me / us.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wordy Wednesday {Abby}

Hey! Let Me See Your Camera!

I was trying to capture Abby Gail interacting with Chessie; but, when she is awake and active, she is not cooperative. She is more interested in the camera itself. The other day, Dan was trying to get pictures of her outside with his camera and she walked right up to his camera sticking her nose in the lens making him laugh.

Below is the only decent picture I was able to capture of Abby's interaction with Chessie. And please, ignore that nasty old chair. It is Dad's old lazyboy and I was planning on getting it fixed up and reupholstered. Chessie certainly loves to sleep on it a lot.

Hey! Whatcha doing? Get up!

These were taken back in August when I was sick. Abby has since grown up just a tad and is now six months old. She is the same length and almost the same height as our Gracie; but, is a heck tinier size-wise if that makes sense.

Anyway, you can see the size difference between Abby and Chessie. Chessie is a purebred Gentle Giant (Maine Coon) and Abby is... well... we just do not know. The more time passes, the more Dan thinks she has some exotic cat in her. I think she will always be half wild; but, she has adjusted well to being an indoor cat (with supervised outdoor visits).

I have no worries for either Chessie or Abby when they cross paths. It is really funny and cute to see them interact. As you know, Chessie is tons bigger than Abby. I would say she is almost three times bigger at the moment. She just tolerates Abby and then when she had enough, she will whack her. Sometimes she will stomp on her with two paws simultaneously almost trapping her on the ground and Abby will then flee and not bother her for a time.

Abby still harasses our special needs cat, Gracie; but, not as often. I have her well trained. If I catch her harassing Gracie, I will say "timeout". She then makes the choice of either calming herself down or continuing to harass Gracie. If she continues to harass her, I will go open the extended pantry door and point towards the room telling Abby "timeout". She will often trot her way inside and I will shut the door behind her. She seems to know that she needs to be calm around Gracie and if she is not, she will get a timeout. There have been times where she is just so out of control (so excited) that we have to chase her down and place her into the pantry ourselves. But, most of the time, she puts herself into timeout.

I know that this technique sounds odd; but, she (Abby) does not like to be handled or held. She does not mind being carried from one place to another most of the time. However, if she is held or handled, she will often go nuts after a few seconds. It takes two people to clip her front nails. And yes, I have tried waiting until she is sleeping which is what I do with Chessie and Gracie when it needs to be done; but, it never fails that Abby comes wide awake and refuses to let me handle her paws and clip her nails. She screams bloody murder, bites and struggles. I will let her go because I do not want her to get hurt. You would think after all this time, she would get used to it (getting nails clipped). But, no. She goes berserk. Thus, I have to get Dan to hold her while I clip her nails. It is not a fun job.

Anyway, this timeout training technique we are doing is a way to give her respect and for her to show us respect. It seems to be working rather well for us simply because she is too dang smart. It did not take her long to understand certain words I use such as "timeout", "down" and "come". And oh, I am trying to get her to stand up on command. I am not sure if I will succeed; but, she is doing it when I feed her wet food in the morning. I need to find a clicker training gadget for cats to train for fun. I think it will interest the both of us and keep her focused (mind active) and get her energy spent at the same time. I think she may even take to cat agility training.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Macro Monday {Sensitive Plant}

Sensitive Plant (Mimosa pudica)

{To see a larger image, go here}.

These are insidious weeds around here with interesting blooms. And, they must be sensitive. I mean, take a look at the bloom in the background! Ha!