down a dirt road

I grew restless and bored Tuesday afternoon, so I grabbed my camera, got in my car, hit Highway 16 and headed west towards Oklahoma.

I drove past Lake Wedington and spotted a man stand up paddle boarding on the quiet water. 

I passed cows in pastures with their new calves, all huddled in the shade avoiding the heat, tails swishing in each other's faces in an attempt to keep the flies away.

The clouds billowed like towers over the hills as I drove along the winding road.

The radio played in the background of my thoughts, me not really thinking much, just watching the scenery going past my windows.

I find the dirt road I want, but drive past it because ahead there is a bridge I've always been curious to drive across to see what's on the other side. I continue to drive west until Highway 16 intersected with Highway 59 and I decide that I didn't want to go north or south, so I turn around and head back east to my dirt road I picked out and turn on to it.

Clouds of dust and dirt fog up behind me, and I tell myself that I'll need a carwash later this week. I stop periodically to take pictures, but none of them really do justice to the beauty of an Arkansas afternoon in the country.

I glance at the dashboard clock and see that I need to head back home. I had told Meghan that I would come over and help her begin packing up her apartment in preparation for her move this coming weekend to a cute new apartment off the Square downtown. 

I get to her place and am greeted with hugs and smiles from her. We always seem to pick up right where we left off the last time we were together. I'm so happy she is a just stone's throw away from home.

Her cat wraps himself around my legs, purring and incessantly meowing. He complains a lot, but he's a good boy for the most part.

He's also quite a ham, sticking his tongue out when he sees my camera pointed down at him.

Meghan and I sort her clothes, dividing and conquering her closet, then we sit and talk about everything and nothing at all, as we usually do, until almost seven in the evening. I give her a final hug, pet Sam, telling him to be a good boy, and walk down the stairs to my car.

It was a good day for a drive down a dirt road.

in the garden

We've had just a handful of sunny days this month, most of the days being dreary and grey and filled with rain. It's been more like late winter than mid-Spring. 

On a rare sun-shiney day last week, I found a ladybug sunning herself on a leaf of a chrysanthemum in my little flower garden just off our back porch. 

She readily agreed to pose for me and I spent the next 20 minutes happily crawling around in the dirt and enjoying the warm sunshine on my own back.

Inside & Out

This week we've had rain every day, beginning late Monday night and lasting through this morning. We woke to bright lightning and thunder claps today and I can look out and see my rain gauge in Christopher's garden filled almost to the brim, making the total so far nearly 5 inches. The grass is greening up, Christopher's rose bush is a mass of green leaves and the Shasta daisies surrounding it are waking up by leaps and bounds.

Spring has arrived.

I've been left to my own devices for much of the week, David and Joey having gone back to work and school. Spring Break last week was fun, but it is (dare I say it) nice to have the house back to myself for much of the day. I tied into the kitchen Tuesday, making chocolate chip muffins and a "1, 2, 3, 4" cake from my American Cake cookbook. Instead of making a cake, I made cupcakes and frosted them with home made chocolate buttercream icing. Then Wednesday, I made home made individual chicken pot pies for supper and realized home made pie crust is a learned skill and something I will be practicing from now until Thanksgiving when Baking Season really kicks into high gear. 

I constructed a prism made out three large mirrors used for candleholders while the cupcakes were baking Tuesday afternoon, the mirrors being something you might see at elegant dinners or weddings. I gaffer taped them to form a triangle and then took pictures through the opening. Later, after I got my lights set up and my camera settings together, David sat for me when he got home from a rainy run so I could practice. The resulting images even impressed David, and of course, when Langley saw me getting all my gear out, she wanted her picture taken, too. 

Which I did.

I think that $15.00 prism and I will become good friends this year.

The cedar waxwings visited our neighborhood yesterday, stripping bare the holly tree outside my office window of all its bright red berries while I was running in the morning. Just by chance I looked outside in our backyard and saw one of the bandits sitting high in our maple tree, its porcelain head with the sneaky black mask across its face bright against the dingy sky. He took off, flying over our house towards the street in front. I followed, carrying my camera and super long lens and discovered the whole gang of thieves going to town in our neighbor's pink crabapple tree across the street. Cedar waxwings are some of my favorite birds (my other two are herons and hummingbirds, quite the size difference, wouldn't you say?). I love their neat and tidy appearance, their sociability and just how quick they are with their appearances around town. They swoop in for a week, strip trees of their berries and blossoms, then they're gone in the blink of an eye.

It's like "now you see me, now you don't." They're fun little birds.

The rain has stopped and rumor has it that the sun is supposed to come out this afternoon and I will walk Langley. In a little bit, I will take my car in for an oil change, then come home and finish going about my day. Maybe I will catch up on my magazines, maybe I will watch an online class I'm taking about studio lighting (I'm having lots of Eureka! moments, mainly because I'm understanding what the instructor is teaching. Lots of "I'm learning! I'm learning! I'm learning!" and that's an amazing feeling to have). Maybe I'll practice a little bit of light painting deep in our closet where it's totally black. 

Or maybe I'll just stare out the window and look for more birds.

May you all have a happy Easter weekend, and I'll talk again to you soon.

Inching Closer and Closer To Spring

People may complain about the time change and the darker mornings, but look what we all get to enjoy at the end the day when we need it the most: beautiful golden sunlight.

And Then There Were Three

Earlier this month, I discovered a robin's nest in our pine tree, more or less right on eye level with me, and I began documenting it with my camera. I chose different times of the day, some early, early in the morning at sunrise, other times late in the evening at sunset, as well as those hours in between to photograph all the comings and goings of the parents. Momma Robin would often fuss and scold me while I took the two minutes or so to take pictures of her babies inside the nest, but I think she grew a timid trust of me when she saw that I wasn't going to hurt the eggs.  I have to admit that I've grown really fond of this little family, stopping to say "hello" to the momma and checking to make sure that they survived all the severe storms we've been having this May. It's been a lot of fun keeping up with this project and I can't wait to see the babies take their first flying lessons, but seeing that they've just now opened their eyes, that might be a few weeks. And Langley the Lab has been told in no uncertain terms to leave those little baby robins alone.