Category Archives: Garden

Lens-Artists Challenge #197 – The Rule of Thirds

This week, the theme from Tina Schell, for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is focused on one of the most well-known and widely used rules of photography, the Rule of Thirds. She said, “For those who would like to study the concept further, there are many online descriptions and examples. Adobe offers an excellent summary here. Basically, the rule is a compositional guideline that encourages placement of your primary subject on at least part of three equal rows and three equal columns as illustrated below.”

The Adobe article entitled: How to use, and break, the rule of thirds

Rule of Thirds Grid

The idea is to place your subject on one (or more) of the grid lines, or even better on the dots, theoretically making the image more pleasing to the eye.

I’ve been taking photos since I was a teenager when there were only Black & White photos. As indicated in the Adobe article, “The more you do it, the more it gets ingrained into your head.” I apply the Rule of Thirds most of the time in my photo compositions.

I learned drawing and painting at a young age, the Rule of Thirds also applies to the composition of drawing, painting, and some other forms of art. I’ll post my photos and two of my paintings in this post.

There are many kinds of butterflies in my garden, Swallowtail, Monarch, Mourning Cloak, and Cabbage butterflies. A Monarch came back from the south early this year and is busy laying eggs. I collected 10 eggs so far. Three are in the chrysalis form, two are growing strong, and five are 1/8″ babies. I’ll post some Monarch photos later. I saw a Nymphalis antiopa, known as Mourning Cloak, a few days ago but didn’t take good photos. I took the following one a while ago.

There are many turtles in the lake within walking distance from home. This colorful turtle was sunbathing when I walked around the lake one day. The entire colorful body is attractive. The reflection of the sunlight made part of his body draw more attention.

I took the following photo in Maui, Hawaii. The crashing waves evoke my imagination. I strive to take photos with droplets dancing in the air as the waves splash the rocks.

The following are my two paintings. Naturally, the tree is the focus of the first painting and the butterfly is in the second painting.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #197 – The Rule of Thirds

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Happy Spring

This is the 3rd day of spring.

My granddaughter Nora turns 2 today. Two years ago this week, California started the lockdown. I canceled my flight to be with my daughter for her giving birth to Nora. We waited and waited. It was her first birthday when we finally got to see her. Her 2nd birthday party will be the first indoor party we’ve had since the pandemic. It’s very exciting. We look forward to spending time with both Autumn and Nora.

My spring garden would like to sing to you.

“The first bloom of spring always makes my heart sing.” – S. Brown

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – Audrey Hepburn

“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.” – Ellis Peters

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot, and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” – Charles Dickens

“An optimist is the human personification of spring.” – Susan Bissonette

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” – English Proverb

Happy Spring to You!

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National Gratitude Month – November

November is National Gratitude Month – Royal Threads by Erica

Yvette M. Calleiro reminds me of a Calm calendar for November. You can download it if you’re interested.

National Gratitude Month is celebrated every November. It was declared the month of gratitude in 2015 after author Stacey Grewal advocated for it.

“Gratitude is an essential ingredient of a happy, fulfilling life,” said Grewal, who wrote the book Gratitude and Goals. “Research shows that practicing daily gratitude can enhance our moods, decrease stress and drastically improve our overall level of wellbeing. This challenge is a great opportunity to see if you can improve your life by getting more in touch with gratitude.” Grewal pointed out that, on average, grateful people tend to be happier, healthier; more physically fit, have a higher income and have much more satisfying personal and professional relationships. – PR Newswire

“Gratitude – The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” – Oxford Dictionary

Free Thankful Printable | Thanksgiving quotes inspirational, Thanksgiving  quotes, Happy thanksgiving quotes

I will take time to relax, reflect on things I’m thankful for this year, write, and be with my extended family to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

I will focus on expressing gratitude in many ways :

1. Write a daily gratitude journal (could be brief)

2. Wake up filling my mind and my heart with thankfulness

3. Be grateful for health (good or not so good) and being alive

4. Be intentional to show appreciation to family members, friends, and people around me.

5. Stop and be thankful for the safe environment

6. Appreciate the natural beauty around me

7. Be generous in giving in a tangible way

What would you add to this list? I would like to hear it.

This means my blogging time will be reduced. I have two posts later in the month. Other than that, I’ll resume posting in December, in time to celebrate Christmas.

Pin by Alyssa McCool on Thanksgiving Joy | Thanksgiving quotes, Thankful  quotes, Happy thanksgiving quotes
Editor's Note: Living Grateful and Thankful – Wisconsin Conference of  Seventh-day Adventists

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SoCS – If I Had a Bigger Garden

The Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “if.” Linda invited us to start our post with the word “If.”

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If I had a bigger garden, I would plant more fruit trees and vegetables.

I have a good size garden and am grateful for all the flowers in my garden. My picture folder showed my garden was barren in 2003. I planted the flowers and trees a few at a time for the last eighteen years. I set a mental budget for gardening and didn’t spend too much money each year. Probably I spent the most this summer when I replaced many annual to perennial flowers.

Flowers in My Garden

I also tried to see what grows well in my garden. Some part of my garden gets full sun all day, while other part gets either the morning sun or evening sun. After we planted the Cypress trees in the backyard, they block the sun in the winter as the earth tilted.

Another factor about gardening is the soil and watering system. Hubby is in charge of the sprinkler system. He also takes care of the lawn while I take care of the flowers. He installed the sprinklers according to the needs of the lawn. As a result, some flowers get too much water, and some don’t get enough water. Well, I have to improvise and make change now and then. I don’t mind doing that. What I did was to plant the flowers that need more water in the areas that have more sprinkler heads and planted the flowers that don’t need so much water in the areas further from the sprinkler heads. Of course, I could ask him to add sprinkler heads in some areas.

I started with one patch of Lily of the Nile (African Lily). African lily can withstand drought because of its large, fleshy roots. Roots spread and fresh shoots grow. I transplant them on several spots and the sixty feet wide slopes in the back yard behind the retaining wall, spaced them every eight feet in eight patches. The photo below is in the front yard.

Lily of the Nile (African Lily)

When we renovated the front yard, I bought ten rose bushes, and they turned out to be in different shades of pink. Then I felt in love with the white iceberg roses and bought ten bushes.

Throughout the years, I planted different flowers. As mentioned above, I experimented with the kinds that do well in my garden. The flowers above and below included in this post are what I currently have.

Year-round: Geranium, Hibiscus, Pentas, Periwinkle (Vinca) Lantana, and Snapdragon

Spring: Freesia (yellow and purple) and Clover

Summer: Daylily and Sunflower

Winter: Cyclamen and Camelia

I have planted the bulbs for Daffodil and Iris, hope to see the flowers next year.

Fruit Trees

So far, I have two plum trees, one apple tree, and one orange tree. We hope to plant a dwarf lemon tree, blackberries and raspberries. Berries are invasive, so I need more planning before planting them.

Vegetables

I planted kale, orange and green bell pepper, and squash. They are not ready to harvest yet. I love to grow more vegetables if I had a bigger garden.

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley! https://www.quaintrevival.com/

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SoCS – If I had a Bigger Garden

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Ordinary

Our theme this week is the Ordinary, hosted by I. J. Khanewala. There are many places, moments, things that we would say are ordinary. We may be surprised when the ordinary takes a turn.

My husband, Lynton and I started out this summer like any previous ordinary summers. Even though we didn’t take international trips, we took a couple of local getaways trips. We visited the grandkids. I took advantage of the summer colors and got some new flowers.

Lantana and Vinca

As soon as the summer rolled around the corner, things became a domino effect and tuned into an extraordinary summer. It was almost unstoppable without affecting the long-term effect.

There was an old 10’x8’ metal shed in the backyard. We had it for fifteen years. Lynton and I assembled it together. It was a major project we worked on it without getting upset with each other. I did my part, laying out all the nuts and bolts and parts. When Lynton assembled the panels, I handed him whatever he needed. I helped to hold the panels when he joined them together. The shed reminded us we could work together. What’s the big deal? It’s a big deal when two professionals live under the same roof. We could do our own things separately, but it takes extra consideration when working on the same project.

Finally, the shed was ready to retire. It leaked. The wooden floor was rotten and partly collapsed. We needed a new shed. We moved out everything from the old shed. Lynton demolished it.

I wanted a risen shed which is sturdier. I set a budget, but after looking for all the models, we picked one which cost twice as much as my initial budget.

“We better have a slab for the foundation. I wouldn’t be able to make a good leveled wooden foundation,” he said.

We got two quotes, but neither showed up for the job. It was a chance meeting when Lynton talked to a cement guy at a gas station. He came to give us a quote. He and his crew did the slab.

The section of the wall behind the shed bulged and threatened to collapse. We asked the cement guy for a quote. His quote was more reasonable than the one we got years ago. We needed a new wall, eventually. It would be hard to do it afterwards because there were only a few feet between the shed and the wall. We decided to have it done.

The guy and his crew demolished the wall, dug two feet deep and two feet behind the wall to pour cement for the foundation. All the dirt dug up was piling up on our lawn. It took them six weeks to build the wall.

The new retaining wall in front of the slope and the cypress trees

Lynton put the new shed together almost all by himself. I only helped to hold up some panels when he joined them together.

The shed has several windows and many skylights
The new shed sitting on a six-inch high slab

The soil in the backyard was hard after six weeks without water. We nurtured the soil and waited for the summer heat to die down. Then Lynton put in the new seeds for the grass. The grass in the above photo is new grass.

While the back yard construction was going on, I replaced many of the annual flowers to perennial. I picked the flowers for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Lantana was not my favorite flower because I thought it was not artistic. But it’s butterfly food. I raised 20 butterflies in the summer. Milkweed is for the butterflies to lay eggs. The adult butterflies need food, so it made sense to plant some flowers for butterfly food. Now I have pink or orange mixed colors, purple and yellow single color Lantana on the slope, in the backyard and front yard. They’re ready for the butterflies next year.

I planted more Sylvia for the bees because I need the bees to pollinate the plum and orange blossoms. I went crazy getting the Pentas when it was on sale. Not only the butterflies, but the hummingbirds and bees like them also.

Lantana
Sylvia
Pentas

For two months, the backyard was like a war zone. I’m glad the work is over. There shouldn’t be any more home improvement projects for the backyard for the remaining years we live in this house.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Ordinary

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