Category Archives: Hobbies

Lens-Artists Challenge #124 – Now and Then

Happy Thanksgiving from Beach Ford! | Beach Ford

This week Amy invited us to reflect on our time staying at home mostly due to the pandemic, compared to what happened to our life prior to this situation. What happened then, and what happened now?

“Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know everything happens for a reason.” — Albert Schweitzer

It has been over eight months since COVID-19 hit. Did time go by fast?

It did not; it was like forever. The second week of March was difficult to be confined at home. I wanted to run outside to do something. I wanted to shout or talk to someone. It was boring to do the same things day after day. There were no special events such as travel, movies, family and social gathering, birthdays, or holidays to punctuate the different seasons. As time went by, I accepted the new normal and set up my new routine. In fact, I appreciated the concentrated time to do certain tasks without interruption. Even when the social distancing was relaxed, I was not ready to take risk except going to see my granddaughters with great caution.

On the other hand, time went by fast. This one enormous bubble of a single day was in fact eight months long. Yet, it will not last forever. History told us that this will end. I will do my part to observe the safety regulation. I will stay safe and keep healthy, so when this is over, I can fully enjoy my family.

We had been doing major traveling since 2000, went to Australia, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Germany, Austria, Spain, and China, to name some countries. We didn’t go anywhere except Portland to see Mercy and her family. I spend a lot of time gardening.

Toledo, Spain

Thanksgiving is our major family gathering time. Two sister-in-laws and I took turns to host the Thanksgiving dinner. Mercy and her family came to California to join us. Two weeks ago, California, Oregon, and Washington jointly announced a new restriction. Upon arriving in Oregon, we would have to be self-quarantine for 14 days. The new spikes of cases spread throughout the country, it is worse than March when the pandemic started. Hubby and I will spend the holiday just the two of us, and cook a 15-pound turkey, eat some and freeze some for later.

Autumn had a big birthday party with many friends her age in 2019. We are not big cake eaters. Autumn had a birthday pie. This year, she had a smaller birthday party in the front yard serving a cake to her friends and aunties and uncles. They came in masks keeping the social distancing.

Nora is growing fast. The first two years of a kid’s life is the fast growing period in proportion to the remaining of one’s life. When I visited her in August, she was not sitting up yet. She turned eight months two days ago. She is now sitting up and enjoys eating many mashed veggies.

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Lens Artists Challenge # 124: Now and Then

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Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

Xenia at Tranature is the guest host for Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge this week. She invited us to look at the theme of Sanctuary.

We have been in lock down because of Covid-19 since March 11. The initial projection was to close schools and stores for several weeks. Five months have gone by, we see new surge of cases in many countries. This is an unsettling time of the history.

Xenia’s theme is timely for us to think about and find sanctuary among the chaos.

 

Sanctuary is the tranquility where the mind and soul find serenity and peace. It could be in the ocean, a park, or your garden.

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It seems to be miles away but Laguna Lake is in the midst of the residential homes.

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My garden

Sanctuary is the harmony where the chaos, strife, and discords dissipate. It could be somewhere in the forest or the perception through our filtered lenses.

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Trees find their way toward the sun at Laguna Lake.

Sanctuary is the quietness where the demands, interruption, and disturbance fade away. It could be a bench under a tree or in the depth of your heart.

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Benches like this one are facing the water around Laguna Lake.

Sanctuary is a resting place where the struggles, conflicts, and confusion subside. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.

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Tucking the head under the wings is a perfect way of napping for the ducks.

Sanctuary is a hobby you emerge yourself in for leisure and pleasure. You may find it in reading, hiking, or fishing. I find mine in singing and painting.

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This family enjoyed fishing at Laguna Lake

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My watercolor painting

Sanctuary is a haven where one finds security, love, and care for the young.

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A content mama duck with eight fuzzy ducklings

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

 

I love to hear where you find your sanctuary. Please share with us in the comment. Thank you!

 

 

 

Sunday Stills: #Plant Life in My Garden

This week’s photo challenge by Terri Webster Schrandt is about plant life. Many folks are still limited to where they can go, but we can all walk in our backyards and gardens and enjoy plant life.

Garden is a sanctuary where my soul rests, my mind cleared, my strength renewed, and my heart rejoices. It is a place where I go every morning to listen, listen to the voices of the plants and the small creatures, and listen to the voice within. The garden nourishes my being more than the time I put in it to nourish the plants.

One Daylily plant I have is Wineberry Candy. They are low-maintenance perennial and have showy colors of flowers all summer. The bulbs multiply and I dig up the fresh growth to transplant in various spots.

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Both Lily of the Nile Blue (Agapanthis africanus) and Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violace) multiply continuously. For years, I transplanted the fresh growth to landscape my garden. It turns out the hummingbirds love to suck the nectar of both plants.

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The Society Garlic is below the Lily of the Nile Blue

This Salvia started out with two-2.5 Qt. plant and has grown into a lush bush. It is the most favorite of the hummingbirds. It is also where the bees congregate. I bought several more pots and planted two pots by another hummingbird feeder in the backyard, and two pots by the plum trees.

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The always cheerful hibiscus regardless the attention I paid to it yet greets me with the gorgeous bloom every morning.

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Have a peaceful Sunday and a wonderful week ahead!

 

Sunday Stills: #Plant Life in My Garden

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #97- Pastimes

Thank you, Sue (Mac’s Girl), for hosting the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week. COVID19 gives us more time to stay home and spend more time on our hobbies and pastimes.

I have many passionate hobbies, enough to occupy three times of my lifetime. For this post, I only focus on two activities I’m engaged in daily, which are gardening and enjoying the amazing creatures in my garden.

 

There are four fruit trees and two grape vines in my garden. I have a different story about the plum trees this year. In the winter of 2018-2019, there were seven weeks of rain that soaked the plum trees to produce gorgeous blooms. The warm sun came to keep the clovers strong and pretty to invite the bees. The bees found their way to pollinate the plum blossoms which yielded 1,100 plum. Well, the rain, the clovers, the sun, and the bees didn’t coordinate this year, and I could see about 10% of the plums growing compared to that of last year.

 

I appreciate the year-round flowering of the hibiscus and roses. Their graciousness, loyalty, and steadfast to bloom were the inspiration of my poetry.

 

I started watching and feeding the birds in 2014. My regular visitors are the Mourning Doves, House Finches, and sparrows. The Scrub Jay and Pin-tailed Whydah paid occasional visits. I used to put the bird seeds on several spots of the top of the retaining wall closed to the slope where they searched for food. Unfortunately, the stray cats crept under the bushes, darted upward to snatch the Mourning Doves, then dashed away. It made me so mad. I used the chicken wire to fence off the area, but the cats outsmarted me. My new spot for the bird seeds is now on the patio ground.

 

I would like to have flocks of butterflies, but only a few visited. The Mourning Cloak butterflies came a few times. The Monarch came, but there were only two. I planted the Butterfly bush, but the growth is too slow to attract butterflies. Last week, a Monarch delighted me to visit the Salvia plant. The bees and the hummingbirds love the Salvia plant also. Two days ago, I bought four of the 2-gallon pots Salvia and planted them strategically to feed the hummingbirds and attract bees to pollinate the plum blossoms next year.

3 Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa butterfly

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #97- Pastimes

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #42: Creativity – Ceramic art

The theme for the week’s Photo Challenge from Anne-Christine is “Creativity.”

Creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something new or somehow valuable – inventiveness. The created item may be an idea, a scientific theory, or even a joke; or a physical object, maybe a new invention, a literary work – or a painting. – Anne Christine.

 

I shared my watercolor painting before. Today I want to share my other hobby – ceramic painting.

My first ceramic piece was a free-handed project made with clay. I took a ceramic painting class as part of the Child Development program at California State University, Los Angeles. The students were to create any projects from a block of clay, then painted and glazed them. The professor then put them in the 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit kilt to fire them.

I was pregnant with my daughter at the time and wanted to make something for my daughter. The idea of a nightlight came to my mind.  Making a whale with holes from the blowhole, eyes and mouth gradually materialized. A light bulb holder is at the bottom to hold the light shining through the holes.

 

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RDP Wednesday – Growing Sunflowers

 The prompt for Ragtag Daily Prompt Wednesday, February 20, 2019 is Sprout.

“Share your interpretation of the day’s prompt with us. What does ‘sprout’ mean to you? Use words or pictures to compose a post with the word of the day.” – Ragtag Community

 

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Growing Sunflowers 

This will be the fourth year I grow sunflowers from seeds. It’s been raining off and on for seven weeks. I’m waiting for the rain to stop for a couple days before getting out to the garden. Read more

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Recycle

The theme for this week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge is “Recycle.”

Over the years, I have tried to use different kinds of bark chips for the borders of the flower bed. They looked great in the first year. When they got worn out and the colors faded, I didn’t quite like the way they looked.

One day, my husband came home from a garden shop with bags of recycled rubber tires chips. They were in redwood color. When I first saw them, I was not receptive to the idea. After he finished his project, I grew to like the look. Now I have the recycled rubber tires chips for most of the flower bed borders.

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There were three birch trees in my front yard. Over the past years, the branches gradually died and never came back after winter. We were wondering what happened to the trees. We talked about cutting down the trees and replaced them with other plants or another tree. I got used to the look of the white tree trunks and wanted to leave them as a sculpture.

I planted some mint plants next to the trees. A couple weeks ago, my husband wanted to pick some mint leaves for his drink and bumped his back against the trees. The trees started to uproot and fell. My husband was able to catch them and found that they were not heavy because parts of the trees were hollowed. He went ahead to cut them down close to the stump. Unfortunately, he found some termites. We then realized what caused the death of the trees.

With the worrisome discovery, my husband decided to chop up the stump and trace the tunnels of the termites and applied the spray as much as possible. He recycled some broken branches and buried them as part of the compost, then he covered up the hole with the soil.

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Birch trees behind the Lavender

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Removing the stump was a big job

Now I have a new spot for plants or a new tree.

Frank‘s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Recycle

Edible Garden

 

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My garden is a sanctuary where I’m

Amazed the Creator’s beauty

Dig my fingers into the soil

Making connection with earth

Water it until it’s moist

Enjoy the harvest of edible garden

Several hundred Valencia Oranges

Love the squeezed juice for months

Abundant Santa Rosa Plums

Consume some and share some

Bundles of Flame Seedless Grapes

Grow faster than I can pick

Dozens of Delicious Red Apples

Still in green, are not yet ripe

Heartfelt thankfulness for

My delightful edible Garden

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Edible 5

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Daily Prompt: Edible

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