Saturday, April 24, 2010

A productive day

What do you consider a productive day? Jenny and I just had one, and I'll outline it so you can know what we consider a good day.

Got up (that's always the best way to start).

We went to some garage sales in Seward this morning and found a few misc. items, but not too much of note. I did get a hand coffee grinder, which I thought was neat.

When we got home, I mowed the lawn while Jenny took care of the hungry baby. David was here working on a computer and had Rebecca with him, so she rode with me for awhile.

Following that I cut some peppermint tea, and we dug some perennials and took them over to Beth, and got a few plants from her in return.

When we got home, Jenny planted flowers and weeded flower beds while I worked at re-doing my grapevine strategy. I now have a better system on which to grow my grapes (which are coming out of dormancy nicely). I've changed my method to a cattle panel, as opposed to stringing wire which stretches way too easily.

I replaced the dirt in a few little flowerbeds for Jenny, adding some horse fertilizer (pretty rich stuff, you can overdo it with that stuff), and added some of the same around the drip line of my apple tree to encourage root growth outward. I hope that was a good idea. I used it very discreetly as I have no wish to burn my tree.

Then I hoed my peas, radishes, lettuce, spinach, potatoes, and onions. After which I planted more onions (I guess I'm a glutton for punishment).

Meanwhile Jenny took a nap and then finished planting her flowers.

About then it got windy and looked a little stormy, so we went in (it was six o'clock by then).

After supper, I ran over to a friends house and got some cuttings from his grapevines. Came back home and planted them, I do hope they will root as well as all the websites claim they will.

Now I'm ready to get to bed, and so is the rest of my family.

Well, there's a very abbreviated window into a Saturday at my house!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gwendolyn Turns Four! (weeks)

I guess the title of the post is pretty self explanatory.

Here's a picture of our little cherub (sometimes she's not as cherubic as others) at four weeks. This of course was today. Just four weeks ago we were happily and perhaps rather tiredly sitting around in a hospital room with loads of company (my family). I guess those are the times of which memories are made.

Gwendolyn came into this world at exactly 7 lbs, and has been doing just fine ever since. We weighed her tonight, and she was exactly 8 lbs 13.2 oz. So her average (I have a spreadsheet for this, I assume that's normal) is an increase of 1.04 oz per day since birth. One of Jenny's books about babies assures us that it's normal for a newborn to grow at an average of 4 oz weekly for the first month. We're at 7.3 oz per week (spreadsheets are fun). So I guess she's going to be a little porker soon at this rate.

Anyway, maybe I should get on my soap box for a bit. Or rather maybe I should just tell you my experience with a certain thing that you may have heard about. Swagbucks. I thought it was getting such rave reviews by some folks that I'd try it out. If you're tempted by the idea of getting money back for searching the web, etc, you can give it a try for yourself. Basically, they pay you (minutely) for using a search engine that gives advertisements for search results. You have to set it as your default search engine, or go to the swagbucks site to search in order to get credit/ "swagbucks" for your search. Depending what you search for you may get points or you may not. Supposedly it doesn't reward you based on what you search for, but I'm not so certain. Eventually, at least in theory, the points add up to enough that you can redeem them on the swagbucks site for stuff.

I used it for about three weeks and never got enough points to redeem for anything. I think there could be two reasons for that. Either I don't spend enough time surfing the web randomly, or else my searches aren't the kind of searches companies are willing to shell out money to get "found" on. In other words, if you search for a retail item or merchandise of some kind, swagbucks will dole out the points because you are looking at the "add" space they are selling to companies. If you are searching for information on say, "pruning grapevines", you aren't as likely to get points for that search, because you aren't searching for something someone can sell you. So for me who doesn't surf all day for new merchandise it was pretty useless. It seems to me that if they didn't pay people to use their search engine, no one would since their top results are 100% advertising on every search.

I could have got on here and said how wonderful it was and given you all a link to click to sign up (cause that would have given me points), but I think I'll just skip that since I cancelled my account and went back to a useful search engine. Now I'll get off my soap box.


Friday, April 16, 2010

For Clark and I.....

This post shall be devoted to some pictures I took very recently. Clark and Charlotte were here a week ago, and we had fun taking pictures. But unfortunately Clark had to go home just before one of my favorite spring blossoms appeared. The wild plum bushes around here tend to grow in fencerows, and can be a bit of a pain. They do make good pictures though, and they always remind me that Spring really IS here. They also exude a most pleasing aroma.

Due to the rather snide posts of some other person I won't mention.... I thought maybe I should devote this post to Apertures, ISO's, Shutter speeds, and focal lengths. The above picture is very self explanatory, but the two below are a bit more interesting.

Typically, shots like these will have one of two problems. Either the sunset will be exposed correctly and the blossoms will be a silhouette, or else the blossoms will expose correctly, leaving nothing but a sick white overexposed background. Neither of those results are particularly pleasing to me, so I took a slightly different approach.

Shooting directly into the sunset will naturally give you a very high shutter speed to control all that light. And the blossoms in the foreground need a much longer exposure to expose correctly. The solution is to make both the sunset and the blossoms need the same exposure time (shutter speed). Here's what I did. I set my ISO as low as I could, and then cranked my f-stop to as high as I could get it. This put me at ISO 100, F32, and about 1/125. This was within my flash sync speed, which is what I needed to make this shot happen. At this point a few test shots were required to get the right shutter speed and flash output combination. Of course I shot this in full manual, because otherwise my meter would vary shutter speeds wildly depending on where exactly my camera was pointed (blossom or sun).

Now for those who like to pick up a camera and take pictures without understanding what is happening inside it, you may not have found this post interesting at all. On the other hand, if you don't undestand what goes on in there, you can't make it take a picture like this. And this is the whole point of f-stops, apertures, shutter speeds, ISO's, etc: To take better pictures by controlling the camera instead of letting it do whatever it jolly well pleases. Because sometimes the camera (smart as it is) just doesn't know the best solution for the situation.

There, that's the end of my rant. By the way, I'm neither upset nor offended, nor do I even feel particularly defensive. I'm just enjoying an excuse to elucidate the reasoning and technical information behind what I think is an interesting picture.

Now then, what do you think Clark?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Layout....

I've been hearing from some of you that it's about time to change my layout to something a bit more springlike. So here you go!

The two pictures featured in this layout were taken in the past week. Clark and Charlotte came and visited, and last Saturday we enjoyed going out to Kearney Ne. That's west of here about 150 miles or so. We visited the Kearney Arch, and watched the Sandhill Cranes at sunset over the Platte River. The picture above is Sandhill Cranes silhouetted in the sunset on a little island in the Platte.

The background picture was taken a mile from our house in my favorite little old graveyard. Clark and I enjoyed taking pictures together, and did quite a bit of it. To see more of the pictures I got over the weekend, you can click here to visit my picasa.

Jenny enjoyed having her family here over the last week and a half, you will see pictures of that as well.

This little baby of ours is doing pretty well, notwithstanding that a certain saying about babies is applicable. It goes something like "having a newborn baby in the house is a lot like heaven, there is no night there...." Perhaps that explains why you haven't heard much from us lately.

Gardening has been going pretty strong here for me. I've got about half the garden planted, which keeps my evenings busy, along with getting the yard in shape to mow, and mowing it. I planted about a thousand sweet onions last evening, and have regular onions, peas, radishes, kohlrabi, garlic, lettuce, and spinach all growing. I also have the potato's planted, but haven't seen them yet. Ditto on the green beans (I know it's too early, but hey, they might not freeze off, and if they don't I get them that much sooner).

Well, thanks for stopping by and don't forget to comment and tell me how you like the layout. We sort of departed from the traditional picture of the "little white house".


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Babies Don't Keep

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,

empty the dustpan, poison the moth,

hang out the washing and butter the bread,

sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?

She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue (lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

Dishes are waiting and bills are past due (pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew

and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo

but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.

Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue? (lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,

for Children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep......

~Author Unknown ~

Perhaps, the mother in this house will have time to post something sometime, but as the poem says.....

Today I mowed lawn for the first time this year, and over the last week or so we have planted nearly half the garden. So it's beginning to feel like Spring is really here, and we're awfully glad after this winter that we've had.

Gwendolyn Marie has been doing really well (although her mother might have more and better details than I). She was to the doctor at about ten days and has regained her birth weight plus two ounces. (She's now 7lb 2oz.) She likes to look around at things when she's awake, and has been doing better at sleeping at night. Last night she went five hours between feedings, which was a record, I believe. Well, I must be going, at least you got a little update! Be sure to check out picasa for the latest in pictures.