Sunday, October 30, 2011

Autumn leaves

Oh the times, they are a-changin'...


Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Silk Tree

The front of our house is dominated by a Silk Tree (Mimosa) planted in the front courtyard

When we planted it many years ago, it was a sad little twiggy thing that needed to be protected in the winter.

Over the years it grew big and strong, and entertained us with it's beautiful pink and white flowers, and it's funny little leaves that close up at night. We're pretty fond of the tree.

Over the years it has also insisted on leaning TOWARDS the house, which is odd, because that means it's leaning AWAY from the sun, and I would expect it to do just the opposite. But it has been growing up over our sunporch walkway, shading it and causing moss to grow there, dropping leaves on the roof, and leaning on the gutters. We hate to intervene, but it was time.

So Dave bravely climbed up on the roof

He cut back the branches with a sawzall, until nothing was hanging over the roof, and then he cleaned up all the moss, scrubbing and brushing until the roof as as clean as he could get it by hand.

Then he cleverly used a ladder to scale the steep garage roof so he could reach over the top and fix a vent that had blown off earlier this summer. 

When he was done, the front deck was covered in a HUGE pile of silk tree branches,

And our pretty silk tree really looks none the worse for it's 'trim'. 


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Learning to use Photoshop - and Fetching Photos


After a couple hours in Photoshop, the fences are gone, the electric wires overhead are gone, and the horses are a darker sillhouette against the sunset. Not bad for a first try! I can see why this Photoshop thing is so addictive!

Also, notice the watermark, made by my brilliant friends at HappyPupDesign. This is going to be the name of my photo studio. 'Fetching Photos by Stephanie'. I'm working on setting up the website now.


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Girl And the Horse

Fall colors

Our driveway has it's fall colors on...


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Petsitting for Sit & Stay

In our area there's a petsitting company called Sit & Stay. They are a locally owned small business with a small number of petsitters scattered around the county. I just joined with them to cover my neck of the woods! I think this will be fun, as I love animals, and I love seeing what other people's farms look like. I've been doing some petsitting on the side for friends for a while anyway.

Dave took a nice picture of me to put on their website. I think it turned out pretty good, and I usually don't like pictures of myself. I wanted to get more than one dog in the picture, but Barclay was the only one who would hold still, and just barely!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Horses at sunset

On my way out of the barn this afternoon I saw this and knew I had to immediately pull the car over and get the shot.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Canine Nose Work Trial, Clackamas, Oregon

I drove down to Clackamas today to photograph a Canine Nose Work Competition. I volunteered to do the Exterior Element, because it was my first time doing something like this and I hoped it would be technically easier than photographing inside or the vehicle search. However, because it was a cloudy day, and we were in a very shady place under the trees, it turned out to be more challenging than I had hoped for! Fast dogs and slow shutter speeds don't go together very well! But I got a lot of good shots, everyone there was friendly, the competitors were having fun with their dogs, and overall it was a really well organized competition. I would love to train one of my dogs to do this and go back as a competitor next time!

This is the trial area. The judge is standing about in the middle, and I am near the starting line. The dog and handler are behind a tree at the far end of the field.

To start the day a dog and handler team came to try out the element. They headed out into the field...

The dog sniffed around a few seconds and made a distinct U-Turn and headed right to the hide, and gave his owner the signal that he had found it...

And she fussed over him and gave him his reward - happy dog! This was how it went all day, happy working dogs, and clearly devoted owners. One thing I really enjoyed about the competition was the teamwork, and how each owner's love for their dog came through loud and clear. Unlike competitions where the owner is ordering the dog around, in this competition the owner has to let the dog do his work, and guide them and watch their signals. It was beautiful to watch!

We saw dogs of every size and shape...

 I expected to see lots of beagles, but this beagle mix was the only hounddog I saw!

All excitedly exploring with their noses to the ground...

But even if they didn't find the hide, the judge guided them to the right place and they let the dog find it and get his reward, so the dogs had fun whether they were successful in the competition or not.

This gentleman and his dog were one of my favorites! The dog was raring to go as soon as he saw the field.

He made short work of it and took his owner to the hide,

They were a fun team to watch!

That's just a few of my favorites. I ended up taking over 250 pictures! A few came out blurry, but sometimes that worked depending on the shot. A lot of competitors requested no photos because their dogs were distracted by the clicking and people standing around. They did their best to give the dogs the opportunity to be successful by being flexible to their needs. Since they encourage reactive dogs to participate, they go to great lengths to make sure each dog is kept separate an never sees another dog, with visual barriers set up, and volunteers guiding dogs in by one route and out by another, and then if necessary they moved people around at the element so as to be the least distracting to the dogs that were 'people reactive'. So the dogs stay relaxed and just have a good time doing their work. This was really a special event, and I hope someday I can go and participate, but I'll definitely go photograph again!


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Bathroom fish

We are going to be selling our '3 Happy Acres' and moving to something smaller and closer to town. It's just too expensive to live out in the country, spending so much money on gas to run into town all the time, and then having to take care of 3 acres between the two of us. We're looking forward to a smaller house payment, and less to mow.

So I'm working on cleaning and de-cluttering the house. I started with the bathroom, because the walls were covered with my vintage 'bathroom fish' collection.

My favorite, with rhinestone eyes!

The bottom one is actually a glass tray with a neat printed fish scene on it. I love all this stuff, but I won't have room for so much of it where we're going, so I put them up on eBay.