Monday, February 28, 2011

Coneflower Memory

A photo-preserved memory from last summer…..

Coneflowers ink outlines…..coneflowers with a Photoshop “ink outline” effect added.  The yellow ones came from a small pasture area on our farm that may be a prairie remnant.  The pink one, which is actually called purple coneflower, was purchased several years ago and has spread like wildfire.  I can’t wait for these perennials to start another season of blooming!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Paint by Number

Here’s another photo from a couple years ago, with a Photoshop alteration applied:

Ice079 Its something called a “cutout” effect which gives the scene a paint-by-number look, especially noticeable when the photo is enlarged.  Does anyone remember doing paint-by-numbers?  I wonder if they are still on the market.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ice Jewels

A rummage through my photo files for something containing wintery color produced this picture of ice-jeweled red leaves from several years ago.  Since it may have been used already on the blog, for visual interest I added the very unnatural extrusion effect.

icy red leaves Just realized I forgot to blog yesterday.  There’s a good excuse for that---one of those dreaded dental appointments was on my schedule.  It really wasn’t so bad, though, for the dentist ended the check-up by announcing, “No cavities!”  Those were words I loved to hear when I was a kid and could proudly carry my dentist-signed dental card back to school so the teacher could staple it up on the bulletin board with all the others.  Do they even do that anymore?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crepes du Jour

Yesterday afternoon when the time came to watch my favorite travel show I was all tuckered out from a morning spent in the kitchen.  The blame in fact goes to that same travel show where along with scenery from far-flung parts of the world, viewers are treated to glimpses of ethnic cuisine, some tempting and some definitely not so.  My palate is not prepared to indulge in so-called foods such as squid, duck liver, pig’s ears, and snails, but I am comfortable with trying French crepes.  When the television travel host toured France recently, he was served a meal in which each course---hors d’oeuvre, vegetable, meat, and dessert---arrived wrapped in its own crepe.  They looked delectably yummy so I decided to give crepes a whirl, at least on a dessert course.  My old reliable Betty Crocker cookbook includes a basic crepe recipe composed of very familiar ingredients---eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, salt.  The recipe resulted in a very thin pancake-like batter which I then cooked in a cast iron skillet on top of the stove.  While the crepes cooled on racks, I made a beater-lickin’ good cream filling made of real butter, milk, flour, vanilla, and almond flavoring.  I slathered it on the crepes, then rolled them up and served them with strawberries and chocolate syrup.    

Monday, February 21, 2011

Frugal or Not

The other day I tore myself away from the farm for a few hours.  Before leaving, I casually told my husband I was going for groceries, always a justifiably legitimate reason to fly the coop.  Once in town, however, I first deviously detoured to a second-hand store to browse for bargains.  Thirty minutes later found me depositing an armful of frugal finds on the check-out counter---two pairs of blue jeans, two books, and a nice, heavy baking dish (should be perfect for empty-nest-sized casseroles).  Cha-ching…..the total rang up to a whopping $11.  Always warms my heart to be thrifty.  It must also numb my brain or something for I then proceeded to dole out $150 at the grocery store and $5 for fast-food nourishment.  Surely this scenario could somehow be fashioned into a grade-school math story problem.  How well I remember being vexed over those! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Scribbled Quilt

Too bad I ever discovered that Photoshop distortion feature.  Its all I want to do  now and somehow harks my thoughts back to elementary school days when I’d receive report card checkmarks in the “makes poor use of time” category.   Admittedly, yes, I’d often while away precious study time by scribbling random drawings on notebook covers and margins.  Though teachers didn’t appreciate the habit much, doodling didn’t seem to prevent me from finishing assignments and getting good grades.

checkered quilt wave The above mishmash started out as this checkered quilt photo:

quilt 004 Go ahead and doodle away the time, I say!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Moonish Sun

Yesterday morning I was in a tizzy, wringing my hands  in desperation wondering what to blog about.  (Fellow bloggers will understand.)  Finally, I made the drastic decision to go outdoors to see what I could see.   Out there I beheld endless stretches of half-melted snowdrifts etched with grimy streaks of dirt---nah, that wouldn’t do.  Juncos who wouldn’t stay in one spot long enough for me to take their photo---no good, either.   And, then I spied an intriguing moon-like thing hanging up in the rafters of the sky---hey, that just might work. 

IMG_9129 Of course, the glowing orb was only lucky old sun peering groggily through a veil of cloudy fog which had pretentiously draped itself all the way down to the ground.  Fog’s surly companion---dampness---was also present, making our so-called warmer temperatures carry a chill that quickly infiltrated my winter bundlings of coat, scarf, and gloves.  More than happy was I to hurry back into the house and slave over a warm stove!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hearty Meow

Valentine’s Day is over and done with but I just had to show you something.  When this cat places its front legs together, a heart shape is formed!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fowl Love

Yesterday, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I read up on the history of the infamous day.  Did you know that the first recorded connection of romantic love with February 14th was in Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem, “A Parliament of Foules”, written in 1382.  The line went, For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.

These fowls from our farmyard look rather like they might be getting ready to choose something…..maybe a mate:

2nd 013 Before the birth of Christianity, the Romans held fertility festivals known as Lupercalia and Juno Februa during mid-February and that might be a factor in how the modern version of Valentine’s Day came to be.  As for the man called Valentine, his saintly title may refer to multiple persons, as there was more than one Christian martyr by that name back in the early centuries A.D.  One of the unfortunate Valentines happened to be buried on the 14th of February, thus the association of that date with the word “Valentine”. 

Something in me says we should hesitate to mingle someone’s day of martyrdom with such fluff as greeting cards, cupids, and candy.  Let’s eat chocolate every day of the year!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Another Doodle

I would challenge you to guess what this is a photo of, but you’d never figure it out because I’d never figure it out either if I didn’t already know what it is.

mall lights Yes, the abstractive scene above has a Photoshop distortion applied.  Below is the original photo showing a colorful bank of ceiling lights located somewhere in the mammoth depths of the Mall of America near Minneapolis:

To Mpls Airport Aug 22 '09 037 Actually, at this very moment I’d be happy to drop my Valentine chocolates and take a drive up there to the sprawling MegaMall.  Not to shop and spend money, but just so I could stroll around gawking at the fascinating lights, signage, and architecture…..with camera in tow, of course.  On second thought, the chocolates can ride along and be my snack. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sparrows Three


We be a lowly sparrow threesome perched high upon a tree.  Sincerely we appreciate the fact that Jeannelle refrained from inflicting a Photoshop distortion on our images.  We like ourselves the way we are….lowly though we be.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Distorted Mosaic

mosaic jar

Many hearty apologies if you surf to this blog expecting to see quaint farm scene photos, but the farmwife’s camera balks at being recruited for service out in the frigid winter environs (as does the farmwife).  Instead, the lady of this farm lounges comfortably before the computer monitor and doodles around with her stash of digital photos. 

The photo shown above is actually this one….


….with a distortion effect applied compliments of Photoshop Elements.  It looks super-duper cool when enlarged.  To see for yourself, right-click the photo and set it as your computer screen background.

Other than that, have a happy Lincoln’s Birthday Eve.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Opaque Boredom

In case you haven’t noticed, a few weeks ago this blogger reworded her blog’s description (see top of blog) to include the phrase opaque boredom.  Not that she had thoroughly thought through what the meaning of opaque boredom might be, impulsively typing the word opaque simply because it is the opposite of sheer.  She felt momentarily clever for having done so.

We’ve all reached the point of sheer---or absolute---boredom at times, at least this blogger presumes most everyone has.  Usually, such a state is short-lived because a quick remedy can generally be found simply by reaching for something to read.

Now to investigate what opaque boredom might mean.  Apparently, the phrase is used next to never for this blogger did an internet search of opaque boredom and found her own blog listed as the first entry.  Most of the subsequent search results showed opaque and boredom used, but not as a duo side by side in a phrase.  The dictionary definition of opaque is “impervious to the passage of light” and “unperceptive”.  Perhaps a person in the throes of opaque boredom would not even perceive it, hence an unperceptive state would exist.  Might not be so bad---to be bored and not realize it. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hand Warmer


Here’s the fireplace over which I just warmed my chilly hands after coming in from doing evening calf chores.  Its a fake fire, instantly ignited by one press of a button, the dancing “flame” produced by mirrors, light bulbs, and spinning foil strips.  Temperatures outdoors have taken a dive once again, hovering in the single digits above zero.  Thankfully, there is no wind.  A welcome warm-up into the 30’s is forecast for later this week.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blog Spin

IMG_2391 Brr!  A very cold Winny Windmill here to put my own spin on today’s frigid weather report plus fill in as writer on the blog.  Jeannelle has been sidetracked by her preoccupation with watching travel shows and fussily fuming over her latest jigsaw puzzle challenge, a photo mosaic made up of thousands of tiny black and white Civil War photographs which together resemble Abraham Lincoln’s face.  From the looks of things, I could safely bet my rotating blades that Jeannelle will not have the puzzle unscrambled by his birthday.   

Monday, February 7, 2011

Color Search

What’s a sun-deprived, cabin fevered yet shivering farmwife supposed to do when  winter wearily reaches this lackluster point---the sparkling colors of Christmas are long past and the lurid reds of Valentines Day are somehow nothing but annoying.  A gaily blooming flower garden overflowing with vibrant color would surely be the remedy but who can find such beauty in northern latitudes during February.  So in desperation she embarked on an exploratory quest within the walls of her snowbound abode, attempting to discover the cure for color-starvation. 


Emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and amethysts would certainly do the trick but none such brilliant gems were unearthed during a probe of her belongings.  Nevertheless the search continued and before long a multicolored glass mosaic vase was spied resting unilluminated in a shadow on a shelf.  All it took was a quick and simple relocation to a ledge bathed in window-light, sunny or not, and voila! her yearning for some mood-brightening colors to gaze at was fulfilled. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Positive or Negative

Behold yesterday’s post-blizzard screen scene which stared back at me during my morning ritual of washing dishes:IMG_9108 Here’s how the photo looks with the “negative” effect applied:


The negative one has a more positive look, if you ask me. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Favorite Gadget

Thought I’d show you one of those mud pies mentioned in yesterday’s blogpost:

IMG_9111 Actually, the “mud” is chocolate ice cream, made right here at home in my newest favorite kitchen gadget, a thoughtful Christmas gift from our son and daughter-in-law:

IMG_9110 The first photo shows the freezer bowl which “contains cooling liquid within a double insulated wall” which means you avoid the mess of using salt and ice.  The freezer bowl fits inside the motorized base shown in the second photo.  You do need to keep the freezer bowl stored in your freezer, however, so it is ready at any time for ice cream making duty. 

So far, I’ve made only the basic ice creams, vanilla and chocolate, and they are delicious and so very easy.  Those recipes call for milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla or cocoa.  No mono diglycerides, guar gum, carrageenan, or cellulose gum.  Because we operate a dairy farm, in place of the cream and milk in recipes we are conveniently able to use the creamy top layer of milk from the bulk tank in our milkhouse.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Remember When


My sister’s birthday is coming up and this card will soon be making its way to her mailbox.  Can you guess which of the following sentiments is found inside the card: 

A.  Were we ever young?

B.  Boy, were we stupid!

C.  We waited to do so many “fun” things…..why not for getting older?

D.  What was the matter with us?


The girls pictured on the card do somewhat resemble my sister and I---a blonde and a brunette with adorably angelic faces, politely smiling and willingly sharing toys with one another.  Ah, how the passage of time allows one to wax glossy about the past.  Thankfully, the truth is I am blessed with many very special childhood memories of playing with my sister, though smiles and politeness aren’t always part of the picture.  I, the older sister, tended to be bossy at times while my sister could be rapidly overtaken by tears and pouting (a malady termed  “second child syndrome” by our mom).

Usually, the type of play we engaged in could be summed up by one word---“store” or “school” or “office” or “house”.  For example, on our farm a “house” could be made in the corncrib or in an unused cattle trough or at the base of a towering maple tree.  Initially, there might be an argument over who would get to be the mom for rarely did either of us offer right away to be the kid.  Sometimes, we pretended to be orphans, our parents dead and gone due to some calamity or other, leaving us to fend for ourselves, baking mud pies in an old pan over a pretend fire and using rocks and sticks to make furniture.  Most likely, many of you played similarly when you were young and wouldn’t we all give just about anything for the chance to go back and do it all again.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Serving


As I speak---er, type---we are receiving a serving of snow.  Yum.  Its not the snow you see in the photo for this blogger is cozy and complacent here in her warm house and decided to use an old picture for today.  Face it, snow looks the same from year to year, anyway. 

Another type of serving came my way recently, and not the kind that anyone ever wishes to see on their plate---a serving of court papers.  I am now a “defendant” and all because my name is listed as “owner” on a car title.  Said car, being driven by my daughter, was involved in a minor traffic accident way over a year ago.  Thankfully, my plate also contains a serving of auto liability coverage which will hopefully take care of the matter.  I’m more than willing to allow the insurance company’s attorneys to deal with the plaintiff who “repleads and realleges the allegations” described in the court papers and “prays for judgment” against me.  Yikes, such language lawyers use.

Happy first day of February, by the way.