A Photo a Week Challenge: Open Topic 10/26/19

So the whole Time Marches On thing is in my face right now…well, the face of my whole neighborhood, actually.

My chosen theme for this Open Topic Challenge from Nancy Merrill is Experimenting with Telephoto Photography. I’m hoping it can help me see more clearly into the distance (and the future)… and maybe understand it better.

When I bought my home in 1976, there were only 4 other houses, all with horse acreage,  on my long dead end street. Now there are 25 homes…and although, we still have a few chickens, there are certainly no horses. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the 40 plus years I’ve lived here but the trend now seems to be for a builder to come in and tear down anything from the 1980’s and before, and build these whopper new giant homes. I’m only partially complaining. We’ve gained a wonderful new group of neighbors, and luckily, all of our lots are still over-sized enough to accommodate a 3,000 to 4,000 foot home fairly well.

But sometimes heartbreaking things happen in the process….especially to the old growth trees! I have addressed this before and here is an example: Tree

https://chosenperspectives.com/2016/10/05/tree-daily-prompt-from-chosenperspectives-10-5-16/

Right now there is a wonderful little red and white farm house, barn, and matching well on the lot behind me facing the next street over. It’s been there since the late 1940’s. They are about to tear it all down (of course) and are building an 8,900 square foot house with a huge wall (not a fence…a WALL) around it. (None of the older homes in our neighborhood have fences. It’s wonderfully wide open.)

I should also say we live on a fairly tall hillside, and many of our homes have western views (if only partial) of the Olympic Peninsula and mountain range…beautiful!

 

Back to my complaining about so-called Progress…

So this McMansion builder, who is going to level the cute red farm house, first came in and took down 6 or 8 HUGE, beautiful trees along the western border of the property…assuming for the VIEW, right?? But I had to go over there and see just exactly what view would be worth murdering all those trees!

What follows is my telephoto experiment.

IMG_2201
If you look very closely, just beyond the treetops, you can see our “downtown” area.

IMG_2177IMG_2181IMG_2178

IMG_2182
a blend of Bellevue and Seattle’s high rises….

Here’s what’s most interesting to me. Remember, I am experimenting with telephoto photography, using the feature on a relatively inexpensive Canon point and shoot.

The whole time I am taking these pictures, I think I am shooting the Bellevue Skyline.

IMG_2200
closest shot of Bellevue I could get that day…

But I am actually capturing a blend of downtown Bellevue and the Seattle Skyline some eleven miles west of us.

IMG_2179
I loved watching this sunrise reflection get bigger and bigger

IMG_2180

 

And when I got TOO close, I accidentally got this shot! (which I kind of like!)

IMG_2183

It was hazy that day, so all I could see clearly, in my clearly biased view, was that this builder guy had killed all those trees so his buyer had a view of our famous, rapidly growing, “tech-centered” city. All I could see was the combination of two city’s massive, view-blocking high-rises!

Then, later that day at Sunset, I got this shot…Bellevue, Seattle AND the Olympic mountains, which are 65 miles away (as the crow flies).

IMG_6558 (1)

Oh……OK, at least from another person’s perspective, maybe I get it…….

IMG_8561

 

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/10/26/a-photo-a-week-challenge-open-topic/

When snow is a foreign experience…

First, let me say it is so beautiful…at first…

But on my side of the Cascade Mountain Range, in Washington state, when it snows, the population panics and everything screeches to a freezing halt!!

20190210_071005

Schools and businesses close. Stores sell out of staples (no milk or bread for miles around.) Cars that have slid or become stuck are simply abandoned where ever they are…in the middle of roads or even freeways.

Since Super Bowl Sunday, we have had no garbage pick up and only a single mail delivery!

All these things are a pain in the ____!

But it’s not a hurricane, tsunami, fire, tornado or war!! So we have to keep it all in perspective.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to focus on the amazing and delightful parts of it all. (The best thing for me is that we have not lost power!) There is so much to look at, it’s like being on an exotic trip or moving to a new part of the country!

20190205_073408

Oh, there is still ordinary drama! Who will win the steep hill that is our neighborhood’s long, dead-end street? Will it be the kids (of varying ages…including their 40’s) who are dying to get out their sleds and snowboards, as has always happened in the past with our rare snowfalls here? Or will it be the exceptionally kind and thoughtful neighbors, who get out their rarely used shovels, snow-blowers, and SALT, so they can clear our street for any necessary traffic.

This year the salt and snow-shovelers won. They were out there clearing the “perfect ski run” long before the No SCHOOL today kids even woke up!

I mean, they cleared the whole street, a couple of city blocks long…with SHOVELS…so all of us could get safely in and out of our neighborhood!!!

Also, I have been delighted to be able to continue feeding the seed birds, the hummers, and my crows.

I have fed my crows every morning for 35 years! Here’s my morning routine. I CAW and they come. This one Crow waits for me on top of a pole every morning until I say “Good morning. Here’s your breakfast.” And then I dump out yesterday’s leftover cat food scrapings, or a scrap of bread. He calls his Murder buddies and they all compete with the squirrels for the leftovers. Their favorites are dry cat food…and french fries!

20190205_092128

 

Then there are the intrepid seed eating birds. Not much stops them. They can empty the feeder in a day or two at certain times of the year.

IMG_1917

IMG_1966
a short discussion before lunch…
IMG_1927
This guy doesn’t look too happy (or healthy). Finches tend to give each other conjunctivitis and I fear this fella might have it.
IMG_1958
And this one ate spilled seeds under the feeder, but was down there way, WAY too long. I hope he made it. This was on our 17 degree day.

 

As long as I keep the Hummingbird food thawed, they come and fill up all day long. But on the nights I take the feeders in so they don’t freeze, the next morning, these guys are literally ON it, slurping away, before I even get it hung back up on its hook! That has been so fun, being that close to them. Wish I could hold the feeder and snap photos at the same time.

IMG_192120190211_075513

20190212_072818
waiting, not quietly, on the unused Bow-flex for me to bring out the feeder.

 

 

Here’s the other thing I have been enjoying. Each morning I bundle up and go outside on a quest to discover any fresh designs in the snow…foot prints, paw prints, claw prints…anything, even tire prints!

Foot

Paw

20190206_120302

Claw

Tire

I love the puzzles some of the prints leave. Like this set of prints that I thought was maybe a person, dragging their feet or a cane, or maybe a single animal low enough to be dragging its belly. But when I followed the trail…it split into TWO.

20190210_084323

 

It’s amazing how much nocturnal activity takes place that I never would have known about without the evidence fresh snow provides.

20190209_183220

Some are no surprise because I know they are out there. I just rarely see them.

20171215_001437
One night last Spring

One day I woke up to these. Unmistakably Raccoon prints!

 

This morning’s mystery was fascinating. Keep in mind we have NO large dogs in our neighborhood, not that any would be roaming free at night anyway. These prints are way too big for the occasional kitty cat that is out at night. And even too big for our local coyotes, who are rarely traveling around alone. SO what is it? A Wolf? A larger cat? (there have been Bobcat sightings recently…) AND, it left me an icky clue, marking the corner of my patio! No wonder my cats went nuts at 3 AM!!!

20190215_081233

 

We have a local Covey of Quail, and three of them have kept me completely entertained looking out my bedroom window. They are hysterical. They always scritch and scratch and throw clouds of dirt and seed shells out behind them when they are foraging under the bird feeder. But to see them dig that way, down through the powdery snow, was so cool. Every now and then, one would bury another, and there would be a split second squabble before they’d go back to digging again.

IMG_1963 IMG_1953IMG_1938 (1)IMG_1929IMG_1931IMG_1933

IMG_1957

IMG_1932

 

Then there is the snow itself. I was married to the US Disabled Ski Team for a number of years, and some of those guys knew the names of 20 or 30 types* of snow!

Here is what we got for these record breaking days.

Don’t know the names of these but they were each so different from each other.

I just know we had a lot, over several days, so much that they were calling it Snowmaggeden 2019 on the news.

There is fun stuff to do with the snow…

 

And the occasional tragedy…

20190209_122817

My wonderful Italian Plum Tree!

And the snow came the day after I planted these…see the mounds under the snow? Still don’t know if they survived.

 

And of course, there is the huge mess at the end…but that will go eventually!

 

All in all, we stayed safe and warm, and it was an adventure to remember.

20190213_162911

 

 

*https://www.thoughtco.com/types-of-snow-3010035

 

PS Some of my neighbors and I collect tarps, heavy moving blankets, and flashlights using coupons from our Harbor Freight Tools store, for people living unsheltered.

I felt so grateful to be warm and dry, but never more frustrated on behalf of people living outside in weather like this.

Pull up a Seat Photo Challenge, Week 5

20190129_133834

I have not looked through all the former “pull up a seat” photos posted so maybe this “seat” has been done before. (By the way, THIS seat was just photographed two days ago, in the dead of winter here in the Northwest!! My Primroses think it’s SPRING!!!)

Anyway, here’s my story!

Many years ago, we had to replace a broken toilet. In the 3 days time this old “throne” sat hidden (we thought) out by the side of the house, waiting to be taken to the dump, our only mean neighbor reported us to the City for having an unsightly yard. (I was not her first “target”. Several others had been on the receiving end of her ire before.)

It’s not like we live in a gated community with a HOA (Home Owners Association) or anything. Our street was still in the country, with horse ranches until not that long ago. And, you had to come all the way onto my property to even see the toilet.

Anyway, the city launched a “public nuisance” charge against me, gave me three days to remove it, and threatened a $500 a day penalty if I did not.

Well, that just pissed me right off.

SO I researched, found some Architectural Digests and various landscaping design articles using old claw-footed bathtubs, and yes, toilets, as Yard Art.

I planted the bowl and tank of the former throne with lovely, long-stemmed flowers, alive with color, and placed the toilet prominently in my front yard for all to now see.

I put a bathroom reading style magazine rack right next to it with all the articles demonstrating clever uses for old toilets.

The City was stumped and the neighbor was furious.

I left it there for 3 whole weeks, just for good measure, and only removed it out of respect for all my other neighbors who now had to see it every day.

Hey, I am a proud Child of the Sixties. Do I know how to protest and rebel or what?

 

For your listening pleasure but be warned, this video has harsh images from the times back then…(only one I could find)

 

Pull_up-_a_Seat-Badge

Photo Challenge of places we sit…or might sit…or art about sitting

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge-Fences

I went looking for photos of fences but just don’t have many. Then it occurred to me that I live in a neighborhood where there are none.

I like that.

My house is the oldest one around for many miles. It’s on a long, dead-end street. We have a neighborhood email and phone list. We keep in touch regarding unusual neighborhood activity (fake solicitors, coyote and bobcat sightings, lost or found pets, etc.) For Halloween and other holidays, the children (and now grandchildren) on the street are the priority with trick-or-treating and caroling! And next weekend is our annual cider-making party. We usually hand press about 50 gallons of juice from the apple trees my neighbor and I share!!

This is the boundary line between my closest neighbor and myself.

I mean, if there were fences, how could we wander through each other’s yards to see each other’s gardens, and to say Hi? Or to watch out for each other, or take a short cut to the next street over?

And how would we check on each other’s animals?

 

20180118_102558
Henrietta, out of her protective custody…

and to photograph flowers?

or be inspired by yard art?

20171012_164536

How would the deer get into our yards to clean up the wind fall apples?

I love my street and my neighbors. There just are not many fences on my regular, daily trails.

But I did finally find these in my files…

20180831_134812
a house I lived in for a while many years ago…but the fence is new
20161208_103637
this caught my eye on a drive last winter
20180805_052550
watching sunrise from a nearby blue berry farm.

 

So my conclusion is apparently…Fences? For me, no thanks..

 

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/lens-artists-photo-challenge-10-fences/

(sub) Urban Wild Life

I’ve been working on both a newsletter to my neighbors and a post lately about how lucky I am to have so much wildlife right here in my neighborhood. I live on a long-ish dead end street right in the middle of one of Washington State’s wealthiest cities. It’s one of the few streets left where you can still see traces of the days when this area was considered “out in the country”. In my time living here (almost 45 years now) my little lane has gone from a small handful of older houses with horse acreage, to 25 homes, many qualifying as McMansions (homes with 5,000 plus square footage, selling for well over $1,000,000).

When I saw Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge for this week,

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wildlife

I decided to combine my two projects with her challenge.

So here is the letter I sent out to my neighbors.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Sub-Urban Animals!

A letter from your self-appointed S.E. 7th Street Wild Life reporter and Game Warden.

A few months back, I was pretty low, with all the dark hours and gray skies. I didn’t even want to go for one of my short but usually uplifting walks. It was so dismal out, for so many days in a row, I think I was developing some serious empathy for my clients over the years who have suffered from SAD. (Seasonal Affective Disorder!)

But I made myself go out there anyway.

And a few steps into my climb up the hill (yes, for me, it is a climb) I heard them!

Our SE 7th Street Bald Eagles are back!

Last year they graced us with many regular visits, perched up high on branches that seemed way too skinny to hold their heft. On most days, they could be found facing the sunrise, and later the sunset, either in the trees in my front yard, or up the street to the East across from the Mathes house.

As I hiked up the street on this gloomy day, head tilted back at a neck-killing angle, I saw them. They were circling, very low, right above the treetops, probably hunting for breakfast. Then they landed, and stayed for a long time.

I took this sighting very personally…like they had stopped by just to cheer me up.

IMG_9070
gray day, low light, camera phone

I was so uplifted I wanted to write to the whole street to share about my encounter.

That made me remember that I actually used to do that a lot…write to the whole SE 7th Street list. It started with simple reporting of Coyote sightings.

Then one day, I witnessed something so amazing, I wrote a whole article about it.

Early one morning, I saw a Murder of Crows take down a Bald Eagle, on the busy road right at the top of our street. I’m sure the Eagle had gone after a crow’s nest or something but the Crow Call went out and a huge crowd of them came. Some Seagulls even stopped by to join in on the attack.

The event stopped traffic. Well, I guess I kind of stopped the traffic, pulling my car sideways across the street to prevent massive bird death. A cop happened along, saw immediately what was happening and helped chase the birds away and get the traffic moving again. I spent hours afterwards watching, and photographing, the escaped but clearly injured Bald Eagle up in a tree across the street from the Burdick house.

hurt eagle

Soon after this event, I proclaimed myself the Game Warden and Wild Life Reporter for our street. I sent out a “newsletter” article called Urban Bird Gangs.

I had so much fun writing up the story, it is in part what inspired me to start a Blog. Now, I write about my animal adventures right here in our neighborhood all the time. Please feel free to check it out, although I do write about a lot of other things too. Some inane, and some harsh. Lots of animal stories; beautiful seed feeder birds, marauding deer, our neighborhood cats, the brazen Coyote pack (looking for our cats), and many Hummingbird shots. You may even find photos of beautiful plants, trees and flowers from your own yards.

https://chosenperspectives.com/

Back to S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I think I’m cured now. Especially in the last couple of weeks. It appears, we are being chosen again, by a beautiful pair of Bald Eagles. Maybe the same ones who roosted last summer, sunrise and sunset, in the biggest tree in front-yard (or as James calls it, “frun-chard”.) They seemed to be hanging out around 10:30 AM some mornings, on the more gray, windy days. Not great photos with only my phone but two mornings ago, that really cold, crisp, clear day, they were posing for the local paparazzi, so I ran for my real camera. So glad I did.

IMG_1133IMG_1147IMG_1142IMG_1137

What a beautiful, majestic bird!

Again, please feel free to stop by the Blog and tell me what you think!!

Love our street!!

From,

Kathie (your oldest resident…well, longest anyway)

______________________________________________________________________________________

So that was my letter to my wonderful neighbors but for Cee’s Challenge, I want to add this HUGE slide show. (Wish I knew how to do music for it too.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

CFFC

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wildlife