Alphabet Project: A is for Adorable Animal (Tiny Snail)

You can also find me on Facebook ! Well, it's taken me longer to get my gusto back, but as February has changed into March, the world around me is waking up and with it, so is my passion to capture what I find. I've been out to take pictures just twice now since the beginning of the year. The first was about 4 days ago, but I wasn't happy with my pictures, though they were not horrible. A couple of days ago I went out again, and there were many things for me to find on my little walk. At one point I was staring intently at the underside of a piece of bark and noticed an incredibly tiny snail shell, about 1 mm in size! I wanted to see if I could get it in focus, and while I was taking pictures, I realized that that shell had an owner, and it was slowly turning away from me! I couldn't even SEE the antennae! I got some other nice pictures too, including some cool mushrooms and other neat things. It was a lot of fun to discover that after two months without a single picture, I have been able to pick up where I left off! Hooray! :) I thought that the best way to get me back into uploading pictures on a regular basis again would be to start a new project, so I'm doing an A-Z project! It isn't going to be daily, but it will be fun to keep my eyes open for potential subjects!! :) Explored on March 2, 2014. Highest placement, #2.

B is for Beautiful Beads

You can also find me on Facebook ! I had so much FUN visiting everyone's photo stream over the past few days! What a joy it was to take a peek at what all of you are doing! It was simply incredible to me that I got over 150 comments on my previous picture (the Poppy) and it took several days to reply, but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment! I was sorry to see that many people have left ipernity because of the latest issues with groups being shut down, but I was happy to find that the majority of the folks I visited were still here. I'm certainly here to stay, because Flickr isn't an option for me, and I didn't have any issues with ipernity. I love my new ipernity routine! I put up a new picture, and in the days following, I reply to all the comments left on the previous picture, before I put up a new picture! This solves one of my biggest problems I had with my 365 project: trying to reply to the comments left on each picture. It was really hard to do, and yet, I think it's extremely important to repay the kindness of a visit, appraisal and comment by doing the same. I'm not sure how to phrase that, because I don't want commenting to seem like a chore or requirement. I think commenting should come from a desire to share one's feelings about an image, to offer encouragement and sometimes some constructive criticism, but only if it is asked for or stated in such a way that it's not destructive. I love that I'm no longer under pressure with my photography or ipernity. The stress that built up over feelings of guilt for not visiting people is finally going down, instead of up. I know there are countless people who've left comments that I haven't visited, but I hope that in time I'll be able to visit everyone once again! Today's picture was taken about 6 months ago on my birthday in September. My husband, Steve, presented me with some beautiful beads he bought at the company he works for, Fire Mountain Gems & Beads , where he works as a product photographer! I originally planned to use this picture for my Picture of the Day for my 365 Project, but in the end, I decided on another image instead. This picture, like dozens of others, sits in a folder just waiting for a chance to be seen! I am busy finishing up a work project right now so I just can't afford the time to take any pictures of Bees (CHRISSY!!), Boxers, Bassets, Birdseye Speedwell Blossoms, Beetles, Bugs, or any other awesome B subjects for this round! So I thought it would be perfect to share this neat image today! I hope you like it! And once again, I'll be visiting everyone in the next few days and I can't wait to see what you have to share with me! :) Explored on March 5, 2014. Highest placement, #6.

C is for Clown of the Parrot World: Caique

I got a lot of really cute pictures of Pumpkin playing with one of her toys today. Caiques are known as the "Clowns of the Parrot World", and it's true. I've shared my life with 3 Caiques now, and have known several others...they are all extremely playful, silly, goofy, and funny birds, all of whom have great senses of humor and are always up for something hilarious! :) Explored on March 12, 2014. Highest placement, page 5.

C is for Cute & Colorful Caique

You can also find me on Facebook ! Our little parrot, Pumpkin, is the silliest, cutest, most playful companion I've ever had! She loves to run after little balls like this green one, grab them, and throw them onto the floor! As they fall, she turns her head at an angle to watch, and is always extremely delighted when Steve or I pick the ball up and toss it for her to chase again! Her favorite toys have bells inside of them. She loves to shake them furiously before flinging them through the air and hopefully...on the floor! Much cackling and happiness ensues! :D Pumpkin has a wonderful sense of humor and finds hilarity in so many things, but especially loves to watch the dogs as they are being washed. This activity combines a favorite sound, water splashing, and what looks like a wonderful punishment for those horrible creatures, and she spends the entire time laughing her head off and throwing pieces of bread at their heads! :D She's just too cute! I couldn't resist putting up a second picture of Pumpkin with her ball! It shows more of her goofy, playful personality and I thought you might enjoy it too! Explored on March 11, 2014. Highest placement, #2.

D is for Dazzling Droplet

The other day I went down to the gate to get the mail and brought along my camera. I had looked outside and saw that everything was covered in melted frost and knew I would find lots of wonderful opportunities for my next alphabet letter, "D". The thing that always amazes me is how incredibly tiny droplets can be. We are used to seeing large rain drops on windows, in the sink, the shower, etc. But droplets can be microscopic in size, and when you see grass sparking with early morning dew, a very close look will reveal that tiny beads of water are bristling on almost every surface! I wandered around in various locations, dropping down to my knee pads and staring nose-close at the incredible sparkling landscapes before me, and got lucky with many cool pictures of droplets with fabulous bokeh. Here is my favorite of this photo outing. I found this single droplet next to our seasonal pond in a patch of grass carpeting one side. No larger than a small letter "o"(about 1mm), this drop is clinging proudly to the very tip of a tiny blade of grass, the sun catching an edge and creating a beautiful starburst! These droplets are so very small that I have to keep "landmarks" in mind to help locate the droplet when I look through my viewfinder! Isn't nature amazing?! :) Explored on March 18, 2014. Highest placement, #1. :D

E is for Elegant Erythroniums (4 more images in notes!)

4 more pictures above in notes! :) You can also find me on Facebook ! Every spring the wildflower show here on our property is just amazing to behold. One of the first species to arrive is the breathtaking and diminuative Henderson's Fawn Lily. Hundreds upon hundreds of these beauties bejewel the hillside and our lower forest, each worthy of an appreciative stare. This flower stands only a few inches off the ground with its face directed downwards, and for this reason, it can be a challenge to capture the beauty of this blossom. To get this picture, my camera was on the ground, tilting up at the pair. My contorted, upside-down position--and how I stuffed myself under a bush--would have had all of you in hysterics! :D I had seen these two a few days before and their loveliness stopped me in my tracks. I didn't have my camera with me at the time and when I got up onto the upper trail again, days had passed and I expected them to be wilted and fading away. However, when I discovered they were still in perfect shape, I was prepared to do anything it took to get a nice image of them! The Erythronium genus has 20-30 different species which can be found over the Northern Hemisphere. They are pink, purple, yellow or cream in color and are a very hardy, long-lasting flower. We have one species on our property, and just off the property on public land there is another kind, the Oregon Fawn Lily, which is a beautiful cream color. If you would like to know more about these pretty flowers, Wiki has a page here: Wikipedia: Erythronium or more specifically: Wikipedia: Henderson's Fawn Lily Explored on Sunday, March 23, 2014. Highest placement, #1.

F is for Fabulous Froggy

A couple of weeks ago I was creeping around by our front gate with my camera and listening to the amazingly loud voices of the frogs singing at our seasonal pond, which is about 20-30 feet away. If you have never heard a pond of frogs croaking in the spring, you would be very surprised to discover how noisy they are! For instance, our pond is about 600-700 feet (213-243m) from our house, or about 1/8 of a mile away. We can see it, but it's not close. When those frogs turn up the volume, WOW! You can hear them clearly from the house (though not from inside). I didn't want to get too close to the pond because they can feel my footsteps, no matter how quiet I am, and suddenly they will become silent, which makes me so very sad. :( But eventually I couldn't resist, and my light steps (Godzilla stomps) signalled them all to be quiet. Awwww... :( I walked down to the edge of the pond, marvelling at its "to-the-brim" fullness, and smiled. With the strange weather patterns, Steve and I wondered if the pond would fill this year. Happily, it's been full for a few weeks now, and the rains keep coming, so if all goes well, the pond will have water in it until about June or maybe even July. It's an important breeding ground for our local frog species, so the longer there is water, the better chance there is for the tadpoles to transform into frogs. The funny thing is that I NEVER see frogs in or around the pond. I always hunt for them, but they are perfectly camouflaged and also, they dive to the bottom of the pond or retreat into holes or under plants. So on this day, as I crouched quietly at the side of the pond, looking in vain for frogs, I almost fell over when I actually SAW one!! I looked and suddenly a little Pacific Tree Frog swam lazily up to the surface and floated there just long enough for me to take some pictures. Then, when I paused to adjust the settings on my camera, I looked through the eyepiece again, and...GONE! But see? I have PROOF!!! I finally SAW ONE!!! HOORAY!!! :D Explored on ipernity on March 28, highest placement, #2.

G is for Golden Glow (15 pictures in notes on the image!)

(15 more pictures in notes on the image, all are clickable! Enjoy the show!) One of our first wildflowers is the bright and cheerful Buttercup! I discovered that we have several species here, but this one, the Western Buttercup, is the most common. Every year I end up taking far too many pictures of these pretty little flowers, and though I tried to resist this year, I simply could not refuse when I saw the light glowing through the petals of this gorgeous little blossom! Please be sure to roll your mouse over this picture to see the show of many clickable pictures of the buttercups I've photographed previously! They are such a wonderful subject! :) Explored on ipernity on April 1, 2014. Highest placement, #4.

H is for Huge Hawk Moth (Hyles Lineata)

A couple of weeks ago I opened the door to let the dogs out for their morning business and saw something on the door out of the corner of my eye. Turning to look, I nearly fell over! This moth is about 2" long, what a monster! I was really excited because I instantly recognized it as a Hawk Moth, sometimes called a Hummingbird Moth because it can hover in midair like a hummingbird and is also a nectar feeder. Moths in this group also have the longest proboscis (tongues) in the world (Morgan's Sphinx Moth holds the record at 1 foot long). It was so wonderful to get a nice picture of this beauty! Note: My apologies for being so slow to put up new pictures, I've been working on my book! If you would like read more about these moths, Wiki has a page here: Wiki: White-Lined Hawk Moth For more informations on this fascinating family of moths, visit this Wiki page: Wiki: Hawk Moths Explored on ipernity on April 7, 2014. Highest placement, #2.
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