Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Another Poppy for Texture Tuesday

Of course there has to be a poppy for this week's free and easy edition of Texture Tuesday!

For this image I used two of Kim Klassen's textures, first "warmgrunge" in soft light at 55%. I masked the poppy and the poppy bud to remove the texture from them again. Then I layered with "kk_appreciate" in soft light at 75% and did a levels adjustment.

There are more and more poppies coming up in my garden beside the California poppies (which you can see as orange dots in this photo). I love all the different shades of light pink (almost white) to a rich dark red. It is beautiful and I find myself grabbing my camera all the time.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Beauty of Rain Drops

It rained again last night! Everything was wet this morning, but the sun was already making his way through the clouds. While I walked through my garden, I noticed the rain drops on the poppy buds. They looked beautiful, and the morning light also brought out the tiny hairs on the stems and buds of the poppies.

I couldn't stop taking pictures. This time it wasn't the color or the beautiful shape of the poppies that caught my eye, but all I wanted to capture was this early stage of poppy life, the bud.

Seriously, who can resist this kind of beauty?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Poppies After the Rain

Today we had some rain again. I had actually thought we were done with the rain and wasn't happy with that at all. We still need rain... So today we got some. After the rain stopped I went outside to take some pictures of my poppies with raindrops on them. What I like about this kind of overcast weather is that the colors really pop.

Many of you know how much I love poppies. I have a lot of favorite flowers, but poppies are definitely at the very top - probably my most favorite of them all. They are delicate yet tough. They are mostly ignored by deer, and their seedpods are very decorative. They reseed readily and actually can get a little overboard if you don't keep an eye on them.

This one is my favorite of today's pictures:

A couple hours after I had taken these photos, it started to pour down heavily, and with that all the poppy glory went as well. They were no match to the heavy rain. I got these pictures just at the right moment. Thankfully there are so more poppies to come.

Lauren's Grape

Monday, April 21, 2014

A New Leaf on My Shady Porch

My front porch is completely in the shade. It doesn't get much light even in the morning. Perfect conditions for shade loving plants - like ferns. When we bought this house the ferns were already here. There were a lot of brown leaves last year and no new growth at all. I already thought that I have lost them.

This spring, however, I discovered new growth. Each of the four ferns has developed new leaves - and I love how they slowly unroll, remaining in this kind of fairy-like phase until they finally turn into a long leaf.

A photo opportunity, of course.

I couldn't resist to process it with some kind of texture - I chose Kim's texture "kk_0411" in soft light at 66%, then copied and blended in multiply, also at 66%. Some levels adjustment - and there you have it.

I"m linking this to Kim's Texture Tuesday and this week's theme "simple".

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Very Well Weathered Fence

While I was walking at the lake a few days ago, I walked along a trail a bit further away from the lake that I hadn't been to for a while and discovered this beautiful old weathered fence. I never really noticed it before which is odd since I tend to see fences everywhere.

Coming closer, it revealed all the moss and lichen that was sitting on it. I quite liked its wobbly shape.

I noticed the holes that were put in the fence posts to fit the slats in. Rather crudely done, but beautiful in its own way. It was a very natural and simple fence.

Some plants were leaning against the posts and growing through the fence, making the fence part of their environment. It just belonged here.

Certainly a good fence - and therefore linked up to "Good Fences" at the Run *A* Round Ranch.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Imagine Yourself in a Bavarian Beer Garden

You probably have heard of the Bavarian beer garden ("Biergarten") which you can actually find all over Germany. But somehow we always picture beer garden in Bavaria - they probably have most of them. The beer garden is very casual - you sit on very simple benches at long tables. Often you share the table with other people - friends and strangers - which is a great way to get to know new people and have fun. You can also eat in a beer garden, often the local cuisine with mainly more simple meals. It is not fine dining, but the food usually is excellent. (I'm still practicing my food photography - it's not perfect at all, well, far from that actually. It's perfectly imperfect - and hits this week's Texture Tuesday's theme, which is "perfectly imperfect"...)

Processed with Kim's texture "kk_evolve" in soft light at 100%

Obatzter is one of the beer garden food, and I have to say that it is my favorite. It has lots of calories, of course - everything I really like to eat is certainly not on the light side! Obatzter is made of very ripe Camembert and butter, onions, spices and a little bit of beer. It is actually very easy to make - you just have to find the right Camembert.

On Sunday I made some Obatzter because I felt like eating it - it was a warm day and I had this beer garden feeling. I had baked some Bauernbrot (farmers bread), we still had two bottles of Bavarian Hefeweizen, I had some very ripe Camembert - nothing could stop me!

I can tell you, it was delicious!

If you feel daring, or you once went to Bavaria and had some Obatzter and would like to make it from scratch, or perhaps you're just curious - here's the recipe. Sorry, it's in metric measurements.

You need:
- 250g very ripe Camembert
- 50g soft butter
- 2 tbsp light beer
- 1 small onion
- 1 tsp paprika, sweet
- a trace of ground caraway
- pepper and salt
- a bunch of chives

You may remove the rind of the Camembert if it is "too ripe". Mash with a fork. Stir in butter and beer.
Add finely chopped onion. Add paprika, caraway, pepper and a little salt.
Put the cheese on a plate and top with chopped chives.
Serve with fresh farmers bread or soft pretzel (if you can get real Laugenbrezeln where you live, that would be my choice)


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Don't Fence Me In!

But that's exactly what we did - we fenced ourselves in.

We started out in January - the month was so dry that it was okay to start right away. The Geek designed the fence and then one Saturday afternoon began building.

Everything of this fence is handmade (except for the nails and screws and stuff like that). We bought the redwood and then set up the miter saw and cut, cut, cut. After I had asked him, the Geek showed me how to handle the saw and I was happily cutting the pickets.

The Geek dug the holes in the ground for the posts, sometimes with the help of Kaefer. I was the one who screwed the pickets in place for a big part of the fence, slowly working my way along.

Until, one day in March, the fence was completed. It was a day to celebrate.

It feels so much nicer now with our fence. We will keep it in this natural state, even though the color will gradually change to gray. But that is okay.

I'm linking this to "Good Fences" at the Run *A* Round Ranch for the first time - this definitely is a good fence!

Monday, April 7, 2014

For the Love of Roses

When I walked through my neighborhood last week I was surprised to see so many roses - already, at the beginning of April. Yes, it still surprises me. In some things I'm still on "German time" (after 13 years of living in Northern California!) and that means that roses do not bloom before May with the peak season in June.

But this is Northern California - everything blooms so much earlier (my French lilac is almost beyond its prime); still a wonder for me. This rose caught my eye because of its beautiful colors - I like the pink and the peach, it's gorgeous. The white fence behind it didn't hurt either.

So I chose this photo for this week's Texture Tuesday with its theme "for the love of _____". Roses, in this case. Processed with Kim Klassen's texture "kk_0411" and then I brushed the texture away from the main blossom of the rose.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Finding Spring

Today's 100 Happy Days photo

We had some heavy rain recently - much needed, and it turned our brown land into a green one. The gardens exploded - everywhere is color now, so much eye candy wherever you look.

Today I walked through the neighborhood with my camera - and everything I saw made me so happy!

Baby Blue Eyes in my garden

California Poppy - such a happy flower!

White and pink blossoms shout "It's spring"!!

The fountains whispered their lovely splish-splash...

and the mockingbird sang his little heart out. 

One of my most favorite spring bloomers are dogwoods, either white and pink ones, whereas I give a slight preference for the pink one over the white one. I also love the peachy-pink one, but I couldn't find one here.

What I found the most, though - and therefore beginning and end of this post - are wisterias. The fragrance of these stunning climbers is absolutely heavenly.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Memories of French Lilac

My Dad loved French Lilac. Whenever he saw a blooming bush of French Lilac, he would stop whatever he was doing (like driving a car) and go over to the bush to smell the fresh blooms. I remember my brother and me sitting in the backseat rolling our eyes...

processed with Kim Klassen's texture "dustyrose"

But nowadays I don't roll my eyes anymore - I can so well understand why my Dad did that. Since we moved to this home almost two years ago, I planted 6 French Lilacs - the last one, Pocahontas (pictured here) just two days ago.

My friend K. had given it to me because my Dad had passed away without knowing this special detail of his life. You can imagine her surprise when I told her what French Lilacs meant to my Dad.

I planted this one in memory of my Dad right at our front gate of our new fence. This way, when it will have grown a bit, passers by will be able to smell the blooms if they want to - just like my Dad did.

I'm linking up with Kim Klassen's "Texture Tuesday".