Low Streams & High Bridges {Walks with Friends}

Hello, dears!

How is everyone today? Are you guys getting as much sopping wet, cloudy weather as we are? MAN. Sunshine is a rare occurrence these days. *shakes head* Well, if you’re in need of some cheering up, I have a fun, sunny post for you today! Last month (yep, I’m behind in posting XD) two families from our old church came up to visit us and we had a ton of fun with them. ❤ Continue reading

Thoughts On… {Tolerance}

Say you have a friend; let’s call him Robert. He’s a nice enough guy for the most part – good with kids, bad at lying, and a mediocre harmonica player – but there’s this one thing you just can’t tolerate: you’re a Republican and he’s a Democrat.

Annette, on the other hand, is great! You both prefer cats to dogs, you go to the same hair stylist, and she even likes Ken’s Steakhouse Creamy Caesar dressing on her lettuce wedges, just like you! Of course there’s that little detail about her being an atheist while you’re a Christian, but hey, you’ll graciously let that slide since that’s got to be the more loving thing to do, right? Continue reading

~ Etcetera #2 ~

Good gracious, guys, my unposted pictures are backed up all the way to October. XD So as you can see, it’s high time for another random photography/thoughts/etc. post! Enjoy the bits and pieces. 🙂 (And warning: this is going to be a VERY long post.)

Flowers + Butterflies

I love this next picture! The flower and colors are so incredibly bright and cheery. 🙂

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At the new farm we’re kind of in the middle of nowhere and at the end of the line, so it’s really hard to get Internet. You can get it, but it’s quite expensive past a certain monthly amount of data – and we already used that up, halfway through the month! O.o And even worse, the things that use it up the fastest are watching videos online and BLOGGING. HELP. XD Thankfully after you use up the data you still have Internet… it’s just really, REALLY slow. Like barely-moving slow. -_- Hooray.

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I was excited to be able to get decent pictures of a monarch butterfly because they’re pretty rare around here!

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I just finished reading Emma for school. Anyone else read it? I don’t know if I like it or not. It’s definitely very well-written, but it’s also rather boring  – life in the 17th century seems to consist of going to dinner parties and getting married?

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A bunch of other butterflies and moths and bugs came to the zinnia patch as well. 😀

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Guess what? You know how I mentioned we might turn the Cedar House into an Airbnb? Well if we do, and we probably will, my parents are thinking they’ll let me be in charge of it! I am SO excited. That means I’ll get to decorate it, clean it, and add all sorts of fun touches for the customers – eek! 🙂

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I think I found a new favorite word – to say, at least: verisimiltudinous. ISN’T IT GREAT? XD

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Carmen got a cat laser toy for her birthday and Tom (one of our cats) LOVES it. Mom says she feels sorry for him because there’s not actually anything to catch. XD

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Fall Forests & Fields

I took these pictures at my grandparents’ woods which are lovely and gold in the autumn. And the light… ♥

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Ahh, mushrooms. I love taking pictures of them and drawing them, but I don’t like eating them, heh heh. I used to absolutely despise them but I don’t mind them as much now – at least raw is okay.

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Speaking of food, I’m not a picky eater, but I think two of my least favorite foods are black walnuts and goat cheese. They both taste so pungent and strange, and I think goat cheese tastes like goats smell. SORRY. BUT IT DOES.

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This one kind of looks like an art prompt, doesn’t it?

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I took this picture when we were having a Nature Study on hickory trees with our friends and went to search for hickory nuts afterward. I LOVE the lighting. 🙂

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I rather like how you can see two pictures at once here.

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Bittersweet berries are beautiful! There’s a huge vine of it up the hill from our (current) house.

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My friend and I randomly did a photoshoot after church one day when I had my camera along anyway. I won’t put the pictures of her on here in case she doesn’t want me to, but here’s one of the pictures she took of me. 🙂

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The maple tree outside our church is AMAZING in the fall!

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Ooh yes, I really like this one. I edited it quite a lot to make the chopper and wagon into silhouettes, but I love how it turned out!

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Here’s a kind of similar picture. I took this right before we went on the nature walk: one of us spotted a deer on the hill and it walked right along the top so you could see its silhouette. Doesn’t it look neat?

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My siblings put colored lights around the trampoline a while back and they look AMAZING at night! And as bokeh and light painting photos. 🙂

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I’ve also been reading a phenomenal book called Extreme Devotion. It’s a daily devotional, but I’m just reading it as a normal book because it’s composed of many short, very inspiring stories from Voice of the Martrys. One of my favorite quotes from it so far is this:

God, I do not ask You to make my life easy; I do ask You to make me strong.

– From a Jewish child, in a note found in the rubble of a Jewish ghetto in Poland after it was bombed by the Nazis

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AHH THIS PICTURE. Doesn’t it look so warm and bright and sunny? ♥ It makes me happy just to look at it. Actually lots of things make me happy just to look at them. 😛

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Have you ever exploded Ivory soap? If you haven’t you should – it is SO fun! All you have to do is take a bar of Ivory soap (only the Ivory brand will work) and microwave it for a while until you see it start puffing up like a marshmallow. It’s so weird and neat. I did this one day with Carmen when she was bored. 😉

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And now let us end with a picture of three of our adorable bunnies. 😀 ♥ I haven’t posted much about them lately, huh? Probably because we don’t take many pictures of them in the winter when it’s cold and gray. Hopefully I can do another photoshoot soon, when it warms up. 🙂

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And there you have it! One long and random post. XD I finally cleaned up at least SOME of the leftover pictures, which feels great. I still have plenty left, though, so be on the lookout for another Etcetera post soon!

Which picture or topic was your favorite? Do you have the same problem of taking too many photos to keep up with? Are you enjoying winter or ready for it to be over?

 ***Allison***

~ Hello, 2018 ~

It is 2018. IT IS 2018!

Surprisingly, it feels right to say that. I’m usually amazed that the next year has come so fast, and I sort of am this year as well, but it doesn’t feel as weird as usual. 2018 doesn’t seem that strange to type or write, it feels good.

But before I delve into this new year, I wanted to recap the last. So here you go! 2017 in review.

Guys this has been quite the year…

~ Highlights of 2017 ~

  • We bought a new farm.
  • I started a new Etsy shop.
  • I reached over 3,000 followers on my blog.
  • I started my last year of school!
  • I took hundreds (probably over a thousand) photos, and better learned how to use my DSLR. You can find a lot of my favorite pictures from this year here, here, and here.)
  • I made so much art.
  • I (and my friends, of course) deepened friendships both in real life and through blogging. ♥ I especially enjoyed getting to know my blogging friends better – you guys are the BEST, and I love emailing/commenting/writing to you and reading your amazing posts!
  • My siblings and I raised and sold adorable baby bunnies.
  • My family went on trips to Assateague, Chincoteague, and Amelia Island. 😀
  • I played piano for church!
  • We went camping with family.
  • We creamed 150 quarts of corn. O.o
  • We watched the solar eclipse!
  • And so many more memories. ♥

I learned a lot this year, and I feel like God grew me as well (although not in size – I think I’m about done growing now XD). More and more often I found myself stepping back from the moment and seeing the big picture and the small blessings, and realizing that almost every worry loses its urgency and importance in light of eternity.

Ahem. Anyway, before we move on to the goals/resolutions, we must have the obligatory stats, right? XD

~ 2017 Stats ~

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  • Views: 50,174
  • Visitors: 16,171
  • Likes: 10,656
  • Comments: 8,958
  • Total Posts (over all years): 456

~ Popular Posts from 2017 ~

So those are some of you guys’ favorite posts… here are some of my favorite posts. Actually these are just the posts with some of my favorite photos from 2017 in them. 😉

~ Best Photography Posts of 2017 ~

  • Summer 2017: basically summer memories + a selection of summer’s best pictures.

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  • Bunnies in Autumn: One of my very favorite photoshoots of the entire year! EEEE THEY’RE SO CUTE!

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~ Resolutions ~

And now for last year’s goals… Let’s see how I did.

  • Meet at least one more of my blogger friends. Sort of not really? I got to video chat with one of my friends, which was SO fun, and I saw pictures/videos of many others, but sadly I did not meet any in real life. :/ Oh well, there’s always next year!
  • Grow my Etsy shopIf I was talking about my clay Etsy shop… not exactly. If you’re talking about my new art Etsy shop, yes! (Since I have two sales compared to zero when I started. XD) I think this year was sort of a practice run and I’m looking forward to digging deeper into this business in the coming year.
  • Start a Bible journal and keep it going throughout the year. Check! So far I’m in 1 Samuel, and I’ve hand lettered my favorite verse from all the chapters I’ve read so far. I cannot WAIT to see all the journals when I’m done, and I’m definitely going to continue this goal into 2018.

So what is my New Year’s resolution for 2018? Well, it ties in to one of the most important things I’ve learned this year: I can’t do it.

You know on Disney movies how they’re always like, “Believe in yourself”? That’s true, to a point… but only to a point. I’m not saying self-doubt is good or you should hate yourself – not at all! That’s way too far in the other direction.

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BUT. The thing is, I’m a pretty poor thing to believe in. I’m broken and fallen and weak, and so are we all. But even though I know that, sometimes I forget, and think that I know best instead of God.

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Considering moving and selling the farm and other things that are out of my control has shown me that I just can’t do this on my own. I’m not big enough, not strong enough to change the weather or the timing of plans or… well, anything.

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But see, this is not depressing or sad for me – it’s a relief. Because even though I can’t do it, God can – and he will. Why would I want to believe in myself and my weakness, when I can believe in God and his strength? I wouldn’t. I don’t.

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So one of my “New Year’s resolutions” is to believe less in myself and more in God. I’ll have to put it into practice to even complete it, because I certainly can’t do that on my own!

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So yeah. Those are my thoughts (and some pictures) from this past year.

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I can’t wait to see what God will do next year. Eeep, it’s so exciting just thinking about it! Happy New Year’s, guys. I hope it’s the best one so far.

Bring it on, 2018. I can’t do this… but God can.

***Allison***

~Etcetera~

Guys, I have SO many extra photos. And that happens pretty much all the time. So I decided to make a new little series: these “Etcetera” posts will have random photography as well as recent life, thoughts… etc. XD (kind of like monthly wrap-ups, but different). I hope you enjoy reading them!

Now, where to begin? I have SO much to cover. Aha, Maggie is a good subject to start with.

Maggie

I was trying to take a picture of Maggie’s eye but she kept MOVING. XD I did get this one good one, though:

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I also got some other, less close-up shots of her. I just love all of Maggie’s expressions, hee hee. It looks like she’s saying, “Aww, you shouldn’t have,” don’t you think?

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Such a pretty pup. ♥

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It looks like she’s praying. 😛

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Dad just finished combining (harvesting corn) for the year. WOOHOO! Now maybe we can jump in the grain bins

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Mini Sister’s Photoshoot

Speaking of fields, Megan and I (and Maggie) did a little mini photoshoot in the soybean field while it was golden green and brown. Isn’t the lighting AMAZING?

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If you guys like my photography/lifestyle posts, you should totally check out Emmaline Figura’s blogs, Lucillian Photography and Crystal Ice Studio! Her photography is AMAZING – she deserves so many more followers!

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I love this picture, but it sure took a while to clone out the soybean that so rudely butted in front of Megan’s chin. XD Humph, I shouldn’t have said that. Now you’re all probably inspecting Megan’s chin…

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Megan got a few pictures of me but most of them didn’t turn out or I had a weird expression, heh heh. This is probably the best one. Still have a weird expression. XD

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Guess what? My younger brother and I were driving to piano lessons today, and when we got there we found that one of my car’s tires was completely flat. O.o But guess what again? My brother changed it himself, while I was having my lesson! I really want to learn stuff like that – I’m much better at art than mechanics. XD

Sunset Bokeh

The sunset did capture well on my camera, but it did make for some neat silhouettes and bokeh!

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Singing hymns is one of my favorite things at our church. The congregation sings beautifully, and it’s glorious when we do an a capella verse. ♥ I like singing for things like that, but not enough to take voice lessons or anything. I usually just hum and whistle at home. 🙂

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Do you guys have any special plans for Thanksgiving? We’re having three different celebrations because we have a rather large extended family. 😉 Are you traveling? We aren’t – most of our family lives quite close by. But if you are, here’s a tip: salty snacks like chips really take carsickness away. Well, I mean they help if you eat them. They won’t do much good just sitting there by your seat.

Flowers

Dad and the kids always pick out a hanging flower basket for Mom for Mother’s Day, and it lasted all the way into late fall this year! Isn’t it pretty?

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Ugh, I have to write a 15-30 page research paper for school. *Long sigh* At least we’re taking this week off for Thanksgiving!

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We also have a rose bush (well more like a rose vine) by our door, and it’s a weird mix of knockout-type roses and “real” roses, as we like to call them. There are usually only a few “real” roses a year and this was one of them. ♥

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To find the rose you must first get past the thorns. To find the rainbow you must first walk through the storm. Bad things make the good more beautiful. And always remember, my dear, there is beauty even in brokenness.

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GUYS. LOOK AT THIS PHOTO! I just pressed the button and the moth behind just happened to fly in at the right moment. I LOVE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS.

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Pretty butterflies + pretty zinnias – my photobombing car = a mildly pretty picture.

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The Big Apple

We have one very old apple tree that usually produces nothing but food for worms. XD However, this year it actually grew real apples and they were DELICIOUS! I don’t know what kind they were, but they were stupendous. And I found this one extremely large apple – see? (The one on the right is a more normal-size one.)

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It weighed 15 OUNCES. ALMOST A POUND.

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Golden Garden

These might be some of my favorite pictures ever! I just love the golden lighting so, so much, especially with the golden tones of the flowers. ♥

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Sometimes I feel wise and knowledgeable, and then I wonder if that simply means I still have so much to learn. I guess that happens when you’re a teenager, huh? 😛

(Side note: I rather dislike the word “teenager” for some reason. Don’t exactly know why.) 

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And would you look at all that bokeh? AHHHHH.

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This picture seems relaxing, like you can feel the sun and hear the breeze through the willow branches. 🙂 I can sort of remember planting this willow tree, even though it’s quite a good sized tree now – it’s a curly willow so it grew SUPER fast.

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This isn’t really a garden, but it’s golden. Even dust is beautiful when the sun shines through it.

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I think cameras can make anything beautiful. In fact, here’s a challenge: find three things you think are ugly and try to take a beautiful picture of them.

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We also have two black and two English walnut trees in our yard. I strongly dislike the bitter taste of black walnuts, but English walnuts taste great! (They’re the kind you get in stores.) We don’t usually shell these though, because it’s a lot of work for not much result. Have you tried black walnuts?

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This is rather random, but I wanted to take a picture of a begonia blossom from my grandmother’s hanging flower pot because I noticed the beautiful, intricate curlicues in the center of the blossoms. I love the little things like this. 🙂

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I got a picture of my youngest brother pressure-washing one of the wagons. 🙂 His birthday was today, actually! The frame was supposed to be transparent but it’s showing up black here…? I hope it works once I publish the post, but I’m doubtful.

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I like the way shadows look on this barn. 🙂

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And now we have come to the end of this post. Wow, Allison, what a moving conclusion. *clap, clap*

ANYWAY, I hope you enjoyed reading this gathering of orphaned thoughts and photos. 😛 I know it was an enormous post, but I’m only half-sorry because phew, I now have a large chunk of my random photos squared away. XD I don’t think Etcetera posts will usually be this long, though, if I do them in the future. Which category/picture/random thingy was your favorite? Do you think Etcetera posts would make a good series or are they too random and scattered (because I would kind of agree with you on that XD)?

Have a wonderful day, dears, and thanks so much for reading. ♥

***Allison***

Summer 2017 {Memories + Photos}

Heh heh, I know this is rather late for a summer post, but hey, we haven’t fallen too far into autumn yet, right? (See what I did there?) Anyway, I loved Clara’s summer recap post, so I decided to do one of my own!

Here’s a recap of this summer’s happenings in pictures.

Raising and selling a litter of darling baby bunnies. ♥

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Taking a lovely trip to Assateague and Chincoteague Island.

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Writing and illustrating letters.

Playing piano at the nursing home and filling in for the pianist at church. O.o

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Finding barn kittens.

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All the flowers.

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Watching a cardboard boat race. XD

Working on a project I will hopefully reveal soon… (Here’s a sneak peek:)

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Hayley’s ATC Trade.

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Playing Gaga Ball on the trampoline with my siblings.

Swimming at our neighbor’s pool.

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Re-designing a board game I created. (Sneak peek:)

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Playing games with family and friends.

Saying goodbye to Clementine. 😦

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Making lots and lots of art.

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Taking lots and lots of pictures.

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Pizza and movie nights.

Watching sunsets.

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Helping out at a wedding.

Celebrating fourth of July with family. (Photo credit to my aunt.)

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Going camping in tents with cousins and grandparents.

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Meeting new people and making new friends.

Hatching swallowtail butterflies.

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Cutting and creaming 150 quarts of corn from our sweet corn patch. O.o

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Books.

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Blogging.

Watching the eclipse (even though I got rather poor photos XD).

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Having simply splendid time at Amelia Island with friends.

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Finally watching Star Wars. 😛

The County Fair.

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Starting WordCrafters 3.

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Gardening and canning produce.

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Consuming many 50 cent Frosties at Wendy’s.

Sewing class.

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Video-chatting with a blogger friend.

Making decorations for our monthly church meals.

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Emailing, writing to, and debating with blogger friends. 😀 ♥

CWWC (see my entries here) and BIBPC, (this my latest entry).

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Nature Study with friends.

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Bonfires, big and small.

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Gathering eggs. :/

Megan’s birthday (which included a water balloon fight).

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Family reunions.

Labor Day adventures.

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Making memories. ♥

It was a lovely summer. 🙂 I had a lot of fun but I also learned a lot, I think more in practical knowledge than book knowledge. It’s been good.

How was your summer?

***Allison***

Raindrops {Photo Dump} + A Favor?

Some days I step outside, look around, and go right back in for my camera because it’s too beautiful not to. I love just walking around, taking pictures of the little beauties I find. Because that’s how to be a good photographer, you know. You have to go looking for photo opportunities, not just wait for them to find you.

Sometimes the best photos are of the little things no one else takes time to notice. I like to think that through your camera lens, anything can be beautiful. ♥ Even thorns.

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I love how these pictures turned out! Who knew raindrops on asparagus plants could look so neat? 😀

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Beautiful zinnias…

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I’m a little proud of these next pictures. XD I just LOVE how the raindrops reflect color onto the Japanese beetles!

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Sparrows on a barn roof. 🙂

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Phew, that was a lot of pictures! I hope you enjoyed them, dears. 🙂

BUT WAIT! Before you go, could you do me a favor? I’m entering some photographs in our county fair, but I can’t decide which of these to enter in each category. Would you mind voting for your favorites in the comments?

Wildlife:

Should I do…

1. The butterfly?

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2. The snail?

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Rural _________

1. Mountain?

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2. Golden dust? XD

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3. Fall evening?

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People: 

1: My dad?

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2. My sister? (I would crop and edit this a little bit more.)

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Landscape:

Should I do this sunset…

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Or one of the Rural ______ ones?

Thank you guys so much!

Would you like to see a post of the rest of the pictures/items I’m entering in the fair?

Do you like photographing little things and raindrops?

***Allison***

Pictures, Etc.

Ugh, I really need better names for these posts. XD Suggestions?

Annnyway, since you guys seem to enjoy random photography posts I enjoy posting them, I figured – let’s do more! 😀

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 It had just rained and there was an interesting orangish tint to everything outside, different than the golden hour usually looks because it was so cloudy.

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Ahh, beautiful rain drops.

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Maggie waded into the field, looking noble. XD

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HA HA look at her expression.

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Okay, this picture might be a bit startling… You have been warned. 😛 He looks pretty angry, doesn’t he (or she)? This snapping turtle appeared in our lane one day and Maggie nearly went crazy. Snapping turtles are weird, ugly creatures. Blech.

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Ahem. Let’s move on to cuter pictures… LIKE BABY BUNNIES EEEEE! This is the photoshoot I did to get pictures for selling them. *Sniff* Anyone want to buy a baby bunny? 😉

AHHH THEY’RE SO CUTE I CAN’T STAND IT.

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Here’s Mulberry…

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And Ginger…

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And Herbert Naninger. 🙂 SO. CUTE. (Also if you’re wondering why Basil isn’t on here, it’s because we’re keeping her! So I didn’t need pictures for the listing.)

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ISN’T THIS THE CUTEST?!

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Okay, after all that cuteness you might need an antidote so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Ready for another slightly creepy picture? Here we go.

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XD Praying mantises are so weird. I got this interesting picture of one cleaning itself when we were studying them in Nature Study.

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While we’re on the subject of bugs, Megan found three black swallowtail caterpillars outside and we took them inside to watch. We both got some neat pictures of the first one that hatched! 😀 Aren’t butterflies delightful creatures?

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And that’s it for today, dears! What was your favorite picture or category? Thanks for reading and have a lovely day. ♥

***Allison***

Random Photography Part 2

I have a bunch more stray pictures for you today! (23 to be precise. XD ) You’d better warm up your scrolling finger…

First we have some flower pictures:

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Sunflowers are such sunny things!

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I love looking closer at things, like this zinnia. The centers are so pretty!
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A little crab spider (I think) came in with our bouquet. But he was tiny, so it was okay. XD
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Does anyone see any evidence that maybe the crab spider was here? I do!

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And then a bunch of Nature pictures:

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This is a gourd tendril. Aren’t they so pretty? They look like curly green hair. 😀

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Such a picture-perfect tomato. 🙂 It had a lovely cross in the middle.
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I took this picture on Corn-Creaming Day when we harvested our sweet corn.
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I love this shot! After I took it I noticed the fly. XD Can you find it?
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I was trying to get a picture of the bird taking off, but it didn’t work so well, so I finally stooped to taking a still out of a video. XD

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Does anyone know what this beetle is called? It was on the side of our car.
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Ohhh I love dew drops!
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Butterflies’ eyes are weird.
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Look at all the teensy-weensy baby spiders! They were way tinier than this in real life, but my camera has good zoom. I don’t know if they’re cute exactly, but I think it’s the closest spiders can get. XD
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This guy is NOT so cute. But he is beautiful! Isn’t it amazing how God creates even the tiniest creatures with such beauty and intricate detail? I mean just look at all the different markings!
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And last but not least, a sunset. ♥ It was oranger than this in real life, but my camera was on Dawn/Dusk setting which always makes the sky pinker than it is.

Are you still with me? Oh good. 😀 Then which picture was your favorite?

***Allison***

P. S. Ahh, it’s so beautiful outside today! It’s really starting to feel like fall, even though not many leaves have turned color yet. How’s the weather where you live?