Best Friends Q&A + Pictures

Hello, dears!

Did you have a good Thanksgiving? I did! So far we’ve had one out of four celebrations, and for the rest we’re going to our old farm for the weekend for fun times and delicious food with friends and family. 🙂

Anyway, back to the post. About a month ago I got the chance to visit my dear friend, Aria, and see her family’s lovely farm. We had a wonderful time together, and this time we made sure to take PLENTY of pictures. XD Aria suggested doing a BFF Q&A to go along with them, and I agreed it sounded fun. And here we are! Get ready for some pretty fall photography and answers to a selection of you guys’ questions. 😉 After you’re done here, make sure and hop over to Aria’s blog to check out fifteen more questions and answers!

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Etcetera #4

Hello, dears!

My random photos and mini adventures are piling up fast, so I guess it’s time for another Etcetera post! You might want to get comfortable, because this could get reeeeally long. O.o (Update: yep, it’s really long. XD) Are you ready for this? Are you set?

Let’s go! Continue reading

Etcetera #3

Hello, dears!

I’ve been half dreading this post and half eagerly anticipating it, because it is SO much work to sort through over six months of photographs and edit and organize the best ones for a post. O.o But it’s always so satisfying to know I’m “up to date” once I finish Etcetera posts, so yay! 🙂

Anyway, today I have for you quite a lot of pictures about quite a lot of things. I’ll attempt to organize this post a bit more than I have previously so it’s not overwhelming. XD I hope you enjoy browsing through the sunsets, farm landscapes, portraits, etc!

~ Skies ~

When it hasn’t been raining (which is rarely XD), there have been some beautiful sunsets, clouds, and other skyscapes recently.

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Ahhh, big, fluffy cumulus clouds just make me happy when I see them. 😀

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Isn’t this gorgeous? Sun rays through clouds also make me happy. 🙂

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We’ve gotten so many rainbows recently (and so much rain too)! I don’t think I even noticed this one was a double rainbow until I edited the picture. O.o XD What a beautiful promise a rainbow is. ❤

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I love how calm and soft this picture is!

 

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The moon looks HUGE beside the miniscule airplane and tiny cloud, doesn’t it?

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Does this count as “skies”? I don’t know. But this strange, neat limb broke off one day and it was sad. 😦 Now there’s just a stump left.

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I actually combined a couple of pictures to make this one, because I wanted more birds in it. 😛

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I thought it was so neat how you can faintly see the entire moon!

Sunsets + reflections? OH YES!

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A e s t h e t i c. ❤

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~ Pets ~

This spring there were buttercups EVERYWHERE! It was so pretty! One day Maggie was conveniently laying in a highly-concentrated area of flowers which went perfectly with her sunny, buttercup personality. 😀

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BUNNIESSSS! My brothers built new rabbit pens for them, and the next two pictures are when we first put them in. I love how Basil’s ears are always one up and one down. XD

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OLAF IS JUST WEIRD. XD

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And here’s Lavender! SHE IS ADORABLE. And she’s also grown since I took this picture.

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Well this isn’t exactly a pet, but… WARNING, SNAKE AHEAD! We found this black snake one morning while we were cleaning out the raised beds. I don’t particularly like snakes, but it was so neat to get such close-up photographs! It didn’t slither away for quite a while; it just posed. 😛 I got a bunch of good pictures, but I’ll be considerate and only show you guys two. XD

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~ Flowers ~

This was a looong time ago, but here’s a pretty picture of blossoms on our what we thought was an apple tree but is actually a pear tree.

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In early spring, there were violets EVERYWHERE! There was one row beside a small, white shed in our backyard that was overflowing with blooms. ❤

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Such a cute, tiny flower! (Actually it’s a weed, but it’s still cute.)

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I LOVE THIS PICTURE! It’s just so CUTE!

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Ahh, this is so creamy and gorgeous!

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~ Farm Landscapes ~

We always pass this on the way to my grandparents’ house and I always want to get a picture of it. This time Mom kindly stopped to let me take some, and I’m SO glad she did! I just love the scenery here, and the rolling hills that seem almost too perfect to be natural. The tractor baling hay adds a nice touch too. 😉

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Dad planted corn or soybeans in most of the pastures this year, and it looks GREAT! He got the crops in a little late because of the immense amount of rain we got, but now that they’re in they’re looking gorgeous. I took this picture a while ago; the corn is a lot bigger now.

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The cows are gone now. *sniff*

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~ People ~

Carmen got absolutely SOAKED (on purpose) one day when it was raining, which made for some pretty neat pictures.

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Carmen wondered if I wanted to take a picture of her glasses, and I said, “Sure!”

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I took this picture after we finished unloading the tractor-trailer load of our house belongings, and I was all sweaty and dusty. And then I had heaps of fun editing it later. XD I don’t know why I like taking pictures of eyes so much, but I DO!

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Carmen wanted me to take a picture of her swinging. 🙂

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It was a BIT scary to balance my camera on a fence post on a windy day, which is maybe why I have a slightly strange expression… XD

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Oh look, it’s me leaning up agains the fence again! What do you know. XD Carmen took this picture for me, because a friend wanted a photo of the dress I got.

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~ Etcetera ~

Okay, this is really random, but… did you know you can use a mixture of about half coconut oil and half baking soda to repair worn wood? If you scrub the mixture into scratches or places where the varnish doesn’t look good, it will magically look like new after you wipe it away with soap and water! Trust me, it is amazing. O.o I don’t know exactly how it works, but I think the oil stains and darkens the wood and the baking soda kind of sands it down a little. However it does it, IT WORKS. We’ve used this a lot to “refinish” worn furniture, floors, and trim lately.

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We don’t have a huge garden this year, but we are growing a few things in the raised beds behind the big house. One of those things are (or were) radishes! I thought these baby radishes that we thinned out were so cute, hee hee.

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GUYS. I FOUND A FIVE LEAF CLOVER. AND MEGAN FOUND A SIX LEAF ONE. We found a lot of mutant clovers around the Cedar House, actually. XD And no, I did not photoshop an extra leaf on. Promise.

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This almost looks abstract if you unfocus your eyes.

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I love photographing water drops. 😀 Don’t they look like crystal?

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Phew, that was a TON of pictures! Not nearly all the good ones, though. *sniff* This post was a great (but hard) exercise in only keeping the best of the best, or else the most interesting. Hopefully I succeeded. 🙂

So, which category was your favorite? Have you ever found a more-than-four-leaf clover? Have you tried the coconut oil trick?

Thank you so much for reading this lengthy epistle, dears, and please have a lovely day!

***Allison***

Sun Rays & Spring Days

Hello, dears!

I hope you had a great Easter! I sure did. 🙂 We had a great time going to our old church again and seeing friends, as well as having family celebrations.

Once Easter is past, it seems like it really ought to be spring, heh heh. So today I’ve compiled some recent farm photography from various rambles – mostly springy ones, but a few from the last bits of winter too. I hope you enjoy “walking” around the farm with me!

I love how the soft light polishes the smooth gnarls of this twisted tree.❤

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If you peer into the woods here, you’re bound to see drifts of pale leaves on small trees all over the place. We didn’t have beeches at home, so it’s fun to see leaves here even in winter!

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There’s a little island of trees in the pasture behind the Cedar House, some of which are pines laden with cones. I think pine cones are just so satisfying and pretty to take pictures of and hold. 😛

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I love finding bright spots of color among the gray!

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Another common tree here that isn’t common at home is the sweet gum tree. The seed pods always have bad hair days, heh heh. XD

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Plush cushions of velvety green moss make me happy. 🙂

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Now we get to the wintry part, but it’s just a few pictures. 😉 Quite a while ago, the smaller pond was frozen enough to walk on, so of course we did so, hee hee. Don’t you love finding things frozen into the ice, like this oak leaf? Such a cold bed for the bright little thing to be sleeping in.

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The ice crystals were GORGEOUS. I love the delicate, fleeting strength of ice.

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Jellyfish bubbles floating, frozen…

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Isn’t the crystallized texture so fine and pretty? At the bottom left I think it looks like an ice feather.

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The very top of the ice melted, but it was still solid underneath, don’t worry. 😉 The reflections… ❤

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Alright, enough of the cold. How’s this for a warmer picture? That little ridge is  a cow path. It always amazes me how straight and narrow the paths are, especially for such big, clumsy animals. XD

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AHHH THE LIGHT. How could anyone not love golden hour? Hmm… maybe everyone does.

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It looks like the foxtail head is floating. 😛

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Okay, we’re switching topics again. XD Now we’re walking down to the big pond, which is NOT frozen, as you may notice.

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The deep sapphire blue water contrasts so nicely with the pale cattails, don’t you think?

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Here’s a different kind of blue. For some reason there are SO many vultures floating around, and even though I don’t particularly like the birds themselves, I like to watch them glide (or wobble, on windy days XD).

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The fields are neon green on sunny days and it looks like SPRING, YAY. Except there are still no leaves on the trees…

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This really reminds me of the default header on… the Hemingway theme, is it?

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SO. PRETTY.

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And here’s the big house… which is still being worked on. *sigh* The moving date is getting pushed further and further away, and right now it would be great if we could even move in before my birthday in the beginning of May.

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Goodness, this post is all over the place… here’s a random photo of those strange cedar apples again! O.o

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Next I have a few pictures of our smaller creek, which we have nicknamed “Little Runny.” 😛 I absolutely love it! The twisted roots of overhanging trees, tiny sandbar beaches, mossy stones, and clear bubbling rivulets weave together an enchanted atmosphere. ❤

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I really want to make this into a fairy house. Isn’t it perfect?

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Look, it’s a little rainbow lens flare!

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Water fascinates me. Always moving, always changing, always twisting and rippling under the light. I think water and light together are especially beautiful and interesting to watch.

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We found several pools along the creek that are pretty heavily populated with minnows and crayfish. (What do YOU call them? Crayfish? Crawfish? Crawdads?) We didn’t have a net, so we made do with a colander and metal strainer bought from Dollar General. XD

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HA HA, it looks like he’s raising his claws in surrender. XD

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My cousin kindly allowed me to take a picture of her, splendidly modelling the colander as a hat. 😛

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And last but not least I have a handful of black and white edits that I quite like for different. 🙂 This one is pond ripples, but I think they look like tiny sand dunes too.

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I really like this one too! I always find pictures of hands, by themselves or holding something, appealing; I don’t quite know why.

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I love how the round clusters of sycamore seeds hang from the branches like ornaments.

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Apparently I think trees look really good in black and white. 🙂

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And I saved one of my favorites for last. ❤ The vultures and cows together look so rural and free.

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I hope you enjoyed this longish, scattered post, dears! Which picture was your favorite? Which was your LEAST favorite? Are you ready for spring?

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful warm day!

***Allison***

Thoughts On… {Adversity}

 

Imagine there were once two small stones who lay near one another in the streambed of a rushing river. As the years went by, dashing water and larger rocks both tumbled over them, and eventually the relentless conditions ground the first into smaller and smaller pieces until it was an unrecognizable heap of sand. But something different happened to the second stone.

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Instead of getting worn down by the surging flood, it simply stood fast and let the water polish it into a smooth, gleaming pebble. Instead of getting crushed by the grinding force of the other rocks, it simply rolled past, moving slowly down the river. One day, it arrived at the sea, and all was gloriously calm.

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Now, dears, you can probably see where I’m going with this, but let me ask you a question: as the river of life passes by, do you let the hardships polish you or shatter you?

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It’s so much easier to shatter, isn’t it? It feels like the constant trials and pressures of life cannot help but grind us into sand. It’s not hard to just give up and give in to self-pity. In fact, it’s far too easy, for me at least. And sometimes it almost feels good, in a miserable way.

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But we’re missing the point – or rather becoming bristling full of points instead of allowing them to be smoothed away. How we react to adversity profoundly influences how others perceive us, and this is especially important for Christians. Since we put our identity in Christ, it influences how others perceive Him. If we act like God’s not strong enough to carry us through everyday life, it begs the question, how in the world could He carry us through death? We’ve got to show the world that trials don’t define us – God does.

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Here’s another way to look at it. The other week in small group, one of the men was talking about how problems can come between us and God, and he compared it to an eclipse. I thought that was a really good analogy. Our worries are like the moon orbiting the earth, until one day they eclipse everything else. Did you guys watch the last eclipse? Do you remember how the moon hid the sun? Its dark circle looked just as big as the light, even though you knew it was really many times smaller. 

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So when it’s dusk in daytime and everything slips sideways and you are falling off the edge of the world, don’t forget, dear, the sun will come out again. It’s still there, shining and shining, and however big and dark the moon’s shadow seems, the sun is infinitely bigger and infinitely brighter, and in its blazing light, all shadows fade away.

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So when hardships surround us and we do not break, when people wonder why we’re still fighting, we tell them, we persevere because we have a hope beyond this world. We tell them, because when we hit rock bottom, the Lord is polishing this rough stone into a diamond of such brilliance that it will reflect his glory far brighter than before. And we tell them, it takes harsh sand to grow a pearl.

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Grow a pearl, dear. Be a diamond. Shine, don’t shatter. And when adversity threatens to eclipse all, hold fast to the Son.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4

***Allison***

~ 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***

Ahem. I Have an Announcement.

Warning: this is going to be a loooong post. Our cat Jinx is prepared to dive in with you if you’re ready to go with him. All set? Okay.

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POOR THING. This was not my doing. It was my siblings’ (but of course).

Ahem. GUYS. I HAVE SOMETHING TO TELL YOU. Something I have been waiting to announce for almost a year. I am super excited but also super sad to say…

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Bits & Pieces #1

Hello, my dears! Welcome to yet ANOTHER random photography post, where Allison dumps all the miscellaneous orphan photos that she couldn’t fit in any other post. XD I am waaay backed up with extra photos so I hope you’re ready for a lot of photography posts! 😀

Ahem. Let’s begin.

The Eclipse

I still haven’t shown you my pictures from the eclipse? Dear me, I AM behind. XD Anyway, I didn’t get any spectacular pictures, but I did get a few through welding glass to at least document what happened. The welding glass made everything look green, but I managed to edit out most of the color except that one green guy over there. XD As you can see, we weren’t in the path of totality.

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I thought the eclipse looked really neat through clouds!

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And here’s just a bonus picture I took that day. So pretty!

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The Enormous Bonfire

We occasionally burn a heap of brush or extra wood piles and such on our farm, and I got these pictures from one of those times. Dad pushed the pile around with the telehandler which made the bonfire practically explode in a column of glittering orange sparks. It was breathtaking!

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Bonus picture of the cows that watched the bonfire with us. XD There were a bit confused about what was happening, as cows usually seem to be.

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There were actually a few bulls in the pasture, and one started sort of stomping and bellowing. O.o Thankfully nothing bad happened. Isn’t it funny how he has a heart on his forehead? You can’t see it too well in this picture, but he really does!

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Megan’s Birthday Party

We had a lot of fun decorating the front porch and outside table for Megan’s party. Aren’t the colors pretty?

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We used zinnias from our garden for some of the decorations, and I got some lovely pictures of the bouquets. ♥

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Megan wanted to have doughnuts instead of cake, which was quite a good idea in my opinion. 😉 We made the doughnuts the previous day and I also made a little happy birthday banner for the top.

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Yum, fresh lemonade!

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Grandma brought Megan a beautiful rose from her house along with her gift.

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We had a water balloon fight for one of the party games. It was so fun, AND I didn’t get very wet, which was good since it wasn’t that hot. XD

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A bonus picture of the gorgeous spreading maple in our front yard…

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Bonus picture #2 of an adorable fuzzy caterpillar we found before the party.

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Isn’t it cute? 😛

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Moving a Piano + Another Bonfire

One night we went to our grandparents’ house to help move their piano from the basement to their room. 🙂 It was quite hard work… well actually I didn’t do much but stay out of the way and document it for posterity, but it looked like hard work. When they finally brought it to my grandparents’ room, it wouldn’t fit through the door. But then they tried turning it on end and thankfully it just fit. Phew! The poor piano.

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I also got some super neat pictures of the piano without its top on. I love them, especially after they were edited!

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After we got the piano all figured out we had a bonfire and picnic. Fire is so fun to watch, isn’t it?

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I got a really good picture of my grandpa smiling when he didn’t know I was taking a picture. I edited it a good bit, as you can tell, but isn’t it neat?

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Freshly Picked

I took these photos for my sister’s photo contest, BIBPC. I think they turned out rather pretty!

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Also isn’t this tomato HILARIOUS?! It looks like it’s sticking out its tongue at you.

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The Rest of Them

THESE COOKIES ARE DELICIOUS! I took pictures of them because I wanted to submit the recipe to Olivia Bell’s wonderful magazine. Be sure to check it out (and make it) when the next issue comes out here soon! You can subscribe to her magazine through the contact form in this post.

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Random picture of the details on one of my Sunday dresses…

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I edited this one a LOT to get rid of the power lines crisscrossing it, but this is the view from one of our upstairs windows. 🙂

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There we go! That was pretty much a whole bunch of mini posts smushed into one huge one. XD I hope you enjoyed! Which topic was your favorite?

***Allison***

Labor Day Adventures

This Labor Day we did something a different than an ordinary picnic or cook-out. Since Dad and the boys were out harvesting corn, Mom suggested that we girls pack a lunch and just go out and walk around the farm. So we did! It was quite fun.

We packed some sandwiches, mint tea, chips, and a couple other things which I can’t remember (XD), and took along backpacks filled with books and cameras.

This is my cucumber sandwich. Say hello. I didn’t want to waste the bread crusts after I cut out the sandwich, so I flattened them with a rolling pin, spread some cream cheese on, and rolled them up into roses. 😛

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First we headed past a place we call “The Sycamores” because… there are a lot of huge sycamore trees by the creek. DSC_2030 (853x1280)

I found some lovely periwinkle morning glories along the path. Aren’t they charming?

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We finally settled on a pretty, peaceful corner of the pasture filled with smartweed – a dainty little pink flower. We spread out a blanket, hung the hammock, and relaxed.

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This looks kind of weird…

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I love this one. ♥

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I did a really fun, cute photoshoot with my little sister here, but this post would be insanely long if I included all those photos oh wait it already is, so I’ll save it for later. Anyway, this was a great spot for taking pictures of little things. My favorite! 😀

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In interesting twisty stick.

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I love the bokeh in these pictures!

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Have you ever tasted sourgrass, or wood sorrel? That’s what this is. It tastes, well, sour.

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So pretty! ♥

 

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I found a beautifully shiny, polished nut.

 

The scenery was more scrubby here than the rest of our farm, but still pretty.

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Trees are nice.

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After we ate lunch and read for a while, we decided to move to a different spot. We crossed the barbwire fence (no easy feat in this pasture), walked over the field, up the hill, down a lane, and up another hill to a beautiful hidden spot behind a pasture. We’d never been there before, which is something rare since we’ve walked pretty much everywhere on our farm, and it was delightful to explore it.

Unfortunately I didn’t get many pictures with my camera because it ran out of battery, but Megan lent me hers.

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HA HA cows are such funny creatures. XD

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I think this picture is so neat but I don’t know why – it’s rather cluttered.

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I had the idea to play mancala while we were there. (Have you ever played that? It’s really fun!) I dug out some holes in the dirt with a stick and used corn kernels for the marbles. It actually worked!

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It’s really hard to see on camera, but Carmen and I built a great fort around this perfect square of trees. There were huge logs scattered everywhere (one pile was in a huge sinkhole O.o ). They made great walls but were exhausting to carry. We didn’t finish the fort, but we did make a good start.

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Mom and Carmen and I also built this little campfire area in a pretty shaded nook. We stacked stones for a firepit, hauled in some rocks and stumps for chairs, and made benches from logs and rocks. 🙂 It was fun.

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Mom also found this really odd-looking spider. O.o (She’s for you, Clara. 😉 )

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In the evening our whole family came up and had a picnic with us, and a bonfire too.

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So that’s what we did for Labor Day! It was great fun, even though the mosquitoes practically devoured me. I got over 40 mosquito bites (yes, I counted XD). O.o Anyway, the memories will last for much longer than the bites will, so it’s all good.

I hope you enjoyed this loooong post, my dears! Which was your favorite picture? Which was your least favorite? What did you do for Labor Day?

***Allison***