Shoot & Share Contest {My Entries}

Hello, dears!

Recently, one of my friends told me about this really neat photography contest called Shoot and Share. Have you heard of it? You can enter up to 50 photos in 25 different categories, and then people all over the world can vote for their favorites! I’ve quite enjoyed browsing the photos and gaining inspiration so far, and thought I’d show you guys some of the pictures I entered in case you’d like to vote too! Continue reading

Pond Poems

Hello, dears!

Before we get started, thank you SO much for helping my first post of sketches tie for the “best writing/poetry post” on Megan’s Best of 2018 awards! It was lovely of you all to nominate me, for that and for the other categories. It made my day!

Anyway, I mention that because… today I have another sketch for you! I wrote it almost a year ago, but waited to post it til I had another set of pictures to go with the words. Now I do, and I’m so excited to share it!

These words are a little bit strange, but honestly, so is my mind sometimes. XD I still like it (especially the ending), and I hope you do too. 🙂 Find a comfy spot, sit down for a spell, and enjoy…

Continue reading

Moving On {Part 3}

Hello, dears!

It’s been AGES since I made the last “Moving On” post, but I wanted to wait until I could finish up this mini-series. And now I can! We are all moved in to the big house now, except for one room of unpacked boxes… yeah, that might take us a while. XD But now, enjoy this account of the most recent phase in our moving process! I can’t go over every single part in detail, so I’m just going to highlight some major chunks: packing and unpacking the house, packing up Dad’s shop, and taking down the old log cabin. Enjoy!

Packing the House

Packing up our old house was exhausting and kind of sad. I can’t remember the rooms ever being empty, since we moved there when I was one. However, it WAS exciting to finally be ready to move into the big house! One day while we were packing I saw this box which used to hold bittersweet vine found on our farm, and I had to get a picture. Moving really is…

moving on 1

Often when I got up in the mornings, I would step between this curtain and the window…

moving on 6

and look out at this view, to see what the weather was like, and wonder what would happen today.

moving on (2)

The last evening at our old house was gorgeous. It was sad to think I’ll never see these views from the upstairs windows anymore. I’ll miss them. *sigh*

moving on 5

Some of our family as well as people from church helped us pack up, which was wonderful! Dad got a (not the most beautiful) trailer for our semi, to load up all our stuff. We fit practically our whole house into one trailer. It was strange to see all our familiar furniture stacked together in an unfamiliar place like that.

moving on (1)

And then we left. We can come back again, of course, but it will never be the same since the house and the farm are no longer ours. *sigh*

DSC_1292

Goodbye, old farm. ❤

DSC_1294

Unpacking House Stuff

The semi trailer got to our new farm a couple days later, and since my Dad and brothers weren’t available to unpack as soon as we hoped, the girls decided to start in ourselves! We got probably 2/3 of the semi trailer unpacked with just my mom, my grandmother, us three girls. 😀 It was great. I didn’t get too many pictures of this, but I got a ton of videos! I want to make a fast-motion video of us unloading the trailer. 🙂 Here’s a picture of Logan helping us, at least:

DSC_0001.JPG

It took us two days, I believe, to get to this: AN EMPTY TRAILER!

moving on 4

After we unpacked our dining room table + chairs, we sat down to the first “official” meal in the big house, with delicious food that some of our friends from church kindly brought us. ❤

moving on 10

HA HA, here’s one last bonus picture for this section. XD Gram was like, “Allison, where’s your camera? You need a picture of this!” And I hurried off to get it. 😛

In case you’re wondering, the package is a fridge. One of many, sadly. Dear me, the first fridge we got from Lowes wasn’t the right kind, the second one didn’t work, the third one leaked, the fourth was the wrong kind AGAIN, and we’re still waiting for Lowes to bring the fifth one and HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE RIGHT THIS TIME. Goodness gracious, WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH LOWES?

moving on 9

Packing the Shop

Once we got the house stuff moved, we went back to our old farm and packed up Dad’s entire shop (which he uses for fixing farm machinery). Let me tell you, that was a job! Over 40 years, the shop had accumulated enough nuts, bolts, screws, paint, ratchets, wrenches, etc. to seriously open their own hardware shop. XD Only it would be an extremely dusty hardware shop.

moving 15

moving on 15 (2)

moving on 15 (4)

For some reason I think this looks really neat…

moving on 15 (1)

moving on 15 (3)

As you can see, Dad has SO many tools in all different sizes, particularly wrenches. I really like this picture. 😀

moving on 13

The best part of packing was having pizza for lunch. 😛

moving on 14

Taking Down the Log Cabin

Remember this old, fallen-down log cabin in our backyard?

DSC_4524

Well just a few weeks ago, we took it down the rest of the way. I was hoping to find some more neat old letters or other interesting artifacts, but sadly we mostly found… a lot of junk. It was a bigger project to take it down than I expected, but it’s nice not to have to stare at it from half the windows now. 🙂

First, Dad and the boys pushed it over with the telehandler. Next we all clambered up on the roof with a couple of hammers and started extracting the nails so we could peel off the metal. The tar paper under the metal was covered with dead ladybugs and stinkbugs. O.o That was nice.

moving on (2)

moving on (3)

moving on (4)

After we dragged away the roof skeleton, we had to pick out all the leftover boards and junk. That took quite a while.

moving on (5)

Thankfully we had the skidloader to help!

moving on (7)

Like I said, we didn’t find many valuable old things, but we did find some interesting junk! Including…

moving on 10
Apologies for the awful picture. I was trying to make the junk look at least a BIT prettier but I think I made it worse…?
  • a rather sad-looking work boot
  • 3-5 fire hoses
  • a crushed dog kennel
  • two rusty lawn chairs
  • a bent-up bike
  • two very nice terracotta flower pots
  • a rusty metal flamingo that Megan REALLY wants to restore XD
  • a blue plastic kiddie pool (which Carmen was EXTREMELY excited about XD)
  • a large, enormously thick slab of slate
  • an antique water pump

We are keeping the second half of the aforementioned items. Also some of the century-old heart pine wood.

It was finally cleared away about supper time. We were planning to make a patio around the chimney, but it’s not in the best shape so we might take the chimney down later after all. :/

moving on (8)

And there you have it! A VERY abbreviated account of some moving-related things that we did recently. We are all enjoying living in the big house immensely. It’s just so huge and beautiful! Maybe once we get it decorated I can give you guys a tour. 😉

What was your favorite section of this post? Do you think Megan should fix up the flamingo? Ever have troubles like we did with our fridge? And what is your favorite kind of pizza?

Thanks for reading, dears, and have a lovely day!

***Allison***

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.

etcetera (1)

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

etcetera (2)

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

etcetera (7)

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. ❤

etcetera (29)

I love how calm and soft this picture is!

 

etcetera (46)

 

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

etcetera (51)

 

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.

etcetera (13)

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

etcetera (20)

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

Sunsets + reflections? OH YES!

etcetera (59)

etcetera (60)

A e s t h e t i c. ❤

etcetera (2)

~ 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. 😀

etcetera (28)

etcetera (27)

etcetera (37)

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

etcetera (24)

OLAF IS JUST WEIRD. XD

etcetera (25)

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

etcetera (26)

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

etcetera (41)

etcetera (42)

~ 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.

etcetera (40)

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

etcetera (48)

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

etcetera (38)

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

etcetera (15)

Ahh, this is so creamy and gorgeous!

etcetera (36)

~ 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. 😉

etcetera (4)

etcetera (6)

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.

etcetera (22)

The cows are gone now. *sniff*

etcetera (44)

~ People ~

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

etcetera (8)

etcetera (9)

etcetera (11)

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

etcetera (12)

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!

etcetera (17)

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

etcetera (34)

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

etcetera (53)

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.

etcetera (4)

~ 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.

etcetera (21)

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.

etcetera (39)

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.

etcetera (29)

This almost looks abstract if you unfocus your eyes.

etcetera (55)

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

etcetera (34)

etcetera (35)

etcetera (36)

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***

Moving On {Part 2}

It has been way too long since my last “Moving On” post, and we’ve had quite a few adventures since Part 1! So, shall I catch you guys up on the news? Alrighty then. 🙂

Let’s see, where did I leave off? Oh yes, right before our cousins came to help us paint. Well… they actually didn’t paint much, but my aunt did. XD The kids played Dutch Blitz when we weren’t needed. We’ve all been playing Dutch Blitz a TON lately, and it’s so much fun! Have you played? Not many people have that I know, of but sadly it’s pretty hard to explain without showing you… :/ Trust me, though, it’s great. XD

moving 1

So now the Cedar House is all painted and furnished and it looks GREAT! We still have a few things to fix up before it debuts as an Airbnb, but it’s come a long way. (For instance, we replaced that carpet in the picture above after I took the photo.) Would you guys like to see a tour of the house once it’s finished?

Another thing we’ve been doing is learning to use the rebaling machinery. Part of what we do at the new farm is sell hay and straw, as well as make people’s large, unmanageable bales into smaller ones. Dad runs the machinery, the boys usually get the haybales prepared, and the girls usually stack them on a trailer. It’s hard work, lifting hundreds of 40-pound bales, but it’s good for us. 😉

The hay pictures are all in black and white because the light and surroundings usually weren’t the prettiest. XD I think they look really neat in B&W, though!

moving 4

moving 5

I guess Logan did help stack that time… maybe because I was taking pictures. XD

moving 3

moving 5

A few weeks ago we semi-officially moved down to our new place. We still have to go back to our old farm to pack up stuff and work once in a while, but we’re mainly down here now. 🙂

Since we’re mostly going to be down here, we brought all the live things we have to care for: namely, pets and plants. 😛 I really loved how the plants looked in the back of my car for some reason. XD Does it looks Pinterest-y to you?

moving (10)

moving (12)

They looked so pretty against the cedar siding. 🙂

moving (4)

We also brought the bunnies up! Most of the bunnies stayed huddled together at the back of the truck, but Basil was hilarious – she hopped up on a cat crate (with no cat inside) we put there and stayed on top almost the whole time. What made it funny was it was really windy up there, and her fur got blown about every which way, like she was under one of those super strong hand dryers that ripple your skin. XD She didn’t seem to mind, though. Maybe she liked the fresh air.

moving 2

We also brought the cats down, but that was a little more… um, interesting. They were RATHER scared, and once Jinx decided he simply couldn’t wait to use the litter box till we arrived, so… yeah. He didn’t wait. IT WAS BAD. XD XD Ah well, we survived, and the cats are safely in the Cedar House now. 🙂 Maggie, our yellow lab, is quite enjoying the new space too, I think!

Dad had to stop to check on a vehicle at one point and I got some more lovely pictures of mountains at the overlook. ❤ You could see everything SO clearly!

moving 1

moving (2)

Finally we arrived at the pineapple gates. I don’t know why there are pineapples at the farm entrance, but it’s pretty funny. Especially because one of the pineapples is literally yellow and green with lichen, and in exactly the right places! XD

moving 8

In case you’re wondering if we have animals at our new farm, we don’t. Except for pets, of course. 😉 We’ll probably get chickens later (just not 24,000 like we used to have!), but for now the only livestock are the cows in the leased pastures. They’re not ours, but they are pretty cute. 😉 They also look lovely in the golden hour! Then again, what doesn’t?

you found the secret message.jpg

When we first started staying in the Cedar House we didn’t have many forms of entertainment, so Mom thought of Four Square! We laid out the pattern in masking tape on the basement floor, and we’ve been having a lot of fun playing it as a family. 🙂

moving 6

Another fun thing to do here is go fishing! We haven’t caught fish every time, but once we caught nearly a dozen in one day! That was fun. I’ll have more pictures from fishing in a later post.

moving (9)

Ooh, and one super fun surprise we found was a box of really old letters! Part of the big farmhouse was built in the 1850s, and I believe the farm itself is even older. We found some letters from the 1880s! Isn’t that amazing? This letter is one of my favorites, although it’s from 1922, so not quite as old. But LOOK AT THE HANDWRITING. (I blocked out part of the address.)

moving 4

Isn’t that amazing?! We haven’t read it yet because it’s in German, but we should really translate it sometime. 🙂

moving 3

Now I shall end this post with a sunset over the pond. ❤ I love sunsets in general, and reflected sunsets are twice the beauty!

moving (11)

Phew, that was a lot to cover in one post. I hope I didn’t leave anything important out… XD Oh well, I can always tuck it in later if need be. I hope you enjoyed the update and the pictures, and tell me…

Have you had interesting experiences traveling with pets? Have you played Dutch Blitz or Four Square? And would you be interested in a post with more about the Cedar House when it’s finished, or about more old letters and other interesting artifacts we’ve found?

Stay tuned for more posts like this in the future, because we still have the big house to finish fixing up. Man, it’s taking a while. There’s just soooo much to paint and work on. Ah well, it’s going to be incredible when it’s finished, and I can’t wait to move in!

Well, thanks for reading and I hope you have a lovely day, dears!

***Allison***

~ goodbye ~

goodbye…

hiding in the hollow tree that somehow still lives on, half-destroyed;

green truck rides through buzzing goldenrod and tangled berry brambles;

walk 8 (1280x853)

skipping up to Gram’s to get flour because we ran out… again;

sunsets leaking burning lava over the mountain ridges;

DSCN1746 (1280x960)

creaming corn days, warm cardboard boxes dripping with the smell of pizza for lunch;

treasure hunts for crystals by the side of the thorn-ringed pond;

-Allison (Tassel doll) 003

building forts and holes and towers in a barn full of fuzzy cotton seeds;

climbing the hill to get fresh eggs, crossing the road to get fresh milk;

-Allison(eggs) 001

family gathered around a crackling bonfire by the creek overhung with mint;

the farm rolling out from under you at the top of the tallest hill;

DSC_0034.JPG

art parties, tables laden with shared supplies and traded ideas;

walking under the majestic, white-boned sycamores under a clear blue sky;

DSC_0487 (1280x853)

church potlucks that are feasts, where we know each face at the tables;

the succulent sound of cows tearing off mouthfuls of grass in the pasture;

walk 9 (1280x853)

selling rusty metal parts and cow bones and broken bottles for pinecones at the island;

playing with friends in the grain bins, jumping off the ladder into the yellow corn;

grain-bins-9-1280x960

capture-the-flag games and ATC trades after church;

finding litters of soft, tumbling barn kittens and watching them grow;

DSC_0464 (1280x853)

sledding down Gram’s hill with cousins and sipping hot chocolate afterward;

firefly-catching contests; flashing bits of flying gold captured in hands and jars;

-Allison(moon, lily, Maggie) 013 (1024x576)

club meetings: crooked stairs, dusty seats, shouts and laughter pounding the low rafters;

rambling nature walks all over the farm with friends;

walk 3 (1280x853)

eating picnic suppers on the flat roof outside our bedroom on a calm summer evening;

everyone gathered at the last chicken house, talking and laughing, relieved to be done…

goodbye.

_

new is a crackly word, an uncomfortable word –

 

 

it takes breaking in, like a fresh pair of shoes.

the old is familiar. it may be torn and falling to pieces, but it is love that made it so.

you know, don’t you?

when what we’re used to becomes what used to be,

the touch of change is sharp, its hold is slippery,

but oh, how can I bear to let go?

I know.

so,

goodbye, old farm, goodbye, old friends. goodbye, old life.

I’ll miss you.

I already do.

***Allison***

Various and Sundry Sisters Photoshoots

Heyyy, guys!

Megan and I (and my little sister Carmen) have been doing quite a few photoshoots recently, so I thought I’d combine them all into one post for you today! I shall go in roughly chronological order because that’s how I uploaded the pictures. 😉 Also, Megan took all the pictures of me except the “selfie” ones, using my Nikon D3400. Alright, onwards and… upwards? XD

I did this photoshoot back in December when I went to the “island” (a patch of trees in a field) to collect greenery for wreaths. For some reason I decided to do a photoshoot of myself while I was there? I’m trying to get better at “selfies” because GOODNESS they are hard, especially without a tripod. Thus I only have two of those pictures to show you. XD

edit 1 (1280x853)

(This caption thingy is NOT cooperating so I guess I’ll have to use it instead of deleting it.) Thankfully these two pictures turned out alright at least!

edit 4 (1280x853)

Ooh, I love this next photoshoot! Megan and I went down to the pond at our new farm one day (see more in this post) and it was absolutely breathtaking! The snow on the trees, the crystal-clear reflections… ahh, isn’t it beautiful? The perfect backdrop. 🙂

DSC_1231 (853x1280)DSC_1235 (853x1280)DSC_1238 (1280x853)megan's dslr phots (45) (853x1280)photoshoot 1 (1280x853)

HEH HEH. And then we have this. XD Here’s an at using the self-timer, but it failed so hard it actually worked. XD I turned around just at the wrong time and IT CRACKS ME UP.

DSC_1193.JPG

Here’s another little “selfie” photoshoot. When no one else is available to take pictures of, at least I have myself. 😛 It… still didn’t work out the best. It was really hard to stay in focus with self-timer, not to mention getting to the right place at the right time! Morale of the story: SELFIES ARE HARD. Find a sibling if possible. XD

Anyway. I was trying to go for one of those stock photo, Pinterest-y pictures but it turned out blurry. -_- Other than that I think it looks kinda neat, though. I do kind of blend in with the fence post… XD

fence 1 (1280x853)

AHA! An in-focus picture! Way to go, Allison. And I even jumped at the right time! Wow. *shakes head in wonder*

fence 3 (1280x853)

This doesn’t exactly fit since it’s just a hand (in case you thought it was a face…?), but oh well, it was in the same photoshoot. AND IT’S NOT BLURRY. SO. Plus you can see how crooked my fingers are. XD This perspective makes them look shorter than they are, though.

DSC_1405 (1280x853)

Ooh yes, this photoshoot was probably the most successful in terms of quantity. 🙂 We went for a walk at our new farm and found that the smaller pond was frozen enough to walk on! It was soooo fun, and I’ll have more pictures in a later post. This time Carmen obliged me and we did a little photoshoot. 😀 I love how you can see her reflection in the shallow puddles of water on the ice!

DSC_1818 (854x1280)

Once we start she always gets really into it and has all sorts of ideas about how she should pose and stuff. 😉

DSC_1841 (1280x854)
Look at this strange ring of bubbles!
DSC_1833 (854x1280)DSC_1821 (854x1280)
Okay, hold on here, guys – only one more photoshoot to go after this. I hope it isn’t getting too long. Anyway, Megan and I did this one when we were rebaling at the new farm. We had to stack I think over 300 40-pound bales in a semi trailer which was rather hard work… except when it wasn’t. Then we took pictures. 😉 I thought the walls of the trailer would make a neat background and I think it did! How about you?
DSC_2098 (1280x854)megan dslr photos (5) (1280x854)
HA HA. We sometimes wear masks if the hay is too dusty, and it was that day. It kind of looks like a party hat, eh? An awfully strange one, to be sure.
DSC_2088 (1280x854)
OKAY. LAST ONE. This is a related photoshoot because we did it that same day. I think. It was snowing
DSC_2044 (1280x854)
I love the contrast in these pictures!
DSC_2036 (1280x854)
Heh heh, I was trying to look at the snow on my hood which resulted in me crossing my eyes. XD
megan's dslr phots (57) (1280x854)
I had the idea of doing some of those rather cliché but pretty snow-blowing pictures. 😛
megan dslr photos (14) (1280x854)
BAHAHA THIS IS HILARIOUS. I look like I’m singing a very solemn song to the snow. XD
megan dslr photos (16) (1280x854)
YAY, YOU MADE IT THROUGH! What do you say – are you getting tired of sisters photoshoots yet? Do you like shooting and seeing portrait photography or other photography better? Also, what was your favorite of these photoshoots?
Have a beautiful day, beautiful person. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!
***Allison***