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once upon a february morning

We’ve had a couple of snow days, cancelling school, over the past few weeks now. Pretty par for course, I realize, however, I’m truly hoping the winter weather will begin to melt into spring, sooner rather than later. I do love living in an area of the country where we fully experience all four seasons. I wouldn’t know how to act otherwise!

The girls had a 2 hour delayed start to school this morning - I sincerely love those late starts, don’t you? For all the extra time it seems to give us it’s inevitable that we somehow still manage to rush about in a wild tizzy, hopping to get boots and coats and book bags on before rushing out the door! I followed Emilia out to the bus so that I could clean my car off and get it warmed up for a head shot appointment with business clients and immediately was distracted by all the frozen beauty around us!

”Wait! I gotta go back in and grab my camera, Em!”

The sun was just coming up over the trees in the back yard and the light was bouncing, sparkling, turning everything into a winter wonderland of icy contrasts. Plus, it was beginning to melt quickly - so my time was shortened even more so! The ice was sliding off the trees and branches were loudly shaking off the cold. It was wonderful!

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As lovely and magical as it was, I’ll be happy to convert our back deck from the current wood stacked, sled stacked, snow shovels stacked into our summer lounging area… once again.

Enjoy your day, friends! Just 25 days until the spring equinox for us! Stay warm!! Thanks for keeping me inspired to grab my ol’ trusty friend to share with you. :) Be well. xo

With warm gratitude, Barb

There's a Buzz in my Ear

Last week we were experiencing negative temperatures as the polar vortex pressed down hard on us, leaving us with crunchy, hard snow, constant fires in the wood stove and 2 full days of school closures. Today, the sun is shining, my office window is open and I can hear a buzzing sound from a pesky fly in my ear just feet away. Crazy northeast weather, I suppose. I’ll gladly take this little teaser from Mother Nature, though, and am not complaining. Anytime I can turn the heater off and open windows and hear nature, however pesky it might be, more clearly is a good day.

Lately, we’ve had some Ah-mazing setting skies! I count them as good days, too! This one was from the weekend… and the colors were breathtaking! My iPhone 8 camera is pretty dang sweet, if I say so myself.

Sunset February 2

The girls’ school district originally sent out a 2-hour delayed start notice on Thursday. So, we all slept in a bit, and leisurely got ready for the day. How nice those delayed starts are, don’t you agree?! I much prefer that instead of the usual rush-rush, hustle-bustle mornings. I hadn’t checked my email yet that morning, so by the time I did and learned of the change in plans that the girls now had the whole day off, they were all set to go. I played it all serious faced and said to each one separately (with camera set to shutter their reactions), “I have to tell you something and I don’t want you to get upset, … (insert dramatic pause) … but… school is closed today.” HA! Worked like a charm! :) They totally weren’t expecting that one. High five, mommas!!

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Contrary to what you might believe based on their reactions from my “Gotcha” moment, these girls LOVE school!! They love their friends, their teachers, the structure and gathering new knowledge. I’ve often asked if I could homeschool them, but they won’t have it. They kept themselves busy creating during their days off and made these puppets to act out new plays with! Emilia has discovered the incredible benefits of hot glue guns, along with the cons of unfavorable blisters. ugh. These puppets were worth it, wouldn’t you agree?!

Sophie and Annie the puppets

This past weekend we celebrated Kurt’s mom, Dorothy’s (aka Grandmom), 89th birthday!! She’s been living in assisted care for over a year and our visits with her are getting more and more difficult, as her mind slowly fades away to the horrible disease of dementia. We had a nice visit with her on Sunday. There was a musician playing his acoustic guitar and singing some of our favorites to the residents. He even personally serenaded Dorothy with “Happy Birthday!” as we all sang along. It was a sweet treat with our beloved Mom/Grandmom. We are so thankful to have her and for the million ways she continues to bless us, daily. She’s a Peach.

The girls with Grandmom Celebrating 89 birthdays

What’s been happening in your corner of the universe? How’s your weather? I’m thankful you took the time to stop by and for your friendship. :) Happy February to you!! Wishing you ease and joy in all of your days. xo

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If you plant them, they will come...

After dreaming of the idea for many months now {number 5 on my Eighteen for 2018 "bucket" list} about the notion of creating a sunflower patch in our side yard - to attract butterflies, bees, birds and children and families and their high school seniors to my home studio - the plot has been planted.  

First, we mapped out our plot.  I would have dug up the entire side yard, but that's a whole lot to take on!  I'll gradually chip away at the new one, though, so that gives me something to work towards.  We measured and looked to the sun for the optimum growing area.  Sunflowers need abundant sunlight!  This location is just right...    

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We had toyed with the idea of renting a sod remover - yes, they make such a creature!  One day, seemingly out of the clear blue (but possibly not), I remembered reading about using tarps to starve the grass and keep it from growing making it easier till up the earth underneath!  Yes, tarps!!  This method does take longer than the quick, one-day option of gas powered equipment, however, we had time on our side.  

After many weeks, roughly 5 to 6 weeks, Kurt pulled up the brown tarp and tilled the 12' x 16' ground.  The first pass with the tiller went well in breaking up the sod, but did not dig deep enough to loosen the nutrient rich, organic soil underneath.  It was time to take action!   

Curious note:  If you try the "tarp method" at home to remove sod, be sure NOT to use the blue tarps!  We tried that at first in combination with the brown one.  The blue tarp actually encouraged (Vigorously!!) the sod to grow underneath!  The blue tarps have an opposite effect - so if you have a patch of ground where you want the grass to grow -- throw a blue tarp over it and watch with wide-eyed wonder at the results it produces!  No lie!  Crazy blue tarps. 

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I set to work hoeing the patch in preparation of planting!  I got about half way, before giving in.  Farmers (especially organic farmers) do not get enough credit for the intense hard work that gardening is.  My right hand was so sore that I couldn't use it for a full day afterwards without shooting pain.  I suppose I should be thankful that was all that was in need of bodily recovery!  I guess carrying around heavy camera equipment has helped to strengthen my arm and back muscles -- Oh the benefits of photography that keep on producing!!  Ha!!  

I'm happy to report that Kurt helped me with the hoeing and together we finished the plot; hands recovered fully!   

My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania
My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania

I was careful in my selection of seeds.  I chose Sow True Seeds' openly pollinated, untreated, organic seeds:  Evening Sun;  Lemon Queen;  Autumn Beauty.  And planted them in neat rows according to size (taller ones in the back, shorter in the front).  What can I say?  I'm part OCD after all, for which gardening is my therapy.  Things out of my control do me good.  Plus, I get pretty flowers to admire!   

I planted last Sunday and noticed this morning on my garden walk - because I'm obsessively observing the patch every day - the little wonders sprouting up out of the earth!!  Hooray!  Gardening.  What an absolute thrill!  

My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania
My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania

I will report back here from time to time to let you know how these little babies are growing!  Aww, so fast!!  Grow, babies!  Grow!!  

My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania

In other news... 

Today is the girls' last day of third and sixth grade!  Hello fourth and seventh graders!!!  I can't believe it!  So, as I write this, they are enjoying their last day of the 2017-18 school year in preparation for summer vacation!  I have a feeling they may not be as excited as this photo from this morning.  Emilia, I'm most surely, will come home crying this afternoon.  She loves school and her teachers and her friends, the sensitive soul she is, and doesn't like to say good-bye.  Even though it's only for 11 weeks, that's a lifetime to a nine-year-old!  

Me?!  I'm enjoying this beautiful, quiet, birdsong, seed-sprouting, quiet (oh, did I say quiet again?!) morning all to myself.  I love summer and having the girls home with me 24-7.  I also love quiet, sunny mornings of reflection, photos, and coffee...  And on that note, my morning is complete.  Summer vacation, here we come!!!         

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Happy Summer to you, friends!!  Make loads of FUN-fabulous memories!!!

xoxo

My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania