our home

Hello, June!

The sun came out to play on this beautiful June day!  We've been having a cool, rainy spring around these parts, so seeing our glorious star shining for us was a welcome sign that - maybe, just maybe - summer's on its way!  And we are ready for it!!  There's so many terrific things on the horizon for us this warm-weather season and I'm excited for it all!  I'm also relishing the last few days of school while I still have some quiet time to myself, because that's about to do a 180° on me!!  I'm going to try with all my might to get over here and keep up my blogging momentum throughout the summer; it's a goal I'm setting for myself.  

For now, summer portrait sessions have officially hit an all time high and I'm super excited for each and every one (I'm looking at you families, a childcare center, high school seniors, and a precious newborn baby photo session).  Sweetness!  I also have my 2nd year of Busy Bees Summer Camp for Girls beginning the end of June which runs for 5 nonconsecutive weeks throughout the summer.  The girls are all bubbling with anticipation for our fun, art-filled days together!  I cannot wait to get started with them!  But, I still have those lists to check off and supplies to order...  It's all coming together nicely.  

Anyhow, for now, we welcome the summer season, warmer weather, longer days, and prepare to close another successful school year.  Life's been good and I'm grateful for it all... 

The pool water warmed up today to 68°F!!!  The girls didn't mind one bit their blue, shivering lips and hot baths after pool time - they're just so happy to be swimming again!!!  :) 

I am "trying before buying" a 16-35mm Zeiss lens this weekend for a family session.  Of course, I was eager to run it through some tests to see how she handles.  I was pleased with the results!  I'm thinking... yea, this lens is going on my "wish list," and I'm looking forward to using it with some fast action hero kiddos, coming up!!!  

This lens also has macro style capabilities -- Wow, Yay!!  I had loads of fun testing it out today!  I posted more images on my Flickr page.  If you get a chance, do stop by:  I <3 Flickr!  

How's your summer shaping up?  What's new and coming up on your horizon?  Anything that has you in a sing-song mood?  Do your kids attend a summer camp?  Any vacation plans?  As always, I'd love to hear from you, my friends.  And whatever your summer plans may be, I hope they are super charged with fun, yet safe and filled with beauty!  :)   

King, of the Trees

This week, around the homestead, has been anything BUT quiet!  For years I had been wanting to have some worrisome mature trees removed from our property.  They were either largely leaning precariously in potentially dangerous directions or they were diseased or their roots were inconveniently growing rapidly in unwelcome territory.  Plus, (there's always a plus!) we needed to provide more sunlight on our swimming pool, to warm the water naturally.  The time had come to call in the professionals and call them in we did.  We've had tree service and removal on our property in the past, but the expertise, efficiency and attention to detail of Lee King's Tree Service was impeccable, second-to-none.  For all the ruckus (our apologies to our neighbors!!), the nonstop chain saws and chipping machine, not to mention the earth shattering falls of the large trees themselves (I just hope our neighbors will forgive us one day) and the utter mess the tree removal produces, these guys were top notch and professional to the very end of the job.  

If you've been following along with me on Instagram, you know I've been walking around on egg shells, biting my nails, and trying to remind myself to breathe and stay calm...  This was tough for me!  I'm normally a fairly calm, easy going kind of gal, however, this week while the tree removal was underway, I was a mess - unable to concentrate on much of anything other than TREES!  We've grown accustomed to these gentle giant friends of ours for the 18 years we've been living in our home, so I was feeling a mix of emotions from sad to excited, from nervous to exhilarated, from breathing to not breathing, then breathing again.  It's been nerve wracking!!  I am just so thrilled with Lee King and his assistant, Dustin for the outstanding job they did.  They maneuvered the falls of the trees with utter precision, even saving a nest of birds and our retaining wall.  Excellent work guys.  Thank you! 

As for the photos I'm sharing, I decided to show you the story in backward fashion.  Beginning with the end result and working up to the start of the 3 days of tree removal...

This is the final tally of mostly 16' logs to be sold to the lumber mill, which helped to offset our costs.  I was struck by the coloring and variation of the grains in these mostly Poplar trees.  Aren't they pretty?

Lee and Dustin left me quite a pile of mulch!  This will be great around the playground area and the new fence line and baby trees we plan to put in.  Thanks *heaps* guys!! 

We'll need to reseed the grass, and it won't take long to grow with all that sunlight shining down on our yard now!!  Wow!  It really opened up nicely.  

This video I'm sharing is the "Leaning Tower of Poplar Tree."  This tree has been growing sideways all it's long life, worrying me that eventually it would take out Alanna's saucer magnolia tree that I planted for her when she was born, or the pool, or both.  Breathtaking sight to witness as she is felled!! 

Naturally, the girls were curious and had to explore the fallen trees.

Emmy found a small bird's nest - which looks like it was not currently inhabited, but a past home. She was thrilled for the discovery! 

A peek at our yard from a different angle, in early morning light. 

WOW!  What a difference a day makes.  The Sycamore (on the left), and the Poplars (middle and right) are now removed.  Mr. King did leave us some smallish stumps from the Sycamore to use around our fire pit as seats - or for the girls to play on.  Wasn't that great of them?!!  

(Left) Three healthy Poplar trees and, (Right) one diseased Hemlock with blight that have all been removed.   

The bending Sycamore tree before removal.  We found out that its roots were growing into our drain field pipes and wreaking havoc on our septic system.  Bye-bye!

The frogs and toads have been extra boisterous lately!!  Singing ever so loudly throughout the day and well into the night.  Here's a happy little fella hanging out in the pond, cooling off.  Isn't he/she cute?!  Do you think the amphibians will ever forgive us for all the noise pollution they've had to endure?!  I sure hope so.  

If anyone in our local area is looking for exceptional tree service, please remember Mr. Lee King located in Morgantown, 610.858.9435.  He's super busy, but he's worth the wait!  Tell him Kurt & Barb referred him with glowing regard!!  :)    

Thanks for stopping by, friends.  I hope your days are warming up your pool water and you're looking forward to some awesome summer nights of stargazing!!!  Cheers!!