Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Pelican…

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Pelicans in December

One can’t help admiring

their rickety grace

and old-world feathers

like seasoned boardwalk planks.

They pass in silent pairs,

as if a long time ago

they had wearied of calling out.

The wind tips them, their

ungainly, light-brown weight,

into a prehistoric wobble,

wings”-end fingers stretching

from fingerless gloves

necks slightly tucked and stiff,

peering forward and down,

like old couples arm in arm

on icy sidewalks, careful,

careful, mildly surprised

by how difficult it has become

to stay dignified and keep moving

even after the yelping gulls have gone;

even after the scattered sand,

and the quietly lodged complaints.

J. Allyn Rossser

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Apps used: Snapseed and Layers


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A weekend…

I was motivated to make a movie of our recent weekend in Morro Bay. I had taken a lot of short clips of crazy elephant seals, sea otters, birds, and surfers. Plus I was interested in seeing if I could make the entire film on my iPhone6. It has a larger screen than my previous phone and even though the iMovie app is not as complex as the version on my laptop I thought it would be interesting to see what could be done just with the one mobile device. Here it is: (Don’t forget to click on the small square in the lower right hand corner so that it displays full-screen. You really can see many more details in the images.)


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Decay, winter nests, and hope…

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Decay

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Winter nests…

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Promises of new growth to come…

Playing with a new app to me, Lenka (black and white), plus Stackables…nice to wander in my winter garden between rainstorms…


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Goats…!

The Chianti Cashmere Goat Farm was on our agenda of visiting places while in Tuscany. A wildlife-friendly farm with 300 goats and 12 large, white Pyrenees-type dogs protecting the herd from wolves.

Listen up, I am in charge here...

Listen up, I am in charge here…

Oh, I do not think so...

Oh, I do not think so…

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The goats are grazed on these hills of neighboring farms supporting the organic nature of the vineyards…

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There is a retail store with yarn, soaps, and woven items…

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The owner, Marcie’s friend, Nora, told us about the processing of the cashmere. (Of great interest to me, a former spinner and weaver. I even used to teach my art students how to spin wool using a knitting needle and a russet potato as a drop spindle.)

This was a very nice excursion.

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And the doves were nice, too.


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Good things…

Back before I went to Barcelona, I mentioned that I had been helping some parents at an elementary school in the district I used to teach in construct a ceramic mosaic. When I left, after many months of making clay tiles, glazing clay tiles, creating images of the life skills the kids at the school are taught, and cutting tiles and mirror for the background, they had begun the installation.

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By the time I got back they had completed the installation with every kid in the school getting to make an addition of some type. They had even completed the grouting and the entire mural was absolutely fabulous! (I was kind of sorry I missed the grouting because I do love to grout. Oh, well, the next project!)

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These are Shweta and Tammy, mothers, artists, volunteers, organizers and Renaissance women who are really fun to hang around with because they do cool projects. I would follow them into an art project anywhere. Kudos on a job well-done! Just goes to prove the universal goodness brought to you by art.

In addition, on the universal goodness of nature:

I have mentioned my Dutchman’s Pipevine on my gate many times over the years. It is great because it is a California native plant so takes little water, the deer don’t like to eat it so it can hang to the outside of the garden gate, and it has possibly the greatest flower ever seen…

5, LRM, (010_JC_PipeVineBloom)

We planted ours probably six years ago for the above qualities and one more. There is a Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly that only likes it. So we have waited and waited for ours to come…which it finally did a few weeks ago.

I could not get a picture of it because it was really flittering…

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but Terry succeeded…

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but then it was gone. Today I passed by the vine and into the house, glancing over to see if it was time for me to take fast growing tendrils and weave them back into the trellis and I noticed that many ends had been chewed off.

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After my first thought that we had somehow grown a super-large example of deer that was taller than the gate and wrecking havoc despite the poisonous nature of the plant (which is why they are not supposed to like to eat it), I looked closer and found that we now have a colony of caterpillars…

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The caterpillars are not poisonous at first, but the more leaves they eat the more poisonous they become. This is why the birds do not like them even though black with red spikes makes them kind of obvious. The caterpillars leave the Pipevine for a different plant when they make their chrysalis. I feel like a grandmother to thousands! I am so proud…


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Transforming my frustration…

I have mentioned before how much I love the app Snapseed for processing my iPhone photos. For many, many years it has been my go-to, all-purpose, crop, clean-it-up and tweak app. So imagine my surprise when I opened it last week to find that there was an entirely new version. I am so set in my ways, I was immediately frustrated. That frustration grew and grew as I tried to do the things that I have always done, but couldn’t find the work flow as it had always been. hmmm, I said, why would you do that to me oh, favorite app…

Many YouTube videos later and a walk in the garden yesterday, I have made my peace…I at least know where things are now.

Fernald's Iris

Fernald’s Iris

lewisia - Version 2

Lewisia

Pink Monkeyflower

Pink Monkeyflower

Spicebush

Spicebush

New dwarf Butterflybush

New dwarf Butterflybush

Swallowtail looking for new dwarf Butterflybush!

Swallowtail looking for new dwarf Butterflybush!

California poppy

California poppy

California poppy

California poppy

So I say, people, take out your green grass lawns, install drip irrigation, put in native California plants…you will not regret it as you face the draught…spot through the garden a few non-natives, like a Cecile Brunner in a planter…you will have no end to willing photographic subjects…and you might get to liking Snapseed again as well as saving money on water fees!

Cecile Brunner

Cecile Brunner

And with great anticipation of getting to try a new feature of the Snapseed app (it now includes a function called Transform, which allows you to tweak perspective both vertical and horizontal…so all those tall buildings in a big city…no leaning towers except in Pisa! In a few short weeks we will be off to soak in the architecture of one of the most interesting cities…for now, from an old photo, here is what it can do…

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original…notice right hand edge of building

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now it is straight!

I really like Snapseed again!


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A walk with Priime…

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Took a morning walk with a new iPhone app I had just purchased. It is called Priime and it is free, but, of course, if want the full complement of filters and lenses, you would have to purchase them once you are in the app.  I liked what it did, so I did.

Here is a discussion of how the app works, in case you are interested: http://iphonephotographyschool.com/priime-app/

Our walk had a particularly nice sunrise…

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and I discovered that my neighborhood school has an answer to the “love-lock bridges” of Paris which are being crumbled by the weight of all the locks.

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Looks to me to be ceramic hearts by first graders…oh, the love…

I also used Priime on some new things in my garden…my new Meyer Lemon…

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and more colors of Douglas Iris that are popping out…

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