“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”
~Henri Cartier-Bresson



Friday, May 2, 2008

Looking for Lambs

Last weekend my husband and I took a drive into the Shenandoah Valley , north-east of Plymouth, CA. It was a beautiful spring day; lots of green vinyards and wildflowers. I wanted to find a certain farm where a friend and I had seen baby lambs the year before: so I could take some pictures of them, of course.

Shenandoah Valley is the "new" Napa Valley. I'm not sure that this is a good thing. I remember Napa before all the fuss and it was , in my memories, a beautiful small town where everyone knew everyone and life was farming and everyone made their own wine for dinner. Now, I see the Shenandoah Valley going the same way. More and more vinyards and wineries are appearing every year; small wineries with big homes and fancy names. But there are still some families who have lived there for generations and maybe they have turned some of their acres into grapes for more money, but they still have old barns and farm animals. This is where I took the photo below.

There was a fence, as there had been last year, but this year there were "no tresspassing" signs everywhere. The old barn on the road was sagging a bit more than I remembered and there were no baby lambs. I got out of the truck and walked over to the fence and saw no animals at all. What a dissapointment! As I walked along the fence I peeked into the open side of the barn and I'll bet more than 30 sheep came running out into the pasture. I did not expect this. They really surprised me and I shouted something like "Oh my"(only a lot worse). The prospector looked up and shouted "There they are!", like I hadn't seen them. Gee's. I was so close to the fence and the sheep were so close to me, that it kind of took my breath away for a moment. There was a man across the pasture doing something with a hoe and I swear I saw him laugh. When I regained my composure I ran back to the other side of the barn and there they were, standing perfectly still, looking at me. So, I started talking to them.

Sheep are kind of like cows. They will stare you down, until they perceive you as a threat, and then they bolt. I was careful not to make any fast moves as I lifted my camera up. I tried not to have eye contact with any one animal but it was hard. I kept telling them how lovely they were and saying things like "Hello beautiful sheep." and "How are you today?. You do wonder what they must think of this crazy human making all these strange sounds. Probably something like "If she comes over the fence we'll head for the pond." or "We had the element of surprize and we didn't use it to our advantage." or more likely, "...another silly human ...". Who knows. I took some good shots but this one below was the one that touch me the most. This sheep was very deformed, by birth or accident I have no idea, but she was so damaged. The others seemed to stand around her as if they might be protecting her. There was this bond and maybe the ones that were closest to her where her offspring . I don't know. They did stay while I took a few pictures and then, for no reason that I could tell, they bolted across the pasture and left.

When my husband doesn't get out of the truck I always know my time is limited before he starts getting antsy. It was time to go and find some lunch. If there had been any lambs he would have waited a lot longer. With lambs, he might have gotten out of the truck. The salvage farm (that he had come out there to look at) was closed so, to his way of thinking , the trip was over. Men! With them it's always the destination, rarely the journey.

"The Dew of Compassion is a Tear"- lord byron

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bantam Recovery

Finding the small chicken
with a smile on her face'
was all I needed.
<<<^>>>
Little bantam hen
finding sunlight in lupin
peace in her heart.
<<<^>>>
For a week now Squeeky has been outside with the other hens. She only goes into the chicken house at night and seems a lot more perky. No more sitting on other hens eggs. Napoleon (our banty rooster) follows her around as if he is protecting her from the big hens. They have pecked at her before and she always squeeks loudly and runs,( thus her name). I appreciated the comments and advise I got on the post I wrote when she went broody. I used it all and everything worked. She's doing great!!
<<<^>>>

Squeeky update: she's not broody anymore! She is out and about.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

"Speak to us of children"

This weekend our two boys came up to celebrate their birthdays. They are five years apart, but their birthdays are only 3 days from each another. Since we couldn't get together in a couple of weeks, on their birthdays, we decided to celebrate early. One will be 40 yrs. old and the other 35 yrs. So... that means that their Dad and I are...., um.... old. How does this happen? It seems like just yesterday that we watched them graduate from College. Where did all those years go? Those little boy years of not quite knowing what you're doing, but acting like you do. The years of sickness in the middle of the night, the tooth farie and little league. At some point you stop washing their little bodies in the bath tub and they start taking showers. That happens about the same time that they stop talking in complete sentences: Just yes/no answers and "Oh Mom." Could it have been so long ago that our youngest came home, in tears, because someone told him there wasn't any Santa Claus?...., and the reality, on his sad little face, that this also meant there must be no Easter Bunny either. That's when I started wondering about the wisdom of adults.

Now they're the adults. The oldest is head of the computer support for a large university in the bay area and the youngest is a manager for a health insurance company near Sacramento. We're so proud of them.

Now I have two grandchildren to love and play with. It's almost like "going back", only not as much work. It's way more fun to be "Noni and Papa", and we get to babysit any time we want to

and then......., take a nap.



I'm reminded of THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran



Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, and

yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love, but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the

house of tomarrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children, as living arrows are sent forth.



....there is more, but this will do.

"....for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit." K. Gibran



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