Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bloomin Tuesday--In Our Natural Habitat

 I'm linking up with Jean's Bloomin' Tuesday here, though brace yourself, this isn't all that pretty.....just click on the link on the right:

The weekend is long gone and I didn't accomplish much.   Since I haven't been feeling all that great, I am way behind on just about everything.  We haven't had a hard, 'This is it, the plants are dead- no amount of covering them with blankets will save them now' frost yet, so I have flowers blooming in abundance, even though the cold nights have taken a toll on them and most need deadheading or tidying in some way or another.  Oddly enough, after a wet record-breaking spring and partially flooded out summer where I had Joel deadheading flowers from his kayak at one point, we are now quite dry again.  I do love October's bright blue weather though, it is probably my favorite month of the fall season.

Since Sunday afternoon was bright and breezy, but rather warm, in the 60's,  we decided to take the annual Christmas card photo shoot on a nice day instead of waiting until the last minute and freezing our patooties off later on. I managed to get both of our sons and Carl all together at the same time, which is no small feat, since they are all busy.  Then we rounded up the dogs, and Screech Kitty (last year the only picture that worked for us was one where Screech wandered behind a rock and I got phone calls asking what happened to him!)  Of course, the worst time for photography is a bright, sunny day where the subjects all face the sun. 

Come along with me and help me choose the perfect family portrait, one that shows what a loving, happy bunch we are!

 Wait, Carl isn't there, he's adjusting the camera; at this point we are using a camera on a tripod and Joel is holding a remote control to take the picture.

Ok, Carl's back (literally) and the cat, too--but where did Joel go?  Oh, he's adjusting the camera.

Ok, here we go, smile everyone, or at least LOOK at the camera, please........ooops, time to adjust the camera again--it's aimed a bit high.
 Carl is off to adjust the camera again....
Well.......hmmmmm.....Carl looks like he's just gotten some very bad news and Teddy Dog is airborne in this photo, trying for a fast break.

Ann took over the camera at this point.....people, PEOPLE!!  Look at the camera, say cheese. CONCENTRATE please!!
My, I look so short...
OK, enough of this pose, let's move on....get Mom on her feet, let's move!
I think I have something in my eye, wait a minute.......
Ok, that's better...but gosh, it's still bright out there.
Let's try over by the gazebo.  Yup, the sun is still shining here, too. Squint, squint.
Now Screech makes a run for it with David in hot pursuit.
Let's try sitting down.  No cat, and we're still squinting.
Everyone---to the Escarpment, hide behind the Miscanthus! 
This one has possibilities, except.......look at our poor pets!  Screech in a stranglehold, Pudding Dog in my lap looking at Teddy who is clearly despondent.  (No animals were harmed in the making of this portrait)

 Ok, the family is getting real restless now.......milling around, clearly without leadership....
 Dave is SO ready for this to be over, and is also allergic to cat dander so he's starting to sneeze.  Screech took off again.
Dave looks homicidal in the one above:

Everybody--- look happy!  ?  Hello?  smile...............arghhh...at the camera please?
Later that night we go through the pictures.....after 293 shots, there must be ONE good one.
Joel thinks we need a retake......we all think the same thing, with the exception of Dave, who thinks we all need our heads examined.  I don't know if I can rope him into another round of this or not.  We may have to cut and paste him in.

And now for a History Lesson:
This family photo thing is something we didn't do much of in the early years; we did have the occasional church directory photo shoots and of course, the boy's school pictures before they graduated high school, but for some reason, we just weren't hustling down to the local Something-Mart and doing  the color-coordinated family sitting proudly perched in front of a fake backdrop of mountains every year.  

Then, in 2006, a friend of ours saw a backyard makeover contest in a gardening magazine she thought we should enter.   The contest rules were simple, the work had to be done entirely by the owners, no landscapers allowed; just take before and after photos of your backyard garden makeover and send them the story of what you did.  And most importantly, send them a picture of your family enjoying the new backyard. 

I don't normally enter contests.  I don't do rejection very well.

 But, the grand prize was:  (Cue heavenly music........)

A brand-new tractor!  With a loader attachment !

Ok, the tractor got my attention, never mind it wasn't my favorite tractor manufacturer, but it was a RED one-- so if we won it, there would be no fights in the tractor shed as our antique tractors are all red.  We're weird like that.

So, off I went to gather pictures of the 'before' garden and make copies (this was before I ever thought of writing a blog, by the way) and then taking new 'after' pictures and trying to make this an eye-catching, 'stop and look at this' type of entry under 2000 photos and three million words.  That was hard.

I wrote and rewrote and edited mercilessly.  I thought I was done, until I reread the rules again...uh, I forgot something.  We had to take a photo of our entire family 'enjoying our new backyard'.

Wow, that was harder.

And since the deadline for mailing in this entry was less than two days away, we had to figure out how to enjoy the yard and fast!  We had no one to take the photo, so Joel set up his camera on a tripod, set the auto timer, and ran as fast as he could to be in place before the shutter clicked.

There he is, on the left side of the picture below, sprinting to his place in the picture.
2006-The picture that started it all.
Getting a dog, a cat, and a super-reluctant Dave (who was never thrilled about family photography and even less thrilled with the garden as a hobby-turned monster who owns us) Joel (who loves the outdoor work (and especially the thought of a new tractor) and Carl and I to look like we're just all hanging out in the Quarry on a summer afternoon, look at us, lounging the day away---to look natural was an epic challenge.  But that first family photo out in the garden in 2006 was and is my favorite one of all.  This was the picture that started our craze with trying for a 'photo in the garden' for the annual Christmas card every year.  We've never been as successful since. 

Oh, and by the way, we didn't win the tractor either.....or even an honorable mention.......and it probably would have helped a little, teensy bit if we had actually been subscribers of the magazine, too!?  I think our entry was probably tossed in the circular file, LOL.  

The 'romance' shot......awwwww........32 years later and we're still here.

Maybe this Christmas, I'll just send garden photos.    Karen


Bom said...

Hi Karen! I hope you get well soon. Thanks for sharing your photos. You have one big garden.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen, have you thought of using that one of you and Carl at the end! It is a very special photo, do you think the boys would mind?


Jean said...

Sorry you couldn't get a picture but the background is lovely! LOL! Jean

Junebug said...

I think a mosaic of all your attempts would be a great family picture for the year!!! I so enjoy you blog!

Missy said...

That looked like fun - well for everyone except Dave and maybe Screech. Dave's scowl is a classic. The idea of a mosaic sounds wonderful. You could crop the best bits of each pic and add some garden shots as well.

Sandy said...

Hi Karen.. I hope your feeling better soon! The photos are wonderful of your family.. I understand trying to get everyone together for a photo.. it's been a while since getting my three kids in town at the same time.. Thanks so much for your visit and comments on your apron.. I love it!

shannon i olson said...

ok first just plain funny narrative on the photos, I was literally laughing out loud. second what a magnificent yard! Third my husband builds red tractors...has worked at the factory for 17 years. wish you would have won
this is a great post!!

Karen said...

Thank you, Bom, and yes, it is a big yard. Too big sometimes.

Eileen, at this point I think the boys would throw up their hands and say hurray. Thank you!

Thanks Jean, I was thinking about editing us out of the foreground, lol.

Junebug, excellent idea, and I think I will work on a mosaic, you have just figured out the answer to the dilemma!

Missy, thank you, good idea too--maybe I could paste a smile on Dave?

Hi Sandy, yes, we are a motley bunch, such wonderful memories (well, maybe in the future, ha!)

Hi Shannon, thanks for visiting, your husband makes red tractors?? How cool is that? I'm glad you liked the post, not everyone 'gets' my sense of humor. Thanks again!

Alea said...

What a fun post! Thanks for the laugh! You yard is gorgeous - I can't imagine what it would have taken to win!

Granny Lyn's Garden said...

Hi Karen,
I loved the post.Chuckled all the way through. I agreed , you should use the one of you and Carl, very special pic. God Bless, Lynda

Anonymous said...

This was so cute as you took us through your photo shoot. All those images and a retake? I thought you had a few good ones.

You should have won the tractor. That was a great shot of the family on the rock walls.

Karen said...

Alea, thank you!

Lynda, I'm glad you had few laughs. I think we may end up with the last one or a mosaic...liking that idea!

Donna, Thank you! Actually, the lady who won the tractor had a very small yard, so small in fact, that in the follow-up the magazine did about her, she said she would be selling it as she had no room or a use for it. Awwwwwww...phooey!

Ginny said...

How much fun to participate this way in your family photo shoot! I love that romance shot! This reminds me the photo shoot we have each year to get a picture of my husband and me with our six grandchildren - the oldest grandchild is 5 and the youngest is 18 months. You can imagine what it's like! We were able to get a good photo of ALL of us - all three generations - in August this year. We handed the camera to a stranger passing by and she only took two shots. Amazing.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

You have a beautiful property, and a great looking family. Oh, and I love your washing machine. I remember seeing my grandma using hers, and making sure I kept my hands out of the rollers.

I haven't seen yet why you yourself had to go to the hospital.