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