Cee’s B & W Challenge

I was going nuts trying to come up with words with O and U in them that Cee hadn’t already used. I googled “words with the letters o and u in them and found this site for Scrabble players. https://word.tips/words-with/u/and/o/.

Accumulation

Accumulation of stuff at a store in Bellagio

Adulation & House of Worship

an historic House of worship in Los Olivos, CA. You should show adulation when you worship.

Caution & Fountain

This is a no-brainer. Only a dumbo would attempt to get near the water. Do you see the fountain behind the sign?

Clouds

We rarely see this many clouds reflected in Bravo Lake.

Counter

An old-fashioned counter at Cracker Barrel. This friendly woman did not stay behind the counter.

Outfit

If you are going to swim with the dolphins, you had better wear the right outfit.

Popular (Popularity Contest)

I would earn a gold star in a Puppy-dog Popularity Contest. (The human leg on the couch is mine.)

Southwest

A trip to the Southwest would not be complete without a trip to the Grand Canyon.

I hope you enjoyed this short black and white journey into words with o and u in them. Thinking of O & U words got easier once I got started. How many words did you find in this post? How many words did you find in your post? To read more entries, click here.

Don’t forget – one more day to get your Carrot Ranch Rodeo FREE FLASH FICTION WRITING Contest Entries turned in. Some people have had issues with both my new email and the entry form. You can always use tchistorygal@gmail.com.

2020: An Historic Year of Views Outside Our Home

#Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge Outside of Your Home or View.

The world will remember the year twenty-twenty with twenty-twenty clarity. For Cee’s Black and White Challenge this week, I decided to choose one picture outside our home for each month that I had a picture beginning in January.

January, 2020

I got carried away with January’s photos.

Playing with Photoshop near midnight makes some people act strangely. Puppy Girl still acts the same with a Threshold Filter.

Puppy Girl loves these cool damp days. She explores the dry creek bed Vince created nearly twenty years ago as though she had never seen it before.

Each year Vince adds a new touch to the house. This year he outdid himself starting with this pathway created from the left-over cement he took out of the garage when he created the cabana sixteen years ago or so. Puppy Girl does what she does best. I added a bit of a green filter to this photo. January is the only month I’ve seen moss growing on the concrete.

February, 2020

On this February morning we could almost see each individual snow flake on the mountainside. By August we didn’t have mountains. For this shot, I shot blind by raising my hands as high as I could and shooting. It wasn’t a professional shot, but I got above all the fencing and the neighbor’s buildings across the creek.

March, 2020

In March Moji relaxes and enjoys her breakfast with the elephant outside the room. This table is right outside our dining room, and we rarely use it except to feed our cats where we can watch them eat. I love the shadowy patterns on the patio.

April, 2020

Who knew this would be the last April picture I would photograph the outside of the home where we have lived and completely renovated continuously for almost twenty years.

May, 2020

In May through June we completed the garden project we started last year, including the addition 1966 dump truck as yard art. We had lots of time to work because of COVID and sheltering in place. It never seemed like a hardship during those first few months. We were way too busy to even care too much when our air conditioning unit died. We did not know that COVID would make finding a replacement more difficult than finding toilet paper.

June, 2020

By June the temperatures climbed into the 100s. The plants did not seem to mind as long as I watered them every day. I preferred to do that early and stay in my office and look outside at them from the house. Unfortunately we did not have air conditioning during the month of June. So Vince installed a window air conditioner in the living room and it was bearable if we did not do much. We were still sheltering at home.

July, 2020

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At the end of July, a company out of Porterville, CA installed the air conditioner that had gone out on May 2. They neglected to hook the condenser pipe to anything inside the attic, and water poured into the attic for several days before it soaked through the ceiling of our spare room. The process Service Master took to dry out the room, remove all the drywall, bit by bit, bag it up and purify the air to remove any possible sign of mold lasted another month and a half.

August, 2020

August and September brought forest fires our way. Parts of our neighboring town, Three Rivers, had to evacuate. We were more fortunate. Our air conditioning now worked which was excellent since the air outside was not fit to breath. It fell from the sky in chunks and turned the sunrise a bright red. You can barely see it trying to peek through the smoke.

September, 2020

My husband is a perfectionist worrier, which I count as a blessing. Since the installers had done such a poor job with the condenser pipe, Vince called in a roofer and another air conditioner installer to make sure they had not damaged the roof or created any other damage that might cause more leakage once it started to rain. They both said, “Uh, yeah, this wasn’t done right. You have some issues.” We could see the hole in the roof and the fact that there was a large gap between the air conditioner and the roof. So in September the roofers came and worked. We didn’t need to keep sheltering at home, the world came to us.

October, 2020

During the course of events that careened through our lives, we decided to fulfill a longtime wish and move to the high desert. We both loved Prescott every time we visited, and in October we sold the home into which we had poured twenty years of our dreams.

As a part of the sale of the property, we had to insure that the septic and leach lines worked properly. That meant some more work to the outside of the house. I couldn’t even watch, but Vince took a video. Warning: It’s not black and white!

Thank you Cee for offering us this opportunity to share a little bit of our lives with you and those who follow you.

To my readers, please visit Cee and don’t forget to check out some of the other great entries as well. #Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge Outside of Your Home or View

Lens-Artist #118: Communication – Right from the Horse’s Mouth

Anne Leueen and Baisini the Horse host this week’s Lens-Artist Challenge #118. I’m super late getting in my entry, but when a horse encourages you to enter, you have to oblige even if you are tardy, right?

Manny, from California, and Justin Beaver, from Queensland, meet up again in Hawaii after years on the road and miles apart.

As a blogger, a photo blogger to be more exact, an insatiable drive impels us to communicate. We hope for someone, but definitely putting ourselves out there in the world.

Do you remember how hard communication was when you were in middle school? Yet having friends, sharing secrets, laughing, and listening is how we all learned to communicate. How sad we are that children can’t enjoy this intimate kind of communication without risk. Our schools are distance learning until further notice.

High School and clubs gave students further chances to learn to communicate. These FFA students, Edith and Rogelio, went to the National Competition with their FFA projects and came back to present at a Kiwanis meeting as if they had been making presentations for years. (Which they had been.) Aren’t they adorable?

While I don’t want anyone to get sick and die of COVID or anything else, I wish there was another way besides Zoom to insure that students would not have to miss out on these opportunities for the rest of this year. They can never make it up.

Learning new skills in communication doesn’t stop when we age. Our friend Jack Pizura decided he would learn how to paint after he turned 80. For a while he poured himself into communicating his ideals and what he loved through his art. He showed his paintings in a local restaurant and explained the meanings of some of them in case we missed the nuances. Yes, I had missed the hidden meanings on all of these, but I loved many of his paintings and enjoyed the evening.

These band students had a chance to play during a veteran’s program last year. Every time people assemble they communicate. They plan, they practice, they goof off, and make friends for life. All canceled this year.

In small schools students mingle frequently with the community often during programs. They are a community asset and it is their responsibility to perform and do their best.

The number of badges on this young man’s sash communicates that he has already taken many steps to become a leader. He prepares to lead the flag salute at the Woodlake Veteran’s Day program.

At our Kiwanis meetings, experts and professionals inform us about how their profession contributes to the well-being of our society. On this day the chief of the emergency room from Kaweah Delta Hospital and one of his staff members met with us at 6:30 am to tell us about care at our hospital. That communicated concern and going the extra mile (literally – Woodlake is 20 miles away from the nearest large town, Visalia, CA.)

I want to go out with a bang. Why is that? Because I am glad I live in the United States, in spite of the turmoil we have had, the COVID scare. We have come through so much.

"The bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there." -Francis Scott Key

We look to the skies for a sign. These fireworks give proof that we enjoy freedom for yet another day.

Tomorrow I will go back and enjoy others who joined in this week’s Lens Artists’ Challenge and I hope that you will do the same. Looking ahead to next week, Ann-Christine of Leya will lead the challenge, so be sure to visit her site on Saturday, October 17th at noon.

If I’m still slow next week too, my excuse is that I’m still in the moving process. We are counting down to November 14th. I packed one more room up and secured a moving van to move 20 years of accumulated stuff. Negotiating between companies took all day!!! I still don’t know for sure that I made the right choice, but I paid money, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

In case you have to move in the near future, you can check moving company’s reputations beyond YELP at the Department of Transportation website using the company’s DOT ID number. This was helpful communication because all I talked to were brokers and they all had nice things to communicate about their companies. Yelp did not always agree.

Don’t Forget

You have until next Monday to submit your Double Ennead for the Carrot Ranch Poetry Contest.

A Dry October Photo Walk

#Lens Artist – Amy, takes us on a photo walk as Challenge # 117. This week, and Terri with Sunday Stills makes it a dry one. Since we live in a semi-desert area, dry pictures abound. #Tanka Tuesday sweetens the challenge because it’s poet’s choice of theme and type of poem. So here goes, I’m going to combine all of the above along with Cee’s Flower of the Day and Becky B’s October Kinda Squares

My sister-in-law and her pets live with us now. Today we took our two dogs for a mile-long walk through the Woodlake Rose Garden. I was on a quest for pictures of dry beauty like a well-aged red wine.

For once, I couldn’t take pictures to make my Kiwanis group proud. Last weekend Kiwanis recruited 37 volunteers, students and adults who spread mulch to hold in the precious moisture.

Once we got past the Kiwanis section, which could be likened to garden of sweet white wine, I didn’t have to look far.

 
Roses
Spidery
Pitied
#Haiku 2/3/2

The garden sprinkling system fails consistently but the thirsty roses get some water. No one except Chuck House brings a hose and cleans them off. I wonder what would happen if all 7,000 Woodlakers came out to work in the garden for a couple of hours this fall?

Spiders are in heaven making silky webs to trap the dust and ashes in the air. The little bug on the rose can hide out almost anywhere in the garden except where he is. Does anyone recognized him?

Roses need deadheading constantly in the summer to keep them blooming beautifully. Due to COVID, we did not have the help this summer that we usually get from the students, and the Master Gardeners were not able to come until just recently. So you will see Zombie Roses on this walk.

Deteriorated
Dilapidated, dusty
Throw-away roses
"Wait," shouted the grasshoppers.
"Look at this elegant weave
Spiders created."
#Tanka 5/7/5/7/7

The garden could be the Secret Garden before it was rediscovered. The potential of beauty is there, covered with what looks like years of neglect. In reality, it’s only a few weeks. On the cobweb blanket, you can see the ashes from the forest fires.

This rose has company that puts it to shame. The beauty of the morning glory is deceptive. It chokes out its competition, the rose and takes over if left unchecked.

Vibrant
Velvety
Contrast

Withered
Crumpled petals
Faded
#Haiku 2/3/2

Some of the plants are not as loved as the roses. My great-grandmother used to make persimmon cookies. I do not think she would be happy to see this dry tree.

Some areas of the garden have still not been adopted by organizations. In those area anything goes. In this case, the rose is surrounded, not only by thorns, but by weeds.

Lost in a weed patch
Propagating constantly
Drowning in ashes
#Haiku 5/7/5

Once in a while, you have to look up. The trees tell the long time story. Those blobs are cobwebs and debris.

After the garden walk, Cindy and Flo went home, Kalev and I drove home the back way on Sentinel Butte Road looking for more dry pictures. We weren’t disappointed. You can see the dusty, smoke-hazed, 157-AQI-sky. You can barely make out Colvin Mountain in the background.

It struck me that Woodlake is the perfect example of “the haves and have nots” when it comes to water. Wherever there is water, even just a speck, you see green life blooming. Otherwise you see brown deterioration.

Life-giving water
Sucked dry by super hot skies
Humans tricked the fruit 
Giving them a plastic teat
Yielding oranges once more.
#Tanka 5/7/5/7/7

I read this quote on Sylvia Bacon’s website,

“Beauty can be seen in all things; seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph”

Matt Hardy

The weed and dead limbs contrasted to attract my attention.

As I drove around the corner, the hillside on the left marked the end of the dry land and the beginning of irrigated groves of orange trees.

I hope I achieved my goal of seeing and composing the beauty in this dry photo walk.

These images are inspired and submitted for the following blog challenges:

Don’t Forget to Head Over to See Kerry

https//www.kerrylizblack.wordpress.com

#Cee’s B &W Challenge: Pets and Farm Animals

I posted a picture for Bushboy’s Last Day challenge. Here is the same picture cropped, framed, and unsaturated for Cee Neuner’s Black and White Challenge. I’m surprised it is a bit pixilated looking.

Snickerdoodle on the top, Tex with his bow legs on the bottom.

Tulare County, especially where we live in Elderwood, CA primarily derives income from agriculture. On my walks, I encounter a plethora of farm animals. This black and white dude is one of my favorites.

This next BIG guy has plenty to say. He’s a LOT of bull. He must be reacting to election season.

In our neighborhood we do not have walking paths, but we have roads with little traffic or houses. One of the problems we had living in the country has been loose dogs that have killed our kittens. Most dog owners keep their dogs under control. These dog owners get a thumbs up from me.

These goats live down the road from us. They romp in the slope down to Cottonwood Creek that runs behind our house about two weeks out of the year.

You can’t have a farm without at least one of these stubborn “animules.”

Let’s take one last look at our farm animals and pets from Elderwood, California.

Vince and I just listed our home and plan to move to Prescott, AZ in the near future. We hope that someone will love it here as much as we have.

For more entries from Cee’s B & W Challenge, check out her website, https://ceenphotography.com/2020/10/01/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-pets-and-farm-animals/

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