Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Portraits of Pansies

Typically I plant flowers in the spring, like most people. This year I decided to plant some pansies, which is a flower I usually don't give a second glance. But, they have turned out to be a beautiful addition to the back porch. From this one picture I used Picnik to create some excellent effects. Picnik is a great photo editing tool and the best part about it? You can just use the free parts of the service and you don't have to sign up for anything.

On this picture I only color corrected.

Here is the picture when it is softened.

This is a matte effect and you can change the size/color of the matte.

This is the cross-process effect. This is one of my favorite effects. It gives a slightly aged look to a photograph.

You can also boost the color of your photo.

I hope you try it and have some fun with your camera.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Devil in a red shirt

Yesterday Smalltownland was a mass of storms. Bad weather moved through our area for most of the day. We were very fortunate in that we did not sustain any damage. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those in Mississippi that did.

We awoke this morning to a glorious day. Blue skies with white, fluffy clouds floating amid some raucous wind.

In Smalltownland the scene was much the same, with windy, clear skies.

Our highlight of the morning was watching Toots perform a skit with her youth group in church. It was her job to wear a red shirt and be the devil. She, and her group, did a great job, but I have to admit that she is not looking too devilish in this picture with her friend.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tomatoes anyone?

I think I have made no secret of the fact that I live out in the middle of nowhere. In fact, my old house is at the end of a small country road in a rural county. There are many days, when we are home in the summertime, that the only person to travel down our road is our beloved mail lady, Roxie. You actually have to have a real purpose to visit the farmette.

That being said, Sunday's turn of events was rather strange. I was sitting in the upstairs office when I heard, what I thought was the tractor. Now, I didn't think much of this actually. Secret Agent Man was at home and working outside. In no time he was up in the office asking if I knew the person that had just came down our road.

In fact our mystery visitor had left two boxes of tomatoes near the back door.

Two boxes of tomatoes and we had no idea who they belonged to or what to do with them.....or who dropped them off for that matter. Phone calls were made, but to no avail. They ended up being used by a local restaurant.
Strange happenings, even for Smalltownland.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Junkyard Dawg

Our home improvement projects have been proceeding a bit slower than anticipated. Maybe I should say at a snail's pace. However, I am keeping my sanity. The house has been a total wreck, as the carpet did not get installed over spring break....but, a whole week later. Furniture has been shoved everywhere, including our lovely front porch. Yes, really....

But, you can see that one member of the family doesn't seem to mind at all.

In fact he has just made himself at home.

This is looking a bit too much like, "Sanford and Son", for me.

It could really be the last straw people.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Country Drives

Country drives are the best, don't you agree? You know....the kind where you and the hubs ride up front while the kids are quiet and well behaved in the backseat? That version really doesn't happen around here. It is more like Secret Agent Man drives us around the county, while I make him stop at all sorts of unlikely places to take pictures. And, those chiclets of ours....well, they just want to know when we are stopping for ice cream or when we are going home, all the while pinching and poking each other. Family togetherness....there is nothing quite like it.

We are not deterred. I should say, I am not deterred. I like to take pictures and I need a chauffeur with knowledge of the surrounding area. Like this very ancient house in a very awesome location. The property was gated and I could not get any closer. And, I don't mean, "gated", as in like the suburban type. I mean like a chain/lock on the fence gate.

I did learn all about barns during this drive. We typically have tobacco barns in our area, not this type of hay barn.

I *puffy heart* this cabin. I think I need it here on the farmette. I especially need the Double Cola sign, the Coke machine, the rusty wheels, etc....

My altogether favorite part of the drive was when we happened upon these two gorgeous fellas. Awwww.....come on.....you know you think they are handsome. But, the best part was when.....

their buddy came along to ham it up in the picture.

I think if they had broken out in a rendition of, "On Top of Old Smokey", none of us would have been surprised. We would have given them a hearty round of applause.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A really companionable dog

A really companionable and indispensable dog,

is an accident of nature.

You can't get it by breeding for it,

and you can't buy it with money.

It just happens along.
E.B. White,
The Care and Training of a Dog

Saturday, April 10, 2010

An overnight excursion

Yesterday we took a wild hair, as we sometimes say in the south, and drove to Nashville for a little getaway. We ended up stopping at Belle Meade Plantation. Over 5,000 acres were purchased by John Harding in 1807. The plantation ran as a very prosperous horse farm for many, many years. The house, as partially shown in this photograph, was finished in this form in 1853. It contains a central hall passage with a winding, cherry staircase that rises up three floors. The house is decorated in the high Victorian style, with the family's original furniture. Photography was not allowed inside the house, but if you would like to read more about the house you may do so here.

The plantation possesses stagecoaches, sleighs, and a goat cart that the family used.

The picture below is of the smokehouse. The beautiful design in the brickwork is actually ventilation for the smoking process. The smokehouse is quite tall and contained many, many rafters to hold the smoked hams.

The slave history of the plantation is detailed in the exhibits and the slave quarters have also been preserved.

Last, but not least, Secret Agent Man and Toots posed for a lovely, historic picture.

The Deerslayer let me know that no amount of money could get him to pose like this.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Berry Bridge

Here in Smalltownland we are rich in many things. Interesting people, beautiful landscapes, and a slow pace make for a good life. Our county is incredibly rich in history and there are so many places to explore and investigate. We recently happened upon the Berry Bridge. Maybe I should not use the words, "happened upon", as it really is quite out of the way.

Built in 1908, it opened with much fanfare as you can tell from this historical photograph. I can't believe those men climbed up on top of those rails.... I do wish it was still customary for people to wear hats, such as those in this photo.

It was constructed out of iron and wood. I can only imagine the great convenience it provided back in its day. Bridging a connection from one portion of the county to another, and providing easier access to Smalltownland for many. Before its construction, a ferry took people, and their parcels, across the river. In 1981 it was deemed unsafe for travel. We walked down a portion of the road to the bridge and it was incredibly peaceful.

As you can see, it has deteriorated quite a bit. The wooden floor of the bridge is mostly gone and some of the iron is incredibly thin.

It was strangely beautiful.

A fine piece of history.

Spring Break and Thankfulness

This week the chiclets and I will officially be on spring break. At certain points in our cold, snowy winter I was unsure if this week would ever arrive. But, arrive it has, with temperatures reaching the 80 degree point this week. Instead of taking a trip this year, we will be completing some much needed improvements to our home. So instead of lounging on the beach, I will be painting, cleaning, and hoping the carpet man doesn't call too early tomorrow morning.

This does sound like a bit of a drag, I know. But, I have a different feeling this year. I don't feel like I am missing out on anything. In fact, I feel really thankful. Thankful that I live in an old, quirky farmhouse that I enjoy....even if it does need a new coat of interior paint. Thankful that the end of the mess is surely near, even if I have to step around furniture for a few more days.

Thankful that I finished painting the dining room AND put it all back together, even if the color did turn out a bit, "Easter Eggish".

Thankful that I am home on a sunny day when my daughter wants me to come outside and watch her latest trick. Rolling down the hill with an inner tube around her waist. Yes, it was hysterical.

Thankful that I was home to greet my son so he could tell me all about the turkey he shot during the youth weekend hunt.

I am also thankful that I don't have to set my alarm this week. Thankful that my husband is off this week as well so he can spend time hunting and fishing with our children....and laying some new hardwood floor :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010