Friday, July 30, 2010


The region in France we visited is where Impressionism started. SO, I took some pictures that show off that history...then I doctored them in Photoshop. It’s been great fun becoming an Impressionist “painter.” Please take a look at a couple of my “works of art.”

The sailboat harbor in Honfleur.
Man in a Boat on the Waterlily Pond in Giverny (Monet’s Garden)
Willows and Flowers in Giverny
My version of Waterlilies
Woman in Garden

We’re Back

We are back from a 2 week vacation to France. We were on a river boat that plied the Seine from Honfleur (on the Atlantic) to Paris. It was some trip. Over the next few days, I’ll post pictures of the area. Since I took about 3000 pictures, there’s a lot to plow through, so I’ll start with the easy ones.

About midway through the trip we visited the gardens of Claude Monet. Considering they are relatively small (I would say less than 2 acres) they are filled with colorful flowers, a meandering stream, great droopy willows, and wonderful bridges. The gardens are a photographers delight! Take a few minutes and enjoy some of the flowers and scenery.
After seeing these gardens, I knew how impressionism started. I also knew why he painted water lilies so many times. They are absolutely stunning.

The famous bridge...the hard part was finding a time when there were not a zillion people on it!
More water lilies..this time with a person in a boat. His job was to keep the pond clean.

It’s the perfect place to just sit down and “smell the roses”...problem is there are not many roses...just lots of other flowers.

On the perimeter of the garden is a narrow stream.
Then there are the flowers. I took 260 pictures in these gardens this is a small sample of what is there. Honest...I did take time to look at the pretty around me too.

Even the bees think the flowers are cool.

Sometimes a perfect flower has a little imperfection.

Morning dew?
I have no idea what this flower is, but this gaudy bloom sure attracted my attention.

I saved the best for last. This beautiful waxy orange bloom is just about perfect! I have a bunch more pictures of the garden...I might post them another day. If you have the opportunity to visit Giverny, take in the Monet Gardens as they are truly inspiring.

Now, I’m going to process some more watch this space.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Of Barns and Old Buildings

Today we tried to take interesting pictures of some of the old barns around here. Take a look and see if we succeeded.

This home is part of the Wyoming Trust (which I have never heard of before). We opened the gate and walked the ruts to the ruin. It was probably destroyed by fire but I have no idea when. The wood is dimensional with visible saw cuts. The nails are rusted and the walls and doors are no longer plumb. As you can see, there are holes in the roof and one of them is filled with a huge nest (probably a raptor’s nest).

I loved the details--the window sill, the clapboards, the pealing wallpaper inside, and if you look carefully, you might see a tree growing in the middle of the room.
Needless to say, I did not trust the inside stairs.

From the window inside the “kitchen” you can see the treehouse where the kids played many years ago.  You have to wonder how many people lived in this 3 room house? When they lived there? What they farmed? Why they left? Did the fire drive them out? Or, did the fire happen many years later? We just don’t know the answers! The stories the house could tell.

Nowadays, the house is abandoned. Tall grass and wildflowers are growing in the field. No one seems to care about this little house on the prairie.

A little bit further down the road, was another abandoned house. It was a bit “newer” than the first one, and as you can see it’s not falling down. If you look carefully you can see a hand pump between the shed and the house. There’s also a television antenna...a nice mix of older and newer technology.

A couple of miles further down the road is this old barn. It’s part of a working ranch and has been replaced by a more modern structure that’s not nearly as colorful. Today the sky was a perfect blue with fluffy clouds which enhanced our journey into yesteryear.
Sometimes, it helps to look at a picture in black and white...this is the type of picture that would have been taken when the barn was new.

I love looking at old fence posts too. How many winters have these posts seen?

And when you think about winter, you need to remember we are at 6500 feet. In the winter, these  mountains are covered with snow and the temps fall well below freezing.

Not all the barns in the area have the same shape. I don’t know if this is a Gambrel or Mansard roofline...can you tell me which? As with the previous barn, this is part of a working farm
Sometimes, poppies grow by old barns....
Sometimes, the barns seem to be held up by a promise. You have to wonder how long it will remain standing?

On the other hand, not all the ranches and farms are derelict. Here’s a working ranch with a magnificent barn. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

3 new...2 old

We have3 new flowers today...flax, a yellow cinq-foil and butter and eggs, and 2 that are growing nicely, Lupine and Coneflower.

I love the flax as it’s the prettiest blue. 

The yellow flowers are pretty as they brighten up the garden. 
The lupines are popping up everywhere ...

But it’s the coneflower that is the most interesting. You can see where all the little florets are going to grow, sometime in the near future...yet right now it looks like it comes from an alien world.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Baskets

Several years ago we built the arbor...and this year I finally got the plants for it. So far the deer have not found the flowers. They seem to find everything else.

We have a new bloom in the garden...the State Flower of Wyoming has appeared. It used to be called an Indian Paint Brush, but now it’s called Paint Brush. Political correctness comes to flower names too.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Bird Feeder

I decided I wanted to watch all the pretty birds in the I bought a bird feeder. It took a couple of days for the birds to find it..then I noticed that the food was dropping at an alarming rate. That’s when I discovered the following:

 The bird feeder is down! I need to find a taller pole I think!

Bucolic West

There is a herd of long horn cattle not too far away. I go by them everyday hoping I can get some pictures, but they seem to be camera shy. Today I was lucky.

There’s at least one cow with calf in the herd. The calf already shows signs of horns...and if mama’s horns are predictive of size, the calf will have big horns too.

I just know they are big...I don’t know if they are mean...I also don’t intend to find out.

Finally, a black and white shot, to make it look as if we are in the “ol West, the way America used to be.”

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bluebird Blue Skies

The Jackson  Hole Jaycees describe the skies out here as Bluebird Blue. By looking at the sky today, I have to agree. The air is warm, not hot. It’s dry. Maybe, just maybe, summer is here!

This is a macro, or close-up of a salsify (aka, Goat’s Beard). I was surprised I could focus on the tiny traces of pollen.
The coneflower which has been growing a couple of inches a day has finally set forth a bud. This bud will not get a traditional flower, instead it will have hundreds of teensy yellow florets, but only a row will “bloom” at a time. You have to wonder how it attracts the attention of beneficial insects.

I just discovered this insect is commonly known as a Blister Beetle. If you disturb it, it will produce a yellowish goo that will cause blisters on sensitive skin. Needless to say, I have not tried disturbing this beetle to find out if it really does have a yellowish blistering goo.

This  tiny flower is no bigger than a pea. Does anyone know what it is?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

Enjoy the Fireworks!
We saw some last night in Idaho Falls...the best display in the West!

 We might see some more in Jackson tonight.