Monday, January 31, 2011

Soap Opera or Sitcom

Some days I wonder if I'm living the story line of a drama filled soap opera, or if it's simply a badly scripted sitcom! :-)    I would tell you about the rest of my event filled weekend, but at this point I think you all would really begin to believe that I make this stuff up...oh how I wish!

Don't get me wrong though, I know things could be so much worse!  Look at poor A-M who is trying to pull her life back together after enduring major flooding in Australia, and she's just one of thousands trying to find their way after life has thrown them a curve ball.  And Anne from Fiona and Twig nearly had her house burn down this past weekend, so you see it can always be worse and at times when life seems like it's picking on you, you really do have to stand back and remember how lucky you are!

We all have our challenges to face day in and day out, times when our strength and resolve seem tested beyond the limits, but we somehow muddle through and come out alright in the end!

Today we continued to monitor Mr. Quinn for signs of any problems related to the skunk attack and so far so good, knock on wood.  The vet said to continue monitoring him for the rest of the week, but I'm hopeful he will come out of this none the worse for wear.

Some of you have commented and emailed me asking for the recipe to the magic potion we used on Quinn last night.  It's 1 Quart Hydrogen Peroxide (be sure it's a new bottle and hasn't expired), 3/4 cup Baking Soda, and 1 to 2 Tbs. of original Dawn Dish Detergent (I also read where you can substitute Ivory Dish Soap for Dawn).  You mix it all together (be sure NOT to put it in a sealed container because it creates a chemical reaction and can explode if housed in a sealed container), then put it on your pet, avoiding the eyes and mouth, let sit for approximately 5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with tepid water.

That's what we did, and aside from some of Mr. Quinn's fur around his ears getting slightly bleached to a lovely shade of copper, the solution worked like a champ!  Phew!

Today was spent doing very little in between napping, and it will be a short night tonight as I'm hitting the hay just as soon as I hit the send button on this post.  I did want to at least update you all and thank each of you for your concern and kind words of commiseration! 

In addition to having a sick puppy last night, Mr. Tide woke up in the middle of the night sick as could be from what we think was the smell of the skunk!  He was the one who stayed outside with Mr. Quinn for almost 2 hours while I traveled back and forth to the store last night.  And he also helped hold Quinnie while I bathed him, so he really got more than his fair share of exposure to the skunk oil!  He's still not feeling well tonight!

We were able to use an oil lamp to get rid of the scent in the house, I have to say that those Lampe Berger lamps really do cleanse the air, so I was lucky to have one for just such an occasion!  Thanks Grace for making sure I had one, sometimes things do work out the way they are supposed to!!!

You may be wondering why it seems as though I've posted the exact same photos as last night.  Some of them are very similar, and one is the same photo, just done in a different texture.  The above photos are ones I just sent off to have made into note cards, they will be minus the watermark of course.  It will be my first foray into selling my photos, and I'm hoping that when I receive them in the mail I will love how they look, otherwise I'll have a lot of extra note cards filling up my junk drawer!

With everything that's been going on, wow don't I sound like a broken record, I haven't been able to reply to every comment and email, but I hope to remedy that situation over the rest of this week, barring any further skunk incidents...let's hope I didn't just jinx myself!

I was lucky enough to win a few awards last week, so I'll be back soon to share them with you!  Have a wonderful week my friends!

Fresh As a Daisy

It's 4:30 AM here and why am I still awake you might ask?  Well you see our dear, sweet Mr. Quinn went out at about 11:30 tonight like he always does in preparation of heading to bed.  We take all of the pups out for one last potty run before hitting the hay each night.  Sounds exciting right?!  It normally isn't, but tonight, well that was a whole other story!!!

You see Mr. Tide was the one who actually took them out tonight, and after he had brought back in Miss Kylee and Misty Belle, he came to the back door and asked if I would put the other dogs up and then come out to help him.  This is never a good sign my friends! 

I didn't really need an explanation as to what had happened, the odor reached me before Mr. Tide's words actually did.  Yup, Mr. Quinn had a rather nasty argument with a skunk it seems, and we all know who wins arguments with skunks...

There is a fairly effective remedy for removing the smell of skunk from a dog.  It involves hydrogen peroxide, Dawn dish detergent, and baking soda...we had baking soda but that was the only ingredient we had on hand.  So my son and I jumped in the car and drove the 25 minutes to the nearest store that was still open...I'll never bad-mouth Walmart again, ok I might, but not for awhile a least!  When we got home Mr. Tide had brought the stinky one into the house and the whole place smelled horrible!

The scent of skunk up close and personal is far different from the scent you smell along the roadway when one has been hit, it is something similar, but 100 times worse!  Poor Quinnie took a direct hit in the face from what we've been able to piece together, and he was drooling and foaming at the mouth trying to get rid of the foul taste...poor guy!

I made a phone call to the emergency vet and they told me to monitor his gums and make sure they stay nice and pink and are reactive to the touch.  Apparently when a dog gets a good dose of skunk spray into their body it can actually cause toxic shock and it can be quite dangerous.  So after cleaning our poor boy up with a good bath in the magic solution, I decided to stay up the rest of the night checking to make sure he's ok.  We'll do a follow up with our regular vet first thing tomorrow morning, but for tonight I'm erring on the side of caution and checking him frequently!  

I don't have any photos of daisies at the moment so although he's not smelling fresh as a daisy, he is smelling at least as good as a ranunculus!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011



Adjective: (of a feeling or its expression) Sincere; deeply and strongly felt.

My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you who left such thoughtful comments regarding what I should do with my grandparent's dining room furniture.  Reading your words and absorbing your insights always gives me a new perspective and makes me think, and I love you all for that!

I haven't decided quite what I will do, but I have decided to wait a bit and see how I feel once spring rolls around.  That way I will not be making a rash decision, but a more informed one.  Plus, I don't have the money to be tossing everything and starting from scratch right now anyway.  I think this is a good plan.  Waiting and really taking stock of everything in those two rooms will give me a chance to narrow down the look I'm ultimately after.

I especially loved the comment left by Nikki.  I think it was a stroke of genius how she and her family re-purposed the crib her grandfather made and how they turned it in to something each of them can now enjoy and cherish!   

So now, thanks to the sage advice I received from you all, I'm focusing my thoughts to ways of making money, instead of ways to spend money.  Mr. Tide is all in favor of this by the way.

I've decided to actually have some of my photos printed on stretched canvas and I will attempt to sell them here locally in hopes of buying a better camera and some new lenses.  If they are well received, than I might open an Etsy store, something I've toyed with for awhile as you well know if you've been reading my blog for the past 6 months.  I think I want to start by not having to arrange for mailing anything, and then if they sell here close to home, I'll maybe decide to branch out a little.

It's scary putting yourself out there like that, hoping that someone else will like what you have to offer enough to pay for it, but if I never try, I'll never know.  Thanks to the support of my family and a wonderful phone conversation I had with Fifi O'Neill this weekend, I'm ready to dream big and go for it!  I swear Fifi has to be one of the kindest and most supportive people on the planet, and to call her my friend is truly a gift! 

So once again I would like to send you, the readers of this little 'ole blog, my heartfelt thanks, for always being here, giving me great advice, and for just being 'you', my friends!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Would You Dare?

I know you all are probably getting a little tired of flower pictures, so do buds of flowers count?  Sorry folks, but it's all I've got at the moment.  It's snowing and gray outside, dreary with a capital 'D'!

I shouldn't really complain though, we were hardly touched by the last big snowstorm that hit the DC metro area.  Our daughter on the other hand was not so lucky.  She had training about 12 miles from where she lives and there was no metro service close by, so she opted to drive herself.  The instructor didn't let them out until 2 1/2 hours past when the federal government was let go and if you saw the news then you know what a nightmare it was for most commuters.  It took her a total of 7 1/2 hours to get home...can you imagine?!

We tried to help her with frequent updates on areas that were particularly bad (we were tracking everything via the internet) but there was little we could do, not a fun position for a parent to be in I have to tell you.  We were also trying to see if we could find her a hotel, but a million other drivers had thought of that already so everything was booked.

Four of those 7 1/2 hours were spent going only 1 mile!!!  I know she enjoys aspects of her job, but it would make me so happy to see her out of the DC area.  It's not a fun place to live in my opinion.  Even on a good day the traffic is insane, and there has to be more to life than working and commuting right?!

Even though her commute was horrendous and extremely scary with cars skidding all around her, including her own, there were others that didn't get home until the following day!  Can you imagine having picked up your infant from daycare and then being stranded on an icy highway for 13, 15, 18 hours?!  Mr. Tide and I are just very thankful she got home safely!

Ok, now back to me and my dilemma.  I got up at 6 am this morning and wandered around my house after feeding and taking the pups out.  I've been doing this a lot lately, wandering and looking and thinking about what I want to change.  I even emailed my friend Connie and asked her to talk me off of the ledge this morning as I debated what had to go and what items could stay in this house of ours.

Our email exchange went like this:

Me:   Good morning!  Ok, talk me off of the ledge my friend!!  I'm so ready to sell everything I own and start from scratch.  Aside from my kitchen I'm not loving much of anything about my house right now.  Ok, I do still love my dough box and my pie safe and a few other things, but I'm ready for a change!  Is it wrong to want to get rid of my grandparent's dining room furniture?!

To which she calmly replied...

HerIt’s late January, and everyone gets like this at this time of year. Remember what I said about breathing. Breathe in, breathe out, repeat as necessary.  No, it’s not at all wrong to get rid of your grandparent's dining room furniture. If there’s something else you want instead, go for it. If it’s just because you want a change, store the furniture in case you change your mind.

Do you all think that's the case?  That we are we all feeling like this as we are trapped in our homes, some of us avoiding work, so we have nothing better to do than to nitpick every little thing?  The color of the walls, the fabric on the sofa, the finish on a particular piece of furniture?  I'm judging every last thing, mentally editing what I want and don't want and then already putting something else in it's place.

I agree that it does have something to do with this time of year and our longing for renewal.  Needing fresh new grass, leaves on trees, flowers, and the ability to throw open the windows and not feel so doggone stifled inside 4 walls, but I feel like this year there is something else.

I feel like I'm hanging on to things that I don't love because I feel like I "should."  It's a self imposed thing and one that doesn't make sense, but it's still there and it's nagging big time for me this year.  Things like the beautiful mahogany Duncan Phyfe dining room set that once belonged to my grandparents.  It feels heavy to me, too formal, and not who I am anymore, but do I dare let it go?  Do I dare move on and let a piece of my family fly out the door in lieu of what "I" want?!

Oh this is a weighty question isn't it?  What would my grandmother say if she were still here, would she give me a disapproving look, or smile and say "go for it honey!"  How do you decide what to keep, what has served you well, and what you can now part with?  I was happy, thrilled even to have that furniture when my parent's gave it to me, but now...

Formal was great when I had a formal dining room and a formal living room, but I'm not living a life that includes formal anymore, so how do I balance the love of something that once belonged to someone I loved, with the desire to create a home I want to live in...see the dilemma? 

I know some of you will say, well hang on to it and pass it down, but what if you already know your children don't want to live that formal life either, so these pieces won't fit into their way of living either?  Oh my, I think I need another cup of tea and boy do I wish I had a car that could drive in the snow (Mr. Tide and my son have the only snow worthy cars at the moment) because I would so go out to lunch, hit a few stores for inspiration, and talk myself out of all of this for the umpteenth time!
I can't pay you for your advice or psychological services, but I would sure love to hear your opinion on this!  Connie may have talked me off of the ledge, but I didn't back up too far my friends! ;-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


When you close your eyes and dream of what you could do, what you want to do, what you might do, how big is that dream?  Is it big enough to fill up the room you're sitting in, or do you let that little voice in your head convince you that your dream is silly, so you back it down a notch and try and create realistic goals and dreams?

Realism can be good, all you have to do is watch an episode of the American Idol auditions to figure that out. But how often do you substitute realism for excuses?  How often do all of us convince ourselves that we've failed even before we've entered the race?

My hat is off to those who stand up there on American Idol and truly believe with all their heart that they could be a finalist.  I don't even watch the show, and I'm clearly not talking about the folks that are looking to have their 15 minutes of fame and those who make for good TV.  I'm talking about the others who never make it onto the show, because clearly you know there are hundreds if not thousands who are told no besides those who have a temper tantrum or act so ridiculous that they make it into the final cut of the audition shows.

You see, the shear fact that those people went, with hope in their hearts, and still don't make it makes them far superior to someone sitting on their couch critiquing the ones who do, or worse yet, laughing at those who don' least in my mind.  Those people who went had the courage to try, and the strength to fail...both traits I admire.

These are traits I could use more of in myself.  When I dream I will often convince myself, or let others convince me that my dream may be a little too big.  Mostly it comes from within, that nagging little voice saying "who do you think you are to dream such a big dream?!"  And so I go on, knowing that by not trying I've already failed miserably, and then I'm left to console myself by reminding the boastful 'me' that I shouldn't have dared to dream something so big in the first place.

Fortunately for me, Mr. Tide doesn't see those same limitations.  When he listens to my dreams, or chooses to dream for me, there is no fear of failure and there are no such things as limits.  He is a cheerleader of sorts and a very good one at that, which is why I love him so.  I'm learning to dream big, and to take those chances and even fail from time to time.  But to never try seems a far worse fate than to have to brush yourself off and keep climbing the hill I think.  

I hope that from now on you'll all join me.  That you'll let go of insecurities, fears, and negative thoughts and dare to Dream BIG!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm Working...Honest

Thanks everyone for your sweet comments on my earlier post about the beach...warmer weather can't come fast enough for this beach lovin' woman!

Ok, so one of the best things about working from home is the fact that you can find lots of other things to do instead of what you should be work!  It's not like I'm being paid by the hour, so I'm not cheating anyone if I get up and wander around my own home, but when you're trying to avoid work and you're easily distracted, working from home can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.

Today was one of those days, the kind where I had lots to do, but just when I was ready to be productive I looked around and saw my camera sitting there all lonely and well...I had to take a little "break" and recharge my batteries or drain down the camera's battery, I forget which. 

After all, I had managed to go through every single, solitary Christmas bin over the last few weeks and gather up enough donation items to fill another huge bin...can we say 'too much stuff?!'  I was on a roll last night as I finished up the last bin (I refused to put them back in the garage without going through each and every one of them and purging like there was no tomorrow) when my son said, "you don't have to give everything away mom, you can keep some things!"  Oh trust me, I still have plenty!  So I deserved a little R&R right?!  Just nod and smile folks!

One of the best things about putting away Christmas stuff (even if it did take a certain person until the 3rd week of January) is that you get a chance to see your house all naked.  A bare, more stripped down version which allows us to take stock of what we love and don't love about our homes. 

Now, it 'may' or 'may not' have had something to do with the fact that when I turned on the TV to do my make-up yesterday that that crazy/scary show Hoarders - Buried Alive was on.  I've never been a hoarder, and I truly feel for those folks because it clearly is a medical condition.  But I suddenly wondered if I could possibly star in a show called Purging - 'Bare'ly Alive...get it?!...bare-ly...ok, let's move on!

Thankfully for my family, my sudden urge to sell, donate, or burn everything we own and start from scratch had diminished by the time I awoke this morning, plus I had that whole beach daydream thing...see the previous post for an explanation, so instead I picked up my camera and wandered about my house aimlessly snapping photos of little lovelies and pretending I didn't have a care in the world or work to get done!  Denial is a beautiful thing folks!

Much like this disjointed post, I managed to focus on the complete minutia of life and things, this little trick always helps pass the time.

For example, you can photograph the same bowl of jewelry a million different ways and from lots of angles.

Of course you also have to play around with all of the various settings on your camera, that's what they are there for right?!

So there you have it, my handy dandy guide to wasting time while "working!"  Please know that I have researched this extensively over the years, and I assure you that my methods are fool proof!  I would even be willing to offer a 30 day money back guarantee on them, but that would mean I'd have to charge you all for the great advice I offer on here...hah!

So in case you're wondering, or more like, in case you're still reading this post, rest assured that after I snapped this photo of a hat that once belonged to my mother, I did go back to work.  

And to my dear friend Tracey U. who wants to live my me my dear, it really t'ain't that exciting.  We do still need to do lunch though...hmm, yet another way to avoid work! ;-)

Longing For

This morning as the ground crunched beneath my feet while out with the dogs, I mentally transported myself to warmer climes.  I envisioned myself meandering barefooted along a vast expanse of sand with waves lapping at sun kissed toes and feet with flip flop shaped tan lines.

I could almost hear the pounding of the surf and feel the sea spray on my face.

In my daydream, there were tiny sandpipers scurrying around searching for their next meal, and the sound of children laughing as they built sandcastles and flew kites amidst the gentle breeze.

There were also other sounds and smells, like hot dogs cooking, charcoal, and lighter fluid.  And the hypnotic combination of salt air and sunscreen.

Of course my delusional state of bliss was quickly interrupted as I emerged from the woods and realized it truly 'was' as cold as I thought it was, and I really was as bundled up as any human being could possibly be.

But a girl can still dream right, and she can still long for all of those things I mentioned above!

In my post hypnotic state I completely forgot to note each and every texture I used, sorry, but they are all from the following sources and in no particular order.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Quiet Morning

First, I want to let you all know that Miss Kylee loved her birthday wishes and thanks all of you for making her 10th birthday a special one!

The past several days have been stressful ones at my house, sometime when I'm not trying to dig my way out of all I have to do, I'll share with you how difficult it can be to settle an estate.  Thankfully my sister "M" and I see eye to eye on what needs to be done in order to sell my parent's house, and we work together to get those things done, but we aren't the ones in control, so it's a lot like driving from the back of a bus which is barreling headlong toward a very large cliff!

On Saturday evening, Mr. Tide and I found ourselves alone, since our son Bugs had gone to visit his sister Angelfish for the weekend.

After photographing a group of therapy dogs, plus a pot belly pig, and their handlers for a magazine story in the early afternoon, I asked Mr. Tide if he wanted to go on a date.  It had been awhile since we had been on a date that didn't involve a trip to Target followed by dinner at Panera, so he agreed that we were long overdue for a nice quiet dinner with just the two of us.

I knew right away where we should try and go, and phoned up the restaurant to make reservations for 7:15.  It's actually a small tea room located in a local antiques center, and it's called Cahil's Cafe.  The tea room itself has had several owners over the years, some good, some not so good, so when my daughter and I visited the restaurant for lunch a few months ago I wasn't really expecting that much, besides a good pot of tea.

It turns out that in between the last time I had visited nearly 8 months before and my lunch in late November, a new owner had taken over and it happened to be a woman I know.  Her name is Tammy, and she is not only a sweet person, but also a wonderful cook and caterer!  I ordered the chicken pot pie and it was to die for!  Everything about this chicken pot pie, from the delicate cream sauce, to the large chunks of white meat chicken all topped with a delectable buttery crust had me licking my lips and savoring every bite.

So last night, when the opportunity arose to go out to eat on one of the coldest evenings we've had all winter, I had pot pie on the brain, and not just any pot pie, but one from Cahil's Cafe!   Now in case you are wondering if this is a hugely biased review, please know that I only know Tammy because she used to work at several local stores that I've frequented for years, so we have no other connection except for the fact that she has me addicted to her chicken pot pie!

There are lots of yummy things on the menu at Cahil's, but last night I convinced Mr. Tide to trust me on this one and to order the pot pie as well, since it was his first time visiting the restaurant.  He did and was instantly hooked as well.  We both enjoyed a fresh green salad with homemade dressing, homemade rolls, and that delicious pot pie, which was perfect for such a cold evening.  Our server was originally from the UK, and as I sipped my hot tea and listened to her wonderful accent, for a moment I felt as though I had been transported back to York, England for a lovely evening in a quaint tea room...sigh!

When it came time for dessert, we looked at one another and said that we were both way too full and satisfied to push ourselves from bliss to gluttony, so we took a pass.  We did however ask if they had any fresh made scones that we could take home and save for Sunday morning's breakfast.

So this morning, after such a stressful couple of days, I woke up to this yumminess!  I made myself a cup of tea while Mr. Tide warmed the scones, then I dolloped a generous amount of cream and lemon curd onto a plate and the two of us sat down to enjoy a quiet breakfast filled with idle chit chat and lots of mumbled M'm, M'm, good because these were truly delicioso!  

Mr. Tide has never been big on scones, lemon curd, or the whole tea thing, but I think I've made him a believer after this morning!  And I know it won't take any arm twisting to get him to go back to Cahil's Cafe for another yummy pot pie, I just hope it doesn't take us 2 months before we go again!

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods today!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Birthday Girl and A Winner

10 years ago today, a tiny little tri-colored Border Collie came into the world.  She was just one of 3 in her litter, born on a sheep farm in northern Pennsylvania in the dead of winter.  She came from good herding stock, Welsh and Scottish, with champions on both the dam and the sire's side, but she was never meant to be a herding dog.

She didn't have what it takes to make a good herding dog, so she was sold as a pet.  Although I grew up with herding dogs, and we had just recently lost our Aussie, I wasn't sure we could handle the intensity that "is" a Border Collie, so I did lots of research and consulted my vet, and anyone else would would talk to me about Borders.  In the end, we decided this breed was a good fit for us and my parents and I drove the 4 hours to meet the breeder and pick up our new bundle of fur.

Everything you read about Border Collies is true, they are loyal, intense, driven, and very type A.  They live to work and work to live...think Martha Stewart meets Donald Trump!  Miss Kylee may not have been suited to herding sheep, but she needs a job and thrives on knowing that in life she has a purpose.  Sometimes we don't exactly get what that purpose might may be something as simple as herding sticks, yelling at the other dogs when they sneeze, or telling us, by hiding under anything within reach, that the sky is falling anytime she hears thunder...but in her head she knows why it's important to do all of the crazy things she does!

*Soapbox Alert*  In my not so humble opinion, these dogs should never have been allowed to be bred as "Show" dogs!  This is something I feel very strongly about, and I don't mind being politically incorrect in saying so.  It breaks my heart to see people selectively breed out the smarts of these amazing creatures in order to create black and white fluffballs to suit the fancy of a collector!  In the real world of farm dogs, Border Collies come in all shapes and sizes, there is no "look" that a sheep farmer breeds for, just an incredible ability to do a job, and one the dog dearly loves to do.  Even when you take these dogs out of the farm environment, they want and long for that job and they are a thing of beauty to watch when they are giving their heart and soul to their profession!

*Back to our regularly scheduled happy go lucky post*  Even with her recent diagnosis of congestive heart failure, and at an age when most larger dogs are only interested in lounging around all day, Kylee will be the first one standing by the door, ready to go out and play.  

She's not as fast as she once was, she's also not quite as crazy as she once was, but she still loves life and tries to make every moment count!  She keeps her brother, Mr. Quinn in line and tells little Misty Belle a thing or two from time to time as well, she is the matriarch of this doggie family after all!

So Happy Birthday Sweet Miss Kylee, we love you bunches!!!

Now on to the winner of my Springtime Giveaway, it is #51... Rachel Lynn!  Unfortunately, Photoshop ate my screen shot and it's also disappeared from my Clipboard, so you'll have to trust me when I say that Rachel won fair and square! 

And if you love snickerdoodles, be sure and stop by Rachel Lynn's blog where she is featuring a great muffin recipe...yum!!!  Click HERE to get the recipe!

Congrats Rachel Lynn, simply email me your mailing address and I'll send out your package right away!

And just in case you think sheep farmers don't have a sense of humor, watch this!  Really, you gotta love a group of men who call themselves the Baaa-Studs!!!  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Swan Song

Thank you everyone for indulging me in my latest texture madness craze and for leaving such wonderful comments!

This morning when I got up I received the nicest email from Sharyne for the wonderful blog The Views from My Valley.  Sharyne lives in North Queensland Australia and she had written me to tell me she had tried applying some textures to a beautiful rose photo she had taken.  You can see both gorgeous photos below, and I can't tell you how happy I am that blogging about the joys I get from photography actually made someone want to try using textures for themself.  That's how I got hooked after all, visiting blogs with beautiful photographs and wanting to know more!

 (Photo by Sharyne)

(Photo by Sharyne)

Thanks for sending these wonderful pictures Sharyne, they really are lovely.  If anyone else has been inspired to try know who you are (Yvonne!), then please send me a copy, I would love to see them!

It's been a cold, gray day here in Maryland, but thankfully we dodged the bullet and ended up with only rain.  I got an email from my brother who lives much further north in the state and he is iced in, so I'm happy with cold, gray and rainy for now.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile now, you know that each year in December a group of Tundra Swans winter over here, and it's something I look forward to every winter.  This year however, we've seen very little of the swans.  They've been spending most of their time across the street on the river side where the water isn't frozen.  I've sorely missed seeing these graceful birds and hearing their unusual calls each day, so when they appeared on our creek today I knew we needed to try and take some pictures.

I used the term "we" because when they showed up early this morning I was still in my PJs and wasn't really too anxious to go outside and take pictures.  It meant lugging a tripod, putting the big telephoto lens on, and then the teleconverter I got for my birthday which helps increase the magnification of the lens.  Now I know that doesn't sound like a lot of work, but when you have to then bundle up and drag the stuff through the woods, so that you don't spook these timid creatures, it sometimes takes the charm out of trying to capture them.

Add to that the fact that we have about 6 bazillion swan photos, none of which ever seem to turn out, and I was really not motivated to go.

Thankfully I married well, and Mr. Tide wasn't so pessimistic, or maybe lazy, so he gathered up the equipment, threw on his coat and scarf and headed out to try once again to get a photo of these beautiful birds.

The teleconverters are really meant to be used with much better lenses, better lighting, and higher quality camera bodies.  I use a Canon Rebel XTI (a consumer grade camera) which is now almost 4 years old, and none of my lenses are professional grade, so I'm sure we would have better luck with these difficult (at least for Mr. Tide and me) to shoot subjects if we had better equipment.  Yes, that's me whining about not having professional grade equipment...sorry, but I drool when I see professional photographers and their awesome equipment!  That's my way of prefacing these photos by saying that they are a bit grainy but I want to also add that these are some of the best photos we've ever been able to take of the of course Mr. Tide will have bragging rights for a bit.

As you can tell by the photos above, the swans aren't opposed to walking on the ice to get to the open water along the edges of the creek.  What I do find funny though is how they will sometimes choose the ice over the free flowing water.  In the photo above, they are all actually sleeping standing up!

The title of this post is Swan Song, and I'm sure some of you have wondered where that phrase comes from.  It's most often heard when describing  someone's final appearance, career farewell, or even their demise.  I decided to do a little digging via Google and here's what I found about the origin of this interesting phrase.  The info below comes from Wikipedia...where else!  To read the entire excerpt and to see examples where this saying has been used throughout literature, in song, and plays you can click here!

The phrase "swan song" is a reference to an ancient belief that the Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is completely mute during its lifetime until the moment just before it dies, when it sings one beautiful song.[1]

Mute Swans are not actually mute during life – they hiss – and they do not sing as they die. 

So do you ever recall someone making their Swan Song?!

Here is a lovely song entitled Swan Song.  The lead singer has a beautiful voice!