Category Archives: Rabbit Shoots Things: Like Photographs

I love photography and altering photographs. You can find my work in this category

Nine States, Twenty-one Days, 700 Pictures

 The Silver Streak Begins!

Fyr Fly and Fyr Fly 2 side by side

Chapter 1.

My need to go places and see things must be in my DNA.  When I was a kid my family took off at the drop of a hat and explored the world. That’s how I saw Europe and most of this country, in a tent for weeks on end. Before I knew it I was all grown up and settled in Washington State. The itch to travel the world was put on the sidelines, and then my husband  of five years, Terry, almost died in a motorcycle accident. Amazing how your priorities change when you get a second chance.

Terry recovered almost completely after a grueling year that changed us all.  Part of my positive change was a convertible and the determination not to waste my life sitting on my rear end and wishing I could go places and see things. I am no stranger to topless cars and the red Mini was my third or is it fourth  convertible? At any rate that shiny little car was my own second chance launching pad and every year for the past few years I have headed out to visit America, usually alone and perfectly comfortable with that.

Bungied and ready to roll

This year was different. Tor, the baby of the family has grown up and gone. He lives in Seattle, works and goes to school there and my nest is empty for the first time since 1969. I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me to have everyone flown and in the world. My friend Pam felt the same way when her ‘baby’ headed for Reed College in Portland last year. We decided this summer we would roam the world together rediscovering the joy in being just us. 

A month before the trip I made the hard decision to trade in the original Fyr Fly, my beautiful red Mini. I found a sweet silver Mini in her place, who inherited the license plates, and by default the title of Fire Fly 2. The decision made sense before a long trip because a clutch and very expensive tires were in my immediate future. I got an amazing trade in deal and the 3 year bumper to bumper warranty that makes me a Mini/BMW believer. 

 I began the preparations for camping in a teeny tiny vehicle when I got an itsby bitsy stove for my birthday, it’s about the size of a pack of playing cards. Then on a day trip to Edmonds, I found a perfectly adorable tiny picnic set with dishes and silverware for two, and two big quick dry towels. I rounded up the rest of our gear, in miniature, and finished up by investing in Moon Guides and maps for every state I didn’t already have in my travel stash. I love Moon Guides, they are my favorite souvenir and Road Trip Warrior book. Moon has the best tid bits and information of any travel book out there. 

Taken the minute before I left the driveway, wondering what I forgot. It was the binoculars...

I was speaking at the Utah campus based student lending conference in Salt Lake so it made perfect sense to launch our trip at the end of the conference, picking Pam up Friday night at the Salt Lake City airport and heading out. That gave me a few days traveling on my own and at the conference to shake down the packing and preparations.  I’m always wound up and jittery before a long driving trip for some reason. I spend time worrying and trying not to forget anything, expecting the worst and just wanting to get started. It all goes away when I get about 300 miles from home and the trip really begins.

Couldn't use cruise control on the long straight road until 1250 miles, by then it was worth a picture.

I love Windmills. Headed south through Portland, Or and then due east, along the Columbia river and miles of farmland.

Mills, wheat, sun and open road


First stop at the big dam on the Columbia, leg stretching and photos.


I think the Universe sends me signs, this one says choose: upstream or downstream? Then GO!

 I’m writing this after returning home and being swamped with photographs and memories. Some of the statistics: 21 days, 5165 miles, 9 states, 2 off road vehicles that really went off road. One amazing traveling companion for 14 of those days, one amazing new friend and Prairie Dog Posse member,  3 families that let us come in and use their showers and  sleep in real  beds—and even better– shared special parts of their world with us.  One Mini Cooper convertible S model that took us everywhere we wanted to go and see and do. Two wash jobs for poor old filthy Fyr Fly along the way. More spectacular scenery than I can list and over 700 photographs of our amazing voyage—and that’s just the pictures I took! Pam and Paula took their fair share too.  I’m hoping we can get them all on Flickr before we forget how fab the whole thing was.

Next: Chapter 2, Show me a SIGN and Utah’s awesome capitol building.

Rabbit Falls For Flowers

I sort of accidentally had a wonderful Mother’s Day. My sons are grown and gone.  Three of the four are nicely married to wonderful women wh0 are the moms to my grandchildren, understandably the boys were focused on theirs wives and kids. The baby, who will be nineteen tomorrow, lives in Seattle now and as luck would have it we were able to bring him back to Olympia for his days off. I wallowed in his company because I miss him lots. Still.

Pink hydrangea, why can't they stay this way forever?

Terry asked me what I wanted to do. After coffee and a leisurely hour reading a trashy novel I elected to go to Molbaks nursery in Woodinville. Molbaks is the holy grail of nurseries with plants I covet. A lot. I bought one plant, a climbing hydrangea. I was a good girl for once. However, I did unleash my little Canon camera. I frolicked and shot and drooled and coveted and had a wonderful time.

Now this one looks French, Norman blue even


This one is my favorite

Of coure, I love the roses too. This one is perfect

This rose looks like it fell out of a fairy tale

This is a peony! Its yellow, amazing and smelled like heaven

I like daisies too, especially these sweet South African ones

They come in all shades of purple, yellow and white, even orange and they last until the first really hard frost. Gotta love flowers like tha.

I like Calla Lilies too. They come in pink and yellow now, much prettier than the white ones.

So sophisticated! Pink callas are my favorites, although I like the black ones too.

My favorite shot of the whole day. It looks like its made of wrapping paper.


And then we came to the orcids. Pin stripes, who knew?

This one is fierce looking, it catches insects.

The most girly girly flower in the world. Orchids.

The throat of this orchid looks like white silk or skin, it makes you want to touch it.

And this one has a painted throat!

These will grow like weeds or wildflowers if they get sown early. So delicate!


Acorn Oakley, the Squirrel Shootin’ Saga

The view from my kitchen window

I feel a confession coming on. Maybe it’s good for the soul and maybe it’s this rotten cold and the attendant medications bringing on my need to bare soul about the Shameful Squirrel Saga. 

 The background: I have bird feeders in my overwhelming kiwi hedge, three of them and a suet feeder. The winter birds love this because they can take cover in the hedge and avoid the high flying hawks and the low walking neighbor cats. I loathe the kiwi hedge and love it at the same time. It grows like Kudzu for the northwest and it would reach right over the front yard and cover the house if I let it. Think slavering rose hedge in Sleeping Beauty. In spring and summer I’m  out there with shears on a weekly basis whacking off enormous chunks of it attempting some control. And yes, it does give tiny little kiwis that are sour -sweet and squish mightily in late fall attracting fruit flies.

click on the photo to see the teeny yellow bird

That being said, it’s a beautiful set of curly vines in the most gorgeous shades of brown in the winter;  and in the summer it shades the entire front yard on its quest to eat the telephone pole and the nearby trees.

 It’s a bird highway in the winter and we have juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, two kinds of finches, towhees, six kinds of sparrows, wrens, one tiny little yellow guy,  a big fat lark that is a robin’s cousin, a raucous pack of blue jays, a solitary mountain jay and various and sundry other visitors that include evil squirrels and nasty starlings. They are such fun to watch out the picture window in the kitchen.  Who has a picture window in the kitchen? I do, along with two ‘wing’ windows that open on either side of the big picture. I trade my delight in the window for the fact that I lost an entire wall in the kitchen. It was there when we moved in so we just accept and enjoy it and cope with the lack of counter space.

Demon Squirrels, this one safe in San Francisco

Watching the squirrels completely destroy the feeders and chase away the birds just fried my hide. “I need a gun”, I said to my husband and he handed me his old his pellet gun. Visions of my childhood with wretched neighbor boys in short pants shooting songbirds danced in my head and I had to ask Terry about his gun toting history. He swears he never shot at a bird and that this just like a beebee gun, it only stings and scares them away.

this one is in my back yard taunting the cat

 He shot at a few denizens of the ‘hood to demonstrate which included squirrels and starlings and sure enough they ran away. He showed me how to load the pellet pistol and pump it up three times. I told him I am a really good shot and was he sure about this? Yes, it only stings, I was assured.

 The next day: Squirrel!  The fluffy-tailed rat was ripping apart the feeder even though squirrel food is provided not two feet away.  Gun loaded, window slid open, aim, fire, and I hit the squirrel. It dropped off the feeder like a rock and fell on the ground. Twitching.

Beer swilling rats...

 Nope, it did not get stung and run away. It lay on the ground and twitched and tried to get up. I felt like I had been sent to the outer circle of hell. I didn’t want to kill anything, I just wanted to sting it and scare it and here I had obviously inflicted mortal damage. I have to confess I was not brave enough to man up Nancy, and go out and finish the job like an Angelina Jolie hit woman of the squirrel world.  No, I had to call my husband and have him drive all the way home and put the squirrel out of my misery.  When the chips were down I turned into a girl, the kind that jumps on the table squealing when she sees a mouse, sigh…

Squirrel? Delivery Man? Package? Religious door-to-door nut? Ball? WHERE?

 I don’t shoot at squirrels anymore, nor do I let Terry shoot at squirrels or cats. Pellet guns are not beebee guns; they are really truly guns in a small way. Now I just put more food for the squirrels in their feeder and when they attack the birds’ feeders I yell, “Squirrel!” to Nelly the Rat Terrier who goes baying down the stairs like a Sasquatch is tearing up her  yard and she has to take care of business.  

I am so good I can find you and bite you with my eyes closed!

I do however take pleasure in shooting nasty starlings. Just call me Acorn Oakley.

Playing With Fotos Can be Fun

In between chasing the new puppy and keeping up with puddles, I keep working away at figuring out the art of building  photographic images with layers on my MS Digital Image program. Alas, I am too po’ to afford Adobe at its rather large price of about $400.  It amazes and intrigues me to see what I can accomplish by manipulating an image even with my poor imitation Adobe product.  If I can make something completely new from disparate pieces,  it transcends tourista snapshots and becomes art –if I do my job right.

My brush is a mouse and my palette is point and click. Scissors are “moused” with a line and bits and pieces are electronically moved around. Filters can take the whole thing to the next level along with tinting. It amazes me how much time this building process can take. This piece, Angel Baby, after the old song, took over three hours. This is my son Tor in one of his graduation photos. I love these pictures and how they capture a moment in time so completely. 

I have a whole collection of angel photos from cemeteries and statues around the US and in Europe for my personal reference and a raft of pictures  I took from Pere La Chaise, the ultimate cemetery, in Paris , France. In this piece, the background is the old French cemetery and the wings are from a bird. I threw in a diffuse glow with a brush on the background and in layers on the foreground after tinting it sepia and adjusting the lights and shadows. Putting the layers in was crazymaking  and getting it all to sit on the background I chose was an excerise in patience.

 Angel Baby, very James Dean vibe in this pose

These pieces are intended to tell a story in one swoop, sort of photographic poetry for me. I am really attracted to the romantic side of art/life, at least for visits. Living there would be tough, but I love the flavor of other times and places in my work.

Everyone I know had better hide from me and my camera because one of my winter projects is to catch me some angels…