Thursday, January 31, 2008

Eleven Years Car Free...

Click on image to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom
Today is the 11th anniversary of our decision to live without owning an automobile!
Another year in which we did not contribute approximately 6.5 tons or 13,000 pounds of CO2 to our communally shared atmosphere.
What more can I say?
The 76 gas pump is one of the altars in a little outdoor shrine we call our
Temple To A Lost Civilization.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Two Views Of Yesterday...

Rainbow Over Lucerne Valley - Monday, 9:48 A.M
Click on photo to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom
One of my obligations as a friend and neighbor is to take Cheri, who lives across the street from us, down the mountain to her monthly doctor appointments. Cheri owns a car but she's disabled and cannot drive herself.
Yesterday I drove her down to Victorville for an appointment and we were treated to this breathtaking view as we came down the Cushenbury Grade, just below the Mitsubishi Cement Plant, and descended into Lucerne Valley.
It was snowing heavily when we left Big Bear Valley and made our way slowly through a white-out of wind-blown powder as we skirted Baldwin Lake (normally dry) and then began winding our way down a very slippery Highway 18 toward the Mojave Desert.
When we came around the last bend, where the narrow pass finally opens to the desert, snow and clouds gave way to a big desert sky being cleansed by fierce winds. A fine mist blown from the clouds behind us allowed the landscape to be decorated with the magical whimsy of a rainbow, of sunlight refracted through atmospheric water.
Oh, the Blue Planet!

3 Hours Later - Back On The Deck At Home
Click on photo to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom
We got between 6 and 8 inches of new snow Sunday night and Monday, but it was somewhat difficult to estimate that measurement because the wind was blowing so hard that the snow piled up in uneven drifts.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Window on Green Way Drive...

Click on photo to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom

I noticed this window trimmed in green while I was walking with Dallas, and my camera, along Green Way Drive in this morning's early light.

When I got home and looked at the morning's photos I really liked this one. So I decided to post it 'old school' when I remembered that I never answered Lavonne's question from the "Just Another Brick In The Wall" post about how I round the corners of pictures in Photoshop.

Well, Lavonne, I'm sure there's an easier way to do it, with masks or something, but I'm not really all that proficient in Photoshop so my method is nearly as primitive as the way I cut & sanded my prints back in the '70s.

Once I have the picture in Photoshop I select white as the background color and make the canvas size 2 inches larger than the image size on all sides. This gives me room to work on the corners. Then I select the clone tool and set it to a fairly large diameter, and, using the background color, chew away at the corners until they look evenly rounded to me. Then I crop the image so there's only a hairline of white at the edges. When that's done I change the background color to black, and, once again, make the canvas size 2 inches larger than the image size.

Repeating the process I select the clone tool using the black background color to bite away at the rounded white corners until they are the same hairline width as the straight edges.

To get my signature in there, I write it in black ink on white paper and scan it. Then I bring it into Photoshop, invert the colors to white on black, size it to the right proportions, and copy it into the photograph I'm working on.

I hope this gives you some idea of how to proceed, Photoshop CS3 is a huge and complex program and I only dabble at the fringes of what it can do.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Click on photo to enlarge - © 2007 jim otterstrom

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Winter Sunrise Walk...

TODAY, at 6:45 A.M.
Click on photo to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom

6:50 A.M.
Click on photo to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom

7:12 A.M.
Click on photo to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom
Three views along our sunrise walk this morning as Peggy, Dallas, and I happily trudged a few miles through nearly a foot of snow that fell Sunday night.
We came across two coyotes right after the second picture was taken and Dallas took off after them, having a ball and getting more than his share of the morning workout.
We saw the coyotes again on the way home, a few blocks from our house, after Dallas was back on the leash. One of them sat there just 25 feet away posing for us, but my camera batteries picked that particular moment to go dead. Dang It!
But what a brisk and exhilarating way to start the day!!!

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Little Red Rooster...

Our Bantam Golden Laced Cochin Rooster crows this morning in the chicken yard. If the forecast storm actually moves in later today this may be the last time the chickens are out for while. They won't come outside of the coop when there's more than about an inch of snow on the ground, but there is a covered open area attached to the coop where they can be out in the fresh air until the snow melts.

Cozy Winter Coop...

~YARDBIRDS~ Click on photo to enlarge -© 2008 jim otterstrom

Some of our hens and the recently rechristened Boris Major, a bantam Golden Lace Cochin Rooster, enjoy the chicken yard before the approaching storm hits.

This is predicted to be a major winter storm so I decided to clean out the coop yesterday, laying down fresh alfalfa litter, and refilling the nest boxes with wood chips.

I also consolidated our three stacks of firewood into two, covered them with tarps, cleaned out the raingutters and generally straightened up the yard.

HENSPECTION!Click on photo to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom

One of our Black Australorp hens carefully inspects the nest boxes after I freshened them up.

Everything Seems To Be In OrderClick on photo to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom

The Black Australorp is soon joined by a Light Brahma and a Barred Rock who all seem to approve of the housekeeping efforts.

Food (check), water (check), edible litter (check), comfy nests (check), perches intact (check), OK, let's go back outside while we can!

ME FIRST!!Click on photo to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom

The storm was supposed to hit last night but it was still clear and relatively warm when Peggy & I took our walk at 7 this morning.

It's clouded up now though and getting quite cold so it shouldn't be long now. Let's hope we do get some substantial precipitation, whether rain, or snow.

The chickens are ready...

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

~From Jim & Peggy~
~ Click on photo to enlarge~
Embroidery by my cousin, Sheri, from a small pillow she made us for Christmas.

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