Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blogger Break - But No Vacation

I SO wish I could say I will be vacationing at the beach during this "blogger break".  Alas, it is because I got behind on my "chores" during the kiddos being sick AND we are putting our house on the market and are in the middle of painting, new carpet, organizing, purging... you know how that goes.

My husband has kindly asked I not get "distracted"... I can't wait 'till I use that one back on him!! ha ha.

I have already been remiss in responding and visiting, so this is the right thing to do...  and don't tell my children, but I found the best way to organize is to  ... shh... throw things away and make many trips to the GoodWill Store.  :)

So my friends, I will be gone for a number of  days.  I'll miss you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rural Thursday - A Lenten (or summer) Recipe

This is from one of my favorite recipe books "The Produce Bible" by Leanne Kitchen.  It should be on every garden lovers bookshelf!  This is linked with "Rural Thursday #4".

Crisp-skinned Salmon with Radish & Cucumber Salad

1 peeled cucumber, cut in half and scoop out seeds with a spoon, and sliced thinly into half moon shapes
2 celery sticks - diced
1 shallot - diced
1 avocado - diced
20 red radishes - halved  (this really depends on the size of your radishes.
1 small handful cilantro leaves


To make the dressing, mix the following and set aside:

1/3 cup olive oil
2 TBSPNS lime juice
1 tspn finely grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tspn honey
dash of sea salt
dash of freshly ground black pepper

Brush 4 small salmon fillets lightly with olive oil and sprinkle skin with a little salt.  Add about 2 TBSPNS of olive oil to a large frying pan and add salmon skin side down when pan is HOT.   This is the tricky part...

hold a spatula or another frying pan on top of the fillets to keep them flat.  Fry for 1-2 minutes or until skin is crisp and brown all over.  Cook until opaque (this depends upon thickness).  Drain on paper towels.

When cool, use scissors to cut each fillet across the grain into strips.  Break each strip into bite sized pieces.  Add to the salad with the dressing and extra cilantro.  Toss gently.

Now, that is the recipe.  I have to carefully pick the skin off for my family... whatever works.. right?

This is what is on the menu for Friday... we have to give up SO much for lent  :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Barn Charm #73 "Reassuring Embrace II"

I have had sick kids lately and hope to be around commenting soon...

Reassuring Embrace II

Words of light meant for comfort,
for glory, ring hollow to my ears

so with lowered eyes 
I evaporate into the darkness as

prayers grow faint, fresh air inhaled
splashing glorious color upon this sinner

whose eyes see differently,
world not colorless but a rainbow.

Seeking reassurance 
I walk towards my silhouetted sanctuary

its gray weathered boards tinged with blue 
embrace me like a butterfly's sapphire wings

and I believe I will one day
freely flutter far away

where individuality is admired, creative minds
applauded, fairness pursued, differences tolerated.

To a better time, better place;
until then, I am stuck in 2012.

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, 2-21-12

* * * * *

I wrote the first version of this poem on 2-6-11.  When I initially wrote this, I was thinking of a time in the distant past when traveling preachers would have "revival meetings" or "gospel crusades" in places where there were no churches and these often took place in tents. I certainly don't mean this post to be a slam against religion... I am a Christian.  Some of the "fire & brimstone" sermons, though, would leave me pretty confused!

But I can't help but wonder... have we really made all that much progress?

Linked with Barn Charm #73.  I used Kim Klaussen's "shine" texture.

And a slightly different look:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Magpie Tales #105 "A Miracle Envisioned", Poetry Jam & Sensational Haiku Wednesday

(Haiku link at bottom of post)
I have had sick kids lately and hope to be around visiting and commenting soon...

A Miracle Envisioned

I'm a young, single lady
searching for a man.

(I admit it, reluctantly, secretly)

Not just any man, mind you,
I desire the man of my dreams.

('tis no small order)

Playfully, wistfully, I lean back
upon a bit of 1936 history

(how cool is that?)

designed by
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.

(does not his name make you swoon?
Scrumptious word, swoon, perfect 
for Savannah, Georgia)

commemorated for good ol'
King George the V, this K6 silver
"Jubilee" kiosk, cast iron red
wishing for a bit of luck...

(a touch of magic)

Can't help think of Superman;
I believe he'd be charmed
with my vintage dress.  I look left,
look right, close my eyes,
envision royalty, a heroic man
taking my hand, kneeling,
professing his love at first sight...

(Hey a miracle could happen)

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, February 20, 2012

This is for Magpie Tales #105. Click on this link to see the photo prompt and the amazing poems and short vignettes created by this amazingly talented group of poets and writers.  (The photo above is linked with this week's "The Creative Exchange".

This is also linked with Poetry Jam - This week's theme:  A miracle we've witnessed...  I tweaked it a little bit and changed it to wishing for a miracle ... hope that is OK.  Linked as well with IGWRT's "Open Link Monday"

There were a number of kiosk (phone booth) versions made in Britian and the K6 was a bit smaller and had the glass front similar to this one.... but I could be wrong.  For the sake of the poem, I went with it the 1936 (5?) version.  We certainly had FUN posing here, laughing and commenting similarly as I wrote here in this poem.

Below is a link showing what some are doing with these kiosks (a bar, shower).

* * * * *

And here is a fun piece for Sensational Haiku Wednesday (this week's word is: draft)

Demurely dressed, poised
Drafting plans to catch a MAN
Heed her hidden claws!

and here is a photo of my "draft" horse - A Friesian Sport horse (which means 1/2 Friesian)... Sebastian.

WHY the difficult CAPTCHA - Carnegie Mellon University explains

He is amusing and so it isn't difficult to listen to.  BUT from what I gather, I'm not sure it really applies to blogging.  The "old" system was working for me.  I have turned word verification off because I and others will not spend the extra annoying time to comment on most blogs (nor bloggers on mine) that have it.

Leave a comment, let me know what you think.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Sonder's Hour" - The Weekend in Black & White

I have been quite attracted to a particular challenge (do I really need one more?) and have hesitated to participate as I am quite intimidated... but that is not the way to improve.  So, here is my first entry linked to "The Weekend in Black & White".   Does anyone have a favorite black & white photography book?  A "how to" of sorts to finesse and refine this art?

I call this time of day at the barn "Sonder's Hour" as she seems to glow as the afternoon sun starts its daily decent.  This is quite striking in color, but I find it stunning, more  personal in b&w.  

IGWRT Sunday Challenge - "Reservoir of Strength"

Photo provided by Mary Ann Potter
Reservoir of Strength

It's the languid quiet of mid afternoon I remember,
lethargic days spent trance-like, supinely sprawled
beneath Grandmother's cherry tree, bees buzzing,
book more often than not drooped at an odd angle,
obscure dreams reshaping in endless cerulean-blue.

This sweet potpourri of hope I often scoop up,
splash upon face, shoulders, mind, inhale the dreams
of childhood long ago...

I went back once, the farm house bearing up under neglect,
abandonment.  What of the knarled, bent umbrella, my protector
of summer heat and youthful fancies?  My reservoir of strength
is still there, but only in my mind's eye

and thank God, it hasn't run dry.

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, February 19, 2012

* * * * *

This is hastily written for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - The Sunday Challenge.  A photographic prompt provided by one of my favorite blogging photographers and poets... Mary Ann Potter.  Her blog is "From the Starcatcher".   I'm sure I will come back and want to re-work this, but sometimes it is interesting to leave the initial writing as is for a while ...

I have had an extremely busy week and I am behind in my blog visiting and commenting.  I look forward to a relaxing Monday morning (of no sick kids, no "responsibilities") catching up and being inspired by my fellow poets and photographers.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Images from the Past, Part 11, My Grandmother's 1915 Yellowstone Journal

Feeding a bear.  Not sure if this is "Old Jack" the largest bear around, but big enough at this close of a range!

Thursday, July 8, 1915

210 dudes tonight.  Over a hundred were a party from Cincinnati, the Chamber of Commerce.  Quite a lively crowd - little too much so.

Friday, July 9, 1915

220 dudes tonight.  Rained all day so took nearly all day for tent work.  Very and Elma moved into a tent with Jerry, Fritz, Helen J. & Minnie McC.  Then tomorrow Helen, Ethel, Ruth, Mary, Ethel L. and I move into a tent back of where we are now.

Saturday, July 10, 1915

Worked all morning.  I took most of p.m. for moving.  We have such a nice tent, all fixed up with pennants and pictures.  All of us are so tired but glad to get settled.  Only 140 dudes tonight.  Some here from Illinois.  One was a Mrs. from Mendota.  She went to Dekalb for two summer schools 1912 and 1913.  After curfew the six in our tent and Johnnie, Esther, Vera, Elma, Nurse, Lile, Joe, Herb, Harson, Holmes, Fritz, and Win were invited to Jerry's tent in honor of Paul's birthday.  On the table were 19 candles; in center of table was birthday cake and there were two kinds of candy.  Everything tasted so good.

Sunday, July 11, 1915

Harson and Win left this morning.  Harson could not stand the work and I guess Win was homesick.  Joe took a number of us girls up to the bear dump in the cart to see "Old Jack" the largest bear around here.  We also saw a mother bear and her two tiny cubs were high in a tree.  This p.m. some of the crowd went up "Elephant's Back"(1) and some took a lake trip.  As for me, I slept all the afternoon.  Only 110 dudes tonight.  We had a M. E. minister in from Belton, Texas and he gave us such a nice talk.

A scene photographed while Marguerite hiked the Yellowstone trails in 1915.  Most likely the Yellowstone River

* * * **
My thoughts:

I have many photos of nature and some are very small.   The one of the river above is about 1 inch by 2 inches.   I love the excitement of the "after curfew hours" tent party... do you think they snuck over?  I just can't IMAGINE my grandmother doing that!  ha.  Harson and Win - I just love those names!

(1) A link to a photograph of WHY it is called Elephant Back.  The views from this terrace are beautiful.  And a photo I have requested permission to use here (I will take it down if Mr. Wanserski wants me to, but please hop over and view his wonderful photographs below.

Photo by John Wanserski
The photo above is by John Wanserski and he photographs many beautiful places, he calls "sacred places" and I can't argue with him.  One of my favorites is "Prairie Sentinels".

This entire post is linked with the AMAZING! "Sepia Saturday".  Below is my "theme" participation for Sepia Saturday 113:

I couldn't find an amazing photo of a famous actor, nor a man pointing, or anything to do with film... So I resorted to a man sitting in a chair.

This photo is of Marguerite (the writer of this journal) sitting in a rocking chair next to her father, Herbert Hutchins.   The youngest girl is Marguerite's youngest sister, Ann Hutchins, born 1898 and looks to be a little over one year old.  Her mother, Helen, died in 1899.  So at the taking of this photo, they were mother-less, or about to be.  My grandmother, Marguerite, adored her father, and he never remarried.  The Aunts helped raise the girls during the farming season.

Funeral of Mrs. Hutchins of Latham.
A large concourse of sorrowful people gathered at the darkened home of Bert Hutchins, near Latham Park yesterday to do the last rites to one who had been the light and joy of the home. The faithful wife and loving mother of four little daughters. Clearly Mrs. Hutchins was the favorie of the entire community, and freely did tears flow - and indeed was the parting.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Photo Art Friday - An Artistic Rose

This is for Photo Art Friday.  I used Bonnie's "Artist" texture and my photo. I am really pleased with the way this turned out.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rural Thursday #3 "Mugshot", Friday Fences #21, IGWRT's "Haiku", & Friday Flash 55 "Guilty"

I BELIVE I FINALLY TURNED OFF MY BLOGGER "COMMENT VERIFICATION".  THE NEW VERSION WAS CRAZY.  PLEASE,  LET ME KNOW IF IT IS STILL ON.  I APOLOGIZE, I have NO idea why blogger has done this.  (If you use the new interface and want to turn "word verification" off (and you should as it makes responding very difficult - and I'm not going to respond for long to those who have it), on your dashboard page, click the gear symbol to the right of the "Save Settings" button, and choose the "Old Blogger Interface" setting, so you can go back and change it by using the "Settings" tab, and then the "Comments" link. After it's fixed you can switch back to the new interface.I hope this helps

Eagerness embraced
sun's soft warmth invigorates
confidence instilled

Nurtured no longer
life changing philosophy
tumultuous clouds

Suspicious bias
spring's playful romps, forgotten
expectantly still

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, February 16, 2012

The above is an "attempt" at a series of haiku for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Haiku with Grace.  I'm not that happy with these... it is HARD to do a traditional Japanese Haiku!

The post is linked with "Rural Thursday #3" AND "Friday Fences #21"... I'm being a tad lazy but I'm tired what with sick children and all...

and here is my quick, quick "Friday Flash 55" for this week:


Life's eagerness and sweetness mingle with utter dependence
as the calf tugs upon the bottle teat.

Feeling a chill run down my spine, I glance over at his "big brothers".

A suspicious countenance has turned their once warm brown eyes to a piercing glare
and I feel guilty about the hamburger I just burped up.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Barn Charm #72 & a Poem "Golden Surrender"

A typical barn I pass here in North Carolina.  I believe these tall, narrow barns once were tobacco barns.  If you look closely, you will see just how close some hug the road.  Across the street is a very nice subdivision, obviously it was once a farmer's field.  I have linked this to Barn Charm #72

The photo below is not a tobacco field, but I thought this made a nice touch of romance for "Valentine's Day".  This is not my husband, but my goodness, this makes farming look quite attractive!  My poem below was written for a poetry challenge for this... image.

Photo courtesy of Walter Parada for "One Stop Poetry"

Golden Surrender

Golden Wheat
Swooning from the heat
As do I
To this farmer, my husband
In this sea of gold

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, May 22, 2011

Monday, February 13, 2012

Magpie Tales #104 "Enslaved Addiction"

Image by Christopher Gilbert


Vortex of desire
lingers dark upon my tongue
enslaved addiction

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, February 13, 2012

This powerful image spoke to me in SO many ways.  Lacking time, I took the easy way out with a "modern" haiku.  This is for Magpie Tales #104.

Also linked with Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, "Open Link Monday".

Let's Go For a Walk #3

I walked all three of my dogs simultaneously this weekend and I didn't have much time to take photos as loitering really wasn't an option.  The geese didn't seem to enjoy their company, either!  So, I used the "felicity" texture from Kim Klaussen Cafe and added a bit of orange in Photoshop - I forget exactly how (I just kind of stumble bumble along) to the above photo to "fix" it.

I have always been taken with this statue, and have tried many times to capture it in a photo.   It reminds me of my children when they were little and would run on the beach causing the flocks of seagulls to scatter up into the blue sky.  For this reason, even though I still think I can get a better capture, I am submitting this to the "Creative Exchange".

And just the simplicity of things I rarely "see" the beauty of in the spring, summer and fall.  But on a dull winter day, the sunlight reflected of this ivy growing on a tree (is it ivy?) struck me as quite lovley.

Loved this burst of yellow... and they were cold this morning as it went below 32 degrees and supposedly a few flakes of snow fell... I didn't see any, though.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My daughter singing "Shy" in rehearsal for her elementary Musical Revue

IGWRT's Musical Challenge, Patti Smith "Rock 'n' Roll's Poet"


Rock 'n' Roll's poet,
raging at life, loving life,
a voice organic

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, February 12, 2012

This is for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads "Peace & Noise", a musical challenge: Patti Smith

I will also be linking this up with Sensational Haiku Wednesday - this week's topic is "love".

I have to say, I didn't know much about her.  In doing a "little bit" of research, I got lost in over an hour of reading and listening.   I thought the following was a great summary of who she is:

On May 3, 2011, it was announced that Patti Smith is one of the winners of the Polar Music Prize: "By devoting her life to art in all its forms, Patti Smith has demonstrated how much rock’n'roll there is in poetry and how much poetry there is in rock’n'roll. Patti Smith is a Rimbaud with Marshall amps. She has transformed the way an entire generation looks, thinks and dreams. With her inimitable soul of an artist, Patti Smith proves over and over again that people have the power."

IGWRT Weekend Challenge, "Unsullied"

Photography by Talon

My intake of breath
draws your attention,
your eyes unwaveringly direct.

Inwardly my heartbeat
drums a frenzied beat
as unnaturally close we stand.

Intimately the ocean breeze
encircles us, embraces us,
tidal waves wash our feet.

Indecisively I stand, trance-like
wishing to reach out and touch
but propriety dictates a hushed reverie.

I accept your gift, unsullied
a moment shared between two worlds
until you decide to spread your wings

and fly.

by Margaret  Bednar, Art Happens 365, February 12, 2012

This is for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads "Weekend Challenge"

I wrote a similar poem on May 4, 2011, but I think this is significantly different, perhaps an improved version, to offer this as an original take on the above photo prompt.  The photos below I took while on spring break last year.  I was within touching distance of this Great Blue Heron while walking the beach and I was so surprised as these birds are usually quite shy and evasive.  I have tried many times, unsuccessfully to capture them soaring in the air.  Talon's photo above wonderful and I love the texture of the grass!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sepia Saturday 112 - Theme "Books"

My Grandmother, Mary Marguerite Hutchins Beckington, loved books.  Before she got married she was a teacher.  I don't recall seeing many books in her house, nor do I recollect a bookcase, but she must have had one.  One of my earliest memories is visiting her in her small, quaint red house with the cherry trees in the back yard and walking down the sidewalk to the nearby public library.  I loved being surrounded by books and I have many bookcases in my house!

I was happy to find a few photos from her Dekalb Normal College (is now Northern Illinois University) album.  I believe Marguerite graduated in 1912.  These photos are of her friends, she is not in them.  I love the photo above - if the photo was captured today, I would assume Bess was texting, but I like to think Bess has a small book of poetry in her hand and Bob is taken with her beauty and possibly eating his lunch.

This post is participating in and linked to "Sepia Saturday"

Sullivan's room.
I assume this is a sneak peak in the dorm rooms! Can't imagine wallpaper in the college kid's rooms of today.  I labeled each photo as I could read it in my grandmothers' handwriting.

Moses, Smith & Sullivan.
Ruth and Blonde

Thirza and Elsie
I slightly remember Thirza from when I was a little girl.  I believe they both lived near each other as widowers in the later part of their lives.

The photo below I added due the sharp eye of Wendy who asked the question if the "Trouble Cleft" flag (above) was a play the two young ladies above might be in, so I went through my grandmother's album and found the photo below.  (My guess is it's a fun name for their choral group)  I also googled and found a reference that a man named Howard Nash Johnston had been known "the "King" of a group known as the "Trouble Clefts". He graduated 1910 from this same college.

My grandmother, Marguerite Hutchins (married name Beckington)  front, left.  (Love that huge hair bow!)
The last photo looks to be staged in a photographer's studio, the bottom reads "Woollett, 110 Washington Ave, Minneapolis.   On the back is my grandmother's writing "Aunt Libby Lyford, Bradely".  This was her grandfather Lyford's oldest sister (Marguerite's mother's father's sister).   So that makes her my... great great great Aunt?  This is exactly why I could NEVER do a family tree - my mind just blows up when I have to do this.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Poetry Jam "A Recipe for "I'm Sorry" and Friday Flash 55 and "Rural Thursday"

For "Poetry Jam", "Friday Flash 55", "Friday Fences" & "Photo Art Friday" scroll to the bottom of page) 


A gentle surge undulates
upon the straw,
pink cherub bodies
ride springtime's current
fall, ripple, sway,
roll forward
like a miniature wave train
gathering force
only to fall back again,
as squeals rise in pitch
against a warm shore
quivering snouts snuggle,
round elfin beach balls
bumpily bump about
tummies content
as spirits flourish,
life will forever be 
a safe harbor.

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, revised 2-9-2012 (original 1-2-11)

I have a linked Mama pig & piglets to "Rural Thursday #2" .  

This poem is one I blew the dust off and rearranged a bit.  When we lived in Michigan, the girls and I often went to Pond Hill Farm.  One day we went, we were luck enough to see new born piglets (above).  We went back several times just to watch them grow a bit and romp around the barnyard (below).

The photo below I will be linking to "Friday Fences #20"

* * * * *

I was honored when asked to host an interview over at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.  Please hop on over and read about a fascinating woman, Mary Ann Potter.  She is a gifted writer, poet, and photographer!

Below is a poem for Poetry Jam - this week's challenge is to create a recipe!  Since it also turned out to be 55 words, I will link this to Mr. Know-it-Alls' "Friday Flash 55"(a story in 55 words, no more, no less!)

A Recipe for "I'm Sorry"

A dozen roses I offer
and a heart
filled with regret.

I'll throw away all excuses,
smash the sarcasm, the bitterness
and spread a more tolerant
state of mind all over my body,
top it off with a soft
lingering kiss of humbleness
seasoned to perfection
with passion and persistence

if you will forgive me.

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, February 9, 2012

And this beautiful textured photo I was able to create for "Photo Art Friday"  using Bonnie's texture "Goodness".  Click the link to see other entries and explore other free textures Bonnie offers.  She also has a plethora of others for sale at a reasonable price.

* * * * *

AND, earlier this week, my horse, Sebastian, wrote a Friday Flash 55!  I have reprinted it below and added the YouTube video of him as a colt of about 4 months old:

Tamed Passion

Passionately I prance
to my own rhythm
structure unacceptable.

A noble steed am I
breathing in untamed freedom,
all rules cast aside.

Intensity shines forth
from my poetic soul,
feet drumming
a mystical beat,

but I confess
I'll humble myself,
cast it all aside
for a tempting morsel
of apple, carrot, or grass.

By Sebastian, Art Happens 365, February 3, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Biltmore Estates - A Feast for the Eyes

This is for "Watery Wednesday #172"  If you have a moment, click over as there are sights to marvel at and enjoy from all around the world.  This charming slice of the world I feature is Biltmore Estates nestled in the mountains of Asheville, NC.  These photos are from late May, 2011.  It is exciting to think this weather is just around the corner...

The time of day is KEY in capturing the reflection of the Biltmore Mansion,  and that key time is late afternoon.  This is late morning and I was taking a bike ride from the Biltmore Inn to the Mansion to explore the flower gardens and walking paths.  The photo below is not crisp, it is a bit blurry, but it does portray the serenity that is abundant here.  There are many grassy spots around this lake (watch out for goose poop!) and people set up chairs and picnic along its edge.

and of course, I went back in the late afternoon (see below).  The water had a lot of movement, so I was unable to get a smooth mirror image, but I guess that means I have to go back someday and try again:

The bikes one is able to rent to ride the numerous trails are very comfortable.  My girls took the more strenuous trails and I opted for the scenic route.  The river you see below is the French Broad River and  the next morning we rented kayaks and paddled our way along this shallow river.  Please come back next week as I plan to continue sharing this leisurely day spent with my camera.