Even hummingbirds get itchy sometimes

photograph taken in the Rosehaven Cottage gardens 
28 October 2013

My mind is focused on hue, saturation, restoration and recovery.
One photo at a time gets preserved from the family albums.
I rest my eyes and back while wandering the garden paths.
I check the water level in the pond.
It's low.
I turn on the tap to replenish it for all the critters that drink from it.
Meandering out to the front garden, a tuxedo kitty greets me with raspy meows.
I sit on the porch to pet her.
Together we wait.
For what, we don't know...
Any movement that catches our eyes.
The tiniest chirps approach from the distance.
I see her sip sweet snacks from the red Japanese honeysuckle.
Then she lights on a leafless buddleia branch
And scratches an itch.

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The roses are in bloom for autumn

Last month, after the summer heat-waves seemed to have left for another year, I gave the rosebushes in the front garden a "haircut".  Trimming during the hot summer months makes the roses thirsty for water (not good), but if I leave them alone and don't cut them, they are quite drought tolerant.

By September, the roses are always looking a bit shaggy. Some of them are vigorous growers that need neatening up every 6 months while others can be left to only get shaped once a year. I don't do a hard prune on my roses because with our mild some-night-frost-but-no-snow winters, it isn't necessary. If I time my pruning just right, I can get a big beautiful display in the spring (April to May), again in the fall (October to November) and then again around Christmas day.

This year I seemed to have timed the pruning perfectly because I'm getting a lovely October bloom from several of the varieties including 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' (below), 'Ronald Reagan', 'Janice Kellogg' and the infamous mislabeled rose that was supposed to be a 'Sterling' but turned out to be what I think is a 'Queen Elizabeth' (above).

There's something magical about having the roses in bloom while everything else is going through the changes of autumn. It reminds me that I don't live in a place where snow will envelope my world for months on end (something I lived with for a large slice of my younger years that has left me traumatized when it comes to snow). And I am happy.

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Why it's best not to be heavy-handed when it comes to digitally cropping photos

In the last year or so, I've taken on several different projects involving the scanning and digital restoration of family photos for others. Lately, I've been spending my efforts on our own family photos that my mom brought to be in neatly organized albums.

As I've completed small batches of photos, I've been uploading them to a common viewing area ("photostream" in the world of Apple) and all family members have been able to look at them on their iPhones and iPads as well as make comments. I've spent a few evenings this past couple of weeks laughing so hard I couldn't breathe because of the comments flying back and forth over select photos.

The above photo seems innocuous enough right? It's me on my 12th birthday right after the candles have been blown out. I'm guessing the bouquet of zinnias and bachelor buttons were freshly cut from a garden that I remember was burgeoning that year. It seems like just a typical birthday shot right before the cake is cut.

Don't be deceived.

The uncropped version of the photo looks like this...

That "monster" on the right is my four year old brother, photobombing the shot before "photobombing" was even a word.

As everyone in the family exchanged comments back and forth, my brother's comment on this photo was the best by far:
"I look shockingly like Lou Ferrigno in the Incredible Hulk, except I'm not green, have no muscles, and am slightly shorter than him in this pic... but other than that... dead on."
Let's see...

You know... he's right!!!

The moral of the story (there is one believe it or not)
In this world of easy digital editing...

Just in case you can't see the above photo... don’t be too quick to crop a photo. You could inadvertently be cropping out some of the best memories.

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Stand out from the crowd and lead

Going through my photo archives, I came across one of my October favorites. This concept has been on my mind a lot as of late, so I thought it was appropriate to share it again in a pin-able format for Pinterest. (Is "pin-able" even a word?)

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October's bougainvillea

The bougainvillea blooms away along the white picket fence in the front garden 
in vibrant bright oranges and hot pinks. 
It's as if it doesn't know that October has arrived.

I continually remind myself that seasons are different here. 
Frost won't come until December. 

The sun-loving bougainvillea 
will continue to stretch its branches and blooms skyward 
until the first frosty night arrives months of now.

Between now and then
I will imagine I'm living in a tropical paradise
that never sees winter.
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