Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Valentine's Day is in Spring Edition

Despite what the groundhog predicted, here in my neck of the woods we have been enjoying balmy weather.  I think the nation needs a west coast groundhog to provide the local forecast.  I've spent time in my backyard this week, pruning palms and roses, pulling weeds, and planting raspberries and lilacs.  For those of you still buried in snow, I offer a hopeful glimpse of weather to come:


1.  I'm thankful for clouds that bring much-needed moisture to our dry state:



2.  I'm thankful for a beautiful rainbow that comes as the skies clear:



3.  I'm thankful for the apricot trees popping with blossoms:



4.  I'm thankful for the eternal hope that spring offers.  Every few years, I attempt once again to successfully grow raspberries here. Bolstered by the assurance of others who have had success, I'm trying again this year.  Hopefully this time I will have the correct alignment of sun, some shade, water, and windbreak to see fruit later in the growing season.  



5.  I'm thankful for the wild birds that visit our yard.  Besides the ever-present ravens, we enjoy an assortment of sparrows, finches, mourning doves, hummingbirds, and even owls.  


Obviously, a less than stellar photo, but,  "Look: an Owl!"
6.  I'm thankful for my dad, who takes much better photographs than I do, especially of birds.  Here is one he took of an infamous owl in Oregon.  This bird made national news because it attacks joggers in the park and steals hats.  The first photo is untouched. The eye color is unnatural due to a particular lens my dad was using.  The second photo is what the bird really looks like, though some would say the first better matches the bird's personality.  





If you've made it this far, and are thinking, "Well, those shots are fine and dandy but it really is still winter here!", I have other thankfuls that might be more relative (literally!)  

7.  I'm thankful for family history.  (Family history research makes a perfect snowy-day activity, too.)  If you missed my posts here and here about how easy and how fun family history can be, go back and check them out.  Dyanne tells me that the directions were easy to follow, so I'm not just making this up! 

8.  I'm thankful that family history not only gives me a sense of connection with those on my pedigree chart (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so forth), but that it also shows how interconnected we (humankind) are.  When a group of us from church followed the directions I gave on the posts above, we realized that most of us were cousins of some sort!  Now, lest you think that this is just some strange Mormon phenomenon, let me assure you, it is not.  For example, using that same site, I found that I share ancestors with 17 United States presidents. (And yes, I'm proud to claim Abraham Lincoln as my closest presidential relative--he's my 2nd cousin, 7 times removed!)  The point is, my experience is not unique.  The world is smaller than we realize, and we are not just unconnected individuals, but truly are part of one big family.  

That provides a segue into my next point:

9.  I'm thankful for compassion.  When we can see others as similar to us, when we can recognize shared emotions, we can begin to have compassion.  This week, I wrote about my mom's methods to teach compassion.  I'll be exploring more about compassion this week, as I join with 1000+ other bloggers on February 20th to post about that character trait.  




10.  I'm thankful for John.  If you've read any of my previous TToT posts, you know that every day is Valentine's Day around here--if Valentine's Day is truly a day of love, and not just a money-maker for jewelry stores, florists, and chocolatiers.  (Don't misunderstand--I'm thankful for such tokens, but tokens do not love make.)  

Is your Valentine's Day in spring, or does your state subscribe to the groundhog's prediction?  Either way, let me know what you are thankful for this week!  

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40 comments:

  1. Im going to go check out your geneology instructions... I am working sporadically with my nephew on ours and can use a tutorial! Thanks! Happy Valentine's Day! I will be back to check out the 20th!

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    1. Let me know if you need help with family history. I really enjoy family history, even if it's not my own!

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  2. Who cares about the quality of the picture...ITS AN OWL!!!! How freaking cool!

    I can't wait for the orange and jasmine to start blooming here. it is such an intoxicatingly wonderful smell.

    I traced our family back to Ireland in the 1800's on both sides of my mother and father. My father in law has gone way way way further. Like back to vikings.

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    1. I've added my dad's photos to the post, so I've got excellent owl pictures now.

      Viking stock? Pretty cool!

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  3. Well, it is not Spring here yet but I love seeing your pictures! The rainbow is stunning. Here is my favorite part of your post: "The world is smaller than we realize, and we are not just unconnected individuals, but truly are part of one big family." That is so beautiful, so true. Happy Valentine's Day to you, and have a wonderful week. I can't wait to read your #1000Speak post.

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    1. Me, too--I really need to start writing it! :-)

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  4. For some reason, you pictures are taking forever to load. I wish you lots of luck with my very favorite fruit, raspberries. They go so well with chocolate you know. My cousin has done the genealogy of our connected side of the family and someone else has done the other side. I am learning from some people who are doing my husband's father's side. It is fascinating. Ok, the pictures are loading and they look great. I long to see blossoms on the trees. Our forsythia, star magnolia and pears come first. Right now there is light snow coming down. Thanks for the respite.

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    1. Ah, another raspberry aficionado! And yes, they go great with chocolate!

      Sorry the pictures took so long to load. I'm not sure why.

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  5. Wyoming has been enjoying some warmer temperatures, too, but snow is predicted for tonight.

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    1. I'm pretty sure we won't be getting any snow before next winter.

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  6. excuse me, but what planet do you live on?! lol… not just the 'not cold' but the spring blooming plants! ayieee!
    btw I like your owl photo better… somehow comes across as an oil painting of the world's largest bird!
    very cool

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    1. While pruning my roses today, I noticed that some of them are already budding! I hope that spring lasts a good, long time. I'm not exactly looking forward to our summer temps.

      I still hear the owl nearly every night, so hopefully I'll get another chance to take a better photo. Glad you enjoyed it, though.

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  7. Your dad's photos are fantastic, but yours is good too, because YOU SAW AN OWL! I have never seen a wild owl. I've heard them plenty, but never seen one. My mom has, though. Hilarious story. I'll have to tell it to you some time.

    Glad you are getting some rain. Today's weather was not fit for man nor beast. The wind is unbelievable, cutting right through our coats. My dad just posted on FB that he is stranded in West Virginia at a Bob Evans. He is driving home from a Florida golf vacation, but a blizzard blew in. No hotels to be found. yes, we are all completely ready for your spring!

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    1. You've never seen an owl in the wild? I would have imagined you had barn owls, or other owls swooping around your farm. Can't wait to hear your mom's owl story, though!

      We had rain earlier, but it's been dry most of the week. I can't complain, though. Sorry about your dad getting stranded. Hope he gets home safely and quickly!

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  8. The rainbow pic is lovely. And I'm glad you had the clouds. I wish you could have some of ours. I would send it REALLY quickly if I could.

    Very cool owl pics, and I'm kind of blown away that your dad just 'has' a special lens. You have a heritage of photography, dontcha :)

    Happy everydayvalentine's weekend, my friend :)

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    1. Thanks, Lizzi. Happy Valentine's weekend to you, too.

      Probably the hardest thing for my dad after his heart surgery was not being able to use all of his camera lenses--he could only pick up a certain amount of weight, and some of those lenses are quite hefty! As for me, maybe someday I'll graduate to my dad's degree of expertise and move up to an interchangeable-lens camera. For now, I'm just happy to get a shot that resembles an owl! :-)

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  9. I so enjoy your pictures Kristi. I too love all the owl pics. I will always remember the first weeks of moving into our home in FL. We had a beautiful, very old oak tree with spanish moss. Huge limbs, the tree was humongous. Anyway, one evening near dusk we were walking towards the house when something caught our eye. We looked over at the oak tree. There sitting upon one of the lower branches was a huge owl, very silent, very still. We were awestruck. That was the one and only time we ever saw an owl in that tree in the following 10 years!
    Good luck with the raspberries. I saw an article from Mother Earth about vertical gardening and strawberry barrels. I wonder if you could substitute raspberries for strawberries?!
    Enjoy your springlike weather:)

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    1. What a cool owl story!
      Raspberries and strawberries have very different growing habits, so I don't think raspberries would grow in a strawberry barrel. If I were still in the Pacific Northwest, I would have no trouble with growing either, but I am definitely still learning the ins and outs of desert gardening. Thanks for the idea, though!

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  10. Your apricot blossoms make me smile. They are so lovely.

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    1. The children in our church have a song about spring that starts: "I looked out the window and what did I see? Popcorn popping on the apricot tree!" It wasn't until I had an apricot tree that I appreciated just how much the blossoms do look like popcorn!

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  11. Awesome pics...kudos to you and dad!! It's balmy here too....we could use a little rain!!

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  12. I will be your testimonial to the ease of the family history site! You did a great job walking me through the steps.
    The owl is awesome! All three pictures, but I'm kind of with Clark on liking your picture the best, only because he looks more threatening in your picture. The only owl I've ever seen in the wild was, unfortunately, in the grill of a car I was riding in. He swooped in front of our car when we were driving back to college after dark, and we collided (there was no avoiding him). We HEAR them all the time, though, as there are woods behind me. We seem to have barred owls here (the ones who say "who cooks for you").
    I get your raspberry thing. When we lived in LA, we tried and tried to grow roses. Everyone in our neighborhood had them, but they just looked at us and died. Our next door neighbor (whom we secretly called Nnnnnewman) had roses, which made him doubly annoying. Then we decided to plant bougainvillea on either side of our garage door. Our neighbor said they wouldn't grow in our area. Ours took off and grew about a foot a day, it seemed. We were constantly hacking it back so we could get in the garage, and nothing we did or didn't do to it killed it.

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    1. Thanks for the testimonial--and I didn't even have to pay you! :-)
      John had a collision with a kamikaze owl before, too. It's surprising that a bird of prey, that can spot a mouse a mile away, can't see a moving vehicle.
      You showed Newman, didn't you? I don't see a lot of raspberries growing here, but I'm hoping to be one of those people who can miraculously get them to live.

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  13. i heard about that owl ...yes it hit the local news as well. - good luck with the raspberries they are so yummy... I will check out your genealogical instructions - hope you had a wonderful valentines day!

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    1. If the instructions are confusing, or you get stuck, let me know and I'd be happy to help.

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  14. Oh, I always love your photos! Gorgeous again! I don't think I've ever seen an apricot tree in bloom. When we lived in NC, we grew blackberries, raspberries, and grapes. I miss our fruit,

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    1. I just finished pruning the grapes yesterday. I love being able to grow fruit!

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  15. I always love your photos, Kristi. I never imagined the desert was quite so beautiful and not just...desert.
    We enjoy going to a hiking spot near here that is actually a bird sanctuary. We've become sort-of bird spotters and Zilla just loves them. She will enjoy the owl photos - all of them. I am looking forward to warmer weather here so we can get back on the mountain!

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    1. Thank you. I am learning to appreciate the desert, too. It's not a climate I'm naturally drawn to.

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  16. Your is the second post I have read today with a nod to family history. I find this very interesting and am sort of inspired to start my own journey into genealogy. You take the loveliest pictures.

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    1. If you need encouragement or help, please let me know. I really enjoy family history, and I love to help others with their family history, too.

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  17. Ahh, the pictures of nature. They are inspiring. Nice post.
    http://www.36hourworkweek.com

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  18. You seem to be getting a bit more rain than we are getting here. I'm glad you're getting it but wish it would come a bit further south a bit more often! Love the owl pictures!

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  19. I wish I would have more Valentine's Days here. I really need to research my history. I don't know where it leads!

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    1. Family history is really fascinating. Let me know if you need help with my instructions.

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Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!