The Dogist (a dream)

My favorite people to follow on Instagram are dogs. There’s Momo the border collie, Maddie the coonhound and The Dogist. The Dogist is a wildly talented photographer who takes photos of dogs wherever he travels. Based out of NYC it seems there is never a lack of subjects. I admire the photographers ability to capture their personalities, it’s all in the eyes.

Recently we were in Chicago and I day dreamed of becoming The Dogist, I even found a willing subject, Lindsay (who was kind enough to humor me) and Millie, the black Pomeranian.

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Hi

I’m here today, not sure I will be tomorrow. Social media only enhances my suspected ADD.

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I still take a lot of photos and can never determine where to share them all… Flickr is not for oodles of images, occasionally I use tumblr when I want to share images with family, I have a like/hate relationship with Facebook, Instagram is where you’ll find me most often but even there I don’t share everything since I’m trying with all my might to live in the moment which I capture and then don’t have time to edit for a couple days and then it’s not all that instantish and I end up not sharing. And then there’s the stories that go along with the images, like here on the beautiful Exposure. But most of the time I don’t feel like telling a story, writing does not come easy to me. So, for today anyway, I share a little light literally and figuratively.

Autumn Appreciation

I admit that I’ve never been kind to the fall. I admit that my perspective, which I have created myself over the years, is one in which I can’t enjoy fall because winter isn’t far behind. I’ve been working on accepting fall for what it is and being more open-minded and more glass half full about the whole change of season. It’s not perfected but I have come further in my acceptance of fall. Really, what choice do I have? Be grumpy and fight it when there’s absolutely nothing I can do to change the season or embrace it or at least make strides to be more positive in my attitude toward fall. What I’m really doing is trying to live in the present, not hating fall because summer is over or winter comes next but enjoying what the season has to offer. Some things that I love about fall… the bluest skies are in October, the most beautiful warm sunlight and angles of light are this time of year, pumpkin beer with a brown sugar and cinnamon rim thankyouverymuch, butternut squash and pumpkin cooked a variety of ways some of my most recent have been homemade pizza with goat cheese, roasted butternut squash, kale and greek olives, homemade pumpkin hummus, roasted butternut squash mac and cheese, pumpkin and chocolate chip pancakes and I have still yet to make a roasted squash soup.

The other thing that I love about fall and I’m certainly not alone in this admiration, are the leaves on the trees which are ablaze in the most vibrant color. Take for instance my backyard, I can’t help be be drawn to constantly look out the back windows and just stare at the color. And then the reflection from those golden leaves reaches right into my house and paints the white walls of the bedroom the warmest tones.

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One glorious day last week I decided to eat my lunch in a local park where the trees still held onto their leaves and there was a variety of color.

The saturated color of the leaves is so fleeting I almost always feel like I didn’t make an effort to really see and appreciate. On this day I tried to be as present as possible and really see the leaves, whether it be on the ground, in the air or still on the trees.

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Autumn is the hush before winter.

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Outstanding in the Field {Part 3}

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After picking up our dinner plates and returning to the table we found a bounty awaiting. Local breads, a chilled tomato soup with turnips and mutton jerky, pickled corn and mushrooms as well as black radish. All delicious.

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I tried to take a few different points of view of the table.

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Les, at first a stranger to us but by the end of dinner a friend (one that we will most likely never see again), sat with us at the end of the table. He’s the one in this photo with his back to the camera, he joked that the back of his head had never been photographed so much and that he hoped his hair looked good.

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I didn’t get many shots of the 3 courses since I was busy admiring and eating or chatting. First I have to say that I’m not much of a meat eater – I haven’t eaten red meat in over 20 years, no pork but I do eat bacon, on occasion I’ll eat turkey or chicken, fish I just don’t like – so after looking at the menu prior to the evening I decided that I would ignore all of my meat preferences, be adventurous and eat it all except for the red meat which there wasn’t much of other than an appetizer. On the menu: BBQ bacon (drool), rabbit bratwurst (surprisingly yum!), pork shoulder and duck breast all served with tasty vegetables and herbs. Many of the herbs were picked from the gardens surrounding the table. Each course was delivered family style on a large serving platter and passed around to the 9 members of our table, the 3 courses paired with a different wine.

If there is any doubt whether or not we enjoyed this evening (not that there would be after 3 blog posts) here’s us, happy and satiated.

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Our food directors, are part of the nine members that travel around the country in that gorgeous bus. Our guy was Karl, a foodie and jovial person.

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I did venture down to the other end of the table, just as the sun was setting and found this beautiful display of shimmering glass.

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Walking back to my end of the table the sun went behind the hills.

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A selection of melons was presented for dessert and just as people were missing chocolate, a plate of chocolate granola cookies was served.

The sun set and candle jars were added to the table. I’m not a detail person so if I notice that everything was set with intention then there was a lot that I was missing. Much thought and experience was evident this evening.

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As we were leaving we were treated with a gorgeous sky, moon and Venus.

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Leading us to the parking lot were paper sacks with candles burning, a last beautiful touch. Unfortunately there are no images to share since the evening went later than planned and we had to rescue our friends who were taking care of our kids, hence no time to get the settings right on my camera.

Would I do this again? Oh, yes.


“You must not lose one moment of time for you have none to spare”
-Shaker quote

Outstanding in the Field {Part 2}

After hors d’oeuvres Jim Denevan, the founder of Outstanding in the Field, gave a short speech. I was surprised to hear that he’s been doing this since 1999. At first he stayed local to California but then started traveling bringing his passion for farm to table across the country.

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After Jim’s speech we were sent on a short, informative tour of Hancock Shaker Village. First through the impeccable gardens where we learned that the Shakers were the inventors of the seed packet. Also, that the Shakers figured out that if they save their seeds and plant them in the same soil (albeit amended) that each year their crops would grow stronger. The tour guide said, “If you don’t believe in evolution I’ve got news for you, it exists right here.”

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A view through the gardens to the round barn.

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The path to the barn took us right by the grills where they were preparing the food for the evening. It smelled so good!

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The barn was amazing and really the visual focal point of the evening.

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The view from the barn looking into the sun and out towards the table.

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Details in the barn.

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There were several free range fowl that call the barn home.

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In the next post I’ll share more images from around the table.

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Stay tuned for {Part 3}.

Outstanding in the Field {Part 1}

I first heard about Outstanding in the Field when they were featured on Instagram several months ago. It’s a mobile restaurant (bus) that travels the country and sometimes outside of the country serving up local food from local farmers, farm to table. Most of the time the table, which seats approx. 180 people, is connected lengthwise and seems to go on forever, and other times the tables are curved to fit the landscape. They can be found in fields, on the beach, on mountain tops, etc. The chefs are well-respected and often locals. I have an affinity for farmer’s markets and farmers and whenever or wherever I can I buy local. So when I saw the original post by Instagram I was instantly smitten. I’ve followed their travels on Instagram throughout the summer and as the season was drawing to a close and my birthday was approaching I went in search of a meaningful experience. As luck(!) would have it Outstanding in the Field was hosting a farm to table dinner nearby in the Berkshires and it hadn’t sold out like so many of the other dinners on their schedule. I immediately purchased two tickets.

On an incredibly gorgeous evening the dinner was held at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA. Early fall temperatures have settled in so a light sweater was a must, at least until the sun went down and then it got chilly. The time set aside for the tour and dinner was 3-7 pm which for anyone interested in photography meant perfect timing for the best light on a sunny day.

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They have a tradition where diners are encouraged to bring their own plates which are washed and returned at the end of the evening. If you are unaware or forget it’s no big deal as they have plenty to share.

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Here is that gorgeous bus that was purchased online for $9,000 from buy a bus .com or something of the like. It’s been fully restored and the attention to detail inside is impressive. It serves as the sleeping quarters for 9! adults.

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Inside the bus.

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Looking outside the bus at the diners gathering for drinks and appetizers.

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Local beer.

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And local vodka was mixed in this Peach Lemonade.

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Three appetizers were served, this was my favorite; sweet corn pancake with chevre.

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Stay tuned for {Part 2}.

Small Victories

I don’t have to tell any parent this but this parenting job is hard. It’s tough physically, mentally and especially emotionally. You do your best but your best is never good enough. And then there are no markers to tell you that you’ve been doing a good job so you don’t really ever know if what you are doing is indeed what you should be doing.

Recently I’ve had the feeling that I’m taken for granted, what mom hasn’t had that feeling? I’m a stay at home mom so I’m here and it’s easy for me to do everything. And then I feel bad for them, especially during the school year when they have so much homework combined with other activities, so I don’t make them do many chores. And then with the whining and complaining it’s often easier to just do it myself.

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This spring I made a decision to try and change all that, I came to the conclusion that I am not helping them prepare for life. When they leave this house, which will come faster than I’d like, they need to be able to take care of themselves. So I instituted a mini summer boot camp. It’s a check list that must be completed before electronics are turned on. It’s my hope that these chores become habit which will carry on into the school year. The list isn’t unreasonable… eat breakfast, take a vitamin, feed the dog, brush teeth, pick up room/house, get dressed, read and/or do math for 30 minutes plus an add on like laundry/dishes/clean out car… if there wasn’t a list they would get up and turn on their electronics and it would be noon before they decide they are hungry. As a parent it’s easy to let them spend hours on electronics, they are quiet and entertained, but it also leaves me with a very uncomfortable feeling that I’m not doing my job.

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What has resulted is child #1 breezing through his tasks motivated to get it done so he can achieve his reward, child #2 doing most of his tasks but the reading which he avoids and then goes and plays. I’ve stuck to it too, even when they’ve had half-day camps they have to come home and finish their tasks. Also, when we’ve had a full day with friends they have to double up on their reading/math the next day.

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This guy has even taken a couple of naps when the reading has become just too rigorous.

Strawberries!

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Late June is the end of the Strawberry season here in Massachusetts. Fortunately there were still enough left to take home. The trick was turning up the leaves until you found a patch of undiscovered berries. They are small but mighty.

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Did you know that the average strawberry has 200 seeds? My kids teach me something new every day.

What’s your favorite strawberry recipe?

Hi, remember me?

Turns out this world of social networking doesn’t really sit well in the mind of the attention/focus challenged. I’m part of it all… blogger, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (kinda) and tumblr and I pretty much suck at them all. But, really, when I analyze my life outside of social networking the same could be said for photography, jewelry making, gardening… I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none. I try to convince myself that all that really matters is that I’m a good mother, wife, daughter and friend which makes me feel better about not being able to keep up with the rest of it. Of course, there’s lots of room for improvement in the family category, I said ‘good’ not perfect.

All that to say, I wanted to share a simple teacher gift project that we(I) did. I found it on Design Mom which I then pinned to Pinterest (there’s another one that I’m part of that I didn’t even think to mention above). DIY – Flower Frog Bowls. There are instructions on the site so I won’t repeat but a word of caution… when I glued the frogs to the bowl I walked away and left them to dry on their own, well gravity had a hand in moving the frog to the edge of the bowl so the next morning two of the frogs were glued to the side which was very frustrating since the frogs are not sold nearby and time was running out. Plus I had to go buy more bowls, these were found at Home Goods. When I repeated the process I sat with the bowls and kept adjusting the frog until the glue was tacky enough for it to remain in place. The flowers are from the store and my garden.

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Week 12 :: 52 week – Still Life

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At my sister’s for St. Patrick’s Day. She has beautiful lighting and light colored paint which makes for a perfect still life setting.

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