Feeding the Chickens and Taking Pictures

I have been experimenting with my fancy-pants camera for over two years now, and really haven’t made great strides with my picture-taking ability.  That is until a few days a go, when an article I read on  getting sharp photos finally “clicked.”  img_3733

Yes, a picture of a rock, but look at the detail!  And how the foreground and background are blurred but the focus of the photo is clear and defined.

Same with this photo of my Little Miss getting off the trampoline.  Sharp subject and blurred background.

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Once I figured out how to make this happen (Set aperture at lowest number possible, decrease ISO to 100 or 200, adjust shutter speed accordingly to balance out the exposure) I was able to take photos that I am honestly a little proud of!

Here’s my girl feeding our chickens.  She loves those birds and runs to sprinkle their feed out every morning.img_3712-cr2

Here’s the chickens enjoying their breakfast.  I don’t know if they love Henley as much as she loves them, but they are nice to her and put on a good show.img_3713-cr2

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After feeding the chickens we went and raked leaves and threw them in the air.  Henley was convinced she had something in her boot.  She kept saying “Mom, ‘mere! Something in my boot!”  So I took a picture before helping her shake it out.

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Okay I took two pictures before helping her shake it out.img_3723-cr2

To wrap up the day, I got a close-up of her scrunched face.  This is the face I get any time I ask her to smile for the camera.

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She just can’t help it!

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I love my camera!  What’s more, I love that I am finally learning how to use my nice camera to actually take nice pictures!

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Weaning Calves

Ah…the sweetness of sleeping in until 7:23 AM.  Henley and I haven’t had that luxury in five days.  Our first day of very little sleep started out with gathering warm clothes and snacks for a day of gathering a weaning calves.  We only rode for an hour or so to gather one pasture of mama cows and the spring calves that needed to be weaned.  My horse skills are coming along so much so that I was to take Henley with me and actually help gather the cows.img_2056

Obviously we had to take a few selfies.  It was so cold and Henley kept grabbing my hand to block her face from the wind.  We were excited to see the pick-up and heater waiting for us near the corrals.
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After warming up for a few minutes we grabbed my camera and went to take a few pictures of the cowboys sorting the calves off from their mamas.  Number one cowboy in my and Henley’s eyes: Mr. Rancher.

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Notice the gaping hole in his jacket?  He isn’t unloved or homeless, I promise.  He also won’t throw away anything even things which are obviously torn, worn out, or past functionality.
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All the little (or not so little) cuties just waiting for the trucks.  Weaning is a little sad, the whole separating the babies from their mothers thing, but it is very necessary.  In a few months the cows will have new babies and need the time to prepare to have another calf.
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Henley loves Lexcie or “Sexcie” as she calls her.
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The end of the day, Miss Henley was exhausted and couldn’t even stand up to shoo the calves anymore.  She kept up her “hey-ch-ch” from her seat though!img_2079

Making Soup

Oh, this little girl!

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Henley is approaching the “terrible two’s” with frightening speed.  She and I have gone head-to-head so many times in the past ten days, I have felt like I am losing my mind one toddler-sized meltdown at a time.  Mind you, these meltdowns happen every five minutes about anything from putting on a jacket to laying down for a nap.  After several days of constant fighting with my pint-sized cutie, I had two lightbulbs flip on in my muddled brain.  Lightbulb one: teach Henley how to “sew” buttons together using a shoelace.  At first I was worried her fine-motor skills weren’t sophisticated enough for this activity, but she caught on after two tries!  Sewing buttons kept her busy for a solid 15 minutes, and, folks, not one single activity has kept my child entertained for that amount of time…ever!

The second lightbulb: give Miss Henley a pot and some beans/lentils/rice and let her make “soup.”  This messy activity will occupy her for hours.  She literally pushed naptime back two hours by playing (by herself!) so nicely that I was able to do dishes, switch laundry, pay bills, and do several meals worth of meal-prep.  img_3418

She adds salt, pepper, and sugar to her concoction and offers me or Ty taste after taste.  She measures ingredients, stirs the soup, ladles portions into various bowls, and uses the funnels to fill bottles with smaller openings.  She even sweeps the floor when it’s time to “cook the soup” for the night.  “Cook the soup” means we put the soup pot on the stove with a lid for the night, basically soup time is over for the day.

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Thank goodness for those moments of inspiration that come in the midst of meltdowns, fights, and sleep deprivation.  A tired, worn-out mama and a tired, worn-out toddler are not a good combination!  Ty has come home the past couple of days to the button or soup mess and just shakes his head, smiles, and enjoys the happiness of his two girls.

On a side note: when did my baby get so big and old-looking?!  I’ve obviously noticed her personality and independence growing, but her looks are also maturing.  She doesn’t look at all like a baby anymore, hardly like a toddler!

If any of you have good activities to keep little hands busy please let me know!  And if any of you have pint-sized cuties of your own, I highly recommend button sewing and soup making!