I love doing things, being out and about, seeing new stuff, learning new techniques. But especially in winter I also love, and need, quiet weekends at home.
Sewing kitchen towels (need to take proper pictures soon) and baking bread
Putting the first seeds in the ground and preparing the first of many containers (I have a pretty chaotic excel sheet that combines my research on what goes with what and when each should be planted, I will spare you the sight). Saving space is definitely an issue with all I’m wanting to plant this year so each container will hold 2-3 plants that go well together. First out in soil this weekend were fava beans. I felt mean putting the seeds out in the cold but the package specifically says to put them in the ground mid February, so I guess they can take it. No pictures of that, I figured a container full of soil isn’t very interesting to look at.
We made progress on the lid of our seed starting light box (which may or may not work, it’s definitely an experiment).
A colleague of my boyfriend’s is going to solder the led-lights in and I hope to get started with starting next weekend 🙂
Other than that, a movie, lots of hot tea, some knitting, some online shopping (a vintage map and fabrics for a new dress project, to be shared soon) and some more taking it easy.
On sunday, a long and relaxed ride out with the ponies.
And topping that off, a fun and cozy dinner out with family.
Perfect and needed and too short.
The last speed rodeo for the year, at least at our barn.
Gorgeous weather, a nearly dry outdoor arena (though it’s kind of funny when it has rained and riders end up in the mud face first…), sweet horses and fast races. The rodeo in fall is always my favourite to shoot because of the glowy, warm light.
(Neither the horses nor the girls are related by the way).
As always, some funny pony antics and cute dogs.
Already looking forward to next year’s season!
days at the barn, gorgeous light, fresh fall air, no cell phone reception.
I read a very interesting article the other day about how we have forgotten or unlearned to really let go and relax (I am just realizing there is no english equivalent for the german term “Muße”). That we are always tense, feeling the need to do stuff, to get things done, to answer the phone, answer emails and text messages.
I am guilty of that too, although we do try to slow down our lifestyle. Have a little experiment: Turn off the TV, the radio, the cell phone for a week or two. You’ll be amazed how you start noticing high noise levels elsewhere and how annoying they are, how glaring TV ads and how stupid most shows.
You’ll be amazed at how happy simplicity makes.
My weakness of course is the internet, but I’m working on it 🙂
Germany is known for its love of Carnival but, though I live in a Carnival-crazy area, I am not really into it. Too cold, too many people and too much drinking for my liking.
Every year in August though we have a horse rallye at the barn which involves a 4-hour-ride through the woods, stopping at different stands to do funny games with or without horses and collecting points. It also involves dressing up and there’s a price for best costume.
This year, my friends and I dressed up as bavarians (no, we do not dress like that in everyday life…ever!) and since we rode a bunch of Irish Tinkers the horses went as cows.
My friend with make-up on but still in normal clothes (isn’t she gorgeous?):
and Dana in full costume (I have no words for this, except to say she looked absolutely perfect):
I don’t really have a good picture of the horses, but here you can guess at how they looked a little.
In short, they wore horns and a bell with their names (Lotti, Seppl, Resi, Julchen…their real names btw are Johnny, Sky, Jimmy and Nico). Their manes were braided and we stuck little bavarian flags in them. Their tails we put in tights and they wore a blue and white tulle bow. OK, writing this it sounds not very animal friendly but please be assured they didn’t mind at all! They are the friendliest and most placid little horses and cared very little for anything but the fact that they got to go on a nice long walk through the woods.
In fact, they are the perfect horses for things like that, they don’t spook or get nervous by the games and they had a big part in our coming out 6th place (out of 25).
At every stand we performed a little sketch ourselves, made the stand people yodel and gave out a yodel diploma, some chocolate and these cute bottles of raspberry liquor as reward:
Need I mention we won best costume?
As my regular readers know I love horseriding and have been riding the funniest little pony for three years. I love the little guy so much and for my last birthday my friend gave me a bracelet made out of his tail hair which she had had made by a woman in Holland.
Sadly it fell apart after having worn it constantly for three months and I really wanted another bracelet. My boyfriend and I did some research (neither of us had ever made jewelery before) and we came up with this easy way to make a horsehair bracelet:
horse hair from either mane or tail, preferably same length
a silver clasp like the one shown in the pictures below
a pair of scissors
Disclaimer: I know nothing about making jewelery and this is probably (definitely) not the neatest way but it works and is nice and quick and easy.
We start off with a suitable amount of horsehair (depending on how wide you want the bracelet to be and how thick the horses hair is). I like my bracelets small and my pony’s tail hair is very thick so I only really need a couple of hairs.
Make a knot and put a safety pin through. This amount of hair is enough for two braids and 4-6 bracelets by the way:
Now we can fasten the safety pin on a pillow or somewhere comfortable and can start braiding:
Braid until you have more than enough of braid to go around your arm (I always do the full length of the hairs and I can get 2-3 bracelets out of one strand of hairs).
Now we need to secure the ends so we can cut the bracelet to the right length. To do this, put a couple of drops of superglue on the braid where you want the bracelet to start and end. You’ll have to wrap it around your wrist to see how long it needs to be. Let the glue dry and repeat.
When the two coats of glue are dry you can cut the two ends of the braid and the braid won’t come undone.
We need a clasp where we can lay the end parts of the braid into the end part of the clasp and then squeeze that part shut with the pliers into a tube.
When you don’t have pliers (like us) look for a pair of household scissors that may do the job as well.
After squeezing the ends of the clasp shut with the braid in them all that remains is to secure that the braid can’t be pulled out again by daily wear. Give a couple of drops of superglue on the top of the tubes and the glue will be sucked into the tube.
Let the glue dry completely and put on and admire your bracelet!
I personally can never be bothered to take it off and having to put it on again, so I just wear it constantly. So far it has survived several months of constant wear and daily showering and seems to be very durable. Besides being very unobtrusive jewelery I just love having a part of my pony with me always!
The first color shots out of my Holga are finally done and scanned and I am in love (again). Unfortunately medium format color film is pretty pricey but I will have to splurge on it once in a while I think.
These were all taken at the last rodeo at the barn:
Aching feet after a day’s riding:
Yummy candy for sale:
The oppressive heat we’ve been having has been hard on the horseys as well, with little shade and lots of flies on their pastures:
And, to save the best for last (something I always find very hard to do…anyone seen the movie ‘Remember Me’? I have my dessert first too):
A little impromptu shoot at the barn yesterday, mainly for me to practise some camera settings I wanted to try out without pressure.
Shooting in the bright sun at 2pm in backlighting… tough lighting situation but not always avoidable, so something I really needed to learn.
Spot metering…another function I had real trouble with and therefore never used during ‘important’ shoots. I finally got the hang of it yesterday.
And the last thing I needed to work on, especially in that light: shooting full manual. I used to shoot manual a lot with my Fuji S5600 before I got my DSLR. Then I happily settled for Aperture Priority and never gave full manual a second thought.
What inspired me to try all of this out were the presentations from Jessica Claire and Jerry Ghionis at Escalate Live , which I was lucky enough to be able to view online. Jerry’s examples made it clear that you really have to know your camera inside out to be able to get creative with it and Jessica stressed how important it is to try new things out all the time, even though they mightn’t always work (I’m sure she wasn’t talking about camera settings, but this is my starting point for now, before moving on to ‘higher’ things).
Bottom line: if you want to know how your camera really works, grab a willing friend and try, try, try. I learned valuable things about shooting in tough lighting, while using spot metering, while shooting in full manual mode yesterday.
If you need to start somewhere before that (for example moving away from auto mode to maybe aperture priority), try it!
This one is going to be an all time favourite, I am so in love with that picture!
Next on my things-to-do-to-become-a-better-photographer list: Learn to see more, become less hectic, learn to give instructions.
Oh, and I have already shot enough 120 film in my Holga to outdo the camera price…cool, eh? Look forward to lots of Holga pics 🙂
It’s officially spring…it’s warm and green and flowery and the horses get to leave their winter paddocks behind for the wide pastures.
Spring means freedom
and food…lots of lush green grass waiting to be eaten
But it also means grudgingly coming back in after a while, so they get used to the grass slowly.
Soon they’ll be outside day and night though, one big herd of about 40 geldings, another with a couple of mares, a gang of oldies and youngsters, and one sole stallion.