It is a blue and white day: blue sky; white snow; long, blue shadows from the bright sun. It is cold, with a windchill below 0 degrees F (that's below -17 degrees C my English friends.) I can't complain because it is even colder in much of the country. Taking pictures in this weather is a challenge, so most of the photographs on this posting were taken from the warmth of the den through a dirty window -- it's too cold to clean windows. I did brave the elements to take a couple of macros. Of course, I am not satisfied with the quality of the pictures; I'm never happy with them. This is the year I am going to work to improve my photography -- the first of my three big resolutions for 2014.
I took these pictures with my trusty Nikon Coolpix L120. I loaded them into iPhoto and did a little cropping where necessary, but no other enhancing. Last year I purchased a Cannon Rebel T3/EOS 1100D and enrolled in classes at the local community college. I was determined not to use the new camera on auto setting, but to take RAW pictures, so I would have complete control of the results. This was a difficult task for me, especially at my advanced age -- 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks' and all that. When I became ill in September, I had to drop out of the photography class, but now I am feeling better, and although not completely recovered, I believe I am ready to take up the challenge again. So my dear friends, I hope you will notice an improvement in my pictures as the year progresses.
'Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle ... a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream.' -- Barbara Winkler
I'm sure I wont have any difficulty keeping my second big resolution for 2014 because I can't wait to start. It is to make at least one miniature garden. I wrote about miniature gardening here and here. I purchased some miniature garden accessories -- arbor, fence, bench, fairies, water cans, and such. I have some containers I believe will work, and some plants including my miniature hostas. I am going to get busy sketching some plans, so that when spring finally arrives I will be ready.
If my miniature garden creations are successful, I would like to make a how-to presentation with photographs and an actual example. I regularly teach gardening workshops at the Older Adult Learning Center at East Stroudsburg University and I think this topic will prove popular if I can pull it off.
My third resolution is the biggest, most important, and most difficult one for me: it is to write every day. You are thinking "What's the big deal?" Well, I have been writing a gardening book for years and at first I thought my resolution should be to complete the book in 2014. But when I consider why the book isn't finished, I realize it's because I procrastinate and making a resolution wont stop that. I have perfected numerous excuses why I don't write and they are all pathetic like, "the kitchen floor has to be mopped." Well, maybe that's a bad example; a truer one is, "I must finish reading this book" (I read at least one book, usually a novel, each week.) My excuses are a bit more acceptable in the gardening season when there is actual work to do outside, but we have nearly 6 months when gardening is impossible in this climate. I don't know why I procrastinate, because I really love to write. (I bet there are other writers who understand my problem.)
I was inspired by Stephanie Vanderslice's article in the Huffington Post, 'The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: a Challenge for 2014'. Stephanie talks about writers' resolutions and concludes that the most attainable one is 'write every day.' If you are a writer, click on the link to see why I decided to make it my goal.
I feel my goal to write every day can include blog writing, articles for the newspaper, my garden journal, and of course my book. Who knows, I might even accomplish something this year, maybe even finish the book. My book is about creating an English cottage garden in less than ideal conditions -- the easiest things to grow in this area are rocks. Wish me luck, and please pray I have the good health to achieve my goals.
Of course, gardening resolutions from previous years still stand: continue to simplify, test the soil, use compost and mulch, etc. Have you made any gardening resolutions this year?
'A garden is never so good as it will be next year.'-- Thomas Cooper
I hope 2014 is your best gardening year ever!
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