Architecture, Photography

Bridge

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My mom used to drag me around to look at amazing bridges, all over southern Europe when I was a little girl. To begin with I didn’t like it so much (it was usually hot and you had to walk long distances,) but after a while I caught the bug as well.

The theme of this week’s photo challenge at The Daily Post is Bridge. Today’s post is actually not from northern California, but from our neighboring state Nevada. The photo above is the bridge at Hoover Dam. The day I walked out on this bridge it was very windy. Most people stayed at the beginning at the bridge, snapped a few quick photos of Hoover Dam, and quickly walked back. Not me. I spend more than an hour on the windy bridge, admiring Hoover Dam from every possible angle. I completely lost track of time.

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This is the view of Hoover Dam that I admired. It is a spectacular place. I haven’t had time to indulge in the other entries of the photo challenge yet, but I am planning on doing it tonight. It’s very possible that I post another entry to this challenge, since bridges  is something that fascinates me. A bridge is in many ways a gateway to my imagination. Do you feel the same way? If you’re participating in the photo challenge, feel free to post a link to your entry in a comment.

 

Love,

Ms Zen

Mindful Living, Minimalism, NorCal, Northern California, Organic Gardening, Photography

Transitions, Change, And The Passing Of Time

For this week’s photo challenge, share a picture that symbolizes transitions, change, and the passing of time.

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This morning when I went out to water my garden, I discovered the very first flower, on one of our watermelon plants. It’s a little special this year. I’ve grown watermelons successfully many times, but never in a container. Previous years I’ve leased acreage for gardening, and we’ve had more watermelons than we could eat ourselves.  My daughter really wanted watermelons this year as well, but we didn’t have a place to plant them in the ground. Growing them in containers is somewhat an experiment. The rest of my garden (tomatoes, squash, basil, oregano, cilantro, peach, fig, pomegranate, and cherry) is thriving in containers. We’ll see if we get any actual melons, but the flowers sure are beautiful.

The photo could be seen as a transition, and change in several ways; The change from gardening on acreage, to container gardening in a small space. The change in the growing watermelon plant, as the first flower appears. Of course in my head I have a bigger change, and transition in mind. Saving money by not leasing acreage for gardening, is taking me closer to my goal of having a homestead of my own, where I can grow the majority of our food myself. A place where I can firmly plant my trees in the ground, and build something that will last.

Looking forward to see the other entries in this week’s challenge! Have an awesome weekend!!

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

Mindful Living, NorCal

Transient – In My DNA

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When I read the theme for this week’s photo challenge at The Daily Post: Transient, my first thought was that’s me. It used to make me a little melancholic, like I was always standing on the outside looking in. At 37 I’ve finally come to terms with my gypsy soul. It’s in my DNA. My ancestors were vikings. What can I say?

I like some things to be consistent. I like returning to places that have a meaning to me, but to define home have always been a challenge. At least I’ve narrowed it down to the western states. I spend most of my time in northern California, and northern Nevada. That is where I am the most centered.

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I like to think of the transient places I treasure as gifts, that have been treasured by so many people before me, and will be treasured by so many people after me. That gives the concept of a transient existence more meaning. I don’t want to keep the views I treasure, or the experiences I experience to myself. So I share them with my stories, and my photos. Like my my grandma shared her stories with me, as she took me to countries, and special places near and far.

Love,

Ms Zen

 

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My daughter and I had a magical day at Potem Falls today. She must of borrowed my camera when I wasn’t looking. When we got back home and I uploaded the photos I’ve taken during the day, I found this one of me.
Mindful Living, NorCal, Photography

Focus

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This week, share a photo that represents focus to you. Are you a stickler for getting in close to your subjects and capturing every detail, or do you prefer a more ethereal look that illustrates the sensations of the moment? Or both?

I choose to share a completely unedited, in focus photo, for this week’s photo challenge. Yesterday my daughter and I went to Whiskeytown Lake, part of a 39,000 acres national park in northern California. It’s a magical place! We’ve enjoyed coming back here for years, to hike the trails, and enjoy the lake.

Yesterday I wanted to capture the mix of pleasure, and concentration on my daughter’s face, as she walked on some uneven rocks at the shore. I followed her explorations with my camera, and snapped a couple pictures. I like this one the best. Show me your focus! If you’re participating in the photo challenge, feel free to leave a link to your entry in a comment.

 

Love,

Ms Zen

Mindful Living, Photography

Photography as a tool for mindful living

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Google’s definition of mindfulness is:

The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something, “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition.” A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

When I bring my camera with me, I slow down. Without thinking about it, I become more mindful. I observe my surrounding, I breathe deeper, I enjoy more, I bring all my senses into the present moment.  I was five years old when my grandmother introduced me to the magic world of photography, by giving me my first camera. I’ve been experimenting, and taking pictures almost every day since then. My daughter is about to turn five next month, and I intend to pass on the family tradition to her.

Is photography a tool for mindful living for you?

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

 

 

Mindful Living, NorCal, Organic Gardening

Weekly Photo Challenge: Order

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This time of the year a lot of my time is dedicated to creating order in my garden. To organize my container garden in to a system. My system is based on the different plants need of sunlight, shade, and water. They are planted in rows, and/or groups, depending on their needs. In the photo above you can see the barefoot peach trees that I planted a couple weeks ago. They are already getting leaves, and seem to thrive in their sunny spot, in the middle of my garden. The tan smart pots in the back is home to young bell pepper, and squash plants.

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I planted 8 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes this spring. Unfortunately they are only semi organized …my daughter played with the labels. They are neatly transplanted to bigger containers, and organized in rows, with sturdy cages around every plant. However, because of the little label incident..I do not know where the cherry tomatoes are, or where my green zebras are, or any of the other varieties..We’re having surprise tomatoes this year! LOL. It’s interesting, some of the plants are really small, and some are 5ft high by now.

My garden is all organic. Some of the plants that are more prone to get damaged by different bugs and insects, have mint planted around them. You can see mint on the left side of the fig tree (below.) Mint is a great plant to sow here and there. It helps to keep bugs away, spread easily, and is delicious for cold drinks, in food etc.

The vegetables usually needs to be water 1-2 times every day, while the container fruit trees needs water every other day when it’s more than 90 degrees, and less often if it happens to be cooler (very rare during the summer.) My garden is constantly changing every year. I like learning about different vegetables and trying a few new ones every year. The number of fruit trees I have is also changing. I give some away to friends, sell a couple here and there, plant some new ones etc.

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The planting season starts in the beginning of April outdoors, (February-March if I have access to a greenhouse.) In the beginning of June I’m usually done with the planting. I just finished organizing the garden for this year. Now all I’m doing is watering, weeding, and fertilizing, and harvesting of course.

Bring it on! Let it grow! I’m ready!

The more though I put in when it comes to organizing my garden during the planting season, the easier it is to take care of the garden the rest of the year. My goal is to eventually have produce all year round.

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Cherries are in season right now. The cherries in the photo above are Rainer Cherries. They are sweet and very delicious. I’ve been stocking my freezer with Rainer Cherries, and Sweet Dark Cherries for a couple weeks now. It’s a tedious work to pit cherries. It’s well worth it! I usually put the pitted cherries on a tray, and put them in the freezer for about an hour, before freezing them in quarter sized containers. In that way the freeze quickly, preserving all the nutrients. It’s a great way to preserve them without adding any sugar. They are great for snacks, or in smoothies all year round. (I even freeze some of the pits. I’m saving some seeds from the fruit/vegetables that I enjoy the most, to be planted later on. I’m slowly building my own seed bank. My goal is to one day have a “real” homestead.)

I enjoy the order of the different seasons. Here in northern California the gardening season is long. At some point during the year, you can grow almost anything you’d like. You can have a spring crop, a summer crop, and a late fall/winter crop. That is one of the things I love the most about California.

My garden is my happy place. Right now it’s my favorite every day zen spot. It’s where I center myself, and find my balance. I hope this week have been wonderful for you!

Subscribe below, and feel free to copy the strategies that fits your zen. 

Love,

Ms Zen