Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Fun and a Photographer's Mecca

Last weekend I had the opportunity to photograph Crofton's Annual Easter Egg Hunt for the paper that carries the column Liz Forbes and I write.  I love our little community's annual events - the fishing derby, the Christmas parade and carol singing, the movies in the park, the Easter egg hunt.  Aside from the laughter, meeting new people, chatting with old friends, and chowing down on tasty refreshments, I have a chance to photograph one of my favourite subjects - kids having fun.

In the course of three hours, I took nearly seven hundred photos. My co-columnist Liz had the task for following along behind me getting  names, children's ages, and parental permissions. Since our deadline for publication had actually been two days before the event and the publisher was holding a front page spot for a photo, I spent a long night looking through all those shots for the final six or seven to send him.

So many activities!  So much to choose from! Scavenger hunts and guessing games, blowing bubbles and skipping rope,   face painting, stuffy tosses, music and dance and games with Daisy the Cow and Farmer Vicki, women in Easter bonnets, children with balloons, toddlers and grandmas,  the Easter Bunny, the egg hunt, and over three hundred happy faces.  



Tracking the flight of the bubble


Face Painting!
Colour co-ordinated mouth and vest

Painted face and free juice

Farmer Vicki and Daisy the Cow
(from Island Farms, whose Caramel Sea Salt Ice Cream 
rivals anything by that other famous company "HD")

Riding an Island Farms cow

More cow riding

The Easter Bunny!

Chasing the bunny and scattering the eggs

The Easter Egg Hunt!

Gathering the eggs

Running for eggs
Running for eggs

Scrambling for eggs

Happy Faces!

More happy faces

Happy baby in his grandma's arms

And more happy faces

More happy faces

I think this was my favourite series - I loved watching this little girl so carefully pick up a little egg and drop it in her basket:

Liz and I had a hard time choosing the final submissions for the paper, but eventually narrowed it down to these:

Carter, age 1, following the bubbles

Mrs. G  in her Easter bonnet
A long term Croftonite and business owner
Always a contributor to local events

Leila, age four, at the face-painting booth

Mersadies, age 5, playing games with Daisy the Cow

Thea, age 2, shares a hot dog and
 quiet moment with Grandma

But I'm betting this one will make front page:

Danika, age 16 months, finds an egg just for her

All photos (c) Jean Ballard 2014
Do not copy without permission

Friday, April 18, 2014

Where's Mama?

Shiloh:  Why isn't Mama blogging about us any more?

Eddie:  Cuz she's too busy wiv the garden and too tired when she comes inside.  

Mitzi:  I hazn't even had a walk for days!  Mama Jean seems to think snoopervising in the yard should be enough fer a princess like me!

Allie:  Yeah, but you sure seem to enjoy chowing down on the manure, ya dirty-mouth little dawg!  I, on the other hand, am captive inside the house and don't even get my fifteen minutes of lap time!

Eddie:  Enough, all of you.  I'z only had one hike wiv mah pal Keeghan this week, and mama didn't even take her camera along. How does Mama expect to have fodder for the blog if she doesn't even take photos of my expeditions?  Shameful, that's what it is, shameful!

Shiloh:  Maybe Mama should rename the blog "My Life Ignoring The Critters."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oh the glories of spring!

Crofton Lake Reflections
(c) 2014 Jean Ballard
The day had been a long one and I was tired and achy - I can't remember what I'd been up to (even though it was only yesterday) but the last thing I felt like doing was going for a hike.  Then Bonnie, Keaghan's mom, phoned.  And I couldn't say no.  So even though it was four o'clock, and my dogs are used to getting their dinner at 4:30 or 5:00, Eddie and I headed out the door to meet our friends for the hike up to Crofton Lake.

(Sorry it's out of focus, but Eddie was just soooo happy!)
The trail is magical in spring - pools of winter runoff  are full of bright yellow skunk cabbage, the moss on the tree stumps sprouts wee little toadstools, hidden ponds reflecting rays of sun amid the brush.

Late afternoon on a warm spring day has a very special feeling to it - with a few hours of daylight still but not overly bright or hot - just a warm, comforting, chicken-soup sort of  feeling as the trees shine golden, and the birds rustle and whisper as they make their final flights of the day, and the lake is so still and calm and beautiful one can sit and watch it for hours. Meditation time.

For us perhaps, but not for Keaghan who had the zoomies and splashed in and out of the lake and exuberantly greeted the angler and the cyclist and the woman with dogs that we met on the trail. Nor for Eddie who trotted back and forth along the shore, racing back to us each time we called his name.

Keaghan's exuberance and Eddie's happy smile just made it all the more worthwhile.  Aches were gone, fatigue dispelled, we sat by the lake for an hour or more.  Even youthful Keaghan eventually settled down to enjoy the scenery.

Or in the case of Eddie, to become  the scenery.

When we returned to our cars, the dogs were tired and we were relaxed and at peace.

By the time I got home, close to 7 PM, Mitzi and Shiloh were a little miffed, but dinner quickly pacified them and with Eddie all tired out from the hike, the peace of the afternoon's hike continued into the evening.

Gotta love these April days.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Allie's Drive Through Window.

When I had my kitchen renos done, one of the changes was to put a pass-through between the kitchen and dining area so my teeny tiny kitchen would have more natural light.  I didn't particularly like the job they did on the pass-through, as it looked too much like I should stand on the kitchen side and ask my customers "Would you like fries with that?"

Allie, however, thinks it is wonderful.  She is not allowed on the kitchen counters, but she can jump up on the buffet which is on the dining room side of the pass-through window, and order up her food.

HELLOOOO!  I'd like some service here!

It does have one advantage from my perspective, in that there are often times when the sun streaming in the front windows makes for some great shots of Allie as she orders her food:

Yeah, but ya cut off my ears!

Now get me my dinner!

Unless, of course, you want me to report you
for growing yer own grass.
Oh, wait, that's MY grass!