observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

  • Welcome to my photo journal

    Living on Vancouver Island in B.C. Canada Diane loves the scent of forests and rain, the rhythms of the sea, and holds discoveries and stories in high regard.

    Where mornings begin with a drum roll! --Diane M Schuller

    Updated each Monday ... simply an online journal of an ordinary life. Come on in to enjoy a breath of West Coast air.

    spices from a million flowers

    Stargazer lilies perfume the evening breeze. The soft mutterings of geese can be heard as they float along the beach below. The light is golden against the trees, pink against the horizon, and stretching shadows into thin comedies.

    trellis

    Since welcoming Heidi to our home, life has become busier than that of a backyard bee, with a daily routine that includes the multiple 5-minute or less training sessions; three walks; and encouraging her to play — not to mention keeping up with everything else that fills a person’s day. She may be a bit of a project at the moment, but she’s already shining a light of joy in every part of our recent days.

    Australian Shepherd in the creek

    Australian Shepherd

    Caught in the act! It’s okay, she’s just having a drink and cooling off in our creek after a bit of playtime.

    Australian Shepherd, Heidi, in backyard in Qualicum Beach

    And I promise not to inundate you with post-after-post of photos only of her. Though I will likely share updates on her training progress. These two posts will be her introduction to you. Now I need to get busy with that practice I mentioned in re-learning how to take a decent action shot. She is constantly on the move so trying to change settings, focus, and catch her at an ideal moment seems to be something with which I’ve really lost my touch. As you can see, I’ve had to resort to those few moments I can get her to stop momentarily.

    Australian Shepherd T-n-T

    Thank you for your delightful notes on the last post. It’s been so busy I’ve had to resort to writing this late at night but I want you to know I do read your lovely messages and they are the best part for me — thank you!

    “Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.” — Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine.

    Until next Monday my dear friends and family, may you seek the spices from a million flowers.

     

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    Lisa Gordon - July 25, 2016 - 10:55 am

    What a precious face she has, Diane, and I am so glad that she is settling in so nicely.
    Please do keep us posted. I love to see here beautiful face here.
    Have a wonderful week, my friend!

    Roberta - July 27, 2016 - 6:30 pm

    I am so happy for Heidi and her new family! Lovely photos and I love the quote..

    Susan Clark - July 28, 2016 - 9:13 am

    Oh Diane, I miss a few weeks and everything changes! Sweet, sweet pup. Three weeks ago we adopted two 6 month old pups. They too have a lot to learn! In their short lives there have been many changes. The first thing is to have them realise this is their forever home. Plenty of work ahead for you and me but so worth it for a long and happy relationship with our little treasures.

    Jessie - July 29, 2016 - 4:18 pm

    Oh- you can *try* to bore us with a million pictures of her, but I’m not sure you’ll succeed!;)

    Candace - August 2, 2016 - 2:18 pm

    That last portrait of Heidi is beautiful! And I like the Bradbury quote, too.

    Gabriele - August 3, 2016 - 5:39 am

    Heidi looks adventuresome. I’m happy for you to have a budding new companion.

    Monday, Monday

    Looks like I missed two Monday posts. It’s been busy around here, I’ve been rather pre-occupied, and generally discombobulated. So here’s the scoop.

    A few months ago we agreed we couldn’t live without an Aussie in our life so began the search. Because we had some specific criteria, we didn’t jump at the first litter or Australian Shepherd that was available nor were we interested in supporting breeders who simply breed constantly and do so in an effort to make money. We began looking for a young adult but found available youngsters to be few and far between at that time so we decided we should get a puppy. It has been a long and winding road and to make a long story short, we’ve arrived full circle to a young adult when suddenly a few began ‘showing up’. We even went to see three different Aussies and passed on each one. Well yesterday, like in the story of the “Three Bears,” our search resulted in finding the ‘right one’.

    Heidi, Australian Shepherd ©D.M. Schuller

    Heidi is an 11-month-old girl who is quite friendly and her nature is quite outgoing, though she really needs a great deal of socialization and life experiences. So for the next while she is going to be gradually exposed to all sorts of people, other dogs, places, experiences, but she also has begun learning what it means to live as a well-behaved house dog. I do not believe in, nor use, any physical punishments. Rather I allow a dog to learn by making choices and getting rewarded for making good choices. I set them up for success. Bad choices get ignored and, if necessary, a dog may be diverted to something entirely different if there is a high risk of a bad choice possibly being made. So they don’t get used to making bad choices but they do get used to and love making correct choices. Punishment is not necessary. In this brief 24 hours so far, Heidi has already figured out a couple really good choices all on her own. She has a great deal to learn and catch up on but we will show her the way.

    DSC_4653DSC_4656

    I’m currently registered in Susan Garrett’s “Recallers” program. So our sweet Heidi is going to have the benefit over the next year to learn all kinds of wonderful behaviours, games, plus a dynamite recall, without any punishment involved along the way, just like Donna did.

    And do I ever need to brush up on my camera skills, most especially taking photos of a moving target! Heidi, it seems, is forcing me to re-learn a few things too.

    It feels so good to have an Aussie in the home again.

    Heidi looking out to sea www.dianeschuller.com

    Perhaps now I can get back on track with my regular Monday posts. Until Monday, why not share with me any kind of story or lesson-learned from a pet of yours. If you don’t have a pet, tell me a story anyway … I’ll be waiting to read them!

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    DIANE J PATMORE - July 22, 2016 - 11:28 pm

    Oh! You did it.Or rather, Heidi did it.So pleased for you.Lots of positives in this! Not least pictures 🙂

    Eden - July 23, 2016 - 9:58 pm

    Congratulations on your new girl, Diane! I hope she brings you as much happiness as your previous Aussies. I look forward to reading more posts about your training adventures with Heidi. And can’t wait to see the pictures too!

    Lisa Gordon - July 24, 2016 - 5:39 am

    Oh my goodness, Diane, she is just beautiful!
    Congratulations, and I look forward to seeing lots more of Heidi here.
    Happy Sunday to you, my friend.

    Sherry G. - July 24, 2016 - 11:54 am

    Oh Diane, I’m so happy for you! What a beautiful new companion to love and care for. I love your philosophy and how lucky Heidi is that you set her up for success. I know how busy life can get with a new dog to introduce to everything. Our last Westie needed lots of time and attention and it was all exhausting at time — but it was so rewarding and we still miss him so much. I know that one day we will get another too, but not right now! I will enjoy Heidi and all the pictures to come.

    Susan - July 25, 2016 - 7:30 pm

    Oh Diane, I’m so happy for you! She is just beautiful and I do love your teaching philosophy, behavior modification works best…I brought my children up that way 🙂

    Jessie - July 29, 2016 - 4:16 pm

    Oh! She’s beautiful! And you have an Aussie again! *happy sighs*

    🙂

    shawna - August 1, 2016 - 6:27 am

    So happy for you! What a beauty!!!

    Candace - August 2, 2016 - 2:14 pm

    She’s darling, Diane! I’m glad you have a new Aussie in your life.

    mink river

    “Rained gently last night, just enough to wash the town clean, and then today a clean crisp fat spring day, the air redolent, the kind of green minty succulent air you’d bottle if you could and snort greedily on bleak, wet January evenings when the streetlights hzzzt on at four in the afternoon and all existence seems hopeless and sad.” — Brian Doyle, from his book Mink River. And you can read what I had to say about this book on my Goodreads reviews.

    simple flowers

    Until next Monday may your days be as poetic as those in Mink River, or even better. And a Happy 4th of July to my friends south of the 49th.

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    Gabriele - July 4, 2016 - 9:12 am

    Beautiful prose. I will have to check him out. Thanks for the holiday greetings.

    Jessie Stevens - July 29, 2016 - 4:13 pm

    Beautiful!

    Why Don’t Dogs Live Forever?

    Why Don’t Dogs Live Forever?

    If you have a dog or cat in the family, I consider this an important TED talk to watch. It’s short, it’s fact-based (scientific findings), and incredibly wise advice to follow.

    And because I feel so strongly about how important his message is, I don’t plan on saying much else today. The only other thing I feel is also timely and dog-related (plus important if you have young children) is this great message.

    Lawn herbicides and your family pet

    And here are the research findings that back all this up.

    You all know I tend not to preach or get on a soap box so, hopefully you will realize how important these two messages are to me and for all of you who have pets (don’t forget young children play on lawns too).

    I will step down off my soap box for now and return to my ‘normal’ posts next Monday. Until then may you feel the wind in your hair, the grass between your toes, and drink in the refreshing spring air.

    As always, thank you so much for stopping by and especially for leaving a note before you leave — I always appreciate your presence here.

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    DIANE J PATMORE - June 27, 2016 - 12:25 pm

    I have always thought the idea of spraying plants with poison a pointless, expensive and immoral exercise.
    Probably criminal, too.(And the same applies to those slug and rodent baits.)

    Lisa Gordon - June 27, 2016 - 4:12 pm

    Thank you, Diane. I hope all who read this realize just how important this is.
    Have a wonderful week, my friend.

    the venture continued in Greece

    Port: Katakalon, Greece

    While most were off walking in the heat visiting the ruins of Olympia, we hopped on a bus and had such a memorable experience visiting an olive farm. The Magna Grecia Farm (Agriturismo Magna Grecia) is a family owned olive farm where we met some of the locals and enjoyed authentic Greek cuisine, with most ingredients grown right on the farm.

    We feasted on a wide variety of delicious mezes along with their own wine while watching a Syrtaki dance, which we were invited to join in. This was one of the highly memorable days on the entire trip. I highly recommend a visit (look it up on TripAdvisor as, Agriturismo Magna Grecia).

    olive trees at Magna Grecia farm

    olives and copper pots at Magna Grecia

    kegs of grappa ©Diane M Schuller

    mezes at Magna Grecia farm ©Diane M Schuller

    grappa kegs ©Diane M Schuller
    A group of Greek men enjoying the afternoon in Katakolon, Greece:

    Greek men in Katakolon, Greece
    Beautiful hand woven rugs (most likely Turkish) hung on many of the balconies in Katakolon.

    beautiful rugs on balcony in Katakolon, Greece

    That clear mediterranean water — ahh. That’s the Koningsdam, our cruise ship in the background. In this part of Greece, fishing is done by hand and not by huge trawlers. The men come in and sort, clean, and carry their day’s catch to the local restaurants and some to a small fish market. Then they return to their boats and spend hours cleaning and untwisting, then rewinding their nets, doing repairs as necessary.

    fishing boat with Koningsdam in background

    Once back on the Koningsdam, we were regaled by a talented belly dancer.

    belly dancer on the MS Koningsdam

    Until next Monday may you dream of adventures near or far but most especially may you go to Nature to be soothed.

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    DIANE J PATMORE - June 20, 2016 - 12:35 pm

    Looks lovely! This morning? I wouldn’t mind a little Mediterranean sunshine.

    Lisa Gordon - June 20, 2016 - 4:13 pm

    This looks wonderful Diane.
    Forever memories, for sure.
    Have a wonderful week, my friend!

    Andi - June 26, 2016 - 7:12 am

    Such beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing these with us.
    Those rugs…oh my. What a treasure to have in one’s home.

    Sherry G. - June 26, 2016 - 7:44 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed your fabulous images and story telling! No snapshots these! Such a great eye you have, Diane. I’m guessing this was a Holland America cruise? I’ve been on their ships and they’re wonderful. Love the image contrasting the fishing boat and the cruise ship. So perfect.

    Candace - June 29, 2016 - 4:40 pm

    Looks like a great time! Huge, huge cruise ship!

    Currently

    “Have you ever seen a flower down
    Sometimes angels skip around
    And in their blissful state of glee
    Bump into a daisy or sweet pea.” –Terri Guillemets

    Rhododendron www.dianeschuller.com

    foxglove www.dianeschuller.com

    our home, Qualicum Beach, BC

    storm a brewing

    excited:  planning to get a puppy; life is far too empty without an Aussie with which to share our lives.

    joyful:  making music and enjoying my Wednesday piano lessons.

    delighted:  summer’s are the best for our local farmer’s market; always how I spend my Saturday mornings.

    contented:  enjoying eating every meal al fresco.

    soul-stirring: entirely smitten with the early mornings whispering awake at dawn and drawing to a close when the light is low, dramatic, and nearly takes my breath away.

    dogwood on Pintail Drive, Parksville - Qualicum Beach, BC

    home, Qualicum Beach, BC

    Well my lovelies, until next Monday may you skip around and bump into a daisy or sweet pea. Before you skip away, I’d love if you share one of your recent blissful or joy-filled moments.

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    Lisa Gordon - June 13, 2016 - 3:54 pm

    Oh, Diane, a puppy!!!!
    I sure hope you will share photos of him or her here.
    Truly what an exciting time.

    Each of these photographs is so beautiful. So much wonderful color. It looks like you are having a fantastic spring.

    Have a beautiful week ahead, my friend!

    Toffeeapple - June 14, 2016 - 3:09 am

    A beautiful post, thank you.

    Sherry - June 14, 2016 - 1:20 pm

    Blissful days! My most exciting moment in the garden was probably today, because one of my new–and long coveted–Marshall Peace Garden rose finally offered up a bloom! I’ve been wanting this rose for three years and she is finally here and as gorgeous as I’ve always dreamed. 🙂

    Sherry G. - June 15, 2016 - 6:52 pm

    I have been waiting to see more of your gorgeous flower and garden images. And you did not disappoint. These are delectable. What is the second one with the spots? How fascinating. I’m thrilled to hear you are getting a puppy. I know exactly how you feel. Our house is just not the same without Angus and Charles. And we will no doubt get a puppy too, just not right away…we hope to travel a bit more first…I can’t wait to see your puppy shots. They will really make me feel blissful!

    Candace - June 29, 2016 - 4:42 pm

    I’m so excited you’re getting a puppy! Aussies are so beautiful and smart.