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dyeing

here’s a confession. i really don’t like dyeing easter eggs. i did it out of motherly duty for a few years, but the reality is that the kids think they want to dye easter eggs, but what they really want is for mom to do all the hard work of hard boiling and coloring the easter eggs, so that they can arrange them artfully in the easter egg baskets, which takes approximately .003% of the overall easter egg dyeing time expenditure. meanwhile, mother nature has been busy creating colors like the ones above, without dissolving any paas pastel tablets in lukewarm water. i can’t do any better than that, and no longer plan to try.

collection of found and gifted eggs:

goose, duck, pheasant, chicken, quail, partridge, blue bird, cardinal

 

comments
  1. Carol Sommers says:

    I am with you about this, even wrapping them in onion skins before boiling cannot beat Mother Nature.

  2. margie says:

    the children could make braided loaves of bread with beautiful natural eggs tucked in side them. That would be time well spent with a delicious result.

  3. Angelica says:

    That is a beautiful display of the variety of natural egg colors that you can find. I agree that those natural colors are far more beautiful than the artificial ones you get in an egg dyeing kit. Although sometime I would like to try out some of the suggestions I’ve seen for how to dye eggs using natural ingredients (I think because that has an aspect of experimentation to it).

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retirement

steve and i talk often about retirement and how flawed the american model seems to us.  work all those years. hang on until you max out the pension. then hang on until you max out your social security monthly benefits. then, when you are about 70 years old, with skin as leathery as this oak leaf, you head down to the house in tucson to play bad golf, in perfect financial security, for what remains of your life. much better to leap from the tree in full blazing color, and take what comes on the way down. we’re all headed that way anyway.

burr oak with winter leaf and oaks galls

grass lake, saint paul, minnesota

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sulfurs

the snow is gone. but the color has not yet returned. so i am jumping the gun and imagining these dried hydrangea flowers as a busy, wing-flexing little colony of sulfur moths, drinking nectar from bright summer flowers.

dried hydrangea florets

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    that is exactly what i saw

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organic collage

i did not make this gorgeous diaphanous collage. nature did. i simply peeled the translucent burdock leaf from the downed log it had fallen over, and all of the leaves that had fallen on it and adhered themselves to it, came along for the photo op. i couldn’t have planned it any better.

winter leaves peeled from a downed log in march

grass lake, saint paul, minnesota

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  1. mary says:

    I just love this. You did a terrific job photographing it.

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seasonally young

it didn’t occur to me until i had put this collage together that, despite all the vibrant color, this is really a still life. everything in the photo is dead. but around here, it’s starting to look like spring, and all of the dead-looking branches in the woods are swelling with buds about to burst into greens and reds. so i can’t help but see this photo as full of life.

collage of bits and pieces from my collections table

 

comments
  1. margie says:

    i think today will be the warmest yet this year and i will try to enjoy it with a long walk after work

  2. I love this still life, I also don’t see
    that everything is already dead.
    Maybe it’s our head, that knows how these
    beautiful parts look when they are in
    full life :)
    Have a beautiful day
    【ツ】Knipsa

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on gifting

there are women who crave a perfectly set diamond, a lexus suv, a pair of louboutins, the 16th arrondissement, and a louis vuitton drawstring bag. i’ll take sea urchin spines from a beach on the sea of cortez, thank you. no, i mean it. thank you @springfinnandco.

sea urchin spines

sea of cortez, mexico

comments
  1. I prefer the natural beauties, too :)
    But I’m still looking for one of those
    spines. :D
    Have a beautiful Sunday!
    【ツ】Knipsa

  2. tinajo says:

    This is so pretty! :-)

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curvy

so, i was listening to a podcast today…wait, did your eyes just glaze over? anyway, the interviewee, mitch joel, was talking about how we all should embrace the squiggle. in other words, don’t imagine that your college major is going to be your straight-line life path. as a former aero-astro-engineer-turned-artist, who married a french-greek-english-major-turned-tax-preparer, i’m all about the squiggle.

you can see the whole oak limb here on my instagram feed.

weathered old oak limb

grass lake, saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. Love this curvy old branch, and I loved seeing it above your bed :)
    And I couldn’t believe to see that chicken all over your place :D
    Your photos are all so beautiful! :))
    Have a wonderful day
    【ツ】Knipsa

  2. Kendra says:

    Yes, yes, squiggle~ We are in the midst right now of a relocation-climate adjustment- new job- new baby squiggle! Thank you for hitting a home run on that one! Much love~

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you are what you pay attention to

we are all swimming in stories about ourselves. every moment is a story. but it’s only the stories we pay attention to that make us who we are. i, for instance, remember splitting my forehead open on a pogo stick, and running around the woods as a kid, and paying for college by myself, and meeting my husband for the first time in a bar in saint paul. i am, for better or worse, that particular Mary Jo in my own mind, adventurous, outdoorsy, independent, happily married. i could very well be the mary jo who was such a drama queen as a child that my siblings called me sarah, short for sarah bernhardt. or i could be the mary jo who got too serious with her first boyfriend and snuck around with him more than was healthy at that age. that would make me a boy crazy drama queen, i guess, if those were the stories about myself i paid attention to. last october, i took a walk in south minneapolis. the leaves were falling into piles everywhere. there was nothing formative or special about any of them in particular. the ones above just happened to be what i bent to pick up that day. and here they are, after half a year in a flower press, part of my story.

pressed leaves

minneapolis, minnesota

comments
  1. Dear Mary Jo, your thoughts are very helpful to me, thank you very much :)
    And I like your pressed leafes :))
    Have a beautiful day!
    【ツ】Knipsa

  2. natalie says:

    :: this. this entry. this is a story. this is a great story. thank you for your prose mary jo. happy weekend to you!

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this post has nothing to do with bracket fungus

hello. my name is mary jo. and i am a podcastaholic. i listen to podcasts every time i get in the car. my son and i fight over who gets to pick the podcast. and whether or not i can finish a podcast after i drop him off at school. sometimes, if he tells me i have to wait to finish the podcast until he can listen to it with me after parent pickup, i shamefully sneak a couple of sips of it on the way home anyway. sometimes i arrive at my destination and i stay in the car just to listen to the end of a podcast. at night, around the dinner table, i pepper my conversations with “i just listened to a podcast where…” and everyone’s eyes politely glaze over. i used to think i could pretty much take podcasts or leave them alone. that i was simply “controlling my podcast habit.” but then the wireless FM receiver in my car broke, and i found myself listening to MPR. pretty soon i had moved on to top 40. it was just a matter of time before i was listening to am political talk radio. i guess you could say that was when i hit rock bottom.

bracket fungus

sucker lake, saint paul, minnesota

 

comments
  1. I love this picture, it’s
    so very close :)
    And I’m not a podcastaholic,
    I live through the internet.
    I wonder what I would be
    doing if I didn’t have that
    anymore :)
    Have a fine day
    【ツ】Knipsa

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what would it take?

several years ago my husband came home from a two day seminar and shared with me some of the inspiring things he had learned. normally inspiring things heard in seminars dissipate in the brain by lunchtime, like early morning mist over the cattails. but this time, for whatever reason, several of the takeaways (and of course they were called “takeaways”) stuck with us, and have become part of our everyday vocabulary. one in particular has wormed its way deeply into our married life. for all i know the phrase is a widely known cliché, but when steve’s instructor recommended replacing  the question “what if?” with the question “what would it take?” it was as if my engineer brain was suddenly engaged, and impossible speculative goals were transformed into equations to be solved. the question was no longer “what if” we could spend an extended time in france in some improbable future, but rather, “what would it take” to get to france in two years. well, we would need to save x amount of money by y date and clear z number of weeks on our calendar. x + y + z = 3 months in southern france. algebra. i can do algebra.

red pine needles

shoreview, minnesota

comments
  1. First of all, I like that picture very much :)
    And you’re such an inspiration to me – this morning
    I woke up, still sitting on my bed and had a nice
    idea already :))
    And the “what would it take” makes a lot of sense
    to me, sounds like “stop dreaming – start living”.
    Thank you very much for the reminder :)

    Have a beautiful day
    【ツ】Knipsa

  2. papelhilo says:

    you’re a real philosopher for modern times … and I love it that every time you give us a post, there is beauty and/or things to meditate to acompany me for the rest of the day. Thank you !

  3. Kerry says:

    I like this idea A LOT!!

  4. margie says:

    we think a lot like that around this house

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