FOREVER EVOLVING? WHERE AM I? – Marilyn Armstrong

Blogging Insights # 30 – Evolving

The question from BLOGGING INSIGHTS #30 – EVOLVING is:

“Your blog is never static.It is a living and breathing organism that continues to grow as you grow as a blogger. Sometimes this growth takes unexpected directions and you end up with something very different from what you had envisioned.”

Credit for today’s question goes to Di of Pensitivity.

Since I never expected anything, it is exactly what I expected but also, totally different. I really was just trying to post photographs that were sitting in my hard drive. No one ever saw them. I had done this before on a variety of platforms that closed down.

I was never really “into” it. Maybe because I was still working and I wrote all day, so I wasn’t all that eager to do some more writing when I got home. I hadn’t had the time to develop photographically, either. I worked a lot of hours, had a child to raise, a house to maintain and I really enjoyed my few hours of doing nothing.

Looking for a few seeds?

So I started this blog without expectations. I also didn’t think it would last long. All the others had closed down, so I figure a couple of years or even less, and this one would close down too.

What I didn’t expect was that I would develop a pretty large readership so quickly nor did I think politics was going to become a big part of my landscape. Mostly, I didn’t think that from this experience would come real friendships across oceans and continents.

Square and still blooming!

It has been eight years and I’ve put up more than 10,600 posts. Some are reblogged from other authors who have said something I wish I’d said, but they said it better. If someone else wrote it well, there’s no reason for me to reinvent the wheel.

Blogs don’t need wheels. We roll through cyberspace where there are no roads.

A couple of thousand posts were likely written by co-authors who have gathered under Serendipity’s umbrella.

How did it happen? I don’t know. I still wonder why anyone bothers to read what I write. I greatly appreciate it, but there are so many blogs around, why me? I’ve never gotten huge responses. I’ve never gotten a million hits, though I’m close to a million total after blogging for eight years. Typically, I get good responses to well-written posts. Garry almost always gets better numbers than I do.

I also gave up studying stats. Numbers make me crazy.

I also never imagined that birds were going to become such a huge part of the blog. Birds, orchids. Christmas cacti, Flying squirrels. Raccoons. Squirrels. Even little baby chipmunks. Until I put up feeders, I didn’t realize I lived in the Forest Primevil.

And some of those squirrels fly!

Given that I had no expectations, it is exactly what I wanted. A free-for-all. A place where I can say what I want without a boss warning me about deadlines. Trying to make sense of history, where we fit into history, and what is going on in this messed up world.

Still blooming and more buds

One of the things I have been told — repeatedly — is that I must find a niche. I disagree. On this blog, I am free to be me, free to pretend I’m someone else, free to find unique and new areas that interest me. I can write articles I am sure no one will read because they are a bit obscure, but I don’t have someone telling me how many characters I need to fit into this column. I figured I’d do more book reviews, but I can’t read as much as I used to, so now I review special books that have personal meaning to me.

Finally, I am doing what Garry always told me to do. I write about dogs.

PICK ME UP AND HOIST THE ORCHIDS – Marilyn Armstrong

Pick Me Up – I choose to raise orchids 

The electric company came this morning and took down the tree! The whole tree. I’m assuming that they couldn’t find an easier way to remove the branches. I guess it was the fifth call that was sent to the correct office that deals with fallen limbs. By the time they removed it, the entire tree was leaning on the high tension line. Ever since Columbia Gas blew up a city in northern Massachusetts a couple of years ago, I’ve been waiting for the next calamity. One has now been avoided, but it wasn’t easy!

Like Cee and maybe many photographers, I usually have a camera in my hand or without reach. There are two. no three, cameras on the living room coffee table, a bunch of various cameras, Garry’s and mine, on the wooden bench. Those are the ones We are not using much at the moment. Five dining room chairs hold camera bags. The two cameras I use to shoot birds and flowers. Especially birds, because if I have to go and get the camera out of the bag and get it pointed, the bird got bored and left. The flowers usually hang around, so I always take the birds first.

Flowers under lights

You can see that the last orchid is going to fall off.

Thus while writing is a big deal for me, taking pictures is right up there. I’ve been taking pictures pretty much as long as I’ve been writing, though I didn’t put a lot of effort into trying to become a professional photographer. I was a better writer and there were better jobs for writers, too. I am still happily wrapped in orchids.

You can almost see all of them

The young lifely orchids

I haven’t been feeling well. It’s not just my arm. It’s allergies. Anyone who thinks allergies don’t count because they aren’t a “real disease” never suffered from allergies. Now that we’ve had just enough sun (3 partial days with more than two hours each day of sunshine) to bring forth the buds, weeds. and flowers which will create something like spring or summer, I’m not sure. It has been so long since we saw nice weather.

Meanwhile, the biggest pollen roaming the airways is oak. We live in oak woods.

Orchid again

The second biggest pollinator is birch and we have them too. And of course, the maples are flowering. Not to mention the weeds and flowers. You name it, it’s pollinating. Which leaves both of us with sore throats that disappear after we get out of bed and sit up. The aches and pains? Could it be the rain, wind, dampness, and chill? Not to mention the constant changes in the weather?

Cold, snowy, and below freezing tomorrow and Monday. I hear there is possibly an end in sight around the end of the month. I’m holding my breath.

INDOOR GARDEN UNDER LIGHTS – Marilyn Armstrong

INDOOR GARDEN UNDER LIGHTS

So after all these years of working entirely with natural light, I gave in and bought grow lights. When we are having more normal weather — you know, the kind that comes with some hours per day of sunshine? — it works. But in the last two months, it has rained all the time.

It didn’t rain today (it wasn’t sunny either), but we’ve got a heavy 3-day cold, torrential storm waiting to move in overnight. I’m glad I got the lights. Now all I need to do it hardly ever water them.

Greenery under lights!

Greenery before lights


 

THE FINAL ORCHID ON THE THE LAST SD CHIP FOR APRIL 2020 – Marilyn Armstrong

Last photo for 30 April


I took the last pictures of the orchids when all of them were in full bloom. I left the card in my camera in the hopes that there would be one more set of full pictures, but the older orchids — which have been blooming for more than a month started to fade as the new ones took their place.

You can see that at least one leaf is beginning to shrivel. Just a few days more until that whole set went limp.

So this is indeed the final April picture set. I took a total of nine shots and 8 of them looked pretty good. I think this is the last one, but when they download, they do not download in order and I still can’t figure out why not. They really should come out in order, shouldn’t they? This isn’t an Adobe issue. It’s a Windows 10 thing.

FAREWELL SQUARES – Marilyn Armstrong

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN

Happy trails to the squares. I’ve made so many that I thought since this is the end of this month of squaring, I’ll just find all the ones I never got around to posting or posted, but forgot I posted them — and give you a mishmash of life here in the cold, wet woods.

So there will be birds and squirrels. Flying squirrels and raccoons. And a few flowers, just for the pretty colors.

FANDANGO’S PROVOCATIVE QUESTION VIA BLOGGING INSIGHTS #26 – Marilyn Armstrong

Blogging Insights — What’s Next?

Here are the original questions:

BLOGGING INSIGHTS -QUESTIONS:

What suggestions / tipsdo you have for improving/upgrading this series?Do you have any questions that you would like me to feature?

If you are new to the Blogging Insights series, how about trying out some of the questions?There is no time limit so feel free to answer any whenever you please. 

Remember to tag your post #blogging insightsand also linkback to my blog. This will make sure that I do not miss out on reading your views and will also enable me to share your posts on my blog. You can check out the previous questions by clicking on the links below:

https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/2019/12/30/blogging-insights-recap-2/

https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/2020/03/16/blogging-insights-2nd-recap/

I’ve been following this series through other blogs. It pops up pretty often. I think you are doing just fine. I don’t want to put ideas in your head because I think your ideas are good and your own creativity will find the right way.

Seven orchids on a shoot

Blogging isn’t just something we do because we have nothing more interesting to do. And we each have our own reasons, often many different reasons. It’s a hobby, an avocation, a dedication, an art form, a post-occupation-occupation — all at the same time.

That’s probably why we like to ask each other about blogging and why you do it which makes me think about why I do it. For those of us who are retired, it has become our new occupation after giving up whatever it is we used to do. Since before this, I was a writer, I am now truly enjoying this busman’s holiday.

Three on the yellow feeder

I started out doing this because I had a ton of pictures and no one ever saw them because they were all on my computer. I figured what the heck, I might as well publish them where others might enjoy them. It became a good reason for spending way too much money on cameras and lenses and the urge for better and better cameras and lenses and processing software never ends.

In this age of Trump and the crushing of everything I believed in, not to mention the eruption of our very own plague, I’ve felt that I need to not just post pretty pictures, but talk about the world. Climate change. Oppression. Racism. The hatred that seems to bind us tighter than love ever could.

I keep hearing that all we need is love, but that’s a song lyric, not a meaningful way of life. We need a lot more than love. We certainly can love people who aren’t our personal family or friends a lot more than we do, but that’s not going to fix the ozone layer or bring back the dying creatures our “development” of the wild places have killed. I fear that in the end, this world will be entirely paved over with roads running from an empty mall to another empty mall.

And if that isn’t scary enough, we need to get serious about figuring out how we can support all these PEOPLE. We are so over-populated, it’s terrifying. You know when you crowd the rats this much, they start to try to kill each other. Periodically Garry and I congratulate each other on having the sense to get OUT of Boston. With all the limitations of living in the middle of nowhere, it’s a whole lot easier on the nervous system than any city anywhere.

Today I write as much because I think there are important issues that need to be talked about. It’s not just about trashing the president. He’ll be gone soon enough. But clearly, we need to hate less and care more. The world has become ugly and greedy. For there to be subsequent generations of humans, we need to be a lot less ugly and massively less greedy. So I figure I have a small, but living bully pulpit and I might as well use it. And I can still post pretty pictures. I wouldn’t want to stress everyone out.

So for me, what’s next is to do the best I can do. Write, create pictures, count the flying squirrels, and hope I can keep affording food for the creatures of the woods.