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Blogging My Book: Nature Delights

Here’s the thing about urban birds: They seize our built environment and use it for their own purposes. Fence tops, utility poles, overhead wires, and electrical equipment, they’re all fair game. In 2018, I had rooftop solar installed, and I’m pleased to report that my grid-connected 1.7-kilowatt solar electric system generates 150-400 kilowatt-hours a month….

Blogging My Book: Nature Nourishes

NOTE: This post features the second of the three themes of my forthcoming book. I covered the first theme, Nature and the Built Environment, last week. Here’s the answer to the question that’s on every desert gardener’s mind: How do you water it? My gardening water comes from three sources: Our local utility, Tucson Water….

Blogging My Book: Nature and the Built Environment

During the past couple of decades, I’ve learned a lot about water harvesting and landscaping in an arid environment. In my forthcoming book, I’ll share key insights with you. Here’s a preview: Xeriscaping 101 My initial foray into water harvesting was motivated by a desire to save on the water bill more than anything else….

Bicycle Photography: El Tour de Tucson 2021

There are some times when I feel like I miss all the good stuff. Must be something left over from my childhood, when I was utterly and totally excluded from the Cool Kids’ Table. The finish of this year’s Tour de Tucson felt like that. A pack of riders flew toward me, I got a…

Blogging My Book: A Peek Inside

In my forthcoming book, I’ll elaborate on these three themes: Nature and the Built Environment. Nearly all of the photos in this book are from my yard during 2018-2022. Nowadays, it’s a mature environment, but it hasn’t always been that way. It had to be created from scratch, and that was a project that involved…

Blogging My Book: Selecting the Photos

In last week’s post, I established my reputation as the meanest photo editor west of the San Pedro. In other words, I’ve been shooting thousands of photos for my book, but I’m only planning to include a few dozen. What types of photos will be lucky enough to be granted admission by Mean Ole Martha?…

Blogging My Book: Getting the Photos Right

In last week’s post, I noted the challenge of getting the words right, and the people who are helping me do that. Well, there’s more to this coffee table book than words. It’s also going to feature my photography. How many photos have I shot? Thousands. How many keepers? That number is approaching 500. How…

Blogging My Book: Getting the Words Right

During a 1958 interview with George Plimpton, Ernest Hemingway talked about writing — and rewriting. Plimpton asked Hemingway about the amount of rewriting he did, and Hemingway replied, “It depends.” Hemingway went on to explain that he took the ending of A Farewell to Arms through 39 rewrites before he was satisfied. What was the…

Blogging My Book: Inspired by an Empty Palette

There’s nothing like being a first-time buyer during a housing bubble. That was the challenge I faced when I started house hunting in June 2003. A severe inventory shortage – combined with skyrocketing prices – turned my search into an ongoing series of frustrations. Then, in October 2004, I found a cute little brick house…

Blogging My Book: Pedaling to Better Powers of Observation

When I was in my early twenties, I set the goal of bicycling through all 50 of the United States. It only took 12 years – and more than 15,000 miles – to reach the finish line. That happened during a predawn thunderstorm outside Las Vegas, Nevada. Along the way, I met such on-the-road challenges…

Blogging My Book: Finding My Artistic Home

While I was in high school, I made a discovery that would change my artistic life. Simply put, I just wasn’t good at drawing or painting. Sculpture? Forget it. Ceramics? Meh. Printmaking? Nope. Photography was a different story. Almost immediately, I felt like I was born to do it. In photography class, I was introduced…

Blogging My Book: Art in Math Class

In my previous post, I noted my family’s move to the woods when I was eight years old. Our house was just two doors away from the neighborhood elementary school, and I went there for three years. Unfortunately, I quickly ran into the same problem I experienced at my previous school. I was a smart…

Blogging My Book: Lessons from the Woods

When I was eight years old, my family moved to the woods. Although we were an hour’s drive from Philadelphia, the city seemed like it was light years away. And light, what was that? The interior of our new house was so dark, we had to keep the lights on during the daytime. No sense…

Blogging My Book: Meet the Boss

In my previous post, I noted the nature that I experience at my place – the ornery landscape plants, opinionated birds, and gardening triumphs and tragedies. So, will this be book that stays home? And this going to be another one of those “pretty picture, worship nature” books? No to the second power! Early in…

Blogging My Book: Celebrating Nature in the Heart of the City

This publishing adventure began as an effort to master the intricacies of camera equipment I purchased in June 2018. Since it was too hot to leave home and practice in public, it was time for a self-assignment. Open the doors to Martha’s Back-Yard Photography School, because class is now in session! I figured that my…

Battling Birds

Pigeons. They look so innocent on the utility wire above my back-yard. Closer to the ground, it’s a different story. Pigeons are the messiest birds I’ve ever dealt with. What’s worse, they recently decided that my porch roof beam was the perfect place to roost. Since I’m less than enthusiastic about having to climb a…

Car-Free at the Car Show

I have a confession to make: I don’t have a car and I don’t drive. But I love car shows. Must be part of my DNA, because my father was an antique car buff. He kept telling Mom and me that he wanted to buy one to restore, but he never got around to it….

Open Studio Tours Online

On Saturday, December 5, I participated in the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona’s Open Studio Tours Online. During my 30-minute presentation, I showed examples of my work in three genres: Nature photography Bicycle photography Construction photography I also offered examples of one of my side projects — upcycling. That’s the process of re-purposing…

Front Yard Makeover

It’s been a decade since the Watershed Management Group (WMG) did any work in my front yard. Then came this past summer. WMG was here for a cistern workshop, and that included the installation of rain gutters. Funny thing about rain gutters. When it rains, they drain copious quantities of rain from my south-facing roof….

Getting My Garden Off City Water

During World War II, Victory Gardens accounted for one third of American vegetable production. This was a government-led effort that aimed to lower the price of vegetables that were needed to feed the troops. Among the millions of Victory Gardeners was my Great Grandmother Martha. From her plot in Buffalo, New York, she raised enough…

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