Sunday, January 13, 2008

Adult & Immature Eagles

This is an adult and an immature eagle. It is very easy to tell the difference even when they are flying -- the white head of the adults make them stick out like a beacon. We could spot the adults with the naked eye -- without binoculars or camera lens. Sometimes it was harder to spot the immature eagles if they were among the trees by themselves because they blend into the background.
When I used my 300x zoom, it was like they were right next to me.

Adult Eagle Soaring

Some of the eagles flew not far from the boat. I shot this one from the back deck.
They told us the wing span can be 72" from tip to tip. I was surprised at how the feathers separate on the tips of the wings.

Eagle Landing

Adult eagle coming in for landing. It's always fun to download your photos because you never know exactly what is on the camera when you are shooting wildlife. This one was a surprise.

Eagle Cruise on Kentucky Lake

Today Wayne and I went on the Eagle Cruise at Kentucky Lake. We saw more than 30 eagles. My, what magestic bird they are. Did you know that the female eagle is larger than the male? I don't know if this is a male or female -- would have to see them together to know.
We went on the CQ Princess double decker boat, and we could watch from inside through the large windows or go outside on the deck. I spent about an hour outside shooting photos. I sure was glad that I took along my neck scarf to wrap over my head to keep my ears warm - it was only about 40 degrees. Gloves were a must too. We also enjoyed a nice lunch on the cruise.
If you are ever in the vicinity of Kentucky Lake in January or February, this is a fun way to spend the day. And if you haven't been to see the Elk & Bison Prairie at the Land Between the Lakes, that is just down the road from where you board the boat.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Our Group #22 - 28

Our Group $22 - 28 (Amy is the missing one here)

Our Group #15 - 21

Our Group #15 - 21

Our Group #8 - 14

Our Group #8 - 14

Our Group @1 - 7

Our group #1 - 7

Kehen Temple - Preparing for Festival

Men were carrying firewood up the steps next to the banyan tree in preparation for a festival at the Temple.

Kehen Temple - Altars

Altars inside Kehen Temple.

Notice the tree-covered mountain behind the temple.

Kehen Temple in Bangli

Mountainous Bangli, Bali's only landlocked regency, compensates for its coastal deficit with some of the most spectacular scenery on the island. Bangli town is also home to the island's second largest temple, the beautiful 11th-century Pura Kehen. Its location is dramatic, perched on the edge of a high cliff with a picturesque sunset view. The temple is carved from an enormous limestone rock.

It has three courtyards connected by steps, and is decorated with carvings and statues. In the first courtyard is a huge Banyan tree, surrounded by walls inlaid with Chinese porcelain. In the next courtyard, multi-roofed shrines (merus) dominate the area. On the right side of this inner courtyard are three throne shrines representing the Hindu Trinity, Brahma, Wisnu and Siwa.

I took a photo of our group on the steps of the temple, accompanied by Mawa, our guide. Since more than 90% of the people on Bali are Hindu, Mawa shared information on their religion with us as we passed many different temples on our travels.

Terraced Fields

The tillable land in the mountains was terraced to make room for growing all kinds of crops - fruit, vegetables like corn and lettuce, and flowers of all kinds. We passed some men carrying huge baskets of cut hydrangeas - sorry I didn't get a photo of them but the flowers were really pretty purples and blue.

It is hard to imagine cutting all of those terraces by hand. And the fields were immaculate - no weeds that we could see.

View from the Mountains

We stopped at a restaurant -- with great views of the land below.

Lake Tamblingan

As we headed down the mountain, we stopped for a spectacular view of Lake Tamblingan. Water from this lake and a couple others in the mountains provide water for people from here to the city.

Clouds in the Mountains

As we left the coffee plantation, the clouds settled right down on the road. It looked like we were driving through heavy fog -- but we were in the clouds.
This is the view out the front window of our bus.

Ground Coffee

This is the ground coffee, ready to be packaged.
It is ground very fine.

Grinding the Coffee

Grinding the coffee, using a mortar and pestle method. It was ground, sifted, and reground if necessary.

Sifting the Coffee Beans

Sifting the coffee beans to remove the hulls before grinding them.

Roasting the Coffee

This young man would turn this canister for two hours to roast the coffee over the fire.

Coffee Plantation

The plantation processes two types of coffee. one being much darker than the other.
I don't drink coffee, but some in our group had fresh ground coffee with their lunch and they said it was very strong.

Ngiring Ngewedang Restaurant/Coffee Plantation

We drove to the summit of the mountain, passing tropical rainforest, and Buyan and Tamblingam lakes to see the unique, traditional Bali Coffee processing at Ngiring Ngewedang Restaurant in the village of Munduk.

Even though it was not the season for picking the coffee beans, we saw the process -- all done by hand. We enjoyed lunch at the Restaurant - with the most spectacular view of the mountains on every side.

Quilters Mingle with the Children

Our group mingled with the children. It's hard to tell who was having more fun - the quilters or the children!
And then it was time to board the bus and continue on to the Coffee Plantation.

Children at the Elementary School

Boys will be boys everywhere. They just couldn't resist showing us the peace sign and sticking their hands into every photo. They were having fun so we just snapped away with our cameras.
Men wear two scarves folded together and tied in the front. The tails are supposed to point upward -- except the one little boy on the lower right and his tails look a little bedraggled. GRIN.

Altar & Children at the School

In the background you can see the altar covered with baskets of fruit that the children had brought for their holiday. They are collecting their baskets and shared some fruit with us.
As we boarded our bus to leave, someone suggested that we take up a love offering for the school. We collected more than 2 million rupiah (about $200 in U.S. dollars). When the money was given to the teacher, she just burst into tears. This was a lot of money for them.
We were very lucky to be passing by on this special holiday at the school.

Visiting the School on Blessing of the Books Holiday

Children in Bali go to school six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Usually they wear uniforms. On this Saturday as we went up the mountain road, our guide asked the driver to stop so we could visit this elementary school. All of the children were dressed in their sarongs and good clothes for the Blessing of the Books holiday.

This was one of my favorite stops on our trip. The children were very excited to see us and we took their photographs enmasse and then in smaller groups. What beautiful children.

Fruit Stand Along the Road

This is a typical fruit stand along the road. See those big jackfruit on the ground in front. They are supposed to be tasty but have such a terrible odor that you cannot take one into a hotel because they can never get the odor out.
We ate a lot of fruit (with peels) - oranges, star fruit, rambutan which has a red, spiny skin with a white acid sweet flesh that covers a single seed. and the papaya and mangoes were delicious.

Hauling Wood

This man is hauling wood on a stick across his shoulders. Most of these people were in good physical shape from all of the walking they do.

Transporting Food to the Fields

These young woman are taking food to the family working in the fields. You can see that they learn to balance baskets on their heads at a young age.

It seemed like goods of all kinds were transported either by baskets on the heads of men and women, or by some kind of boxes or baskets on a motorcycle. And, yes, we did see some delivery trucks too, but people everywhere were carrying things on their heads.

More rice is drying on the tarp in the background.

Drying the Rice Along the Road

From the fields, the rice was moved to be spread out on tarps on the roadside for drying.
Occasionally we would see a woman with a rake turning the rice so it would dry evenly. Our guide told us it would take two or three days for the rice to dry.

Cows Plowing the Rice Paddies

We didn't see very much mechanical equipment being used for farming, but we did see a few cows being used to work the rice paddies. They are preparing these fields for planting.
We saw no tractors or other large pieces of farm equipment. Most of the farming is done by hand, with hoes and machetes.

Sifting the Rice

The woman are removing the chaff from the rice by shaking it in these baskets.
The amount of manual labor it takes to harvest the rise is incredible. Even though it is hot, you see that these people have the heads, arms, and legs covered.

Harvesting the Rice

As we drove to the mountains, we saw a colorful sight as whole families worked in the fields harvesting the rice. The men used machetes to cut the stalks, men and women beat the stalks to remove the rice kernels.

The haze you see in the photo is smoke from the stalks being burned.

Our bus driver pulled over so we could watch and take photographs.

Rice Paddies

Rice is the staple crop for the residents of Bali. We saw rice paddies all along the roads into the mountains. Here you can see the flooded fields. That water comes from the lakes high up in the mountains, and is diverted for the crops as it flows down the mountains in their irrigation ditches.

Fuel for the Cycles

With all of those cycles, they also need fuel. Instead of gas stations all over the place, we would see these liter bottles (half full) of gas on wooden stands along the roads so people could refuel. Many times these would be located by a roadside fruit or vegetable stand or close to another business.

Taking the Bus Up the Mountain

We were certainly glad that we were riding and not driving up the narrow roads that went up into the mountains. Our guide told us that the rule of the road is: the biggest vehicle has the right of way. We spent most of our time riding in a bus that went down the center of the road. You see, ours was the BIGGEST vehicle.
The driver would toot his horn and the traffic in both directions would move to the edge of the road and let us go down the center. Boy, were we glad that we weren't driving!
And you can see in this photo that most of the traffic is motorcycles. There are 3 million people living on the island of Bali...and there are 2.4 million motorcycles. The whole family would be riding on one motorcycle - we saw a family of 5 on one cycle - mom, dad, and three small children. They use their motorcycles for transporting all kinds of things. See how these two cycles have carriers on the back for transporting goods.

I've added a Poll to my Blog

Good morning --
I've just added a new Poll to my Blog. Help me choose a theme for my next book...should I do something different, like Lone Stars or Log Cabins, or should I give you more borders or edge finishes?

Tell me what you think.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bonnie's Web Site - Schedule & Workshops

I meant to give you all my Web site address. That is where you will find my listing of workshops and lectures, and my teaching schedule.

Here it is:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Next We'll Go Up the Mountain

Tomorrow I'll share some photos of my favorite part of the trip -- our trip up the mountain where we say rice being harvested, stopped at an elementary school where they were celebrating the Blessing of the Books, and the flowers and luch greens of the terrain. Until tomorrow evening....

The Batik Studio Shop

This is the shop at the Batik Studio. These wooden cases were just beautiful and made a great backdrop for the batiked pieces, sarongs, shirts and dresses they had for sale there.
The pieces you see on the right side (orange fabric) are stamped batik fabrics. The more expensive silk one were in the cabinet.

Flower Design on Bonnie's Shirt

And this is the flower design the artists drew on Bonnie's shirt.
I'm going to use my Paintstiks to paint over them so we can wash out the wax.

Rooster Design on Wayne's Shirt

The artists even waxed some designs on our shirts.
This is Wayne's rooster. You are pretty good when you can just draw with the canting tool and no lines. The young man who drew this was one of the artists who draws the designs on the fabric.

Ta Dah! My Finished Batik!

Now I could tell you that those white dots were planned...but my parents taught me to never tell a lie.
It will be fun to embellish this piece and make is a nice souvenir of our trip to the Batik Studio.

Boiling out the Wax

Our batiked pieces were dropped into a boiling tub. This piece was just fished out of the water and the wax is now all gone.

Dyeing our Batik Masterpieces

After the waxing was complete, the men in the studio took our fabric and mix it in the dye pot. They mixed up powdered dye that looked like what we purchase from Pro Chemical or Dharma.
We even got to pick out a color - mine is purple.

Bonnie Trying Her Hand at Batiking

Here I am spreading wax on my floral design. This was definitely harder than it looks. The artists in the studio made it look so easy -- NOT.

Batik Stamp

Some of the batiks are made using a stamp like this one. Again, these were less expensive to purchase than those that were hand waxed.

Batik Design Drawn on Fabric

The design starts with the pattern being drawn onto fabric. We watched a young man doing the drawing. This design would have many different colors in it.

The Canting Tool

Look at the fine tip on this tool. They could spread such a fine line of wax. For the more expensive pieces they would wax both sides of the cloth so it would be the same on both sides.

Some of the less expensive pieces (like those that the street vendors were selling) we very obviously only waxed on one side. Less work, less expensive. More about the street vendors later...

In the Batik Studio

It was amazing to watch the artistry of these women (and men) handling the canting tool full of hot beeswax. The pieces they were working on had many different colors on them.
They also added paint to some of their work. I'll have to photograph the piece that I bought that has gold paint on it...later.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Kaye England, Jim West, Bonnie Browning on the Elephant Safari

Kaye England, Jim West, and Bonnie Browning sharing the spotlight with two of our elephants.

Elephants in the Rainforest

Here is a photo of some of our group in the rainforest. You can see the teak seats that we sat on. With the 95 degree temps and rain, everything was a lush green with all of that humidity. I told Wayne to remind me of that humidity the next time I complain of the humidity in Kentucky.

Visiting the Batiking Studio

We had two opportunitiesto visit the batiking studio. The first visit was to see the process and visit the shop - of course, we all had to buy some batiks. I purchased some sarongs, a batiked bedspread, and some batiked zippered bags. The artists are very talented and placed that wax just where they wanted it.
Then we went back another day and sat down with the artists who had prepared a design for each of us, and we used the canting tool to spread the beeswax on our own design. I told my lady that she didn't have to worry about losing her job! I think she was more impressed with the feathered designs that I drew on the practice piece than the work I did on the floral design. It's really hard to keep from dropping dots of wax onto the fabric - in places that you don't want it. After the design was waxed, we took it to another area where it was dyed and the wax was boiled out of it. It will be fun to embellish and quilt my piece as a memory of our batiking adventure.

This is Wayne and me after the elephant dropped the ring of flowers over our heads. This elephant also played the harmonica...and he played it better than I could.

This was definitely a fun day!