Bat Family Sleeping Over at the Cabin
Bat Family Sleeping Over at the Cabin

My husband has been crying for months for me to post a picture of the bats that hang around on the porch at night at our cabin; Ironworks.  It’s not my fault.  I just finally gave in to keep him from tormenting me further.  This looks like mom, dad and the little one resting on dad or moms back.  They are literally hanging at the peak of our porch ceiling.  So, again, if I’ve creeped you out it’s not my fault.  I have to live with him.  You don’t.  LOL


After the Morning Rain
After the Morning Rain
Before Post Processing
Before Post Processing

The original picture was taken at the Cabin Called Ironworks in the early morning just after a light overnight rain.  This rain was more pleasant that the previous downpours we had been experiencing in and around Prescott, Arizona.  I loved how the drops lingered on the edge of the pine branches and formed minute globes of reflective light.

These two images have been submitted to Visual Venturing ABFriday – Week 18 and will be live on 9/18/2014.  I’ve continued to explore post processing in Lightroom using tips from several Blogs in WordPress.  One tip came from M.Funk Photography’s Blog in a tutorial video on “Retouch an Underexposed Sunrise”.  He suggested making sure to balance luminance and sharpening so that they equal 100 along with several other tips.  I was equally impressed with PhotographybyKent from AfterBefore Friday – Week 17 where not only was the final image stunning, but the visual tips that Kent provided were great.   You will see that using these two examples, I did create quite an exploration with this image of raindrops by the lengthy history that I copied from Lightroom.  Each week I learn more and more from the AfterBefore Friday post in the Visual Venturing Forum.

The post processing began in Lightroom with several changes in exposure overall with a final result of -1.61 , changes in highlights with an end result of +7, Shadows were played with several times and ended at +79, Black Clipping was played with several times ended up after several +/- to a final of 45, White Clipping was modified several times and ended at +48, Clarity was increased by +38, Vibrance was increased by +29, Saturation by +24, Sharpening +75, Edge Masking +32, Luminance Detail +37, Luminance Smoothing +25, Temperature went up and down ending at  +5,  Tint +5,  Contrast increased by +36.  The image was cropped to remove the ultra-white sky from the far right side to aid in getting a final proper exposure/white clipping.  Then a preset Vignette 2 was added.  Overall I played and maybe overplayed with the image.  Not really knowing what you’re doing takes a lot longer but overall I’m pleased with the end result.  Very little was done using Photoshop other than adding the copyright, setting the web size and uploading.



We have a feed trough made out of the top of an old industrial clothing press at our cabin that is used to feed many of the semi-wild animals that pass through looking for food. We turned the press upside down and anchored it to the ground. This havalina gent is one of a pair of stragglers that visit us often. We also get a larger group of fifteen or so havalina with their young that pass through plus an occasional fox.

We, along with several neighbors feed the havalina so they are not as aggressive as one might think. They know where the kitchen is.

Weekly Photo Challenge

Before, during and after building the kitchen for Iron Works.

Building and creating a compact two butt kitchen for the cabin was a challenging experience with multiple mind-boggling puzzles to solve.  The best laid plans can sometimes have minor quirks and ours had several.  More importantly, though, every headache was worth the end result.

One of the most unusual obstacles centered around the stove and placement of the stove. First, image how to get a 36″ stove into the kitchen opening after the granite counters have been put into place when the opening is only 34″.   Two inches too small to just slide the oven or easily carry the oven to its final position.    To make sure that the stove fit into the final opening after the granite had been put down the installation was delayed.  It wasn’t put in place earlier because of  the possibility of scratch and dent if installed to early.  Luckily, after the granite contractors finished installing the granite, they helped Gus lift the stove over the counters and put it into place.   This also involved taking the stove out of it final place multiple times to grind off about 1/8″ of the counter so the stove would fit into place.  To top it off, the stove would not fit far enough to the back of the wall to allow for the dishwasher to open without hitting the oven handles.  With a little ingenuity, Gus cut out the drywall behind the stove so that it would slide back a couple more inches.  Finally, stove was installed and the dishwasher cleared the top oven handle.  The dishwasher still has to rest on the bottom door handle which is a little odd, but does work.

Karen’s Two Butt Kitchen
Steel Cabinet Frames in Oil Rubbed Bronze

The framework for the cabinets are not your typical wood type framing.  They are made entirely from steel that was cut and welded by Gus.  This was another fun experience.  Outside measures were taken as well as inside measures.  One cabinet came out lopsided when the outside measure was used on one side and the inside measure on another.  Poor Gus had to cut it back apart and start it over.  Just as most everything built for Iron Works, the cabinet frames where heavy and awkward.  They were built-in sections.  For example the upper cabinet to the right is one piece while the upper cabinet to the left is also one piece.  Very heavy and cumbersome to install.

Rain Forest Brown Marble and Industrial Serving Bar

The counters are a Rain Forest Brown Marble.  Just above the counter in the foreground in an industrial metal serving bar that runs the entire length of the front counter.  It is held up by only three posts that are anchored to the ground.   The lighting in the kitchen is all from repurposed light shields that are white porcelain inside and forest green cover.  They were found while picking “American Pickers” style in South Dakota over a year before beginning the cabin. The back-splash runs the entire interior of the kitchen and is small 1″ copper squares that came in 12″ square sheets.  This give the kitchen a full richness of browns, bronze and golden colors.

The kitchen sink is one of the most unusual items in the kitchen.  The base is from an repurposed super heavy-duty 1940’s vintage industrial radial drill press factory table that was purchased from Urban Remains Chicago, an antique and architectural  artifacts company based in Chicago.   It was taken apart and repurposed again for our use.

Sink Base Industrial Radial Drill Press

Plumbing the sink was a nightmare but it all came together.  The sink itself is hammered copper and has only one bowl.  While two bowls would have been better, we were working with a limited opening and depth. At the base, there is a door that opens to a small storage area for dish soap and other essentials.

Finished Look of the Industrial Sink


We wanted to put up an arch type structure at our entry to the cabin but found that with the new county rules and regulations that the arch would have to be at least 50 feet inside the property line. Of course, Gus almost blew a gasket over this and several other issues dealing with the county inspector.  He was ready to travel around the county taking pictures of every entry arch that somewhat resembled the Ponderosa.

In the long run our IRONWORKS SIGNAGE arch turned out very nice and is now a lead in to the main courtyard.  It’s a massive amount of steel that Gus saved from the local metal scrap yard and very little cost.  At 20 feet high and 40 feet across with lighting at each high corner, it makes a bold statement leading to the house.

For the signage, we purchased the lettering from an antique store, Brass Armadillo in Goodyear Arizona and the light cases from another antique store.  Due to again county regulations we had to shield the lights so that they did not disturb the neighbors.  We improvised by shielding the lights with two large peanut cans turned upside down and painted oil rub bronze to match the rest of the sign. While building the actual heavy Ironworks sign, Gus jammed a finger between the metal frame surrounding the sign and the board that holds the lettering. Ouch… you can only image the words.

I kept telling him he was getting carried away with all the heavy metal but somehow it all turned out nicely.  We almost named the home site “Heavy Metal” but I vetoed that.   Here is Gus 20 feet up in the air balancing on a ladder.  I was holding the ladder at the base most of the time to keep it stable.   He is securing the signage to the arch.


Hanging the sign over the arch was quite an experience for Gus. He had to use his little Kubota tractor to lift the sign up and then balance it in precisely the right place to keep it from twisting sideways. He is a lot more adventuresome than me.  Here’s Gus on his tractor.  I put it on social network several months back with the little jingle; “green acres is the place to be…”


I was afraid for him all the while he was hanging the signage but it all went well. Gus made the sign from welded metal purchased at the scrap yard.  The cost was very minimal compared to what we would have had to pay if we’d hired someone to create it.  The sign was hung without any mishaps or missing fingers. Whew!!  Thanks, Gus… it turned out great.  More to come later…