Haibun: Ancient Harmonies

a blue and white whippet in pink fleece sniffing a baglama saz

Our Hoopa has been filling our home with music during lockdown and today he received his baglama saz, all the way from Istanbul. There is lots to sniff and discover.

The saz is played in many countries and the tradition is thousands of years old. It made its way from Persia via Azerbaijan, Anatolia, Istanbul, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Berlin to the rest of Europe and across the Atlantic and is played in the rest of Asia too.

People play the saz to accompany poems, songs and stories that are handed down from generation to generation. Ali Ulutaş, a musician, says the saz is a door of secrets. When people play it, listen to it, they get to know the essence within themselves and from that place, they can understand the other.

southern wind
warm notes and harmonies
fill the room

© Xenia Tran

a black whippet in red fleece listening to a man playing the baglama saz

A warm-hearted thank you to Veysel and his colleagues at Sala Muzik in Istanbul for sending the saz safely to the Highlands.

Wishing you all a blessed day and a peaceful rest of the week,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/4 – 1/1000 s – ISO 1600, f/2.2 – 1/640 s – ISO 1600 and f/3.5 – 1/250 s – ISO 400.

Below is a video of Ayşe Şewaqî performing Şîr Û Kef from the beautiful Saz Film:

… and for an instrumental performance by Bangladeshi artist Emon Chowdhury you can listen to his beautiful rendition of Tri Bhubon below:

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #145: Getting to Know You

CFFC: Natural Light vs Man-Made Light

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Curious

Earthweal Open Link Weekend #67


Haibun: Restoring Nature

Cairngorms National Park

two whippets in winter jackets on a mountain trail

We are so grateful to hike in the National Park and breathe the mountain air. The higher ground is covered in snow, adding to the freshness. Ground-nesting birds rest on cushions of grass and moss, beneath the heather. We stick to the trails and pace ourselves.

Further ahead, young trees and seedlings are slowly re-greening the hills. For the first time since we moved here, neighbouring land managers and conservation groups are working together to create one seamless, natural landscape. A landscape for the wildlife, and for the people who live and walk here too.

a cuckoo’s call
flowing in and out
of the forest

© Xenia Tran

a blue and white whippet in a winter jacket on a mountain trail

We are very excited to see the beginnings of Cairngorms Connect, the biggest and boldest conservation project in this area so far.

Wishing you all a happy Monday and a peaceful new week,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/4.5 – 1/1250 s – ISO 500, f/5 – 1/1250 s – ISO 400 and f/5.6 – 1/1600 s – ISO 400.

PI Poetry Prompt: Cushion

Earthweal: Restore Our Earth

Haibun: Earth Tones

a black whippet in a winter jacket walking on a forest trail after logging

The pine with yellow fluorescent dots have gone, a few with pink dots are still standing. The logging truck left deep trails in the mud, filled with melted snow. The wood feels bereaved and empty at first. Until we notice the moss, shoots of spring grass and the finely barbed beginnings of a wild rose.

dappled light
a woodpecker drums
in the distance

© Xenia Tran

close up of a young holly growing beside a pond

The areas felled were part of a mature commercial forestry which will be left to rewild and regenerate with native woodland.

Wishing you all a blessed Monday and peaceful start to the week,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/4 – 1/1000 s – ISO 100 and f/1.8 – 1/4000 s – ISO 450.

PI Poetry Prompt: Barb

Earthweal: Toward an Ecopoetry

Haibun: Sometimes the Wind

a blue and white whippet snoozing on the floor touching the front paws of a black whippet

The wind has changed direction and it’s best to stay at home. It’s blowing straight from the Arctic and, just for a short while, we get a sense of life in another place, far away from here. A place where the sun rarely sets in Summer and barely rises in Winter. A place with polar bears, reindeer and huskies. A place similar to what it was like here, thousands and thousands of years ago.

snow flurries
children roll their eggs
for easter

© Xenia Tran

close up of a blue and white whippet in a pink fleece

Wishing you all a happy Monday and, if you’re in Northern Scotland, may you stay safe and warm!

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/1.8 – 1/4000 s – ISO 220, f/5 – 1/1250 s – ISO 400 and f/4 – 1/1000 s – ISO 400.

PI Poetry Prompt: Egg

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #142: You Pick It!

Word of the Day Challenge: Sometimes

Haibun: Natural Light

a blue and white whippet in a maroon and grey jacket sniffing the stones on the beach

The temperature has dipped and yesterday’s snow lingers on the higher ground. The light bounces through scattered clouds as we walk along the soft sand. The tide is rolling in. Even with restrictions in place there’s freedom in each movement.


quick water
a flock of geese
is heading north

© Xenia Tran

silhouette of a whippet in a jacket walking across tidal sands

Wishing you all a happy Monday and happy International Women’s Day,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

My maternal grandmother was a very kind and spirited woman who pursued her dream to become a GP and cared for others during her entire life.

If you missed the poem we shared on Twitter earlier today, you can read it here:

Grandma Alice poem by Xenia Tran with old black and white photograph of her grandmother
(From Chiaroscuro – Darkness and Light, Voices from Poets – dVerse Anthology, 2017)

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4 – 1/1000 s – ISO 100, f/2.8 – 1/2000 s – ISO 100 and f/8 – 1/1600 s – ISO 100.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #138: Natural Light

Weekend Sky #19

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Pursuit

Word of the Day Challenge: Free

Haibun: Serendipity

a blue and white whippet in a winter jacket walking on the beach

Now the snow has melted snowdrops and crocus begin to bloom. Swans are renewing their bond, young gulls are scouting for nest sites. Seasons continue to loop as if there’s no pandemic. There’s a chill from the eastern wind, even though the temperature is rising.

mirror, mirror
the sky’s blue in
every wave

© Xenia Tran

close up of the waves and surf near the tidal line

Wishing you all a happy Thursday and a peaceful rest of the week,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/4.5 – 1/640 s – ISO 125, f/5.6 – 1/400 s – ISO 100 and f/5.6 – 1/320 s – ISO 100.

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Renewal

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Repeating Shapes

Word of the Day Challenge: Serendipity

Haibun: Wild and Blue

a whippet in a winter jacket by a hut made from driftwood on the beach

The strong winds have carried more driftwood to the beach. Some branches are chopped up and taken away to dry out for wood burners and open fires. Other pieces have been used to build shelters and huts along the beach. It brings a bit of joy and surprise whilst we are in lockdown.

snow-capped hills
still the sea flows in and out
a glacier blue

© Xenia Tran

a funnel cloud spreading above a glacier-blue sea

Wishing you all a happy Monday and a blessed week ahead,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/4 -1/800 s – ISO 160, f/5 – 1/400 s – ISO 200 and f/8 – 1/2000 s – ISO 1000.

Sunday Stills: Glacier Blue

Word of the Day Challenge: Wildly

Haibun: Precious Moments

two whippets in maroon jackets on the beach with driftwood

The sun is slow to rise above the trees, brightening a small strip of sand near the shoreline. The surf sings her song, a large piece of driftwood listens and greets the day with wing-like branches.

morning frost
a seagull tip-toes over
the pure notes

© Xenia Tran

a frosty beach with driftwood and shadows of people and dogs

Wishing you all a happy Monday and a blessed new week,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4 – 1/500 s – ISO 100 and f/3.2 – 1/1250 s – ISO 100.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #127: Precious Moments

Your Daily Word Prompt: Faithful

Haibun: October Wind

two whippets in black rain jackets on a forest trail

Once the hills stop howling we venture out into the woods. There’s still plenty of tree cover to protect us from intermittent drizzle and showers. The heather is turning brown here while further north they’re hanging on to purple. A gentle buzz of hoverflies follows us between fading fireweeds whilst at the waterfall, wild salmon are leaping.

october wind
rain slips through the net
of noughts and crosses

© Xenia Tran

a play area in the forest with large noughts and crosses on the ground

Wishing you all a happy Thursday and a peaceful rest of the week,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/3.5 – 1/30 s – ISO 320, f/3.5 – 1/60 s – ISO 500 and f/4 – 1/30 s – ISO 200.

Nurturing Thursday: Preparation

Twiglet #197: Rain through a Net

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Howl

Haibun: Autumn Equinox

a black whippet on a forest trail looking straight at the camera

Climbing the trail towards the Lairig Ghru we are greeted by a sweet and powerful smell of honey. We’ve been walking for an hour with the sun on our backs when Eivor suddenly stops. He looks up at the billowing clouds, then looks at us, his nose twitching to the right. We know what this means and give him a gentle pat before turning back.

autumn equinox
a changing sky lights up
the heather

© Xenia Tran

billowing clouds above the mountains and the sun lighting up the heather

Eivor seems to know how much time we have before the rain reaches us and we always take his advice.

The innate wisdom of the dogs and animals that guide us are a true inspiration and this is Eivor and Pearl’s contribution to Tina’s lovely Inspiration challenge.

In case you missed it, our earlier contribution is here.

Wishing you all a happy Monday and a happy Autumn/Spring Equinox tomorrow,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/2.8 – 1/200 s – ISO 160, f/2.8 – 1/250 s – ISO 160 and f/5 – 1/1000 s – ISO 200.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #115: Inspiration

Carpe Diem Time Challenge #3: Moorland

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #157: Autumn Equinox

Word of the Day Challenge: Timely