Comfort

As I sat outside on the kitchen door stoop this evening, I glanced over and saw that the daisies were starting to bloom.

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I grabbed the camera, thinking all the while that I have very much missed the creativity of photography, and how far behind I am getting in my learning of this craft.

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Deciding that the daisies were deserving of a blog post, I thought of Meg Ryan and her character’s description of daisies.  It was then that I remembered that I had already used “aren’t daisies the friendliest flowers?” for a post two years ago.

Ah well, they brought a smile to my face none the less.

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As did Louie.  His face will make anyone smile.

Louie and Daisies.

Comfort at the end of the week … and before the long weekend ahead.

The Wonder of Florida

When you saw the title of this post, did you think about sun, tourists, and Disney World?  While those things certainly are identified with Florida, that’s not the Florida that I experienced almost 2 months ago.

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Those of you who know me will not be surprised to learn that just going over the Sunshine Skyway was exciting!  I wish Donna could have stopped the car but for some reason she didn’t think the Florida troopers would appreciate that too much 🙂  I do love a bridge and I’d have loved to have been on the bike!

My welcoming committee!

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My three day visit was jam packed! In fact, we rarely stopped exploring.  A brief, early morning visit to the beach …

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… was followed by a stop at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.

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  Is this not the perfect view for lunch and a cold beer?

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We spent time at the Myakka River State Park and it was during our time there that I KNEW I needed a zoom lens!  Visitors to Myakka can enjoy “the land in its natural state, a piece of the REAL FLORIDA”.

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The Birds! The Gators!  The Trees!

“Myakka protects one of the state’s most diverse natural areas. The Myakka River, designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, flows through 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing from a boardwalk that stretches out over the Upper Myakka Lake, then take to the treetops with a stroll along the canopy walkway”

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And then there’s the Canopy Walk!

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76 feet high, the walkway offers an incredible view over the park.  It was a bit hazy that day, but you’ll still be able to appreciate the vista.

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The Airboat tour brought us up close and personal to the gators and other wildlife.

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On our last evening, we took a long leisurely walk around the neighborhood, admiring the trees, flowers, and the sunset.

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It was a wonderful 3 day getaway, one that ended far too quickly.  I’m already looking forward to next year and time with my dear friends!

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Katydid

This may just be the first time that I’ve done a portrait of a Tettigoniidae, more commonly called a Katydid or a Bush Cricket 🙂

What can I say? It was all about the bokeh (at least I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s called. Your thoughts, Joe?)

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They are also known as long-horned grasshoppers, although they are more closely related to crickets.

Cluck!

Morning coffee at Kate and Bob’s home offered a few moments to enjoy their chickens.

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Clearly content, they clucked and coo’d quietly while I quickly took a few shots.

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A peek inside the coop revealed freshly laid eggs

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Check out the decorative touches and and bright colors of the chicken yard.

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Kate and Bob have created a space that would make any chicken content (yes! the chickens told me so!)

Ladder to the Sky

This past Saturday, I attended a friend’s Absolute Auction.  Her mechanical contracting business is closing after a long, very successful 57 years in business.  I had the good fortune to be able to document the history of the business, the fascinating aspects of an auction, and the culture of contractors, subcontractors, small business owners, and incredibly hard workers. It was a bittersweet day but a successful, and even a joyful day, as we celebrated all that was this business and the family associated with it.

Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be sharing some photographs and thoughts from that day, but for now I’ll share this one.  My friend Kelly gave me the most perfect title for this photo.

Ladder to the Sky

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Sadly, but fitting for this Ladder to the Sky post, I had to say goodbye to my Abby this week.  She was a sick little thing and could not recover.  I’ll miss her presence in my home and my life.  Abby was the last of my pets, with two dogs and another cat having gone on before her, and for the first time in 28 years, I have no children (pets or human) in my home.

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Abby was a cute little thing and like her human, knew what she liked and what she didn’t like.

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Rescued and with six toes on her two front paws, Abby was a joy and a pain, as only cats can be (I say that with a smile).

Thank you, Abby, for allowing me to share your life,

Horse Hair!

I finally had a chance to visit my friend Bill and his wife Pat yesterday, and whenever I visit them, I get to visit the horses as well.  The sun, the lens flare, the location of the horses (and my gimpy leg) made photography a bit of a challenge.

Doesn’t the light just add to the beauty of these beautiful animals?

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Burke’s Garden

This past Sunday found me needing some time on the bike, in a long, solo ride.  Too many thoughts were jumbled around in my head and I needed to sort some things out.  So I plotted my route and headed out for Burkes Garden.

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Bowl-shaped Burke’s Garden is the highest valley in Virginia, and is named after James Burke who “discovered” the area during the 1740s (of course the Native Americans discovered it first).  The historical marker notes that “the threat of Indian attack and the remoteness of the area discouraged permanent white settlement until the early 19th century”.  It is still a very small community and the only store is closed on Sunday.

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The ride to Burke’s Garden and back is one photo opportunity after another.

Old churches

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Farms and the product of farming

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Images that harken back to another time and warnings about eternity

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I loved her little face peeking back at me.

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While these 4 photos all have an organized religion theme, they represent 3 different churches.

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And of course some fun, twisty roads.

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By the time I arrived home, 5 hours and 150 miles later, I was in a much more peaceful frame of mind

Of Horses and Spiders

I delivered some dinner to a couple friends the other night and couldn’t help but go visit the horses on the adjacent property.  When they weren’t staring me down, wondering what I was up to, or eating, they were literally kicking up their heels in play.  Wish those photos had turned out … I’m still learning animal photography 🙂

I kinda liked these though.

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And then there was this spider …

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Building Confidence for Dexter

As I walked out of the office at the end of the day, my mind was focused on the pending photography shoot of a friend’s elderly dog.  I was feeling a bit apprehensive, not having had much experience with animal photography.  Dexter is much loved and will soon not be with us.   Adding to that apprehension was the fact that I wasn’t very happy with the photos I’d taken the day before.

When climbing into the truck, I saw the sun shining through these leaves.  The colors were so like fall … in the beginning of June.  As soon as I pressed the shutter, I knew I’d be happy with the result.  In fact, I really couldn’t decide which one I liked best, so I posted all three!

And that was just the boost of confidence that I needed to go visit Dexter.

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I’m not sure I captured the personality of this sweet old boy.  What is it about a dog?  No matter how much in pain or how hard it is to get around, a dog will still wag that tail and try to make the people around him happy.

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What a guy!  I’m so glad I met him.

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Annual Mammogram: Reward for Getting it Done!

Last Friday, I had to be out of the house earlier than normal in order to get my annual mammogram.  Because of that appointment, I also traveled a slightly different route than is typical.  This pastoral scene was my lovely reward.

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Ah! There are more benefits than you know to getting a mammogram!

Have you had yours this year?

Truly! They’re lifesavers!