An Autumn Walk

Autumn is the final trick in nature’s year-long magic show: It masks death with a spectacular display of beauty.
KEITH HANSEN, American Motercyclist, Nov. 1982

This morning the air was cool and perfect for a walk.  Our neighborhood has paths through the woods that are perfect for a enjoying Mother Nature.

bridge walk

The walks wind through the woods, over creeks and up and down hills.  There are many to choose from and make the walk that much more enjoyable.

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
― Lauren DeStefano, Wither

floral waterdrops

“Autumn is the hardest season. The leaves are all falling, and they’re falling like
they’re falling in love with the ground.”
― Andrea Gibson

dewy leaf

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”
― Humbert Wolfe

Advertisements

Today Was a Good Day Photo Challenge

I would like to believe every day is a good day.  Some are better than others, but I strive to find the good in every day.  But, to me, a good day would include:

Family

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.

Desmond Tutu

We just returned from Arizona where we celebrated my mother’s life.  Her Arizona family was very dear to her.  They surrounded her with fun and love.  These are the cousins that started out as little toddlers.  They grew up and have definitely gone different and interesting directions.  So fun to get together with them and watch them share stories.  It is never often enough or long enough.

The little cousins grew up!
The little cousins grew up!
You can always find a friend!
You can always find a friend!

The same trip found us shopping which can be a little tedious for grandchildren.  G always finds something to capture his interest…even it is him!  He makes a point to find the good in every day and he spreads that around.

Brother Britt and his daughter Brittany.
Brother Britt and his daughter Brittany.

A visit to Arizona is never complete without visiting my brother.  Both of my brothers have Huntington’s Chorea.  It is a horrible disease.  I wish I could see him every day.  The quality of his care in AZ is so much better than I could get him here. A good day is when he has family to visit him.

Color and Creativity  –

“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? no. Just as one can never learn how to paint.”
― Pablo Picasso

My current knitting project.
My current knitting project.

Only two squares left.  It has taken forever, but it has a wonderful calming to the creation of it.  I try to work on this a little every day and that makes it good.

For three happy grandmothers to give to their new grandchildren.
For three happy grandmothers to give to their new grandchildren.

These just came back today.  Once I bind them they will be off to the grandmothers of the babies for which they were created.

Nature –

“I’m not a social butterfly. I’m a caterpillar.”
― Jarod Kintz

Caterpillars are fascinating. Butterflies have wings to fly.

Caterpillars are fascinating. Butterflies have wings to fly.

I try to start every morning on the back porch watching nature wake up and start it’s day.  My mind wanders in and out of prayer and admiration for all that is nature.  It is a very peaceful and spiritual time.  A little bit of time out never hurt anybody.

Music

“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

I know there is more than this to make a good day… sometimes it is the simplest of things, a hug, a smile from a stranger, seeing someone helping another, and sometimes you just have to break your spirit free above the clouds to see the sunshine.

A Good Day Above the Clouds.
A Good Day Above the Clouds.

Today Was a Good Day

One Word Photo Challenge – Foggy

“moonlight disappears down the hills
mountains vanish into fog
and i vanish into poetry.”
― Sanober Khanlokfklfj

I love fog.  I love the mystical it weaves through areas, but leaves levels above and below it clear as if it is a river winding it’s way through earth.  My drive to work finds me driving through some farmland and my favorite drives are the ones that show the mist or fog elevated lazily over the fields.  Unfortunately, this is not a good time or place for me to be pulling over to the side of the road for a photo so close your eyes and imagine the soft light of morning sifting through the shimmery fog and creating a magical effect.

Foggy drive through the mountains of Carolina.
Foggy drive through the mountains of Carolina.

Instead my photo shares a harrowing drive home through heavy mountain fog.  In some photos you cannot see the car ahead.  The viewer would probably wonder why I would post a photo of solid gray, so I didn’t.  Although hazardous, the fog presented a sense of adventure and tension that was exhilarating.  When finally emerging from the blanketed area we laughed and clapped and found ourselves very hungry.  It was fun to recapture that childlike wonder that fog can evoke.

 

Join up with Jennifer’s  One Word Photo Challenge Here.

Backyard Bird Wars

One of the great advantages of being temporarily retired is I get to start each morning on my back porch with a cup of coffee and a book.  I bring along knitting and my camera just in case.

hummingbird1
One of our friends actually at rest.

This morning was no different than the others.  I was greeted with the background clamor of the cicadas.  I have learned to tune them out, but after the quiet of the house it is hard to ignore.  I sit in my favorite chair and put my feet up and watch the action.  The hummingbirds are at it.  They perch above the feeder in the adjacent trees and watch for anything to get close to their food source.  Some days it is so frenzied I fear my husband may have put a little something extra in the hummingbird brew.

woodpecker
An unusual photo of a female woodpecker perching. Wish the photo was better but it was really bright out this morning and you take these when they happen.

We have three bird feeders in the backyard and a bird bath.  The birdbath doesn’t see a lot of action other than the deer drinking from it and toward evening some well fed dove gather for a meet and greet and exchange gossip while soaking their feet.

Back to the layout.  Closer to the house we have the hummingbird feeder on a black metal post with two arms.  On the other arm is the finch feeder.  I don’t know if the hummingbirds are rubbing off on the finch or if they, too, are territorial, but every once in awhile they will get feisty and start a little bird battle.

bird stop

In the woods, hanging from a tree, is our “all the rest” bird feeder.  It seems “all the rest” can and does include squirrels.  I wouldn’t mind, but their weight swings it around and most of the grain ends up on the ground.  Hmmmm, have I watched too many Chip and Dale type cartoons?  I am sure this is their plan.  My husband is trying to scare them away.

The tree feeder attracts doves, cardinals, an occasional blue bird, and my favorite, the woodpeckers.  I could do a whole blog post on the woodpeckers because they are fascinating.  For the most part, the birds are so used to us they don’t take flight when we come out on the porch.  I think their birdsong even changes when the food gets low like they are telling us to get our rears in gear and feed them.  Happy Times~

Enjoyed this essay on Backyard Bird Wars

 

“Anyone can take an adventure even if it’s only in your own backyard. Let your imagination be your adventure and see where it takes you.”
― Carmela Dutra

Summer Winding Down

It seemed like just yesterday and I had a whole summer ahead of me.  I would like to say I have been so busy I haven’t had a chance to journal, but that isn’t really true.  I snoozed sadly through much of it missing my old friends.  It wasn’t until my sister-in-law urged me to look into Meetups that I started to wake up.

Last night I went to my first Meetup and it was a photography group from Ballantyne.  It was a very diverse group, but I really think I am going to enjoy it.  I was really sorry I missed their gathering at a local greenway.  So, today, Stretch and I went to the 6 Mile Greenway and checked it out.

With camera and tripod in hand we went looking for “something.”

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

dragonfly_8_13_14_sq_smThis little guy kept buzzing around me wanting his picture taken.  He even posed several times and waited patiently while I fumbled with tripod and settings and finally went with automatic.

hornets nest pe smHidden along the path was a hornets nest.  You can’t see any right now, but the hornets were actively entering and leaving this nest.  They were very efficient and I didn’t want to disturb them long.

vines_poster_sq_smI loved how the vines wrap themselves around the trees like a really clingy mother….  Not healthy but fascinating, especially when the tree expands around it and the vine becomes one with the tree.

blue tailed skink 2 smAnd the last one is just because this little blue tailed skink is one of my grandchildren’s favorite reptiles to catch.  Yuck!

It was a sticky day today, but it was really satisfying.  I now know of a better greenway to get some photos of birds.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Leaves or Trees

“Of all the trees we could’ve hit, we had to get one that hits back.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

So this week Cee’s Fun Foto topic is Leaves or Trees.  I love trees.  Not always the easiest thing to photograph because they are just so darn big!  My favorite tree is one painted by Georgia O’Keefe – The Lawrence Tree.  She made me look at trees differently.

treeThis is actually being shown upside down.  Georgia preferred it to be shown with the trunk in the top left hand corner and the top of the tree to the lower right.

“A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.”
George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Having moved to Charlotte, I am in awe of all the big old Oaks.  The one pictured was huge and I wanted to get on the ground and take a photo to emulate the Lawrence Tree, but it was, after all, a garden tour….  Can you imagine?

tour_magestic tree_smThis is my daytime, right side up, standing, not from the prone position on the ground, version of the Lawrence Tree… and this is an Oak.  I would like to sneak back and try again.  But it truly is magnificent.

“I am at home among trees.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 To enjoy more photos of Leaves and Trees or to learn how to participate select the icon.

cees-fun-foto

 

Exploring Charlotte

Last June we moved from Indianapolis to Charlotte to be closer to our children and grandchildren.  After living in the same home for 26 years, it was a tough move to make.  As much as I miss all my friends, it is one of the best decisions we have ever made.  We are busier than ever and get to see our family so much more.  In addition there is a whole new city to explore.  Saturday was a busy day and one filled with hidden discoveries in Charlotte.

persian_rugThe long runner my husband discovered at Classic Attic.  It was in great shape and we got a very good price for it.

My husband had discovered a place called Classic Attic, it is a great little consignment shop that is tucked into an unusual space.  It is on the backside of Park Road Shopping Center.  Normally, one would think this is where the dumpsters and employees park.  Not in Charlotte!  They  tuck the coolest things there.  It is a lower level than the Shopping Center… like a walk-out basement effect.

map2

In the map above is the shopping center.  I have marked my favorite spots with hearts.  Classic Attic is next door to one of the nicest garden shops.  Great plants I am going to have to go back and spend more time (money).  And then as we were leaving to go to a soccer game we passed a great little pub (also on the backside)  It had an outdoor area with umbrellas and beautiful blooms.  It was located just under a walkway that went from the shopping center to a group of apartments.  So quaint.  Sir Edmond Halley’s

SirEdmond1

This was our table.  The food was wonderful.  We ordered something quick so we wouldn’t be late for the game.  A cuban with sweet potato fries.

cuban

What would we do without our cell phones and Instagram?
And a nicer view of the outside of the restaurant.

siredmond2
From there we went to the soccer game at Dillworth Elementary which is worthy of photos, too, but I was watching the game….kind of.

Next stop Farmer’s Market on King.

FMgarden

The plants, the plants!  I purchased a couple of sweet potato vines, vinca and some mosquito plants that smell like lemons!

veggiesThe veggies were awesome as were the strawberries.

berries

We couldn’t get home without some of these!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Spring

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

tulips_red_sm_fr“You’re strictly a tulip girl—a red tulip girl.”
Alyson Noel, Evermore

wisteria_sm_fr“Wisteria is my favorite flowering vine. Do you know why?’

I shook my head. ‘No, ma’am.’

‘Because it’s strong — just like me.”
Beth Hoffman, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

brookgreen garden_sm_fr“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.”
Ruth Stout

There is no better place to greet spring than at Brookgreen Gardens in Pawleys Isalnd, SC.

Select photos to get larger views.

Too see more photos depicting spring visit The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge Spring.

Charlotte Garden Tour 2014

hydrangea_white_cr_sm“The master of the garden is the one who waters it, trims the branches, plants the seeds, and pulls the weeds. If you merely stroll through the garden, you are but an acolyte.”
Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Well, this weekend I viewed a few masters of the garden and I was just an acolyte.  And I will probably remain an acolyte until I can find my way around this rock hard clay.  In the meantime, walk along the paths…

tour_gate2_sm

I loved this gate.  The location on the shady side of an out building was perfect.  It looks like it has been there forever and makes you wonder what treasures are on the other side.

tour_flower shadow_sm

One of my favorite parts of gardens are the secret, hidden places that reveal treasures in the dappled light and shadow.

tour_cala lily_sm

“An ordinary visit to a beautiful garden always creates an extraordinary time!”
Mehmet Murat ildan

tour_flowering tree_smThe photo above is just one tiny branch of a tree full of these delicate little flowers.  I have never seen one of these before.  A gentleman told me what it was – in Latin – most definitely a Master Gardener.  So beautiful and delicate.  Reminded me of the lacy white sweet autumn Clematis I had in my former garden.  I have really missed that garden this year.  Slowly but surely we will have this one going, but we are not as young and strong as before.

 

 

A Brief Visit to Brookgreen Gardens

bg_path_cr_sm“God made a beauteous garden
With lovely flowers strown,
But one straight, narrow pathway
That was not overgrown.
And to this beauteous garden
He brought mankind to live,
And said “To you, my children,
These lovely flowers I give.
Prune ye my vines and fig trees,
With care my flowers tend,
But keep the pathway open
Your home is at the end.”

God’s Garden”
Robert Frost

bg_foxglove_1_pos_smThe Foxglove were beautiful and plentiful.

bg_moss_oak_sm_fr

Everyone might not see the beauty I see in this moss hanging from one of the great Oaks.  I love the tangled chaos of color.

More to come….later.