Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweet Autumn Clematis Vine

Each fall most folks look forward to stunning, multi-colored foliage but this perennial vine is equally as delightful with its thousands of fragrant white blooms.  Just as several plants are beginning to fade after the heat of summer, this climber adds a gorgeous vertical accent to any landscape as it meanders up and over a trellis and attaches to shutters and screens while en route to nearby shrubs and outdoor garden decor.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Warty Summer Guest

Throughout the summer this little creature spent a lot of time in and around some of our potted plants, usually hanging out in the damp, cool soil amid stems and under petals.  When watering I frequently noticed our guest as the excess fluid seemed to force him to the edge of the container or out of the pot and under the leaves below.  Due to the exceptionally dry summer, he probably didn't have an abundance of mosquitoes to eat but evidently he found this area comfortable as most days I spotted him somewhere in the flower pots on our patio or under the flowing lime green sweet potato vines that grew out of the arrangements. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Birthday Greeting

Today's post features a birthday girl surrounded by her husband (of more than 50 years) and several grandchildren.  Although she prefers not to be photographed, I think this picture demonstrates just how much she enjoys being in the company of her family.  To a very kind mother-in-law, happy birthday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

With the extremely dry summer, many folks watered their vegetable gardens, flower beds and potted plants...usually with the conventional watering can, garden hose and/or sprinkler.  However, in order to accommodate the various plant heights and soak the entire area, my father constructed this apparatus, complete with a stepladder as the base, plastic ties to stabilize the yellow garden hose and a sprinkler perched atop to deliver the much needed moisture.  Resourceful?  Effective?  Of course, but every time I look at his concoction, I laugh as he is an expert at assembling items from the garage and creating a functional product -- for free!  And if you know him, you also know that the latter (FREE) matters most!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Late Summer Gems

Although recently temperatures have been somewhat cool, the garden is still producing a wonderful bounty of peppers and tomatoes. And, since my husband is especially fond of stuffed peppers, I have been busy making those for him so they are in the freezer and ready to eat after long nights at the farm during harvest. Hope you have had a chance to enjoy some of your favorite garden produce and maybe even put some in the freezer for use during the winter.

A Hint of Change

According to the calendar, fall begins tomorrow; however, according to these photos, the seasons have already to started to change.  As I recently visited a local park I could not help but notice how some trees were losing leaves while others contained hints of red in their overall green treetops.  And, with a freeze warning posted for tomorrow night, I guess Mother Nature is giving us several clues that autumn is upon us.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Quaint Scene

Built in 1850, this cabin is what some sources believe to be the first known home in our county.  Of course, it has been restored and moved to a city park where the local Master Gardeners constructed a charming flower bed to adorn the structure.  A gem nestled among mature trees, park shelters and concrete that I unexpectedly stumbled upon while hoping to get some interesting shots of more 'modern' subjects.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

American White Pelicans

This photo was taken during a float on the Snake River near Jackson, Wyoming at the base of Grand Teton National Park.  And, in case you forgot or never learned this limerick regarding a pelican, here it is:

"A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His mouth can hold more than his belly can,
He can hold in his beak,
Enough food for a week.
I'm damned if I know how the hell he can!"

--Dixon Lanier Merritt

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

West Yellowstone, MT

Located about 500 feet from the west entrance to the national park in a Rocky Mountain valley is the town of West Yellowstone, Montana.  Earlier this summer, prior to entering the park, we spent a few hours here, and perhaps you saw my post in July that featured painted bison statues also from this place.  Today's photos include a street-side view of the town as well as some of the rescued bears, wolves and raptors that are now residents of West Yellowstone as they reside in the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center.  Regarding the grizzlies, for example, each has its own story but the common thread is that they all live at this shelter because they were either identified as 'nuisance bears' or were orphaned cubs of a nuisance bear.  And, for these bears, they would likely be destroyed because they learned to get food from people, to damage property to get food and/or to become aggressive to humans.  If you happen to visit this area be sure to stop for a tour, get an up-close view of these amazing animals and learn about the role each plays in the Yellowstone ecosystem.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Gorgeous Greens

These photos depict the simple beauty of the world around us with the many shades of green plus numerous textures and shapes.  The photo above I happened to take just 'for practice' but really liked the finished product as, just from looking at the image, I can feel the needles on the trees and the wind blowing the branches above.  The picture below is some type of variegated ornamental grass that is striking with its strips of white and long, wispy blades. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ag Art

Today's post features another simple subject, a hay rake, that I photographed while taking pictures of some farm equipment.  Although I don't spend a lot of time on the farm, I must admit some of my favorite shots have been of things related to agriculture.  And, just like I mentioned a couple days ago, when I have a decent image often I enhance the original and create some variation that is equally as interesting. 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Birthday Boy

Today's post features some photos of a special little boy whose birthday is today.  Be sure to notice the cake that his maternal grandmother made as it is adorned with backhoes, dump trucks and crushed sandwich cookies that mimic dirt!  Wow!  That was so creative as well as delicious!  Obviously, this little nephew loves all sorts of machinery and heavy equipment; hence, the blue tractor we gave to him was a big hit.  May his birthday be as terrific as he is.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Orange Swirl: Before & After

Sometimes a simple subject, like this variety of impatiens, can provide a great foundation for a unique image after some creative editing.  Sure, the flower's blossom is pretty but the final product gives a soft, dreamy look that might complement the decor in your favorite room.  In addition to taking photos, I love enhancing the original picture and creating something new and intriguing. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9 - 11

"Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations
of our biggest buildings, but they cannot
touch the foundation of America."
--President G.W. Bush

Monday, September 10, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Spider Man Miniature

Recently I posted pictures from a baseball game and promised to share a few more; hence, today's shot is also from that event.  At this minor-league game the main attractions for children were the balloon artist and the woman painting faces, and this picture is an example of her outstanding work.  This young boy was thrilled with the results and patiently smiled as his mother and I (a stranger with a big camera) asked to take his picture. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


In June I featured my parents on their 45th wedding anniversary, and recently some family members and friends gathered to celebrate that milestone.  We enjoyed a delicious meal and lively conversation followed by a round of pictures.  Fortunately, a member of the restaurant staff agreed to take a shot using my camera so I could be in the family photo.  Again, congratulations, Mom & Dad!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Paws On Michigan Avenue

Despite the overwhelming presence of concrete, steel and skyscrapers, dogs occupy an important role in the lives of city dwellers, including these pretty pooches spotted on Chicago's Miracle Mile.  Although this venue provides little green space for four-legged companions, folks continue to value their presence and welcome them into their studio apartments, condos and shared-living spaces.  And, as seen in these photos, man's best friends seem content as they take a Sunday morning stroll down Michigan Avenue.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Eat, Drink, Bathe

During this hot, dry summer our backyard bubbler constantly had feathered visitors seeking a reprieve from above-normal temperatures, a bath and something to wash down the seeds they consumed while at the feeders.  Today's pictures include a male goldfinch eating at the thistle feeder and sharing the water fountain with a robin.  The latter humors me as robins generally chase away any birds that want to share time in the water while the finches are skittish guests and often leave immediately when another bird arrives.  This day, however, the heat was intense and water scarce; evidently, the two discovered that sharing this resource was ok just for a short while.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sun Sets On Summer

Today several folks in the USA have a day off work due to the Labor Day holiday; however, for many this also marks the unofficial end of summer.  Therefore, the sunsets featured in this post are intended to symbolize the changing seasons as well as highlight a gorgeous time of day on West Lake Okoboji.  Although the calendar now says September, we continue to enjoy some beautiful late summer days and cherish the tranquil evening sky.