Monday, June 30, 2014

Familiar Summer Scene

Here in the heartland this is a common summer scene as fields are full of corn and soybeans while amazing overhead vistas are frequent with clouds and storms rumbling through.

"A farm includes the passion of the farmer's heart, 
the interest of the farm's customers,
the biological activity in the soil, 
the pleasantness of the air about the farm -- 
it's everything touching, emanating from, 
and supplying that piece of landscape...."
                                                                              --Joel Salatin

Friday, June 27, 2014

Young Cowboys

"When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes.
But when you photograph people in black and white,
you photograph their souls!"
                                                                     --Ted Grant

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Light and Lines

"The camera is an instrument that teaches people 
how to see without a camera."
                                                                      --Dorothea Lange

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Beautiful Blossom

"The 'Amen!' of nature is always a flower."
                                            --Oliver Wendell Holmes

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Parents Celebrate

Today is the 47th wedding anniversary of my parents.  Speaking on behalf of my siblings and their spouses along with the 5 precious grandchildren, we are grateful for all they do for us and wish them many more years together blessed with good health, happiness, plenty of ball games to attend, roads to build and fun times with family.  Happy anniversary, Mom & Dad.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Near Their Nests

In the above photo a house wren is perched just outside its nest while below a swan hangs out near the super-sized structure it constructed for the soon-to-hatch cygnets.  The third image provides an up-close shot of a female cardinal among clematis vines sitting on eggs in the nest she and her partner constructed.  The latter was just outside our front porch and my husband and I eagerly watched as the pair built the nest, the eggs arrived and little bodies appeared; however, shortly thereafter some other large creature attempted to destroy the nest and left the baby cardinals incapacitated on our lawn....So, we wait for next year and hope the couple returns to rebuild.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Good Guys Clowning Around

Year after year the NE Iowa Motor Clowns are a crowd favorite in parades throughout eastern Iowa, including their appearance in the annual Strawberry Days celebration.  This group of Shriners makes us all smile plus gives of their time in order to improve the lives of children.  Look for these crazy clowns spinning their wheels in a parade near you.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Iowa Countryside: Corn & Junk

Above is a glimpse of an Iowa cornfield with its gently rolling hills along with a beautiful blue sky and a few meandering, fluffy clouds.  This scene is representative of much of the local landscape in mid June as the crops have grown significantly throughout the last month and show promise of producing abundant yields by the time cool weather returns and combines run.  While out taking shots of the young crop, I was also allowed to photograph some scenes in a nearby junkyard.  Amid the fields of green I encountered all these vehicles (and lots more stuff) crammed in a few acres of lush farmland.  Seems like a waste yet sure makes for some interesting photographs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Ever feel perplexed or overwhelmed by something profound, mysterious or quite large in scope?  If so, you probably can understand why this tiny tot appears dazed and confused while taking in all sorts of stimuli found outside the nest.  Honestly, this little tyke amused me as it sat entirely still for more than ten minutes on our patio with its beak sticking straight up.  Meanwhile, as I snapped photos of the bird and watered potted plants, in a nearby landscaped area its parents made quite a fuss trying to convince their fledgling to get away from me.  A few moments later the miniature robin turned toward the adults, took off running in their direction and didn't stop until it was under a blue spruce. Instantly all was quiet in the backyard.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

World's Largest Strawberry

Initially I was going to photograph some of the beautiful strawberries that are now ripe in our garden; however, since I did that just last year, I opted for a slightly different take on the topic.  Therefore, in case you don't live in these parts of eastern Iowa, allow me to introduce the so-called world's largest strawberry that resides atop a pole in Strawberry Point, Iowa.  According to information on the web, this enormous fiberglass red berry was erected in 1967, sits 15 feet high, is 12 feet wide and weighs 1,430 pounds.  If you are in Strawberry Point the big berry is easily visible as it sits just above City Hall near the intersection of Highways 3 and 13.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Our Anniversary

Eternal Love by Stephanie Funke

Today my husband and I celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary, and this post honors our commitment to one another along with all other married couples who serve as role models for us.  To my beloved spouse, you ARE the "charming gardner who makes my soul blossom." (Marcel Proust)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Two of the Best

With Father's Day just ahead, this post honors all dads, including two of the best -- my dad and my father-in-law.  And, even though they constantly heckle me (and vice versa,) I wouldn't have it any other way.  Here's to all the wonderful men we know as dad.

A son's first Hero.
A daughter's first Love.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gardens Growing

Don't worry if your gardens aren't quite as beautiful as those featured in this post as professional landscapers are in charge of making them look this good.  However, with freezing temperatures well out of the picture, many local gardeners have some veggies and flowering plants that appear to be doing quite well, too.  Although, on a personal note, just last night my husband and I finished planting our vegetables -- stay tuned for updates throughout the summer as this is our first experience with planter boxes!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dandelions, Anyone?

Probably not.  However, this little character sure enjoyed nibbling on the tasty yellow flowers that dotted the landscape throughout Yellowstone National Park.  And, although we don't care to have chipmunks residing in our finely manicured lawns and landscaping, this one sure was charming as he took time out for a mid-morning snack.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


A few months ago while in Chicago, I was fortunate to have time to visit Shedd Aquarium and see some amazing creatures, including various species of jelly fish.  One thing I quickly noticed was that in pictures they may appear quite large however in reality that is not the case as some were no bigger than a bouncy ball.  And, although each type was cleary identified on the front of the tank, I didn't record the specific names...oops!  Nevertheless, enjoy a close-up look at these underwater organisms but be sure to avoid them the next time you step in the ocean.

Monday, June 9, 2014


Within the last 20 years, soccer has become an extremely popular sport in Iowa and throughout the Midwest.  From local youth leagues to competitive national tournaments, kids of all ages are playing the sport that reigns supreme in much of the world.  With the 2014 World Cup matches to soon get underway, these images remind us of the sport that intrigues people of all ages in so many parts of the globe.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Foggy Background

Foggy Bridge by Stephanie Funke

Recently this image, Foggy Bridge, earned special recognition in an online art exhibition specifically for landscapes.  And, I invite you to click on the following link to have a look at some wonderful scenes from the world outside our door.  Enjoy the views.

                                             SB BADGE - 250 FINISHED SHADOW

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thoughts on Time

"This time, like all times, is a very good one,
if we know what to do with it."
                                                 --Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Taking time to do nothing
often brings everything into perspective."
                                     --Doe Zantamata

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Parade Season in Iowa

This image is a classic scene from small towns throughout the Hawkeye state as several community celebrations take place in warm-weather months.  Who doesn't love seeing Old Glory flowing in the breeze while passing by on the fire engines of volunteer fire departments in any given locale?  Pride in what we refer to as 'home' is on display as Iowans enjoy good times with friends, neighbors and family.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Photo Competition Update

In the most recent, June/July edition of Our Iowa, the above photo is a finalist in the "Iowa Humor" category of the magazine's annual photo competition.  So, again, I come asking for your vote and certainly appreciate all of you who take the time to do so.  Here's how to cast your ballot:  send an email to and in the subject line type "Vote Iowa Humor."  In the email message include "I vote for # 4."  If you'd rather mail your vote, send a note stating that you vote for #4 in the Iowa Humor photo competition.  Mail to:  Focus on Iowa Photo Contest, Iowa Humor Category, Our Iowa, 1606 Golden Aspen Drive, Suite 109, Ames, IA 50010.

And, more exciting news to share:  in the April/May edition of Our Iowa, the above photo was a finalist in the "Iowa People" category and actually received the most votes to win that category.  Now it will be one of four finalists in the running for the overall Grand Prize -- more details on that in a couple months.  To all of you loyal followers, thanks for the votes!

Monday, June 2, 2014


"What is one to say about June,
the time of perfect young summer,
the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months,
and with as yet no sign to remind one that
its fresh young beauty will ever fade."
                                           --Gertrude Jekyll