'scene' along the way, adventure, chickens, courage, exploring new places, friends, fun, history, just imagine, making memories, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, pigs, road trip, travel

Oconoluftee Visitor Center…

This feature photo needs a title. How about “The Little Outhouse in the Smokies?” We were still on our first full day of our trip, and we had heard that this visitor center had a great farm display, as well as occasional visits from elk. We thought we could plan our trip, acquire some maps, and, hopefully, see some elk. We didn’t see them that day, but stay tuned because we did eventually see them. I look at these scenes and think of how hard life must have been in those days…

Here you have the farm house, amazingly devoid of tourists. Like us! LOL.
The house again. It was explained that the owner split the logs and used the halves on opposing walls. A skilled technique.
Further signage pointed out that pigs were essential on a farm in those days. They had large litters of piglets and they provided sustenance.
This rooster really did seem to be ruling the roost, but he did tolerate all the visitors well.
I liked this view of the barn from the walking path better than any of the other photos of it that I took.
Here we have the barn and some of the equipment that might have been used. The fencing surrounded the corn crop, another essential to the quality of life in those days.
More farm buildings, those are corn cribs in the back.
Flowers along the river.

Another objective of the trip was to practice using filters to improve your landscape photos as well as to photograph falling waters and make the water appear more silky. I was new to long exposure photography, but I did manage to get a couple of pictures. I had to toss most of the ones I attempted to take. It seemed that every bend in the road revealed a scene that made you want to stop the car and take pictures. And we were still on our first day in the park.

It will take a lot more practice to figure out this technique.
There were rocky little waterfalls in every stream along the roadside. Many opportunities to take even more pictures.
'scene' along the way, a second look, chickens, finding my way, flowers, fun, gardens, memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, simple things, travel


Yes, I know that the feature photo isn’t a Hollyhock, but we’ll get to that…

Are Hollyhocks an old-fashioned flower?  Maybe it just seems that way because they figure prominently in my memories from my favorite neighborhood of my childhood. The walkway to the back door of my house was lined with Hollyhocks.  They were much taller than me and loaded with flowers.  All the time, or just some of the time?  They are always present in my memories of those days, and for years they were one of the few flowers I knew the name of on sight.  I saw one the other day when I visited a friend in Duxbury, so I took a picture.  It was exactly as I remembered them to be.  Dark pink,  single flowers, and we, or maybe it was just me, loved to pick the buds and smush them in my fingers, covering myself with yellow powder.  Destroying new flowers in the process, but that didn’t occur to my five-year-old self.hollyhocksduxburyI had forgotten about the picture I had taken only a few days before until I saw the Hollyhocks, lots of them, in Nantucket.  Fancy ones.  They seemed ruffled, or double flowered.  And the yellow ones were lined up so tightly on the stalk that I didn’t recognize them as Hollyhocks until I spoke with another admirer.  If I have come home in search of my childhood I have certainly found it around every bend in the road, so to speak…hollyhockspalepinkhollyhockspinkhollyhockswhitehollyhocksyellow

The feature flower is a total mystery to me.  The colors are so beautiful!  And up close I see the tiny little flowers beginning to open.  But what is it?  Am I the only one in the dark?

chickens, fences, flowers, friends, gardens, neighbors, on closer examination, photography, sunrise, unintended consequences, weather

And it kept on raining…

Looking out the kitchen window that morning I saw some definition in the clouds, so I loaded the cameras and tripods into the car and headed to Hammonds Creek for the sunrise.  It’s only a five or six mile trip to the gulf coast, but before I got there I was seeing drops on the windshield.  Just heavy mist, I told myself.  But it was a downpour just a minute later, so I turned the car around and headed for home.  No sooner did I do that than I saw a promising looking sky again, and no rain.  Again I reversed direction, and again I drove into a torrential downpour.  And yet again the weather was fine on the way home.  Sometimes you have to settle for a sunrise from the backyard.

Also in the back yard are flowers that I was offered by a neighbor I used to talk with when I walked Zoe a longer walk than I had for the last couple of years.  She was digging up some of them because they spread.  You would think that I might have gotten a hint from that, the possibility that one day I’d be trying to get rid of them I mean.  But no, what I saw was red, sort of tubular flowers, and I had read that that’s what will attract hummingbirds.  So on the barest smidgeon of information I brought them home and planted them, and within years I was digging them up, but there is no getting rid of them.  They have made themselves so at home that they have diversified…6-2threepinkfeature5-29white5-29whiteandpink5-29pinkandwhite5-29yellow

But only the ones way out back have these new colors.  Out back in chicken territory.  My neighbor laughed when I suggested that her chickens were responsible, a chicken version of cross-pollination.  Or maybe it’s the morning light back there.  But it has taken several years for these new colors to develop, which coincides with the chicken invasion.  I’m not complaining though, the chickens come over and de-bug my yard fairly regularly.  They are welcome any time!

adventure, backyard visitors, birds, chickens, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, photography, unintended images


I don’t know who was more surprised, me or the chickens.  I had gone out the back door with the 600mm lens on my camera intending to take a couple of photos of the cranes  who have nested out there.  I didn’t expect to see my neighbor’s chickens out there, and clearly they weren’t expecting me either.  When I attempted to put the camera on the tripod I realized I’d brought out the wrong tripod, so for the heck of it I tried a couple of hand held shots of the chickens.   The camera was zoomed all the way out, and since those shots seemed clear enough I attempted to aim out at the cranes, and that’s when I couldn’t hold it steady.  It was impossible.3-22chicken23-22chicken1

I headed out the door again, with the correct tripod this time, and saw what I knew from photographs to be Swallow-tail Kites zooming around out there.  I hadn’t seen them on the lake before so I concentrated on them as they finally landed in a tree across the way. First one landed, and then her mate landed also.  I cropped these photos past where they should have been for clarity sake, but I wanted to see what was actually happening out there.  I believe that the second one to land brought a lizard to the other one.  The recipient stayed and posed in the tree for a bit, but the other one was off again immediately.  And then they both were gone.  I’m so glad I was ready with the camera since I don’t know if I expect to see them out there again.  3-22swallowtail43-22swallowtail53-22swallowtail23-22swallowtail3Maybe if you are taking a photograph of a still life scene you have the luxury of composing your photo.  It seems I’m always the last one to know what I’ll wind up shooting on any given day, but I’m not complaining.


birds, chickens, kids, nature, photography, simple things, spider webs, squirrels, Uncategorized

Who’s a dumb cluck?

The term ‘dumb cluck’ came to mind today, as I was taking care of my neighbor’s chickens. They evacuated for the hurricane, the neighbors did, and I was a bit worried about having a front row seat to what would become of the chickens as Irma blew through the neighborhood. I pictured the roof of the homemade coop coming off and chickens being hurtled through the air. Which didn’t happen, and I’m glad about that, but then I was left to care for them in my own inept way.

I’ve made sure that they had fresh water and flung them some food every day, in imitation of scenes from old TV shows or something. They put themselves back in the coop for the night, so all you have to do is close up the coop. But in order to do that I have to step into the covered area outside of the coop, and in doing so I have walked into a spider web every.single.time I walk in. That’s where the dumb cluck thought came from. For some reason I can’t ever think of it ahead of time, not until I feel something brush against my hair, it’s extremely creepy.

So I googled the term ‘dumb cluck’ and someone said “The term “dumb cluck” in referring to a stupid person is an insult to chickens”

It’s official then, the dumb cluck I was referring to was me!


As you can see I have a thing for the black and white chickens.  I think they look Zentangled!  And my little squirrel friend loves the chicken feed too!

chickens, Florida wildlife, home, humor, nature, on closer examination, photography, squirrels


There it was again, the rustling in the overgrown palmetto at the edge of the yard. The hair on the back of her neck stood up. She should feel relieved,  if the dogs didn’t bark, it must be nothing, she thought to herself. Where were the dogs anyhow? She couldn’t see either one of them. She should walk around to the front of the house and see where they had gotten to, but she heard the noise again and was rooted to the spot. She had always been afraid of that overgrown tangle of Florida foliage. Always wondered what might be in there. Which partly accounted for why it was so overgrown, since she couldn’t bring herself to take even the long handled pruners out there to trim things up. She had turned toward the front to look for the dogs, but behind her she heard it again. Taking a deep breath she turned, and camouflaged so well against the tree that she could barely see it, was the intruder.chickenintruderBut there were more than just this one intruder…


Her four-legged bodyguards must have been asleep on the job… but wait!  That was written yesterday, but the bodyguards were on the ball today letting her know something was out there.  Now this really is an intruder.  armadilla