Saturday, December 31, 2011

Countdown to the New Year

For the new year, I am dreaming of peace and tranquility,

expecting opportunities to enjoy the wonders of creation,

and believing in the future. 

What is your wish?

Friday, December 30, 2011

What Lies Behind the Gate?

I am visiting in Missouri this holiday, and have spend several days wandering the countryside in search of barns, churches and fences.   My sister-in-law led me to this one.

The gate, combined with the pretty white fence that rises in the distance, made me wonder what lies beyond, and was a nice shot for Friday's Fences.

Happy New Year!  May the year bring blessings and peace to all!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beauty in the Clouds

We arrived in eastern Missouri Tuesday - traveled through rain, then snow, in Indiana,

but fortunately, by the time we arrived here, the snow had melted and the sun was out.  It is colder than I am accustomed to, so I didn't spend much time outside, but these clouds just demanded some attention!

Then, about 45 minutes later, I glanced out and saw this!  Hard to ignore the beauty here!

I thought the flag added the perfect ending!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On the Road Again...

Take a trip with me...

The road beckons, holding promise of adventure...

something wonderful just around the bend...

there it is!

Worth the trip!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Irish Barns!

I thought I'd share some of the barns we saw while in Ireland this spring.  Some of them are VERY old! 

This was the small chicken barn at Dan O'Mara's in Connemara.

This was what was left of another small barn nearby.

There were a lot of photos we tookof structures that were no longer recognizable as anything other than a pile of stones - the stones were everywhere!  But, the country is fascinating, and when we return, we plan to look for more barns!

Linking to Barn Charm.


Well, the "big" day is over, the grandkids have gone home (all except for the one we have traveling with us) and the house is quiet again.  Really quiet, because we are leaving home to travel to Missouri to spend New Year's with family there!  My tree will be dark until we return, but until then, I wanted to give it a chance to shine brightly!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

On this busy day, may we never forget the reason we celebrate! 

This cute angel was given to me by a friend - and I thought the star was a nice reminder of the star that led to the birthplace of our King!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What IS this Stuff!?

While I didn't have any snow photos from this Christmas (thanks goodness!), I did have this from Christmas past, with my scruffy-looking Bichon, Sweetie Dog, exploring her first snow.  She was so light, she didn't even break through the crust of the snow.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Old Grist Mill

This is the old grist mill at Cades Cove in Tennessee - the fence was not the original subject, and frankly I didn't even notice it until I started looking through my photos for Friday's Fences!  Funny how you can take photographs and be so intent on your subject that you don't see the other things around!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Remembered

This Christmas I am thankful for my family - husband, children, grandchildren, mother, sister, nieces and nephews.  I will miss my son, my father, and my brother, all gone but not forgotten.  Having spent the evening with many family members with much excitement and noise, I couldn't help but think of themissing ones.  This Santa was given to me by my father, many years ago, and has a place of honor every year, in memory of him.

May your Christmas be a blessed one, and may you always cherish your todays, look forward to your tomorrows, and be enriched by your pasts.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


A few weeks ago, hubby had moved the generator out of the shed to do some cleaning.  He noticed a praying mantis resting on the generator, so I dashed in the house for the camera.  I put my Macro lens on, hoping to get some really close shots of this fascinating creature.  Imagine my surprise when it suddenly jumped onto the camera lens! Brings an entirely new meaning to the words "close-up shot".   I dropped the camera onto the ground, fortunately on the grass, and endured a great deal of laughter from hubby and our youngest grandson.  But, I did manage to get a decent shot, before the panic set in!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday's Barn

This was taken from a moving train somewhere between Bryson City, NC and the Nantahala Gorge.  I saw the barn on the way out but was unable to get a good shot.  On the return trip, my shutter finger was ready!  I just loved the shape of this working barn.

Linking up with Barn Charm.

Monday, December 19, 2011


When you head to the zoo with camera in hand, you can never be sure what you may end up with.  The giraffes are always fun to watch, and the trip to the St. Louis Zoo this summer proved no exception.  I don't know why this one's head was so lumpy, but he spent a lot of time licking the sign!  Wonder what's the flavor of an information sign?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Taking Flight

Something about water fascinates me - the movement of the waves, the reflection of light from sun or moon, the foam thrown up by pounding surf - I can sit and watch it for hours.  I have spent freezing mornings waiting for the perfect sunrise shot on the water, and wandered after sea birds, trying to capture photos of them as they looked for food after the waves receded. 

These gulls flying off on the breeze on Anastasia Island, St. Augustine, speak freedom to me.

Linking to Scenic Sunday.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Around the Bend in the Road

We traveled to Ireland this spring - our 2nd trip to that beautiful country.  We spent the weekend in Connemara, enjoying the sights and history of Western Ireland.  We decided to take a different route back to Westport, and my job was to read the map, guide my husband through the roundabouts, keep him on the proper side of the road, and watch for the rock walls that are SO close to the edge of the roads!  I was doing such a good job of watching for rocks that I nearly missed this castle as we rounded a turn.  My camera was at hand, so I snapped the photo, luckily getting a nearly perfect angle. 

As we approached the entrance of the castle, actually called Kylemore Abbey, we saw that it was open to the public.  We quickly turned into the gates and spent a lovely day touring the property. It was a day to remember.  There is much history, too much to tell here, but it was built as a wedding gift from a man to his wife, and later sold to the Irish Benedictine Order of Nuns.  There is a gorgeous Gothic Church on the property and one of the last walled gardens built in Europe.

It was a reminder that some of the most memorable days are not planned or orchestrated - one only has to be willing to look for the opportunity to take a detour!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Just a Ray of Sunshine

While on a camping trip to Gordonsville, VA last summer, we took a carriage ride around the area.  Viewing the mountains always brings a smile to my face, but when we get to see a sky like this one, the mountains fade into the background and I am awed at the beauty of nature.  Enjoy!

Linking to Friday's Fences.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Guardian Angel

She hangs by the door at the front of my house all year Christmas, I plug in the lights and she shines each evening. 

Say "Aah"!

This summer, hubby and I were in Missouri, visiting relatives.  We enjoy the peace and tranquility of their rural home, and frequently see interesting wildlife.  We've seen deer walk across the lawn, turkeys in the field, hummingbirds at the feeder we set out, thousands of butterflies and have been serenaded by cicadas. 

The most interesting photograph from this trip was taken by Dan, in the driveway of his brother's house.  He has a lot more courage than I do!  This fellow looks like he could remove one of your limbs!  But, it did make for an impressive photo!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our Fat Feathered Friend

On Sunday morning, I walked outside and found a fat little bird sitting on the walk.  He didn't seem particularly upset that I was walking toward him until I was about 2 feet away.  Then he hopped up on the bird feeder and waited for me to leave.

Yesterday morning he was sitting on the deck railing, right next to the feeder, just basking in the early morning sunshine.  I walked out, again to within a few feet of him, and snapped this photo of what I think is a Red-headed Cowbird.  Whatever he is, watching him enjoy the feeders makes the chores of filling them and cleaning up the mess worth the effort. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

After the Harvest

Camping is another of my passions - but only when it involves an RV with real beds and bathrooms!  I love carrying my house with me, sleeping in my own bed, using my own dishes, and having all my own "stuff".

Last year, on a trip to Kentucky to travel the legendary Kentucky Bourbon Trail, we camped in the town of Frankfort.  The campground we visit has a lovely lazy stream running alongside, and all the usual amenities. 

The bonus was this adjacent barn, with the recent harvest of tobacco.  It stood proudly holding the owner's income hanging from its rafters. 

 Looks like a good crop!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Surprise of the Eyes

Hubby and I belong to a digital photography club - he finally has his own fancy camera!  This summer, we had a "Shoot in the Garden" before our monthly meeting.  We had an opportunity to wander the botanical gardens here, cameras in hand, and take our best shot.  It was a wonderful evening, and we captured some nice photos - we both called it a success.

Arriving home, we hurried off to download the photos on the computer and see just how well we really did (things always look different on the big screen!).  You can imagine our surprise when we looked at this one!  

 Dan had no idea the "eyes" were there - he was just working to get a close-up shot of a hibiscus.  But, there they were.  I have not looked at a hibiscus the same way since!  Next time you get an opportunity, look closely at the flower - and don't be surprised when you see the eyes!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Waiting for Santa...

I am not really waiting for Santa - at least not this early!  But, I AM waiting for our annual Open House to start later today.  We are model train enthusiasts, with more HO scale trains than we have room to set up, and somewhere along the line in the last 4 years, I have managed to accumulate over 150 lighted houses.  (I told my husband NOT to take me to any after-Christmas sales this year!)  It takes us over 100 hours each to set up the display, and about half that time to take it down and put it away, but we still do it every year.  In addition to the display, we bake cookies for the event.  At the last count, this year I have baked over 105 dozen cookies.  Does that qualify me for the "Are you nuts?!?" award?

This photo we took 2 years ago, when we had fewer trains and houses, shows why we do it year after year.  I say it is worth every moment we spend.  What do you think?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Inspiration

The holiday season always makes me think of family.  Today, the subject of my thoughts is my mother.  She turned 80 this year and is still going strong, managing a volunteer sewing group in Florida.  They make clothing for children, quilts and walker bags for nursing homes, and this year have even made blankets for the local animal shelter.  Over the course of 3 years, her group made over 30,000 diapers out of recycled T-shirts.  These were sent to Guyana to the Amerindian tribe there.  I am always amazed at her energy ( when I was a child I used to wonder if she ever went to sleep!).  Through one of her outreach projects, she developed an email correspondence with a Pastor in India.  The orphanage he oversees "adopted" her as Grandmother, and last year, on her 79th birthday, had a celebration in her honor, complete with banner and a cake! 

She is an amazing woman!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Beauty of a Barn

Barns have always fascinated me, perhaps related to some memory of my childhood, playing at my grandparent's house, and perhaps just because they are all so different!  Wherever we travel, if there is a barn in view, my eye will go to it - it matters none if it is in good repair or falling down!  And, once I see it, the camera is out.  I have even asked my husband to turn the car around, just so I can get a shot of the barn.  Fortunately, Dan never complains and has become adept at finding spots to pull off the road for that perfect photo.