Share Six: October 2022: Moody

{Moody} is the theme for this month and when I picked my images I have to be honest moody was kind of where I was at.

That morning I had attended the funeral of a colleagues husband who had passed away of cancer. I felt sad, down and frustrated. But this funeral also felt very close to home. You see Richard, in February 2021, was diagnosed with melanoma, and for a while we did not know which way things would go. It’s such a lot to process and it is hard to know what to say to the person who has been diagnosed. Then things seemed to turn for the better for Richard, and we hope and pray that it continues that way. In the September 2021, my colleagues husband was diagnosed and the following September 2022, he was dead. Sitting there, reminded me that life is so fragile, it could have been me sitting in that position.

I went home that day and posted the following on Facebook “Life is short. I was feeling philosophical last night. I am sure the wine helped. I had spent time with a friend whose husband had passed away. He was so young. Today I attended his celebration of life. It’s these moments that remind me of how grateful I am for my family and friends. It is also a reminder to tell those I love, how much I love them. Give them the hugs they may not want because I don’t know whether I will be able to hug them again. Don’t let those moments slip away. Life is short and time waits for no one.”

Life is precious and the unexpected can happen at the drop of a hat.

My mood remained moody and reflective. We have recently had a lot of bad weather. Wet, overcast, depressing, rainy weather. I am fortunate that I work from home but sometimes I still end up driving in the rain. That kind of weather makes me stressed and somewhat moody. Tuesday’s pre-hurricane Ian weather was a fine example. We knew there was a hurricane coming in. Wednesday the office was going to be closed, as were the clinics. So Tuesday I decided after my morning zoom meeting to head across to the clinic. Mmm, here comes the rain again. It was so dark, and moody, and heavy that you could barely see in front of you. Even driving home it was not great. Already we were feeling the effects of the incoming hurricane’s outer bands.

You sit waiting for the path to become clear, then you sit and watch to see whether the path will change. Hurricane Ian did not change it’s direct path but it did wobble to the south. Had it gone a little further south, I think we would have felt a bigger impact.

From 8:30pm Tuesday evening the emergency sirens on the east coast of Florida kept going off. It went off 4 times between 8:30pm and 5am. I have to confess, hurricanes we have been through, tornado’s not so much. We have a couple of safe spots in our house – our laundry, our downstairs guest bathroom. and under our staircase. None have space for more than 1 person. I have to confess – I went downstairs for the first siren, stayed downstairs until after the second siren, and then I went upstairs to bed, only to be rudely awakened by the next two sirens. I could not see myself spending the entire night down in the bathroom or laundry.

It’s 5am and your mind is foggy. You walk to the bathroom and switch on the light and it is a huge relief that you actually have power. The wind, rain, lightning and thunder through the night was hectic, and it was only the outer bands of the north east quadrant of the storm that we were experiencing. Then you turn on the TV and discover that the tornado touched down 20 minutes away from where you live. In fact, halfway between where we live and where both kids now live. The touchdown was actually on the main road they turn off of but a little way away from them. The first thing you see is the damage to the communities where the tornado came down. It hit a big retirement community, possibly the one next door and the Home Depot. It hits home that it could have been you while you were sleeping. And while the emergency notice said “go to your basement of safe room” the reality is that no one in South Florida has as basement in their home.

This was a first hurricane for Daniel, and he said it was loud and scary. Little does he know what it is like when it actually hits you. 2005 we were hit by Hurricane Wilma, and it was bad. That was our first and last hurricane season without shutters. I watched Richard stand, with a towel wrapped around his head, a thick jacket on and jeans, pushing the bowing glass doors outwards against the wind. The eye hit us on both sides of our property.

That said you walk around in a fog. 5am is way to early for me. Luka was coming down. I was worried about what the weather would be like. Turned out that other than light showers, the day was okay. And then we waited and watch the storm go in on the West Coast of Florida and said a prayer of gratitude that it was not coming in to us. I have a photographer friend who lives in that area and she said this was the scariest thing she has ever been through and hopes never to go through it again.

The rose amongst all of these moody moments is Luka. We had him Wednesday to Friday afternoon. Amy was in Spain on business and Daniel is a teacher and so once the storm was passed, school theoretically would start, but the day care was closed. So he came to Granda and Nuala which turned out perfect in that our offices were closed Wednesday and Thursday and I don’t work Fridays. Each day we thought school would start again. Daniel did end up going in on Friday but they had no air conditioning or electrical power, so he came back home. Luka being in our home brings joy. His laughter and giggles are a blessing. Even those whiney moments are blessings. And when you try to put him to sleep and he is not tired (or even overtired) he is up and down on the bed like a crazy child. Just when you think he is about to go to sleep the cat jumps up on the bed and off he goes again. Eventually he will go to sleep with me almost asleep next to him on the bed. I shift him to the crib and then 1am his is awake and wanting comfort. So into the bed he comes. Richard did that one night and then complained that Luka sleeps like a starfish and he moved to the spare room. But to watch him wake up and see the smile on his face chases away the cobwebs, the moody feelings and brings a smile to my face.

And while we smile, our heart breaks. Our heart breaks for those who were severely impacted by Hurricane Ian. For those who have lost everything, – their businesses, their homes, their vehicles, and some, even their lives. Hurricane Ian has left devastation on the West Coast of Florida. One of the best ways to help is to find a reputable organization to donate to. We cannot go in there but we can financially help those who can. This is not a quick fix, this is going to take a long time to repair, rebuild or replace that which has been lost.

This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. The sneak peaks are stunning and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My incredibly talented friend Janet of @wiredtothemoon_ is up next. I can’t wait to see what she has to share. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Instahttps://www.instagram.com/wiredtothemoon_/gram page. Definitely check out her incredible art.

Come and share your images to  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_moody

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Kocani, Macedonia

We had climbed Vinicko Kale, and now it was time for us to head to Kocani for the afternoon. Kocani is about 15 or so minutes from Vinica and we had the most interesting ride. When we got to the house, the car was already decorated in wedding finery in preparation for Saturdays event, and the main reason we were in Vinica. While everyone was working on wedding plans, Amy, Richard, Luka and I were playing tourist.

Kocani, on first impression, is much larger than Vinica. Reading about Kocani that impression was confirmed The population is almost 3 x more than Vinica, the number of people living there is around 28 000. The population is made up of about 90% of Macedonians, 5% Roma, 3% Turks, 0.5% Vlachs (I added a link because I have not heard this terminology before), 0.2% Serbian, and 0.1% other.

I noticed a lot more apartment complexes around the town.

The Kocani River runs through the center of town and creates a beautiful river walk. One block of buildings back from the river is a peaceful outdoor entertainment area, coffee bars, restaurants, shops, and a children’s play area.

I loved this – Life is too short to wear boring clothes. I also think life is to short to not be exploring everything around us. There is a whole world out there.

Below, the story of our vacation. Carrying the stroller up and down stairs, hills, walkways etc. Luka did not complain at all. I let them do the carrying and I took photo’s lol.

I loved this image below of Marilyn Munroe on the walls of what appears to be a restaurant in Gadsby style.

We were heading to an Irish Pub that Amy had been to a couple of times. The look was somewhat Irish but the beers and menu were not. We had the standard Macedonian beer Skopsko IPL. One of my favorite finds was the beggars in Macedonia. They came with four legs and were all feline. There is a huge population of what I assume are feral cats and they are the restaurant beggars. I loved them.

I got to chat with the waitress at the restaurant. She was an English teacher but she said there were no jobs so she was working as a waitress.

When we were leaving the Irish Pub I spotted this church in the distance and asked if we could make our way to it. Little did I know we were going up and down hills again.

Below is one of the views of the housing in Kocani. We walked the streets to the church because the sidewalks have cars on them.

I was fascinated by this tree growing up the wall of this shop. Turning around to take a fuller image I realized that this was a grape vine that had grown up the side of the building and the leaves and grapes formed the awning.

Back up hill and making our way to the church I had spotted. Like Vinica, I saw piles of wood stacked against walls and houses. This wall is the external wall to the church.

Church St George, is situated just outside of the main riverwalk area, slightly up on the hill. I could find little information on this church but from what I did find it was apparently built in 1915 on original foundations.

Church St George, is an orthodox Macedonian church. I loved the design of the building with stone and plaster and traditional red style tiles on the roof. The grounds were immaculate, and we were able to walk around without anyone stopping us. We did not, however, go inside.

One of my favorite things that I saw in Macedonia with the churches was that quite often there were miniature replicas in the gardens.

Lastly we stopped in at Restaurant Kaj Pace for a late afternoon meal. We were all hungry. This was a great restaurant, some of it undercover and some areas had a more garden feel. My favorite part, I have to confess, was that the wait staff moved a giant fan over to us. Phew, with 104F temps we were dying. That fan was a blessing.

Of course, it was back to beer again. For food we ordered shopska salad which is made of cucumbers, tomatoes, mixed in olive oil and covered with a salty cheese, not unlike feta but looked very different. This appears to be a staple salad in Macedonia and we would eat it many times in the days to come.

Amy also wanted cheesy chips, which sounded great. The first taste of the chips was a bit of a shock as the cheese was salty. Amy tells me there is two types of cheese in Macedonia, a gouda type cheese which they call white cheese, and salty cheese. In addition we shared ribs as well which were excellent. What I loved about eating in Macedonia was that we could order a number of plates of food, and all share that food.

We headed back home in the wedding car, to a wonderful evening of meeting new family members, Daniels brother, sister in law and niece. It was a great day, busy with the climb and then the tour of Kocani. It felt good to stop and chat and learn a bit more of our new extended family.

Heading back to the hotel and the air conditioning, we took a little bundle of love along with us. Luka was dealing with a heat rash and Amy thought it would be good for him to sleep in the cooler temps. I made him a bed on the couch and placed chairs along the edge so that he could not roll out. He slept like a log, through the whole evening.

Saturday is going to be a busy day. Rich and I took Luka for a walk in the lower side of Vinica, then we got to celebrate for 3 hours at the house, before heading to the wedding venue. If I thought Friday was a long day, Saturday was going to be even longer.

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Share Six: September 2022: Intentional

Liz from It’s Still Life Photography by Elizabeth Willson chose our theme {Intentional}. This was going to challenge me. I had to really sit and think about it. I have not had a lot of time to myself this past 2 weeks. Aside from my Luka days which always seem to be more than Friday (and I am not complaining), I have had a change in job description. I have been asked to take over two areas that our ex Finance Officer was handing, insurances & employee benefits along with HR. I may loose the HR later but right now it is on my plate. It has been a learning curve. So I had to go back and look at what I had been intentional about recently.

Macedonia was so different to what you see in South Florida. South Florida is so manicured that it is virtually impossible to see a weed. Whereas in Macedonia there was a wildness to the flora on our walk we were taking, and also plenty of wildflowers. On our walk to Vinicko Kale, the ruins of the fortress that sits on top of the hill, I was intentional about looking for the beauty that surrounded us. That and stopping every so often to breathe. The walk up hill was a killer. I am unfit, that goes without saying. However, while I am not asthmatic, I come from a family that does suffer from asthma. My allergies tend to play up when I hit dry climates and the altitude affects my breathing. So I would stop and take photos, and catch up on my breathing at the same time. As a result Amy and Richard were always way ahead of me on the hike.

Macedonia’s topography undulates. We were constantly going up and downhill. We had to go downhill to get to the point where we could go uphill to Vincko Kale. And then it all went uphill. While for many, the sides of the road may seem overgrown, I loved seeing all the wildflowers. Some of them may have been weeds, but they were beautiful flowering weeds. Nature has so many beautiful specimens to offer and I was seeing a good few of them here in Vinica as we walked.

About halfway up the hill I stopped to breathe again, and to breathe in the beauty of our surroundings. Florida is so flat that it is so amazing to be able to look around and see hills, valleys and mountains again. It reminded me so much of the countryside we used to explore in South Africa.

I have no idea of any of the names of the flowers sadly, but they definitely captured my attention. The image below is the ruins of Vinicko Kale, a fortress set on top of the hill that dates back to the Neolithic times. This is where our uphill walk was taking us.

No only were the flowers stunning but I was blown away by the spiderweb below. It appeared that the spider created this tunnel through to where it waited.

After huffing and puffing my way up the hill, with all my {Intentional} stops to breathe and seek beauty, the view from the top was spectacular. It was of the city below. Now while the walk downhill may not be bad, the last little stretch uphill had me huffing and puffing again.

Doing things {Intentionally} is not a bad thing. I intentionally plan before we go. I like to know where I am going and what there is to see. When I am there, I am intentionally looking for the beauty that is around me. Intentionally trying to connect with what the country has to offer. I loved our trip to Macedonia and a journey into an area of the world I have never been before.

This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. The sneak peaks are stunning and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My incredibly talented friend Katherine of Cobert Photography is up next. I can’t wait to see what she has to share. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Instagram page. Definitely check out her incredible art.

If you want to learn more about the Fortress Vinicko Kale, then look out for the next blog due to go live later this week.

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Macedonia: Vinica

Vinica was the town we would be in for the next 5 days. Today we are going to explore some of the town and a little bit of the history. We often have preconceived ideas of what to expect.

Like most of Europe the cities are full of history. I had already used my google man to do some exploring but Vinica was too small to explore. The town was so interesting, we loved meeting family but, best of all, the welcome in Vinica exceeded my expectations. Like most countries that originally formed part of the Soviet block there is not a lot of infrastructure and the income level is not high. Vinica is found in the north east of Macedonia about 1 hour from the capital Skopje. Vinica is also the center of the Municipality of Vinica.

Vinica is a small town with a population of 10, 863 inhabitants. Broken down the town is made up of predominately Macedonians, but there is also a small group of Roma, Turks and Aromanians as well. It is located between the Golak and Obozna mountains and at the foot of the Plachkovica mountains.

The name Vinica is derived from the word vine, and Daniel tells me that Vinica was at one time well known for it’s vineyards. Walking around the town you will see vines growing on awnings outside of the houses.

This morning we walked up the street above to Daniel’s family home to meet up with Amy. We were heading to the Park Hotel for breakfast. Breakfast was good. We had omelets that cost us about $4 each. Coffee was good and they accommodated my milk and hot water request. I drink tea but only certain teas. The coffee was strong for the most part, mainly Turkish.

Luka ate some tomato’s at breakfast and had a bad reaction to them so Amy rushed off to the pharmacy to get an anti histamine to settle the reaction down. Looking back she feels like the blotchy face may have been the second time he had a reaction to tomatoes. We later walked up to the fort so he slept most of the way.

What was interesting for me, and to some degree worried me, but I am sure that up north USA you will see the same thing in winter. The amounts of firewood stacked in the streets and against the houses is incredible and I am sure that in winter this is all used. But I have to confess I kept thinking fire hazard. Oh me, of the state (Florida) of eternal heat. And if I am confessing, I have to be honest and say “hats off” to anyone who can live for months in snow.

Vinica has fallen under a number of different times. Neolithic times, Byzantine times, the Ottoman empire and the Yugoslavia times. Neolithic times is defined as the Stone Age, in around 4500BC. Byzantine times was apparently when the Eastern Roman Empire split in about 395CE until it fell to the Ottoman Empire in about 1453. Last but not least Yugoslavia from 1929 after the war until the 1980’s when the federation broke up.

There are three schools in Vinica, 2 primary and 1 high school. Amy taught English, through the Peace Corp at one of the schools, over a 27 month period. I had hoped to travel over while she was there but that did not happen.

In preparation for traveling I pulled up a map of Vinica and plotted out what to do and see. I will be honest, there is not a lot of “sights” to see in Vinica but on my list of things was St Arhangel Michael (where Luka would be baptized), the school where Amy taught, the St Apostal Luka, the Mosque, the Fortress, known as Vinicko Kale, the City Museum, St Pavale. To be honest we did not get to all of them, but Vinica was about family and we did a lot of that. There is also a cross on top of the hill, but after hiking to the fort, I was not up to hiking to the cross. I am unfit, the altitude affected my breathing and it was just so hot. Temps were sitting around 103 F. However, walking around the town, there were many things of interest, parks, coffeeshops, general shops etc.

One thing I did notice about Vinica, which we are just not used to anymore, was the overhead power lines. I have to think it would be an American Electricians nightmare. Daniel’s brother told me that the power system was sold to an Austrian company and they are required to only use that form of power. As you will see in other images, in winter wood is their main source of fuel, and they have big stoves in the basement that heat up the houses.

Amy showed us the apartment above that she lived in for at least 18 months. It was the lower right apartment of this building. It was perfect for the quick walk to school.

Hotel Central was the hotel that we stayed at and I will say in all honesty that it was well worth the stay. Not only was the room comfortable, but they provided a breakfast for us each morning. They also offered a gym and a spa. As much as I wanted to get a massage, trying to fit it in with all that was going on was not happening. Below the hotel was a shop where we could go and buy water and any other items we may wish to snack on. It was very convenient given that the temperature on most of the days. I also loved that our hotel had air conditioning. It was good to be able to go and cool down when the temps got to high. I think Luka and Amy loved it as well. We are so spoilt. I forget that growing up in South Africa we didn’t have air conditioning either. That said I am not sure I could live without it now.

There are apparently three major hotels, but I only found the two, Hotel Central where we stayed, and Hotel Aleksander Park where we went for breakfast a couple of times. There are lots of shops, bars and restaurants. Very often in the mornings the coffee bars were full. Mostly men drinking coffee. We drank beers at the Park, and I will tell you that those beers were far bigger than the standard size you get in the US. Skopsko IPL was the beer we seemed to order most of the time. We also ate at one of the pizza restaurants one evening, but again most of the time was spent with family. More on the lower part of town in another blog.

The main farming production around Vinica is rice, which also explains the high population of mosquitos in the area. Nasty biting mean machines :). In addition to the rice farming, there is also is known for their textiles and wood furniture production.

There appeared to be two sides to Vinica, the slightly older side and then the more modern newer looking side. This we came across as we walked to the Vinicko Kale later in the day. What interested me was the solar powered water heaters on the roof.

In addition I noticed that while the buildings may be older, the owners loved adding colorful flowers to the balconies and walkways to beautify the area. They did a really good job of making the area around their homes look pretty.

While Vinica is a smaller and older town, we had a wonderful time there. We were welcomed by the family with open arms, some tears and a whole lot of hugs. Despite our language challenges we were able to meet all the family, and to see some of this historical town.

If you are looking for a place to stop over, then the Hotel Central is ideal. Take time to explore, visit the churches, climb to the Fort, and the Cross if you can, sit at the beer garden and try a Skopsko, do early morning Turkish coffee. Breathe in the smells, experience the beautiful culture, love what you see. That’s the only way to travel – with an open mind, and an open heart.

Next blog will be my Share Six blog, then we will be heading up to the Fort. Join me if you can. If you want to see the other blogs on Macedonia click on the blog tab and scroll down

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30 minutes in the life: June 2022

I am writing this early in the month so that I don’t get caught up with things later on. I work from home so very often I don’t venture out my office, let alone my home. Richard arrived home at about 3pm last Thursday and he mentioned there was a big bird out in one of the flower beds. I can see from the photo that it is part of the Peacock/hen family. I grab my camera and go out the back patio door and walk down the side of the house hoping to take some photo’s before she disappears. She spotted me and started walking away, then turned around and walked towards me. I got a little nervous as I wondered if she might peck at me. She didn’t, but I decided she may be hungry so I grabbed some of the duck seed and put it in a bowl and put it outside for her. She walked right back around and came to eat from the bowl.

She disappeared in the afternoon and Richard later found her on top of our double story house. I did not know that a peahen could fly that high. I always assumed that they were more ground birds

Richard saw her briefly on Friday on the back canal. Saturday she was spotted on our neighbors yard. Today is Sunday, and Richard told me that she had dug a hole and was settled in it. I got really excited thinking she may start laying eggs, but then Richard found her in the garage. So now I am wondering if the hole in the sand is a way for her to cool down. I am probably going to go outside and now and leave a bowl of water for her.

Monday she was back again, so I ventured out to take a few more photographs. This time I lay on the grass and watched her walk around me.

I think it is so cool when I get to see the different critters in the garden. I love all the birds and the animals that frequent our property.

Thank you for joining us, 30 Minutes in the Life is a circle blog and we have some very talented photographers in the group. I always love looking at the sneak peaks and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what Kristina of Hello Olivia Photography has for you this month, and I look forward to seeing what she has to share.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

30 Minutes in the LIfe: May 2020

Well it is June already, but since there were not too many people blogging, and I had a sick baby in my arms all weekend, I opted to request that we wait a week and blog late.

Luka takes up my play days, and unless I get to play with Luka along, I really don’t get to go out as much as I did in the past. However, I love having that one day a week with him, where we can continue to bond and grow closer. His little face lights up bright when he gets to see his Nuala and Granda. There is such big smiles that it just brings such joy to my heart.

Suffice to say I have not got out this month because he is on the 7th week of being sick. The one nurse said to me that day cares are “evil” and I tend to agree. You no sooner send him back to day care and he is off sick again. I guess one has to start adding up how many days you are paying for day care that he is not actually going.

That said I did get one walk in this month. My goal was to see the new babies in the wetlands, but honestly by the time I eventually got to see them they were juveniles already. Here is a few images from my walk.

Flasher lol – This is a typical position for some birds on a really hot day. However what you cannot see behind mom’s wings is some teeny tiny Woodstork. She was shading them from the sun.
These babies are no longer tiny babies, however, they are still reliant on mom to feed them.
The Woodstork take over the nesting areas in the wetlands much to my dismay. There used to be pockets of Great Blue Heron, who have the cutest mohawk looking chicks, but the Woodstork have really pushed them out of the area.
George taking a nap on the berm. What you don’t see is a number of Iguana playing chicken. They are perfect gator food.
This guy was on the other side of the walkway. This is typical mating colors for the Iguana.
These Tri-colored Heron are newbies. There were three in the nest.
Cormorant are some of my favorite birds. The Cormorant in the wetlands are fairly tame and you can walk right up to them, and they will just stare you down. These birds have the most incredible turquoise eyes.
Lazing in the afternoon. Turtle suntan time. I love seeing them especially when there is a group of them hanging out on a log.
Juvenile Great Egret. Not sure where mom was but they were hanging out waiting. What I love about these birds is that there legs bend backwards.
That’s it folks 🙂 The Woodstork certainly have a lot to say for themselves.

It was good to get out and walk again. If I had planned to do it this weekend I would have been in trouble. We have a tropical storm passing over us and dumping a huge amount of rain. Nothing else to worry about although Richard did say that some cars in Miami were up to their windows.

Thank you for joining us, 30 Minutes in the Life is a circle blog and we have some very talented photographers in the group. I always love looking at the sneak peaks and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what she has for you this month Kristina from Hello Olivia Photography is up next, and I look forward to seeing what she has to share.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Share Six: June 2022: Light

Well this month has passed and I have done one walk. I have struggled to get out on my free day as I have had Luka and for the past 6 weeks he has been sick. Last weekend when I did plan to go out, I ended up with him spending 3 days in our home. Amy had bronchitis and she did not feel at all well, Daniel was working night shift, and honestly we did not want Luka to catch something else. As it was I took him to the doctor for a check up on his cough and discovered he had another ear infection, and subsequently received another antibiotic. Poor guy spent a good bit of time in my arms.

So I looked through what I had not edited this past year and pulled images for light from there.

This image caught my attention because of the bokeh and the light shining through the wings. This poor Anhinga has clearly had a run in with something, probably an aligator, given the loss of feather. I have to wonder how it is flying to be honest.

Whenever I go to shoot the sunset, I always take my lensbaby, but for some reason I never pull it out. This was one of the light images that I had not edited 2 months ago. This is my favorite spot to get some nice pond reflections. What I like about this image is the reflection of the son on the leaves of the reeds.

Out in the garden and just after the rain. The light was dullish but I was able to capture the waterdrop at the tip of the leaf.

Out on my walk recently I spotted this Iguana in pockets of light. He was on a berm surrounded by trees and there are odd spots that get lit up along the edges. The Iguanas are in mating season and this guy clearly has been fighting as he has a bloody spot on his back that looks like a claw snagged him.

Sunsets are my favorite and sometimes they are average and sometimes they light up the sky. I loved the different shades of light in this image.

Moody kind of light found along a secluded walkway. This are my favorite kinds of images.

This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. The sneak peaks are stunning and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My incredibly talented friend Janet from @wiredtothemoon next is up next. I can’t wait to see what she has to share. You can see more of her work by clicking on her  Instagram pages. Definitely check out her incredible art.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_light

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Share Six: March 2022: Revive

As I sit here and write, the news is on the the attack on the Ukraine is happening. My heart goes out to the people of Ukraine. My prayer is for peace and no more senseless killing. I pray that they stay strong and resolved see this through to the best of their ability.

The theme this month is {Revive} and was picked by Elizabeth of It’s Still Life Photography by Elizabeth Willson.

Revive, I had to put on my thinking cap for this one. Books revive me, or allow me to escape. I thought about a spa day, but there’s no time for that.

What does {Revive} me is getting out and walking in the wetlands. It gives me peace. It restores my soul. It centers me. I am in awe of creation .

I also realized that nature itself is in {Revive} mode, certainly in South Florida. The weather is warming up, and there are definitely signs that spring is on it’s way. I took Luka for a walk this past week deliberately looking at nature for this revival.

The flora definitely has little spikes of green happening.

However there is more, Revive is happening amongst the bird life as well. As we see winter come to an end, the bird starts coming in and creating nests, doing their mating dances, and before long we will see new life again.

The Great Egret is one of the most stunning birds in breeding season. They get these really wispy feathers that are used to attract the male and you are fortunate if you get to witness both the calling dance and the mating dance of the two birds. Above this bird was in the middle of her calling dance. Her feathers were splayed wide and and the stand up wide as she moves. The green around their eyes deepen in color.
New to the wetlands is a set of baby gators. Mom was hanging out in the shallow water. if you look at her body you will see the head of a baby gator resting up against her. In the reeds (but at the wrong angle for me) the siblings were playing in the reeds.
The male Great Blue Heron is the stick collector and you will see them flying out to find a stick, and bring it back to the female. She will attempt to wedge it into the nest. They also go through the mating dance routine, and I have actually managed in the past to capture the actual mating.
The Wood Storks are currently moving in. When they first arrived some years ago I was over the moon. These guys have a prehistoric look about there. I have since discovered that they have a prehistoric behavior about them as well. They move in in mob form and take over. They have pushed all the Great Blue Herons to a section that is not as easy to photograph and by the end of the season I am convinced that I am breathing toxic waste by the time I have passed them. While it is nice to see them I kind of feel that they have taken over.
The Cattle Egret, like the Snowy Egret, also get this wispy feel to their feathers. The top of their heads get darker. They are really cute and I wish they would nest closer to where I can photography them well.
The Anhinga is also doing their thing. One of the amazing things about the Anhinga in the mating season is the color of their eyes. They get this ring of turquoise green rings around their eyes. The male gets these wispy feathers on top of their head. Below I managed to get up close to a male anhinga that I hopped up onto the board walk to dry it’s wings. When they go fishing they are weighed down with the water and can only fly a short distance and then they need to dry their wings so that they can fly again properly.

Spring is a time of revival. It is a time of new birth. It is a time to start planting. It is a time to revive.

Thank you for joining us this month.

This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. The sneak peaks are stunning and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My incredibly talented friend Ceri Herd Photography up next is up next. I can’t wait to see what she has to share. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Facebook and  Instagram pages. Definitely check out her incredible art.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_revive

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

30 minutes in the life: February 2022

How did we get to the end of February already. Clearly time is flying. At least I am having fun. As I think I mentioned sometime back, I kind of lost my desire and energy to go out and take photographs. I am trying to be a bit more determined, but Mr Luka is taking up a good deal of my time. Three weeks ago when I had him I thought I would take him for a walk. That wasn’t the worst experience, but it could have gone a lot better. I did not get the images I would have got on my own. In all honesty I just wanted to get out and walk. We are going to revisit this option, perhaps in the coming weeks but maybe a smaller park.

Two weeks ago, with some determination, I took my camera along. I packed in my zoom lens, my wide angle lens. my 28-135mm and my Lensbaby sweet 35. I did not pull any of them out at the house, but when I came to leave I weighed up going to the shop or going to the sunset. The sunset won. I was able to see some “sunset” friends again and just relax and laugh and enjoy the moment. Honestly you just have to grab that “happy moment” where you can

I always like to stop at the “pond” first because very often I will get nice reflections across the water. This particular evening I was looking for a depth of field image so spent some time playing around with the branches of the tree. Ultimately it was not the image I used .

Heading down to the waters edge I always love silhouettes. Normally I try to get people but there were not too many in the right position.

There are all sorts of critters around at this time of night and I am always on the look out. The picture above was the tail end effect of a duck diving. See two below for the same duck looking at it’s refelction.

I had really got there just before the sun started to set. Added to that there was this thick band of clouds that the sun got behind and stayed for a while.

Fly by’s are always fun and the question is, how many images you can take of birds flying by. If you look at my drive I took about 30. At times the grackles do their murmuration and that is such a treat to watch. They were out this evening but unfortunately not playing in the direct sunset set.

The clouds to the side of the actual sunset were stunning and I kept moving my camera back to them. I hoped that the final sunset would infuse them with color.

Looking directly at the sun as it emerged for a brief second before setting, gave me the opportunity to get this lens reflection.

While the birds were flying by the duck about was playing in the water. At it’s own risk because there are gators hanging out.

I have learned through error, not to walk away when the sun has set, because very often the next 15 minutes could change the outlook of your images. As the sun set below the horizon the sky came alive and the colors were amazing.

Cruising in the sunset takes on a whole new meaning in the Everglades and this guy was hanging out. I was up on the high road looking down on the low road, so I had a better view of the gator paddling along in the water. I kept thinking “lady if that gator comes up where you are sitting at the very edge of the water, some parts of you are going to be missing”. Lucky for her he did not swim her way, but these guys are lurkers and quickly slip under water. I would not want to be the one sitting on the edge of the water at sunset.

My friend and I hung out chatting until the very end of the sky show and were super glad that we had done so.

I love the beautiful sunsets that I am privileged to view in South Florida. The Everglades is out west location for doing that. I can do it from home but there are trees in the way so it is very much sky and no horizon. The Everglades gives me the view of the setting sun and that is a real treat for me.

Thank you for joining us, 30 Minutes in the Life is a circle blog and we have some very talented photographers in the group. The sneak peaks are stunning and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month, Lupji Photography is up next, and I am hoping that he shares his new addition to his family. Congratulations to you and your family.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

30 Minutes in the Life: January 2022

Welcome back to 2022 and a new year of 30 Minutes in the Life. Last year we took a sabbatical for the last few months. We were all worn out and, to be honest, I had a new baby in the family and he was taking up a good deal of my time. We have been so excited to watch Luka grow over the past few months and I have been equally blessed that my daughter has allowed me to spend so much time with him. He is such a sweet boy and he brought light into my soul after an incredibly tough year.

But January came around and once again, I wanted to start the year on a positive and healthy note. I was back to work and Friday’s are my only day to play. I wanted to go and walk but I also wanted to see Luka, so I suggested to Amy that we meet at the Japanese Gardens and take a walk through them and have lunch at the gardens. That way I get out to walk and I see my boy as well.

The added bonus was that I went back to her house so that I could watch him while she did some studying.

The Japanese Gardens are beautiful and the weather temperature was perfect so we were able to walk through them and not feel like a bit drip. However, it was a little dull and overcast. If I were walking by myself I would take about 2 hours to meander the gardens but I forgot that I am walking with Amy the road runner. We zoomed through the park at a super fast rate. Apparently she was hungry and wanted to get to the lunch stop 🙂

So here are some images from Morikami Japanese Gardens.

I love this wall at the entrance to the park, and while I was waiting for Amy and Luka I played around.
Just the other day I was talking to Richard about the Azealia plant. We used to have a garden full of them in South Africa, but I have not seen them around in Florida. I was pleasantly surprised to see them in the gardens.
Amy and Luka as we start out our walk. He is not too keen on the sunlight right now, but Amy has since bought him sunglasses and the dude looks pretty cool with them on.
The lake appears to have Koi and turtles in it.
I love the different scenery’s around the lake. These grasses make a nice edging.
Reflections can be found all over the park and this was just one corner at the beginning.
I had my Lensbaby Sweet 35 in the bag and so when I got to the bamboo trees, I played around a bit.
It’s nice to see slight shades of winter amongst all the green.
We had to have a pit stop and so it was a good place to take some photo’s of our little guy.
Ornamental decorations can be found scattered around the park. The walk is very soothing and I often when I go I will find a place to sit and just blank out the noise.
This is the wall to a raked garden. I have sat on the seats just below this wall many a time.

My 30 minutes technically ends here but I am going to continue with our walk through the gardens.

Natures colors on a dull overcast day.
I often stop and think about how creative nature truly is with it’s designs and it colors.
Another beautiful raked garden.
Through this section there are waterfalls, and small winding rivers, that quiet your mind.
This image of is of the rooftop of a wooden gateway that separates the previous area with that of the Japanese house. We did not visit the house this time.
However, we did need to take a pic of Luka with the Budda. I told Amy they looked similar. Luka got tall and filled out pretty quickly for his 3 months. Now he needs to get moving to loose all that baby fat.
By passing the Japanese house we followed the walkway through the trees and open spaces. I loved seeing the air plants growing out of this tree
Another sign, however small, of winter in south Florida.
I saw something out in the water and was not sure what it was until I zoomed in. For me this is a sad sight, but a common one when temperatures drop in south Florida. The iguana freeze and if they are in trees above water, and they fall out the trees, they will drown. If they are on the ground apparently they will come to life again as the temperature warms up. I cannot vouch for that as I have not seen that happen. A cold winter really reduces the number of iguana in the area. I am going to be watching the 3 I see outside on the trees. While many don’t like iguana, I really do.
The end is in sight. Just beyond those steps is the restaurant, and Amy is in a hurry to get her food and to stop the grumbling in her stomach.
Nature gives us such beauty if we just take time to stop and look. It isn’t always about the animals. Plants bring a smile to my face as well.

If you haven’t taken a walk in nature for a while, I would certainly encourage you to do so. As we head into another covid filled year, getting outside into the fresh air is a good way to restore harmony to your soul, and to just refresh in general.

30 Minutes in the Life is a circle blog and we have some very talented photographers in the group. The sneak peaks are stunning and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. Ashley Soeder Photography is up next. She is sharing a delightful new puppy so I can’t wait to see what images she has to share. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Webpage or  Instagram  page. Definitely check out her incredible art.