30 Minutes in the Life: March 2022

Just a heads up – this post is more than 30 Minutes. There was way to much going on on my time out.

We have a wee bit of Irish in our bloodline. My grandmother was born in Halifax, Yorkshire. Her father Michael Nolan, was born in York, Yorkshire of Irish Immigrants. My great grandparents emigrated to South Africa where my mother was born, as was I and my children. However, I do hold onto that tiny bit of Irish history.

It was St Patrick’s day, and so we dragged out Luka’s “My first St Patrick’s Day” bib and headed to the local parade. We grabbed some starters at a local restaurant, some beers and Guinness and family time until the parade started. I have to confess when I go to a parade like this, I honestly expect to hear and see all things Irish. Sadly I was disappointed. Green beads, green outfits and loud hooting does not make it Irish. The parade was not great and so I spent more time people watching, which seemed a lot more interesting.

I needed a low key photo for my 52 Frames project so the two images that you see in black and white were my choices for my low key images. I eventually decided to submit the image of the young lady.

Here are some images from the St Patrick’s Day outing.

The wind picked up, the dust was blowing everywhere, Luka was tired and getting dust in his eyes and Amy was getting stressed. We tried to find a seat at a restaurant and they took forever, and then only gave a seat for 2. He wandered off to try and find out if he could seat four. While we were waiting for the table, the police opened the cross roads, and so we abandoned the table and crossed the road heading back towards our car. Richard did not want to leave with all the traffic so we wandered down the road, and came across an outdoor Italian restaurant playing Irish music and offering corned beef and cabbage. So we hung out there for a while and had another beer. Just before we finished it started spitting, so we packed up and headed to the car as quickly as possible, each of us agreeing that we were glad that the parade was over and vowing we were not getting caught again next year. I needed Irish music, lilting laughter and good beer. Perhaps there will be another time. Or perhaps, we can plan to visit Ireland.

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, Kristina Dominianni 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: 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.

Share Six: February 2022: Pets

{Pets} are what I love and this is the theme for February, was chosen for us by Lynne Grant Photography.

Pets I have grown up with, and grown older with. I don’t want to say grown old just yet but some days I feel like that. I was fortunate growing up that my parents were happy to have my strays and we collected quite a few.

Over the years we had a Daschund, Noddy, that was my dearest friend. We had a cross Labrador spaniel, Monty, that loved to chase cars. One day the car got the better of him and sadly he did not make it. We had two Labradors, a black called Duke, and a golden called Sandy. There was the unforgettable story of the rabbit that my brother was given. The rabbit was found cold, and apparently my father thought to put it in the oven to warm it up and potentially revive it. Nope, did not work. Next time my brother saw the gift giver, he told the person that his daddy had put the rabbit in the oven. Obviously explanations were made, but out of the mouths of babes and all that. My dad did not live that story down. Somewhere in the midst of this we had a budgie and I am sure there was a fish or two.

In addition to the above, there were the pets we found in the garden. We found a guinea pig. It was in the days my brother had music lessons. Off we went to the music lessons, dropped him at the music school and went directly to the local pet shop. They identified the guinea pig as a smooth haired male. And they sold us another male. I was so excited. Off we went home. My dad built a hutch for me and I played with the pets, until one day I discovered that my purchased male was getting fat and before I knew it there were nine of them. Both mom and dad were both smooth haired guinea pigs, but the babies clearly had a different looking father because I had a bunch of tufted guinea pigs, Abyssinian guinea pigs. They were cute to look and for a while to play with, but I soon developed an allergy to their hair. I have to be honest I quickly outgrew the cleaning of 11 smelly guinea pigs, so they were all rehomed to new and exciting homes.

Then we had the Bushbaby that we found in the garden. Wikipedia tells me that bushbabys are the following: Galagos, also known as bush babies, or nagapies, are small nocturnal primates native to continental, sub-Sahara Africa, and make up the family Galagidae. They are considered a sister group of the Lorisidae. According to some accounts, the name “bush baby” comes from either the animal’s cries or its appearance. 

Our bushbaby was the cutest little thing. My dad built a cage for him and he lived outside. We had to catch insects for him to eat. That became tiresome after a while. Those days we did not have the internet or we would have known to feed him pellets etc. I have recollections of him being let loose in the living room of the house and he would make his way up to the pelmets (I think the USA word is cornice) and snuggle down on one of the beer mugs that sat on the pelmet (Yeah I know, who has beer mugs on their pelmets – apparently my mother). I also recall that it peed on me alot. Suffice to say, with the struggle of catching insects and not really knowing what to feed him we decided to take him to a local zoo.

The last interesting animal that I recall having, while living with my folks, was a tortoise. He wandered into the garden and we decided to let him stay. However, he drove the Labradors crazy when he disappeared into his shell. He eventually found his way to a wildlife center.

After Richard and I got married we purchased a German Shepherd with a pedigree longer than that of royalty. Flash was an incredible dog and was definitely an asset to our family. We lived on an acre of property and he was a great deterrent to any would be unwelcome visitor.

Richard’s mom moved in with us and along with her came Bella, a cross Labrador Rottweiler. She looked like a Rottweiler but had the Labrador personality. When both those dogs died (practically at the same time), we got what was supposed to be an Alsatian, Sasha, but I honestly think she was 57 varieties. I also got another Daschund from the pound. Well he looked like a Daschund in shape but was Jack Russell in coloring. I also called him Noddy. Someone left the gate open one day and poor Noddy got out on the road, and did not survive that experience.

We then got Mika (Cameron named him after the racing driver). He was a stunning white German Shepherd. Mika got in close contact with Sasha, and before we knew it we had 10 additional pups. I thought it would be a great birth education for the kids and they would see the puppies being born. Sadly all those puppies were born while the kids were at school. Feeding, inoculations and vets visits and then they were off to new homes.

We had two cockatiels as well. One Richard and I bought. It was gray and white. I cannot remember what we named it. It died a few years later. My dad had caught one in their back garden. It was white and yellow. When our cockatiel died, dad gave us his. We had it for about a year. Amy opened his cage door and he flew away.

We had a couple of hamsters along the way. Cameron reminded me that his was called Rambo. We could not remember Amy’s hamsters name but I do remember Amy calling me at work to tell me that her hamster had worms. All 8 of them. Fortunately we were able to rehome them.

At one point in time Amy wanted a cat. She had been really sick with a weird viral infection that affected all her joints and she begged for a cat. So while she was staying with my mom for the holidays, Richard and I headed out to the pet shop and bought her a tuxedo cat. After much debate he was named Oliver.

Oliver

Oliver was one of our best pets. He was our African cat. He was loveable and my best friend. When we moved to the USA, we could not bring the dogs, but I pushed for Oliver to come with. Richard thought I was wasting money, but I just could not part with him. So I bought him a dog box, so that he would be able to stand and move around somewhat, got all his shots done, paperwork in order, did all my homework, and Oliver was ready to travel with us. I still remember traveling to the airport thinking, what if I cannot put him on the plane. I told my friend that if I couldn’t, I needed him to give Oliver a home. At the airport things went smoothly, Oliver was given a slight sedative, and taken to the hold. 18 hours later, when after we went through immigrations, who was waiting there for me to go home, but my beautiful happy cat.

We had Oliver for almost 17 years. He saved my life the first few years in the USA. I was not allowed to work. I was the only one home all day, in a foreign country, knowing no one initially. Oliver became my best bud. We would hang out together. I would talk to him and play with him. Oh I loved that little man. He was a cuddler. In his last few years he developed diabetes and had to be given insulin twice a day after he had eaten. It became very stressful when he would not eat and some days had me begging for him to have his food so he could have his life saving shots. 3 years after diagnosis his health declined until one day he had a fit. That was the hardest day of my life. I hated making the decision to say goodbye but I know that his quality of life was no longer what it should have been. My eyes were red for a good week, and even now, I still miss this beautiful man

Oliver was the last cat I actually bought. The rest I have inherited.

Moonshine aka Ms Muff

Moonshine came to us via Cameron. His girlfriend at the time, decided that she wanted this cat. She forgot to ask her parents if the cat could stay there. The answer was no and so she came to stay with us. She was a sweet little girl. She loved to lie on my desk next to me while I was working and put her paw on my arm. I loved the little girl but she was not Richards best friend. She overlapped with the next cat and I think due to her being their first, she took to marking her territory, all over the house and he was not happy about that. For the sake of our marriage, Ms Muff had to go. It broke my heart to say goodbye to her.

In 2015, Amy moved to Gainesville. She lived in a house opposite a Barber shop. Every morning the owner would come outside and put mounds of pellets on the floor to feed the wild cats. It was one of those days when I was staying up there that I spotted this cat across the way. I had my camera in my hand and so I snapped a couple of pics of him.

Simba – Stretching exercises in the warmth of the sun

Little did I know that 6 months later she would call me and say “mom you have to take this cat. I have been feeding him and I cannot leave him on the street”. Amy was joining the Peace Corp and traveling to Macedonia. I was not certain. I was worried that the cat was feral. However, I drove up to fetch her and all her belongings and who came home with us but this random cat. I had gone outside to the street level and sat on the patio step and who should wander over but the cat she wanted me to take home. He walked up the steps, sat on my lap and my decision was made. Simba has a clipped ear to indicate that he had been sterilized and put back on the street. This little guy was not feral. In fact, soul brother to Oliver, he has turned out to be the most loving cat, and definitely a favorite of mine. Life on the street does come with disadvantages. Simba’s teeth are yucky. However, just as we were preparing to sort his teeth out (literally on the table with a catheter down his throat), we discover that he has some kind of lung disorder not unlike asthma in a human. Multiple x-rays later and enormous vet bills. it appears that this condition is for his lifetime., He has been on steriods for 2 years now. Simba has been with us almost 7 years now and I hope he is around for a lot longer. This is my cuddle cat. He is my shadow. He sleeps on the couch in my office during the day, and he cuddles into me in the bed at night. He may have found a home, but I found a friend in this little man. Actually as I am writing this, I have Luka (our grandson) on the couch sleeping and not far from him is Simba. Just a pillow in-between.

Simba

About 3 years ago now, Mirrabelle (aka Ms Moo) came to stay. She belonged with a lady who lived with us for 3 months. The lady moved out but Ms Moo stayed. To look at her you would think she looks like a opossum. That is if you ever see her. She is such a nervy cat that it has taken all 3 years for her to get used to Richard and I, and to actually come out and spend time with us. However, my son-in-law does not believe she lives with us because the minute anyone outside of Richard or myself step through that door, she is in her hiding place under my bed. In the last year she has become more attached to me. She will come and lie on my stomach at night when I am reading on my couch, or she will lie next to me in Simba’s spot on the bed. That typically results in a tussle and off she goes. I have had her refuse to give up her new spot to Simba and had Simba sleep on my stomach all night. One of her “safe” spaces is on the landing of the steps. Quite often I will find her lying there with her feet on the next step as you will see below. While she is very skittish, she definitely has the sweetest personality. If only she could gain some confidence.

Mirrabelle aka Ms Moo

Last but not least, so the saying goes, was Houdini. Houdini was a rescue Quaker Parakeet. I was heading back to my office in early March 2020, when I spotted all the staff standing around the entrance to the offices. What I discovered was rather a dazed parakeet clinging to the edge of the window sill. Clearly in trauma, I was able to stroke him gently without him biting me and then get him onto my hand. My idea was that I would take him to my personal office and then phone around and see if he had been reported missing. He took off from my arm and flew around the office, eliciting screams from those who do not like birds :). He finally landed on my chest and I decided I would take him back outside and let him fly off. Which clearly he didn’t do. So it was back to my office. Given that it was a long weekend, I had to transport him home. So I shot out to the local Pet store and bought him a small cage, and off we went home. Richard was not overly happy that we had another animal in the house but he hung in there. I kept checking but no one claimed Hoo, so he stayed.

He was named Houdini, because, as fast as I was trying to put him in my cage at the office, he was trying to escape. Over time Hoo graduated from a tiny cage to a bird palace, with all of the nuts and bolts including a bird jacuzzi size tub. He sure loved to splash in that.

Houdini or Hoo as I called him was a pain in the butt, but he was my pain in the butt. He was so cool when he wasn’t biting my ear. He would fly to my shoulder and hang out. By the end of the year, Hoo was dancing and making weird singing sounds. He was starting to copy me when I was laughing. He would have me in tears. His favorite muscian was Edith Piaf and he really love La vie en rose. I think it was the high notes that he enjoyed. That is when he got his dance on. One year later, shortly after Richard had been diagnosed with melanoma, Hoo, was acting kind of strange. I needed to get bird food, so I headed out to the shop. Got him some treats while I was there. When I came back I let him out the cage, but he seemed a little lethargic. I had him on my chest and when he moved I notice a whole lot of blood. Avian vets are few and far between and the only appointment I could get was an hour later. Hoo passed away in my arms, 15 minutes after I made the appointment. I miss the little bugger. I cried for days. The other day I found a feather stick to my shutters and it brought up all those memories of Hoo time. Parakeets are not easy, those beaks are nasty, but that little bird crept into my heart and took up residence.

Houdini

We have had a few other critters along the way. Amy had a hamster when we were first in the USA. I know I buried it in a tin in the garden. But I honestly don’t remember too much more about it. She also had two corn snakes. I am not a reptile fan, and I am not sure the snakes would have survived if they had got out of their cage. I was certainly super happy when they were rehomed. She also had two rats Arya and Xeno. I have to say it took a while but I did get used to them, and they never bit me like I thought they would do. She definitely took me out of my comfort zone with her pets. Thank goodness we never had a tarantula. That would have put me over the edge.

Someone brought me a duckling one time which I attempted to save. It was barely a couple of days old. I tried to feed it with a dropper, and I had it under a light to keep it warm but it did not survive. Someone else brought me a dove that they had rescued. Not sure what was going on with that dove, but something was not right with it. It could not fly properly. It used to sit on my shoulder and peck at my ears but if it took off it would fly straight into the ceiling. We thought we would take it outside and see if it would fly off. It flew alright, off the grass area to half way across the canal and landed in the water. I had Richard wading into the canal (which has gators I might add) to rescue the bird. We also rescued a baby turtle in the driveway. The kids were convinced that it would die if we put it into the canal, so I ended up buying a terrarium and building a turtle home with the idea of letting it grow a bit. Handling turtles is risky because they can carry salmonella so I got to do all the work. Eventually the turtle police (Richard and Amy) said it needed to be let go. Of course they wait until I have spent my money and then they make this decision. So Mr T as I called him was released into the canal.

If you haven’t gathered by now, I love animals. I get great joy having them around. Richard is less of a pet person. I told him that one day when he gets to heaven God is going to make him the keeper of all domestic animals.

To me animals bring immense love and comfort to so many, and I know over the years, ours have brought such comfort to us. They sense when they are needed. During my struggle with Richard’s illness Simba was my constant companion. When these animals come into my home, they become my family. Loosing anyone of them is like loosing someone I love dearly.

Thank you for joining us as we share the pets in our lives. We’d love to see your pets.

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 of 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_pets

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.

Share Six: January 2022: Abstract_22

Happy New Year and welcome to the year 2022. I am so grateful to see the back of 2021. I am excited to see what this year has to offer and praying that life does not get so crazy like it was last year.

Starting out with 2022 on a bang, Janet of @wiredtothemoon_ has chosen the them {Abstract}. We have done this them some years ago, so that will explain the _22 on the end of the hashtag.

I looked up the definition of “abstract art” to see what the internet would come up with. Here is what I got:

“art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors, and textures.

I love abstract art to start with. I have abstract art on the walls in my home. However I took a different take on it this time around. I looked at {Abstract} in nature. Very often I get that impressionist kind of feel to the photos.

I love the out of focus feel that the lensbaby gives a sunset.
Branches in the wetlands. What you don’t see is the Little Green Heron that I cropped out. He had hopped into the trees to hide from me. I loved the effect that the gray branches gave on natures background when out of focus.
In this image I was looking for a “breaking the rules” image and so I had a flower on the extreme right of the image. I cropped it out and now I have an abstract image of the reeds in the wetlands.
Again another out of focus post crop. My focus was on a Great Blue Heron but when I looked at the background I loved the impressionist feel that this image gave me.
Lensbaby and bokeh. What more can I say. For me the abstract of this is all of the crazy bokeh in the image
While I would love to say that this is an alligator submerging it wasn’t. I managed to capture the tail end shot of an Anhinga diving for food in the lake.
In the forefront of this image was a female Grackle. I love the soft out of focus effect of this image that creates and abstract feel.
This image was the top of the nesting area where the Great Blue Heron were building their new homes for spring. I loved the eeriness of the branches reaching out. Bokeh always gets me as well.
Cropped out of this image was a dragonfly, but the background is again something I would put on my walls.

Technically the next three are not in the wetlands but I did love the abstract feel of these images.

I had gone to the wetlands, and driving home with no cars on my side of the road, and the lenbaby on my camera. I held the camera up to balance on the steering wheel and just took a series of images of the oncoming cars. This kind of pic is up on my wall.
For this image I was trying to get movement but it functions as abstract as well. I was running water into our kitchen basin and shooting with a macro.
An for a little bit of crazy abstract, a garden flower and some fun and games in photoshop.

Thank you for joining us as we start out yet another year of photography sharing.

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_ 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  Instagram  page. Definitely check out her incredible art.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_abstract_22

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tell me a story: December 2021

I chose to go for a walk. I encouraged Richard to go for a walk with me. Life is a choice and lately I have not wanted to make choices, but I also know that I need to get out of the 2020/2021 rut and start making better choices for myself and for life in general.

So we went for a walk. I needed that. I needed to be out in nature and breathing in the fresh air and just reveling in the beautiful joy of creation.

This park has been closed for about 6 weeks while they did maintenance in preparation for the birds coming in to nest. Already the Great Blue Heron are showing signs of building nests and doing their mating dances. Soon the Woodstork will come in and take over, leaving no space for any other bird to nest. They come in droves and by the end of the season they are just too much. Everything stinks around their nests and I am glad when they start to exit. I remember a time it was exciting to see these prehistoric looking birds, but these days I am over it.

Tri-colored Heron
I believe that the bird above and below are Eastern Phoebes.
An Iguana in it’s mating colors
One of the first nests of the Great Blue Heron. They have been pushed to the far side of the reserve where it is not easy to see their nests.
And of course, I happen to see the first Woodstork checking out the new digs.
I believe the image above and below are of a Common Yellowthroat. Not sure if it is male or female.
This little green heron was walking along the boardwalk when it spotted me and hopped into the trees. It was trying to be incognito.
A Tri-colored Heron, shaking of the water and drying out.
There was a group of Glossy Ibis in the water scavenging for food.
I needed a minimalism photo for my 52 Frames project and this is a definite go to for me.
There was also a group of Black Bellied Whistling Ducks hanging out feeding.
Last but not least, the Great Blue Heron, definitely is a favorite of mine and this one looks like it is standing sentry over a nest.

The weather is beautiful in South Florida even though it is winter. I watched Richard go outside today and open up the umbrella so that he had shade. The temperature low was 63F and a high of 83F. I was looking for a little cool weather for winter, but at this rate it will be summer again and I will be wondering where winter was.

Thank you for joining me today. This is a circle blog so look out for my friend Beth of Beth’s Photo Blog and check out what she/he has to share.

Wishing you a wonderful 2022. I hope it improves on 2021.

Share Six: December 2021: Autumnal

This month’s theme was chosen by Ceri Herd Photography and the theme is {Autumnal}. South Florida does not really see much in the line of autumn unless I go looking for dead leaves. I heard someone say we are having our third quarter of summer. It sure feels like it most of the time.

However, we headed ever so slightly north to Tampa just before Thanksgiving. I was not expecting to see much change in color, but we have had a few days of cold. It’s about a 5 hour trip for us from east to west and then north, and we detoured to the South African shop, to get some loved snacks to have at our destination.

I always go with a long list of things to do and we always par it down to the time frame we have. But it is good to have options. Tuesdays post, I shared our time at the Salvador Dali museum, a very interesting place to visit if you like interesting architecture, and some incredible artwork. I am a big fan of Dali’s abstract art.

Another item on my list was to head to a wine farm I had found just out of town. It was called Keel & Curley Winery, and from what I understand they made all their wines and beers on the property. So off we went, and 45 minutes later we headed into what may be called “country” living and finally arrived at the farm.

It was a quaint, farmhouse, turned into a tasting room, and beyond that gardens to meander through. Since tasting only started at 12pm, we took a walk through the gardens. Much to my surprise I found some {Autumnal} color, perfect for this months theme.

From the tasting room we headed outside to a large covered patio, nestled against the small dam. Growing on the edges of the dam were these beautiful colored trees. Beyond the dam was a covered outdoor private gazebo, where a wedding was taking place.

Beyond the gazebo, was rows of grape bushes, which leant to the feel of autumn. Keel and Curley Wine Farm make their own wines using blueberries. They produce 3 types of blueberry wines. They have a variety of fusion wines.

We meandered around the farm yard, past the animals, towards the blueberry plants. A slight drizzle had us do a u-turn and head back to the tasting room.

Also produced at the farm are their own beers and ciders, and this is where we landed. Richard and Amy like IPA’s, I like a larger, simply because I do not like fruit in my beer. Daniel picked a different beer. I have to say the beer was excellent and we did go back for seconds. Along with that we also shared a couple of flatbreads. Through all of this Luka was on his best behavior and we did not hear a peep out of him, until his bottle was needed.

We left the farm with a bottle of wine, and I bought a Pina Colada mix, which I hope will par well with some good old rum.

If you are looking for a fun outing in the Tampa area, look up Keel and Curley Winery and take that short drive out of town and enjoy some time there, you will not regret it.

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 artistic friend Lynne of Lynne Grant 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 page or Instagram page. Definitely check out her incredible art.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_autumnal

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Share Six: November 2021: transform

Can you believe it is November? It has been a long, weary year and I, for one, am glad it is nearly over. I am starting out praying that 2022 is going to be a better a year.

When I arrived home this evening I had an idea how my blog was going to go and yet when I sat down to edit my photo’s, my mind went in a completely different direction.

In my mind I could hear Barbara Streisand’s voice. She has the most dramatic and engaging voice and I have always loved how she carries me along in harmony within a beautiful song.

Tonight as I was editing, I could hear the words “Send in the clowns”

Isn’t it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground
You in mid-air
Send in the clowns

Isn’t it bliss?
Don’t you approve?
One who keeps tearing around
One who can’t move
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns

~ Frank Sinatra

If you want to hear Barbara Streisand singing this beautiful song, click here.

While the story behind the song really doesn’t have anything to do with my blog, the clowns do.

Clowns {transform} from a normal human being to someone so incredibly engaging when their faces are painted, their garments are draped across their bodies, the big shoes go on, a breath is taken and the curtain is raised.

I love clowns. I loved them as a child and I love them now. At the circus, the clowns were my favorite. I remember Tickey. He was a tiny little clown and you can see a wee bit of him here as he performs in his tiny tartan kilt. Oh we were so young, and the circus was a favorite place to go. Even today clowns transform for me. They change me from sad to happy. I loved to see their smiling faces looking backing me back then, and I still do today.   I still have have about 30 of them. Mainly small and packed in a box. I had one large clown with a ceramic face that I still have out today. He sits on the cabinet in my office and I am happy to have him in my space.

In fact I was looking for photo’s of my son and came across a photo of his room and a child and it was filled with clowns. Probably a nightmare for any child when I think about it, but clearly my obsession. I wanted bright primary colors. But looking at these photos today I was a little overboard. Polystyrene clowns, fabric clowns, porcelain clowns, hanging clowns, bookend clowns. Okay the nightlight clown was a little creepy at night when it’s red nose shone brightly. If I look closely there was even a clown calendar. Seriously, a lot of clowns. Poor kid, I said “no wonder he is such a comedian today”. Below are my 32 year old photo’s of my clown obsession and Cameron’s bedroom. I noticed my bag was packed and ready to head off to the hospital.

I had a mother in law that was an incredibly talented at sewing toys. If it was sewn, it was by her. My kids had so many stuffed toys. If a glue gun or polystyrene cutter was used, it was me. I also sewed the duvet and curtains. My how times have changed. Luka has a very sedate bedroom compared to the riot of color that Cameron had.

Two weekends ago we happened to go and visit Cameron in a little town in the middle of nowhere Florida, called Lake Placid. And yes it does have gators. This little town is another example of transformation. They took this “I just passed through a town” town with some lakes, and made it into a destination place to visit. The catch, for the tourist, is all the murals you will find on the walls around town. I have shared them in the past, but I never got to see the clown museum. I just took photo’s on the outside of the building this time but perhaps next time I will actually go in. The colors on the outside of the building certainly transform the building and this small portion of the town.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica clowns date back to the times of ancient Greece typically as a secondary character. They were also found in Roman times typically wearing a patchwork robe and a pointy hat. In the latter half of the 16th centaury the Harlequin became famous. He was often found in a black domino and in general his behavior featured slapstick comedy. Clowns were found in the English plays by Shakespeare, and in Germay, traveling English actors introduced clowns to the German society.

In the 17th Centaury, the white faced clown, made his appearance. However, the earliest true clown was Joseph Grimaldi, also affectionately known as “Joey”. He as known for slapstick beatings, tumbling and physical tricks.

Why do clowns wear red noses? According to the web it could be traced back to 3 brothers who became a trio in 1909. Each had their own character and designed face. One of the brothers had a white face and represented a elegant but self-important clown, another took the middle of the road between the two brothers, and the last brother took on dark eyebrows and an overstated face with a red nose. Known as the Auguste clown, this clown is typically a joker and who has overstated features and wearing ill fitting clothes.

I did not know that there are actually master clowns and the 4 well known master clowns are Otto Griebling, Bobby Kaye, and Lou Jacobs and Glen Little. Finally a bit of information I was not aware of – I did wonder if clowns could patent their face but apparently it is very hard to stop another clown from copying their faces, but it is not encouraged. To keep track of all the different clown faces, an artist was hired to paint the faces as a record onto eggs.

For me Cirque Du Soleil is a wonderful big tent adventure. While the acrobatics are out of this world, and I have to say I am super impressed, it’s the clowns that garner the laughter with their antics. I have seen the Beatles Cirque, and last year we saw Alegria. Even in that dramatic show, they had clowns. Apparently Corteo is about the life of clowns – I may need to watch out for that one but right now it is in Norway.

Clowns have the most amazing way of engaging young and old, taking a sad face to one of joy and laughter.

“I think I will be a clown when I get grown” said Dill. “Yes sir, a clown…. there ain’t one thing this world that I can do about folks except laugh, so I’m gonna join the circus and laugh my head off”

“You got it backwards, Dill” said Jem. “Clowns are sad, it’s folks that laugh them.”

“Well, I’m gonna be a new kind of clown. I’m gonna stand in the middle of the ring and laugh at the folks”

~ Harper Lee

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 artistic friend Elizabeth of It’s Still life Photography by Elizabeth Willson is 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 page or Instagram page. Definitely check out her incredible art.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_transform

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tell me a Story: October 2021

Saturday the 9th was a long day and well into the late night. Just around 11pm, we became grandparents, as Luka made his debut into the world. I waited up and Amy and Daniel face timed me shortly after he was born. Can I say I fell in love. I absolutely did.

Monday was a holiday for me and I decided to do a quick walk in the morning and then be ready to go and meet our little boy when he arrived home in the evening.

While walking I was giving thanks for the safe delivery, and just taking deep breaths and communing with nature.

Today as I was editing the images, I was thinking it is less about the critters and more about the backgrounds. Minimally, we are seeing signs of fall and I am enjoying the change of season. I cannot wait for winter to reach Florida.

This little Green Heron was hiding out in the long grasses while it’s partner in crime was wading in the waters.,
I love the blending of the colors in the back ground and the softness of the Anhinga.
I took this image a few weeks ago for 52 Frames, but wasn’t totally happy with it, so I took it again,
I came across another Green Heron just hanging out.
There was an abundance of female grackle out this particular morning. I love the colors in the background of this image.
Dragonfly were hard to find today but again I love the weird background that has shown up here.
Another female grackle just hanging out looking for my dragonfly.
It seems like the 4 spotted pennant was the dragonfly of the day.
Clearly this Female Grackle is a mom with teenagers because she has that mean look in her eyes.
I love the faded grass and the bokeh in the background.
Time is everything and I did not see this pod dropping to the floor.

The highlight however, was not in the park but rather in the parking lot. A few had already spotted it and if they had not seen it I probably would have walked right past the the trees but luckily curiosity got the better of me and I turned around and looked at this Red Shouldered Hawk.

I am in awe of how nature is created. The feather’s color distribution is fantastic and so impressive.

Thanks for joining me today on my walk. If you are a sunseeker like we have been, please consider using sunscreen that provides a significant cover, watch out for odd looking moles, and educate yourself. Australia, Florida, California are listed as the top 3 places for melanoma. I am going to add South Africa to that listed because where we grew up the climate is exactly the same. See a dermatologist and get yourself checked out. Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer and we are dealing with this right now. This was the first thing I did since Richard came home in February after his melanoma Stage 4 diagnosis. I am good, but the peace of mind is so worth it. While the medication has shown some positive signs of working on reducing the melanoma, we have to be aware that melanoma is very unpredictable and you honestly need to take care.

Thank you for joining me this month.  This is a circle blog so take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Beth of Beth Williams Photo Blog is up next. I look forward to reading what he has to share.