May 2021: Naples Botanical Gardens: Part 6

This is just a fun little post. After we left the Asian garden we came across a circle of creatures and Richard joined the ring. While all the animals are joined together in a circle, for photograph purposes I took the liberty of separating them so that I did not see random arms. My removal of the other limbs may not be perfect, but I loved showing each one alone where I could.

Sometimes you just have to have a little bit of fun. Life has been so stressful these past months. I loved that he was able to just relax enough to be silly. This is what life is all about. Enjoying the moments, while we still have them.

Being African we really related to the Giraffe and Elephant. They are like home away from home.

Also another hot country when we get down to it. Summers can be brutal, just like Florida. So just a reminder, the sun in Florida is super strong. Make sure to put on your sunscreen. Wear sunglasses and use a hat to protect your face. If you have any form of skin cancer or like Richard, melanoma, then make sure you are wearing UV protective clothing when you are out in the sun. 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. Make sure that you are checking your body for moles that look different., or a mole that may worry you. Melanoma, we are told can spill over and travel from a mole site to another organ and go dormant for years. In Richard’s case it was 34 years before the melanoma made itself evident again. Take Care of yourselves. Prevention is better than trying to cure Stage 4 cancer.

Thank you for joining me. You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

May 2021: Naples Botanical Gardens: Part 5

This section of the garden was closed off but very interesting. I will confess I am not sure I would want to walk through there in my dreams. Seriously scroll down a bit and look at the guy’s teeth. That’s kind of downright scary. This was not part of the Asian garden as per the website but we passed by it heading to the final gardens. Definitely very very interesting.

Beyond the area above we walked through another area that appears to have been part of the Asian Gardens. More water lily and statues. I have to confess I love water lily and I could see myself having a pond with these gorgeous flowers on them.

If you are a sunseeker like we have been, please consider using sunscreen that provides a significant cover as you walk around out in the sun, 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. I am good, but the peace of mind is so worth it. At this point we have no idea if the medication Richard is on is working, so each day has become a memory making day.

Thank you for joining me. You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

May 2021: Naples botanical Garden: Part 4

When I last left off we were in the area that showcased the plants native to Florida with their beautiful waterfalls.

Today we are walking through the Enabling Gardens and heading through the water lily Gardens. Lastly we visited the Asian Gardens. The Enabling Gardens was a garden that showcased various gardening techniques from growing tomatoes, to various plants. The enabling gardens depicts gardening in raised beds so that the elderly, who love to garden, don’t have to get down on the floor level to weed the flower or vegetable bed. I am all for that at my age. It also showcases the option of sitting and wheelchair gardening. I loved the various choices that this garden had to give.

Moving beyond the enabling garden we moved towards the lily ponds with their vibrant and beautiful colors. Once again we saw beautiful depictions of roots in the metal artwork form.

Lastly we headed towards the Asian Gardens with their vibrant colors and beautiful and peaceful resting places. Richard found a bench where he waited for me while I was sidetracked.

I love to meander around the gardens. It takes time. We are out in the sun enjoying the beauty and to be honest forgetting about the heat that is bearing down on us. The sun in Florida is super strong. Make sure to put on your sunscreen. Wear sunglasses and use a hat to protect your face. If you have any form of skin cancer or like Richard, melanoma, then make sure you are wearing UV protective clothing when you are out in the sun. 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. Make sure that you are checking your body for moles that look different., or a mole that may worry you. Melanoma, we are told can spill over and travel from a mole site to another organ and go dormant for years. In Richard’s case it was 34 years before the melanoma made itself evident again. Take Care of yourselves. Prevention is better than trying to cure Stage 4 cancer.

Thank you for joining me. You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

May 2021: Naples Botanical Gardens: Part 2

Leaving the Caribbean Gardens we moved along through the River of Grass area towards the Karen and Robert Scott Florida Garden that features plants that are native to Florida and also plants from around the world that grow and thrive in the Florida Climate. The paths meander through this beautiful vegetation past man made water falls, and thatched roof huts. I don’t know the names of the plants but so many caught my attention.

Again the image of roots in amongst the garden were evident.

Gorgeous colors and beautiful Phalaenopsis could be seen growing from the trees.

The wildflowers made me think of happy faces blowing in the wind.

There were man made waterfalls in the gardens which lent to a very restful stop.

There is so much to capture your interest along your pathway. Vibrant colors and beautiful flowers. Scenic pathways and softly falling water. This was definitely a treat.

Just a reminder, the sun in Florida is super strong. Make sure to put on your sunscreen. Wear sunglasses and use a hat to protect your face. If you have any form of skin cancer or like Richard, melanoma, then make sure you are wearing UV protective clothing when you are out in the sun. 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. Make sure that you are checking your body for moles that look different., or a mole that may worry you. Melanoma, we are told can spill over and travel from a mole site to another organ and go dormant for years. In Richard’s case it was 34 years before the melanoma made itself evident again. Take Care of yourselves. Prevention is better than trying to cure Stage 4 cancer.

Thank you for joining me. You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

May 2021: Naples Botanical Gardens Part 3

I left off at the Brazilian section of the gardens in my last post. Today we venture into the Caribbean Gardens.

The garden shows off the plant life of the Caribbean plantations rich with fruits such as banana plants, papaya plants. There is also succulents and cacti. Richard found a bench to hang out on while he was waiting for me.

Walk with me through this gorgeous garden and enjoy the beautiful creation of nature.

This Anhinga was set perfectly out on the lake sun tanning his wings. Anhinga are interesting. The are often known as a snake bird because that is all you see when they come up for air while fishing for their food. Once the bird is finished fishing it needs to find a place to dry it’s wings before it can fly any distance.

I spotted this pair of Osprey high up on the pole.

While I was busy taking photos, Richard walked ahead to find a shady spot to sit and wait.

Cacti that we found along the way.

As I mentioned before, Roots appear to be the artistic theme in the gardens right now and this is just another beautiful example of what we got to see.

The Caribbean gardens has this beautiful oolite pergola which held me up for a while.

Moving through the garden, Richard was diligent to keep his hat on and look for shady spots to stay out of the sun as much as possible. Before we headed out to the gardens, he lathered himself with Factor 50 sunscreen. We wanted to be able to enjoy this time together in the gardens.

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. I am good, but the peace of mind is so worth it. At this point we have no idea if the medication Richard is on is working, so each day has become a memory making day.

Thank you for joining us. Look back for postings of the previous days.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Share Six: June 2021: Negative Space

It was my turn to choose this month and I decided to choose {Negative Space}. I am not sure if I related to the topic because our year so far has just been so negative or just because I really like the style of photography. If you read the previous two blogs you will know that we have decided to work on our bucket list of things we want to do. So we headed to Naples, Florida for a short 2 night away vacation.

I was not consciously thinking about negative space while we were in Naples, but I did manage to shoot a few of what I thought would fit the theme. The gardens were so peaceful and I thoroughly enjoyed walking around them.

According to Wikipedia Negative Space is “Negative space, in art, is the space around and between the subject of an image.” So here is my take on the {Negative Space} theme.

The next image was taken during a walk in the wetlands. I love to get down low with the boardwalk railings and shoot whatever is lying on them. This was an interesting combination of possible leaves, flower and some mucky looking stuff.

The image below is taken out in the garden after the rain. We have these rather annoying multcolored leaves all over the back garden which drop their leaves when they die. Ever since I had to be invested in the garden I have been trying to catch these leaves before they hit the floor and make a mess. However, when it rains the leaves hold perfect waterdrops, and often the colors are just so soothing.

And last but not least, this image was taken in my “home studio” which is made up of backing board and a few lights. Every so often I will buy fresh flowers and wait for them to die. I love the different shapes that they take.

This is my take on {Negative Space}. I know that we would love to see yours. It has been nice to get out and get away and think about something else rather than, health, life and what tomorrow brings. Nature is a soothing balm and a weekend away was just what we needed.

We have always been outdoorsy people. We have lived to be in nature. Life and death, has suddenly become very relevant in our lives right now as we focus on Richard’s health. 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. Each day has become a memory making day.

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 Ceri Herd Photography is up next is up next. I can wait to see what she has to share as I have seen some of her work recently and love it. I would encourage to have a look at what she has to offer. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Facebook page or Instagram page.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_light inspired

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tallulah Gorge: Part 2

The 30 Minutes in the Life blog was just that 30 minutes, but it was also too many images so I decided to split the blog. If you did not see the first part you can click here to read the initial part of the blog post.

A quick summary of the previous post is that we were in Georgia for a short get away with the family and decided to head to Tallulah Gorge for some hiking and visiting the local area. You are picking up at look out point 2.

As I mentioned in the previous post, there are 750 steps from the top to the suspension bridge. There is an addition hike down to the water level. That is another 450 steps. There is a limit as to how many people can access that area and it is under certain conditions.

At this point we decided to move on to lookout point 3. Our ultimate destination was lookout point 5 seen above. This is when the fun started. While it was accessible it was a little more difficult going with the wheelchair and at some points Kathryn had to get out and Cameron had to move it for her over the roots or what ever obstructions there was.

I really enjoyed seeing all the fall leaves on the ground. The smell of dampness, soil, fresh air. All those things are an aroma to my senses. Added to that the weather was gorgeous for walking.

We made it to look out 4, but at this point it had been tough going for Kathryn, and when we spoke to some ladies about lookout 5 they said the wheelchair would not be able to get there, and there were steps on the way. So that was the end of the journey for Cameron and Kathryn. I decided to go on my own to look out 5 to see what the view was like.

The view was very similar, so I journeyed on towards the end of the property where there was an access up to the road

Tallulah Falls,
Tallulah Falls,

From the road you had a great view of the river heading away from the dam wall. And I got to capture Cameron, Kathryn, and Cody at lookout point 4. Having finished up my shots, I turned around to head back to meet up with them when who should come behind me but the stair climbers, looking somewhat fatigued.

If you are visiting Georgia, and you are within driving distance of Tallulah Gorge, then add it to your bucket list. You will not regret it. If you have any form of disability, there is still areas that you can get to and enjoy.

Thanks for joining me for the second part of the blog on Tallulah Gorge.

30 Minutes in the Life: December 2020: Tallulah Gorge Part 1

Yes I know that it looks weird, we are already in January. What with our live falling 2 days after Christmas we opted to postpone it a week to today. My 30 minutes are going to have to be done in two parts, one today and one tomorrow. There are just to many images.

Firstly, let me wish you a very Happy New Year. I know things may look the same as last year and they probably are going to be for a while. What I blogged on yesterday was my thoughts on 2020. As I reflected I acknowledged that there were challenges but I also realized that there were so many things to be grateful for. The trip we made to Georgia was one of the happenings in 2020 that I was grateful for. This year that is what I am going to try and focus on. Looking for the good, things that I can be grateful for.

So today I am going to share 30 minutes of our trip to Tallulah Gorge in Georgia. We were staying in a cabin in the mountains in Cleaveland, really pretty isolated and remote. The property was a single track up the mountain with some cottages coming off it, but aside from asking directions on the first day, we did not see another soul. Actually that was a relief because the single track meant if a car came down someone had to give way and there was not a lot of space to pull off. Amy took her car up, and then never drove down again until the day we left. Daniel and Amy travelled with us, Cameron, Kathryn and Cody traveled in their car. Kathryn has a wheelchair and Cody has special safety requirements

Everyone was in agreement that Tallalah Gorge was a must do on our agenda. I did a lot of homework. I quickly realized that there were going to be some challenges for Kathryn, and probably for me with my feet issues.

One of my goals going to Georgia at this time of the year was to see color, and color we did see, that is for sure. Arriving there I was a little concerned that there were too many people, but honestly it was okay. The park is big and we barely crossed paths with folk and when we did we kept our distance.

Setting out along the pathway the path was pretty level and while rough, so it was pretty easy for the wheelchair to handle. There was a lot of wildflowers along the pathway in vibrant colors. We were heading to the first look out point.

The actual walk down to the fence was uneven and while Kathryn can walk, uneven surfaces are hard for her. With her disease, she struggles to walk for long, but she also struggles to sit for long as well, so she alternates when necessary.

Below we had a great view of the suspension bridge. What I did not tell you is that it is 750 plus steps down to the bridge. Well, that eliminated Kathryn, Cameron & Cody immediately. My logic told me that I would get down the stairs but getting back up the other side may be challenging. This was day 1 and I did not want to find I could not walk for the rest of the week. (Remind me to remind you that unless you absolutely have to have foot surgery, don’t do it. The answer is not necessarily what you expect).

For Daniel, this was a first going away with us as a family, and the first time going on vacation outside of Florida. He was pretty excited and ready to do what ever we wanted.

We made our way to the second look out point. At this point we would separate. Richard, Amy and Daniel were going to go down the 300 steps to the suspension bridge, Cameron, Kathryn and I were going to head along the pathway to the other look out points.

There were enough warnings about health, steps etc to make you think twice if you were planning to do the climb down.

From the top of look out point 2 we had beautiful views of the river below. We did not get as close as Amy, Daniel and Richard but we had a reasonable perspective.

Tallulah Falls, is beautiful and well worth the visit. I reached my 30 minute point and there is still a lot of images to share so I am splitting the visit into two blogs. If you want to follow the rest of the day, check out this link and see what else we got to see.

 Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Crystal of Crystal Bella Photography. You will definitely love what she shares. I am always inspired with what she has to offer.

Tell me a Story: December 2020

I am sitting writing my blog with my rescue Quaker Parakeet, Houdini, on my shoulder trying to eat my lunch out of my spoon. Or rather just the rice. He’s already eaten egg. I am smiling to myself, I have so much to be grateful for. He really is a pain in the you know what and he bites sore when he is in a mood, but on the days when he is in a good mood, he dances and bops and even has this screechy kind of singing or he will say words to me and talk up a storm, and it is in moments like that which I smile and appreciate the positive. This month I wanted to look back on the year and remind myself what I am grateful for.

2020 did not go according to plan, yet I am grateful for all of the positive things that came out of it.

2020 we had big plans to travel.  We saved our vacation, taking none because we knew that in August and September we were going to be on the plane to Macedonia to meet our son-in-law’s family.  Amy & Daniel planned a wedding celebration for his family and friends.  We had added to the itinerary a plan to travel with Daniel’s mom to Croatia.  From Croatia Richard and I would fly back to Berlin to spend a couple of days exploring east Berlin.  I had worked hard on an itinerary.  I had lots of ideas.  I had them all written down. One idea was even to venture into Bulgaria, while traveling in Croatia. There were what looked like some amazing waterfalls 30 minutes into Bulgaria.

2020 and Covid definitely put a dent in those plans.  The reception venue had to be canceled.  We, and Daniel’s mom and family, were disappointed.  Daniel really wanted to see his mom.  He has not seen her to hug her for 2 years.  And I know that feeling, having gone down the emigration route myself. In addition to the covid issue, Europe did not want any American landing on their shores.  We did not go.

2020 and Covid changed our lifestyles.  Suddenly there were restrictions.  Some restrictions made sense others did not.  Some I wish were stronger.  Living in the USA we found ourselves on less restrictive actions than the rest of the world.  Both my brother and his family in South Africa and my in-laws in Australia went into very strict lock down for months on end. We did not have that. I was grateful that we could still see family, but I was also cognizant of the fact I have a daughter in law who is immune compromised.  I am also immune compromised but less seriously.  Both Richard and I had a requirement to stay healthy from a work point of view.  I work with medical staff, and Richard is a director for a large medical company and oversees the warehouse and all the it entails.  We both decided to go to ground so to speak. Suddenly enjoying the sunset out back became a priority.

In March we abruptly found ourselves shifting from an office to a home environment.   I am extremely grateful that both my company, and his, chose that option.  While our clinics still remained open, we had to stagger staff on duty making sure that there were protocols in place to protect all staff working and any clients coming in.  Richard’s office had a rotation of staff system, staggering staff who were working so that there were minimum staff in the office at any given time.  A new norm began for us. For me, working from home is not a problem.  The bigger problem for me, and for Richard as well, is probably not knowing when to stop working.  Neither of us shut down.  I am grateful that my boss would remind me “it’s the weekend” you don’t need to work. However, both of us are of the opinion that when things are urgent and you have work to do, you do it.

The shift home worked for me, I simply rearranged my “home office” to become a personal and work environment.  I brought home my computers, and a large filing cabinet and all my current paperwork.  I set up the different work stations.  I saved on my time of travel by 2 hours each day, for which I am extremely grateful, and of course mileage and gas.

The whole scenario had us looking at how we were doing things at work, changing up procedures, researching new methods, shifting client visits from in person to virtual.  All of that was a major learning curve for me.  I am grateful for Zoom, and the constant upgrades they are making to make things more secure and HIPAA compliant.  They helped make our lives at lot easier.  I am grateful for the learning curve and how it has enabled me to make the work environment better for our staff. PPE became the standard for work and home. Each and everyone had to learn to accept change and move forward with it.

While I can work happily from home, Richard does not like it.  He felt like he needed to be in the office.  He was antsy. Added to that the weekends came around and there was no sport, we could not go anywhere or do anything.  For me, a book or a tv show or taking my camera outside worked.  The biggest struggle was not being able to go to some of the locations I would normally visit to take photographs.  In the later part of the year that opened up again but with restrictions, like masks, which for me make a whole lot of sense. 

I am grateful for my blog groups that kept me accountable and doing whatever I needed to do to stay on track each month.  I will be honest and say that there were weeks I did not want to pick up my camera.  Days I did not want to sit and edit images. When you are managing groups that makes it hard. However, I have made a commitment to these groups and I want to continue to be there for them each week and each month depending on the groups.  They encourage me to look at each day and find the beauty in it. I was very grateful that the National park area up the road from me did not close like the smaller wetlands did. I could still go out on some days and catch the sunset. And yes, some did not social distance, but I did.

In all of this Simba, our street rescue cat, needed to have a tooth removed, and that started the worst part of 2020 for me. While intubating him the doc heard the sound of fluid in his lungs. After a couple of X-rays (which are not cheap I might add), Simba went onto a steriod for a period of time. Between the antibiotic and the steriod he definitely seemed to have perked up, but I noticed the other day that he is a little off his food again. So a new appointment has been set up for another X-ray. I am hoping that the steriod helped and that we can get the tooth out because I feel like it may be contributing to the problem. In the meantime, I am grateful for this little man who cuddles with me each day and sneaks into bed at night. He loves his scratches and his belly rubbed. He has my heart, and I am so thankful we agreed to keep him when Amy asked us to.

Meantime Moo, the other rescue cat, has got brave enough to cuddle in the mornings with me when I am drinking my tea. She is such a sweetie but a real scaredy cat. I keep telling her she has to get a little bit more courage each day. While she is not as friendly as Simba, she is getting there and I am love the moments when she reaches out to me, and wants to hang out.

In August Key West opened back up and Richard and I decided to do a quick two night trip down there. Richard really needed to get out and I was grateful that there were not many people in Key West. It was mask mandatory and social distancing and we by passed on the sunset cruise we would normally do and just relaxed on our hotel balcony and watched the setting sun both days.

Most of all I was grateful for my family.  The covid restrictions did not make a whole lot of difference to our family lifestyle.  There are only 6 of us (family that is) living in the USA.  Not having family visit was not a big problem for us. We have always been able to gather as a group of 6. Since we did not go overseas this year, I suggested that we book a cabin in the Georgia mountains and take some time away together.  I am super grateful that we were able to do that. When I say mountains, we traveled up this long single track road to the very last house at the top. Talk about social distancing.

Time together with family, for me, is precious.  I am very aware that the 6 of us is all we have living in the US, and I want to be together with them.  The time in the mountains was a time to explore and do some hiking and some off roading for Kathryn’s wheelchair. Richard got to see Yonah mountain. I got to go to the wine farm of my choice, which I will add was the highlight for me. We got to see some beautiful waterfalls, and just relax together back at the cabin.

Cody is Kathryn’s service dog, and I was grateful for his role in the vacation as well. At some points Kathryn’s wheelchair could not go any further, or in some cases getting back downhill was a little risky in the wheelchair and Cody was there as her support system. He is an amazing dog, and does so much to help her. Sometimes he pulls her uphill, sometimes he paces alongside her and acts as a support brace, other times he fetches her water or helps her to find things. I am grateful that he can be an additional support for Kathryn besides Cameron.

I even organized a painting party for all of us, which was a whole lot of fun. We may or may not be talented but there was a whole lot of laughter, and grumbles and groaning. Wine does help. I would certainly do it again. Obviously I kept my camera away from all the paint and cellphone pics are not the same but we had fun and that is all that matters in the end.

I asked Cameron to bring up games and he brought along Pictionary, Sequence, Rumikub, Boggle and I took along Jenga. We ended off our time there with a game of Jenga. That just rounded off the  evening with lots of laughter and some serious breath holding as the tower got more and more precarious. It’s those moments when we are all connecting that are special for me. It is those moments that I give thanks for.

Quality time with family is always what I seek to have.  It does not always work out that way but that is always my goal.  I am grateful for my husband, my children, and their spouses.  Each one makes up our very small family unit and time with them is more precious than I can ever explain. It is those bonds that tie us together.

Looking back on 2020, I realize that there were a lot of challenges, but in amongst all of those challenges were so many positives to be grateful for. Gratitude goes a long way to taking you out of a bad place and into a better frame of mind.

2021 looks like it is going to be a lot like 2020.  Life is not going to go back to normal overnight.  Yes there is a vaccine, but like most I am keeping a low profile and waiting to see what the side effects may be.  I know that I will keep wearing a mask, despite how hot it gets in South Florida.  I know that I will be limiting my immediate group of people to the minimal.  I know that until they get a handle on this virus, things are going to be the very much the same as 2020.  Some days may be roses and some days may be thistles. However, I can look for the positives and be grateful for each one.   

As we move into 2021, I wish you and your family a very Happy New Year. I hope, like everyone else, that this virus will be contained and that we can move towards a more normal life. Life like we used to know it. When the days get tough, I would encourage you to look for the positives. Instead of focusing on all the negatives, look to the moments that speak good thoughts to you, that brighten up your day. Make the phone call to encourage someone. Share positive posts on social media instead of complaints. Our lives are that which we make it and we can continue to lift it up if we try.

In closing I am reminded of a small sliver of my heritage, the Irish side of the family and their sayings:

May the road rise up to meet you. 

May the wind always be at your back. 

May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again, 

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

Thank you for joining me this month.  This is a small group of bloggers so when one or two are out it seems like it is a quiet month for blogs however, this is a circle blog.  Take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Lupji Photography is up next. I look forward to reading what he has to share.

Share Six: December 2020: Story Telling

Oops, this is not my comfort zone. I don’t have littles, I am not quite sure how to adequately embrace the theme {Story Telling}, chosen by Ceri Herd Photography, this month. My story telling will be words as well as images and will be more than 6 images just a heads up. I don’t want to break up this days trip.

In August, when we realized that we would not be doing our European trip, we decided to rent a cabin in the mountains of Georgia. If you have read my blogs before you will remember that I am a bit of a planner. So I did my home work and discovered there were some wine farms near the cabin. I looked a most of them with the idea of going and doing some wine tasting and eating some lunch. Of course, as a photographer, I look at all the images and I eventually landed on a wine farm a lot further away from the cabin than the local farms.

The day we planned to go to the vineyard we had done a hike to Anna Ruby Falls, and then headed to Brasstown Bald. By the time we we ready to travel to the vineyard it really was too late for lunch. Richard wanted to hike the next day, but most of us were all hiked out. I had booked a trout fishing morning for them thinking that it would be something fun. The ladies stayed in bed and the men & I headed out early on the Wednesday morning, with the idea that we would spend a couple of hours fishing and then drive the hour to the wine farm. The men were fishing and I was along to document this momentous moment. More about the fishing in another blog. The fishing was interesting but the scenery and colors of fall were more enjoyable for me.

Finally we were back home, the smell of fish washed away and we are all ready to head out. One of the criteria of the trip for me, was to try and catch some fall colors and to rest after a few days of hiking.

Interestingly we ended up traveling the same route as the previous day for at least half the trip. We headed towards the Lakes area of Macedonia, Hiawassee, and Young Harris.

After turning a number of corners we finally arrived at our destination vineyard – Crane Creek Vineyard. I can certainly say, if you are in the area, make this place a stop on your drive. The vineyard is picturesque, the fall colors were beautiful. I fell in love. Welcome to this beautiful destination.

Aside from the beauty of this vineyard, I wanted a place where we could sit down outside and eat. Our daughter in law is immune compromised and has a number of food allergies. Once I discovered the vineyard and read more about it, I discovered that they had a beautiful restaurant on site. Being South African, I was drawn to the fact that the chef was from Mauritius. Added to that my husbands grandparents emigrated to South Africa from Mauritius.

Kathryn contacted the owners of the restaurant Paris & Company and asked about the menu and whether they would be able to accommodate her requirements. Nina was so encouraging and just asked us to give her a days notice so that she could plan for Kathryn’s needs. We booked a time for lunch and were excited to get there and enjoy the beautiful menu.

We were seated out on the patio, in the corner away from other quests. Nina personally came out and spoke with Kathryn to see what she could eat. We all ordered something different, along with a bottle of white wine named Enotah. The wine is “100% Chardonel (a Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc hybrid). Aged in oak barrels for 10-12 months. Aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, apples and toasty butter.” I got that directly from their website. Credit to Crane Creek Vineyards. The wine was amazing and paired well with our lunch.

I snapped two cellphone pics of the food as I did not want to pull out the big old camera and annoy the rest of the family. The food, in case you were wondering, was excellent. I chose a lobster and crab salad, as seen above, tossed in a tangy sauce, served on a croissant, along with a potato salad side. Daniel, who was seated next to me, chose the Ultimate Philly Cheesesteak with caramelized onions, green peppers and swiss cheese, with a side of fries. There were six of us and I did not take photos of each persons food but it will definitely give you an idea of the options. I definitely recommend having lunch there.

Leaving the restaurant we meandered across the grass admiring the view. Beautiful homes set in the rows of vines. So picturesque in its beauty.

Bursts of color can be found in this scenic view, leaves coat the grass and the smell of fall is a sweet aroma to my senses.

Due to Covid the wine tasting has been shifted outdoors . Beyond the tree below is a patio are where you can sit and taste your wine or you can walk back to the grass area and find a few chairs and relax and enjoy the view. We did do some wine tasting outside overlooking the lake and the vines.

Tranquility is a word I would use to describe the beauty of this scene. Quiet reigns and you can just sit back and enjoy, sipping on your wine.

I had asked prior to traveling if we were able to walk around the wine farm and the answer was yes. So we walked down the sand road towards the lake. Lining the edge of the wines and the road are beautiful rose bushes. Walking down the road we arrived at the lake on our left and looked over a beautiful wedding perfect scene.

In every direction there is a vibrancy fulfilling my desire to see the colors of fall. Contrasting colors, bright colors, muted colors. I decided I love fall colors.

This vineyard was a balm to my soul, color to my imagination, quiet to the noise of life. Time to stop and gather my senses again. And I will add, to rest my feet after days of hiking.

Today I felt like I made a connection with the beauty of nature. I am grateful for the hard work the owners of this beautiful vineyard have put in to making this a place to visit. I would encourage you, if you haven’t been there and you are in the area, add a visit to your bucket list.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six blog post.  This is a circle blog.  The sneak peaks that are shared are stunning. I can say that because they all come to me prior to the posts going live. The challenges always stretch us just a little bit further. I blog with an incredibly talented group of ladies.  Please take time to visit my friend and very creative artist Lynne from Lynne Grant Photography who always amazes me with her images to see what she has for you this month. To view her  Facebook page click here and her Instagram page here.

Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their page as well.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_storytelling