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Friday, August 31, 2012

Welcoming September!!

Today, the last day of August, signifies the end of summer for me. It was a summer I wondered if I could survive! Record breaking heat, high humidity, and extreme drought took it's toll, not only on nature, but also on individuals.
 
The rain began to fall yesterday shortly after noon and it's still falling this morning.  Isaac has reached Arkansas and brought much needed rain. My rain gauge, which holds 5.5",  is running over. It's so wonderful to look out and see the falling rain! We did get some winds, but nothing significant and we kept our power!! Yeah!!  Many in our area are without power this morning.


 
One of the sure signs that it's fall is when my Chinese Fringeflower bushes begin to bloom. They bloom in the spring and again in the fall. I tried my best to keep them watered this summer, they were gifts from my daughter and her family. All the hard work was worth it when I saw their beautiful blossoms. I went out yesterday before the rains began and took a few photos.
 

I love the way this one turned out...the dark silhouette with little touches of pink blossoms against the stormy clouds.
 
 

Each tiny petal unfurls from the center of the blossom creating little pom-poms at the ends of branches which are fuzzy and sparkly. As the weather cools, the foliage will turn a rich burgundy.
 
These bushes are my favorites. Beautiful year round, easy to grow, and they tell me that fall is on the way!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Road Trip!

This past weekend we visited the small town of Mena, Arkansas. It's nestled at the foot of Rich Mountain in the Ouachita Mountain range. We traveled to Mena for the 37th Annual Queen Wilhelmina Road Run that is held at Queen Wilhelmina State Park. We drove our 1940 Fork Pickup. I'll show you a photo of our truck later in the post.
 
 Mena was founded in 1896 as a railroad town.  The city has a total area of 6.8 square miles, of which 6.7 square miles is land; 0.04 square miles of it is water. That doesn't leave much for the 5,737 people who populate this town, does it?   Mena is the gateway to some of the most visited tourist attractions in Arkansas. An estimated 1.2 million visitors each year come to Mena for these natural features which include
  • the 57 mile Talimena National Scenic Drive
  • Queen Wilhelmina State Park
  • Cossatot River which is a member of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and is Arkansas' newest state park
  • and lastly beautiful Lake Ouachita is in the vicinity.
  •  
     
We arrived in town on Friday and gathered at the historic Mena Railroad Depot which is in the center of town. The Depot was build in the early 1900s and was completely restored in 1987.
 

The streets are closed off behind the depot for us to park our vehicles. One of my favorite past times on Friday night is to visit the two antique stores you see on the right. I never buy much, but I do enjoy the search! 
 
 
 
This beautiful red truck is ours! My husband calls it "Old Red."  It's considered a street rod because it has not been restored to the original 1940 truck. You'll first notice those shiny Crager wheels! It also has power steering, air conditioning, seat belts, and a larger motor. We did keep the body of the truck original. Restoring a vehicle to its original state is just not practical if you want to drive it and enjoy it! Older vehicles are just not made for our faster highways and the miles we put on them!
 
 
On Saturday morning we leave Mena and head up to Queen Wilhelmina State Park the second tallest peak in Arkansas rising 2,681 feet above sea level.  We drove 14 miles up a very, steep, and curvy road in drizzle and the densest fog I've ever been in. We both had our noses plastered to the windshield trying to see. I don't think we could see but about 20 ft in front of us. Mr. H was watching the white line and I was watching for signs...sharp turn to the left coming up or 25mph on this turn. One thing about old truck, they only have one windshield wiper. I guess the passenger isn't supposed to be able to see!!  It was a very intense and stressful drive!!
 
 
We finally made it to the top of the mountain! On a clear day you can see the ridges and valleys of this beautiful mountain range in the background, today you just see fog!  In this photo you can see our cute little trailer with it's lid open that holds all our luggage, lawn chairs, ice chests, and such!  You wouldn't believe what we're able to cram in that trailer!  Our truck has light cherry stained wood in the bed and nothing goes back there to keep from scratching it.
 
 
I was surprised at the number of local people who drove up the mountain in the fog to see the cars!  The fog lifted around noon and the rest of the day was beautiful with a nice cooling breeze!
 
There's lots of chrome and a rainbow of colors on the cars! It's amazing how many shades there are of every color!


On Saturday night we head downtown for a street dance with a live band. Usually the only ones you'll find dancing are the kids!  Me, I like to walk the town and capture shots of the old stone and brick buildings. My favorite is the green one.

 
It's always pretty hot and muggy downtown in the evening. We've found the best place to park our truck. There is an empty lot between two buildings that allows cool air to funnel through. We set up our chairs in the shade of one of the buildings and then we....

people watch!  They look at our vehicles; we look at them!!  There's always sights to see. Do you see the girl in the center dressed in black carrying a small dog?  She must have walked the length of this road twenty times. She reminded me of a model on a runway...she had the look, she had the walk!!
 
On Sunday morning we traveled back up the mountain in the fog again!!! But, this time it wasn't as bad and was mostly toward the top! We attended church service in a large tent. It's been years since I've been in an open air service. It was calming to listen to the Word of God under a tent, in the quiet of the morning, with the wind and fog swirling around us. Attending church on the mountain was a wonderful way to end a great weekend! 
 
We had a wonderful time with
good friends,
plenty of good food,
and mostly good weather!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday ~ 8/26/2012

This will be a quick post today!
I just got home from a trip and I'm a little tired!
I'll be posting about our trip in a couple of days.
I did want to drop in and leave my photos for Ashley Sisk's Scavenger Hunt Sunday.
 
Scavenger Hunt Sunday
 
Our prompts were:
school
rule of thirds
side profile
small
motion
 
 
school
Wanna play school?



rule of thirds



 side profile

 
 
small
I don't know what these small cones are. They look like pines cones, but they grow on some wild bushes near the woods and are only about 1/4" long. 
 
 



motion
I love to hear the sound of water in motion!
 
Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Storytime ~ The Ending

"The sun rose slowly, as if it wasn't sure it was worth the effort. Morning is wonderful. The only drawback is it comes at such an inconvenient time of day. Well, at least it's a new day with no mistakes in it yet. So she slowly stood up because you're never fully awake till you stand up."

 
She was glad it was morning; nights weren't always easy. She slipped on her shoes and went out in the cool morning air looking for a little beauty. It seemed forever since she had seen anything but brown, dried, and withering plants. Some days her soul felt as withered. As she searched near the edge of the woods she gasped. There, there was beauty...tiny purple blossoms. She wondered how they had survived the drought. Her own flowers had withered even though she lovingly watered them. How then, could this beautiful wildflower survive? It had received no water; no special care, but yet it lived...it bloomed! She reached out and gently touched it with love. It's beauty touched her deep inside! She smiled. As she walked away, she knew she also could survive and flourish no matter what life brought her. She knew she was strong and unlike the wildflower, she knew she had many who loved and cared for her.
 
This story is dedicated to my sister. Life has dealt her some strong blows, yet she has not broken. She blooms! She shines! She is the strongest woman I know! I love you, Sis!!

 
Focusing on Life
My story is linked to Focusing On Life.
We were given the beginning paragraph of this story and were asked to find a photo that would tell the ending. You can read my post about it here. Today, we're all linking our stories that go with our photo.  I really enjoyed doing this!  It was something new and creative!

Storytime

UPDATE:  The ending of my story has now been posted here!

Let me begin this post by introducing you to a beautiful group of ladies who have joined together to create one of the best blogs I visit Focusing On Life

Focusing on Life
 
I think they describe their blog so well I will just use their words!
 
"Focusing on Life is a Blog Collaboration of 10 friends. Women who found one another by following their heart's passion on, of all places, the internet and became genuine friends!"
 
They usually post five days a week, sometimes they post special things on the weekend. If you're looking for a blog filled with inspiration and photography, this is the blog for you!  Their musings lift my spirit each morning!! (Can you tell I really like them???)  They also have a photography "Theme of the Month."  Then each week they post a selected photo from their Flickr pool. I've been honored to have some of my photos chosen. Let me throw this in...the theme this month is barns. If you love old barns you need to check their Flickr pool out!! It's filled with beautiful old barns!  You might even see a barn you'd like to capture and add to the pool! 
 
What, you say, does that have to do with the title of this post?? In Sunday's blog here we were given the beginning of a short story.

"The sun rose slowly, as if it wasn't sure it was worth the effort. Morning is wonderful. The only drawback is it comes at such an inconvenient time of day. Well, at least it's a new day with no mistakes in it yet. So she slowly stood up because you're never fully awake till you stand up."

Our assignment was to take a picture that would tell what happened next. Today, we're linking our photos to Focusing On Life. Just the photo, not the story yet! We'll be looking at each others photos and guessing what happened next. So here's my photo. I went back through my pictures this week and then back a little further. I kept going back to this one, it has a story that I wanted to share.
 
 
I know it looks simple, but there is much more to this story. Come back on Sunday and I'll tell you the rest!   I can't wait!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Exploring With A Camera ~ Repetition


kat eye view
 
As I get older I find myself repeating things!  Sometimes I have to just ask, "have I told you this before?"  It can be boring when you hear the same thing over and over again! Repetition can be irritating, like a song that repeats over and over in your mind! Repetition can be annoying and frustrating; it can build stress. 

What about repetition in photography?   Is it boring, irritating or annoying? No!  Is it a good thing?  Yes, it is!  Let me just quote what Kat says about repetition. She explains it so well in her latest Exploring With A Camera discussion which focuses on repeating elements.  Kat says, "Effective repetition is not just about repeating objects, but any design element like object, shape, color, line, form, light and even information, that helps create a cohesive whole in our photographs."

Here's a few examples of repetition in my photography.

repeating objects


repeating shapes like these hearts
These were drawn on the wall of an old mill.
Thankfully they were drawn in chalk and could be erased!



repeating color
This is one of those images you have to study to see what's going on! I loved it from the moment I took it. I love it for the white that is repeating several times. I'll try to explain what you're seeing. I'm looking through a window that is reflecting part of a white sign, a white column, and white houses (although I really wish the houses weren't there!) As you look into the window you see a window on the opposite wall that is white and that has a white candle sitting on the ledge. It just turned out cool to me! I think if all these things had been different colors, the image wouldn't have captured my attention.



repeating lines and objects



repeating forms or shapes


This one has multiple repeating elements:
light, color, and shape.

Visit Kat at Kat Eye Studio, check out her discussion on repetition and then click on the links below her post to see other examples of repetition in photography.

kat eye view

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Splashin' Good Time

Do you ever get the feeling that your heart may just swell up and burst?  I do, every time I'm with these four boys, my grandsons!!  Honestly, there is nothing like it, it's indescribable the feelings that I have!  I love being a "gramma" to these guys!!

I guess you might have figured out that I've spent a few days with all four of my grandsons! Bear with me as gramma drags out the brag book!!  These pictures don't need explaining. The boys love the pool!

Jake, our swimmer!!

 Drew with his beautiful smile!!

 Josh, the fun guy!!

Aaron, our little sweetie!! 

I love this picture!  I caught this special moment between brothers as they were looking at some storm clouds that were coming in. The clouds rolled in quickly ending our pool time a little early, but we so needed the rain none of us complained, not even the boys!

Special days!!
Special memories!!
Special boys!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday ~ August 19, 2012

This Sunday finds the weather much cooler.
It finds me pleasantly tired from
spending a few days with my four grandsons!
It finds me happy!

I'd love to share with you today
my finds for Scavenger Hunt Sunday with Ashley Sisk!

Our prompts were:
forest
morning light
touch
newspaper
coffee or tea


Forest
Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees!


Morning Light


touch
I wouldn't touch the bug, but I love to touch the soft leaves of Lamb's Ear!


newspaper
My twin grandsons, Drew and Josh, were very interested in the article in the newspaper about road work on the highway near their home!


coffee or tea
I don't drink coffee or tea, so I had to capture this shot at my daughter's house.

I hope your week will be a great one!
I'm looking forward to a week of cooler weather!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday ~ August 12, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday
It's been a busy week!
It seems like I had a lot of little things to accomplish!
But, I still had time to find photos to fulfill this week's prompts for Scavenger Hunt Sunday with Ashley Sisk.

Our clues this week were:
mobile (referring to mobile phone photos)
hanging by a thread
collage
always look on the bright side
home


Mobile
I definitely cheated on this one!  Our prompt was to be a photo from our mobile phones. Do you see that little zero on the bottom center button?  That's exactly how many photos I can take with my mobile phone! Zero, zilch, zippo!! I feel I need to explain! I don't use my cell phone very much. I call my daughter and my sister, because it's long distance and I keep it in my purse for emergencies. So, when I bought my phone I bought the cheapest one they had. As they say, you get what you pay for!!  Honestly, I've never regretted buying the cheap one!!  I just don't use it!


Hanging By A Thread
I had big plans for this one. I thought I could make a paper garland and hang it or I could hang a few of my photos from a string in a tree. I had big plans that never happened. I finally decided to just go with this small ball that is hanging by a thread from one of my wind chimes.



Collage
I recently drove by this beautiful lake and had to stop for a few pictures. I had fun trying capturing reflections of the beautiful trees in the water and making them into a collage. My favorite is the top left. The bottom of this tree was huge!!



Always Look On The Bright Side
With this summer's heat and humidity I'm trying to always look on the bright side and see the beauty in the sunshine. We've been blessed this summer with the most gorgeous skies and clouds. I don't ever remember the skies being full of clouds every day as they have been this year.



Home
Each creature has it's own home. This nest was the home to a little bird. You can see part of an egg in the bottom.

I leave you with a quote...I hope you see the beauty in each day we are blessed with!


Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting."
                                                                                 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~