Winter Again … Part 2


Wet snow arrived yesterday, and it’s melting quickly. It wasn’t much, maybe two inches.  When I looked out the kitchen window this morning I saw this scene looking northwest, with the sun rising from the east. The colors made it stand out to me. However, the photo below was made last week, and I am very optimistic that this is the scene I’ll soon see again. Ready for Spring. It’s just going t get better. Flowering Dogwood trees are on deck.


Winter Again

With hopeful expectation of soon to arrive warmer temperatures, I’ve been teased by such over the past few weeks, watching our flowers begin to bloom and brighten. But, today, it’s Winter again.



The good thing about this March snowfall is that it’s on the minimal side. And, as you can see here, it makes for a couple of nice photo compositions. There is always a bright side to everything … if you think about it.

A Window


When I find an old farm house, unoccupied of course, I always look for a window with tattered curtains, thinking what lies behind. Ghosts of past occupants? Nothing but junk? I suppose I’d jump out of my skin if a face suddenly appeared. This photo represents one of the best I’ve found lately … although I have many other nice ones in my collection. I love the texture of the wood siding and the faded tin roof.

Bring me some Flowers


We have several Forsythia bushes in our yard, and they are now blooming. It’s a fast change from bare limbs, to small, bright yellow flowers, to green leaves, and then it’s just a plain looking bush. But, for now, it’s worth a photo or two.




Also in our yard (as I’ve written about before) are lots of also quickly blooming Daffodils. Right now they are all yellow in color, but there are a few cream-colored variety as well … but not yet blooming.



Not to be outdone, trees (below) are beginning to “bud” but that process is much slower than with the flowers. The most important aspect of this, however, is it’s a sure sign that Spring is near. (Aside: Well, maybe not “that” near, since possible snow is predicted here this weekend.) Waiting in the wings, so to speak, are numerous Dogwood trees we are blessed with … all over our neighborhood. My camera is alert and waiting.



In sum, every year at this time I see a wonderful transformation in SW Virginia, from  drab Winter vegetation and overcast skies, to a variety of gradually unfolding colors sparkling in warming sun, with blue sky and puffy white clouds overhead. This makes me thankful for what we have been given. To overlook it is … well … not wise.



A Good Dog …and a Cat

I can say with no hesitation that having a dog or a cat living as a part of one’s family can be both wonderful … and frustrating. First, we have to understand they are not human, even though many people treat them that way. Our family experience in this regard goes back a long way. Multiple dogs and cats. Sadly, the closer we become to them, the harder it is to deal with their departure … to Pet Heaven. By far our favorite breed of dogs is the Alaska Malamute. First we had a male, Nikki. He lived a good life, and lived with us while we were in the Army and afterwards, including a tour in West Germany. Second and perhaps Barb’s overall favorite dog, was our female Malamute Mystee.


Mystee in her prime weighed between 75-100 pounds, and was a great partner with me on my daily jogs, out front on her lease leading the way, just like a good sled dog her breed can become. Nikki, being a male, was a more robust runner. I recall him leading the way on jogs up to ten miles each. He seemed never to tire, although I knew he was, tongue hangout out after we stopped. Shortly after Nikki passed away, we got Mystee as a very cute and furry puppy. As she aged, so did her legs. As did mine. So for many years we walked our neighborhood daily instead of jogging the same route. She loved to go. Walk or jog. It became a habit for her and for me. Then her rear legs eventually gave out, and she couldn’t go. That condition got worse, eventually leading to the tough decision to have her put to sleep. It was a sad day. Now, for us, it’s cats. We have two. One sleeps close beside me at night. Every night. This is Lucy.


She’s the best cat we’ve had. Friendly to everyone, loving, and often demanding of attention. She can literally “stare me down” when she wants something. I’ve learned mostly what that can be. Food, fresh water, treats, or nice belly rubbing. She’s a great comfort to me.

So what have I learned from all this. Pets are cool. Pets are funny. Pets are fun. True, they often have accidents in the house of various sorts, but like I wrote above, they are “pets” and not human, so we can’t expect them to always act like we “think” they ought to. But, mostly I have learned that as we age, and become afflicted with various health issues, and become less active (like jogging), we can be comforted by having a pet or two around.


A Reflection … Art in Itself


While I was out and about earlier this month, I saw this creative and somewhat humorous metal and glass sculpture and stopped to make a photo or two. But what I didn’t’ see at first was reflected in a window on an adjacent building. The origin scene was framed perfectly by the white window border and after walking back and forth a bit to get the right angle of view, I made the photo below.


The window glass with blemishes added to my original image I thought. A lesson I learned long ago is that one should always look around when making photos, not being focused ONLY on the main object. In this case it was the window reflection I saw while walking around. I’m glad I dd. Last point. Too many photographers try to emulate a “typical tourist photo” they might have seen online, or elsewhere. Try for something different. That’s what creative photography is all about.

Early Spring?

Daffodils are beginning to pop out of the ground, thanks to an unseasonably warm month. Each year we seem to be getting more days in February when temperatures are above 60. Low 50s is normal in Southern Virginia where we live. It won’t be long before the bright yellow blooms will fill various spots in our flower beds. And then, they will be gone in a month or so, going dormant for another year.

And then there are the Pansies, which were planted in late Fall and made it through much below normal temperatures during January. High teens. Snowfall and ice included. These guys are about the most tolerant flowers I’ve grown. I’ve seen their flowers sticking out brightly as the snow melts around them. They add a lot of “color joy” outside our back porch. Now don’t misunderstand, I’m no gardening expert. We have a yard service company that plants the Pansies each Fall, and then replace them with warmer weather flowers in March-April. Many of the Daffodils were planted 16 years ago before we moved into our home. I did transplant some to spread their beauty around the house. But, I do maintain the flowers once planted. And aren’t the colors vibrant?

Floyd Virginia – Part 2

If you like Bluegrass music, an Americana atmosphere, artistic endeavors at work and friendly folks, then I suggest you consider visiting Floyd. Obviously you have to live reasonably close. If that applies, you most definitely ought to go to the Floyd Country Store. It’s a wonderful place to step back in time. Live Blue Grass music, food stuffs of various sorts, assorted gifts and souvenirs and fun await.


My most recent visit was on a Saturday, and there was live music in the store, something I’d not expected, so it was a surprise. I hung around listening and looking for a souvenir ball cap to buy I (I’m a “hat nut”) plus I made a short video to show my family when I returned home.




I always enjoy making photos of various items sold in the store. Like this old fashioned candy display below. People were lined up, filling paper bags and purchasing their candy goods at very reasonable cost.


So, this has been just a sample showing what one might experience in Floyd. In Part 3 of this three-part series, I’ll show you some of the “artistic” activities ongoing there. Stand by.

Blue Birds Misc

First, I have to say that making photos of Blue Birds isn’t easy. They flit around very fast, and when using a 200mm lens like I was, the critters aren’t always in perfect focus. I did the best I could, however, and overall I’m happy. Here’s a gallery to see what I saw. (I note that the very early buds on the trees now, and the warmer weather insects below the trees on the ground, are attracting one of my favorite birds. Our neighbors have bird houses for them, so they are always around. Unfortunately my long lens camera isn’t. I kinda got lucky here.)