Sunday, March 29, 2015

final four, even without any UK basketball!

post #235
        Life has been full court around here - if I can count the only-5-years-old washing machine that died, the tire I slashed by driving over some debris along the ridge, the laptop that continues to be too full, and the bushels of teeny tiny ants that are welcoming spring on my kitchen counter.  So I thought today I would post several final four selections of photos from my recent past, to celebrate the tournament of life, without the stress/adrenalin pump of only one winner....
      The first fun was time with two grandkids and a visit to the Denver zoo. I didn't make many photos during the visit, but here are four images I am happy to share. Already I am a winner for just being there with them!

eye to eye with a tortoise! 

      Next, I was honored to be part of an arts presentation in Lexington, at the newly renovated Friends Meeting House -- an event that had been the dream of the cellist.  Two poets and this photographer joined her to share music by Bach, with poems and periods of silence interspersed, and with some of my photos on display that connected to the poems.  We were grateful so many people came, even though the event, planned many months ago, took place during one of University of Kentucky's tournament games... 

audience fans and relations -- and a favorite photo of mine and a great t-shirt

The cellist is Roberta, center, with Melva Sue, left, and Judy, right.
        Besides basketball in Kentucky, it has been time to check for spring: Four of us went looking for early flowers, especially hepatica, and for remembered early signs of spring.  We even walked as far as the chimney in the woods, looking for daffodils that I'm sure I saw in  other years there.  But there were none!!  I will be checking in 10 days to see if they are irradicated for some reason or just late.  There were still treasures to be found, however, and stay tuned for additional photos in a few weeks, including guest photos of what we found.

look for the photographer in this photo, and in the next one....

         OK, now for the fourth and final round today - four photos from a fine eightieth birthday party for June McDaniel, Saturday afternoon!  I got my flat tire on the way over, but arrived in time for a fine feast and delicious cake.  My thanks, as always, to this family for taking me in and always, always making me feel so welcome.  

    This next photo could be called having your cake and eating it, too:

      I do want to thank the three young men in a white pick-up truck who kindly stopped to change my tire -- the first vehicle to come by.  I love that I live where that happens.  We are all winners when community is strong.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

an early daffodil, and a salute to the AV conference 4 years ago

post #234
       I so enjoyed last week resharing the post about our wood cook stove that I decided I would share another former post this week. I have chosen the one I did my first year of the blog, in mid March, 2011, four years ago, post #24.  But first, a photo of an early daffodil from this year, the bravest one in our yard.  I made these two photos a few days ago.  I need to get into the woods soon and see what else is brave and early after so much winter.

at last!

the loneliness of the first responder

      I have to confess that my computer has been complaining that it doesn't have enough room anymore, mostly because of photos.  My profligate ways have finally caught up with me.  I absolutely have to spend some serious time this week getting things back in working order.  But first I have had a photo show in my car for 24 hours, and I need to get it unloaded at my gallery before dark tonight.  It is not healthy for framed photos or my note cards to be in the cold more than necessary.  All this behind the scenes stuff is part of the big picture any photographer has to deal with.
      I hope that next Sunday I can have my act together better before I do my next weekly post. I had wanted to share more early posts in any case.  So, if you haven't been reading my posts regularly for 4 1/2 years.... (which means most of you, I am sure) now is your chance!

post #24 (reprieve, from 3/15/11)
      I've just returned from a 48 hour 45th reunion!  The occasion was a first for this gathering of community action workers from the sixties known collectively as the Appalachian Volunteers, or AVs.  I had been a VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) assigned to the AVs.  Friday afternoon fifty or so of us picked up where we left off so long ago.  It was fun, exhilarating, and fascinating. We explored our lives, deeds and the issues then and since then, with some I sure don't remember doing thats thrown in. We met in conjunction with the annual Appalachian Studies Conference held this year (2011) at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY.
Loyal Jones spoke Friday at the reception honoring Appalachian legend Homer Ledford.  Of course Loyal is also a legend!  This photo had its challenges -- the sculpture behind him being a major one.  But with some timing luck and by shifting my location, I am very happy with the result.

          The main thing I ended up photographing were the people at the workshops I wanted to attend myself.  So the following photos show others like me who worked in Appalachia in the late sixties, plus Appalachian scholars and young people working now on important issues like mountaintop removal mining, clean energy, and the devastation caused by Oxycontin and other addictions.
      I took these photos while sitting in those workshops listening.  Being able to record what I see in addition to what I hear makes me feel an increased connection to what I am learning.  It didn't hurt that the light was great!  And no one else was there to do it like I could do it.  (This is sounding perilously like "I couldn't help myself.")
     So what do I mean by "shooting in RAW"?   Well, raw may be primarily a digital term but, during this weekend, just being part of this reunion brought my emotions close to the surface.  I don't think I could have done these particular images without loving our shared bond. It's appropriate, perhaps, that shooting raw means having access to all the levels and information a photo provides.

waiting and waiting to ask a question in the workshop about Oxycontin
Sarah, articulate and passionate young activist, daughter of an AV

Dave Walls, former executive director of the AVs, scholar and professor
Mike Kline, troubadour, former AV staff, living our history through its music 
Bill and Claudia, former AVs in West Virginia, now working in DC
     Note: what ended up rising from the weekend's energy was a commitment for older activists to support the younger ones, and for younger ones to reach out to older ones.  Every one of us is needed.   And we need each other.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Poets win!

post #233
       Biggest news in Kentucky this week??  Well, just today, maybe, it is that our University of Kentucky basketball team still hasn't lost a game this season.  However, in writing and reading and poetry circles, it is definitely the great news that a name often mentioned on this blog,  GEORGE ELLA LYON,  has been appointed Poet Laureate of Kentucky!!  Clicking on her name will bring up a wonderful write-up about her, and the photo they use is very good, even if I didn't take it myself.  Congratulations to George Ella  -- and to the UK basketball team.  Such happy news.
         This week has needed its happy news, since
  • I went five days without the internet, until 11 a.m. today,
  • which led me to notice a few hours ago that our Sen. McConnell is still dragging his feet on the appointment of Loretta Lynch as the new Attorney General, for no good reason,
  • and our state legislature has done very little while in session.
  • I am in the middle of a case of laryngitis which makes me sound horrible on the telephone, where I needed to be quite a bit in order to get my internet back on.
  • I did have a wonderful visit with my son and his family last weekend, and I did have a dentist appointment and a haircut once I returned, 
  • and my writers group met on Friday, in Lexington, where we fetted George Ella with laughter and tears and a cake (thanks, Martha!) and some fabulous fruit (thanks, Leatha!) and our usual sharing of words we have been working on. 
        So I am going to do here today what I had planned to do last week, which is to share an earlier blog of mine, #122, in honor of the one of the beauties of winter, now soon over.  I hope you will have time to revisit my homage -- to our wood cook stove -- which follows.

        Here's to happy news whenever and wherever you find it and can share it.

post #122
      In honor of chilly and icy weather, I decided to share photos of a wonderful member of our household staff -- the wood cook stove that was in the house when we bought the place forty years ago.  I have been known to take the stove for granted, but it's usually of great interest when someone visits our home for the first time.  We have it connected via a stove pipe to its chimney in the winter.  In the summer, however, we take out the stove pipe and push the stove up against the wall behind it as a way to provide additional space for summer comings and goings.  We don't rely on it for cooking, but we can boil water on it, cook potatoes or cornbread in the oven, or keep a pot of soup warm all afternoon -- if it is cold enough outside to make it worthwhile to build a fire.
      In the following photos, our kitchen area is close behind me.
the stove in use today, water boiling and a pan of water providing steam into the dry heated air

firebox on the left, oven in the middle, and, formerly, a water tank on the right, which, unfortunately, rusted out even before our time and doesn't seem easily replaceable

oven door  --  the gauge isn't actually all that accurate

The wood goes on this side, so my husband cuts it to fit the size of the opening.

To see what is behind the white door on the left, see the next photo.

wood burning in the top, ashes falling to the bottom, drawer comes out for periodic emptying

close-up from the last photo

wood in, lid still open

Here's a fire from last week, wood burning hot.  Often a slower fire can last the night.

yes, indeed

My husband, Frank, took this next photo Saturday morning, at one of the waterfalls.  Thanks!


    Photos two years ago of this same waterfall are on my blog here.  John Flavell took them, and today I want to thank him again for sharing the photos and for enjoying using our wood stove so very much.  I can also share that yesterday John won first place at the Kentucky News Photographers Association for the Best News Picture Story/Essay -- on the aftermath and recovery of West Liberty following the March 2nd tornado.  Bravo, John!! Click here to see these winning photos.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

the reality is - it's still winter

post #232
      I was NOT going to post any snow photos. Ever again. However, then I began to think about all the places in the world where there is no snow, and I have relented. It can be beautiful stuff. Maybe a few images would not be too painful to share. So, once again, in a narrative form, which I seem love, what follows are parts of my snow story. The first image is one my daughter shared, from Massachusetts, where she and her family live.
The area has received foot after foot of snow.  She took this great image of their dog. As my daughter says, he must be hoping against hope that once again he'll get to go outside to run, undeterred by the constant deep, deep snow.

    Now, what we do in Kentucky when it snows is the same thing.  We persevere -- that is, when we are not busy watching all the bird visitors we encourage.  Here are some images from various snowy moments over the past few weeks:

after his feast, surveying all who fear him

three cardinals and two goldfinches -- and part of a woodpecker

a puffed up female cardinal

These hens are birds, too, but they have a much cushier life.

Our last storm was BIG, up to a foot of snow, with drooping limbs to prove it.

This was the view that I faced the day I needed to use our driveway.  ICE! SNOW! VERY LOW TEMPERATURE!  I wasn't sure I would make it out, but I did!!!

    I am always fascinated by shapes, shadows and patterns.  So here are some:


under the mud, when it finally appears
  I would be honored to show some snow photos by my readers, so if you have one you think would work on this blog, please give me your email address in the comment form below and we'll talk.  You can sign in on the anonymous setting, but I don't get your email information unless you give it to me in the message.  Thanks!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

more England, from earlier non-winter visits

lovely England!
post #231
       Someone asked me if I would be posting some snow photos this week.  I answered that if I did, I thought no one would look at them!!  They would most likely cry out "NO MORE SNOW." So that is why I feel I have a good excuse to dig back in my photo files for some favorites of mine, from England, not always during wintertime.

       This is what the butcher shop in the last post USED TO look like, before new European Union regulations and before new owners.  I am very glad I managed to make this photo, in Mickleton, before it was too late.

      The next photo shows where I was sitting when I made last week's photo of the fireplace in the old house.  Bill and his wife, June, own the house, parts of which may be 400 years old, and their grandson, Charlie, was visiting.
         I love the hanging baskets on the outside of their home. 

         I have a fascination with the milk bottles deliveries, so here are two more photos, including the truck that was stopped on the street in front of where my stepmother lives.

Dogs are popular in town, with their own "parking" places outside the shops.

Popular, too, with tourists and towns people is the ATM machine, in an ancient wall belonging these days to the bank.

       As for gardens, they are everywhere!! The first photo I call "winter sunshine."  The birches on the right are featured in the second photo, taken in a different season, early in the morning.

asters, in Peggy's garden

oilseed rape blossoms, used for making cooking oils, huge fields of them in the spring

 I was in a top floor bedroom, hanging out the window, for these two early morning photos.

            This third town photo was made a few hours later, as the day warms up.

outside the green grocer

overnight in the coffee house
Mary, outside her deli shop, catching some rays

I love these old steps and the whole look of this passageway.
   I apologize for those of you who checked this post on Sunday, March 1, when I had trouble uploading the photos, for some still unknown reason.  But here they are, more than I usually impose on viewers on a single day, but I hope, as always, that they are of interest!