Sunday, April 28, 2019

this year's glorious redbuds

post #429
       Can't help myself. Such a great April for redbuds. Total magic. Usually hard to photograph, but not so hard this year. They have mostly faded away by now -- late April -- but some are staying the course. I didn't grow up in redbud land, so I never take them for granted, despite living here in eastern Kentucky for over 45 years. 
       With so much else going on in our wounded world, it is a happiness, for me, to focus on this gift that April gives us. 

more of this farm, which is also redbud land

The buds grow directly from the tree.

And there are redbuds other places:

quietly decorating a back road

Of course there are other flowerings going on, 

but this year I'm all about redbuds. This last photo is a favorite, because over the years I've tried to make it work, and this year it finally happened.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Notre-Dame, Paris, August, 2016

post #428
       Next week: flowers. This week: Notre-Dame photos, since I happen to have some from a week's visit to Paris 2 1/2 years ago, thanks to my son and his family. We stayed in an Airbnb very nearby, and we also took a boat that goes around the island where Notre-Dame has stood since 1163.  In light of the tragedy of the terrible fire last week, I wanted to honor this Parisian landmark for those who have not ever had a chance to visit there. Like many other people, I was close to tears when I saw what was happening, even though it is not my country and not my religion. 
      Notre-Dame has instead some kind of universal stature, some significance for having stood there for so many centuries, through so many wars, as a reminder of beauty and human persistence. Today it is true that the money to preserve the church as it was may now be better spent helping us in other ways. A fire reminds us that things can change very quickly. Like our climate that is changing faster than we are willing to admit. Keeping things the way they were is no longer a good enough solution to anything. 
      Anyway, some photos:

The tall tourist is my son.

an inside chapel

incense from a church service that was ending

        I may add a few more photos tonight, including one of us in Paris. But the time has come to spend time with my family here today. I do hope these photos give a personal feel to what can be a lot to take in.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

April! Spring! Blossoms! part 1 of 2 or 3!

post #427

        Busy day, complete with severe thunderstorm advisories, and a possible tornado! All is now ending peacefully, though there are still wind episodes.  I do love April, despite the wild weather, and I am so glad I was back where the waterfalls are twice this weekend. So much changes so quickly during this time of year..
        Here are some of the blossoms. Please know that the redbuds along the road and at the house are wondrous this year. These are the scrub trees whose flowers grow directly out of the branches. They are one of the treats that were new to me when we first came to live in this part of the country years ago. There are some early dogwoods at the same time, but, as usual, the redbuds are the most vivid signal that spring is here.

dogwood blossoms

The violets in grassy areas are so abundant this year, perhaps due to all our rain?

Then there is the ancient apple tree near the edge of the woods that never disappoints.


creek detail, en route to the first waterfall

     I sat on the path above the second waterfall so I could look around. Really look.
looking to the left

looking to the right

facing the crown of the tree in bloom, with the second waterfall, below and out of view

tree top

Note: the Appalachian forests contain the "highest total amount of endemic flora and fauna species in North America." To me, it is like being surrounded by treasures.

bare limbs by design....

beech tree with moss slippers

Next week, I have wildflowers to share --  so amazing, always, to be surrounded by the beauty of this season. I wonder, though, what are we humans doing to the world which we too easily take for granted.

Monday, April 8, 2019

there last week, heron photos today

post #426
       I have been having a hard time pinning down the photos I want to share today.  And I think I sent one missing, which I have been trying to find.  In the meantime, however, here is the gist of things, all from another recent short trip for an important family gathering.
       I stayed with friends who live in an urban area but they are close to parks and a reservoir. So they knew about the herons that come every year to visit and nest in some very tall trees along the water's edge. Other birds come to the reservoir as well.  We went there one evening and then again the next morning, now with my camera and my 70-300mm lens. This is NOT IN ANY WAY bird photography equipment, but even so it can give the feeling of the activity going on.  I had to brace myself on fence posts ("make like a tripod") and remember that there could be cars crossing the small concrete bridge we were sharing ....

      However, since this post is about nests, I want to start with the house, before we left to watch the herons.  I was sitting on their couch, and these are the quiet views I couldn't resist trying to capture while I was waiting for our excursion. I have left them looking like they looked to me. Warm and welcoming.

And next, the herons, the nest building, and community building:

evening view, with just my iPhone

Life is always much better in the morning, right?

my sharpest (i.e. miracle) photo, a crop of the following photo (upper right hand section)

There are at least 4 herons in this photo.

The twigs and small branches they were busy bringing back to the nest looked just as spiky as their legs.

As far as we could tell, there was some procreation going on -- versatile nests.....

In the meantime....
All I know is that this swan and duck seemed to be friends.

assisted living platform
     I have spent way too much time working on these photos, though I might add a couple more once I get some distance from this initial effort.  But I do hope these views are interesting.  Needless to say, I loved being there and zoning out with all that was happening. I didn't even wonder then about how this annual ritual will be affected by climate change.  Of course, now I do wonder.