About Me

My photo
Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Watery Wednesday - More of the Leafy Creek

I'm getting a lot of photo mileage out of the small creek in the park near my home. During late October and November it has been covered with multi-colored fall leaves. Until the recent rains, the water barely flowed over the rocks in the creek bed. In this photo I liked the "marbley" reflections in the shallow water.

Want to see some more "watery" photography? Click here for the players.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Good Old Dog

Hi guys, Willie here. I haven't been around on the Internet much in November, you may have noticed. Early in the month the Housemate and I spent a grand day at Bernheim Forest hiking and taking photos. I especially liked walking out over the tops of the trees on the observation walkway. Then on November 8 we did our civic duty and voted for a new governor. We decided to keep the old one, which was a good thing. Neither of the three running were much to brag about though.

Frankly I haven't been feeling that great lately. My hip is killing me and it gets harder and harder to get up off the floor. And there's other problems that I've forbidden the Housemate to discuss on this blog or Facebook. The worst problem is that I can no longer get up on the bed at night. And if you've never slept on the floor, you wouldn't understand how tough this is. Some nights I just wandered through the house clicking my toenails on the floor so people would know I'm not happy sleeping on a pallet by the Housemate's bed. Then yesterday look what she brought home--because I am a Good Old Dog, after all!

Man o Man! I could tell this was going to be great. Once I got used to the slight wobble, just settled in for some serious sleeping--and snoring. Best night's sleep I've had in a long time. I highly recommend one of these orthopedic beds to any of you who have Good Old Dogs.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Fences - Old Codgers

Here you have the two old codgers, Willie and Cooper the yellow lab, taking part in a daily ritual. Willie is 15 + and Cooper is probably 13 years old. Every day on our walks through the park they look for each other. When Cooper spies us even from far across the park he runs to his back fence and waits for us. They run up and down the fence together, pausing to chat or have a little leg-lifting contest. I have no idea what they have to talk about. Maybe their golf game, politics, or their prostate? Whatever, they look forward to these visits and I love to watch them.

Now, even though Janis ,our host for Friday Fences, is in charge of the Day 2 Thanksgiving feast, she's still ready to see some new fences. When you've done your Black Friday shopping and had some leftovers from yesterday's Thanksgiving dinner, be sure and stop by her place for the list of players. She may even offer you a piece of pie!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

A lot to be thankful for today-health, home, nature's beauty,and good friends. Happy Thanksgiving to all my blog friends. I appreciate and enjoy you so much.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Watery Wednesday - Leafy Creek, Part II

These two photos of the leaf-strewn creek are just a sampling of autumn as displayed in the small park where Willie and I walk almost every day. We've had lots of rain this week and so most of the leaves have fallen and turned brown. Still, I'll have these colorful photos to remind me of how beautiful fall can be in Kentucky.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I'm grateful to share this wonderful hobby of photography will all of you.

Want to see some more "watery" photography? Click here for the players.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Friday Fences and Barn Quilts

Yesterday I made a long and very rainy trip from Louisville to far eastern Kentucky to visit my 90 year old Aunt Draxie who lives independently on a farm in the mountains. In the summer she raises a huge garden, canning and freezing the excess for the winter. In the winter she quilts. Yesterday she was working on a crib quilt for the newest great grandchild, using old feedsacks and working by hand.

Quilting has always been both a necessity and art form in rural Kentucky, providing both warmth and beauty for the home. Young girls learned to quilt from the women in the family using scraps of fabric to make fanciful designs with names like Wedding Ring, Trip Around the World, Drunkard's Path and Little Dutch Girl. Many children--myself included--remember playing under the quilt frame that was bolted to the ceiling and then lowered after the housework was done so that the women could sit around the frame and quilt.

A few years ago, Kentucky and several adjoining states worked through their state art councils to start a Barn Quilt Project where barns in the rural areas had quilt designs painted on them to commemorate this important art form. On the Mountain Parkway that runs into eastern Kentucky you can spot many of these colorful barns in the distance as you drive alone. I saw around ten yesterday including this one of a Bowtie Quilt.

I decided to use this photo for Friday Fences because of the typical farm fencing as well. Blog friend Janis at Life According to Jan and Jer . Go there to see many other interesting fences.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Watery Wednesday - Leafy Creek

Fall leaves floating in the park creek--such variety. I used the "vivid" mode on my camera for shooting and got this amazing blue sky reflection. This reminds me of a high-end decorator fabric.

Want to see some more "watery" photography? Click here for the players.

Bella and Edward's Twilight Moon

Can you hear the wolves?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November Waning Moon

From my growing collection of moon photos taken in November alone. These two photos of the waning moon were taken at the same time--around 8 a.m. The moon was a pale round in the sky almost hidden among the tree branches. I did a bit of photoshopping to pull out different hues and, in the first photo I sharpened the image to bring out the lichens on the tree branches.

November has been a great month to try for some decent shots of the autumn moon. Almost every day I've been scanning the skies for photo opportunities. Here's my challenge though: my camera (new!) is a Canon PowerShot SX130 IS, 12 megapixel. It's great for day to day and travel photography, but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to do good night shots? I use the low light setting, aim for just after sunset or early morning, try to keep a steady hand to minimize camera movement, and limit zoom. I get some interesting effects, but not the closeup shots of the moon that I'm going for.

Do any of you more experienced photographers have some recommendations for me--other than buying a more powerful camera? :-) I would really appreciate your frank critiques and advice!

Black Lace Moon - posted November 14

I've been regularly posting a weekly series of practice photos on Facebook, each focused on a different subject. This week it's November Moons. Thought I'd squeeze "black lace moon" in this post since we're talking about improving nightime photography.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Friday Fences - Science Hill Inn

Friday Fences is a great way to meet creative photographers from all over. The meme is hosted by my blog buddy Janis at Life According to Jan and Jer . Go there to check out other fence photos and stories.

This is the iron fence that runs in front of the Sceince Hill Inn and Wakefield Scearce Gallery in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Science Hill has an interesting history, especially for educators. In 1825 Julia Ann Hieronymus married a young Methodist minister and settled in Louisville. She was a teacher who was determined to provide girls with a broader education beyond homekeeping, entertainment, painting and music which was thought to be sufficient for girls from "good" families of the time. In particular she wanted to teach her students about science. So, she opened a girl's preparatory school, first class had 20 students. That school was in operation for around 100 years.

Now the very elegant southern building houses a fine restaurant, Science Hill Inn, and Wakefield Scearce Gallery, which specializes in British Antiques. During the holiday time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this especially a wonderful place to visit. You can have lunch in the inn featuring the best southern cuisine. Then spend the afternoon going through room after room (used to be the school dormitory) of British antiques, each room fully decorated around a certain theme.

A group of my friends will be going there for a pre-Thanksgiving lunch. Already know I'll be ordering the Shrimp and Grits. If you're still looking for a new Thanksgiving or Christmas dish, here is the Science Hill Inn recipe:

Cheesy Grits:

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 2-quart casserole and set aside.

In a large pan add 1 tsp. salt to 4 cups of water and bring to boil over high heat. Slowly stir in 1 cup instant grits and cook until the grits thicken and take on a pudding-like texture, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup butter, 4 oz. mild grated cheddar cheese, 6 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat 3 eggs and 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream together just until the eggs are thoroughly mixed. Stir into grits mixture.

Pour into casserole and bake 45 minutes.

Shrimp Gravy:

In a large sauce pan melt 4 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add 1 medium chopped onion and cook until edges are slightly brown. Add 1 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp, 1 tsp. Herbs de Provence seasoning, 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning and 4 tbsp. butter. Increase heat to high. Cook, stirring constantly, to create a gravy-like sauce, until shrimp is an even shade of white. This will take about 5-10 minutes.

Pour shrimp gravy over grits. Garnish with 4 strips crisp bacon, crumbled, and 1/4 cup fresh minced parsley. Serve with lemon wedges. Don't skip the lemon as it is needed to make the shrimp pop and brighten the richness of the whole dish.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Watery Wednesday - Autumn Color Experiments

Like many of you I've been busy over the last few weeks trying to capture the wonderful colors of autumn. In a good weather year the colors need very little help from fancy camera setting to show off glorious colors of yellow, orange, red, and blue--and all the ranges of each color. I'm a beginning photographer who is working with a new camera as well. So, I've been experimenting.

In the top photo of this little creek in a local park, I used "auto" setting. The result was a rather muted feel, but quite pleasing. In the bottom photo I set the camera on "vivid" and wow! The camera picked up all range of colors not visible with the naked eye. I like both, but probably lean more to the natural setting. What do you think?

Want to see some more "watery" photography? Click here for the players.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Willie Voted, Then Insisted on a Shower

Today is election day in Kentucky. We're voting for governor and other cabinet officials. Here Willie is at his voting precinct getting ready to do his civic duty. His new BFF is a University of Kentucky Wildcats fan we know. Not sure how he planned to vote. Willie is too polite to talk politics with someone he just met.

Immediately after voting Willie insisted on stopping at Feeder's Supply for a shower:

It has been that kind of a campaign--lackluster and lacking in vision and focus on both sides. Petty. And to think that today is the official start of the 2012 U.S. Presidential campaign. I look at our options so far and long for Hillary. However, she would need to get her good hairstyle back and get her eyebrows re-shaped. Neither is good. :-) I still think she would have made a strong President.

Meanwhile, I'm going to start studying my Constitution--I think there will be many attempts to mess with it in this election cycle.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dreamsicle Sky

Remember Dreamsicles or Creamsicles? Those old-fashioned ice cream bars with a thin orange sherbet crust covering vanilla ice cream or the Dairy Queen version where the two are swirled together in one bar? That's what I thought of this morning when I looked out at the sky around 7:30 a.m. On this second day of daylight savings time realized that I may need to wake up earlier to capture the sunrise. But, it's worth it, don't you think?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Friday Fences - Canopy Walkway in Bernheim Forest

Earlier this week before the rain and cold weather came into the area, I spent a glorious sunny afternoon walking through Bernheim Forest capturing some great fall color. Willie came along to keep me company and stretch his old legs. This walkway that you see above stretches out over the forest tree canopy. It's five feet above the trees and when you get to where Willie is standing you can see for miles--trees still blazing with autumn colors and bright blue skies.

I admired this beautiful and sturdy fence on the walkway. And appreciated how stable it is, especially since exposed heights give me the willies. Here are a couple of shots looking down over the walkway:

Friday Fences is a new meme hosted by my good blog friend Janis at Life According to Jan and Jer . Go there to sign up or check out the fences shared by other players.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Watery Wednesday - Lake Views in Bernheim Forest

Yesterday I loaded up dog and camera and headed south on I-65 for an afternoon of leaf peeping in Bernheim Forest about 30 minutes from downtown Louisville. As you drive into the forest preserve there's a beautiful lake that is still showing some incredible fall color. It was hard to narrow down to a favorite shot so here are a couple more views:

After leaving the lake area I heading up into the forest. The drive up was a riot of fall color. Once in the forest, Willie and I walked some of the tree trails and captured the sun dappled foliage up close. We then ended our Bernheim experience with a walk out an observation deck that juts over the tree canopy. The canopy walkway rises 5 feet above the trees so you can actually look down into the treetops and also see to great distances where fall-colored trees meet a blue sky at the horizon.

Here's just one view. If you'd like to see more, just scroll down to the previous post, dated November 1.

Want to see some more "watery" photography? Click here for the players.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

First of the Month - Leaf Peeping in Bernheim Forest

This afternoon Willie and I headed out to Bernheim Forest about 40 minutes south of Louisville looking for autumn color before it was too late. This view was our reward. At the crest of the forest there is a long walkway and observation deck that juts out over the forest canopy. Not only can you look down into the forest growth, but you can also get these distant views on a clear day like today. Willie volunteered to go first on the canopy walkway. He's saying "Don't look down, don't look down. . ."

All year long I've been scanning Kentucky skies, camera in hand, in order to participate in a monthly photography meme that attracts aspiring photographers from all over. The idea is that we look at our surroundings and record the changes from month to month. The host for this meme is Jan at Murrieta 365 . Here's how it works: "The goal is to capture one thing repeatedly on the first day of each month. It can be a landscape, a person, an animal, a project; whatever your focus is fine. It can be a record of where you are each first day of the month." I decided to photograph Kentucky skies.