Tag Archives: photography

Hill Country Sonata

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Sunfire sparkling on the Pedernales River

Soaring a red-tailed hawk on the wing

Cedar and Cypress perfume dance on the water

Bull frog on the bank calling out to his love

Fireflies flicker in the wildflower valley

Cicada chorus singing their lullaby song

Whippoorwill lamenting a nightbird’s serenade

Hill Country Sonata playing my memory’s tune

Bending my heartstrings like a sweet lover’s touch

And calling me back to those hills that I love

More Texas Birds

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Male Lesser Scaup – Lake Fork, Texas

Male Lesser Scaup – Lake Fork, Texas

White Pelican – Lake Fork, Texas

White Pelican – Lake Fork, Texas

Red Shouldered Hawk – Mansfield, Texas

Texas Birds of a Different Feather

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My husband captured these shots this week.  The group of vultures were roosting on one of our old trees that fell victim to the recent years of drought here in Texas.  The male painted bunting stopped by our koi pond for a quick bath.  I wish the bunting photos were a little better, but we had to take them through the glass of our back window.

The Incredible Edible Egg and Putting the Chic in the Chicken Coop

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When my family moved to our country home in 1995, we were eager to embrace all the wonderful opportunities that country living had to offer.  We mended the old fence and barn and soon added our share of farm animals to complete our little country haven.  Our animal menagerie included a flock of laying hens and a rooster to give us fresh eggs, but over the years our flock decreased and eventually our fresh egg production came to an end.

Recently, after purchasing a $4.00 carton of organic cage free eggs, I discovered all the eggs were disgustingly runny and obviously inedible.  Having this less than satisfactory experience with store-bought eggs, and being aware of the absolute horrors chickens have to endure in the commercial egg production industry, we decided to rebuild our chicken coop and start enjoying our own farm fresh eggs again.

My husband spent all weekend building the new coop and we went to our local feed supplier and bought 4 baby turkeys, 10 chicks and 1 rooster   Like our Rat Terrier, I too find watching the baby chicks completely spellbinding and I have begun to named them based on their personalities.

My favorite is the largest Black Spanish turkey that I have named Hey Zeus.  He is just a baby, but he’s already trying to strut his stuff.  I don’t think the girls are impressed, judging by the expressions on their faces.

Now for my contribution to the new chicken coop; the decor.  My husband is quite the handy man and we always have wood scraps leftover from past DIY projects.  I found these weathered wood scraps and thought they would work out great for making some homemade signs.

Next I gathered up my acrylic paint, paint brushes and paint sponges.  Then I painted the wood a solid color and outlined the edge with a contrasting color, creating a framed effect.

Then I purchased two different stencils.  One was a cursive type and one was block type letters

Using a sharp pencil, I traced out the word Farm Fresh on the wood using the cursive letters and the word EGGS using the block letters.

Then I highlighted the word Farm Fresh in a bright yellow and painted white eggs around the word EGGS.

Next I carefully painted in the words. You will need a steady hand and a very small detail paint brush.

And here’s the finished product.  Add some eye hooks and a chain to hang it and throw on a couple of coats of clear polyurethane to weatherproof and it’s ready for the coop.  Now to decide what to put on the other two signs.

The coop will only be used to protect the babies while they are growing.  As soon as they are big enough, the door to the coop will be left open and they will have free access to the yard and pasture, as nature intended.  If you would like to help support current legislative efforts in banning the barbaric and cruel practice of battery caged chickens in the US egg industry; please visit the Humane Society of the United States website by clicking on this link:  Help Improve the Lives of Laying Hens

The following information was taken from the Penn State Live website.  You can click on the heading below to see the full article.

Research shows eggs from pastured chickens may be more nutritious

The study compared the eggs of the pastured hens to those of hens fed a commercial diet.

“Compared to eggs of the commercial hens, eggs from pastured hens eggs had twice as much vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fats, more than double the total omega-3 fatty acids, and less than half the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids,” she said. “Vitamin A concentration was 38 percent higher in the pastured hens’ eggs than in the commercial hens’ eggs, but total vitamin A per egg did not differ.”

 “Eggs of the hens that foraged grasses had 23 percent more vitamin E than eggs of hens that foraged clover. “Results suggest that grass pastures may enhance vitamin E in eggs of pastured hens more than clover,” she said.”

Waxahachie Courthouse

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I snapped this photo today of the Waxahachie Courthouse.  The two old cars invoked thoughts of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, young outlaw lovers that went on a two-year crime spree (1932-1934) which ended in a bloody ambush lead by Texas Ranger Frank Hamer.  The movie Bonnie and Clyde starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway was scripted by Waxahachie native Robert Benton, and filmed in this area 1967.  Many old-timers still tell stories of their encounters with the outlaws Bonnie and Clyde.

Fun at the Renaissance Fair

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My husband, youngest daughter and I traveled back in time to the 16th Century this weekend with a visit to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival, which is held in Waxahachie Texas weekends each Spring from April until Memorial Day.

1  King Henry and Anne Boleyn.

The festival includes a 35 acre village consisting of artisans that create one-of-a-kind works of art and quaint shops featuring unique handmade jewelry, clothing, leather goods and other fun items.  I couldn’t resist buying a spicy scented bar of handmade organic soap.  Here’s our daughter Caitlin (or Cake as we affectionately call her) with a Gandalf looking Wizard in his sterling jewelery shoppe.

The artists, peddlers and performers all dress and speak in character.  Performance acts include jousting competitions, comedy routines, music, dance and many other unique entertainers on 22 different stages.  All the performances are included in the admission price.

After shopping and checking out a few of the acts we had to stop for some yummy fried festival food.  My husband Scott chose a healthy baked potato (no bacon), but Caitlin and I went for the fried mushrooms and onion rings.

It was a lovely Texas afternoon with clear skies, a light Southern breeze and temperatures in the mid 80’s.

We couldn’t resist a cheesy photo-op as the King and Queen.

Cake fit right in with the Renaissance characters.  Here she is with a couple of Ogres.

This guy is lucky he didn’t get my husbands size 11 boot up his you-know-what after calling out to Cake “Hey, come here horny girl!”  As penance I made him pose for a photo.

We finished the day off by checking out some of the beautiful performing animals.

Majestic birds of prey and obliging elephants.

I felt a little sorry for this long eye-lashed beauty as she patiently carried kid after kid around and around.

What better way to end a perfect day than with a poem inspired by Cake and the Renaissance?

Absinthe eyes

Dancing fairy sprite

  Cast not thy gaze my way

Bewitch another

His heart enslave

And corpse the birds to pick

You of Ebony Eye

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Young, beaten, starved you came
I know you, I said, we are one in the same
You of ebony eye, flashing white caution
Tango is the dance for us
I bend and twist to your lead
You show me the steps
We perfect our dance
I know you, I said, we are one in the same
You of ebony eye, flashing white caution
Trust is the virtue we build
I bend and twist to your lead
I give you sustenance
You nourish my soul
I know you, I said, we are one in the same
You of ebony eye, flashing white caution
Time the harbinger that foreshadows
I bend and twist to your lead
Grizzled and gray we race
You take the lead
Furlong by furlong
I am left in the dust

For Cody, today his 24th birthday.  May we have many more my old friend.

It’s Twister Time in Texas

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Living in Texas, tornadoes are just something we have to deal with.  I have witnessed the wreckage and have been within just a few miles of the path of several storms, but never have I actually seen a tornado up close… until yesterday.

Rachel, my oldest daughter is a Marketer in the medical field and yesterday I decided to tag along on a few of her calls.  Suddenly, as we were driving, the sky began to get very dark and it began to hail.  We stopped under an overpass to get out of the hail and within a minute or two the hail stopped.  Then everything got real still, that’s when all hell broke loose.  I did not film this video but we were one exit to the north, and as we turned to the left and looked behind us, this is what we saw. 

 

Twelve different tornadoes ripped across Texas, leaving behind a path of utter destruction, but as of yet no fatalities and very few injuries, which is a miracle in itself.  I awoke this morning to the birds singing and the sun shining.  In true Texas fashion, the weather today is glorious.  Not a hint of the fury unleashed upon us yesterday.  What a perfect day to count my many blessings, snap a few photos and not look back on what could have been.

 

For the love of Cake

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No, not that kind of cake… Cake is my youngest daughter Caitlin’s nickname. I think all proper Southern folk should have a nickname.

 

 She is everything I wish to be. Kind, laid back, forgiving, she see’s the good before the bad and has endless artistic talent. We gave her a keyboard for Christmas (she has never touched a piano or read music before) and within 2 days she could read music and play a portion of Moonlight Sonata.  She also loves to work on her 1984 Camaro Berlinetta. She replaces headlights, changes the oil, replaces loose belts and various other things I know nothing about.

She and my oldest daughter, Rachel, recently spent a few weeks in England and Scotland. Here are some of her pics.