August 22, 2014

  • 5½ Inches of Rain

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    During the night and then again this morning, we had downpours totaling 5½ inches of rain.
    This is our backyard ~ hadn’t seen this much water in our yard since the spring of 1989 when we had a 7-inch rain.
    That year, all the mulch from our raised flower beds ended up at our neighbors ~ 4 days before our son’s graduation.
    We had been planning to have his reception in the backyard ~ there was a fast change of plans ~ :(

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    I was so distracted by phone calls and other things this morning
    that I didn’t get any photos until after the water had receded quite a bit.

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    They were using a firetruck and sump pumps to drain the water from the town park today;
    our town’s summer festival is to be held there tomorrow ~ might be a bit soggy.

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    Leaf-blowers were used to blow mulch off the street and sidewalks.

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    Our little town was inundated ~ people were detouring around flooded streets,
    wringing water out of the items they had in garage sale booths
    and children were frolicking in knee-deep puddles ~ making fun where they could find it.
    God is good ~ all the time.  :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did He in heaven and in earth . . .
    He maketh lightnings for the rain; He bringeth the wind out of His treasuries.”
    Psalm 135:6-7

August 18, 2014

  • Bacon Festival

    On Saturday, we had a few free hours, so we decided to drive to a nearby town for lunch;
    a processing plant near there was sponsoring their first annual Bacon Festival.

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    ~ loved this semi’s decor ~

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    Since the whole festival was supporting local senior and mentoring charities, there was an entry fee.

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    We had to buy tickets with which we could then purchase our choice of foods from different booths;
    there were some quite unusual offerings on the menu ~ :)

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    Two streets were blocked off and there was a large crowd in attendance.

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    One section was reserved for booths which were giving out samples;
    each of them had placed entries into the cook-off.

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    The cook-off had two categories ~ one for taste and one for appearance;
    the entries in the appearance category almost made me drool!

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    ~ activities for the kiddos ~ face-painting, treasure hunts in the straw, etc. ~

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    ~ the aroma from all the food booths ~ absolutely mouth-watering ~

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    ~ maple bacon cake pops, bacon breadsticks, bacon pizza ~

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    We had to taste one of the maple bacon cake pops.

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    Someone else was sampling the bacon cinnamon rolls and the maple bacon bourbon cupcakes;
    they testified that they were scrumptious ~ sounded a bit strange, but I expect they were good anyway ~ :)

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    We really enjoyed the booths that were giving out samples ~ yum!

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    We would have stayed longer and sampled more things if we hadn’t been on a schedule,
    but I’m not so sure that would have been wise ~ we might have made pigs of ourselves! (pun intended) ~ :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “O taste and see that the LORD is good:  blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.”
    Psalm 34:8

August 14, 2014

  • Catching Up

    Wow ~ summer has absolutely FLOWN by! ~ and I know I will never be able to catch up now
    with all the photos, so I’m just going to give you a few snapshots of the last several months in our life.

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    In February, Brandon turned 7 and celebrated with a Carz party.

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    Jordan turned 6 in April ~ his parents did an amazing job with his golf course cake ~ :)

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    There was even a putting contest ~ his uncle Mark won.

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    ~ opening gifts with his Dad ~

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    Spring brought birds checking out the available accomodations.

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    A house wren explored this dwelling but decided not to use it ~ :(

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    Our oldest grandson, Burke, graduated from high school this year.

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    ~ with his family ~

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    May the Lord bless him with a bright future ~ he now has a full-time job
    doing what he enjoys ~ we are so happy for him.

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    Bronté’s class had a promotion ceremony ~ she and Andrea are both new freshmen this year;
    and Madelyn is a senior ~ how does this all happen so quickly?

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    Jordan and his kindergarten class had a little graduation ceremony ~ he and Brandon are both in first grade this fall.
    They sure have a good time when they get together ~ :)

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    ~ neighbor’s cat snoozing on our front porch on a rainy day ~

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    ~ red-winged blackbird ~ a sure sign of spring in our parts ~

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    It seemed like we had so many birds trying to get through our windows this year;
    this is a chipping sparrow ~ peering into our family room.

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    ~ house finch ~ perched on the office window ~

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    Valerie turned 10 in May and has now entered fifth grade.

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    I stopped by my sister’s home one day and snapped a few pictures of her art studio.

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    We seem to have an abundance of chipmunks, piney squirrels and 13-lined ground squirrels
    this year; they are becoming a bit of a nuisance, even though they are cute.

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    This one has literally stuffed his cheeks with seeds that dropped from the bird feeder.
    We are considering having a pest control company come out to check our attic and crawl space
    as we have been hearing a bit of scurrying above our heads
    and have noticed burrowed holes near the foundation;
    don’t want these crazy critters making themselves at home where they should not be!

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    ~ Brandon ~ ready for a game ~

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    His dad operated the pitching machine sometimes.

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    Jordan played ball this summer too.

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    I just happened to capture this shot when he got a hit!

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    ~ at the summer festival in his small town ~

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    It’s been a beautiful summer ~ just wish it would continue for a while longer.

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    “Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: Thou hast made summer and winter.”
    Psalm 74:17

July 16, 2014

  • Bandanas

    I keep thinking I am going to post these photos of one of our favorite restaurants;
    and today is the day!  :D
    The pictures are from several visits in different towns in Illinois;
    each one has their own flair with the decor, but the food is always scrumptious!

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    One could spend a lot of money there on a meal if they so desired,
    but most of the meals are quite reasonable.

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    ~ my meal at one of the restaurants ~
    I think their potato salad is especially tasty.

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    We absolutely love their sweet potato fries.

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    ~ lots of barbecue sauces from which to choose ~

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    The waitresses all have bandanas hanging from the back pockets of their jeans
    and some have them tied around their necks.  Cowboy hats are common too.

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    ~ suckers for the kiddos ~

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    ~ Clayton’s meal from another visit ~

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    ~ my barbecued chicken ~ oh, so good! ~
    I can almost smell it from here ~ :)

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    Have any of you ever eaten there?  We highly recommend it.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing
    into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
    And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
    I Timothy 6:6-8

June 20, 2014

  • Wonderful Weekend

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    I spent seven days at our oldest son’s home last week ~ helping sew dresses for a granddaughter.
    While there, we spotted deer many times ~ this was my favorite “capture” of the week.
    I took the photo through the door of their family room ~ the deer was down by the creek.

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    Very early one morning, I saw eight at once in the bean field which is alongside their home;
    I was only able to get six of them into one photo.

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    Clayton joined me on Thursday evening ~ our granddaughter, Bronté, was baptized that evening;
    I snapped this photo of her just before leaving to go to the meetinghouse.

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    ~ little boys sitting beside the spring-fed baptismal ~

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    After she changed into dry clothes, I convinced her brother, Burke, to pose with her for a picture.

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    ~ delicious snacks served afterward in church basement ~

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    It was so much fun to sew all week ~ their dining room looked like a clothing factory ~ :)

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    On Friday evening, we attended the hog roast held in their church district.

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    ~ tail end of the well-done hog ~

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    It was quite dressed up ~ very festive.

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    The table stretched on and on and on!

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    The hosts’ home was so beautiful ~ I just loved their patio furniture.

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    ~ gorgeous arrangements ~

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    I thought the bird seed sack used under the centerpiece was so cool ~ what a great idea!  :)

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    ~ luscious food ~

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    Their back lawn was very spacious ~ with stunning flower beds and lots of space for all kinds of activity.

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    The little gray building had a small greenhouse/potting shed on the back.

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    Their garden was inside the white picket fence, with nary a weed in sight.

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    Our granddaughter, Andrea (red shirt), stood on one of the stumps, trying to pull the other girl off her stump;
    I think she won several matches until she ended up with a rope burn on her hand ~ :(

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    ~ lots of volleyball ~
    (granddaugher, Madelyn, on left in white jacket ~ grandson, Burke, in black/white-striped shirt.)

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    In another area of the expansive lawn, the little ones were playing all kinds of games.
    (grandson, Brandon, in white shirt)

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    Several people later sat around the campfire and sang hymns ~ it was a beautiful evening.

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    Then on Saturday evening, Bronté and Andrea helped with announcements at teen camp.
    On Sunday, Father’s Day, we attended services, bid good-bye to family and friends,
    then headed home to catch up again on mail and rest ~ :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
    Luke 15:10

June 3, 2014

  • Holmes County Hiatus

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    In the middle of May, we spent a day and a half in Holmes County, Ohio for our anniversary;
    it is one of our favorite destinations when we just want to slow down for a bit.

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    One has no choice but to slow down during a visit there, because around every bend in the road,
    or over the top of every hill, there might be a horse-drawn buggy or farm implement.

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    There are plenty of hills ~ and every single byway seems to be filled with curves and bends in the road.

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    School was out for the year ~ had to wonder why these horses were tied outside one of them ~

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    ~ a bicycle mishap for a couple young Amish girls ~

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    It was planting season in Holmes County ~ we so enjoyed seeing all the activity in the fields.

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    We saw teams pulling sprayers, rakes, harrows, mowers, plows and planters ~ a bustling, busy time for them.

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    Everywhere we went, there was another horse, of course ~ :)

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    We ate lunch at a large restaurant which serves home-cooked meals ~ this was how they divided their rooms.

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    It was really fun to see all the new lambs and colts frolicking about in the green pastures.

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    It was a Monday ~ wash day ~ their clotheslines sometimes stretch to the top of a barn roof.

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    ~ loved the reflections on the road ~

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    On Tuesday morning, even before breakfast, we again headed out through the country to see what we could see.
    We later stopped at a local farmer’s restaurant and feasted on fried mush.

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    I think one of these little guys stuck his tongue out at me ~ :D

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    We had seen this same farmer the day before, in the very same place in his field,
    with his trusty dog seated nearby . . .

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    . . . and the same beautiful horses in the pasture next to his field.

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    Since I tried to be discreet in my picture-taking so as not to offend them,
    I often had photographs with strings of barbed wire cutting through the scene.
    Hubby was fascinated to see a 5-horse team . . .

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    . . . and he was also interested to see this long-horned mother with her baby.

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    I enjoyed seeing this killdeer which stood still and posed for me.

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    All too soon, it was time to eat another wonderful lunch and leave for home;
    we followed this farmer heading back to his fields.  We can’t wait to return another time.
    If you have never been there, we highly recommend a visit ~ just be sure you take a big appetite ~ the food is amazing!
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us;
    and we turn about their whole body.”
    James 3:3

May 29, 2014

  • Rare Privilege

    On Tuesday evening, as we drove down an Ohio highway, I glanced into a side road and saw
    what I thought was a doe and perhaps her fawn.  I persuaded hubby to turn the car around
    and slowly approach with his window down, so I could aim my camera right through the window.

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    Lo and behold, she had twins!!!  We couldn’t believe she was still there,
    but she just looked at us and stayed put while her little ones very unsteadily walked about a bit.

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    It appeared to us that they may have been just born as they were still pretty wobbly on those spindly legs.

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    They seemed very uncertain what to do and the momma kept nuzzling them with encouragement.

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    We were kind of in a hurry and hubby was getting anxious to move on, but it was hard to leave!

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    The mother stood so still and didn’t seem to mind us much.
    As soon as we coasted forward a bit, though, she walked into the woods.

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    The little fawns seemed a bit disoriented without her, but eventually followed.

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    “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.”
    Psalm 42:1 (NASB)

May 21, 2014

  • Traveling Home from Florida ~ Carnton Plantation

    On our way home from Florida, we stopped at the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee.

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    We visited the site many years ago, touring the battle site nearby and the cemetery,
    but didn’t have time to tour the mansion itself.  Another time, when we intended to go through it
    with my mother and my aunt, we arrived in the middle of a blizzard and decided not to stop at all.

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    This photo of the back of the home was taken on our first visit in 2008.

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    Now there are shutters and several beautiful rockers on the portico that weren’t there that time ~ restoration of the site continues.

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    ~ front view of the Carnton mansion ~
    Construction began at Carnton in 1815.

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    Carnton is the setting for a Civil War novel written by Robert Hicks ~ “The Widow of the South”,
    which is based on the true story of the mistress of the plantation, Carrie Winder McGavock.

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    A beautiful flower garden sits to one side of the home.

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    In 1909, a tornado ripped the kitchen area off ~ you can still see the outline of it on one side.

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    No photographs were allowed inside ~ the home was used as a Confederate hospital during and after
    the Civil War Battle of Franklin, which occurred on November 30, 1864.
    There are still many bloodstains on the floors upstairs ~ it is difficult to imagine the horrible suffering that happened there.

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    ~ the springhouse ~

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    ~ slave cabin ~
    It was highly unusual for slaves to dwell in a brick structure;
    the guide said it was believed the slaves of Carnton were treated well, comparatively speaking.

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    ~ inside the slave dwelling ~

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    If you enjoy reading Civil War stories, I highly recommend the book ~ I enjoyed it very much.
    And if you are in the area, the tours are fascinating;
    nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers who died in the battle
    are buried in the cemetery which is on the property.
    To read the 2008 post about the battle, the cemetery and the area, go to this post:

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “Who is this King of glory?  The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.”
    Psalm 24:8

May 12, 2014

  • Florida Fun for Five Days ~ Part 4

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    The next morning, we headed just a bit north to this state park ~ I was really hoping to see the masses
    of azaleas and rhododendrons in bloom, but alas, we were just a few days late
    as the drenching downpour of rain on the previous Saturday knocked the majority of blooms off the shrubs ~ :(

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    The water there is so very clear and the pools are an aquamarine color ~ stained from the minerals in the water.

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    You can see clear to the bottom where the little springs litter the floor
    and are constantly bubbling fresh water into the pools ~ so beautiful.

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    The water is 72º there too ~ all year round.

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    The fallen trees and hanging moss make such interesting vistas.

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    Most of the waterfalls in the park are man-made.

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    I just had to photograph these camellias ~ my lovely Mother’s favorite flower.
    Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! (just one day late online) :)

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    ~ a few remnant flowers ~
    I had to really search to find blossoms which were protected enough not to have been shattered from the rain.

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    I could only imagine how extraordinarily beautiful the park must have been a few days earlier with all the blooming shrubs.

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    This catbird sat within a couple feet of me and my camera ~ posing quite nicely ~ :)

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    After leaving the park, we drove out to the gulf via a different route.

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    Egrets were fishing in the shallows.

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    ~ white ibis ~

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    This picture almost makes me itch!  Several of us were waiting on the dock before boarding the pontoon for a river tour;
    the ride took us clear to the gulf, weaving through the salt marsh grass which lined the shoreline.
    As we waited, we were all attacked by a horde of sand fleas ~ I ended up with 40-50 bites on my feet and ankles,
    despite my ridiculous dancing around ~ with my hands trying to wave them away.
    I suffered mightily from those horrible bites for the next 2-3 weeks!  It took a doctor visit
    and 2 kinds of medication to end the torment ~ apparently, I am highly allergic to the despicable little things ~ ugh! :(

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    We didn’t even see much on the tour ~ a couple osprey and this juvenile bald eagle.
    At least the fleas didn’t bother us while we were on the boat.

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    On our return, we spotted this stunning peacock along the road on the way to the restaurant where we ate supper.

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    We wanted to eat on the deck of the restaurant, but soon learned we couldn’t,
    because those pesky insects had invaded that space too!

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    We quickly moved inside and I thoroughly enjoyed more fried oysters and shrimp.

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    On the way back to our motel, I saw a belted kingfisher;
    such a strikingly beautiful bird sighting to end the day ~ :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences.
    And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.”
    Luke 21:11 (ESV)

May 5, 2014

  • Breaking for Spring

    I’ve decided to take a brief break from our Florida pictures and just splurge with spring for a bit;
    it’s been so long in coming after the long winter ~ I simply want to savor it ~

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    Bradford pear trees in full bloom line the driveway at the home of our oldest son and his family during our recent visit.

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    The blossoms are so delicate ~ the bees love them.

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    Their creek was running freely this spring after lots of rain;
    one of my favorite things in springtime are the tiny, green leaves popping out on the trees.

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    A blue jay serenaded the morning for me while I photographed the creek.

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    ~ flowers of spring at their home ~

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    ~ grape hyacinths ~ 

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    My very favorite spring flowers are the bluebells ~ they grow wild in our son’s woods ~ along the creek.

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    ~ photo taken from beneath the bluebells ~ looking to the skies ~

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    I picked a tiny bouquet of them for our daughter-in-love.

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    ~ prairie trillium ~ 

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    ~ white trillium ~

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    ~ red-winged blackbird ~
    This bird is a sure sign of spring around our parts ~ it is unusual to see one at our feeders like this, though.

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    We have a confused goldfinch which has been perching on the sill of our office window . . .

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    . . . singing to us ~ peering inside, then flinging itself repeatedly at the window ~

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    The sound of its beating upon the window could be annoying, but so far, it is just amusing ~ :)

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    Part of the time, it goes round the corner and perches on the other office window ~ not sure what it thinks is in here;
    sometimes birds do this when they see their reflection in the windows, thinking its a rival.

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    So we just enjoy its antics in the meantime, until it figures out the truth ~ :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    ” . . . ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
    John 8:32