Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lazy Days of Summer

According to the calendar, we're still in the spring season. According to the warm temps, summer has already arrived in Georgia. That means lazy days in the pool, water-logged kids, and piling on the sun-screen. With Jamie's baby bump already showing, the pool provides her with a much needed respite from rising temps. Click here for a photo slideshow of the big and little kids playing in the pool.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Shy...or Sensitive?

I tend to humanize animals, making them talk or exhibit emotions we humans do. Pete and I have loads of fun putting words in the mouths of our fur children (we don't get out much). Looking at this photo, I wonder if the gosling is simply shy... or if the drop of water dangling from its bill is a lone tear. Most likely the gosling just finished taking a drink. But it's more fun to imagine it is camera shy. Actually he reminds me of our 2-year old grandson, Jameson, after he's been scolded for being naughty (which is a LOT of the time).

Natural High

The forecasted rain held off until after lunch today. Actually, it sprinkled rather than rained. We are still in a drought and need rain desperately. Darlene and I went to our second favorite pond and walked around to see what we could find. Almost as soon as we hit the trail, we spotted a butterfly flitting along the path in and out of the tall grasses. Sadly, the maximum life span of a butterfly ranges from about 4 days to 2 weeks. This means that the butterfly we saw last week is most likely dead. That's a bummer. Just as with people, females generally live longer than males. As it should be.

Here's another interesting fact... a butterfly drinks nectar through its tongue which resembles a straw. Wow! I'm impressed that I remember this stuff from science class. Which means I did NOT sleep through my senior year. And speaking of my senior year, this month marks 35 years since my high school graduation. Thank goodness I'm not a butterfly!

Our next find was a weed with an amazingly vibrant bloom. I'm no expert in the field of flowerology (yeah, I made that up) and I often have a difficult time distinguishing a weed from an flower. As I've said before, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Duck, Duck...Goose!

Not long ago, the appearance of geese in a neighborhood pond was unusual. So rare were these birds, whose populations had been decimated by human exploitation, that the mere sight of one was cause to celebrate. Now, however, Canada geese are considered problems in many communities, and feelings have turned against them. My photo buddy Darlene and I spend many lunch hours at the pond in Summer Grove. Ignoring the sign that implores park visitors to refrain from feeding the geese, we secret in bits of stale bread or bagels in order to lure them closer to our cameras. Imagine our excitement last week when we spotted two adults and their three yellow goslings. During the second year of their lives, Canada Geese find a mate. They are monogamous, and most couples stay together all of their lives. If one is killed, the other may find a new mate. Humans should take note of this.

The doting parents will protect and nurture their tiny goslings until fall. Then the young birds will migrate with their parents so that they may learn the traditional migratory patterns. In the meantime they will provide hours of photography material for our practice.

Click on the photo below to view a slideshow of more baby pictures. Say "Cheese"!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Storms & Insects

Today's weather has been a mixed bag. This is typical for Georgia. Right in the middle of Dancing With The Stars finale (go Kristi Yamaguchi!), lightening hit closeby and knocked out power temporarily. I panicked. Whoa...deep cleansing breaths. The power quickly restored itself within seconds and all is well within my little world. It doesn't take much to make me happy. Okay...that's a stretch. Just don't mess with my favorite TV programs, especially during season finale time. Right now it is storming like crazy and the sky is an eerie yellow and black. Rain is coming down so hard I cannot see the back yard. It sure makes me happy to be inside the safety of our cozy home. Fortunately the storms held off until afternoon. Therefore, my photo buddy Darlene and I took our daily noon time stroll around the lake to see if we could spot anything unusual. Here's what we found.

P.S. The final photo was taken from our back deck as the storm was approaching. I tried to catch a photo of lightening but retreated to the comfort of our bedroom. I'd rather be safe than sorry. Besides...if lightening struck and I fried, who would feed my fur babies the the morning?

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Yes, I know thistle is a weed. According to Wikipedia, thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles all over the plant - on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptation to protect the plant against herbivorous animals, discouraging them from feeding on the plant. For most of us, weed is a nasty four letter word that stands for the pesky vegetation that invades the pristine beauty of our lawns. However, some weeds can be very pretty. For a weed, and one with prickles, thistle can be very beautiful. So can wild daisies, honeysuckle, and a variety of other flowering weeds. is in the eye of the beholder.
Click on the thistle blossom photo to view a slideshow of more wildflowers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day

If you're a mother, I hope you had a memorable Mother's Day. If you're not a mother, I hope you remembered that special someone in your life who exemplifies the embodiment of motherhood. My Mother's Day was exceptional, beginning with presents from my loving husband and fur children, to a surprise floral bouquet from my step-daughter Kelly and her family, and dinner from my daughter Jamie. Upon waking in the morning, Pete took me by surprise by a display of photographic equipment, with the main event being a shiny new Nikon D300. Woo hoo! I'm excited to give it a try as soon as I program all the settings. In the meantime, I still enjoy my first love (not to be confused with my everlasting love, Pete) - my beloved Nikon D200. Check out the latest nature photos I took yesterday and today by clicking here. Included in the nature photos are shots of the floral bouquet that the Engstroms sent to me for Mother's Day. Enjoy the delicious eye candy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Little Peeps

Two of the four eggs have finally hatched (see post Tuesday April 22nd). The little peeps are about 2-1/2 weeks old and require constant feeding from their attentive parents. Baby birds, like human babies, grow way too quickly. Today we celebrate Jameson's 2nd birthday. With the face of an angel and a strong-willed independence, he exhibits a hint of things to come. Twenty-one months younger than his brother Ayden, Jameson's little body is in constant motion. The child cannot sit still or stay in one place for long. How can two little boys be so different? Happy birthday, Jameson!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Baby Makes 8!

There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your children mature into adulthood and having families of their own. Becoming a grandparent is an event many people look forward to with great anticipation in later life. The first snapshot that reaches your anxious hands, the first time holding your grandchild's tiny, sweet-smelling body in your arms. The first time hearing the long awaited words "grandma," or "grandpa" from cherub lips all will make your heart melt with pride, joy, and love.

We are already blessed with six beautiful grandchildren: Petra 7, Soren 5, Ayden 3-1/2, Annike 3, Jameson 2, and Milo 1-1/2. Imagine our excitement upon hearing the news of another grandchild to makes its arrival in December. What could be better? TWO new grandchildren making their debut this year! Kelly and Lars are expecting their 4th child around Thanksgiving; Jamie and Jason are expecting their 3rd little one shortly before Christmas.

All of us want to be remembered when we leave this earth. It is important to us to have lived a life of significance. Most of us do not desire worldwide fame or expect to be remembered hundreds of years from now, but we do want our children and grandchildren to have fond memories of us. Thus, there is an innate desire to leave a legacy with our family. Leaving a legacy -- a gift to our children and grandchildren -- is the result of love and life-changing experiences for future generations to come.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

April Showers Bring... December Babies?

After a cool start to the week, the warm temps have returned in time for the weekend. Soon the warmth will turn into blistering heat and all vegetation is at risk in the continuing Georgia drought. For now, annual flowers are in full bloom and pansies haven't yet wilted in the heat of summer. As the days grow warmer and the sun rises higher on the horizon, the lazy days of summer return once more. Ahhhh, summer... days spent floating in the cool water of backyard pools, outdoor picnics, and families gathering for traditional holiday celebrations. The coming seasons will be particularly memorable for our family. As we pass from summer, to fall, to winter, the Paynes are preparing to add a new member to the family, making us grandparents for the 7th time. We couldn't ask more for Christmas than to welcome a new baby. Be sure to check out Jamie's blog for more news about Baby Whozit. Think pink...think pink...

For the time being, click on the flower below to view a slideshow of spring flowers taken during my lunch today.