Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quotography - Summer

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass
on a summer day listening to the murmur of the water,
or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.

- John Lubbock

(Go here to Quotography for more inspiring quotes)
Have a great day everyone! Kim

Friday, June 24, 2011

Foto Friday . . . has gone to the birds!

This week's photos have literally gone to the birds, 
but before they did we went to the seawall in Galveston to watch the sunrise on Father's day.
It was quite hazy that morning and very cloudy, but I waited . . . patiently!
And finally, some of the clouds cleared. It always amazes me how differently it looks
from minute to minute.

(Don't forget you can click on any photo to view larger)

It's always a hard choice to choose a favorite, but since I chose a bird one last week, I'll go with this one...
(And I excitedly add, that my photo last week was chosen as one of the top 5!)

And then on Tuesday, I loaded the car and headed for the beach. Well, okay actually we never really unload it because we're there so much. So camera and sunscreen in hand I'm on my way and what do I run into? RAIN!! Yes, a downpour with the wipers on high - I think I had forgotten how to drive in it since we had only seen an inch of the stuff since January. It stopped, it started, and I had to make a decision - nope not turning around and boy I'm  glad I didn't . . . I would have missed all of this . . .

This is a Double-crested Cormorant and he was sitting and watching the surf right where I parked my car. Yes, how cool is it to be able to drive right onto the beach! To my amazement he let me get quite close, close enough to capture his brilliant turquoise eyes. After swimming and diving for food they need to spend time drying their wings since their feathers are not waterproof. Often you will see them sitting and stretching their wings to let them dry.

Oh, and then one of my favorites (I do have many) the Black Skimmer. It's pretty breathtaking to watch
them work a beach as they gracefully float across the water. They are known for their very low precision flying with their lower mandible in the water in hopes of catching small fish and crustaceans.
In the photo below you can see how the lower mandible is longer than the top which aids in their hunt for food.

This day didn't just go to the birds, but some dogs too. Some very sweet dogs. As I was walking I was admiring how these dogs actually get the concept of fetch! You see my dog, he doesn't get it much.
And I was honored when the little one brought me over his frisbee to throw for him! A thank you to
my new friends both human and canine for letting me play too.

And then to my amazement (yes, more amazement) was this Reddish Egret, who was so focused on his breakfast that he didn't seem bothered by the dogs. And the dogs, so focused on fetch didn't seem to notice.
It's quite entertaining to watch one of these hunt for food as they run in circles, darting about doing the egret 'dance'.

They spread their wings to create shade, to reduce glare so they can better see their prey.

And then as I was playing in the water catching little fish in my net, this bird just appeared. He floated ashore on a large wave and plopped himself in some seaweed. I had no idea what is was. At all. I've never seen a bird like this before. And it was by no means a small bird. I very slowly approached it, he didn't seem injured and was very alert. I could not believe he was letting me get so close!

After doing some research, I found that this is a Northern Gannet and that this one is immature. After their first year they gradually acquire more white until they reach full maturity which is usually after 5 years when they become mostly white with black tipped wings.
(And I have to add, he allowed me within a foot of him!! WOW)

They have the most beautiful light blue eyes and a light bluish bill. They have an incredible 6 foot wingspan and are known for being great divers being able to plunge into the ocean at high speeds.

And although very strong fliers, pretty clumsy at take-off!
But as I found out, he did have his limit's . . .

Wow, what a day! To be able to capture so many different birds . . . This last picture is of probably my most favorite, the Brown Pelican. I was there all day, and the only reason I knew it was time to go was that the sun was setting. I didn't want the day to end, but then again I never do! 

The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet.
A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense his life....
The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes,
and knowing no bounds -- how many human aspirations
are realised in their free holiday lives -- and how many suggestions
to the poet in their flight and song!

- John Burroughs

Let's all master that of the beautiful vagabond that knows no bounds
and let the world hear our song.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!

Love, Kim

Sharing more Friday love:


Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Quotography - Happiness

As most of you know, I have an affinity for quotes.
They are inspiring and thought provoking 
and we can all use a little of that!
So how fun to find a place where others link up
with their quotes and photography
each week with a theme!

This weeks theme: Happiness

"Faith is the virtue of the storm,
just as happiness is the virtue of sunshine."

-Ruth Benedict

{Linked up here to Quotography where you'll find more inspiring quotes and photographs}

Have a great day, Kim

Friday, June 17, 2011

Foto Friday - In the Garden

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience,
everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.
Gardening is an instrument of grace."

- May Sarton

This was officially our first full week of summer break and an extremely busy one at that!
I spent 3 hours alone standing in line at the DPS with my daughter, who I remember just yesterday
was two, as it seems she is now old enough to drive - really?  I don't remember this happening!

This week I'm linking up with Love that Shot for a chance to win some stuff! They are celebrating their
first birthday with a giveaway and today's theme is in the garden.

This one is of a newly planted hosta that is already blooming.

This year I'm trying a new plant in my garden called Cleome or Spider flower. It will be quite the
test for this plant as we have only had an inch of rain since January and are now on mandatory water
restrictions....Monday's and Wednesday's . . . good luck to all my plants!

And these . . . they just seemed to mushroom overnight! Haha
I told you it's been a long week and
I think I'm getting punchy. I'm glad I took this when I did because when I went back out an hour
later, they had disappeared. 

Hey, how did this get here?
Oh wait, I remember, he was actually walking through someones garden!
He is just a babe, and was quite curious as he came right over to the car.

Wildflowers, they seem to make their own garden!

While walking around Galveston I spotted this pomegranate.

A Gulf Fritilary finding a snack . . .

And well, you know I have a fascination with the honey bee . . .

I'm looking forward to getting a macro lens someday to really get even more close-up
and personal with nature.

No, I can't place this photo anywhere near a garden unless sand dunes count?
But I just had to stop by the beach and say hi - I'm hoping this is where you will
find me this weekend.

The most noteworthy thing about a gardener is that they are always optimistic, always
enterprising and never satisfied. They always look for ways to do something
better than they have ever done before.

- Vita Sackville-West

So for this weekend I hope you find yourself in your 'garden', wherever that might be
that will slow you down and where you'll find patience. After this week it's certainly
where you will find me . . . and striving to do better than the week before.

Love, Kim

P.S. Don't forget to click the link and check out more photos "In the Garden"

And another link up here:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Foto Friday - Keeping boundaries

It's something we use as a barrier
to mark a boundary
or prevent an entrance 
We use them to separate 
one thing from another 
and to establish possession 
It's used for privacy 
and sometimes just to enhance the appearance 
of a garden 
Security and safety are good reasons 
to use these 
to keep children and pets from wandering 
and to prevent trespassing or theft 
We build these around ourselves 
to keep out that which we fear might hurt us 
Often we find things growing on them
or being used for support
They are not impassable 
and sometimes we jump them 
At times we build them to keep us from something that is not there 
and yet sometimes they are not restrictive enough 
We need them physically to keep us from harm
and spiritually to keep us from sin 
and we should always keep them mended 
We often sit on them because we cannot commit ourselves 
But one thing is for certain 
because life is lived in a forward motion it cannot be lived upon one . . . 
. . . a fence.
                                             - kim

Fear is the highest fence - Dudley Nichols

 Grapes, needing the support of a fence....

And things with wings that are not effected by the boundaries of fences...

Fences that are needed to keep boundaries for the sake of safety.

This cute little puppy came to investigate after she realized I was there and is
using the fence to get a closer look. If you look closely in her eye on the right you can see
the reflection of the fence and a dark figure at the top of it, that is me.

Who doesn't love a white picket fence and especially one with decorative finials and a border of roses.

And some are used to prevent movement across a boundary . . .

Then there are outdoor rooms, sanctuaries, created by them...

Things can be displayed on them . . .

While some take comfort on the other side of them . . .

And some are old, but decorative and used to enhance a garden . . .

As I was going through my photos from this week, noticing the theme of fences it made me think about how it's somewhat comforting to have a certain amount of boundaries in my life just as long as they don't cut me off from the rest of the world. Which is certainly different than the feeling of being fenced in because of too many. Boundaries to keep me safe and those that keep me from doing the things I shouldn't. It made me think about how I have unnecessarily put up fences along the way and even some without gates that neither allows an entrance or an exit, and how I'm learning to jump them despite it. Sometimes I can even tend towards being a fence sitter in my indecisiveness created out of fear,  but have learned much about the importance of forward motion even though I may be stumbling.

Have a great weekend, and let's help each other remember
that if we must at times sit on the fence,
we can't do it for long because life is passing by.

Love, Kim

Friday, June 3, 2011

Foto Friday - A treasure on the beach . . .

If you haven't noticed already, then I have to confess . . . yes, I am a nature nerd.
I have loved nature ever since I was old enough to remember,
playing with crawdads in the creek behind my house, and growing maple trees from the helicopter seeds.
That desire to be close to nature has only grown stronger as I get older,  and there is magnificent beauty in all of it. But the beauty isn't just in the seeing of it, as much as how it all works together 
especially when the hand of man does not disrupt it.

Develop an interest in life as you see it;
the people, things, literature, music -
the world is rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures,
beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.

- Henry Miller

Most of the treasures I find are not riches like money or jewels that are hoarded, but rather the kind of gems that one holds precious in nature, that are not stored but are priceless.

While at the beach last weekend hundreds of thousands of little treasures were being exposed with the washing of each wave, and I was barely quick enough to get a picture before they disappeared.

These little gems are called coquina clams and are an extremely important part of a healthy beach eco-system, and when the sand and water are clean they will multiply. And multiply the have . . .

They are a bivalve mollusk that hangs out in the tidal zones of sandy beaches and are always very active, actually migrating up and down the beach with the tide. When the waves come in and they are exposed they are sometimes carried back by the retreating waves and as the water starts to settle they quickly bury themselves just under the speed of light. Interestingly they bury themselves vertically which sure takes up a lot less of their viable real estate.

You can see that they come in a lot of colors, my favorite being the ones that are striped and I'm kinda
partial to the pink ones too! These guys are filter feeders and because of this are considered an indicator
species and important link in the food webs. They feed on small particles of algae and are in turn fed upon by fish and shorebirds. They even find their way into soups!

In this picture you can see their siphons (one for inhaling food and the other for exhaling waste) and in some you can see their foot or large muscle that they use to bury themselves with.

Here, a seagull chasing a black skimmer that just caught a fish in hopes of stealing it! Little bugger....

Here was a girl that day that decided to see how far she could bury her legs in the sand,
and I happened to capture a moment where she was watching a clam . . . bury itself! 

I love the beach and am drawn to it everyday like a butterfly to nectar.
And it's true that when you forget yourself and open your eyes to all the things around you that you
look at but do not see, you realize that this world is bigger than a you and a me.

Have a wonderful weekend - look around I'm sure you find a treasure too!

Love, Kim

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