Thursday, May 30, 2013

Skywatch Friday

This is the marina at my favorite lake in the area.  We have seven small lakes within five miles of the house and two huge lakes (Beaver & Table Rock) within an hour drive.  Actually Beaver Lake is only about twenty minutes from my driveway.  Back to my favorite...Loch Lomond, in Bella Vista, Arkansas is about five miles from my front door.  It a little short of 600 acres and has access that is restricted to property owners.  That means that during the week, there may only be a dozen boats actually on the lake fishing.  Last Wednesday I had my best day ever, bass fishing on this body of water.  One bass weighed over five pounds and two others were over the three pound mark.  Of course, any day on the water is a good day.  Have a blessed week-end.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Place to Call Home

This unassuming artificial arrangement was place on our back deck, by my wife, as part of the decorations for the prom dinner that we hosted several weeks ago.  Just before the storms that devastated Moore, Oklahoma rolled through here I noticed some activity on the deck.  There were a pair of Nuthatches frantically working to build a nest.  You guessed it.

We have new neighbors! The artificial arrangement arrangement was apparently the perfect location for their new home.  It is a perfect location.  It's under the covered part of the deck, out of the weather.  It's almost always in the shade and sheltered from strong winds.  There are a couple of live potted plants adjacent to it so cats can't get access to this location.

Mom is on the nest and she's sitting on five eggs.  It's going to get pretty crowded in there very soon.  This is the second time this has happened in the past four years.  We had a live potted plant sitting on the picnic table that also is on the deck.  A pair of Nuthatches found that to be a suitable residence and raised their family there one spring.  We've also had Barn Swallows build a nest on the covered portion of the front porch.  They're extremely messy after the little ones hatch, but that's a story for another day.  I'm guessing that we will have baby Nuthatches in about a week.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

What a Revolting Development This Is!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ruby Tuesday II

My son-in-law is a jeep fanatic.  He would LOVE to have this new 4-door Jeep in Razorback red.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I have to admit, I got a late start on the hunt this week.  Growing up in Oklahoma and now living in Arkansas, the storms this week had my full attention.  In fact we were without power from Monday evening until Tuesday afternoon.  The storm systems that moved through Oklahoma found their way across the border and into Arkansas.  There was much less damage here, but there were two tornadoes in the area Monday night.  Okay, on with the hunt.

For our family the word "vacation" means one thing, Stillwaters Resort on Table Rock Lake, just outside of Branson Missouri.  We rent a condo, I take my boat, and we swim, fish, tube, nap, shop, and just enjoy a week being a family.  The grandkids like this place better than Disney World.

 A local farmers market features this little food trailer serving fried to order, mini donuts.   You can order 8 or 12. If you order them dusted with cinnamon, eight will not be enough.  Trust me.

 If you think this little '35 Olds Coupe, with rumble seat, looks good, it "Sounds" even better!  A friend brought it over so we could use it to photograph some Prom pics.  It is one sweet ride.

  To be perfectly honest, everything has some sort of texture, even glass.  I just thought that this batch of mixed lettuce that I found at the farmer's market had an interesting combination of color and texture.  Just a few more veggies, and maybe a little grilled chicken breast and we have ourselves a great salad.

It is Memorial Day week-end, so I thought it only fitting to remember my father, who served in the U.S. Navy during WWII.  While Memorial Day was originally set aside to remember those who lost their lives serving our country, it has evolved into remembering any of our loved ones who have passed away, regardless of the circumstances.  Dad passed away in 2009 and I do miss him often.  He was special in so many ways.  Have a blessed week end.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ruby Tuesday II

If you're ever in Bentonville/Bella Vista, Arkansas you can see this for yourself in the spring of the year.  It is the entry walkway to the Mildred B. Cooper Chapel in Bella Vista, designed by E. Fay Jones.  It is worth the visit.  While the azaleas are what makes this image a Ruby Tuesday post, who wouldn't want that Dogwood in their home landscape.  In full bloom, this specimen is about a close to perfect as one could hope for.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I have to admit, I had to scramble a bit to cover all of the prompts for this week.  What might be the easiest photo for some to capture, proved to be the most challenging for me.  Here we go.


Here are three generations of my girls.  My wife and the most extraordinary Nana that any grand kids could ask for, our daughter a loving and caring mother, and the three grand daughters, the most lovable crew ever.

 This proved to be the most challenging to locate.  I had to go back into the archives to come up with this solution.  These are the hands of the oldest grand daughter (from photo above) at prom last year.  The ring belonged to her great grandmother and my mom.  She wore it again this year.  It is special to her and to us.

 Locally there is a home/museum that depicts life in this area during the late 1800's.  It is called the Peel Mansion.  And while it may not be a mansion by today's standards, it was certainly a showplace in this rural part of the world for many years.  The actual mansion is not shown in this image, since the prompt was fence.  The structure shown here is the Lynch cabin that is on the grounds.  It serves as the gift shop.

 As long as you have kids and pets in close proximity, you're going to have a "Cuddly" situation.

 I love "Ghost" signs.  The more worn and weathered, the better.  I found this sign in Okmulgee, Oklahoma last year.  Where was it located?

 Why, on the side of a dairy truck shell, of course.  That's it for this week.  Oh, I almost forgot.  If you remember my post from last week, it involved a search for a suitable backdrop to photograph our oldest grand daughter for her senior portraits next year.  You can scroll down to see the options.  I said that I had a preference.  Well here it is.

This rustic foot bridge just has too many photo opportunities to pass up.  I just hope that next spring is as green as this one has been.  I will probably shoot one set of photos in the fall for the foliage colors and another set next spring when everything is green again.  Stay tuned.

See ya next week.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ruby Tuesday II

Last week-end we celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary in Branson, Missouri.  While there, we to a ride on the Branson Scenic Railway.  I have a fondness for trains since my dad worked for the Frisco Railroad and I grew up riding trains.  It is one of the most relaxing ways to travel.  So, what else did we do?

We arrived Friday afternoon and checked into our hotel.  For this trip we stayed at the Branson Landing.  You simply walk out of the hotel and into a shopping/restaurant mall area.  Since we were not planning on seeing any of the shows in town, this was a perfect choice.  We spent several hours in the shopping area.  Since there Bass Pro Shops is one of the anchor stores, I'm good with the shopping experience.  Now it's time to eat.

 Whenever we travel, we like to eat at places that do not exist in our home town.  The restaurant may be a chain, but it doesn't have a location where we live.  Cantina Laredo at Branson Landing is a very good place to eat.  We will almost always find an excuse to eat one meal here, whenever we visit Branson Landing.

Saturday's highlight was riding the train.  It is about an hour and a half trip through the Ozarks.  You actually cross into Arkansas.
 There were two tunnels on the trip.  These tunnels were built between 1902-1904.  One is nearly a half mile long and the other is almost two-thirds of a mile in length.  It boggles the mind what our forefathers accomplished.

Saturday evening found us celebrating our anniversary with dinner at White River Fish House on Lake Taneycomo, at Branson Landing.

We started with something a little different, fried gator tails.  They were great.

Sunday morning found us in "Historic Downtown Branson", which is just across the street and tracks from Branson Landing.  There is Dick's 5 & 10 store, which is a throwback to the late 50's & early 60's.  To say that they have everything is an understatement.

Just in case you were wondering, the 5 & 10 store is the predecessor to what we now know as Walmart, Target, and Kmart.  Well that was our anniversary week-end.  It wasn't terribly exciting, but it was relaxing and most enjoyable.  I'm sure we're going to do something much more adventurous for our 40th.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

As I mentioned in my post last week, I am on the hunt for an appropriate background to photograph our oldest grand daughter for her senior pictures.  In Arkansas, as in most locations, the two best times of the year for outdoor photos is spring and fall.  Last week I found a local ruin, but I will have to get owner's permission to shoot there and I'm not convinced that's going to happen.  So, what is "Plan B"

 This rustic wooden footbridge along a walking trail provides a great perspective and possibly a great background for a senior portrait.

 Our grand daughter is very seriously considering a small Christian college to pursue her higher education.  Oklahoma Baptist University, Southwest Baptist University, Quachita University, and Harding University are all on her radar.  I thought that the Mildred Cooper Chapel in Bella Vista, Arkansas might make a good backdrop for her senior portrait.  The building was designed by Fay Jones.  Those Gothic arches are steel.  The remainder of the structure is wood and glass.

 Along the walk to the chapel above there are azaleas and dogwood trees.  This backdrop would limit the photo shoot to early spring.  In fact, it is already, nearly too late to do this year.  But, it is something to keep in mind.
That footbridge that you saw in the first image is nestled in a very shaded area of the walking trail.  It would provide great light nearly anytime of day.  In other words you don't have to be there at sunrise or sunset to get good photos.  Plus, it provides multiple textures to include in the back drop.

 A local park would provide a more pastoral scene if I choose.  The truth is, ALL of these photos are local.  I didn't drive more than two miles from our house to get any one of these images!  Yes, I live in a beautiful part of the world.  The other great thing about these potential backdrops is that all but one will work in spring or fall!  So, which one do I use?  I'm open to suggestions, but I do have a preference.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

39 and Counting

On Saturday, May 11, my wife and I will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary.  This year the day and date match our actual wedding.  We were married on Saturday and Mother's day fell on Sunday in 1974.
The  following is a copy/edited post that I wrote on our 35th anniversary.  The message still applies.

May 11, 1974

So, What's The Secret - May 8, 2008

So what's the secret to being married for thirty-five years and looking forward to celebrating number fifty one day? All I can tell you is that our marriage is centered around our faith and that the message from God's Word is critical to the happiness that each of us enjoys.

First of all, God loves us and everything He does for us is for our benefit. He created the institution of marriage to be enjoyed by a man and a woman and to bring each of them happiness. The Bible tells us that God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die on a cross for us so that we might, through faith, have eternal live. Christ tells the husband that he is to love his wife with the same love that Christ loves the church and gave himself for that church (Ephesians 5:25). If I love my wife with that kind of love, then everything I do, I do because I love her and I want her to be happy. I want her to be pleased with this relationship. I want my Lord to be pleased with me as a man who loves his wife and realizes that his wife is a gift from God created especially for me and for my happiness.
Secondly, marriage is a partnership. Like any relationship, it takes work to maintain that relationship in peak condition. A happy marriage doesn't "just happen". Both of us are committed to the relationship and to each other because we love one another and it is our desire that our partner be happy in this relationship. No major decision in this relationship is made without prayer and conversation. God is not the author of confusion, therefore He will not give my wife a different answer to an issue than the one that He gives me. Again, God created the institution of marriage for our benefit, not for our demise.
Finally, I married a woman far better than I deserve. I thank my Lord and Savior for her every day. My wife is the most thoughtful, caring and giving person that I know. Proverbs 31:10-12 says, "An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." I have found that woman. Proverbs 31:25-30 further states, Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and teaching of kindness is on her toungue. She looks well to the ways of her houselold, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." I "married such a woman.
So, back to the original question, "What's the Secret?" The answer is, you have to give yourself to the marriage. You have to give yourself to your spouse. Whatever you have within you, you have to "Give it Away."

May 11, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ruby Tuesday II

 Shopping in the Rain

A dad and his daughter are buying some sweets on a rainy Saturday morning at the local farmers market.  The boots and umbrella are what caught my attention.  Quality time spent with our children and grandchildren is time well spent.  It may not seem like a big deal to the adult at the moment, but when the child grows up and can recall those Saturday mornings spent with their mom or dad or nana or papa, they become priceless memories for both parties.  This image is proof that great times with children aren't limited to Disney World or some other major attraction.  Kids love being around their parents and grandparents.  A quiet, rainy Saturday morning spent at a local farmers market can be more enjoyable to the child than standing in line for two hours waiting to ride the latest thrill at Universal Studios with 10,000 strangers.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Yesterday I posted this image on Scavenger Hunt Sunday for the "Motion" prompt.

  Several people complimented me on the capture.  Believe me, I did not just get lucky and capture this image at the right moment.  Well, timing played some part, but the equipment helped.  If you're going to shoot sports, you're going to need a couple of things.  First of all you will need a good DSLR camera with the ability to capture multiple images.  I own a Nikon D7000 and it will shoot 7 frames per second in continuous mode.  Next, you need a good lens.  Most pros will tell you that, starting out your best bet is a 70-200mm f2.8 lens.  This will capture sharp images in relatively low light...and that is critical.  Now back to the image.  Truth is, this is the second image in the burst.  See.

 These six images happened in about one second.  By having a continuous shooting mode I was able to press the shutter when the athlete left the board and release it when he landed.  I know that the "good shot" will be in there somewhere.  I pre-focused the camera on an area in the sand prior to the jump.  As you will note the final image is actually a little fuzzy.  That's because the athlete jumped beyond the area I had pre-focused on.  So why is image number two the best.  You can see his face, it is in focus, and it tells the story of what is happening.  Even his eyes are open and focused on the landing zone.  I got the "good shot" because I was able to take six images in less that a second.  While almost any camera will take a really good photograph, sometimes the equipment makes the difference between getting a decent snapshot and getting the "money shot".