danniewriter

Foto Phriday (Sun Worshipers)

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This was a day or two after Christmas. Since then I can’t remember the last time I needed my sunglasses.

Winter is a gray business in the Ohio Valley. It has led me to cherish even more the memories of Christmas in Georgia last month. Of course winter, quite often, is a gray (or gray/brown) business in Georgia, too, but there was abundant sunshine at my sister and brother-in-law’s home in Toccoa. The photo above was taken from the front yard.

Since returning to Louisville I have pretty much altered my routine on the spot whenever the sun has managed to break through the gloom. My dog, Chip, is on notice that walk-time could be at any moment depending on the presence of shadows outside.

As I’ve longed for sunbeams, I decided to select the best sun worshipping photos from our Christmas vacation in North Georgia. I love, and long for, these and other shadows to come.

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Shadows on the front porch.
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I like how the sun gleams on the red metal chairs. My dog, Chip, is dozing in the background.

Fatigue, nagging concerns, a long to-do list, it all gets shoved to the back burner on days such as these.

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My brother-in-law, enjoying the rays with his dog, Cricket.

My sister and I grew up in the country but we have been suburban dwellers for decades. Our parents were both country kids. This place in Toccoa, built in 1922, is fairly new to my sister and brother-in-law, and there’s really no way to overstate how wonderful it is to hear cows instead of sirens and have stars as the primary form of outdoor lighting.

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The same sun that can be unbearable in a Georgia summer makes winter chores bearable. The addition of grandchildren can make them a pleasure.

To really get an idea of the restorative and languorous properties of our solar system’s greatest star, just observe its magical effect on the canine members of the family. I call it being “sun drunk.”

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Cricket and Allie, soaking it in.
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My own version of the Sunchip.

Foto Phriday (Parklands of Floyds Fork)

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The Parklands of Floyds Fork is an amazing collection of parks, trails, streams, and amenities covering 4,000 acres in Jefferson County. My dog, Chip, and I have enjoyed exploring two of the gems, Broad Run Park and Turkey Run Park. The photo above was taken from the overlook at Broad Run.

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Part of the trail around the Squire Boone Bottoms at Turkey Run Park.

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Possibly wild asters, I’m not so good with identifying flora. The Parklands are filled with wildflowers.

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Floyds Fork Creek is a tributary of the Salt River.

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Even the debris is photogenic at the Parklands.

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My best buddy taking a much-deserved rest after a hike at Turkey Run.

 

Foto Phriday (Rending Required)

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PeeWee Park is smack dab in the middle of a lovely neighborhood that is fast becoming one of my favorites here in our neck of Louisville. It has been almost swampy this summer, which I assume explains why this small greenspace with picnic tables, a paddle ball court, and playground even exists. Were the drainage better, I’m confident there would be houses filling the space, and Chip and I would never have had reason to visit the neighborhood.

A visual interruption to the idyllic setting is the chain link fence separating the park from the back/side yards of a dozen or more homes. The barrier, of course, is necessary for several reasons, not the least of which are the number of dogs who live on the perimeter.

Although I don’t know for a certainty exactly what happened, it’s obvious that at some point in the life of the park, the fencerow was forgotten. Perhaps there was some miscommunication or disputation regarding who exactly was responsible for its maintenance; was it homeowners or the park service? Things happen (or in this case, don’t happen). Tasks fall through the cracks. To-do lists are lost and never re-prioritized. We are imperfect creatures running around on the big blue marble.

Here are some examples of the resulting neglect: gnarled and dismembered remnants of trees, and pseudo trees, eventually sacrificed to save the fence, and more than a few dollars in labor and material.

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Nearly every time we make our circuit around the tiny walking path before setting out onto the sidewalks of the neighborhood, I’m drawn to these “left behind.” They so firmly attached themselves to, and even in, the fence, that separation was impossible. There’s a weird violence to the whole thing, but, I think there’s also beauty.

The one at the top of this grouping reminds me of a decorative iron work on the front stoop of a fancy house. The one on the right, a pair of king crab claws, or maybe the critters from Tremors.

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And finally, my “favorite.” Here’s the Old Man. Like many of his kind in Kentucky, he had aspirations to one day become a walking stick. Unfortunately, he waited too long. It’s OK fella. Someone out there thinks you’re beautiful.

 

Foto Phriday (So long, summer)

Johnson Creek front

This post is as much a wish as a salute. Until the past month, the summer of 2016, in the most positive way, could be described as “lush.” In Ohio Valley terms, that translates into: humid, muggy, “close,” saturated, and “chewy-aired.” The air has become drier but temperatures have remained in the upper 80s and into the 90s which is uncharacteristic for this time of year. We are in dire need of rain and cooler temps. In short: we need fall.

But, like my photos from the Kentucky State Fair, I will need these images of summer when fall is over and I find myself in the dark, gray, cold days of winter. I took these photos in 2010 during a Labor Day getaway to northeastern Kentucky, a region of the commonwealth new to my travels. My home away from home was Blue Licks Battlefield State Park, a resort built on the site of a conflict considered by many historians as the final battle of the Revolutionary War. This park has several interesting aspects and I recommend that any/all of my gentle readers make a visit.

In the Blue Licks neighborhood is this lovingly restored covered bridge spanning Johnson Creek. According to John Hultgren Photography’s Bridges to the Past series, the structure was nearly lost to time and vandalism but visitors today would never know that. If these timbers could talk, they’d have quite a tale to tell.

built to last letting in the light

I ran across this updated list of Kentucky’s covered bridges. (Thank you, Dale Travis!) I’m overdue for a visit to another of these treasures. For now, here’s my “bookend to summer.” Bring on the rain and the fall!

Johnson Creek Bridge (rear)

 

Foto Phriday (A Fairly clear choice)

honey

Last month I joined a couple of high school friends for a trip to the Kentucky State Fair. I’m a fair geek from way back. And, as our primary purpose was conversation and companionship, my friends were fine with me maneuvering us through the hallowed halls of the West Wing of the Kentucky State Fair & Expo Center where my favorite fair destinations reside.

One of them, clearly, is the honey display.

I’m not sure why, except those jars of golden loveliness remind me of: the amazing construction and mission of honeybees; my Papaw, who kept bees; and biscuits.

For the uninitiated, the color of the honey is determined by the flora upon which the bees visit. Some clover honeys are so light they resemble corn syrup. By comparison, my family discovered, honey derived from cucumber blossoms is darker than maple syrup and burns like hot sauce.

In the dark, gloomy winter days to come, I hope I’ll remind myself to return to my state fair photos. I’m sure they will lift my spirits.

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Foto Phriday (Tugalo Park, Ga.)

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The view from a footbridge in Tugalo Park, Ga., a cool, leafy primitive camp and picnic area surrounding Yonah Dam in the North Georgia mountains. This neck of the woods winds across the border into South Carolina and back again, and from here it’s just a short drive to two Georgia waterfalls, Tallulah and Toccoa.

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Foto Phriday (James Wilkins House)

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The James Wilkins House Bed and Breakfast was my home away from home during the Labor Day weekend of 2011. The Queen Anne home was built in 1894 and is located in Campbellsburg, Ind. It is about 30 miles from the resort communities of West Baden Springs and French Lick. I love everything about this house, right down to the purple side door.

purple door

 

Foto Phriday (Cricket)

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One early summer day a few years ago, I was clicking away in my sister’s yard in suburban Atlanta, mostly concentrating on the plethora of flora on display. Her boxer, Cricket, a most contented canine who would never dream of leaving her people when off leash, meandered down the sidewalk and then stood, transfixed. When I saw the preserved image, I thought she was gorgeous enough to be Miss June on a 12 Months of Beautiful Boxers calendar. Certainly, I love the dog and am biased, but I have to say, virtually each time we walked together at a neighborhood park, we were stopped by at least one passer by who said, “That is one of the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever seen.” What can we say? She rocks that brindle look.

Foto Phriday (the back porch)

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121 Lavenia Lane, my grandparents’ home in Magnolia, Ky., was quite a lifeforce, just as my grandparents themselves. As a child and teenager, the homeplace was closely clipped, pruned, painted, and “picked up,” but of course as my grandparents got older, a type of wildness crept into the place. But even the wildness had a beauty of its own. In those last years, the flower beds were always full but never planted, the blooms appeared voluntarily from the countless plants set over 50-odd years of living and gardening. And, although many basic chores were forgotten by my grandmother, she always kept the porch and carport swept clean. If there were puddles, she’d up-end the broom so the bristles would dry without warping … so perhaps not so very wild really.

A pause on the path

barkless

When things stick out of their surroundings, I like to photograph them. I cannot explain the surface of this tree–if it is healthy, sick, stripped or simply a softwood in the midst of a forest of hardwoods–but it caught my eye. The addition of the vine traveling up the surface made it even more interesting to me.

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